FROM ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
4 September, 1906
In earlier times man's
etheric body was still outside his physical body, and so also, of course,
was his Ego-consciousness. His soul worked on the physical body from
outside. The horse today has its etheric body still outside.
How did the names of
the zodiacal constellations originate?
The whole animal kingdom
was once within man; this means that he was at a stage between the human
realm and the animal kingdom of today. In order to be able to develop
further, he had to separate off from himself those parts which could
not go with him. He separated the parts which form the animal kingdom
of today. Originally, therefore, the animals were much less sharply
differentiated from man than they now are. They have gradually
The separating off of
the animal kingdom did not occur suddenly, but by slow degrees. First
the fishes were separated, then the reptiles and amphibians, then the
birds and the mammals. And within each group the separating off was
again gradual: thus the beasts of prey, for example were separated
earlier than the apes.
When the lions were
separated, the constellation in which the Sun then stood was called Lion,
and when the bull-nature was separated, the relevant constellation was
called Bull. The names of the four apocalyptic creatures in the Revelation
of John — Eagle, Lion, Bull, Man — point in the same direction.
But the names of all the zodiacal constellations are not thereby
The Moon in earlier times
— before the Earth separated from it — consisted of soft
plant-substance, like living peat or spinach-stuff, penetrated by a
woody structure which has today hardened into rock. In this soft substance
lived the Moon-plants, real plant-animals, halfway between the plants
and the animals of the present time. Then the Earth separated, bringing
into being the four kingdoms of nature — minerals, plants, animals
and men. Some of the plant-animals failed to transform themselves
completely into present-day plants. The sponges arose in this way.
“Before the voice
can speak in the presence of the Masters, it must have lost the power
to wound.” (From
Light on the Path,
by Mabel Collins.)
When we send forth a loving
thought, it creates a wonderfully beautiful thought-form, like a flower
which gently opens and then surrounds the person to whom the thought
applies. Anyone who thinks a thought full of hate creates a sharp-pointed
angular form, closed at its apex, designed to wound. That which is here
called “the Masters” is the divine voice which speaks in
us. It speaks constantly, but we do not always allow it to emerge. The
thought-form of love is open; hence the voice of the Masters can sound
through it. But the closed thought-form of hate leaves the divine
thought-form no way out, so that it has to remain unheard.
In the astral, a lie
is a murder
Suppose I think the following
thought: I met a man. A quite definite thought-form will be engendered
by that. Now to someone else I say it again: I met a man. The same
thought-form is again engendered. The two thought-forms meet and
strengthen each other. But if I tell a lie and say: I did not meet
a man — this engenders a thought-form opposed to the first. The
result is an explosion in the astral body of the liar.
How can one protect
one's astral body against bad influences?
The best way is to be
sure and true oneself. As a special protection you can create through
forcible concentration of the will an astral sheath, a blue, egg-shaped
mist. You must say to yourself firmly and emphatically: “Let all
my good qualities surround me like a coat of mail!”
Why did the first
Christians have the Fish as their symbol, besides the Lamb?
Among the fishes, especially
Amphioxus, the spinal marrow began to take form. Man was once at the
stage when he had the fish nature still within himself; he was wholly
a soul-being and worked on his body from outside. Then he separated
the fishes from himself. Later on the brain was formed out of the spinal
[Goethe already knew this. Dr. Steiner found the
relevant pencil sketch drawn in a notebook while he was working
in the Goethe Archives in Weimar.]
In this way man becomes a Self. But the Self is ennobled
by Christianity and hence the Fish is the symbol for the early Christians.
The story of Jonah indicates the same thing. Jonah — man —
is at first outside the fishes: this means the soul working on the body
from the outside. Then he becomes a Self and enters into the fish —
the physical body. Through Initiation the physical body is again left
Can physical objects
be seen after death?
After death we see nothing
physical, but the corresponding astral images, astral and devachanic
counterparts. The mineral realm is absent; it appears as an empty space,
like a photographic negative. In Devachan one can see a clock, for a
human design enters into it. All human artifacts can be seen there.
transformed physical body
transformed etheric body
universal flow of life is called Prana. It flows like water; but
if it is given form by being poured into the physical body, rather as
water is poured into a jug, then one speaks of the etheric body. The
general astral substance, desire-stuff, is called Kama. If it is given
the form of a body, one speaks of the astral body. The Ego is the centre
of the person. Kama plays into it, and Manas also. Thus the Ego comprises
a mixture of Kama and Manas. The Kama has to be completely transformed
and ennobled, so that Manas may develop from it. If the etheric body
is ennobled, Buddhi emerges; and Atma arises from the ennoblement of
the physical body.
The Mental Plane
VII Causal body
Arupa VI Causal body
I V Causal body
IV Etheric sphere
III Airy sphere
Rupa II Oceanic sphere, like the blood in a
I Continental realm
The continental realm
embraces everything physical; the oceanic realm, everything living;
the airy sphere, the whole range of feelings; and the etheric sphere, all
thoughts. At the boundary of the etheric sphere is the Akasha Chronicle.
It contains everything that has ever been thought. On the far side of
the Akasha Chronicle lies everything that has not yet become thought.
All new thoughts, all discoveries and so on, come from the Arupa region.
Anyone who has developed Kama Manas comes after death as far as the
etheric sphere, to thoughts that exist independently. The Ego shapes
the astral body, so that Manas develops out of it. All Manas which has
not yet been drawn into the astral is Arupa.
Denial and affirmation
Schopenhauer says that
the world has been built by irrational will. Therefore the reason has
to destroy the irrational will, so that the world goes to ruin. Schelling,
Hegel and Fichte represent a different standpoint which can be expressed
in the words: “From God — to God!” Let us consider
the denial and affirmation of life through a parable. I show someone
a piece of magnetised iron, and I tell him that in the iron resides
an invisible force, called magnetism. He replies: I want to know nothing
about this force; I affirm the iron. It is much the same if someone,
looking only at the things of the world, says that he affirms the world.
Certainly he affirms the world, but he denies the invisible forces within
it. Life is truly affirmed only by someone who seeks for spiritual
realities. Anyone else denies half of life. Many Theosophists say: I
don't bother about the world; I am concerned only to develop my higher
self. In fact they are seeking only the lower man. The higher man is
everywhere outside. If I feel the whole world in myself, then I have
found my higher Self. My Self is outside me. Knowledge of the world is
How does suggestion
Suggestion works on the
Ego. The higher bodies are drawn out of the physical body, and then
the Ego-body, without the physical brain, unconsciously follows the
hypnotiser. The physical brain, the controller of actions, is detached.
With an Initiate it is different. He retains conscious control without
the aid of the physical brain, and so he cannot be hypnotised.
This book, written in
the Coptic language, contains much of the discourses of Christ at the
initiation of His disciples, and many inner expositions of parables.
The thirteenth chapter is especially important. The
is Devachan. The entire super-sensible world is divided into twelve aeons.
These are the seven divisions of the astral plane and the five lowest
divisions of Devachan. Aberrated spirits can be purified from out of
Devachan. The light-bearing purifier before Christ was Melchisedek.
He is meant when we read of light coming from the
(Archontes), the powers of evil are to be understood.
Conflict and arguing are
not a realm for Theosophy. We should not squander time uselessly on
disputes, but should speak only to those who have the heart and mind
Why does Christ say:
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”, when previous great
founders of religion had already pointed to the Way?
We must first transpose
ourselves into past ways of speaking. In former times the spiritual
content of speech was perceived at the same time as the words were heard.
Then we can reflect on the following: Christ was the embodiment of the
Second Person of the Godhead. No previous founder of a religion had
embodied in himself the fullness of the Logos. But the divine element
that His predecessors had embodied was a part of the Logos, and so of
Christ Himself. Therefore Christ embraces everything previous to Him
in the words, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”.
Then one can take these
words literally, in yet another sense. The previous founders of religions
had shown the Way and taught the Truth, but they did not live out the
Mystery of the Godhead in the sight of men. Hence they could say, “I
am the Way and the Truth”. Christ alone could say: “I am
the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Now Elias means
“Way”, and Moses, “Truth”. At the Transfiguration,
Elias and Moses appeared with Christ. Hence the Transfiguration says:
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. The passing of Buddha into Nirvana,
his death, is the same as the Transfiguration of Christ. At the moment
when Buddha brought his working to an end, the real working of Christ,
His Life, begins.