TRAINING — THE INTERIOR
THE EARTH — EARTHQUAKES AND
Yesterday we described
the various stages by which pupils of the Eastern and the Christian
occult schools came to higher knowledge. Today I will try to describe,
in a similar way, the stages of Rosicrucian training.
You must not imagine that
the Rosicrucian training contradicts the other two. It has existed since
the fourteenth century, and it had to be introduced because mankind
then needed a different form of training. Among the Initiates it was
foreseen that a time would come when because of the gradual increase of
knowledge men would be confused in matters of religious faith. Therefore a
form of instruction had to be created for those who felt within themselves
the discord between faith and knowledge. In the Middle Ages the most
learned men were also those of the greatest faith and piety; and for
a long time afterwards those who had made headway in scientific knowledge
could not conceive of any contradictions between knowledge and faith.
We are usually told that faith was shaken by the ideas of Copernicus,
but that is quite wrong: after all, Copernicus dedicated his book to
the Pope! It is only in quite recent times that this conflict has gradually
developed. The Masters of Wisdom saw that this was bound to happen and
that a new path would have to be found for those whose faith had been
destroyed. For persons much occupied with science, the necessary path
towards Initiation is the Rosicrucian, for the Rosicrucian method shows
that the highest knowledge of mundane things is thoroughly compatible
with the highest knowledge of spiritual truths. It is precisely through
the Rosicrucian path that those who have been led away from Christian
belief by what they take to be science can learn to understand Christianity
truly for the first time. By this method anyone can come to a deeper
grasp of the truth of Christianity. Truth is one, but it can be reached
along different paths, just as at the foot of a mountain there are various
paths, but they all meet at the summit.
The essence of Rosicrucian
training may be described in two words: true self-knowledge. The
Rosicrucian pupil has to distinguish two things, not merely theoretically
but practically, so that they become part of his everyday life. There are
two forms of self-knowledge — the lower form, called by the
Rosicrucian pupil “self-mirroring”, which should serve to
overcome the lower self, and the higher form of self-knowledge which is
born out of self-renunciation.
What is the lower form of
self-knowledge? It consists in the recognition of our everyday self, of
what we are and of what we bear within us: in other words, an examination
of our own soul-life. But we must make it quite clear to ourselves that
by this means we cannot reach the higher self. When we look into ourselves
we see only what we are, and that is just what we have to grow out of
in order to surmount the ordinary self. But how is this to be done?
Most people are convinced that their characteristics are the best, and
anyone who lacks these characteristics is uncongenial to them. Once
a person has outgrown this idea, not only in theory but in feeling,
he will be on the way to true self-knowledge.
You can get out of the
habit of self-admiration by a particular method which can be practised
whenever you have five minutes for it. You must start from the principle
that all characteristics are one-sided; you must learn to recognise
in what respects yours are one-sided and then try to balance them. This
principle may not amount to much in theory, but in practice it is highly
effective. If you are industrious, you must ask yourself whether your
activity may not be wrongly applied. Quickness, too, is one-sided; it
needs to be supplemented by careful deliberation. Every quality has
its polar opposite; you should cultivate its opposite and then try to
harmonise the two extremes. For example, make haste slowly; be quick
and yet deliberate; deliberate and yet not slow. Then the pupil will
begin to grow beyond himself. All this is not part of meditation, but
must be acquired alongside it.
It is by attention to
small details that this harmony can be achieved. If your tendency is
not to let anyone finish what he is saying, you must keep a watch on
yourself and make up your mind that for six weeks you will keep silent,
as far as possible, when someone else is talking. Then you must accustom
yourself to speak neither too loudly nor too softly. Things such as this,
which are generally not thought of, contribute essentially to inner
self-development, and the more attention you pay to quite insignificant
characteristics, the better it will be. If you try not only to acquire
certain moral, intellectual or emotional qualities, but to get rid of
some external habit, this will be particularly effective. It is a question
not so much of investigating your inner self as of endeavouring to perfect
the qualities which you have not yet fully developed, and to complement
those you already have by cultivating their polar counterparts.
Self-knowledge is one of the hardest things to acquire, and it is
precisely those who think they know themselves best who are most likely
to be deceived: they think too much about themselves. You should get out
of the habit of fixing your attention on yourself and constantly using
the word “I” — “I think, I believe, I consider
this right”. Above all you must get rid of the notion that your
opinion is worth more than that of other people. Suppose, for instance,
that someone is very clever. If he displays his cleverness in the company
of people who are not so clever, his behaviour will be very ill-timed; he
will be doing it only to please his own egoism. He ought to adapt his
response to the needs and capacities of others. Agitators are particularly
apt to offend against this rule.
In addition to all this
you must cultivate patience, in the occult sense of the word. Most people
who want to achieve something cannot wait; they imagine they are already
fit to receive anything. This patience derives from strict self-training,
and it, too, is related to the lower form of self-knowledge.
begins only when we can say that our higher self is not in our ordinary
“I”. It is in the whole great world outside, in the sun
and the moon, in a stone or an animal: everywhere can be found the same
essential being that is in us. If a man says: “I wish to cultivate
my higher self and to withdraw from the world; I want to know nothing
about anything material,” he entirely fails to understand that
the higher self is everywhere outside, and that his own higher self is
only a small part of the Great Self outside. Certain methods of so-called
“spiritual” healers make this mistake, which can be very
serious. They instil into patients the idea that matter has no real
existence and so there can be no illnesses. This notion is based on
a false self-knowledge, and, as I have said, it can be very dangerous.
This healing method calls itself Christian, but in fact it is
Christianity is an outlook
which sees in everything a revelation of the Divine. Everything material
becomes an illusion unless we look on it as an expression of the Divine.
If we disown the external world, we are disowning the Divine; if we
reject the material realm, in which God has revealed himself, we are
rejecting the Divine. The important thing is not to gaze into ourselves,
but to seek to know the Great Self which shines down into us. The lower
self says: “Standing here I am cold.” The higher Self says:
“I am also the cold, for as part of the one Self I live in the
cold and make myself cold.” Again the lower self says: “I
am here in the eye which beholds the sun.” The higher Self says:
“I am in the sun and in the sun's rays I look into your
Really to go out of yourself
is to renounce yourself. Hence the Rosicrucian training aims at drawing
the lower self out of man. In the early days of Theosophy the gravest
mistake was made when people were told to look away from the external
world and to gaze into themselves. That is a great illusion, for then
we find only the lower self, the fourth principle, which imagines itself
to be divine but is not so at all. We must come out of ourselves if we are
to know the Divine. “Know thyself” means also “Overcome
The Rosicrucian training
leads its pupils through the following stages, and these go hand in hand
with the six exercises already mentioned: control of thought; initiative
in action; tranquillity; lack of prejudice, or positiveness; faith;
and inner balance. The training itself consists of the following:
1. Study. Without
study, a modern European cannot get to know himself. He must try, first
of all, to reproduce in himself the thoughts of the whole of humanity.
He must learn to think in harmony with the world-order. He must say
to himself: “If others have thought this, it must be a possible
human thought; I will test whether one can live with it.” He need
not swear to it as a dogma, but by studying it he must get to know what
it is. The pupil must learn about the evolution of sun and planets,
of the earth and humanity. Thoughts of this kind, given to us for study,
purify the spirit. By following the strict lines of these thoughts,
we come to form strictly logical thoughts ourselves. This kind of study,
again, purifies our thoughts, and so we learn to think with strict logic.
If, for instance, we are reading a difficult book, the most important
thing is not to comprehend its whole content, but to enter into the
author's line of thought and learn to think with him. Hence the
pupil should find no book too difficult; if he does, it means only that
he is too easy-going to think.
The best books are those
we have to take up again and again, books we cannot understand immediately
but have to study sentence by sentence. It does not matter so much what
we study as how we study. If we study the great truths, for instance
the planetary laws, we develop an important line of thought, and this
is what really matters. If we say that we want more moral teaching and
nothing about planetary systems, we show great egoism. True wisdom
engenders a moral life.
or Imaginative Knowledge is the second thing we have to attain. What
is it and how do we achieve it? As we go through the world we must observe
it in the light of Goethe's saying: “Everything transitory
is but a symbol.” Goethe was a Rosicrucian and he can lead us
into the life of the soul. Everything must become for us a symbol in
manifold respects. Suppose, for instance, we are walking past a meadow
saffron: in form and colour it is a symbol of mourning. Another flower,
the convolvulus, is a symbol of helplessness; another flower, with its
splash of red, is a sign of gaiety, and so on. A bird with bright colours
may be a symbol of coquetry. The symbols may actually be expressed in
the names: weeping willow, forget-me-not, and so on. The more we reflect
in this way, so that external things become symbolic pictures of moral
qualities, the more easily shall we attain to Imaginative Knowledge.
We can see similar likenesses in human beings. For instance, we can
study people's temperament from their gait — look at the slow,
heavy step of the melancholic, the light, springy step of the sanguine
After some time spent
on these exercises we can pass to exercises of real Imagination. Take,
for example, a living plant, look at it carefully, sink yourself into
it, then draw forth the inner feeling of your soul and lay it as it
were in the plant, as is described in the book,
Knowledge of the Higher Worlds.
All this stimulates the Imagination, and by this means the pupil
acquires astral vision. After a time he will notice a little flame
proceeding from the plant: that is the astral counterpart of its growth.
Again, the pupil takes a seed and visualises the whole plant, as it will
later on be in reality. These are exercises of the Imagination; by their
means one comes to see things surrounded by their astral element.
3. The third stage is
called learning the occult script. There is in fact such a
script, through which one can penetrate more deeply into things. An
example will show you more exactly what I mean. With the close of the
old Indian civilisation a new civilisation began. The symbol for such
an evolutionary stage is the vortex. These vortices exist everywhere
in the world. They occur in the nebulae — the Orion nebula, for
instance. There, too, an old world is dying and a new one being born.
When the Indian civilisation was coming into being, the Sun was in the
sign of Cancer; during the Persian civilisation in Gemini; during the
Egyptian civilisation in Taurus; during the Graeco-Roman civilisation
in Aries. Since the astronomical sign for Cancer is
this was the sign for the rise of the Indian civilisation.
Another example is the
letter M. Every letter of the alphabet can be traced back to an occult
origin. Thus M is the symbol of wisdom; it derives from the shape of
the upper lip.
It is also the sign for the waves of the seas
hence wisdom may be symbolised by water. These signs indicate sounds
which correspond with real things, and in the Rosicrucian training such
studies are cultivated.
4. A rhythmical
element is brought into breathing. It plays a less important part
than it does in Eastern training, but it belongs to the Rosicrucian
training and a Rosicrucian knows that through meditation the air he
breathes out is purified.
5. The correspondence
between Microcosm and Macrocosm is emphasised. This means the
connection between the great world and the small, or between man and the
world outside him.
Man has emerged by gradual
stages and his various members have been formed in the course of evolution.
Now it is impossible for certain organs to arise in a being which has,
for example, no astral body, and therefore they could not come into
existence on the Sun, even in a preliminary form. The liver is an instance
of this: it cannot exist without the etheric body, but it is actually
created by the astral body. Similarly, no being can have warm blood
unless it first appeared at a time when the Ego was at least in course
of preparation. True, the higher animals are warm-blooded, but they
split off from man when the development of his Ego was already on the
way. Hence we can say that the liver is closely related to the astral
body, and warm blood to the Ego. In fact every one of man's organs,
even the smallest, has its specific relationship to one member of his
being. If the pupil concentrates his attention on himself objectively, as
though on something outside himself — if for instance he concentrates
on the point at the root of the nose and connects with it a particular
saying given by his occult teacher, he will be guided to that which
corresponds to this point and he will come to know it. If he concentrates
on this point under definite guidance, he will come to know the nature
of the Ego. Another, much later exercise is directed towards the inner
part of the eye; through this one learns to know the inner nature of light
and of the sun. The nature of the astral can be learnt by concentrating
on the liver, with the aid of certain specific words.
This is true
self-development, when the pupil is taken out of himself by means of each
organ on which he concentrates his attention. This method has become
specially important in recent times because humanity has become deeply
involved in matter. In this way one penetrates through the material to
its creative cause.
6. Dwelling in, or sinking
oneself into, the Macrocosm. This is the same form of spiritual
contemplation that we described as Dhyanam. The pupil sinks
himself into the organ he is contemplating — for example, the
inner part of the eye. After concentrating on it for a while, he drops
the mental picture of the external organ and thinks only of that to which
the eye leads him — the light. In this way he comes to the creator
of the organ and so out into the Macrocosm. He then feels his body
increasingly growing larger and larger until it is as large as the Earth;
indeed even bigger than the Earth, until all things are in it. And then
he lives in all things.
7. The seventh stage
corresponds to the Eastern Samadhi. It is called divine blessedness,
because now the pupil ceases to think of this last concept, but he
retains the power to think. The content of his thought falls away, but
the activity of thought remains. And thus he comes to rest in the
These stages of Rosicrucian
training are more inward, and call for a subtle cultivation of the higher
life of the soul. The widespread superficiality of our material epoch
is a powerful obstacle to the necessary deepening of the whole inner
life; it must be overcome. This form of training is particularly well
suited to Europeans. Anyone who is in earnest can carry it out. But
Goethe's saying, “It is indeed easy, but even the easy is
hard”, applies here.
We have gone into the
various methods of training, and I will end these lectures by showing
you something of the relationship between man and the whole Earth, so
that you will see how man is related to everything that happens on
I have described the
evolution of man and shown you how he can acquire a true inner being of
his own. In the course of evolution the whole of humanity will attain to
everything that the individual can achieve through occult training. But
what will be happening to the Earth while mankind is developing in this
way? There is a great difference between the Earth seen by the occultist
and the Earth known to the ordinary geologist or scientist. He looks on
it as merely a sort of great lifeless ball, with an interior not very
unlike its exterior, except that at most the interior substances are
fluid. But it is not easy to understand how such a lifeless ball could
have produced all the different kinds of beings on it.
We know that on this Earth
of ours various phenomena occur which deeply affect the fate of many
people; but present-day science looks on this as a purely external
relationship. Thus the fate of hundreds and thousands may be affected
by an earthquake or a volcano. Does the human will have any influence
on this, or is it all a matter of chance? Are there dead laws which act
with blind fury, or is there some connection between these events and
the will of man? What is really happening when a man is killed by an
earthquake? What does the occultist say about the interior of the
The occult science of
all epochs says the following about the interior of the Earth. We must
think of the Earth as consisting of a series of layers, not completely
separated from one another like the skins of an onion, but merging into
one another gradually.
1. The topmost layer,
the mineral mass, is related to the interior as an eggshell is to the
egg. This topmost layer is called the Mineral Earth.
2. Under it is a second
layer, called the Fluid Earth; it consists of a substance to which there
is nothing comparable on Earth. It is not really like any of the fluids
we know, for these all have a mineral quality. This layer has specific
characteristics: its substance begins to display certain spiritual
qualities, which consist in the fact that as soon as it is brought into
contact with something living, it strives to expel and destroy this life.
The occultist is able to investigate this layer by pure concentration.
“Air-Earth”. This is a substance which annuls feelings:
for instance, if it is brought into contact with any pain, the pain is
converted into pleasure, and vice versa. The original form of a feeling
is, so to speak extinguished, rather as the second layer extinguishes
or the “Form-Earth”. It produces in the material realm the
effects that occur spiritually in Devachan. There, we have the negative
pictures of physical things. In the “Form-Earth” a cube
of salt, for example, would be destroyed, but its negative would arise.
The form is as it were changed into its opposite; all its qualities
pass out into its surroundings. The actual space occupied by the object
is left empty.
This substance is full of exuberant energy. Every little part of it
grows out at once like sponge; it gets larger and larger and is held
in place only by the upper layers. It is the underlying life which serves
the forms of the layers above it.
Its substance is essentially feeling and will. It is sensitive to pain
and would cry out if it were trodden on. It consists, as it were, entirely
or “Earth-reflector”. This layer gets its name from the
fact that its substance, if one concentrates on it, changes all the
characteristics of the Earth into their opposites. If the seer disregards
everything lying above it and gazes down directly into this layer, and
if then, for example, he places something green before him, the green
appears as red; every colour appears as its complementary opposite.
A polaric reflection arises, a reversal of the original. Sorrow would
be changed by this substance into joy.
8. The “Divisive”
layer. If with developed power one concentrates on it, something very
remarkable appears. For example, a plant held in the midst of this layer
appears to be multiplied, and so with everything else. But the essential
thing is that this layer disrupts the moral qualities also. Through
the power it radiates to the Earth's surface, it is responsible
for the fact that strife and disharmony exist there. In order to overcome
this disruptive force, men must work together in harmony.
That is precisely why
this layer was laid down in the Earth — so that men should be
enabled to develop harmony for themselves. The substance of everything
evil is prepared and organised there. Quarrelsome people are so constituted
that this layer has a particular influence on them. This has been known
to everyone who has written out of a true knowledge of occultism. Dante
in his Divine Comedy calls this layer the Cain-layer. It was here
that the strife between the brothers Cain and Abel had its source. The
substance of this layer is responsible for evil having come into the
This is the substance through whose influence black magic arises in
the world. The power of spiritual evil comes from this source.
You will see that man
is related to all the layers, for they are continually radiating out
their forces. Humanity lives under the influence of these layers and
has to overcome their powers. When human beings have learnt to radiate
life on Earth and have trained their breathing so that it promotes life,
they will overcome the “Fire-Earth”. When spiritually they
overcome pain through serenity, they overcome the “Air-Earth”.
When concord reigns, the “Divisive” layer is conquered.
When white magic triumphs, no evil remains on Earth. Human evolution
thus implies a transformation of the Earth's interior. In the
beginning the nature of the Earth's body was such as to hold subsequent
developments in check. In the end, when human powers have transformed
the Earth, it will be a spiritualised Earth. In this way man imparts
his own being to the Earth.
Now there are occasions
when the very substance of the passions of the Fire-Earth begins to
rebel. Aroused by men's passions, it penetrates through the Fruit-Earth,
forces its way through the channels in the upper layers and even flows
up into and violently shakes the solid Earth: the result is an earthquake.
If this passion from the Fire-Earth thrusts up some of the Earth's
substance, a volcano erupts. All this is closely connected with man. In
Lemurian times, the upper layer was still very soft and the Fire-layer was
near the surface. Human passions and the “passion-substance”
of this layer are related; when men give rein to evil passions they
strengthen its passions, and that is what happened at the end of Lemurian
times. Through their passions the Lemurians made the Fire-Earth rebellious,
and in this way they brought the whole Lemurian continent to destruction.
No other cause for this destruction could be found except in what they
had themselves drawn forth from the Earth. Today the layers are thicker
and firmer, but there is still this connection between human passions
and the passion-layer in the interior of the Earth; and it is still
an accumulation of evil passions and forces that gives rise to earthquakes
and volcanic eruptions.
How man's destiny and will
are related to happenings in the Earth can be seen from two examples
which have been occultly investigated. It has been found that persons
who have been killed in an earthquake appear in their next incarnation
as men of high spiritual quality and faith. They had progressed far
enough to be convinced by that final stroke of the transitoriness of
earthly things. The effect of this in Devachan was that they learnt
a lesson for their next lives: that matter is perishable but spirit
prevails. They did not all come to realise that, but many of them are
now living as people who belong to some spiritual-theosophical
In the other example,
the births which occurred during a time of frequent earthquakes were
investigated. It was found that all those born at about the time of
an earthquake, though not exactly in its area, were, surprisingly enough,
men of a very materialistic cast of mind. The earthquakes were not the
cause of this; rather it was these strongly materialistic souls, ripe
for birth, who worked their way down into the physical world by means
of their astral will and let loose the forces of the Fire-Earth layer,
which proceeded to shake the Earth at the time of their birth.
Man transforms his
dwelling-place and himself at the same time, and when he spiritualises
himself, he spiritualises the Earth also. One day, at a later planetary
stage, he will have ennobled the Earth by his own creative power. Every
moment when we think and feel, we are working on the great structure of
the Earth. The Leaders of mankind have insight into such relationships and
seek to impart to men the forces which will work in the true direction
of evolution. One of the latest of these impulses is the Theosophical
Movement. Its purpose is to develop harmony and balance in the very
depths of the human soul. Anyone who puts the assertion of his own opinion
higher than love and peace has not thoroughly understood the idea of
Theosophy. The spirit of love must penetrate even into the opinions
a man holds. In the course of occult development he must unavoidably
learn this, or he will get no further. He must renounce entirely his
own opinions and must wish to be solely an instrument of the objective
truth which comes from the spiritual world and flows through the world
as the one great Truth. The more a man renounces himself and sets his
own opinions aside, becoming instead a channel for the great Truth,
the more does he manifest the true spirit of Theosophy.
All this is extraordinarily
difficult today. But theosophical teaching is itself a promoter of peace.
When we come together so that we may live within this teaching, it gives
rise to peace. But if we introduce something from outside, we bring
dissension in, and that should really be an impossibility. So the
theosophical conception of the world must pass over into feeling —
into something I would call a spiritual atmosphere — in which
Theosophy lives. You must have a will to understand; then Theosophy
will hover like a unifying spirit over our gatherings, and from there
will spread its influence out through the world.