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Esoteric Lessons for the First Class of the
School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum
part 2

Schmidt Number: S-5827

On-line since: 31st August, 2017

The First Goetheanum

The First Goetheanum

by Rudolf Steiner

Translated from the German by Frank Thomas Smith

Lesson Eighteen

Dornach, July 12, 1924

My dear Friends,

The call to self-knowledge, which the human soul can hear when it objectively pays attention to all the beings and events in nature and spiritual life, will pass before our souls again at the beginning of our considerations.


O man, know thyself!
So resounds the Cosmic-Word.
You hear it strong in soul,
You feel it firm in spirit.

Who speaks with such cosmic might?
Who speaks with such depth of heart?

Does it work through distant radiant space
Into your senses' sense of being?
Does it ring through weaving waves of time
Into your life's evolving stream?

It's you yourself who,
In feeling space, in experiencing time,

Create the Word, feeling foreign
In the soulless void of space
Because you lose the force of thought
In time's destructive flow.


On the path to the answer which the soul can find to this question, my dear sisters and brothers, we have followed the path leading to the Guardian of the Threshold, to the abyss of being. We have progressed to where the Guardian of the Threshold instructs us so that what was previously dark and gloomy — although we knew that it contained the source of our being — expanded and became light. And then, in the increasing light, we heard the Guardian's call:


See the ether-rainbow arc's
Light teeming round,
Let the light creating force
Pass through your eyes,
Your I penetrate the circle,
Observe from the other side's vantage point
Color flooding the cosmic bowl.


And the voices of the Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai are intoned with these words as they are directed to the human souls:


Sense our thoughts
Breathing the colors of life
To the light-flooded bowl;
We carry the mirage of the senses
To spirit's domain of being
And turn, by the world inspired
To serve the higher spirits.


And we see how through the flooding light in the cosmic bowl, which we met in the last lesson, the beings of the third hierarchy illuminate and are illuminated; we see the multitudes of these beings, Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai, turn to the higher spirits, which they serve, to the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes; and we are witnesses to how the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes tell their serving spirits to fulfill the needs of human beings.


The Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes speak:

What you have received
From dead illusion made live:
We waken it to existence;
We give it to the rays,
Who manifest with love
The nothingness of matter
In the spirit's essence.


And then — impelled from within — we must turn our gaze to the highest spirits, the first hierarchy, who now turn to humanity in blessing. From them we hear:


In the willing of your worlds
Feel our world working:
Spirit glows in matter
When, thinking, we create.
Spirit creates in matter
When we live in willing:
World is the I-willing Spirit-Word.


As witnesses to how the beings of the higher worlds speak to each other, so penetrated with what the highest beings let stream into human souls as the cosmic-word so that the human heart may resonate with it, we must feel ourselves to be within the all-moving, all-pervading cosmic light in which we ourselves live and move.

And now we come to a truth, which is perceived where the non-embodied beings live, where the spirits live their lives, where the spirits think their truths, where the spirits radiate their beauty, where their spiritual acts take place. And we recognize the greatness, the all-pervading, weaving truth in the spirit-worlds: spirit is. For we are, we live, we act in spirit. We perceive spiritual being.

And now we realize that spirit, in which we now live, alone is. We now know  that even here, in the world of sensory illusion, is only spirit. Only spirit is. This stands before our souls as unshakable, all-pervading truth: spirit is. And we do well to place this truth before our souls in picture form.  


[Drawing on the blackboard: red]




What is expressed here in the drawing is spirit. It is spirit alone.


[While continuing to speak, Rudolf Steiner inserts the word “Ist” in the red lines of the drawing — barely visible here.]


What is here: Is — is spirit. And what is outside this red is nothing. This is placed before our souls. And the spirit-world tells us [pointing]: here Is, here Is, here Is. Everywhere that spirit is, Is something.


[As he continues to speak, Rudolf Steiner writes the word Nichts (nothing) in various places between the read lines, then the worlds Mineralien (minerals), Pflanzen (plants), Tiere (animals).]


And where there is no spirit, there is nothing. We are profoundly impressed by this truth: Everywhere where spirit is, is something, and where there is no spirit, is nothing. And now we wonder: How did all this seem to us there in the world of sensory illusion, which we left to enter the spiritual world, where we find true being, the spirit revealed to our souls. Over there we did not see what is drawn here in red. We are too weak there to see what is drawn here in red. What remains there then? Nothing. Over there we see Nothing, call it minerals, one kind of Nothing; call it plants, a second kind of Nothing; call it animals, a third kind of Nothing, and so forth.

We see Nothing because we are too weak to see Something. And we call the Nothings the kingdoms of nature. That is the great deception, the great illusion. Over there only variations of the Nothing are visible when we look out from the body. And we feel deeply the impression, as we live over there and give names to what is fundamentally Nothing, that it is the great illusion. And what is Nothing, and what we give names to now appears to us as the sum of names which we give to Nothingness. For in their reality all beings are only present in the spiritual world that we have now entered. Names dedicated to Nothing we have wasted on the non-existent. And beings — not those from the domains of the gods to which we belong and to which we should belong — can take possession of the names which we have wasted on the Nothings. And they keep these names from now on.

If we are not clear about the fact that here on earth we give names to nullities, we fall with our nullities into the greatest illusion. We must know that we are giving names to the nullities. It is now clear to us, because over there [in the spirit-world] we live and move in the light, and the spiritual strength of our hearts has remained there, we can feel deeply, deeply, deeply: We now know that we have gone from the kingdom of illusions to the kingdom of truth. Earnestness, holy earnestness in respect to the truth begins to act in our souls.


And now we look back at the faithful Guardian of the Threshold, who stands at the abyss of being. He doesn't speak now. He spoke from out of the darkness. He spoke when we first felt the brightness. He spoke when the darkness [in the stenography “brightness” — possibly an error.] was brightening for us. Now, as we stand shaken by the great truth “only spirit is”, he stands there speechless, pointing above to where the beings of the higher hierarchies speak to each other. And with presence of mind we think for a moment: Below in earthly life we perceived the impression made on us by minerals, by plants, by animals, by physical human beings; we heard what the clouds say, what the mountains say, how the fountains ripple, how the lightning flashes, how the thunder rolls, what the stars whisper about cosmic secrets. That was our experience down below. Now beyond the abyss of existence all that is silent. Now we are witnesses to the gods speaking to each other. The whole choir of Angeloi begins to speak.

We look up and see how the choir turns to the spirits of the second hierarchy, which they wish to serve. We observe the loving, serving gestures of the Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai, who turn to the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes. We view the serving multitudes of the third hierarchy.

We view the multitudes of the second hierarchy in world-creation, in world-dominion, in world-illumination, and we hear what the spiritual-illuminating,  divine-willing beings speak to each other.

We hear the Angeloi intoning their words of concern for the guidance of human souls. Their words resonate:


The human beings think!


This weighs on the Angeloi. They are concerned as to how they should guide human souls, because humans think. Then they turn to the Dynamis for the force needed to guide human beings in their thinking.


Angeloi:

The human beings think!
We need the light from the heights
That we may illuminate their thinking.


From the realm of radiance, dominion, acting, the Dynamis lovingly and  benevolently reply:

Receive the light from the heights,
So you can illuminate thought,
When human beings think.


And the flooding light, the force of illumination in thought, streams over from the Dynamis to the Angeloi. What the Angeloi receive enlightens, without our knowing, human thinking. Now we realize what acts and weaves in human thinking: the illumination of the Angeloi. But the light force for this illumination they receive from the Dynamis.


[The first part of the mantra is written on the blackboard. Italics indicate writing.]


I) Angeloi:

“Human being think!”:  their concern is expressed in their words.

Human beings think!

They turn to the Dynamis with their concern:

We need the light from the heights
That we may illuminate their thinking.

The Dynamis reply:

Dynamis:

Receive the light from the heights,
So you can illuminate thought,
When human beings think.


Our spiritual view goes farther. We see the multitude of Archangeloi turning to the second hierarchy. They turn to the Exusiai and Kyriotetes, to two categories of spirits of the second hierarchy. (The Angeloi had turned to the Dynamis: Archangeloi turn to the Exusiai and Kyriotetes.) Their concern is for human beings' feeling. And they request from the Exusiai and Kyriotetes what they need in order to guide human beings in their feeling.


Archangeloi:

The human beings feel!
We need warmth of soul,
That we may live in feeling.


They must breathe life into feeling. And with powerful voices, because two choirs are answering, Kyriotetes and Exusiai voices ring out in the spiritual cosmos:


Receive warmth of soul
That you may live in feeling
When human beings feel.


[The second part of the mantra is written on the blackboard.]


II) Archangeloi:

The human beings feel!
We need warmth of soul,
That we may live in feeling.


The reply:

Kyriotetes and Exusiai:

Receive warmth of soul
That you may live in feeling
When human beings feel.


We turn to the third multitude of the third hierarchy, to the Archai. They have concern for the will of the human being, the third concern of the third hierarchy.

We feel: when the Angeloi turn to the Dynamis, then the Dynamis act way up in the heights in order to give the light they create from the heights to the Archai for their concern for human thinking. And we feel: everything in the compass of cosmic warmth is created by the Exusiai and Kyriotetes, and it is given over to the Archangeloi so that they can guide human feeling. And deep below, where the spirits and gods of the depths prevail, and where from the abysses — in which much evil moves — the good forces of the deep must be drawn up high, so all the gods of the second hierarchy pull together; for in their concern for the human being's will, the Archai need the forces of the deep. They speak:


The human beings will!
We need the forces of the depths,
That we may work in willing.


And the powerful spirits of the second hierarchy answer with a mighty cosmic voice in the combined voices of all three together, the three choirs forming one choir — Kyriotetes, Dynamis, Exusiai — three choirs in one:


Receive the force of the depths,
That you may work in willing,
When human beings will.


[The third part of the mantra is written on the blackboard.]


III) Archai:

The human beings will!
We need the forces of the depths,
That we may work in willing.


Kyriotetes, Dynamis and Exusiai answer together:

Kyriotetes, Dynamis and Exusiai:

Receive the force of the depths,
That you may work in willing,
When human beings will.


This is the world, existing in the holy words of creation, of which we will be witnesses in spiritual worlds, as we are witnesses of the events in the mineral and vegetable kingdoms here in earth.

And we hear, in that it becomes our experience:


The human beings think!
We need the light from the heights
That we may illuminate their thinking.

Receive the light from the heights,
So you can illuminate thought,
When human beings think. 

The human beings feel!
We need warmth of soul,
That we may live in feeling.

Receive warmth of soul
That you may live in feeling

The human beings will!
We need the forces of the depths,
That we may work in willing.

Receive the force of the depths,
That you may work in willing,
When human beings will.


We grow into the spiritual world. Instead of what surrounds us here in the sensory earth, the choirs of the spiritual world surround us. And we become witnesses to what the gods say in their creative concern for the world of humans.

Only when in our meditation we go on to the complete elimination of what we are here on earth, and to having a feeling for the world the gods are forming with their divine speech, do we experience true reality. And only when we possess this reality, do we also know what really surrounds us between birth and death. Because behind the appearances in life between birth and death is the reality of what we experience between death and rebirth.

In earlier times people living on earth had a dull, dreamlike clairvoyance. Their souls were filled with dreamlike pictures, spoken [sic] from the spiritual world. Let us imagine a person from olden times. When he was not working, and was resting — although the sun was still in the sky  — and was thinking back, pictures arose which he experienced in his soul and which reminded him of what he had experienced in pre-earthly existence in the spiritual world. But he didn't understand the connection between his earthly existence and that existence which shone into his clairvoyant dreams. But the initiates and their teachings were there. They explained the connection, first to their students, and through their students to all the people. So they lived in the earthly world experiencing the memories of pre-earthly existence.

Nowadays in earthly life the memory of pre-earthly existence has been extinguished. Initiates cannot explain the connection between earthly life and pre-earthly existence, because humans have forgotten what they experienced in pre-earthly existence. Such an explanation is not possible because the cosmic memory no longer exists.

Nevertheless, what the gods are saying behind sensory being must be heard by means of initiation-science. Human beings must experience it. And soon the time will come — it's approaching more and more — when a person who passes through the gate of death will only be able to understand the spiritual world into which he enters if he realizes that when a person enters heavenly existence through the gate of death, and finds himself in the reality of the spiritual worlds, within the world of Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai, Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes, Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones — if he experiences all this, if what he experiences after death it is not to remain incomprehensible and dark to him, then he will have to remember what he experienced here on earth through initiation-science.

And what is extremely important in understanding what can be experienced in life between death and a new birth — if it has been heard, otherwise it cannot be understood — is remembrance of what is still heard on earth, and which resounds as follows:


The human beings think!
Receive the light from the heights.

The human beings feel!
Receive warmth of soul.

The human beings will!
Receive the force of the depths.

 

These, my sisters and brothers, are the words that should be heard today in the esoteric schools. They should resound through the instructions of those who lead the esoteric schools with the force of the Michael age. Then it can be thus:


In the esoteric schools the voice of the Angeloi are first heard within the earthly sphere:

The human beings think!

The Dynamis' reply:

Receive the light of the heights.


The voice of the Archangeloi is heard:

The human beings feel!

The reply of the Kyriotetes  and Exusiai:

Receive the warmth of soul.


The Archai's words:

The human beings will!

All three members of the second hierarchy, Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes, answer:

Receive the force of the depths.


Those people who have heard those words in esoteric schools will go through the gate of death, where they will again hear all these words resounding together: the esoteric schools here, life between death and a new birth there. They will understand what is resonating there.

Or they will be dull and unwilling — after preparation by general anthroposophy — in respect to what is said in the esoteric schools. They do not perceive what can be heard through initiation-science from the realm of the heights. They go through the gate of death. They hear there what they should already have heard here. They don't understand it. When the gods speak to each other with powerful words, it sounds to them like incomprehensible ringing, mere sounds, cosmic noise.

Paul speaks about this in the Gospel — that through the teachings of Christ men should protect themselves from death in the spirit-land. For death soon comes in the spirit-land if we go through the gate of death and don't understand what is resonating there, if we can only hear the incomprehensible sounds instead of the understandable words of the gods, because we have been overcome by the soul's death instead of the soul's life. There is an initiation-science because souls are alive. There are esoteric schools so that souls may remain alive when they go through the gate of death. This we must feel deeply. [In a previous paragraph leading up to these words, Rudolf Steiner says: “And soon the time will come — it's approaching more and more — when a person who passes through the gate of death will only be able to understand the spiritual world into which he enters if …” (Und immer mehr wird die Zeit kommen…) which seems to indicate that this means sometime in the future. {Ed./Trans.}]


And now let us consider the path we have taken in spirit, how we approached the Guardian in order to learn how the human being crosses the abyss of existence. And let us also consider how the impressions there acted on our souls; let us take into our souls the inner drama of self-knowledge.

We have traveled the path. Three tablets stood there, so to speak. We are now standing before the third one, after we have taken into our souls all the profundities of divine speech. On the first tablet, long before we arrived at the abyss of existence, resonated:


O man, know thyself!
So resounds the Cosmic-Word.
You hear it strong in soul,
You feel it firm in spirit.

Who speaks with such cosmic might?
Who speaks with depth of heart?

Does it work through distant radiant space
Into your senses' sense of being?
Does it ring through weaving waves of time
Into your life's evolving stream?

It's you yourself who,
In feeling space, in experiencing time

Create the Word, feeling foreign
In the soulless void of space
Because you lose the force of thought
In time's destructive flow.


Then we approached the Guardian. The second tablet stands there. On it stands:


Recognize first the earnest Guardian,
Who stands before the gates of spirit-land,
Denying entrance of your sensory force
And your power of understanding,
For in your sensory weaving
And in creation of your thoughts,
From space's emptiness,
From the illusion of time's might,
You must first forcefully seize
The truth of your own being.


We have arrived on the other side, passing the earnest Guardian, and have heard a conversation such as this:


The human beings think!
Receive the light of the heights.

The human beings feel!
Receive the warmth of soul.

The human beings will!
Receive the force of the depths.


We look back to the world of senses and we feel about this sensory world the words:


I entered in this world of senses,
Bearing with me thinking's legacy,
A godly force led me in.
Death stands at the path's end.
I will to feel the being of Christ.
In matter's death he wakens spirit-birth.
Thus in spirit I find the world
And know myself in world-becoming



Blackboard texts in German:







Last Modified: 28-Oct-2018
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