May 16, 1909
TODAY WE WILL CONSIDER
a more occult
side of yesterday's observations. The first four post-Atlantean
cultures had the task of reflecting in human souls the great cosmic
processes that had taken place in the course of time. In our cultural
period, on the other hand, from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries
onward, we no longer incorporate such a reflection. For what takes place
externally in the evolution of humankind can be traced back to deeper
know that the etheric bodies of
the great Atlantean initiates were preserved for the seven holy Rishis;
we also know that the etheric body and astral body of Zarathustra were
woven into Moses and Hermes. The possibility has always existed for
etheric bodies, which have been transformed and prepared by initiates,
to be used further in the spiritual economy of the world.
[See Note 1]
Other things have also happened. Special etheric bodies are formed in
higher worlds for especially important individuals. When someone was
essential for a special mission to humanity, such a special etheric
body or astral body was woven in higher worlds and then imprinted into
him or her.
This is what happened
to Sem, who actually had something to do with the entire tribe of the
Semites. A special etheric body was formed for such a progenitor of a
tribe. Because of this Sem was a kind of double personality. As incredible
as it may sound to modern thinking, to a clairvoyant a personality such
as Sem appeared, with his aura, like an ordinary man whose etheric body
was filled by a higher being reaching down from higher worlds. In this
way the man's aura became a mediator between his personality and higher
worlds. When dwelling in a human being such a divine being has a very
special power. He can reproduce a particular etheric body, and these
reproduced etheric bodies then form a fabric that is again and again woven
into the descendants. In this way the descendants of Sem were endowed
with copies of his etheric body. But the etheric body of Sem himself,
not only the reproduced copies, was also preserved in the mysteries.
Then, any special individual who had been assigned a special mission
had to use this etheric body in order to make himself understood to
the Semitic people, just as highly educated Europeans would have to
learn the language of the Hottentots in order to make themselves understood
to them. The individuals given a special mission therefore had to carry
within them the real etheric body of Sem in order to make themselves
understood to the Semitic people. An example of such a personality would
[See Note 2]
who could only show himself to Abraham in the etheric body of Sem.
We must now ask ourselves
the question: If only now, in the fifth post-Atlantean cultural epoch,
an understanding for Christianity can be developed, then what was the
understanding in the rest of the Greek and Latin age that lasted until
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries?
There is a mysterious
occult process taking place here. Christ lived, of course, for only
three years in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was such a highly
developed individuality that he could leave the physical world in the
thirtieth year of his life in order to enter the spiritual world just
as the dove appeared over his head. The three highly developed bodies,
physical, etheric, and astral, left behind by Jesus were then filled
by the individuality of Christ through the fact that he lived in the
physical human body. These bodies of Jesus of Nazareth, invisible to
the physical eye, were then replicated in a way similar to what happened
to the etheric body of Sem. As a result, since the death on the cross,
there exist copies of the etheric and astral bodies of Jesus of Nazareth.
This has nothing to do with his I, which went on into the spiritual
world and later continued incarnating.
In the first centuries
after the Christ event we see how Christian writers were still working
on the basis of a tradition passed on orally from the disciples of the
Apostles. They placed value on tradition passed on through physical means.
But later centuries could not have built upon these alone. Especially from
the sixth and seventh centuries onward, great proclaimers of Christianity
had a copy of the etheric body of Jesus of Nazareth woven into them.
Augustine was such a man. In his youth he had to go through mighty battles.
Then the impulse of the etheric body of Jesus of Nazareth became active
in him in a very significant way; only then did he begin to generate
Christian mysticism out of himself. His writings can only be understood
in this light.
Many personalities have
walked on the earth bearing such a copy within themselves. Columba,
[See Note 3]
— they all carried such
a copy of the etheric body within them and for just this reason were
in a position to spread Christianity. In this way a bridge was built
from the Christ event to succeeding times.
In the eleventh and twelfth
centuries we then see people who received into their own astral bodies the
astral body of Jesus of Nazareth. Francis of Assisi was one such special
person. When we follow his life we will find much that is not
understandable. But we can understand especially his humility, his
Christian devotion if we realize that such a mystery lived in him. Around
the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries such people became
proclaimers of Christianity through this interweaving of astral bodies.
They received Christianity through grace.
The I of Jesus of Nazareth
left the three sheaths at the baptism in the Jordan. Nevertheless, an
image of this I, like the imprint of a seal, remained in the three sheaths.
The Christ being took possession of these three bodies but he also took
possession of something else, something that remained behind like an
imprint of the I of Jesus. From the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth
centuries on, something like a copy of Jesus' I
[See Note 4]
was woven into those men who then began to speak of an “inner
Christ.” Meister Eckhart and Johannes Tauler were speaking out
of their inner experience of something like an imprint of the I of Jesus
Although there are still
many people present today carrying something like a copy of the various
bodies of Jesus of Nazareth, they no longer become leading personalities.
More and more we see how in our fifth age there are people who must
rely on themselves, on their own I. Such inspired people will become
increasingly rare. Therefore, steps were taken to provide for the future
so that a particular spiritual stream could arise in our time, a spiritual
stream with the task of insuring that spiritual knowledge will still
reach humanity. Those individuals who could see into the future had
to provide for human beings who are wholly dependent on their merely
human I. We are told in a legend that the vessel used by Christ Jesus
with his disciples at the Last Supper was preserved. This is the legend
of the Holy Grail. We see in the story of Parzival an expression of
a pupil's typical path of development in our fifth post-Atlantean age.
Parzival neglected to do one thing. He had been told that he should
not ask questions. That is the important transition from the old age
to the new. In ancient India, a devotion as passive as possible was
necessary for the pupil; this was also true in Augustine's time and
in the time of Francis of Assisi. All of these humble people let themselves
be inspired by what lived in them, what had been woven into them. But now
the I must carry the question in itself. Every soul today that passively
receives what is given to it cannot go beyond itself. It can only observe
what is going on in the physical world around it. Today the soul must
ask questions, must lift itself above itself; it must grow out of itself.
The soul today must ask questions as Parzival had to ask about the secrets
of the Grail castle.
[See Note 5]
Therefore, today spiritual
research only begins when there are questions. The souls that are
stimulated today by external science to question, to ask, and to seek
— those are the Parzival souls. Therefore, a mystery stream was
introduced that has been much persecuted, the Rosicrucian training that
does not rely on any handed-down wisdom even if it gratefully accepts the
old traditions. What constitutes the Rosicrucian approach to the spirit
today has been researched directly in higher worlds with spiritual eyes
— and with the means that the student himself has received as
instructions. Today wisdom is proclaimed through the Rosicrucian approach
to the spirit not because this or that is found in old books, not because
these or those have believed this or that, but because it was researched.
This was gradually prepared in the Rosicrucian schools founded in the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries by the individuality named Christian
Today this wisdom can
be proclaimed as Theosophy. Those people simply no longer exist who,
without their own involvement, are implanted with wisdom that inwardly
inspires them. Today only those people who feel that Theosophy speaks
to their hearts should come to it. We should not use propaganda and
agitate for Theosophy. Only through their own free initiative should
anyone come to Theosophy. This can occur when individuals are deeply
affected in a living way by spiritual knowledge.
through this Theosophical-Rosicrucian
spiritual stream, we draw toward us what is available from the copies
of the I of Jesus of Nazareth. In this way, those who prepare themselves
for it draw into their souls the image of the I of Jesus of Nazareth.
Then, through the fact that their inner soul life is like the imprint
of a seal of the I of Christ, through this, such human beings take into
their souls the principle of Christ. In this way Rosicrucianism prepares
something positive. Theosophy should become life, so that any soul that
truly absorbs Theosophy is gradually transformed. Absorbing Theosophy
means that a soul is transformed such that it can arrive at an
understanding of Christ.
make themselves into living recipients of what Moses and
Paul were given in the revelation of Yahweh-Christ. Therefore, we read in
the fifth letter in the Apocalypse how the people of the fifth cultural
epoch are those who truly take into themselves what will later be
self-evident for the cultural epoch of the community of Philadelphia.
The wisdom of the fifth cultural age will blossom forth as a flower of
love in the sixth cultural age.
Humankind is called today
to take in something new, something divine, and thereby to undertake
again an ascent into the spiritual world. The theosophical teaching
concerning evolution is imparted; it should not be believed but rather
humankind should come to the point of understanding it through its own
power of judgment. It is proclaimed to those who bear within themselves
a seed of the essence of Parzival. And it is not proclaimed only to
a particular people or place. Those who hear the call of spiritual wisdom
will come together from all parts of humanity.
Compare the lectures found in
The Principle of Spiritual Economy
(GA 109) (Fludson, N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1986).
Melchizedek: Compare, among others, the
lecture of September 4, 1910 in
The Gospel of St. Matthew
(GA 123) (Hudson, N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1965).
The great Irish missionaries.
Compare the descriptions found in the lecture
“More Intimate Aspects of Reincarnation” in The
Principle of Spiritual Economy
Compare lecture cycle
Christ and the Spiritual World and the Search for the Holy Grail
(London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963) and Chretien de Troyes, Perceval,
or the History of the Grail.