Berlin, 23rd May 1904
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes by Franz Seiler and curtailed
shorthand notes by Walter Vegelahn.
It was to be expected ...
The lecture had probably been announced at short notice, as Rudolf
Steiner had only just returned from a visit to London.
Mrs Besant will be visiting us here ...
Annie Besant, 1847–1933, President of the Theosophical Society
from 1907, spoke once before in Berlin on the occasion of the founding
of the German Section in October 1902. In September 1904, she went on
a lecture tour of several German cities at the invitation of Rudolf
Steiner. Her lectures, which were held in English, were reported by
him in German.
The next two public lectures ...
These two public lectures of 30th May and 6th June 1904:
‘History of Spiritism, Hypnotism and Somnabulism,’
were only exceptionally held on Mondays, otherwise Monday evenings
were regularly taken up with Members' lectures.
On the coming Thursdays ...
Three lectures, 26th
May, 2nd and 9th June 1904 (not translated).
lectures on the rudiments of theosophy.
These lectures had been announced for April, but were not held
until the autumn of 1904 (not translated).
a single manuscript copy ...
This was made public in H.P. Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
(1888) Book 2, page 239. There it says: ‘Now the Vatican MSS.
of the Kabala — a single copy of which (in Europe) is said to
have been in the possession of Count St. Germain, contains the most
complete exposition of the doctrine ...’
or has been able to read it in the Astral Light.
Dr. Steiner here refers to Blavatsky's ability, known to his audience,
whereby she was able to read rare manuscripts in the Astral Light, as
is described by Constance Wachtmeister, among others, in
Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine, 1893.
the Count of St. Germain,
One of the most enigmatic and controversial personalities of the
eighteenth century. His birth date and the date of his death, as
well as his true name cannot be established with any certainty.
According to a lecture given by Rudolf Steiner in Neuchatel on 27th
(translated in Anthroposophical Quarterly, winter, 1960),
the name does not only refer to one personality, but to others too.
In the true bearer of this name lives the individuality of Christian
Rosenkreutz. See also lecture 5 given on 4th November 1904, which is
included in this volume and the notes thereto.
my Atlantis lectures ...
This refers to lectures given in January 1904, of which, however,
there are no notes.
To find our bearings,
The notes of Vegelahn express
this in the following way: ‘To find our bearings, we must get a
little insight into two currents of the present day which are hidden
in the souls of men of the fifth Root Race and are often in conflict
with one another. The one current is best represented in the Indian
and South European confessions and also in the outlook on life of the
Jewish peoples and the Babylonians — and the other is contained in
the confessions and outlook of the Persians, westward of Persia to
the regions of the Teutons.’
Of these two currents ...
outlook on life of the peoples of the Southern Zone ...
basic tendency of the Northern peoples.
The East in the Light of the West,
fifth lecture, Munich, 27th August 1909.
The Indian name for the gods of Devachan, the heavenly world.
Indian — Suras = gods (from Asu = breath) became non-gods =
A-suras. In the old Oriental religions and also later by Rudolf Steiner
used as the name for satanic beings. In connection with this lecture,
however, it is used in the sense of Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
Book 2, (‘On the Myth of the Fallen Angel, in its various
aspects’) p.500. ‘Esoterically, the
Asuras, transformed subsequently into evil spirits and lower gods,
who are eternally at war with the great deities — are the gods of
the Secret Wisdom. In the oldest portions of the Rig Veda, they are the
spiritual and the divine, the term Asura being used for the Supreme
Spirit and being the same as the great Ahura of the Zoroastrians.
There was a time when the gods Indra, Angi, and Varuna themselves
belonged to the Asuras.’ Only in Atlantean times, at the transition
from Lemuria to Atlantis, were these originally high gods transformed
notes of a hitherto unpublished lecture by Rudolf Steiner, given in
Berlin, 17th October 1904, the following is said: ‘If we wish to
understand the point of view of spiritual evolution we must be clear
about an important event of the Atlantean epoch. Those beings which
had originally been spiritual, now appeared as revolutionaries
striving for independence. Suras now became Asuras. Until this time
they had taken no part in evolution. They are those powers which,
just as in our day, represent the intellectual and spiritual side of
human nature. This side of Lucifer's nature is that which also stood
for Christianity during the first centuries. There are two documents
referring to that, one is in the Vatican and a copy of it is in the
possession of the most thoroughly initiated Christian of the western
world: The Count of St. Germain.’
We learn particulars about it ...
It is to be noted that the text of the paragraph beginning with these
words is defective. See in this respect Blavatsky's The
‘The History of the Fourth Race,’
also lecture by Dr. Steiner, Dornach,
18th January 1920
(not yet translated) [Yes it is!], in which
the date of the cessation of physical incarnation is given as 6th.
‘The Sons of God saw the daughters of men’ ...
Genesis 6, 1–2.
See also Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
Book 2, Part 2,
‘On the Myth of the Fallen Angel, in its various aspects.’
In the story of Noah from
The Golden Legend
by Jacobus de Voragine it says of this event:
‘... this time men began to multiply on the earth, and the children
of God, that is to say, of Seth ... saw the daughters of men, that is to
say, of Cain, and were overcome by concupiscence and took them to their
the saga of Prometheus.
This is also linked by Rudolf Steiner to Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
‘In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.’
‘dying and becoming’ ...
‘Und so lang du das nicht hast,
Concluding verse of a poem by Goethe called
Selige Sehnsucht (‘Holy Longing’).
Dieses: Stirb und werde!
Bist du nur ein triiber Gast
Auf der dunklen Erde.
‘And there are three that bear witness in earth,’
First Epistle of John, v. 7. Rudolf Steiner had already explained this
passage from the Epistle in detail in his lecture on 29th April 1904.
According to that, the present-day materialistic concepts of blood
and water must not be applied here. When it is said: ‘There are
three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy
Ghost: and these three are one.’
means in theosophical terminology: Atma, Buddhi, Manas, the three
higher principles. And when it is said later on: ‘And there
are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and
the blood,’ it means the three lower principles, the three soul
attributes. The astral body, as well as the blood, (not our physical
blood), are the lowest parts of the soul. Jewish esotericism believes
that movement of the blood is caused by the astral body and that is
correct. All influences which do not directly pass through the soul,
but still have an effect on the body are called the ‘blood’
in Jewish esoteric teaching. It is the active principle, the motivator.
We call only the red liquid which flows through the body
‘blood.’ By water is signified ‘Kama’ in every
occult language — feelings, emotions, passions, etc: ‘And
now I shall tell you why this is called water. You must get acquainted
with the concept that humanity today has grown accustomed to visualising
everything in a much more materialistic way than he did formerly. If
you picture to yourself an old cabbalist, he did not regard water as
just a flowing element, but as an image and he arrived at that in the
following way. He said to himself; the water is inhabited by those
animals which we reckon as the most primitive. Animals evolved originally
out of the liquid element: sea animals, jellyfish, amphibians. These
then came out of the water onto the land. It was only out of water that
emotions and feelings came about ... We distinguish the lower part of
the soul, which stirs the blood and makes it pulsate and causes pleasure
and dislike and all such other painful experiences. And that he calls
water because from water is derived that element of soul. And then we
have the thinking part of the soul which is Spirit.’
hidden manuscripts ...
See note 6.
the great masters ... the founders of our spiritual
movement — not our society.’ ...
Rudolf Steiner expressed himself in a similar way on the
2nd January 1905, in a letter to a Member who was about to be
accepted into the Esoteric School: ‘You know that behind the whole
theosophical movement there are highly evolved beings whom we call
“Masters” or “Mahatmas”. These sublime beings
have already completed the path which the rest of humanity still has
to tread. They are now active as the great “Teachers of Wisdom
and of the Harmony of Human Perception”. They are already
engaged in work on higher planes to which the rest of mankind will
evolve during the course of the next periods of development
(so-called “Rounds”). They do their work on the physical
plane through their “messengers”, the first of whom was
H.P. Blavatsky — I mean the first as regards the theosophical
movement. The Masters never found an outer Organisation of society,
nor would they administer one. The Theosophical Society was formed by
its founder Members. (H.P. Blavatsky, Olcott and others) in order to
promote the work of the Masters on the physical plane, but these
Masters themselves have never exerted any influence on the Society as
such. It is in its whole character and leadership purely and simply
the work of men living on the earth.’ See in this context also
lecture 16, given on 22nd October 1905 (contained in this volume).
Berlin, 10th June 1904
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes by Franz Seiler and Walter Vegelahn
and short notes in longhand by Marie Steiner von Sivers.
I mentioned already ...
At the end of his lecture given on 27th May 1904 with the words:
‘Next time I shall deal with one of the most important legends,
which is one you have often heard, but whose inner meaning is so
profound that there is hardly anything to match it: the legend of
Cain and Abel.’
an allegory for very profound mysteries
See in this connection: Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
Book 2, ‘The Divine Hermaphrodite.’ p.124, but also
Rudolf Steiner's later cycle:
The Effects of Occult Development Upon the Sheaths of Man,
ten lectures given in the Hague, 20th–29th March 1913
(London and New York, 1945).
Apocryphal Book of the Old Testament.
Take the first sentence from the fifth chapter of Genesis:
This is a free rendering by Rudolf Steiner of the words of the Old
Testament. Instead of ‘male and female created he them,’
Rudolf Steiner substituted: ‘male-female created he him,’
with subsequent corrections of ‘them,’ ‘their,’
etc., into ‘him,’ ‘his,’ etc. On later
occasions, Rudolf Steiner often stressed the fact that this first
creation of man was a male-female creation. Compare also:
Egyptian Myths and Mysteries,
eighth lecture and
Genesis, Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation,
Abel is the same as ‘pneuma’ in Greek,
See in this connection Rudolf Steiner's
The Gospel of St. Matthew,
The brain became male,
This passage appears to have been imperfectly preserved. One can
compare it with passages from lectures 17, 18, 19 and 20, given on
23rd October 1905, and 2nd January 1906, in the present volume.
It was a sin when ‘The Sons of God’ ...
See note 15 of the previous lecture.
From this union resulted a race of men ...
Genesis 6, 4.
‘There were giants in the earth in those days;
and also after that, when the Sons of God came in unto the daughters
of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men,
which were of old, men of renown.’
It is called ‘Rakshasas’ in occult language ...
According to H.P. Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
there are many explanations for this race of the Rakshasas in Oriental
esoteric philosophy. See, for instance:
The Secret Doctrine,
Book 2, p. 288, where it speaks of ‘Rakshasas’
(giant demons) and Daityas (Titans).
A German translation of
The Transcendental Universe,
which was among the books in Rudolf Steiner's library, may have been
used by him in preparing this lecture. In the fifth lecture of the
above it speaks of: ‘These semi-human creatures, the progeny of
the fallen angels, are known in the Hindu Scriptures as the
“Asuras” and are sometimes called “Rakshasas”
or demons.’ This makes it plain that, in lecture 2 held on 10th
June 1904, Rudolf Steiner conferred a different meaning on the term
‘Asuras’ to the one he had in mind when he lectured on
23rd May 1904 (lecture 1).
It is not for nothing that the Bible expresses it thus:
An account of Christ's entry into Hell can be read in the
Apocryphal Book of ‘The Acts of Pilate.’
The Rakshasa beings were brought thereby into a state
of paralysis and lethargy.
This passage appears in the notes of Marie Steiner von Sivers in the
following form: ‘The Rakshasas
were brought into a state of paralysis because they were being
opposed from two sides: by the old Chela, who was deeply connected
with the physical plane and by a purely spiritual being, the Christ.
Their power was thus paralysed from two sides. Something cosmic was
effected. This tension, this bottled-up energy, had to be prevented
from becoming effective energy. That is the Christ principle in
action against the Antichrist.’
Harrison has the following to say on this subject in the
aforementioned book: ‘The Asuras are igneous, or dynamic, in their
nature, and their power for evil was terrific. It was destroyed for
ever by the advent of Jesus Christ, and they are now, as St. Jude
puts it, “reserved in everlasting chains until the judgment of
the great day.” (St. Jude evidently derived his knowledge of
the subject from the “Book of Enoch”.) Stated in
scientific terms, they are held in check, unable to move backwards or
forwards, between the earth and the Eighth Sphere at the point of
latency, where the attraction of both is equal on all planes, until
the “great day” or axidal coincidence, when they will be
drawn irresistibly into the vortex of the latter. This text in St.
Jude has been unfortunately misunderstood, and supposed to apply to
Lucifer and the first fall of the angels; hence the Miltonic and
Actually Michel de Notre Dame (1503–1566).
French astronomer and medical doctor. Famous on account of his
written in French verse.
1755–1793: daughter of the Empress of Austria, Maria Theresa;
became Queen of France in 1774 and ended her life on the scaffold,
not heeding the warning of the Count of St. Germain.
You know that Jesus Christ remained on the earth for ten
years after his death.
Rudolf Steiner assumed that his audience was familiar
with the work of the English theosophist, G.R.S. Mead
Pistis Sophia, A Gnostic Gospel,
London, 1896, which begins with the words:
‘It came to pass, when Jesus had risen from the dead, that he
passed eleven years speaking with his disciples ...’
The title of a work assumed to be the same as
The Apocalypse of Sophia,
composed by Velentius, the most learned doctor of the Gnosis who lived
for thirty years in Egypt in the latter half of the second century.
The only MS of the
Pistis Sophia known to exist is the Askew manuscript, bought
by the British Museum from the heirs of Dr. Askew at the end of the
Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism.
Published in 1883. See also,
The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and its Relation to Modern Culture.
‘Nifelheim’ or ‘Ymir the Giant’
Refer to notes for lecture 3 given on 30th September 1904, (included
in this volume) and also the first and thirty-first lectures in
Foundations of Esotericism,
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982.
because it was the intention to involve man thoroughly in
See twenty-third lecture in
Foundations of Esotericism,
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982.
Berlin, 30th September 1904
Source for the text.
The only source for this lecture was the short notes
of Marie Steiner von Sivers. Sentences enclosed in square brackets
are the amendments of the editor, where the text seemed
Further source material has been
appended below, gleaned from the writings of Charles William
Heckethorn on the subject of the Druids and the Scandinavian
Mysteries. A copy of Heckethorn's book in German translation was in
Rudolf Steiner's private library, and from marginal notes in Rudolf
Steiner's handwriting it appears to have been used by him in
connection with this lecture and other lectures included in this
volume. (Charles William Heckethorn
Geheime Gesellschaften, Geheimbünde und Geheimlehren,
Leipzig, 1900. Original English edition:
The Secret Societies of all Ages and Countries,
Charles William Heckethorn
The Secret Societies of all Ages and Countries
Chapter VIII. The Druids.
The Druids, the Magi of the West.
The secret doctrines of the Druids were much the same
as those of the Gymnosophists and Brahmins of India, the Magi of
Persia, the priests of Egypt, and of all other priests of antiquity.
Like them they had two sets of religious doctrines, exoteric and
esoteric. Their rites were practised in Britain and Gaul, though they
were brought to a much greater perfection in the former country,
where the Isle of Anglesey was considered their chief seat. The word
Druid is generally supposed to be derived from “an oak,”
which tree was particularly sacred among them, though its etymology
may also be found in the Gaelic word Druidh, “a wise man”
Their temples, wherein the sacred fire was preserved,
were generally situate on eminences and in dense groves of oaks, and
assumed various forms — circular, because a circle was an emblem of
the universe; oval, in allusion to the mundane egg, from which,
according to the traditions of many nations, the universe, or
according to others, our first parents, issued; serpentine, because a
serpent was the symbol of Hu, the Druidic Osiris; cruciform, because
a cross is an emblem of regeneration; or winged, to represent the
motion of the divine spirit. Their only canopy was the sky, and they
were constructed of unhewn stones, their numbers having reference to
astronomical calculations. In the centre was placed a stone of larger
dimensions than the others, and worshipped as the representative of
the Deity. The three principal temples of this description in Britain
were undoubtedly those of Stonehenge and Avebury in the south, and
that of Shap in Cumbria. Where stone was scarce, rude banks of earth
were substituted, and the temple was formed of a high vallum and
ditch. The most Herculean labours were performed in their
construction; Stukeley says that it would cost, at the present time,
£20,000 to throw up such a mound as Silbury Hill.
Places of Initiation.
The adytum or ark of the mysteries was called a
cromlech, and was used as the sacred pastos, or place of
regeneration. It consisted of three upright stones, as supporters of
a broad, flat stone laid across them on the top, so as to form a
small cell. Kit Cotey's House, in Kent, was such a pastos.
Considerable space, however, was necessary for the machinery of
initiation in its largest and most comprehensive scale. Therefore,
the Coer Sidi, where the mysteries of Druidism were performed,
consisted of a range of buildings, adjoining the temple, containing
apartments of all sizes, cells, vaults, baths, and long and artfully
contrived passages, with all the apparatus of terror used on these
occasions. Most frequently these places were subterranean; and many
of the caverns in this country were the scenes of Druidical
initiation. The stupendous grotto at Castleton, in Derbyshire [Peak
Cavern], called by Stukeley the Stygian Cave, as well as the
“Giants Caves” between Luckington and Badminton [in
Wilts.], certainly were used for this purpose.
The system of Druidism embraced every religious and
philosophical pursuit then known in these islands. The rites bore an
undoubted reference to astronomical facts. Their chief deities are
reducible to two, — a male and a female, the great father and mother,
Hu and Ceridwen, distinguished by the same characteristics as
belonged to Osiris and Isis, Bacchus and Ceres, or any other supreme
god and goddess representing the two principles of all being. The
grand periods of initiation were quarterly, and determined by the
course of the sun, and his arrival at the equinoctial and solstitial
points. But the time of annual celebration was May-eve, when fires
were kindled on all the cairns and cromlechs throughout the island,
which burned all night to introduce the sports of May-day, whence all
the national sports formerly or still practised date their origin.
Round these fires choral dances were performed in honour of the sun,
who, at this season was figuratively said to rise from his tomb. The
festival was licentious, and continued till the luminary had attained
his meridian height, when priests and attendants retired to the
woods, where the most disgraceful orgies were perpetrated. But the
solemn initiations were performed at midnight, and contained three
degrees, the first or lowest being the Eubates, the second the Bards,
and the third the Druids. The candidate was first placed in the
pastos bed, or coffin, where his symbolical death represented the
death of Hu, or the sun; and his restoration in the third degree
symbolized the resurrection of the sun. He had to undergo trials and
tests of courage similar to those practised in the mysteries of other
countries, and which therefore need not be detailed here.
The festival of the 25th of December was celebrated
with great fires lighted on the tops of the hills, to announce the
birth-day of the god Sol. This was the moment when, after the
supposed winter solstice, he began to increase, and gradually to
ascend. This festival indeed was kept not by the Druids only, but
throughout the ancient world, from India to Ultima Thule. The fires,
of course, were typical of the power and ardour of the sun, whilst
the evergreens used on the occasion foreshadowed the results of the
sun's renewed action on vegetation. The festival of the summer
solstice was kept on the 24th of June. Both days are still kept as
festivals in the Christian church, the former as Christmas, the
latter as St. John's Day; because the early Christians judiciously
adopted not only the festival days of the pagans, but also, so far as
this could be done with propriety, their mode of keeping them;
substituting, however, a theological meaning for astronomical
allusions. The use of evergreens in churches at Christmas time is the
Christian perpetuation of an ancient Druidic custom.
The Druids taught the doctrine of one supreme being, a
future state of rewards and punishments, the immortality of the soul
and a metempsychosis. It was a maxim with them that water was the
first principle of all things, and existed before the creation in
unsullied purity, which seems a contradiction to their other doctrine
that day was the offspring of night, because night or chaos was in
existence before day was created. They taught that time was only an
intercepted fragment of eternity, and that there was an endless
succession of worlds. In fact, their doctrines were chiefly those of
Pythagoras. They entertained great veneration for the numbers three,
seven, nineteen (the Metonic cycle), and one hundred and forty-seven,
produced by multiplying the square of seven by three. They also
practised vaticination [prophecy], pretending to predict future
events from the flights of birds, human sacrifices, by white horses,
the agitation of water, and lots. They seem, however, to have
possessed considerable scientific knowledge.
Political and Judicial Power.
Their authority in many cases exceeded that of the
monarch. They were, of course, the sole interpreters of religion, and
consequently superintended all sacrifices; for no private person was
allowed to offer a sacrifice without their sanction. They possessed
the power of excommunication, which was the most horrible punishment
that could be inflicted next to that of death, and from the effects
of which the highest magistrate was not exempt. The great council of
the realm was not competent to declare war or conclude peace without
their concurrence. They determined all disputes by a final and
unalterable decision, and had the power of inflicting the punishment
of death. And, indeed, their altars streamed with the blood of human
victims. Holocausts of men, women, and children, inclosed in
large towers of wicker-work, were sometimes sacrificed as a burnt
offering to their superstitions, which were, at the same time,
intended to enhance the consideration of the priests, who were an
ambitious race delighting in blood. The Druids, it is said, preferred
such as had been guilty of theft, robbery, or other crimes, as most
acceptable to their gods; but when there was a scarcity of criminals,
they made no scruple to supply their place with innocent persons.
These dreadful sacrifices were offered by the Druids, for the public,
on the eve of a dangerous war, or in the time of any national
calamity; and also for particular persons of high rank, when they
were afflicted with any dangerous disease.
The priestesses, clothed in white, and wearing a metal
girdle, foretold the future from the observation of natural
phenomena, but more especially from human sacrifices. For them was
reserved the frightful task of putting to death the prisoners taken
in war, and individuals condemned by the Druids; and their auguries
were drawn from the manner in which the blood issued from the many
wounds inflicted, and also from the smoking entrails. Many of these
priestesses maintained a perpetual virginity, others gave themselves
up to the most luxurious excesses. They dwelt on lonely rocks, beaten
by the waves of the ocean which the mariners looked upon as temples
surrounded with unspeakable prodigies. Thus the island of Sena or
Liambis, The Saints, near Ushant, was the residence of certain of
these priestesses, who delivered oracles to sailors; and there was no
power that was not attributed to them. Others, living near the mouth
of the Loire, once a year destroyed their temple, scattered its
materials, and, having collected others, built a new one — of course
a symbolical ceremony; and if one of the priestesses dropped any of
the sacred materials, the others fell upon her with fierce yells,
tore her to pieces, and scattered her bleeding limbs.
As the Romans gained ground in these islands the power
of the Druids gradually declined; and the were finally assailed by
Suetonius Paulinus, governor of Britain under Nero,
in their stronghold, the Isle of Anglesey, and entirely defeated, the
conqueror consuming many of them in the fires which they had kindled
for burning the Roman prisoners they had expected to make — a very
just retaliation upon these sanguinary priests. But though their
dominion was thus destroyed, many of their religious practices
continued much longer; and so late as the eleventh century, in the
reign of Canute, it was necessary to forbid the people to worship the
sun, moon, fires, etc. Certainly many of the practices of the Druids
are still adhered to in Freemasonry; and some writers on this Order
endeavour to show that it was established soon after the edict of
Canute, and that as thereby the Druidical worship was prohibited in
toto, the strongest oaths were required to bind the initiated to
Chapter IX. Scandinavian Mysteries
The priests of Scandinavia were named Drottes, and
instituted by Sigge, a Scythian prince, who is said afterwards to
have assumed the name of Odin. Their number was twelve, who were
alike priests and judges; and from this order proceeded the
establishment of British juries. Their power was extended to its
utmost limits, by being allowed a discretionary privilege of
determining on the choice of human victims for sacrifice, from which
even the monarch was not exempt — hence arose the necessity of
cultivating the goodwill of these sovereign pontiffs; and as this
order, like the Israelitish priesthood, was restricted to one family,
they became possessed of unbounded wealth, and at last became so
tyrannical as to be objects of terror to the whole community.
Christianity, promising to relieve it from this yoke, was hailed with
enthusiasm; and the inhabitants of Scandinavia, inspired with a
thirst for vengeance on account of accumulated and long-continued
suffering, retaliated with dreadful severity on their persecutors,
overthrowing the palaces and temples, the statues of their gods, and
all the paraphernalia of Gothic superstition. Of this nothing remains
but a few cromlechs; some stupendous monuments of rough stone, which
human fury could not destroy; certain ranges of caverns hewn out of
the solid rock; and some natural grottos used for the purpose of
The whole ritual had an astronomical bearing. The
places of initiation, as in other mysteries, were in caverns, natural
or artificial, and the candidate had to undergo trials as frightful
as the priests could render them. But instead of having to pass
through seven caves or passages, as in the Mithraic and other
mysteries, he descended through nine — the square of the mystic
number three — subterranean passages, and he was instructed to search
for the body of Baldur, the Scandinavian Osiris, slain by Loki, the
principle of darkness, and to use his utmost endeavours to raise him
to life. To enter into particulars of the process of initiation would
involve the repetition of what has been said before; it may therefore
suffice to observe that the candidate on arriving at the sacellum had
a solemn oath administered to him on a naked sword, and ratified it
by drinking mead out of a human skull. The sacred sign of the cross
was impressed upon him, and a ring of magic virtues, the gift of
Baldur the Good, delivered to him.
Astronomical Meaning Demonstrated.
The first canto of the Edda, which apparently contains
a description of the ceremonies performed on the initiation of an
aspirant, says that he seeks to know the sciences possessed by the
Aesas or gods. He discovers a palace, whose roof of boundless
dimensions is covered with golden shields. He encounters a man
engaged in launching upwards seven flowers. Here we easily discover
the astronomical meaning: the palace is the world, the roof the sky;
the golden shields are the stars, the seven flowers the seven
planets. The candidate is asked what is his name, and replies
Gangler, that is, the wanderer, he that performs a revolution,
distributing necessaries to mankind; for the candidate personates the
sun. The palace is that of the king, the epithet the ancient
Mystagogues gave to the head of the planetary system. Then he
discovers three seats; on the lowest is the king called Har, sublime;
on the central one, Jafuhar, the equal of the sublime; on the highest
Tredie, the number three. These personages are those the neophyte
beheld in the Eleusinian initiation, the hierophant, the daduchus or
torchbearer, and the epibomite or attendant on the altar; those he
sees in Freemasonry, the master, and the senior and junior wardens,
symbolical personifications of the sun, moon, and Demiurgus, or grand
architect of the universe. But the Scandinavian triad is usually
represented by Odin, the chief deity; Thor, his first-born, the
reputed mediator between god and man, possessing unlimited power over
the universe, wherefore his head was surrounded by a circle of twelve
stars; and Freya, a hermaphrodite, adorned with a variety of symbols
significant of dominion over love and marriage. In the instructions
given to the neophyte, he is told that the greatest and most ancient
of gods is called Alfader (the father of all), and has twelve
epithets, which recall the twelve attributes of the sun, the twelve
constellations, the twelve superior gods of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Among the gods of the Scandinavian theogony there is Baldur the Good,
whose story, as already hinted above, formed the object of the
initiatory ceremonies. Baldur is Mithras, the sun's love. He foresees
the danger that threatens him; he dreams of it at night. The other
gods of Valhalla, the Scandinavian Olympus, to whom he reveals his
sad fore-bodings, reassure him, and to guard against any harm
befalling him, exact an oath from every thing in nature on his
behalf, except from the mistletoe, which was omitted on account of
its apparently inoffensive qualities. For an experiment, and in
sport, the gods cast at Baldur all kinds of missiles, without
wounding him. Hoder the blind [that is, Fate], takes no part in the
diversion; but Loki [the principle of evil, darkness, the season of
winter] places a sprig in the hands of Hoder, and persuades him to
cast it at the devoted victim, who falls pierced with mortal wounds.
For this reason it was that this plant was gathered at the winter
solstice by the Druids of Scandinavia, Gaul, and Britain, with a
curved knife, whose form symbolised the segment of the zodiacal
circle during which the murder of Baldur took place. In the Edda of
Snorro we have another legend of Odin and Freya, the Scandinavian
Isis or Venus, giving an account of the wanderings of the latter in
search of the former, which, of course, have the same astronomical
meaning as the search of Isis for Osiris, of Ceres for Proserpine,
etc. One of the chief festivals in the year, as with the Druids, was
the winter solstice; and this being the longest night in the year,
the Scandinavians assigned to it the formation of the world from
primeval darkness, and called it “Mother Night.” This
festival was denominated “Yule,” and was a season of
Berlin, 7th October 1904
Source for the text.
Shorthand report from Franz Seiler, together with
longhand notes by Marie Steiner von Sivers. Rudolf Steiner spoke
about the Prometheus saga on later occasions, e.g., in:
Egyptian Myths and Mysteries,
Anthroposophic Press, 1971 (tenth lecture),
Earthly and Cosmic Man,
Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co., 1948 (seventh lecture),
Things of the Past and Present in the Spirit of Man,
(sixth lecture), typescript,
Metamorphoses of the Soul,
Editor, M. Collison (first lecture).
Following the lecture on ‘Prometheus,’
Rudolf Steiner spoke about the ‘Argonaut Saga and the Odyssey,’
‘Siegfried,’ and the ‘Wars of Troy.’ These were
once translated with the present lecture in the typescript copy Z 331.
Friday lectures ...
During 1904 Rudolf Steiner not only
spoke at the regular Group Meetings, which took place on Mondays, but
occasionally also on Fridays to a very small circle which gathered in
the flat of Fraulein Klara Motzkus in the Schluterstrasse. The main
subject dealt with was the myths and sagas. We do not have reports
from all the lectures which were held there; at the most they are
very fragmentary notes. These lectures of 1904, except for lecture 1
of 23rd May 1904, were all held for this small circle of friends. The
May and June lectures of 1905 (lectures 11 to 14), and lecture 20 of
2nd January 1906, were held on the Mondays for the official Berlin
Group. The October lectures of 1905 (lectures 15 to 19) were held for
the General Meeting audience of the German Section.
The name ‘Manu’ comes from the Sanskrit root
‘man’ = ‘thinking.’ In Indian theosophical
terminology this denotes high spiritual beings, who have the task of
forming new cultures or epochs. For further details concerning the
Manu of the fifth epoch see Rudolf Steiner's
Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1971;
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969, and a lecture given in Heidelberg on
21st January 1909;
Some Aspects of Reincarnation and the Life After Death,
typescript copy Z 360.
The consciousness of the fact that man of the fifth
Root Race himself stood under the Fire Sign. ...
This is expressed in H.P. Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
Volume 3, ‘Esotericism,’
p. 330, in the following way: ‘Prometheus is a symbol and a
personification of the whole of mankind in relation to an event which
occurred during its childhood, — “Baptism by Fire” —
which is a mystery within the great Promethean Mystery, one that may
be at present mentioned only in its broad general features.’
as described by Scott-Elliot ...
The Story of Atlantis,
by W. Scott-Elliot, The Theosophical Publishing Society, London.
Cosmic Memory, Atlantis and Lemuria,
by Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner Publications.
our seven principles ...
These seven principles and the organs with which they are occultly
connected are enumerated as follows:
- Physical body — base of the nose.
- Etheric body — liver.
- Kama or Kama-Rupa (astral body) — digestive system, stomach.
- Kama-Manas (astral-ego) — umbilical cord.
- Higher Manas (Spirit Self) — heart and blood circulation.
- Buddhi (Life Spirit) — larynx.
- Atma (Spirit Man) — the Akasha.
Adam Cadmon ...
Man's Life on Earth and in the Spiritual Worlds,
second lecture, Oxford, 22nd August 1922.
[Here follow a few unclear sentences] ...
The unclear sentences are as follows:
‘Every saga undergoes change. It derives from the most ancient
tradition and undergoes change at a certain definite point. It is the
same in the case of every saga, even those which can again be taken
Lecture 5, Berlin, 4th November 1904
Source for the text.
Notes by Mathilde Scholl, together with longhand notes
by Marie Steiner von Sivers.
At the beginning of the fifteenth century ...
In the original notes this was given as fourteenth century. Rudolf
Steiner sometimes reckoned centuries as the Italians do (Quattrocento
= fifteenth century). In a handwritten document from 1907, however,
Rudolf Steiner writes: ‘In the first half of the fifteenth
century Christian Rosenkreutz. ...’ etc. (Letters and Documents
Christian Rosenkreutz is a personality of the fourteenth to fifteenth
centuries, not considered historical by modern investigators, who
became known through two legendary anonymous writings:
Fama Fratemitatis and Confessio Fraternitatis,
published in Cassel in 1614 and 1615 respectively, in which it is stated
that Christian Rosenkreutz was of German aristocratic descent and lived
from 1378 to 1484. The name first became known through an anonymous
handwritten document of 1604, which appeared in 1616 under the title:
Chymische Hochzeit: Christian Rosenkreutz, Anno 1459,
whose author, Johann Valentin
Andreae, was declared by Rudolf Steiner to have been inspired by
Christian Rosenkreutz himself. According to Rudolf Steiner, Christian
Rosenkreutz was a real historical personality.
A Commentary on the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz,
Michael Press, 1965.
Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz,
E. Foxcroft translation of 1690, Camphill Village Trust, 1969.
A Christian Rosenkreutz Anthology,
compiled and edited by Paul M. Allen, Rudolf Steiner Publications,
Blauvelt, New York, 1968.
The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz.
A Commentary by E.E. Pfeiffer, The Mercury Press.
it was embodied in a kind of myth.
It is worth noting that Rudolf Steiner here attributes the origin of
the Temple Legend to Christian Rosenkreutz in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, but he never mentions how it came to be transferred to the
Freemasons. Among Freemasons themselves its origin remains obscure.
It is generally accepted that it arose in the eighteenth century,
because that is the time of its first appearance in literature. Even
though it is suspected that it formed a part of masonic knowledge at
an earlier period, this cannot be proved from documents. For this
lecture, too, Rudolf Steiner seems to have made use of the account
given by Charles William Heckethorn in his
viz: Quotation from Vol. I. Book VIII, Ch. 1.
The Legend of the Temple
Ancestry of Hiram Abiff.
Solomon, having determined on the erection of the
Temple, collected artificers, divided them into companies, and put
them under the command of Adoniram or Hiram Abiff, the architect sent
to him by his friend and ally Hiram, King of Tyre. According to
mythical tradition, the ancestry of the builders of the mystical
temple was as follows: One of the Elohim, or primitive genii, married
Eve and had a son called Cain; whilst Jehovah or Adonai, another of
the Elohim, created Adam and united him with Eve to bring forth the
family of Abel, to whom were subjected the sons of Cain, as a
punishment for the transgression of Eve. Cain, though industriously
cultivating the soil, yet derived little produce from it, whilst Abel
leisurely tended his flocks. Adonai rejected the gifts and sacrifices
of Cain, and stirred up strife between the sons of the Elohim,
generated out of fire, and the sons formed out of the earth only.
Cain killed Abel, and Adonai pursuing his sons, subjected to the sons
of Abel the noble family that invented the arts and diffused science.
Enoch, a son of Cain, taught men to hew stories, construct edifices
and form civil societies. Irad and Mehujael, his son and grandson,
set boundaries to the waters and fashioned cedars into beams.
Methusael, another of his descendants, invented the sacred
characters, the books of Tau and the symbolic T, by which the workers
descended from the genii of fire recognised each other. Lamech, whose
prophecies are inexplicable to the profane, was the father of Jabal,
who first taught men how to dress camels' skins; of Jubal, who
discovered the harp; of Naamah, who discovered the arts of spinning
and weaving; of Tubal-Cain, who first constructed a furnace, worked
in metals, and dug subterranean caves in the mountains to save his
race during the deluge; but it perished nevertheless, and only
Tubal-Cain and his son, the sole survivors of the glorious and
gigantic family, came out alive. The wife of Ham, second son of Noah,
thought the son of Tubal-Cain handsomer than the sons of men, and he
became progenitor of Nimrod, who taught his brethren the art of
hunting, and founded Babylon. Adoniram, the descendant of Tubal-Cain,
seemed called by God to lead the militia of the free men, connecting
the sons of fire with the sons of thought, progress, and truth.
Hiram, Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba.
By Hiram was erected a marvelous building, the Temple
of Solomon. He raised the golden throne of Solomon, most beautifully
wrought, and built many other glorious edifices. But, melancholy
amidst all his greatness, he lived alone, understood and loved by
few, hated by many, and among others by Solomon, envious of his
genius and glory. Now the fame of the wisdom of Solomon spread to the
remotest ends of the earth; and Balkis, the Queen of Sheba, came to
Jerusalem, to greet the great king and behold the marvels of his
reign. She found Solomon seated on a throne of gilt cedar wood,
arrayed in cloth of gold, so that at first she seemed to behold a
statue of gold with hands of ivory. Solomon received her with every
kind of festive preparation, and led her to behold his palace and
then the grand works of the temple; and the queen was lost in
admiration. The king was captivated by her beauty, and in a short
time offered her his hand, which the queen, pleased at having
conquered this proud heart, accepted. But on again visiting the
temple, she repeatedly desired to see the architect who had wrought
such wondrous things. Solomon delayed as long as possible presenting
Hiram Abiff to the queen, but at last he was obliged to do so. The
mysterious artificer was brought before her, and cast on the queen a
look that penetrated her very heart. Having recovered her composure,
she questioned and defended him against the ill will and rising
jealousy of the king. When she wished to see the countless host of
workmen that wrought at the temple, Solomon protested the
impossibility of assembling them all at once; but Hiram, leaping on a
stone to be better seen, with his right hand described in the air the
symbolical Tau, and immediately the men hastened from all parts of
the works into the presence of their master; at this the queen
wondered greatly, and secretly repented of the promise she had given
the king, for she felt herself in love with the mighty architect.
Solomon set himself to destroy this affection, and to prepare his
rival's humiliation and ruin. For this purpose, he employed three
fellow-craftsmen, envious of -Hiram, because he had refused to raise
them to the degree of masters, on account of their want of knowledge
and their idleness. They were Fanor, a Syrian and a mason; Amru, a
Phoenician and a carpenter; and Metusael, a Hebrew and a miner. The
black envy of these three projected that the casting of the brazen
sea, which was to raise the glory of Hiram to its utmost height,
should turn out a failure. A young workman, Benoni, discovered the
plot and revealed it to Solomon, thinking that sufficient. The day
for the casting arrived, and Balkis was present. The doors that
restrained the molten metal were opened, and torrents of liquid
poured into the vast mould wherein the brazen sea was to assume its
form. But the burning mass ran over the edges of the mould, and
flowed like lava over the adjacent places. The terrified crowd fled
from the advancing stream of fire. Hiram, calm, like a god,
endeavoured to arrest its advance with ponderous columns of water,
but without success. The water and the fire mixed, and the struggle
was terrible; the water rose in dense steam and fell down in the
shape of fiery rain, spreading terror and death. The dishonoured
artificer needed the sympathy of a faithful heart; he sought Benoni,
but in vain; the proud youth perished in endeavouring to prevent the
horrible catastrophe when he found that Solomon had done nothing to
Hiram could not withdraw himself from the scene of his
discomfiture. Oppressed with grief, he heeded not the danger, he
remembered not that this ocean of fire might speedily engulph him; he
thought of the Queen of Sheba, who came to admire and congratulate
him on a great triumph, and who saw nothing but a terrible disaster.
Suddenly he heard a strange voice coming from above, and crying,
“Hiram, Hiram, Hiram!” He raised his eyes and beheld a
gigantic human figure. The apparition continued: “Come, my son,
be without fear, I have rendered thee incombustible; cast thyself
into the flames.” Hiram threw himself into the furnace, and
where others would have found death, he tasted ineffable delights;
nor could he, drawn by an irresistible force, leave it, and asked him
that drew him into the abyss: “Whither do you take me?”
“Into the centre of the earth, into the soul of the world, into
the kingdom of great Cain, where liberty reigns with him. There the
tyrannous envy of Adonai ceases; there can we, despising his anger,
taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge; there is the home of thy
fathers.” “Who then am I, and who art thou?”
“I am the father of thy fathers, I am the son of Lamech, I am
Tubal-Cain introduced Hiram into the sanctuary of
fire, where he expounded to him the weakness of Adonai and the base
passions of that god, the enemy of his own creature whom he condemned
to the inexorable law of death, to avenge the benefits the genii of
fire had bestowed on him. Hiram was led into the presence of the
author of his race, Cain. The angel of light that begat Cain was
reflected in the beauty of this son of love, whose noble and generous
mind roused the envy of Adonai. Cain related to Hiram his
experiences, sufferings, and misfortunes, brought upon him by the
implacable Adonai. Presently he heard the voice of him who was the
offspring of Tubal-Cain and his sister Naamah: “A son shall be
born unto thee whom thou shalt indeed not see, but whose numerous
descendants shall perpetuate thy race, which, superior to that of
Adam, shall acquire the empire of the world; for many centuries they
shall consecrate their courage and genius to the service of the ever
ungrateful race of Adam, but at last the best shall become the
strongest, and restore on the earth the worship of fire. Thy sons,
invincible in thy name, shall destroy the power of kings, the
ministers of the Adonai's tyranny. Go, my son, the genii of fire are
with thee!” Hiram was restored to the earth. Tubal-Cain before
quitting him gave him the hammer with which he himself had wrought
great things, and said to him: “Thanks to this hammer and the
help of the genii of fire, thou shalt speedily accomplish the work
left unfinished through man's stupidity and malignity.” Hiram
did not hesitate to test the wonderful efficacy of the precious
instrument, and the dawn saw the great mass of bronze cast. The
artist felt the most lively joy, the queen exulted. The people came
running up, astounded at this secret power which in one night had
One day the queen, accompanied by her maids, went
beyond Jerusalem, and there encountered Hiram, alone and thoughtful.
The encounter was decisive, they mutually confessed their love.
Had-Had, the bird who filled with the queen the office of messenger
of the genii of fire, seeing Hiram in the air make the sign of the
mystic T, flew around his head and settled on his wrist. At this
Sarahil, the nurse of the queen, exclaimed: “The oracle is
fulfilled. Had-Had recognises the husband which the genii of fire
destined for Balkis, whose love alone she dare accept!” They
hesitated no longer, but mutually pledged their vows, and deliberated
how Balkis could retract the promise given to the king. Hiram was to
be the first to quit Jerusalem; the queen, impatient to rejoin him in
Arabia, was to elude the vigilance of the king, which she
accomplished by withdrawing from his finger, while he was overcome
with wine, the ring wherewith she had plighted her troth to him.
Solomon hinted to the fellow-craftsmen that the removal of his rival,
who refused to give them the master's word, would be acceptable unto
himself; so when the architect came into the temple he was assailed
and slain by them. Before his death, however, he had time to throw
the golden triangle which he wore round his neck, and on which was
engraven the master's word, into a deep well. They wrapped up his
body, carried it to a solitary hill and buried it, planting over the
grave a sprig of acacia.
Hiram not having made his appearance for seven days,
Solomon, against his inclination, but to satisfy the clamour of the
people, was forced to have him searched for. The body was found by
three masters, and they, suspecting that he had been slain by the
three fellow-craftsmen for refusing them the master's word,
determined nevertheless for greater security to change the word, and
that the first word accidentally uttered on raising the body should
thenceforth be the word. In the act of raising it, the skin came off
the body, so that one of the masters exclaimed
“Macbenach!” (the flesh is off the bones!) and this word
became the sacred word of the master's degree. The three
fellow-craftsmen were traced, but rather than fall into the hands of
their pursuers, they committed suicide and their heads were brought
to Solomon. The triangle not having been found on the body of Hiram
it was sought for and at last discovered in the well into which the
architect had cast it. The king caused it to be placed on a
triangular altar erected in a secret vault, built under the most
retired part of the temple. The triangle was further concealed by a
cubical stone, on which had been inscribed the sacred law. The vault,
the existence of which was only known to the twenty-seven elect, was
then walled up.
Before the outbreak of the French Revolution a
personality appeared to Madame d’Adhemar,
The historical basis for this lies in the work of the writer,
Etienne-Leon, Baron de Lamothe-Langon, who published the
Souvenirs sur Marie-Antoinette, Archiduchesse d’Autriche,
Reine de France, et sur la cour de Versailles par Madame la Comtesse
d’Adhemar, Dame du Palais,
Paris, 1836. About fifty years later these memoirs were
rescued from oblivion by H.P. Blavatsky and her friends. One of the very
rare copies of these memoirs was to be found in the library of H.P.
Blavatsky's aunt who lived in Odessa. Henry Steel Olcott, who founded
the Theosophical Society with Blavatsky in 1875, wrote in his
Old Diary Leaves — the true story of the Theosophical Society,
1895, Vol. 1, p. 24: ‘If Mme. de Fadeef — H.P.B.'s aunt could
only be induced to translate and publish certain documents in her famous
library, the world would have a nearer approach to a true history of the
pre-revolutionary European mission of this Eastern Adept than has
until now been available.’
English theosophist, Isabel Cooper-Oakley, published all the parts of the
Souvenirs de Madame d’AdhemarThe Comte of Saint Germain — The Secret of Kings,
Milan, 1912. (See also note II to lecture 9 of 16th December 1904).
the Count of St. Germain,
The spiritual identity of Christian Rosenkreutz and the Count of
Saint Germain is a result of Rudolf Steiner's own investigations.
See also the lecture of 27th September 1911, translated in the
Anthroposophical Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 4, (winter, 1960).
‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap
Quotation from Hosea 8, verse 7. See also note 7 to lecture 9 of
16th December 1904.
the Cross of the World Body.
See note 10 to lecture 12 of 22nd May 1905.
only exists secretly.
The German rendering is: exists only in between [?] (dazwischen).
The sense is somewhat obscure.
Berlin, 11th November 1904
Source for the text.
Re-checked shorthand notes by Franz Seiler; notes by Mathilde Scholl;
longhand notes by Marie Steiner von Sivers.
About the text
All sources concur that we are here dealing with a
shortened version of this lecture. The conclusion especially is
preserved in only a very fragmentary fashion. In a handwritten copy
of the notes of Mathilde Scholl there is a marginal reference to the
fact that the contents of this lecture were later included in the
third degree of the section dealing with cult and symbolism of the
Esoteric School. The main value that these notes have for us today is
that they form the only full account of Manicheism in the whole of
Rudolf Steiner's work. As literary source material Rudolf Steiner
made use of the work of Eugen Heinrich Schmitt:
Die Gnosis — Grundlagen der Weltanschauung einer edleren Kultur,
Vol. 1, Leipzig, 1903, a book which Rudolf Steiner had in his private
library and which he had commended in his periodical:
(see note 2). In the chapter of this work dealing with Manicheism the
extracts which Rudolf Steiner used for his lecture were marked by him.
This lecture was held in the same year when the first fragments of the
original Manichean manuscripts from Turfan were published.
the problem of Faust
Goethe's Standard of the Soul,
Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1925;
Goethe's Secret Revelation and the Riddle of Faust,
Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1933;
The Problem of Faust,
(R. 55) — especially lecture of 3rd November 1917.
the first number of ‘Luzifer.’
The first number of Rudolf Steiner's Luzifer, a periodical concerned
with soul life, spiritual development and theosophy, with its opening
article on Luzifer, appeared in June 1903.
The famous Church Father (354–430 A.D.)
was, according to his own confession, a disciple of Manicheism
for nearly nine years until his ‘conversion.’ See lecture of
Festivals of the Seasons.
a person who called himself Mani ...
Originally Mani is said to have been called ‘Corbicius.’
‘Mani’ was the name which he gave himself and, according
to Schmitt (see note concerning the text), this has the significance:
‘an Aeon of the Mandeans: Mana raba, which is as much as to say:
the promised Comforter, the Paraclete.’ The date of Mani's life
is usually considered to be 215/16–276/7
The Albigenses, Waldenses and Cathars ...
According to Charles William Heckethorn (see note to lecture 3 of
30th September 1904): ‘The sect of the Albigenses, the offspring of
Manicheism, fructified in its turn the germs of the Templars and
Rosicrucians, and of all those associations that continued the
struggle and fought against ecclesiastical and civil oppression.’ The
relationship between Manicheism and Freemasonry is expressed thus by
Heckethorn: ‘Masons in this degree call themselves the
“children of the widow”, the sun on descending into his
tomb leaving nature — of which Masons consider themselves the pupils
— a widow; but the appellation may also have its origin in the
Manichean sect, whose followers were known as the “sons of the
to Joseph Schauberg in his book
(Vergleichendes Handbuch der Symbolik der Freimaurerei mit
besonderer Rucksicht auf die Mythologien und Mysterien des Altertums)
on the symbolism of Freemasonry, a copy of
which was in Rudolf Steiner's library: ‘... nearly all Freemasonry
symbols show that the Masons of old believed in and dedicated their
service to a worship of the light after the manner of the Oriental
sects of the Parsecs, Sabaeans, perhaps also of the Manicheans.’
the Knights Templar, of whom we shall speak separately,
There is no evidence to show when this could have taken place in this
context. See also sixth lecture (25th September 1916) in
Inner Impulses working in the Evolution of Mankind,
(R. 45), and lecture of 2nd October 1916 (Z 425).
Freemasonry really belongs to this stream, though it is connected
with others, for instance with Rosicrucianism.
The origin of Freemasonry and its connection with Rosicrucianism
is a much debated and unsolved theme, even in the literature of
Freemasonry itself, whereas it has hardly even been touched on in
serious historical studies. A first attempt in this direction, if
exclusively from a rational and a spiritual point of view, is the
work of Frances A. Yates:
The Rosicrucian Enlightenment.
What outer history has to say about Mani is very simple.
At this point the contents of Rudolf Steiner's lecture seem
to have been very inadequately reported. He based what he had to say
on a legend which he later repeated in a lecture for members
(according to notes lacking date or indication of locality). In the
aforementioned notes the literal transcript is as follows: ‘Mani, or
Manes, the founder of Manicheism appeared in the third century
in Babylon. An unusual legend has the following to say about him:
Skythianos and Terebinthus, or Buddha, were his predecessors. The
latter was the pupil of the former. After the violent death of
Skythianos, Terebinthus fled with the books to Babylon. He also
suffered misfortune; the only one to accept his teachings was an
elderly widow. She inherited his books and left them, at her death,
to her foster child, a twelve year old boy whom she had adopted out
of slavery when he was seven years old. The latter, who might also be
called a “Son of the Widow”, came to public notice at the
age of 24 as Manes, the founder of Manicheism.’
legend is dealt with at length and with full references as to source
in the work of D. Schwolsohn:
Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus,
Petersburg and Leipzig, 1856. (The detailed source references are not
quoted in what follows):
it has been established that Manicheism has been derived from
Mandaism, we shall attempt to throw light on the account given of
Mani by another of the Church Fathers. According to Epiphanius,
Cyrillus Hierosolymitanus, Socrates and the author of the
Acta Disputationis S. Archelai (Acta Archelai)
with whom Theodoretus Suidas and Cedrenus in part agree, Mani was not the
real founder of Manicheism but had as his predecessor a certain Scythianus
and the latter's pupil, Terebinthus, who afterwards called himself Buddha.
It goes on to say that anyone who wished to make a denial of the heresy
of Manicheism, must at the same time abjure Zarades (Zoroaster),
Buddha and Scythianus. According to the Acta Archelai, the last-named
was a Scyth from Scythia — which accounts for his name, which was not
really Scythianus — and he appeared at the time of the Apostles, when
he started to spread his doctrine of the two principles. He is said
to have been a Saracen by birth and married a woman from upper
Thebes, for whose sake he settled in Egypt, where he became
acquainted with the wisdom of the Egyptians. Epiphanius, Socrates and
Cyrillus, Hierosolymitanus give similar accounts, only the first of
these says that he was a Saracen by birth, was educated in Arabia and
journeyed to India and Egypt, and the last mentioned says
emphatically that his teachings had nothing in common with either
Judaism or Christianity. He, or his pupil Terebinthus, was the author
of four books, which the latter, after his emigration to Babylon,
left to a widow when he died. Mani, the slave of this widow,
inherited these writings from her and proclaimed their doctrines as
his own. Theodoretus, Suidas and Cedrenus have the same to say of
Terebinthus and Mani, only they identify the latter with Scythianus;
Theodoritus even goes so far as to say that the reason why Mani was
called Scythianus was that he was a slave, and Suidas and Cedrenus
say that by birth he was a Brahmin. Bauer maintains that these two
predecessors of Mani, Scythianus and Terebinthus-Buddha could not
possibly be held to be historical personages: “Alone the
obvious anachronism that Scythianus is reckoned as belonging to the
time of the Apostles, and then to make his successor, Mani, appear
soon after, is enough to make us suspicious of the historical truth
of the whole story”. This, however, is quite a wrong
supposition. The time of the Apostles lasted until Trajan, who died
in 117, for, according to Eusebius, John the Evangelist only died
during Trajan's reign. When it is said that Scythianus appeared
during the time of the Apostles, it is only the last years of the
said Apostle which are meant. As proof of this a point made by Suidas
will serve, to the effect that the Emperor Nerva (who reigned from 97
for 1 year and 4 months) recalled the Evangelist, John, from
Patmos, where he had been in exile, to Ephesus; at that time, adds
Suidas, the dogma of the Manicheans became known through the public
proclamation of Mani's heresy. The latter statement, however, is
almost certainly founded on mistaken identity: for, in another place,
Suidas himself says that Manes lived at the time of the Emperor
Aurelian (reigned from 271–275). Without doubt, Suidas gleaned from
his source that Scythianus proclaimed his dualistic doctrine at the
time of Nerva and as he, as mentioned above, confused Manes with
Scythianus, he substituted the former for the latter. According to
that Scythianus started proclaiming his doctrine at the time of
Nerva, that is to say, in 97
His pupil, Terebinthus-Buddha, may
therefore have lived until 170 or 180
or even longer. Mani appears to have been born about 190
En-Nadim informs us (on the
authority of Mohammed ben Is'haq Sahrmani, who is otherwise unknown)
that Mani came before Schabur Ardsir (Sapores I) in the second year
of the reign of the Roman Emperor Gallus (Trebonianus), who commenced
his rulership November 251
As en-Nadim further adds, this took
place on April lst, according to the Manicheans; that is to say, on
April lst 253
But as Mani, according to en-Nadim, had been
wandering the land and gathering [email protected] for forty years before he
came before Schabur and was already twenty-four years old before he
started to preach his doctrines, it follows from this that he must
have been born around the year 190
According to the reports of
the above mentioned Church Fathers, Mani did not come into direct
personal contact with Terebinthus, but arrived as a seven year old
boy at the house of the widow, in whose possession were the writings
of the already deceased Terebinthus. The chronology therefore fits in
very well and Scythianus and Terebinthus-Buddha can very well both be
historical personages; only Bauer makes the conjecture, for reasons
which have much in their favour, that Scythianus and
Terebinthus-Buddha are identical, which could be so, as Mani, as
stated above, never came into personal contact with either of them.
But the questions remain: who was Scythianus and whence did he obtain
his dualistic teaching? The Acta Archelai states specifically that he
was a Scyth from Scythia and yet he is generally called a Saracen. We
explain this contradiction in the following way: he was born in a
northeastern province of Parthia, which in later times went under the
general name of Scythia. Afterwards he wandered to the Near East,
namely southern Mesopotamia and north-eastern Arabia (whence the name
“Saracen”) and, at the time of Nerva, he was proclaiming
his dualistic teaching and became the precursor of Mani. Bauer
expressed himself likewise. El'hasai'h, or Elchasai', or Elkasai'
(founder of the sect of the Ssabiers or Sabians, mentioned in the
Koran — otherwise Mandaeans) also came from northeastern Parthia and
proclaimed his dualistic doctrine in the same region and at the same
time as Scythianus and was also, in certain respects, a precursor of
Mani, as has been shown above. Does it not appear to be a reasonable
conjecture to suppose that Scythianus, who was named after his birth
place, is identical to the El'hasai'h of en-Nadim, the Elchasai' of
the Pseudo-Origines and the Elkasai' of Epiphanius and Theodoretus?
what has been said there can be no further doubt about the influence
of Parsism on Mendaeism, a fact which was already suspected by
Lorsbach. Bauer would see indications of the spread of Buddhism —
with its consequent influence on Manicheism — in the accounts of
Scythianus and Terebinthus-Buddha, whom he identifies, but to whom he
attaches no historical reality. This he would see substantiated in
many ways, one of which is the abjuration formula of the Manicheans
who, on conversion to the Church, were required to denounce Buddha
among others. An influence of Buddhism in the Near East at such an
early date is certainly a possibility; for enNedim states
specifically that Buddhism had penetrated into Transoxiana even
before Mani's time. Weber also finds it “highly probable that
Buddhist missionaries, urged on by their fresh religious zeal, had
spread over the further parts of western Iran” at the time of
which he was speaking (the time of the Greek rulership of India).
Weber adds, however, that data on the subject are wanting. In another
place he remarks: “the important influence which Buddhism had
on the teaching of Mani is easily explained by the flowering of the
same under the Yueitchi-Princes of Indo-Scythia, whose rulership
spread temporarily over a large part of the eastern provinces of
Iran”. We are also of the opinion that the account which
Mas'udi gives of the journeys of Budasp (Buddha) to Seg'estan,
Zabulistan and Kerman point to an early spread of Buddhism in Persia.
If, then, according to this, Scythianus, who in our opinion is a
well-authenticated historical personality, was the disseminator of
Buddhist doctrines, so, according to the above arguments, we would
have to look for Buddhist elements and Buddhist influences among the
Mendaeans. Perhaps the many assertions of Mohammedan writers to the
effect that Budasp (Buddha) was the founder of the cult of the
Ssabiers arose out of an actual historical influence of Buddhism on
the Mendaeans, who were originally called Ssabiers by the
Mohammedans. The genetic origin of both Buddhism and Mendaeism is
still insufficiently known for us to be able to form conclusive views
about the influence of the former on the latter. We will therefore
content ourselves with gentle hints and indications to future
investigators, which may perhaps help towards clearing up the
though the latest research no longer pays heed to this legend, because
it ascribes a different origin to Mani, it is not thereby invalidated
as a description of Mani's ‘spiritual’ origin. Compare note
13: ‘why it was that Mani called himself the “Son of the
Widow”’ — and Rudolf Steiner's ninth lecture of the
cycle given in Munich in 1909:
The East in the Light of the West,
Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., and Anthroposophic Press
was also initiated into the Mithraic mysteries.
According to Franz Cument: The Mithras Mysteries, Manicheism was the
inheritor of the Mithras Mysteries and the continuator of their
Mani described himself as the ‘Paraclete,’
Compare once more with lecture 9 of
The East in the Light of the West,
Augustine opposed his Catholic views to the Manichean teaching
which he saw represented in a personality whom he called Faustus.
In his writing:
Regarding Faustus, compare Bruckner:
Faustus von Mileve,
Basle, 1901, where Faustus is described as an important representative
of Manicheism in Roman cultural circles.
the legend of Manicheism is a great cosmic legend,
The legend is given as follows by Eugen Heinrich Schmitt (see notes
referring to text above referring to Schmitt).
the Powers of Darkness were chasing and devouring one
another in a wild rage they arrived one day at the borders of their
territory. Here they glimpsed a few beams of the Kingdom of Light and
were so struck by the 'splendid sight that they decided to relinquish
their quarrels among themselves and took counsel together as to how
they could gain mastery over the Good which they had just seen for
the first time and of which they formerly had no notion. Their desire
thereafter was so great that all of them, as many as there were,
armed themselves for battle.” This is the description of events
given by Titus of Bostra. In a similar way Alexander of Lycopolis
presents it to us: “In the Hyle (Matter) desire arose to climb
to the upper regions; there was espied the Divine Ray of Light which
engendered so much amazement that a decision was immediately formed
to get the same into its power.” Of the measures taken by the
threatened Kingdom of Light we are informed by the Acts of Archelaus
(Acta disputationis cum Maneta, Chap. 7): “As the Father of
Light became aware that the Darkness was about to attack his holy
Domain, he allowed a force to emanate from him which is called the
Mother of Life, this, in its turn, produced from itself Archetypal
Man who, arrayed with the five pure Elements; Light, Fire, Wind,
Water, Earth, descended to the earth like an armed warrior to do
battle against Darkness.” Manes himself gives the name of the
Universal or World-Soul to this force which emanates from God. We can
recognise here the same force which is called the Heavenly Mother or
Holy Spirit by Bardesanes and other Gnostics (According to Titus of
Bostra 1. 29. Compare Bauer: Manicheism).
Hyle made its attack, God held counsel to decide on a punishment,
says Alexander of Lycopolis. But, as he had no means of punishment —
there being no Evil in the House of God — he sent forth a force, a
Soul-Force, against Matter, so that Matter was penetrated through and
through and death consumed it with the force of this separation, with
the force of this inner division and confusion which resulted from
being mixed together in this way. It reminds us of the saying of
Christ: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to
desolation.” (Luke 11. 17). The latter interpretation contains
the deeper esoteric meaning of the above battle. Not force against
force, not evil against evil can be the recompense of the gentle
light of heaven of which the moral was proclaimed by Christ. His
victory must be achieved in quite a different way: in the form of a
quiet disintegration in which the Forces of Light act as a kind of
ferment to leaven the dough of matter; thus the Gospel describes the
battle of the Light in such a wonderfully meaningful fashion. The
pictures which Mani gives describe exactly the same event as the
Gospel, but in more detail and with a depth which corresponds to the
more mature historical setting.
it is exactly the same thought which is expressed in
the further unfolding of this Manichean hero-tale. In the struggle
against the opposing forces of Hyle the heavenly hero is not able to
prevail, although, like Proteus of the Greek saga, he constantly
disguises himself and takes on the shape of the various elements. The
Demons overcome him and gain possession of his armour; yes, they
appropriate many pieces of his radiant, sun-like nature to themselves
and he would have been entirely at their mercy had he not called out
to the Father, the Primeval Source of Light! The latter sent him the
help of the Spirit of Life (pneuma zoon), who stretched forth the
succour of his right hand and drew him up again out of darkness into
the Heights of Light. “That is why”, adds the Acta
Archelaus Chapter 7, “when Manicheans meet one another they
give each other the right hand, as a token that they have been
rescued out of darkness; for, in darkness, says Mani, live all
heresies.” This point is of particular interest, because it
quite openly states the object of this allusion,
“heresy”, which in this case refers to the
Ecclesiastical, Satanic doctrine, which has known how to appropriate
the Garment of Light, the outward form of Christianity, to itself to
deceive and captivate the nobler souls. These are the plundered
sun-like parts of Archetypal Man, which have come under the dominion
of depravity-seeking mankind; a depravity which took on the
appearance of sanctity through this act of plunder. It is, however,
only one aspect of the meaning of this myth, which embraces both
evolution and history. The noblest parts of Archetypal Man, his Sons,
as it were, were fixed in the heavens as Sun and Moon by the Spirit
of Life. These are the symbols of the all-illuminating Light and Life
of Christ and the Paraclete, whereas the other stars, as scattered,
expired light, are fixed in the heavens as the Demons of the Night.
This Spirit of Life makes his appearance as the tamer of material
existence, as the Spirit who brings measure and sets a limit to
matter. He was therefore given the name “Architect of the
Universe” by the Manicheans and essentially he plays the part
of Horos, or Horothathos, the boundary-marker of Valentius. That part
of divine Life and Light, however, which is held captive in the
nature forms of the plants, animals and Man, is given the name:
suffering Jesus: the Man of Sorrows: Jesus Patibilis. In the sense of
Manicheism, however, Jesus only represents this divine figure when he
surmounts the restricted sufferings within the narrow limits of the
body, when it was nailed to the Cross on the hill near Jerusalem. He
becomes the Saviour of the World only when he identifies his Divine
Life with that of all the suffering beings of a world yearning for
his redeeming, light-shedding thoughts. And nothing is more
characteristic of the crudity of the basic views of the Constantinian
Church than that its chief exponent, the great Augustine, was morally
unable to find anything in these thoughts but a calumny and
defilement and humiliation which would have been sufficient to make
the Manicheans blush. On the other hand, we have seen with what
delicacy Mani discharged himself of his task of rendering tangible a
struggle between the forces of the Divine and the forces of Matter,
of Evil, of Violence and the Demonic, and how beautifully he is able
to honour the holy majesty of powerless mildness and to bring forth
the dawning of a more noble culture of which the rough Roman mind of
an Augustine had no inkling.’
why it was that Mani called himself the ‘Son of the
The Manicheist scholar, Hans Heinrich Schaeder, writes in his study of
Origin and Development of the Manichean System,
from his collection of lectures, 1924–1925, from the Warburg
Library: ‘We do not know what “Son of the Widow”
means.’ Rudolf Steiner, by contrast, explains the meaning still
more profoundly than in the lecture under consideration as being a
(The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity,
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972).
my description of Lemuria
His description in the periodical Luzifer. Contained in:
Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1971.
See note 2 to lecture 4 of 7th October 1904.
Beautiful words have been handed down from Mani ...
Rudolf Steiner here gives a free rendering of a quotation
from Eugen Heinrich Schmitt:
already mentioned at the
beginning of these notes. Schmitt's text is as follows: ‘It would
therefore be a notable test of the fact that Manicheism, as
understood by initiates and as inner secret doctrine, is not just a
re-telling of Persian fables, but a genuine Gnostic teaching based on
spirit-vision, if we could only prove in a single case that the
Manicheans sought the source of their knowledge and warranty for
their truth, not in outward belief in authority (Mani said this or
that), but directly through inner soul-vision. And this evidence is
actually forthcoming. Mani himself introduces his foundation letter
(epistola fundamenti) with the following words:
‘“These are the words of healing and the eternal
fountain of life. He who hears them and believes in them first of all
and keeps their message will nevermore be prey to death but will
enjoy a truly immortal and splendid life. For truly he is blessed
who, through this divine doctrine, partakes of the knowledge (Gnosis)
which sets him free to pass over into eternal life. The peace of the
Invisible God and a knowledge of Truth will be with their brothers
and loved ones who believe in the laws of heaven even as they put
them into practice in their daily lives. And they will behold you
sitting on the right hand of the Light and will take away from you
all malevolent attacks and all snares of this world; the gentleness
of the Holy Spirit will in truth open your inner sense, so that you
shall behold your own soul with your very eyes”. The last words
of this sentence, “Pietas vero Spiritus Sancti intima vestri
pectoris adaperiat, ut ipsis oculis videatis vestras animas”,
appear in the Latin of Augustine (De actis cum Felixe L. 1 C. 14
Migne Aug. Opp. omnia Tomas V-III).’
‘I would not accept the teachings of Christ if
they were not founded on the authority of the Church.’
(Contra epist. Manich 5).
The Manichean Faust said,
(In Augustine's work:
VI, 8). After Augustine (basing his statement on John XX, 29)
calls those blessed who have not seen and yet have believed, Faustus
makes the reply: ‘If you imagine that we are called upon to
believe without reason or reckoning, then you may well be happier
without reasoning, but I prefer to get my blessedness through
insight.’ Quoted from Eugen Heinrich Schmitt:
Die Gnosis — Grundlagen der Weltanschauung einer edleren
and marked in Rudolf Steiner's copy.
the Faust saga.
Compare Herman Grimm:
‘Die Entstchung des Volksbuches von Dr. Faustus,’
in Fifteen Essays,
third edition, Berlin, 1882.
the Luther saga.
It is a well-known legend that Luther, while staying in hiding at
the Wartburg in Thuringia under the protection of Frederick the
Wise (1521–22), threw an ink-bottle at the Devil.
Luther carries on the principle of authority,
Martin Luther, 1483–1546. The great inaugurator of the German
Reformation was an Augustinian monk prior to leaving the monastic life.
See Rudolf Steiner's two lectures:
‘Luther the Janus-head,’ in
The Karma of Materialism,
harmonisation of life with form.
Rudolf Steiner had spoken on several occasions about the concepts,
life and form, at the time he gave this lecture. See lecture of
3rd November 1904:
‘Theosophy and Tolstoy’
copy Z 332. Also twenty-seventh lecture in
Foundations of Esotericism,
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1983.
a spiritual current which goes beyond the Rosicrucian current,
In a note of 1907 Rudolf Steiner writes that, within the Rosicrucian
current, the initiation of Manes was looked upon as one of the Higher
Degrees which consisted of understanding the true function of Evil.
the fifth Round ...
See diagram in connection with lecture 10 of 23rd December 1904.
The Apocalypse of St. John,
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1977.
Nietzsche's ‘blonde beast,’
‘blonde beast’ in his
Zur Genealogie der Moral,
which was widely praised. However, Rudolf Steiner said in his lecture
of 6th October 1917,
Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death,’
copy Z 400: ‘people understood very little about it ... It was
the Devil himself who inspired people with the wish, as Nietzsche
devotees, to become “blonde beasts” themselves ... but
even though people never became “blonde beasts” in
Nietzsche's sense — something took place in this century as a
result of this socially disturbing impulse of the nineteenth
the eighth sphere.
This difficult occult concept
had already been explained by Rudolf Steiner, shortly before this
time, as for instance on 31st October 1904, in the following way: ‘In
the first half of the fourth Round mankind developed the capacity for
adapting his senses to the mineral kingdom for the first time. In the
second half of the fourth Round he redeemed the mineral kingdom. But
a part of this remained behind and was excluded, because it was no
longer of any use to mankind. That constitutes the eighth sphere,
which is no longer of use to the development of man, but can be used
by higher beings.’ (From previously unpublished notes). In the year
1915, Rudolf Steiner again went very thoroughly into the concept of
the eighth sphere. See:
The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century,
especially fourth and fifth lectures, Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973.
that of Jesuitism, (pertaining to Augustine) and that of
Rudolf Steiner spoke in much more detail on this subject, which is
here only briefly mentioned, in his lecture given in Dornach on
3rd July 1920
(as yet untranslated); but he also spoke about Jesuitism on
20th May, 3rd and 6th June:
Copy Z 65.
The two run parallel to one another but they point in quite
In the shorthand version of Franz Seiler a few sentences occur at the
end. It is not quite clear if this is the answer to a question:
‘Christ appears in person during the sixth Root Race (Great
Epoch) — the Thousand-Years Reign, originally it was Aeon, in
Latin saeculum saeculorum. In the sixth Root Race, therefore, both
the Bad and the Good will have evolved ... [Gap] ... The Keely Motor
came too early, no doubt. An individual will possess so much power
during the seventh Root Race, that he will be able to kill thousands
and thousands at a stroke.’ Compare this with note 29 to lecture
20, the last lecture in this volume.
Berlin, 2nd December 1904
Source for the text.
Newly checked shorthand notes by Franz Seiler, as well
as longhand notes by Marie Steiner von Sivers.
about whom I have already spoken in connection with the
Lecture 5 of 4th November 1904.
secret of Freemasonry and its tendency is expressed in this
See note 3 to lecture 5 of 4th November 1904.
Craft Masonry covers the three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow
Craftsman and Master Mason. It is referred to by Heckethorn as
‘Blue Masonry’ and by Rudolf Steiner as
‘Johannesmaurerei.’ See notes 2 and 11 to the succeeding
lecture (lecture 8, 9th December 1904).
I will now describe what happens to a novice about to be
initiated into the first degree,
For this description Rudolf Steiner again drew on the account given
in Charles William Heckethorn's
(pp. 267–271) some passages of which were marked by him
I shall still speak about the connection between
Manicheism and Freemasonry.
It is not known whether this intention was carried out.
they were known as Dionysiacs.
Dionysiacs are mentioned by Heckethorn pp. 79 and 250.
Vitruvius Poflio, royal architect under Caesar Augustus, wrote his
between 16 and 13 B.C.,
drawing from Greek sources and from his own experiences.
Rudolf Steiner refers here to articles which he at that time contributed
to his periodical
later known under the title
which were then published in book form and are available in English under
(Rudolf Steiner Publications, Chapter ‘Lemuria’).
Regarding connections with Manicheism ... [Gap]
See note 5.
the ‘Royal Arch,
Since the Tolerance Agreement of 1813 the ‘Royal Arch Degree’
has passed as the Fourth Degree. See note 16 to the succeeding lecture,
also the notes about ‘Goethe's relationship to Rosicrucianism’
which appear as an appendix to these lectures.
Berlin, 9th December 1904
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes by Franz Seiler, re-edited for
I am speaking to you as a non-mason ...
Rudolf Steiner entered later (1906) into a purely formal relationship
with the Memphis-Misraim Freemasonry, cf.
The Course of My Life,Chapter 36.
the Charter of Cologne in 1535.
According to a work by Friedrich Heldmann, contained in Rudolf Steiner's
Die drei ältesten geschichtlichen Denkmäler der teutschen
(‘The three oldest historical documents of the German
Freemasonry Brotherhood’). The Charter of Cologne of 1535,
together with the oldest statutes of the Strasbourg Lodge of 1459 and
its revision of 1563, form the oldest documents of German Freemasonry,
Heckethorn, however, among others, holds it to be apocryphal, otherwise
spurious. (See also note 11 of this lecture).
The Freemason of whom I speak is Goethe.
Goethe became a member of the ‘Amalia’ Lodge in Weimar. See
also the commentary on Goethe's relationship to Rosicrucianism at the
end of this volume.
two verses of his Freemasonry poem ...
The last two verses of his Freemasonry poem,
Royal Arch Degree,
In his description of this degree Rudolf Steiner is again basing
himself on Heckethorn:
Book 8, Chapter 7.
The first, who represents the most important in the circle of twelve,
is called Zerubbabel.
According to Heckethorn, p. 180, the name Zerubbabel is ‘a
compound word, meaning: “the bright Lord, the Sun”. He
rebuilds the temple and therefore represents the sun, risen again.’
It supposedly is connected with the Zerubbabel of the Old Testament, a
noble from the family of David, who, on return from captivity in Babylon,
completed the building of the Temple of Jerusalem.
I am talking about an ideal situation, in fact, which only very
rarely arises when suitable people happen to be present.
At the end of this sentence a very unclear statement follows, which
could be rendered as follows: ‘Only a kind of memory is there,
an indication of a memory of it, but the effect is missing.’
The next officer is Jeshua, the high priest;
According to Heckethorn, p. 180: ‘The next officer is Jeshua, the
high priest; the third, Haggai, the prophet. These three compose the
grand council. Principals and senior and junior sojourners form the
base; Ezra and Nehemiah, senior and junior scribes, one on each side;
janitor or tyler without the door.’
The arrangement of the Lodge — though this is not always the
case — is a large square hall with a vaulted ceiling,
According to Heckethorn, p. 260: ‘The Lodge must have a vaulted
ceiling, painted blue and covered with golden stars, to represent the
heavens.’ ‘... the brethren take their places according to
their rank; the grandmaster in the Last, the master in the south, and
the novices at the north.’
And those who take their places in the South are roped together.
Each of them has the rope wound around him three times, uniting him
with his fellows at a distance of three or four decimeters.
According to Heckethorn, p. 281: ‘Nine companions must be
present at the opening of a Royal Arch Chapter; not more nor less
than these three are permitted to take this degree at the same time,
the two numbers making up the twelve, the number of zodiacal signs.
The candidates are prepared by tying a bandage over their eyes, and
coiling a rope seven times round the body of each, which unites them
together, with three feet of slack rope between them.’
He who is initiated into this Fourth Degree, the first of the higher
degrees, which in certain regions [?] still provides an inkling of the
significance of the Temple Legend, has to pass three veils.
According to Heckethorn, p. 265: ‘Without the Royal Arch Degree
Blue Masonry is incomplete.’ The ‘Blue Masonry’ of
Heckethorn is what Rudolf Steiner calls ‘Johannesmaurerei’
(St. John Masonry) and is usually known simply as Craft Masonry in this
country. This Order got its name ‘St. John Masonry’ from the
Charter of Cologne, 1535 (see note 2). Heckethorn, Book 8, Chapter 2 (end),
says: ‘The Freemasons have also frequently been said to be descended
from the Knights Templars, and thus to have for their object to
avenge the destruction of that Order, and so to be dangerous to
Church and State; yet this assertion was repudiated as early as 1535
in the “Charter of Cologne”, wherein the Masons call
themselves the Brethren of St. John, because St. John the Baptist was
the forerunner of the Light.’ To continue the quotation from
Heckethorn regarding ‘Blue Masonry:’ ‘Without the Royal
Arch Degree Blue Masonry is incomplete, for we have seen in the Legend of
the Temple that, through the murder of Hiram, the Master's word was lost;
that word is not recovered in the Master's Degree, its substitute only
being given; hence the lost word is recovered in the Royal Arch Degree.
Blue Masonry, in fact, answers to the lesser mysteries of the ancients
wherein, in reality nothing but the exoteric doctrines were revealed:
whilst “spurious Masonry”, or all subsequent degrees —
for no one can be initiated into them who has not passed through the
first three degrees — answers to the greater mysteries.’
The history of Freemasonry is related to them in the following way:
The first true mason was Adam,
According to Heckethorn, p. 248, Freemasons claim to be not contemporary
with the creation of man, but with that of the world; because light was
before man, and prepared for him a suitable habitation, and light is the
scope and symbol of Freemasonry.’ Edward Spratt, an Irish author,
described Adam as the first Freemason, who, even after his expulsion from
Paradise, possessed great knowledge, especially in the field of geometry.
Konstitutionenbuch für irländische Logen, (1751).
John Theophilus Desaguliers, 1683–1744. From 1719 he was the
Grand Master of the first English Grand Lodge. Desaguliers passes for
the strongest personality of the so-called ‘Revival’
movement in Freemasonry. As a renowned scientist (pupil of Isaac
Newton) he is numbered among those who prepared the way for the
founding of the theory of electricity.
Oriental or Memphis Masonry.
See note 1 to next lecture (lecture 9, 16th December).
In Germany, where there is a branch of the Memphis-Misraim
Freemasonry with world-wide masonic connections,
Rudolf Steiner bases his statement here on an assertion in the
Historische Ausgabe der Oriflamme. Der Schottische, Memphisund
Misraim-Ritus der Freimaurerei,
A.D. 1904, Berlin,
according to which, at that time, friendly relationships existed between
the twelve Grand Orients and Supreme Grand Councils of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite and the Sovereign Sanctuaries of America, Egypt,
Rumania, Spain, Cuba, Naples and Palermo. In Germany, however, the
Memphis and Misraim Freemasonry was at that time considered
‘irregular’ and was not recognised.
Articles of Union of 1813 between craft masonry with its three degrees
and those branches of masonry which recognise the higher degrees.
In the last Article of 1st December 1813, it is stated that:
‘It is explained and expressed that the pure and ancient,
Freemasonry shall consist of only three Degrees and no more,
namely, the Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craftsman and
Master Mason, with the addition of the High Grades of the Holy Royal
Arch. But this Article shall not bind any Lodge or any Chapter to
hold a gathering in accordance with the constitution of the said
Order.’ (History of Freemasonry, by Heinrich Boos. From Rudolf
Steiner's own library).
the manifesto which has been given by the Grand Orient of the
Memphis and Misraim rite ...
Rudolf Steiner read out the whole of the manifesto in the present
See note 7 to lecture 7 (2nd December 1904).
The speech which the English Prime Minister Balfour has made ...
The speech made by Balfour to the British Association on 17th August
1904, appeared the same year in translation under the title:
Unsere heutige Weltanschauung
(‘Our present outlook’),
Leipzig 1904. At the time of the present lecture this speech had
already been discussed in the November issue of Luzifer-Gnosis,
under the heading:
‘Present-day culture as reflected in Theosophy,’
in which the relevant passages from Balfour and Blavatsky are set over
against one another. This discussion has been published in German in
the complete edition of Rudolf Steiner's works as Volume 34,
Luzifer-Gnosis. (For text of Balfour's speech, see note 22 to
the next lecture, 16th December 1904).
This has been known to occultists since 1879. I
emphasise this, although I cannot prove it.
At a later date Rudolf Steiner has often spoken in greater detail about
the decisive importance of the year 1879, as, for instance in:
‘Fall of the Spirits of Darkness’
There are two tendencies, a left and a right tendency,
See in this connection Rudolf Steiner's detailed description in:
The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century.
For this statement Rudolf Steiner apparently made use of the publication
by the Englishman, C.G. Harrison:
The Transcendental Universe.
Berlin, 16th December 1904
Source for the text.
Shorthand report of Franz Seiler and longhand notes by
Marie Steiner von Sivers. For the press the text by Seiler was newly
combined rite of Memphis and Misraim.
According to legend the Memphis Rite is supposed to have originated with
a man called Ormus, who was converted to Christianity by St. Mark in the
year 46. It is said that the Crusaders carried this masonic knowledge
with them from the Holy Land and founded a Grand Lodge in Scotland in
the twelfth century. The legend derives the name Misraim from
Mizraim, one of the sons of Ham. He came to Egypt, possessed himself
of the country and called it after his name (Misraim or Mizraim — an
old name for Egypt). The teaching about Isis, Osiris, Typhon, etc.,
is supposed to have come from him, cf. Schuster:
Die geheimen Gessellschaften, Verbindungen und Orden
(Volume 2, Leipzig 1906). According to Heckethorn:
(Secret Societies, Book 8, Chapter 20), the
Egyptian masonry was founded by Cagliostro. The Rite of Misraim is
attributed (Heckethorn, Book 8, Chapter 10) to a foundation in Milan
of 1805, i.e., ten years after the supposed death of Cagliostro,
which foundation was laid by several masons ‘who had been refused
admission into the Supreme Grand Council.’ The Rite of Memphis is
said to be a copy of the Rite of Misraim and was founded in Paris in
1839. It is supposed to have been combined with the Misraim Rite towards
the end of the nineteenth century, since when it has been known as the
‘Memphis-Misraim Rite.’ John Yarker (see note 16), the
‘Absolute Sovereign Grand Master in and for Great Britain and
Ireland of the Combined Scottish, Memphis and Misraim Rite,’
established a Grand Orient (Grand Lodge) for Germany in 1902.
The so-called Count Cagliostro,
Count Alexander Cagliostro, allegedly identical with the Sicilian Joseph
Balsamo — a fact which he himself, however, always vigorously denied
— died in the Vatican prison in 1795. He is regarded, along with
the Count of St. Germain, as one of the most controversial figures of the
eighteenth century. In an account of his life by Francois Ribadeau
Dumas: (Cagliostro, Allen and Unwin 1967) the attempt was made
to put the record straight. For instance, it was quoted out of the
Protocol of the trial by the Inquisition that ‘it has not been
possible to find a single witness among Cagliostro's accusers who had
known Balsamo.’ Furthermore, a passage is quoted from the book by
Cagliostro's ‘learned historian,’ Dr. Marc Haven,
Le Maitre inconnu Cagliostro:
‘No one has proved that Balsamo and Cagliostro are one
and the same person; neither Morands, nor Goethe, not the Commissary
Fontaine, nor even the trial of the Holy Inquisition have produced a
document which precludes all doubt.’
To prolong human life to a span of 5,527 years.
In the notes of Marie Steiner von Sivers it is said to be 5,530 years.
According to Heckethorn (Book 8, Chapter 20), 5,557 years (see note
13). Ribadeau Dumas (in the work quoted above) states that Cagliostro
left many works behind him, among which is one entitled:
The Art of prolonging Life.
All of them, apart from his
have disappeared. As Ribadeau Dumas says: ‘If they haven't been
burned, they must reside in the Vatican archives. Let us hope that,
in the light of the new ideas of the occumenical movement and
reconciliation with the “separated Brethren”, the Vatican
library will one day release these curious documents to which Cagliostro
so often referred and through which he might be vindicated.’
I remarked earlier that the French Revolution arose
out of the secret societies ...
This almost certainly happened during lecture 5 given on the
4th November 1904, though it is not recorded in the notes.
What Mabel Collins depicted in her novel
Mabel Collins (pseudonym for Mrs Kenningdale-Cook), 1851–1927,
was one of the best authors of the Theosophical Society. Rudolf Steiner
wrote an appreciation of her novel
Flita, True Story of a Black Enchantress,
when it first appeared in German translation. This was
published March 1905 in the periodical Luzifer-Gnosis and is
recorded in the complete edition in German of Rudolf Steiner's works
in Volume 34, Luzifer-Gnosis.
in the writings of the Countess d’Adhemar...
Count of St. Germain.
See note 4 to lecture 5 given on 4th November 1904.
‘They who sow the wind shall reap the
According to the account of Madame d'Adhemar, the Count said to her:
‘Madame, they who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind; this
is what Jesus said in the Gospels, perhaps not before I did but,
anyway, his words have been preserved in writing, only mine could
have been made use of.’ Quoted from Heyer:
Aus dem Jahrhundert der Franzouml;sischen Revolution,
(Edition 1956). These words, however, do not appear in the New
Testament, but in the Old Testament,
Hosea, Chapter 8, verse 7.
(See also the statement in lecture 5 of the 4th November 1904).
In books about the Count of St. Germain you can
read that he died in 1784,
He is reputed to have died in Eckernfoerde on 27th February 1784.
As proof of this is the death register of the St. Nicholas Church
in Eckernfoerde, according to which he was ‘quietly interred’
on 2nd March 1784.
the Landgrave of Hessen,
Prince Karl, 1744–1836, son of the ruling Landgrave Frederick II,
Danish General and Governor of the Dukedoms of Schleswig and Holstein.
His Freemasonry writing:
La Pierre Zodiacale du temple de Denderah,
appeared in 1824. His memoires, which were dictated 1816/17, appeared
in Copenhagen in 1861 and, in German translation, in Cassel in 1866. In
the latter is to be found a report concerning the Count of St. Germain.
the Countess d’Adhemar recounts in her
See Karl Heyer's:
Aus dem jahrhundert der Französischen Revolution.
In reality he was at that time, in 1790, with some Rosicrucians
in Vienna ...
Rudolf Steiner apparently bases his statements on an article by Isabel
Cooper-Oakley in the periodical Gnosis, of 15th December 1903,
the pertinent passage of which reads
The Count of Saint-Germain, by Isabel Cooper-Oakley,
Rudolf Steiner Publications, p. 145 and p. 140 et seq.):
‘Franz Graeffer left us the curious account of a
journey by Saint Germain to Vienna. Unfortunately this description is
not quite satisfactory. Graeffer himself confesses that it was
written on 15th June, long after the event. He says: “A
peculiar irresistible feeling has compelled me to set down these
transactions in writing once more, after so long a time, just today
June 15th 1843.” Further, I make this remark, that these events
have not been hitherto reported.’
the report was spread that the Comte de St. Germain, the most
enigmatical of all incomprehensibles, was in Vienna. An electric
shock passed through all who knew his name. Our Adept circle was
thrilled through and through: St. Germain was in Vienna!
had Graeffer, his brother Rudolf, recovered from the surprising news,
than he flies to Hiniberg, his country seat, where he has his papers.
Among these is to be found a letter of recommendation from Casanova,
the genial adventurer whom he got to know in Amsterdam, addressed to
hurries back to his house of business; there he is informed by the
clerk: “An hour ago a gentleman has been here whose appearance
has astonished us all. This gentleman was neither tall nor short, his
build was strikingly proportionate, everything about him had the
stamp of nobility ... He said in French, as it were to himself, not
troubling about anyone's presence, the words: ‘I live in Fedalhofe,
the room in which Leibnitz lodged in 1713.’ We were about to speak,
when he was already gone. This last hour we have been, as you see,
Sir, petrified ...”
minutes Fedalhofe is reached. Leibnitz's room is empty. Nobody knows
when “the American gentleman” will return home. As to
luggage, nothing is to be seen but a small iron chest. It is almost
dinner time. But who would think of dining! Graeffer is mechanically
urged to go and find Baron Linden; he finds him at the
“Ente”. They drive to the Landstrasse, whither a certain
something, an obscure presentiment, impels them to drive
laboratory is unlocked; a simultaneous cry of astonishment escapes
both; at a table is seated St. Germain, calmly reading a folio, which
is a work of Paracelsus. They stand dumb at the threshold; the
mysterious intruder slowly closes the book, and slowly rises. Well
know the two perplexed men that this apparition can be no other in
the world than the man of wonders. The description of the clerk was a
shadow against reality. It was as if a bright splendour enveloped his
whole form. Dignity and sovereignty declared themselves. The men were
speechless. The Count steps forward to meet them; they enter. In
measured tones, without formality, but in an indescribably ringing
tenor, charming the innermost soul, he says in French to Graeffer:
“You have a letter of introduction from Herr von Seingalt; but
it is not needed. This gentleman is Baron Linden. I knew that you
would both be here at this moment. You have another letter for me
from Bruehl. But the painter is not to be saved; his lung is gone, he
will die July 8th 1805.
Germain then gradually passed into a solemn mood. For a few seconds
he became rigid as a statue, his eyes, which were always expressive
beyond words, became dull and colourless. Presently, however, his
whole being became reanimated. He made a movement with his hand as if
in signal of his departure, then said: “I am leaving (ich
scheide); do not visit me. Once again will you see me. Tomorrow night
I am off; I am much needed in Constantinople; then in England, there
to prepare two inventions which you will have in the next century —
trains and steamboats. These will be needed in Germany. The seasons
will gradually change — first the spring, then the summer. It is the
gradual cessation of time itself, as the announcement of the end of
the cycle. I see it all; astrologers and meteorologists know nothing,
believe me; one needs to have studied in the Pyramids as I have
studied. Towards the end of this century I shall disappear out of
Europe, and betake myself to the region of the Himalayas. I will rest;
I must rest. In exactly 85 years people will again set eyes on me.
Farewell, I love you”.
[Said in 1790. Exactly 85 years later (1875) the
Theosophical Society was founded.]
After these solemnly uttered words, tie Count repeated
the sign with his hand. The two adepts, overpowered by the force of
such unprecedented impressions, left the room in a condition of
complete stupefaction. In the same moment there fell a sudden heavy
shower, accompanied by a peal of thunder. Instinctively they return
to the laboratory for shelter. They open the door. St. Germain is no
more there ...’
the Sovereign Sanctuary, who is identical with
what is known as the Grand Orient in Freemasonry, and is in
possession of the real occult knowledge.
It would seem that a person,
rather than a body of people, is here meant. Heckethorn, in talking
about the Order of Memphis, says that: ‘it works 33 degrees and
embraces a far more extensive ritual of workable degrees than any
other rite, every one of its 33 degrees having its appropriate and
elaborate ceremonial easily arranged for conferment and its titles
are purged of ridiculous pretensions. Its government is strictly
representative, as in our own political constitution. The 32 and 31
are the first, second, third and fourth Officers of the Chapter,
Senate and Council and form the Mystic Temple and judicial Tribunal,
the presiding Officer, or Grand Master of Light, having the 33rd
degree to enable him to represent the Province in the Sovereign
Sanctuary (33–95) or ruling body.’
Steiner speaks at the beginning of this lecture about the Combined
Rite of Memphis and Misraim having a great number of degrees, that 95
out of the 96 Degrees have to be undertaken by its members and that
the Supreme Leaders of the Grand Orients usually possess the 96th
Degree. It seems likely that it is this Supreme Leader who is in
possession of the actual occult knowledge and knows the path and the
language of the Freemasonry manifesto, through which is revealed the
voice of the ‘Wise Men of the East.’
See preceding lecture of 9th December in which the text of the manifesto
is given in full.
where this should have come in the discussion about Atlantean times
in the ‘Luzifer’ article, a row of dots was printed in
place of those things which may not yet be communicated.
This relates to the articles which appeared in the periodical
Luzifer-Gnosis, in December 1904 under the title
‘From the Akashic Records.’ See
‘Transition of the Fourth into the Fifth Root Race,’
p.66 (Rudolf Steiner Publications Inc., New York, 1961).
the ‘Theosophical Review’
The article in question appeared in the December issue of the
Theosophical Review of 1904 signed only ‘E.’ Its
contents were the result of a combined exercise undertaken by
‘E,’ the interrogator, ‘T,’ the medium
employed to transmit by automatic means the communications of
‘F,’ the spirit guide. What follows comprises only
a few extracts of the original article.
though a politician and a man of the world, is an enthusiastic
humanitarian ... He added that he felt very anxious, for soon an
important discovery would be made which would give the doctors a
greater power than they had even now, and that it would lead to
more cruelty in experiments on animals, for the man who found it out
would think he had learned it by vivisection. “But remember,
it is not so, it is not a discovery, only a remembrance; for the man
who will find it out was an Atlantean, and the Atlanteans were far
more learned in medicine than we are; indeed the body had no secrets
for them”. I then began to question him about Atlantis ...
commanded the elements, made fine weather or storm as it pleased
them. There were no children, for by an effort of unnatural power
they attained to the great secret of causing life without material
union of the two forces. The soul returned and reincarnated by an
effort of will, taking its form from the natural elements without any
other medium. This was what ultimately ended their power, for it
could not be allowed to continue. It is dimly figured in a late
Hebrew legend by the “tree of life”. There was nothing
left of progression, and therefore a cataclysm had to overtake this
civilisation, and destroy even its memory.
overset the balance of creation, and so ruined their civilisation.
The material cause was that they withdrew the life-force of the
earth, and exhausted all the supplies of the life-current. This
caused convulsions of nature, and the storm broke, irremediable,
terrible, and swamped them. The Titans vied with the gods but were
defeated. All religions tell this tale as a note of
earth is a living creature, and if you can tap its life-current you
can work all miracles. The Atlanteans are the souls of today in some
cases, but they have been discrowned ... They had to return into
ordinary life by the simple way of being born as an ordinary
‘I will now tell
you a little more about the wonderful power of Atlantis, so as to make
you realise what man has been, and will be in the future ages; for to
tell the truth Atlantis was material perfection, to this man can
never return, but to perfection he will come in future time.
‘The ways of life
of the highest classes were most simple, for nourishment was obtained
almost from the air alone. Like orchids, the rulers, and more especially
the priests, drew all their sustenance from the substance contained in
the atmosphere. Consult any botanist you like and you will see that I
am right. You cannot do this, for you are not self-materialised;
you are creatures born, and not made by your own will ...
only the discovery of the great secret, that of the “tree of
life”, which simplified matters, and that you will never regain
until you cease to care for the power for its own sake. I mean the
secret of death and birth. There is no need for men to die. There is
no reason for men to be born. I know the secret in part, but not
fully, for I am not good enough to be permitted to recall the
wonderful power. If I could do this I should at once be tempted to
reveal it to you, for it would be, God willing, an eternity of
however, try and define somewhat and give you an example. A man is
entirely renewed each seven years; after a while, however, he
deteriorates and slowly decomposes. This is owing to ignorance, for
if he knew how to regulate the inflow of new particles, he would
never choose worse but rather better particles, and the atoms would
remain permanently polarised by his will. Man is really held in a
single cell; this cell is immortal and descends from generation to
generation, creating ever new forms in which a human spirit can
manifest. If this cell is retained in the body, and there is no
procreation or waste of conservative power, then there is no reason
why man should not exist for ever, during the cycle. By his children,
however, man reproduces himself, and so destroys his material self.
To an adept, to marry is to become a lower creature subject to death.
This is truth. Every man or woman who creates can only do so by
handing on his immortality. Man is a spirit, and the spirit is the
central point of the materialised form. The whole of mankind accepts
death as a necessity, and therefore hypnotise themselves into a
belief that they must, die, but there is no reason for it if the cell
is still intact in them.
over and understand that this is one of the chief Christian teachings
that has been corrupted. Christ rose from the dead to be the first
fruits of life.
to refer to the new discovery which will be made, and of which I have
previously spoken. It was well known once, and will return to the
fated man's memory, and he will be hailed as a benefactor of
humanity. In the old days of Atlantis when the secrets of the body
were entirely unveiled to the caste of rulers and priests, they
learnt it in a far more terrible way even than that of vivisection,
namely by the stultification of the soul, thus destroying or distorting
the power of evolution in a creature. You do not know this, thank God!
or the earth would be once more a land of devils ...’
There is a man at the head of the American Misraim
movement, whose significant character constitutes a sure guarantee Of
constancy in the advance. This is the excellent Freemason, John
Yarker, 1833–1913, was an Englishman who was active within
English Freemasonry. When it is here said that he was at the head of
the ‘American’ Misraim movement, this is on the grounds of a
statement made in the
Historical Edition of the Oriflamme,
Berlin 1904, co-edited by him, to the effect that only America possessed
a legitimate Charter and that Yarker had been appointed in New York in
1872 ‘by S.G.C. 33° as “Chief Representative”
and “Guarantor of Friendly Relationships” with the Manchester
Grand Orient of the Scottish Rite and Sovereign Sanctuary of the Memphis
and Misraim Rite.’ As significant masonic author he had obtained
high Degrees in many different connections. (See end of note 1 to this
a certain Reuss,
Theodore Reuss, 1855–1923. Authorised by Yarker to inaugurate
the setting up of the Memphis-Misraim Rite in Germany. Rudolf Steiner
did not know Reuss at that time. An account of this is going to appear
in the documentation of the history of Rudolf Steiner's
‘Esoteric School’ (untranslated).
the well-known Carl Kellner
Carl Kellner, 1851–1905, Austrian inventor and big businessman.
According to Hugo Göring in the January issue, 1895, of the
periodical Sphinx (Official organ of the German Theosophical
Society, edited by Hübbe-Schleiden),
he invented the process for the manufacture of cellulose and worked
together with the medical doctor, Franz Hartmann. Kellner was the
Sovereign Honorary General Grand Master for the Memphis and Misraim
Rite in Great Britain and Germany and signed himself as such for the
Historical Edition of the Great Oriflamme of 1904.
Dr. Franz Hartmann.
Franz Hartmann, 1838–1912. After an adventurous life and
personal acquaintance with H.P. Blavatsky, he founded the so-called
‘Leipzig’ Theosophical Society.
He was the editor of the theosophical periodical Lotusblüten.
He is mentioned by Rudolf Steiner in his autobiography:
The Course of My Life
and in the second volume of Rudolf Steiner's letters.
There are four kinds of instruction given in the Misraim Rite.
The four kinds of instruction described by Rudolf Steiner are enumerated
by Heckethorn (p. 299), where he deals with the
‘Organisation of the Rite of Misraim.’
He says: ‘Then arose the Rite of Misraim with ninety degrees
arranged in four sections, viz.
1. Symbolic, 2. Philosophic, 3. Mystical, 4. Cabbalistic;
which were divided into seventeen classes.’
‘The Rite of Memphis,’ he says (p. 301),
‘is a copy of the Rite of Misraim and was founded in Paris in 1839.
It was composed of ninety-one degrees, arranged in three sections and
seven classes.’ Where Heckethorn speaks of the ‘Ancient and
Primitive Rite of Masonry or Order of Memphis’ (pp. 253–256),
he states: ‘The Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry works
thirty-three degrees, divided into three sections, embracing modern,
chivalric and Egyptian Masonry, as the latter was worked on the continent
last century ... It embraces a far more extensive ritual of workable
degrees than any other rite, every one of its thirty-three degrees
having its appropriate and elaborate ceremonial easily arranged for
conferment, and its titles are purged of ridiculous
other hand, when speaking about the Egyptian Rite in connection with
Cagliostro, Heckethorn says, (p. 352): ‘The Egyptian Rite invented
by Cagliostro is a mixture of the sacred and profane, of the serious and
laughable; charlatanism is its prevailing feature.’
From this it appears that
the ‘Memphis and Misraim Rite,’ referred to by Rudolf Steiner,
is a complex mixture of those rites which confer the Higher Degrees.
Heckethorn refers to these as ‘spurious masonry’ (p. 265),
in contradistinction to ‘Blue’ or ‘Symbolic’
Masonry, which restricts itself to the three lowest degrees only.
Last time I read to you from a speech by the
English Prime Minister Balfour.
This has not been recorded in the notes at our disposal. In connection
with the speech itself, see note 19 to the previous lecture and the
succeeding note to this.
The physical atom is condensed electricity. I regard Balfour's
speech as something of extreme importance.
The following extract of Balfour's speech is the part referred to.
Under the heading: ‘Reflections suggested by the New Theory of
today there are those who regard gross matter, the matter of everyday
experience, as the mere appearance of which electricity is the
physical basis; who think that the elementary atom of the chemist,
itself far beyond the limits of direct perception, is but a connected
system of monads or sub-atoms which are not electrified matter, but
are electricity itself; that these systems differ in the number of
monads which they contain, in their arrangement, and in their motion
relative to each other and to the ether; that on these differences,
and on these differences alone, depend the various qualities of what
have hitherto been regarded as indivisible and elementary atoms; and
that while in most cases these atomic systems may maintain their
equilibrium for periods which, compared with such astronomical
processes as the cooling of a sun, may seem almost eternal, they are
not less obedient to the law of change than the everlasting heavens
gross matter be a grouping of atoms, and if atoms be systems of
electrical monads, what are these electrical monads? It may be that,
as Professor Larmor has suggested, they are but a modification of the
universal ether, a modification roughly comparable to a knot in a
medium which is inextensible, incompressible and continuous. But
whether this final unification be accepted or not, it is certain that
these monads cannot be considered apart from the ether. It is
on their interaction with the ether that their qualities depend; and
without the ether an electric theory of matter is impossible.
we have here a very extraordinary revolution.’
It is interesting to
note that Balfour does not use the term ‘frozen’ electricity
or ‘coagulated’ electricity as the German translation does.
He merely states that matter is the ‘mere appearance of which
electricity is the physical basis.’
something which has been in publication since 1875 [1879?]
See note 20 to the preceding lecture.
Berlin, 23rd December 1904
Source for the text.
Derived only from shorthand notes by Franz Seiler,
re-checked for the 1979 G.A. publication in German.
A week from now I shall speak about the meaning of the days
connected in the Church Calendar with the Christmas Festival —
most especially about Epiphany, which follows on the less important
New Year Festival.
The German text, as handed down, reads: an
Weihnachten, vor allen Dingen an das minder bedeutende Fest Neujahr
anschliessen, das Fest der Epiphanie,’ which could be rendered
as follows: ‘... about Christmas, most especially about the less
important New Year's Festival the Festival of Epiphany.’ One
must assume that the shorthand copy of Seiler intended the following:
‘... das minder bedeutende Fest Neujahr anschliessende Fest der
Epiphanie's, which would give the rendering as in the text of the
lecture above. The said lecture was held on 30th December 1904 and
its subject was the “Three Kings” Festival.’
it is quite unjustifiable to speak in public in the
style of the Manifesto of the Freemasons which I read to you a
In the lecture given on 9th December 1904 (lecture 8
in this volume). Regarding the style of speaking appropriate to
lecturing in public, see
The Course of My Life,Chapter 32.
Written about 1380. First published by Luther (fragmentary edition)
Wittenberg, 1516. Complete edition 1518. First German translation by
Johannes Arndt, 1597. Translation into modern German by Franz Pfeiffer,
the Masters, as a rule, are not personages known to
See note 21 to the lecture given on 23rd May 1904. (Lecture 1 in this
You were first physically incarnated
in the preceding races [after] the time of the Hyperborean and
The word nach (‘after’) is missing from the German
edition, but to leave it out would be to negate the sense given in
lecture I of this series: ‘Whitsuntide,’ given on the 23rd o
May 1904, which reads: ‘It is a wrong conception when theosophists
believe that reincarnations had no beginning and will have no ending.
Reincarnation started in the Lemurian Age and will cease again at the
beginning of the sixth Root Race or Age.‘ (See diagram opposite). The
German would then read: ‘In physischer Inkarnation waren Sie in den
vorhergehenden Rassen erst zur Zeit nach der hyperboraischen und
polarischen Rasse vorhanden.’
we are living in the fifth period of the fifth
great post-Atlantean epoch;
See [this] diagram.
This base colour gives rise to a certain substance
... [Gap] ...
[called Kundalini, which holds together, within the human being,
the forces which lead eventually to the spirit.] The latter part
of this sentence (within square brackets) was a correction made
for the earlier edition of this lecture, published on 23rd November
1947, in the members' newsletter of the German Anthroposophical
Society, No. 47.
Berlin, 15th May 1905
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes by Franz Seiler, Walter Vegelahn and
in earlier lectures ...
e.g., lectures 3 and 5 of 30th September and 4th November 1904.
in the Laocoon.
In this connection see lecture held in Munich, 14th March 1910,
Metamorphoses of the Soul.
Livy's account ...
Titus Livius (59
Roman historian; author of a history of Rome (Annales) from
the foundation of the city to the death of Drusus
of the 142 books of this history, 35 of them and epitomes of most of
the rest are extant.
A white vestment reaching to the
feet, worn by the celebrant at Mass over the cassock and having long
pointed sleeves. The oldest type of vestment derived from Egyptian
and Hebrew times.
the Prometheus saga.
See lecture 4 of 7th October 1904 in the present volume.
Jehovah is also called the God of [created] form,
See lecture of 25th October 1905 in:
Foundations of Esotericism,
Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1983.
the Eighth Sphere.
See note 26 to lecture 6 given on 11th November 1904.
the Freemasons themselves no longer understand this, and believe
that man should work on his own ego.
At this point the texts diverge: according to Seiler it is
‘egoistical’ egos; according to Vegelahn and Reebstein
‘spiritual’ egos, which might have resulted from a
mis-hearing or mistake in writing and could have been ‘own’
egos — (geistigen = eigenen).
If we could bring people to engage in social reform from a
Rudolf Steiner was working towards establishing a
reform of the social life soon after the end of the Great War. See:
‘The Threefold Order of the Body Social.’ RSE 252, 253 and
Albert Eberhard Friedrich Schäffle, 1831–1903,
sociologist, wrote much on this subject. In another connection
Rudolf Steiner mentions his work:
Bau und Leben des sozialen Körpers
(‘Construction and Life of the Body-Social’),
a four volume work published in Tübingen, 1875–78.
Berlin, 22nd May 1905
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes from Walter Vegelahn and from Berta
each word in the Bible's account of it ...
First Book of Kings, Chapters 5–7.
Second Book of Chronicles, Chapters 3–4.
Ezekiel, Chapters 40–42.
Jean Paul recounts the following incident:
Jean Paul (pseudonym for Jean Paul Friedrich Richter) 1763–1825,
poet, writer of novels, and thinker. The episode here related was recorded
in his childhood reminiscences.
only the anointed priest in the Holy of Holies was allowed
to utter the name ‘Yahveh.’
This took place once a year on the Day of Atonement.
Leviticus, Chapter 16, verses 29–34:
‘And this shall be an
everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the
children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.’
Noah's Ark, and the other is the Temple of Solomon.
According to notes of a lecture by Rudolf Steiner given in
Cologne on 28th December 1907 (not yet published in German, but
intended for inclusion in Volume 101 of the complete edition) he
‘Were we to take millennia into account rather than
centuries, we would observe how the form of the human body undergoes
change according to the thoughts, feelings, and conceptual criteria
of previous millennia; and the mighty leading powers of evolution
give to man the right concepts at the right time, so that even the
human form becomes transformed ...
the whole length, breadth and height of the physical body of today
actually evolve? It is a result of what was at first contained in the
astral and etheric bodies. That was where the thoughts, pictures,
feelings, etc., at first resided. You will better be able to
understand what I have to say if you call to mind a process which
takes place immediately after physical death. It happens then that
the physical body is at first forsaken by the etheric and astral
bodies. Sleep consists in the fact that the astral body and ego
withdraw leaving the physical body and ether body lying in bed. Death
is differentiated from sleep through the fact that in the former
state the physical body alone remains behind on the bed and the ether
body withdraws along with the other two members of man's being. A
strange phenomenon then takes place which could be described as a
sensation, but which is connected with a kind of concept: the person
feels as if he were expanding and then the memory-tableau occurs; but
before that happens he feels himself expanding in all directions — he
gains dimension on all sides.
viewing of his ether body in huge dimensions is a very important
concept; for it had to be induced into Atlantean man at a time when
his etheric body was not so closely knit up with his physical body as
it was to be in post-Atlantean times. This concept which occurs in
man at death today had first to be aroused in him at that time. If a
person were to visualise the approximate dimensions which are
experienced by man today when he expands at death, then he has built
up the motive, the thought form, which is able to bring his physical
body into approximately its present form. If, therefore, the true
measurements were held up in front of a person whose etheric body was
at times separated from his physical body, they would take on the
form that the physical body has today. And this form would have been
induced into man primarily by those who are leaders of mankind's
development. The exact account of this is contained in the various
stories of the flood, particularly the Biblical account. If you were
to visualise man more or less surrounded by those forms which the
etheric body must have in order that the physical body can be built
up according to its proper dimensions, then you would have the same
dimensions as Noah's Ark.
the exact measurements of Noah's Ark given in the Bible? So that man,
who was to be the bridge from Atlantean times to post-Atlantean
times, would have a structure — 300 cubits long, 50 cubits broad, 30
cubits high — which he must have around him in order to build up the
proper thought form, to develop the right motive, out of length,
breadth and height, to build up the post-Atlantean body in the right
way. There you have a symbol from which the dimensions of your
present-day body have been taken and which are the result of the
thought form which Noah experienced in the Ark. It is not for nothing
that Noah was placed in the Ark and that the Ark was described in
this way. The Ark was built thus so that the human body could be
properly formed in post-Atlantean times. The whole of mankind was
reared in the use of effective symbols. Man carries with him at the
present day the measurements of Noah's Ark. When man stretches his
hands upwards the measurements of the Ark come to expression in the
measurements of man's present-day body. Now man has evolved from
Atlantis to post-Atlantis. In the epoch which will follow ours, the
sixth epoch, man's body will again be quite differently formed; and
today, too, man must experience those thought forms which will enable
him to create for the next epoch the motives to provide the proper
measurements for the bodies. That must be presented to man. Today the
measurements of man's body are in the proportion 300 to 50 to 30. In
the future his body will be built up quite differently. What will
supply present-day man with the thought form for building up his
future body? That is also told us. It is the measurements of the
Salomonic Temple. And these measurements of the Salonionic Temple,
when realised in physical form, represent, with profound symbolical
significance, the whole physical Organisation of the man of the next
epoch, the sixth great epoch.
which is effective in mankind takes its start from inside the human
being, not from outside. What appears as thought and feeling at one
period is outward form in the next. And the individualities who guide
mankind must implant the thought forms into him many thousands of
years in advance, if they are to become outward reality later. There
you have the working of the thought forms which are activated by such
symbolical figures. They have a very real meaning.’
its proportions correspond to those of the human body,
and also with those of Solomon's Temple.
It has not been possible to identify the literary source to which Rudolf
Steiner here refers.
In the Cabbala
of Agrippa von Nettesheim (Scheible edition, Stuttgart, 1855), it is
stated in the chapter concerning ‘The Measurement, Relationship
and Harmony of the Human Body:’
himself instructed Noah in the building of the Ark according to the
measurements of the human body, just as he himself incorporated into
the whole world-mechanism the symmetry of man; and therefore the
latter is called the macrocosm, the former the microcosm. With
reference to the above some microcosmologists determine the
measurements of the human body as being six foot, the foot being ten
degrees and the degree being five minutes; this amounts to sixty
degrees or 300 minutes, the same number of geometrical cubits as,
according to the description of Moses, were contained in the length
of the Ark. just as the human body, however, has a length of 300
minutes, a breadth of 50 and a thickness of 30, so had the Ark of
Noah not only a length of 300 cubits, but also a width of 50 and a
depth (or height) of 30, from which it will be seen that there is a
relationship of 6 to 1 of the length to the breadth, 10 to 1 of the
length to the depth and 5 to 3 of the breadth to the
Further to this,
Franz Coci in his work:
Detailed Calculation of the Three Dimensions of Noah's Ark from the
Standpoint of Geometry and Mechanics,
(translated from Polish into German by Wenzel Bauernopl, Bilin,
1899), demonstrated mathematically that: ‘The only fitting and
possible relationship of width to height of a four-sided hollow body,
which combines the use of the least amount of material with the
greatest stability, would be to take 5 (more exactly 5.322232) for
the width and for the height 3 (more exactly 2.967768) equal parts.
And this is the ratio in which the Ark actually was built.’
The inner divine Temple is so formed as to enclose the
fivefold human being. The square is holy. The door, the roof and
the side pillars together form a Pentagon.
The version here translated is the version from the notes of Berta
Reebstein-Lehmann. Walter Vegelahn's version is only fragmentary. It is
rendered thus: ‘The ... Temple is so formed that it encloses the
fivefold human being. That ... is the most important thing about the
Temple. The square is holy, the roof, the roof-covering and the side
pillars together form ... In front of the altar stood two
the door, the roof and the side pillars together form a Pentagon.
First Book of Kings, Chapter 6, verse 31:
‘And for the entering
of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts
were a fifth part of the wall.’ The gloss referring to ‘fifth
part’ gives the alternative ‘five-square.’
Emil Bock in his
Old Testament History,
Volume 3, in speaking about the Temple of Solomon says:
inmost chamber in the west, the Holy of Holies (Debir), was
screened by a wooden partition containing a pentagonal doorway and
covered by a curtain of four colours.’
See in this connection Rudolf Steiner's later and more detailed accounts
of the Templars, e.g., lecture of 2nd October 1916 in Dornach
(‘The Templars,’ copy Z 156), also: lecture of 25th
September 1916, (sixth lecture of the series R. 45):
Inner Impulses working in the Evolution of Mankind.
We have traced the time from the first to the fourth
cultural epoch ...
The text is quite plainly only preserved in an incomplete form. In
connection with the cultural epochs and the course of the sun through
the zodiac see Rudolf Steiner's lecture given in Dornach, 8th January
1918, in the lecture course entitled: ‘Ancient Myths,’ (RSE
Plato said of it that the World Soul would be crucified on
the World Body.
Rudolf Steiner often quotes this passage from Timaeus,
but he gives it in the formulation which Vincenz Knauer uses, a Viennese
philosopher personally known to him, whose book:
Die Hauptprobleme der Philosophic ... etc:
(‘The Development and Partial Solution to the Main
Philosophical Problems from The time of Thales to Robert Hamerling’),
formed part of his personal library. In this particular version the
passage here quoted has the following wording: ‘God laid this soul in
cross-formation through the universe and spread out over it the world
body.’ In the English translation of this passage (Penguin Classics,
1971, p. 48) it reads as follows: ‘He then took the whole fabric and
cut it down the middle into two strips, which he placed crosswise at
their middle points to form a shape like the letter X; he then bent
the ends round in a circle and fastened them to each other opposite
the point at which the strips crossed, to make two circles, one inner
and one outer.’
the opinion of the Ancients there were two
circles of greatest significance in the universe: the heavenly
equator and the ecliptic. The translator of the copy which was in the
possession of Rudolf Steiner, (Vincenz Knauer), makes a comment on
the passage in question which reads as follows: ‘And so, in the
arguments of Plato it is the soul itself which, as a result of a
mysterious process, spreads itself out in the spatial image of the
ecliptic and the equator. If the position of these two largest
circles to one another is visualised in the form of the Greek letter
X (Chi — thought of as lying horizontally) then that would be a very
appropriate comparison. For these two circles cut one another at an
angle of 23 1/2 degrees. The motion of the equator is in the
direction from east to west (when the observer faces north), but the
motion of the ecliptic is from west to east.’ In addition to this it
may be said that the Church Father Justin the Martyr, C 100 — C 165,
in the first of his Apologies, points to the fact that
the source of Plato's teaching regarding — world creation was, in all
probability, the account of the raising of the brazen serpent in the
wilderness by Moses (Chapter 21, verses 4–9).
But this Temple ... [Gap in text]
This passage is very incomplete. In the Vegelahn text there are only
the words as given above. In the text given by Reebstein it continues:
‘But the Temple is not yet understood by man,’ perhaps the
correct rendering should be: ‘But the building of the Temple is
not yet understood by man.’
These two streams were already current when our race began
In the Vegelahn text this sentence finds an incomplete continuation:
‘These two streams already made themselves felt at the beginning
of our race — the old stream which entered evolution at a time
when the gods were still engaged in creating the world, and the second
... which must always continue to build in this Temple of Wisdom
Berlin, 29th May 1905
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes by Franz Seiler, Walter Vegelahn,
Berta Reebstein-Lehmann and longhand notes by Marie Steiner von
The Christian legend about the Cross ...
Parts of this legend are to be found in
The Golden Legend or Lives of the Saints,
a collection of legends from the thirteenth century by
Jacobus de Voragine, translated into English by William Caxton
(edited by F.S. Ellis, Temple Classics, 1939). In this the death of
Adam is described and how he sent ‘Seth his son into Paradise for to
fetch the oil of mercy, where he received certain grains of the fruit
of the tree of mercy by an angel ...
he laid the grains or kernels under his father's tongue and buried
him in the vale of Hebron; and out of his mouth grew three trees of
the three grains, of which trees the cross that our Lord suffered his
passion on was made ...’ In another place in the same work we are
told more about the history of the wood of the cross. Under the
section headed ‘The Invention of the Holy Cross’ it is
is read in the Gospel of Nicodemus that, when Adam waxed sick, Seth
his son went to the gate of Paradise terrestrial for to get the oil
of mercy for to anoint withal his father's body ...
another place it is read that the angel brought him a branch, and
commanded him to plant it in the Mount of Lebanon. Yet find we in
another place that he gave him of the tree that Adam ate of, and said
to him that when that bare fruit he should be guerished and all
whole. When Seth came again lie found his father dead and planted
this tree upon his grave, and it endured there unto the time of
Solomon. And because he saw that it was fair, he did hew it down and
set it in his house named Saltus. And when the Queen of Sheba came to
visit Solomon she worshipped this tree, because she said the Saviour
of all the world should be hanged thereon ...
after this history, the cross by which we be saved came of the tree
by which we were damned.’
This extract of
The Golden Legend
by William Caxton differs
from the German version in that some details given by Caxton are
omitted in the German and vice versa. The fact that the tree was not
found suitable for the building and was used as a bridge over which
the Queen of Sheba was to pass is not mentioned in the English text.
Bilder Okkulter Siegel und Säulen.
Der Munchner Kongress, Pfingsten 1907, und seine Auswirkungen,
Bibl. 284, there is a comprehensive note dealing with the source
of the Temple Legend. It is there said that, according to the
research of Otto Zockler
(Das Kreuz Christi,
chapter headed: ‘Medieval Legends concerning the Wood of the
Cross,’ Gutersloh 1875 — preserved in the
University Library, Basle) the legend about the three seeds from the
Tree of Life forms part of a complicated series of legends from the
twelfth century onwards. The earliest literary mention of Adam being
buried on Golgotha is quoted by the Alexandrian Church Father,
Origen, from a tradition out of the second century, to which was
added the tradition of Seth's journey to Paradise which is recorded
in the third century in the Nicodemus Gospel, which originally
contained an account of the fetching of the Oil of Mercy for the
healing of Seth's sick father, Adam. It was only in later centuries
that the genealogical connection between the wood of the Tree of
Paradise and the Cross of Christ was established in its various forms.
legend, including the elaborations concerning Seth's journey to
Paradise for the three seeds, was freely quoted by Rudolf Steiner on
many occasions including: The present lecture on 29th May 1905,
lectures in Leipzig on 15th December 1906 (Bibl. 97), in Berlin on
17th December 1906 (Bibl. 96), in Munich on 21st May 1907 (Bibl.
284), in Cassel on 29th June 1907 and in Basle on 25th November 1907
(both in Bibl. 100) and in Dornach on 19th December 1915 (Bibl. 165).
In his lecture in Cassel,
The Golden Legend
as having provided a subject for occult instruction since the most
ancient times and, referring to Seth, it interprets his mission as of
one who could see ‘into the end times, when the harmony between the
two principles of mankind would be re-established.’ By the two
principles is meant the two trees pertaining to the red and purple
blood which are represented in the two pillars of the Temple.
As is evident from the
interpretation of the legend by spiritual science the pictures which
it presents are symbolic of the Fourth Degree in the Rosicrucian
initiation, which is characterised by the ‘Finding of the
Philosopher's Stone’ and is also known as the guldene,
or ‘golden degree.’ This gives us an esoteric explanation
of why it was usually referred to by Rudolf Steiner as
The Golden Legend.
There is a much longer
and more detailed version of this legend in an old Cornish legend
(The Ancient Cornish Drama,
edited and translated by Edwin Norris, Oxford University, 1859).
version there is not only the account of the fetching of the Oil of
Mercy by Seth, but also of the attempt by Solomon to incorporate the
wood from this tree into the Temple and its final rejection.
The portion of this
drama relating to the Oil of Mercy is also to be found in
an anthology of Celtic poetry edited by E. A. Sharp and J. Matthay Oohn
Grant, Edinburgh, 1932).
The famous rod of Moses ...
Also, according to a mystic Hebrew source, the rod of Moses inscribed
with the unutterable name of God is nothing else than the Tree of Life.
(the smaller Midrasch commentary on the later legends of the Old
Testament) it is said: ‘I (Moses) asked her (Zippora) where he
(Jithro) obtained this tree? She answered: It is the rod which the
Holy One, Blessed may He be! created on the sabbath eve after having
created His world. The Holy One, Blessed may He be! handed it to the
first man, who handed it to Chanoch, who handed it to Noa, who handed
it to Sem, who handed it to Abraham, who handed it to Jacob, who
brought it with him to Egypt and gave it to Joseph his son. When
Joseph died, the Egyptians plundered his house and brought this roc
to Pharoah's palace. My father Jithro was one of Pharoah's great
astrologers, he saw the rod, conceived a desire for it, stole it and
brought it to his own house. On this rod was inscribed the
unutterable name of God and the ten plagues which the Holy One,
Blessed may He be! would one day cause to fall on the Egyptians in
the land of Egypt ... And how many days and how many years did this
rod lie already in my father's house until the day when he took it in
his hand, went out into the garden and planted it in the ground. When
he returned to the garden to fetch it he found that it had already
sprouted and grown blossoms.’ (Quoted from Hans Ludwig Held:
‘Von Golem und Shem.’ from the periodical:
as Giordano Bruno, for example, called it.
Philotheus Giordano Bruno (1548–1600)
De rerum Principiis Elementis et Causis,
Dialogue: ‘Universal reasoning is the most inward, real and
individual faculty and a potential part of the World Soul.’
Now Plato said about this, that the World Soul has been
crucified on the World Body.
See note 10 to the preceding lecture.
as Goethe says,
Second part of Faust, end chorus:
‘All things transitory are but a likeness.’
‘Fairy Story of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily,’
Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily,
Floris Books, 1979. See also
Goethe's Standard of the Soul as illustrated in Faust and in the Fairy Story of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily,
Anthroposophical Publishing Company, London, 1925; and
Goethe's Secret Revelation and the Riddle of Faust,
Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, London, 1933.
‘With the law sin came into the world.’
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, Chapter 5, verse 13 and Chapter 8,
Lecture 14, Berlin, 5th June 1905
Source for the text.
Shorthand report of Walter Vegelahn and Berta Reebstein-Lehmann,
and also longhand report by Marie Steiner von Sivers.
It is to be taken into account that the notes are in part very
deficient and may not be regarded as being verbatim reports.
I did speak about some of the things to be mentioned today,
a year ago.
In his lecture of 23rd May 1904 (lecture 1).
You know that our earth evolution was cosmologically
preceded by the moon evolution.
In connection with the following descriptions see the fundamental
works of Rudolf Steiner:
Rudolf Steiner Publications, New York, 1971, and
Occult Science, An Outline,
Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1969.
The initiates tread the path in advance ...
A few very inadequately recorded sentences follow this in all texts. In
Vegelahn's text it is as follows: ‘Then the astral body was permeated
by Manas, Buddhi appeared in the etheric body and the
Father-Principle in the physical body. This working went so far that
a brain could be formed, up to the point where the being learned to
say “I”. That was the case with the
in ‘Light on the Path.’
Light on the Path,
by Mabel Collins
(1851–1927) a theosophical writer acknowledged by Rudolf Steiner by
an exegesis to the work in question. (Printed in his:
Guidance in Esoteric Training,
Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1972).
If, in escaping from the earthly,
Rudolf Steiner here draws his Heraclitus quotation from a work on
philosophy by Vincent Knauer.
Berlin, 21st October 1905
Source for the text.
Longhand notes by Anna Weissmann, Stuttgart, and Marie
Steiner von Sivers. (To the notes by Anna Weissmann was added the
remark that this lecture was held in a very restricted
To the theme in general.
In order to avoid a
possible source of grave misunderstanding regarding the various
statements made by Rudolf Steiner about the atom and future new
forces of nature, it is necessary to point out that these varying
statements must be considered in their context. It is especially
necessary to differentiate between Rudolf Steiner's criticism of
the atomic theory as a philosophy of life and his views about the
nature of the atom from an occult point of view.
His criticism of the
atomic theory as a philosophy of life was first expressed in his essays:
‘Einzig mogliche Kritik der atomistischen Begriffe’
(Only possible View of the Atomistic Concepts)
and ‘Die Atomistik und ihre Widerlegung’
(Atomic Theory and its Refutation)
which have as their purpose to
show that it is impossible to regard the atom as being the ‘basic
principle of all existence.’ Just as telegraph wires and electricity
are only conveyors of what is the essential, so atoms, too, are only
the agents or bearers of effects produced by the spirit. This basic
view runs through the whole of Rudolf Steiner's work. Even in one of
his last works, in his autobiography
(The Course of My Life,Chapter 32)
it is stated: ‘Atoms, or atomic structure, can only
be the result of spiritual action or organic action.’
quite different is involved in the statements about the atom which he
made in the present lectures. Here he was speaking from an occult
point of view to a very restricted circle about the atom as nature's
archetypal building material, in connection with Freemasonry. For, in
the same way as nature was to have been sanctified through masonic
cultic symbolism, so Rudolf Steiner wished to awaken through the
Cultic-Symbolic Section of his Esoteric School, for which these
lectures were a preparation, the knowledge that the ‘laboratory table
should become the altar of the future’ and that the impulse of
selflessness must be implanted into the social order if our utilitarian
culture is not to perish through egoism. That is why he published
simultaneously with that his
‘Fundamental Social Law’
a community of human beings working together,
the wellbeing of the community will be the greater, the less the
individual claims for himself the proceeds of the work he has himself
done; i.e., the more of these proceeds he makes over to his
fellow-workers, and the more his own requirements are satisfied, not
out of his own work done, but out of work done by the others.’
Anthroposophy and the Social Question).
occasion, which was provided not by occult promptings but by external
science, was the result of insight into the effects which the latest
discoveries of physics at the turn of the nineteenth to twentieth
centuries could have for mankind. The perception of the fact that
modern science and technology were fast approaching a stage where
they could only contribute to the welfare of mankind if human souls
are enriched and deepened by a theosophical view of life, prompted
Rudolf Steiner to come out in support of the publication of spiritual
truths. That the physics of the period was beginning to investigate
the connection between the atom, electricity and etheric forces was
recognised by Rudolf Steiner as a tremendously important turning
point in the development of human thought because, as occultist, he
knew that ‘a new point of departure will be made from the atom to the
mineral-physical world.’ (See also lecture 9 of 16th December 1904
and note 22 thereto).
reason he ascribed tremendous importance to the speech of the then
Prime Minister Balfour, which pointed in this direction.
With the prophecy given
in the three lectures of 9th, 16th and 23rd December 1904, that man
would learn to ‘think into the atom’ and would acquire
the ability to make use of its inner force, was combined not only a
warning of the grave dangers which would threaten him if this force
were not used selflessly in the service of the whole, but also an
allusion to the fact that, as something of greatest importance for
the future, man will be able to build with atoms as ‘the smallest
of building stones’ in the future.
latter, not further elaborated suggestion,
gets a firmer outline through the notes of lecture 15 of 21st October
1905 and the supplementary notes of the lecture of 21st October 1907,
according to which the occultist is capable of making the atom
‘grow.’ [Many years later, in a lecture in Berlin on
22nd of June 1915 (in ‘Thoughts for the Times,’ C 39) Rudolf
Steiner again came to speak of the atom in connection with the Jupiter
evolution and mentioned the above lectures. A literal rendering of what
he said there would be as follows: ‘I have spoken formerly about
the atom as being built up out of the whole cosmos. You can find it again
in those earlier lectures which were held right at the beginning of our
Berlin activities.’] At the same time mention is also made of his
capacity to make it ‘shrink.’ To his audience at that time these
thoughts were not quite new. For in the literature of the
Theosophical Society, especially that by C.W. Leadbeater and Annie
Besant, there was a great deal concerning the power of growing and
shrinking as a faculty particularly to be developed in the case of
etheric clairvoyance; this was usually found in connection with a
description of the clairvoyant investigation of atoms. It was just in
the year 1905 that Annie Besant had spoken and written on this
subject on various occasions. There was also a study done by
Leadbeater and Besant in collaboration in 1895 which appeared anew at
this time under the title
Rudolf Steiner rejected this manner of presentation as
‘materialistic spiritualism,’ just as he rejected the
atomism of natural science as a basis for a philosophy of life, for in
this theosophical literature, too, the atoms were regarded as the
underlying principle of all existence, instead of recognising them
as being the result and agents of definite spiritual effects.
the same reason he did not speak about a mere
outward technique of etheric enlargement and diminution but about the
fact that from the twentieth century onward an etheric clairvoyance
would gradually develop as a new natural ability of mankind, whereby
the reappearance of Christ in the etheric realms would become
‘The Etherisation of the Blood’
‘The True Nature of the Second Coming.’)
Then there will be chemists and
physicists who will no longer preach the doctrine that the world
consists of only material atoms, but they will teach that matter is
built up ‘in the way that Christ arranged it.’ (See:
The Spiritual Guidance of Man and Humanity,
It can be
inferred from lecture 20 given on the 2nd of January 1906 (in this
volume), that when it is said that man will use the atom in future
times for building purposes, that is connected with gaining mastery
over the etheric, over the life forces. In a slightly later lecture
(Munich, 4th December 1907 — published in Volume 98 of the complete
edition) this fact is stated again very clearly in the following
When man has developed himself so far that he
has reached the first stage of clairvoyance, then the life of the
plants, the laws governing life, will be just as clear to him as the
laws of the mineral world are at present.”
put together a machine or build a house you are acting in accordance
with the laws of the mineral world. A machine is constructed
according to the laws of the mineral world, but a plant cannot be
built in this fashion. If you wish to have a plant you must leave it
to those beings who underlie the structure of nature. In future times
man will be able to create plants in a laboratory, but only when it
has become a sacrament to him, a holy office which he performs. All
creation of living things will only be permitted to man when he has
become so sincere and pure minded that for him the laboratory bench
has become an altar. Before that time not the slightest hint will be
revealed to him of how living things are composed. In other words:
The ego as an organ of consciousness lives in the mineral world and
will ascend to the plant kingdom, which it will learn to understand
just as it now understands the mineral world. Later on it will learn
to comprehend the laws of the animal kingdom and after that those of
the human kingdom. All human beings will learn to comprehend the
inner life of plants, of animals and of man; that is a perspective of
the future. Whatever one is truly able to comprehend, one can
demonstrate — for instance a watch. Present-day man will never be
able to demonstrate anything taken from living nature without the
help of the beings who stand behind nature — so long as it is not a
sacramental operation which he is performing.’
The gods of Devachan, or the heavenly world.
The time it takes for the sun to traverse one zodiacal sign is about
Later Rudolf Steiner gave more
precise figures for this, according to which the precession of the
equinox through the whole zodiac takes 12 x 2 x 160 = 25,920 years,
which is a Platonic or world year. Human incarnations are generally
connected with these epochs of 2,160 years.
If one goes back a million years in Germany,
It is unusual for Rudolf Steiner to give specific figures for such distant
events. If we go back in time beyond the end of the Ice Age (10,000
years ago), there is a great discrepancy between the figures given by
modern science and those of spiritual science. For instance, modern
science sets the date of the commencement of the Ice Age at one
million years ago. Spiritual science, on the other hand, puts the
commencement of the Ice Age into the middle of Atlantis —
‘The cosmos became calculable for the first time around 13,500
At that time most of Atlantis was already submerged’ (Blavatsky).
The trouble with chronology is that modern science still takes
present-day conditions as its norm for calculating (e.g., rate of
disintegration of matter) and projects it into the past. Spiritual
science, on the other hand, calculates according to cosmic rhythms
(progression of the sun through the zodiac).
Yet, occult books, however, give descriptions and pictures
of the atom.
Rudolf Steiner obviously refers here to the representations of
atomic structures as they appeared in theosophical literature. Just
at the time of these lectures a new edition of
written in 1895 by C.W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant had appeared
with illustrations. Many of the latter were also depicted in Annie
Besant's most popular work:
The Ancient Wisdom,
1899. The first to represent atomic forms in this way was the American,
Babbit, in his work:
The Principle of Light and Colour,
1878, which was referred to in the Besant-Leadbeater study.
the fifth Round ...
In explanation of the terms ‘Round,’ ‘Globe,’
etc., see diagram at end of lecture 10, 23rd December 1904.
Dionysius, the pupil of the Apostle Paul ...
Dionysius is mentioned in the
Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 17, verse 34.
Two works appeared under his name at the end of the fifth century in Syria:
Concerning the Heavenly Hierarchy and
Concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy,
which were translated from Greek into Latin in the ninth century
by John Scotus Erigena.
Nicholas of Cusa, 1401–1464, German mystic. Compare:
Die Mystik im Aufgange des neuzeitlichen Geisteslebens und
ihr Verhaltnis zur modernen Weltanschauung,
translated variously as:
‘Mysticism and Modern Thought,’
‘Mystics of the Renaissance’
‘Eleven European Mystics.’
When Goethe speaks of the Spirit of the Earth ...
In the first part of Faust, Scene I.
Berlin, 22nd October 1905
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes by Franz Seiler; made ready for
publishing by Marie Steiner von Sivers.
May I once more make it known ...
The first announcement was most probably given during the General
Meeting of the German Section which had taken place beforehand.
the Besant Branch ...
The then name of the Berlin Branch which held its usual evening
the music of the spheres ...
The principle teaching of Pythagoras (ca. 580–500
was that the universe was conceived in the form of a harmoniously
ordered whole (the harmony of the spheres).
the ancient Indian Vedas.
Veda (Sanskrit word for ‘sacred knowledge’).
The Vedas are the complete collection of the
oldest religious documents of the Hindus, written in Sanskrit, to
which a supersensible origin has been attributed. They contain a
comprehensive literature which was handed on by word of mouth for
many ages. The Vedic manuscripts are divided mainly into the following:
1. the Sanhitas; 2. the Brahmanas; 3. the Aranyakas and Upanishads.
The Sanhitas are the anthologies of songs, sacrificial formulae and
magical incantations. Four such anthologies are distinguished,
usually referred to simply as ‘the four Vedas.’
the animals in the dark caves of Kentucky lost their ability
to see ...
This example is often cited by Rudolf Steiner. The phenomenon of the
rudimentary organs was first observed in the American caves. See:
Origin of Species,
Chapter 5, ‘The Laws of Mutation.’
Berlin, 23rd October 1905
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes by Franz Seiler; newly checked for
any kind of female member was, for Freemasonry, strictly taboo.
See note 6.
the outward compilation of the Bible is rightly ascribed to
only a few hundred years before the birth of Christ.
This was at the time of the return of the Jews from the Babylonian
captivity in the fifth century
by the Hebrew scribe Ezra.
In ancient Greek mythology Zeus is portrayed with ample female
There is a Zeus type, several examples of which are still preserved in
Asia Minor, in which the upper part of the body is covered by a number
of breasts or humps similar to the famous statue of Artemis Ephesia: e.g.,
relief sculpture of the ‘Stratios Zeus’ and the figures on
coins, among which is the ‘Labrandeus Zeus’ from daria.
That is a process in man himself.
See in this connection the later descriptions which
Rudolf Steiner gave in:
The Effects of Occult Development Upon the Sheaths of Man.
(Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, London, and Anthroposophic Press,
New York, 1945).
I have reserved to myself ...
The shorthand report is unclear at this point. The conclusion of the
sentence has two possible renderings:
1. ‘I have reserved
to myself confessing (erzihlen) a bias (eine Neigung) about those
of Abel's race and those of Cain's race.’
2. ‘I have reserved
to myself achieving (erzielen) a unification (eine Einigung)
between those of Abel is race and those of Cain's race.’
The founding of the Adoption Lodges in the eighteenth
century paved the way for the sexes to come together.
In Secret Societies of all Ages and Countries
by Charles William Heckethorn (Book 8, Section 2 1) we
to one of the fundamental laws of Masonry — and a rule prevailing
in the greater mysteries of antiquity — women cannot be received
into the order ...
have seen that Cagliostro admitted women to the Egyptian Rite; and
when at the beginning of the eighteenth century several associations
sprang up in France, which in their external aspect resembled
Freemasonry, but did not exclude women, the ladies naturally were
loud in their praise of such institutions, so that the masonic
brotherhood, seeing it was becoming unpopular, had recourse to the
stratagem of establishing “adoptive” lodges of women, so
called because every such lodge had finally to be adopted by some
regular masonic lodge. The Grand Orient of France framed laws for
their government, and the first lodge of adoption was opened in Paris
in 1775 ...
lodges spread over Europe, Great Britain excepted; but they soon
declined and are at present confined to the place of their
The founder of our Society was indeed a [female] member of such
an Adoption Lodge.
This refers to H.P. Blavatsky (1831–1891) who was awarded the
highest adoption degree of the Memphis-Misraim Freemasonry in 1888 by
John Yarker (see note 16 to lecture 9 of 16th December 1904) after she
had published her first great work:
Berlin, 23rd October 1905
Source for the text.
The text was taken from the most complete of four,
supplemented by the other three.
until it was put into documentary form,
See note 2 to the preceding lecture.
Zeus, who was worshipped as the progenitor of the human
race, was portrayed in the oldest [versions of] Greek mythology as having
See note 3 to the preceding lecture.
So, with Hiram, we have arrived at the transition from the
third to the fourth Post-Atlantean epoch,
Hiram was living during the reign of King Solomon, which is reckoned
as being 993–953
The fourth Sub Race had its beginning in 747
according to Rudolf Steiner.
This is the Indian theosophical term for a great cosmic epoch of
evolution. A period of manifestation such as the planetary states
(Old Moon, Old Sun, etc.,)
In the ancient Hebrew language there is a Word, a Mantram, which, it
is said, will create the world if uttered sufficiently strongly.
This possibly refers to the ‘Ineffable name of God’ which,
according to Hans Ludwig Held
(‘Von Golem und Shem’ in
January 1917), ‘is a difficult formula sequence corresponding to
the 12-, 42-, or 72-letter name, the knowing of which reveals the secret
of God's works or God's activity from beginning to end.’
‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy
seed and her seed
Genesis 3, 15.
in 1775 the first of the so-called Adoption Lodges was
founded; a lodge for women ...
H. P. Blavatsky belonged to such an Adoption Lodge.
See notes 6 and 7 to the preceding
Berlin, 23rd October 1905
Source for the text.
Shorthand notes by Franz Seiler with supplementary
material supplied by three other anonymous members of the
I already indicated a week ago that I wished to say a few
words precisely on this subject;
At the previous Members' meeting of the Berlin Branch (on Monday 16th
October), Rudolf Steiner made the following remark during the announcement
of the forthcoming activities: ‘At next Monday's meeting I shall
speak about occultism, esotericism and theosophy. I wish to draw your
attention to the fact that this subject will be dealt with in conjunction
with current happenings. I would beg you to invite as many members as
possible, also those living at a distance.’
Berlin, 2nd January 1906
Source for the text.
a) Writing from an unknown hand (the most complete).
b) The typed clean copy of Franz Seiler's shorthand.
The original shorthand copy of this was also available and on renewed
scrutiny was found to be incomplete and to have been supplemented and
restored during the process 0 ‘f typing by Seiler, sometimes with the
help of text (a) which apparently stood at his disposal.
c )A very much shortened version by an unknown hand in
close textual agreement with (a).
d) A much shortened text with gaps noted by Berta
e) Notes by Marie Steiner von Sivers.
f) Notes from an unknown hand.
The basis used for the printed version was copy (a)
with the additional consideration of (b) after comparison with its
shorthand copy and other texts.
Places in the text which are deficient in all versions
are indicated in the following notes.
Most of you know that I have already spoken ...
In the two lectures 17 and 18 in this volume on 23rd October 1905,
to men and women separately.
It is now some seventeen or eighteen years ago ...
Rudolf Steiner here refers to his association with the circle around
Marie Eugenie della Grazie in Vienna during the eighties of the last
century. See in this connection
The Story of My Life.
This was discussed as a completely serious matter ...
The occasion for this lay in the discussions prevailing at that
time between the Church and Freemasonry concerning the sensational
work by Leo Taxil on satanic practices of the Freemasons which had
already appeared in 100,000 copies at the time of these discussions.
Die Drei-Punkte-Brifder ∴
— see following note.
Now what happened was ...
Rudolf Steiner refers
here to the now famous Taxil-Vaughan swindle. Leo Taxil (pseudonym
for Gabriel Jogand Pages), 1854–1907, brought up by Jesuits and known
since the seventies as an anti-clerical writer and founder of several
free-thinking societies, became a member of the Paris Lodge: ‘Le
Temple de I'Honneur Francais’ in 1881, but was excluded from it soon
afterwards because he was supposed to have forged letters of ∴
Brother Hugo and Louis Blanc. In 1885 he staged his repentant return
to the Church. In obedience to the encyclical of Leo XIII of 20th
April 1884, Humanum Genus in which the unmasking of Freemasons as
confederates of the Devil was required, he commenced his main work,
Les Freres Trois-Points
(Paris, 1885, German: H. Gruber S.J.,
Bruder Paderborn 1886–87), started his unmasking campaign with other
writings concerned with his fabricated Freemasonry system of
‘Palladism’ and was even called to a private audience with
Leo XIII in 1887. The unparalleled success of Leo Taxil and his two other
accomplices: the German, Karl Hacks (pseudonym, Dr. Bataille;
brother-in-law of. the publisher of the ultramontane
Kolnischen Volkszeitung) and the Italian Domenico Margiotta,
in Catholic Church circles reached its climax when Taxil invented the
witness Miss Diana Vaughan
(Miss Diana Vaughan. Memoires d'une Expalladiste. Publication
mensuelle). With the co-operation of
the highest Church dignitaries, Taxil founded an Anti-Freemasonry
Union which summoned a first Anti-Freemasonry Congress in Trient,
September 1896. Thirty-six bishops, fifty episcopal delegates and
over seven hundred opponents of the Lodges, most of them priests,
took part in the Congress. The Sovereign Bishop Cardinal Haller of
Salzburg and the leader of the Catholic nobility in Germany, Prinz
Karl zu Lowenstein, chaired the meeting. The Congress was a public
declaration of the revelations of Taxil and Miss Vaughan, only a few
sceptics demanded proof. The first to start questioning the Taxil
affair was the Freemason Gottfried Joseph Findel who published his
as early as 1896. In general, however, H. Gruber S.J., who had long
been a believer in Taxil, is credited with being the first to raise
doubts about him with his three volume work:
Leo Taxits Palladismus-Roman.
This work only appeared in 1897, however. A.E. Waite, with his
Devil-Worship in France
Question of Luzifer
(London, 1896) is also said to have this distinction.
this time Taxil admitted in a great assembly in
Paris, 19th April 1897, that everything was a deliberate swindle on
his part and that the Devil Bixtru and his satanic Bride, Miss Vaughan,
had never existed. According to the
Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei,
Taxil's confession came about
earlier than was intended ‘because, according to his own admission,
he could not carry the mystification any further after the appearance
of Findel's work.’ Bibliographical references:
Das Papsttum in seiner sozial-kulturellen Wirksamkeit,
Graf von Hoensbroech, Leipzig, 1900;
Entente-Freimaurerei und Weltkrieg,
Karl Heise, Basle, 1920;
Friedrich Hasselbacher, Berlin, 1939.
what Lessing, who was himself a Freemason, said ...
According to Menckeberg, (G.E. Lessing als Freimaurer,
Hamburg, 1880) Lessing, on his enrolment in the Hamburg Lodge on 15th
October 1771, was asked by the Worshipful Master, von Rosenberg:
‘Now, you see indeed, I have told the truth! You have not discovered
anything anti-religious or politically dangerous, have you?’
Lessing is said to have replied: ‘Ha, I wish I had discovered
something of the sort. It would have pleased me better.’
In a text appearing in 1875, the author claims that Adam became
the first Freemason.
It cannot be determined what text Rudolf Steiner was referring to.
However, according to Heckethorn, quoted previously, this notion
already appeared in 1751 in the
Konstitutionenbuch .ffir irlandische Logen.
Scottish or Accepted Rite, which, in a particular respect,
still conserves [a relic of] what is called the Egyptian, the Misraim,
or the Memphis Rite.
This is Seiler's shorthand version. In text (a) it is rendered:
‘so-called Scottish? or the same rite as that which corresponds,
in a particular respect, to what is called the Egyptian, the Misraim,
or the Memphis Rite.’ The Reebstein text (d) only has:
‘Scottish or Accepted Rite — Memphis Rite.’
Goethe's fairy story ...
On this, see note 6 to the lecture given on 29th May 1905 (lecture 13).
The artist's eye looked at what was enacted [in the Mysteries]
In text (a) ‘in the Mysteries’ is replaced by ‘in the
spiritual world.’ In the shorthand version of Seiler these words are
missing. For his fair copy he apparently made use of text
Whereas in India, up to the time of the Egyptian cult ...
This sentence is incomplete in all versions. It is given in the
published version as corrected by Marie Steiner from text (a).
Whoever wants to understand what Aristotle meant by
purification, catharsis ... how Lessing investigated ...
‘Aristotle on the Mystery Drama’
(NSL 420. Anthroposophical Monthly, Volume 4, No. 9)
Speech and Drama,
Anthroposophical Publishing Company, London, 1960.
in the symbolically deeply significant saga of the Holy Grail ...
Rudolf Steiner often spoke about the Grail Mysteries at the time of
these lectures: for instance in Berlin, on 19th May 1905
(Anthroposophical News Sheet, Volume 5, No. 11), and in
Landin (Mark), on 29th July 1906 (typescript copy: Z307).
my recent lecture ...
The double lecture given on 23rd October 1905 to men and women separately
(lectures 17 and 18 in the present volume).
On the other hand you know ... forces of male and female.
This sentence is not word for word as transcribed. The various texts are
different. Text (a) omits from this sentence the words ‘great
streams’ and has in their place ‘forces of male and
female,’ and ends at the word ‘realms,’ omitting the
rest. Seiler's fair copy has the
same wording, but the shorthand version has a gap here. In
Reebstein's text (d) we find the following: ‘The symbols are
connected with questions running through the whole world, which
meaning ... basic forces of male and female.’ The notes of Marie
Steiner von Sivers give the following: ‘The two sexes are only an
expression of the two great currents, which confront us as the Law of
Polarity.’ The printed version has been revised by the editor to give
a meaningful rendering.
The World Soul is nailed to the Cross of the World Body.
See note 10 to lecture given on 22nd May 1905 (lecture 12).
ensoulment (conquest) ...
(Beseelung), ‘conquest’ (Besiegung).
Texts (a) and (b) have the former; text (d) the latter.
And even the Statesman gives structure to nature [?]
The questionable word ‘nature’ was given in texts (a)
and (b) but was missing in the other texts.
And the Middle Ages with its chaos ...
This sentence was incomplete in texts (a) and (b) and was made up from
texts (d) and (e).
as can even be proved by literary means
Rudolf Steiner was obviously referring here to the saga of ‘Poor
Henry’ composed by Hartmann von Aue (1165 — C 1215), a
contemporary of Wolfram von Eschenbach. (See also note 13). Rudolf
Steiner often referred to this poem later in his lectures.
Cain, by contrast had offered something which he had himself won
from the earth by his own labour, as the fruit of effort.
This sentence only occurs in text (a). Reebstein's text (d) on the other
hand, is the only text to contain this sentence: ‘Abel is the one who
in the future will have the power to create [what is] holy through
[the forces of] his soul.’
This joint force (communal force).
Text (a) has ‘communal force’ (Gemeinsam keitskraft).
In Seiler's fair copy it is ‘joint force’ (Gesamtkraft),
but in Seiler's shorthand copy, Gemeinsamkeitskraft can be read. The
whole text, ‘including the preceding paragraph, is rendered in
Reebstein's text (d) in the following way: ‘Objective love was
present in the gods who created the cosmos. Something superhuman stirs
itself, which today is understanding, which later will be love. Manas,
Buddhi, Atma is a joint force which gives power over the Cross.’
The Symbol of the Holy Grail
It seems that the texts
at this point have not been clearly conceived. It is significant that
only the triangle is mentioned and nothing is said of the hexagram.
But after the words in Seiler's shorthand copy: ‘The medieval
occultist expressed the symbol of the Grail ... in the form of a
triangle,’ he has drawn a hexagram which could only have been
inserted at the time he was writing.
triangles and hexagram have been reproduced in the present volume as
taken from Reebstein's text (d) which provides the greatest number of
(f) the diagram with its pertinent text are rendered thus:
triangle is the symbol of the Holy Grail and also the
symbol for awakening perfection in the living. That is the Power of
Christ which is described as “Vril” in Zanoni. It exists
at present in an elementary germinal state and will become in the
future that which will form the true content of the Higher Degrees,
namely, the Royal Art. Man must attain this for himself, quite alone,
without too much questioning.’
also contains a variant which is not found in the other texts:
‘Everything which is expressed through art, science and religion,
inasmuch as it is not given by the gods — and therefore standing
under the sign of the Cross — is derived from Freemasonry.
therefore, the sign of Freemasonry:
other texts have none of these diagrams. For
an explanation of the hexagram as a symbol see Rudolf Steiner's
lecture of 12th January 1924, contained in
Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation,
Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1965. A personal remark relating to the
hexagram was recorded by Alexander Strakosch (Mitteilungen aus der
anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland,
Christmas, 1958). In the house which was built for the
anthroposophical work in Stuttgart, Landhausstrasse 70, in 1911, the
hexagram was displayed in the upper parts of the windows of the main
hall. Strakosch, who had expected to find the pentagram, asked Rudolf
Steiner about it and received the reply: ‘The hexagram is actually
the sign for the Christ and the Venus evolution.’
And of what use is it if a corporate body possesses the Power of
Text (a) has the word ‘Christ’ instead of the word
‘Cross,’ but on the other hand, Seiler's shorthand and
fair copy, as well as Reebstein's text (d), give ‘Cross.’
Wolfram von Eschenbach's ‘Parzival.’
Composed around 1200–1210. First printed 1477. Forgotten then for
many years and only came to be known again about 1750. First critical
edition by Lachmann (1833) followed by numerous others. English
translations: J.L. Weston,
A Knightly Epic,
2 volumes, London, 1894, in verse; Mustard and Passage,
Parzival, Vintage Books,
New York, 196 1; A.T. Hatto, Parzival, Penguin Classics, 1980.
Bulwer Lytton in his futuristic novel ‘Vril.’
The Right Hon. Lord Lytton,
The Coming Race,
George Routledge and Sons, London, 1870.
Translated into German by Gunther Wachsmuth at Rudolf Steiner's
instigation, Stuttgart, 1922, under the title:
Vril oder eine Menschheit der Zukunft.
an answer to a question put to Rudolf Steiner
at the end of a lecture held in Leipzig, 13th October 1906, regarding
the meaning of Vril, he said the following:
which was previously present in the world will return
again. The Vril-force underlies something special. At present man can
really only make use of the forces of the mineral world. Gravity is a
mineral [force], electricity also. The building of railways we owe
to coal. What man does not know how to use, though, is the force of
plants. The power which causes the blades of corn to spring up in a
cornfield is a still latent power, which man will press into his
service just as with the power of coal. That is Vril. It is the same
force which the fakirs still use. They live in atavism — the mark of
an ancestral condition.’
In Freemasonry there is a very ancient symbol ...
the Cross directed upwards.
The explanations of the Tau symbol are fragmentary and
the texts differ in their wording.
Text (a) has the
following: ‘The Tau sign plays an important role in Freemasonry. It
is basically nothing else than a Cross with the upper, arm taken
away. In a figurative sense, therefore, the mineral realm has been
omitted. But in order to arrive at the Cross at all, the plant
kingdom must be brought into play, whereby one arrives at the upward
symbol of (a) both seem questionable. Marie Steiner, who once made
some preparatory corrections of (a), left off the symbol in its
original form and replaced it with the following: ‘In order to arrive
at the Cross at all, the plant kingdom must be brought into play,
whereby the upward pointing Cross is obtained.’
In text (b)
the following version is given: ‘This Tau sign plays
an important role in Freemasonry. It is nothing else but the Cross.
Only one of the beams is left off. The mineral kingdom has been left
off in order to arrive at the Cross at all. If you allow the plant
kingdom to come into play you get the upward pointing cross.’ In the
shorthand version of this there is a gap after the words: ‘in order
to arrive at the Cross at all.’ Instead, the symbol is inserted after
‘upwards pointing Cross,’ whereas it has been left out of the
The text (d)
‘The Tau plays an important role τ
It is nothing else than the Cross.
If the productive forces of the plant ...’ It is significant that
the Tau symbol has been drawn, but not the reverse form, in a text which
otherwise provides the greatest number of diagrams.
Text (f) has the
following: ‘The Tau is the Cross, from which the upper beam has been
removed. The mineral realm has been left off, man controls it
already. For if one lets the plant realm come into play one arrives
at (symbol). What develops out of the earth, out of the soul as power
over the earth, is the symbol of future
texts do not contain a reference to this.
Whoever heard my last lecture about Freemasonry ...
Double lecture on 23rd October 1905, for men and women
separately (lectures 17 and 18).
at the remark with which I ended last time ...
In the lecture of 28th December 1905 (unpublished as yet), Rudolf
Steiner said: ‘Allow me to conclude my observations of the old year
with an allusion I have made once before [in the lectures of December
1904, included in the present volume]. A major work of destruction is
being carried out all around us, which could tell an observant person
— even if he were not clairvoyant — that we stand at the
beginning of a great work of destruction involving outer material
[culture] as it has developed in recent centuries — for material
development only goes up to a certain point.’
Keely invented a motor ...
The American, John Worrell Keely (born 1837) caused much talk in the
second half of the nineteenth century through the invention of the
‘self-motor,’ the so-called Keely Motor. A treatise on his
experiments is to be found in H.P. Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
Volume 1, Book III
(X ‘The Coming Force,’ pp. 554–556).
Among the lectures of Rudolf Steiner there are several references to
this subject, notably in the lecture given during the Great War on
20th June 1916: ‘Cosmic Being and Egohood’
(cycle C 43), where he says: ‘It was a concept still. Thank God it
was only a concept at that time for, if this Keely's concept had
become reality then, what would this war have become!’ Compare also
the lecture given in Dornach on 1st December 1918, in
In the Changed Conditions of the Times,
Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, 1941.
This power is symbolised by the Tau sign and was indeed
poetically symbolised by the image of the Holy Grail.
Texts (a) and (b) have: ‘the Tau’ of
the Holy Grail. The other texts do not have this passage, the image
of the Holy Grail is Marie Steiner's correction; perhaps, however, it
rests on an error in copying and it should read: ‘the Taube’
(i.e., ‘dove’) of the Holy Grail.
Goethe, for instance ...
There are still many mysteries.
See in this context Rudolf Steiner's later lectures:
The Problem of Faust,
twelve lectures, Dornach, between 13th September 1916
and 19th January 1919.
a task which is incumbent on us ...
Rudolf Steiner is referring here to the Section dealing with cult and
symbolism of his Esoteric School which he was about to found. See in
The Course of My Life,Chapter XXXII.