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

Schmidt Number: S-5855

On-line since: 31st August, 2017

The First Goetheanum

The First Goetheanum

by Rudolf Steiner

Translated from the German by Frank Thomas Smith

Lesson Nineteen

Dornach, August 2, 1924

My dear friends,

Again we shall let the verse flow through our souls which can bring to mind how everything that is, was in the past and will be in the future, calls out to us to seek self-knowledge, for it is the foundation of all real, true cosmic knowledge.


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.


My dear sisters and brothers, we have let mantric verses pass into our souls which, through their force, contain the path into spirit-land, first passing the Guardian of the Threshold into what is at first a dark, gloomy, night-engulfed spiritual world, where light is felt, which then becomes light for our spiritual perception. We have seen in this spiritual world how the human being participates – usually unconsciously, though he can be conscious of it – in the dialogs of the higher hierarchies – as though the Cosmic Word itself were acting together with the higher hierarchies. And finally we have been able to move on to the cosmic realm where the choruses of the different hierarchies resound together. Let us now bring that to mind once more – how we had already continued from hearing what the beings of the second hierarchy were saying to where the beings of the first hierarchy speak. And now we are able to hear them speaking in harmony as a chorus.

The Guardian brings it to our attention; we know this from previous lessons:

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.


After the Guardian reveals to us this spiritual secret of the rainbow, from the chorus or the Angeloi, Archangeloi and Archai we hear resound:

Sense our thoughts
Breathing the colors of life
Into 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.


The spirits of the third hierarchy explain how they wish to serve the spirits of the second hierarchy for the benefit of humanity: we hear again the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes in chorus from their realm:

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 being.


And once we have heard how the beings of the second hierarchy, creating the world, approach our I; then the choir of the first hierarchy resounds – the Thrones, Seraphim and Cherubim:

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.


Now we stand within the Spirit-Word, the Spirit-Word that underlies the creation of the world. We feel ourselves surrounded by this Spirit-Word. We feel the world penetrated by this Spirit-Word. We feel ourselves woven within this Spirit-Word. We feel it penetrating into our humanity. Finally we feel this cosmic Spirit-Word streaming into our hearts; we feel our whole humanity immersed in the waves of this Spirit-Word. We feel ourselves spiritually immersed in the spiritual world interwoven with the Word.

The Guardian is there in the distance. We had passed him by. He is now far in the distance. We now hear him as he softly speaks a last word of warning to our spirit-ear from afar. The Guardian speaks:

Who speaks in the Spirit-Word
With the voice
Which blazes in the cosmic fire?


From the realm of the first hierarchy comes the answer:

The flame of the stars speaks,
Seraphic Fire-Forces flame;
They flame also in my heart.
In the primal being's fount of love
The human heart finds
Creative spirit-flaming-speech:
            It is I.


My dear sisters and brothers, if we wish to enter the esoteric realm, we should first feel that the ancient holy “'eyeh 'asher 'eyeh!” – “I am I”, “I am” is a holy word which resounds from that other worldly reality. What our fleeting thoughts understand as “I am” is only a reflection of it.

We must be aware that the true “I am” does not come from us in the earthly realm, that if we wish to say “I am” worthily, we must first enter the realm of the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones. Only there does “I am” sound true. Here in the earthly realm it is illusion.

In order to experience the true “I am” within us, we must hear the Cosmic-Word. So we must listen to the Guardian of the Threshold's question: who speaks in the Cosmic-Word? Seraphim, who wend their way through the cosmic waves with spiritual flames of lightning, where we now stand. The Word is flame, a flaming voice. And in  experiencing ourselves in this blazing cosmic fire, which speaks the fire language in the flaming fire, we experience the true “I am”.


This is contained in the Guardian of the Threshold's question posed from the distance – we have passed him long ago – and the answer comes from the realm of the first hierarchy:


Who speaks in the Spirit-Word
With the voice
Which blazes in the cosmic fire?


The flame of the stars speaks,
Seraphic fire-forces flaming;
They flame also in my heart.
In the primal being's fount of love
The human heart finds
Creative spirit-speech aflame:
            It is I.


[The first part of the mantra is written on the blackboard:]


The Guardian speaks from afar (The human-I knows itself to be in the realm of Spirit-Word borne by the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones):


Who speaks in the Spirit-Word
With the voice
Which blazes in the cosmic fire?


Again the answer comes to us from the realm of the first hierarchy:


The flame of the stars speaks,
Seraphic fire-forces flaming;
They flame also in my heart.
In the primal being's fount of love
The human heart finds
Creative spirit-speech aflame:
            It is I.


When human words resound, then human thinking speaks through human words. When the spirit's cosmic-word resounds, then cosmic thinking speaks through the spirit's cosmic-word. This lies in the Guardian's second question, which he now poses from afar.

The Guardian speaks from afar. The human-I knows itself to be in the realm of the Spirit-Word borne by the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones:


What thinks in the Spirit-Word
With thoughts
Which are formed from cosmic souls?


They are the thoughts that come from all the cosmic souls, which belong to the beings of the various hierarchies. They form and shape everything in the kingdoms of the world. Therefore, the Guardian asks who thinks the formative forces:


What thinks in the Spirit-Word
With thoughts
Which are formed from cosmic souls?


Again from the realm of the first hierarchy the answer comes to us:


The glow of the stars thinks.


First it was the flames that speak the words; the star-flames speak the words. The glow that come from the flames thinks.


The glow of the stars thinks,
The formative forces of the Cherubim glow;
They also glow in my head.


This is what the human being who stands within it all says.


In the primal beings' source of light
The human head finds
Thinking soul-forming at work:
            It is I.


This is the second dialog – as though the beings of the first hierarchy were giving us  cosmic permission to experience the “I am”:


What thinks in the Spirit-Word
With thoughts
Which are formed from cosmic souls?


The glow of the stars thinks,
The formative forces of the Cherubim glow;
They also glow in my head.
In the primal beings' source of light
The human head finds
Thinking soul-forming at work:
            It is I.


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


The Guardian speaks from afar:
What thinks in the Spirit-Word
With thoughts
Which are formed from cosmic souls?


From the realm of the first hierarchy:

The glow of the stars thinks,
The formative forces of the Cherubim glow;
They also glow in my head.
In the primal beings' source of light
The human head finds
Thinking soul-forming at work:
            It is I.


The cosmic Spirit-Word must speak. Thoughts stream from it. But the thoughts are creative; the thoughts are permeated with forces; the thoughts stream; and cosmic beings and cosmic events, everything which is evolves from them. In it, in the thought bearing Cosmic-Word live the word-created cosmic thoughts. It is not mere thinking, it is not mere speaking, it is force, forces streaming in the Words. Forces inscribe the thoughts into the cosmic beings, into the cosmic events.

Thereby the third question which the Guardian of the Threshold asks from afar is indicated:


What impels in the Spirit-Word
With forces
Which live in the cosmic body?


The whole world, which resounds from the Cosmic-Word, which gleams from the cosmic-thoughts, is what thinks and speaks in humans, what bears the body, the thought pervaded cosmic body. The Thrones bear it, or rather the Thrones bear the thought illumined cosmic Spirit-Word that is within it.


Therefore, the answer to the Guardian's question comes from the first hierarchy:


The cosmic body of the stars impels,
The Thrones' bearing powers “body”.


We must form a picture which is otherwise unusual. But just as one “enlightens” from light, and can form the verb “to live” from life, so also can one form the word “to body” from the force used to bear the body. [The verb “leiben” – “to body” – does not exist in German or English. Here Rudolf Steiner invents the word, so to speak. There is a subtle difference between the two German words which mean “body”: Leib and Körper. In the theological sense Leib indicates a kind of soul function which the biological concept of Körper lacks. Because there is only one word in English for body, I feel justified in using “embody”, where Steiner said “to body” or “bodies” which are so awkward in English, as they are in German. But embody does follow his line of thought deriving “enlighten” from “light”, for example. If someone wishes to stick closely to the literal translation, he/she may substitute “to body” or “bodies” where “embody” or “embodies” appears.] For body is not dead, it is not something finished. Body is something which is active at every moment, mobile, alert, something that “bodies” [“leibt”].


The Thrones' bearing powers embody.
They also embody in my limbs.
In the primal being's source of life
Human limbs find
Forceful Cosmic-bearer-powers.
            It is I.


Cosmic-Word, cosmic-thinking, cosmic-body; the speaking, thinking cosmic-body is what the Guardian's third question refers to:


What impels in the Spirit-Word
With forces
Which live in the cosmic body?


The cosmic body of the stars impels,
The Thrones' bearing powers embody;
They also embody in my limbs.
In the primal being's source of life
Human limbs find
Forceful cosmic-bearer-powers.
            It is I.


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


The Guardian speaks from afar:


– The human-I knows itself to be in the realm of the Spirit-Word borne by the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones –


What impels in the Spirit-Word
With forces,
Which live in the cosmic body?

 

From the realm of the first hierarchy:


The cosmic body of the stars impels,
The Thrones' bearing powers embody;
They also embody in my limbs.
In the primal being's source of life
Human limbs find
Forceful Cosmic-bearer-powers.
            It is I.


In a certain sense, my sisters and brothers, it is a kind of conclusion to the path that began in the realm of illusion, of maya, which led us to the Guardian of the Threshold, which led us to self-knowledge, and through self-knowledge over to the spiritual realm, and allowed us to hear the choirs of the hierarchies. In a certain sense it is a conclusion when we now stand at the place where we may experience in ourselves the true “I am”, “'eyeh 'asher 'eyeh”.

In this dialog we can experience, when the threefold “It is I” streams from the heart, where it may stream from the heart; when it streams from the heart in such a way that it is the echo of what resounds in these hearts from the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones:


Who speaks in the Spirit-Word
With the voice
Which blazes in the cosmic fire?


The flame of the stars speaks,
Seraphic fire-forces flaming;
They flame also in my heart.
In the primal being's fount of love
The human heart finds
Creative spirit-speech aflame:
            It is I.    


What thinks in the Spirit-Word
With thoughts
Which are formed from cosmic souls?


The glow of the stars thinks,
The formative forces of the Cherubim glow;
They also glow in my head.
In the primal beings' source of light
The human head finds
Thinking soul-forming at work:

            It is I.


What impels in the Spirit-Word
With forces
Which live in the cosmic body?


The cosmic body of the stars impels,
The Thrones' bearing powers embody;
They also embody in my limbs.
In the primal being's source of life
Human limbs find
Forceful Cosmic-bearer-powers.
            It is I.


Here, my dear sisters and brothers, in a certain sense we have completed the first section of this First Class of the School.

We have heard the communications which we have received from the spiritual worlds – for this School is one which has been constituted by the spiritual worlds themselves; we have let the images and inspirations which can come from the spiritual worlds pass through us. They point out to our souls the path to understanding the true Human I in the surroundings of the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.

My dear sisters and brothers! It was, as you have heard in the general anthroposophical lectures, Michael's super-sensible School in which such inner heartfelt teachings first resounded. They were the powerful pictures of the imaginative ritual at the beginning of the nineteenth century, where the souls who were selected to be close to Michael were taught the School's revelations of the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth centuries, and which was led by Michael and his companions in the way described here. And now we are here in this anthroposophical School founded by Michael. We feel ourselves to be in it. They are the words of Michael which were to characterize the path which leads into the spiritual world and the human I: The words of Michael. These words of Michael of the super-sensible Michael-School constituted the first section.

When in September we find ourselves again in these Class Lessons, it will be Michael's will to describe the imaginative ritual revelations of the beginning of the nineteenth century. [2] [Due to the great increase in new Class members, the announced second section could not begin in September of 1924. Instead, repetition lessons – with additional content – were held. These will be the contents of Volume III. Due to Rudolf Steiner's premature death in March of 1925, the Esoteric School lessons were left incomplete.] That will be the second section. What has been presented to us in mantric words, will stand before our souls as pictures, which will be – to the extent possible – the pictures of the super-sensible imaginative ritual brought down at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The third stage of this School will consist of what will lead us directly to the interpretations of the mantric words that were given in the super-sensible Michael School of the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth centuries.


*


We should feel how we ourselves go through all this in the spiritual world. We should always keep looking back to the physical-sensory world of the earth and humbly absorb everything that takes place in the physical-sensory world of the earth.

Therefore, in conclusion let resound on our souls again what – if we are capable of absorbing it and appreciating it – what resounds from every stone, from every plant, from every moving cloud, from every bubbling spring, from every rustling wind, from the forests and the mountains, everywhere from the things and events that resound from the earthly sphere, if we are appreciative of it.

We were in the realm of the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones. Even the Guardian of the Threshold only called from afar. We go back again with humility, past the Guardian, out to the realm of sensory appearances. And again we let these words resound in us:

 


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.


*


My dear sisters and brothers, it is unfortunately the case that the measures, which have been repeated sufficiently within this Esoteric School, have been observed in a strange way by many who have become members by requesting membership and attained it; and just yesterday I had to criticize some rather unedifying matters. It is hard to believe, but it is really the case that members have left their blue membership certificates here on the chairs to reserve their places. It has also happened that three members have left notebooks – one folder and two notebooks – have been simply left lying around. The folder with the typewritten verses was found out on the street. From one of the notebooks could be copied what I told you yesterday. Another notebook was left lying in the Glasshaus. Therefore, it was necessary to expel three members of this School directly before this Class Lesson began.

With these, there have been nineteen expulsions from the School. One could have expected that earnestness would mean more to those who have already heard here what this School means. One of them loses the verses on the street, another leaves themhere, the third leaves them lying in the Glasshaus: so it was necessary to expel three quite prominent members of the School. And I can assure you, my dear sisters and brothers, that the strict observance of rules I informed you of at the beginning and often repeated, must be strictly observed. Such a School with the esoteric earnestness can only be maintained if its members really observe what is demanded in the name of the spiritual powers which direct it.

With true occult matters it is really so. And what has been often occurring in the Anthroposophical Society can no longer continue. That which is filled with earnestness by its own character, must also be treated with earnestness.





Last Modified: 17-Apr-2019
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