May 11, 1909
WE HAVE SEEN THAT THE WRITER
of the Apocalypse intended
the seven letters in the first chapters of the Apocalypse as messages
for the seven representatives of the seven cultural epochs of the
post-Atlantean age; that is, the age that followed the great water
catastrophe also known as the Flood. The age that will come after the
seven post-Atlantean epochs reveals itself to the initiate in seven seals
as the seven epochs like those of our post-Atlantean age.
We must realize that the soul development of humankind
in the future still has many and manifold changes to go through. The
more we imagine ourselves back into the state of consciousness in the
ancient past when the human being's feeling for self was just
a dim dawning, the more we also find a dim clairvoyance; the further
back we go the less people appear as individuals. If we go far back
into Atlantean times we no longer see people as individual beings but
rather united with one another into group souls. But even in historical
times, in the last centuries before Christ, we still find group souls.
At that time the people in middle Europe felt themselves to be members
of an organism, members of a tribe. Tacitus tells us how the individual
Cheruscans experienced themselves, not as individuals, but as members
of the tribal I.
[See Note 1]
We find in early Atlantean
times that human beings over wide, wide geographical regions were very
similar in appearance. They broke down into groups of striking similarity.
In the middle of the Atlantean age humankind still fell into four main
groups. In the first stages of Atlantean development the members of
the individual groups still resembled one another in a very pronounced
way: only the groups were sharply distinguished. The clairvoyant today
can see very little of what constituted the physical body at that time.
It was still completely made up of a very soft material, much like certain
fish in the ocean today that can barely be distinguished from the rest
of the water. The air then was entirely permeated by the watery element
and the human physical body was still very difficult to distinguish
from the watery element surrounding it. However, the bones and nervous
system were also already present as forces at that time. The human being
only became a real earthly human being through a process of hardening.
If we wish to characterize
the various human beings, borrowing, as it were, present-day images,
then we can consider first those who had developed and condensed their
physical nature the most. The occultist refers to them as the bull people.
The people whose etheric body was developed the most, the aggressive
people, the powerful ones, were called the lion people. A third group
had an astral body that strongly ruled over the other members; that
is the group referred to as actual human beings. Then there were the
people who could be called the eagles, who had already developed a strong
I. In this way they ruled over the others. We can speak of these four
group souls, and a clairvoyant perceives them by looking back into those
These four groups of people
were characterized by whatever aspect had been most formed in them on
the earth below. The bull people at that time had developed their digestive
system the most; the lion people their heart and blood circulation ... [gap
in the manuscript]. The clairvoyant can see four such group souls. That
is what appears with initiation in the astral world. What then presents
itself to the clairvoyant can be compared approximately with what those
four animals are today. One who sees the evolution of humankind today
with the view of an occultist sees this picture of the four human groups
symbolized in these four animals.
The war of all against
all will be an expression of the egotism that is always growing stronger,
the egotism conjured forth by humanity today as the I is and will always
become, stronger and stronger. That will be the end of the last
post-Atlantean culture. This catastrophe will also have its mission, its
usefulness in the ascent of the entire human race. However, the great war
of all against all will be something much worse than war of the present-day
with weapons. It will be a war of souls, of souls who no longer understand
one another, a war of the classes. This future catastrophe is difficult
for present-day consciousness to understand.
The Atlanteans were
magicians. As we today use the powers asleep in coal, so the Atlantean
used the forces in plant seeds. The forces in the seeds served them in
their technology, in their industry.
There is a mysterious
connection between these forces. As long as the Atlanteans used the
seed forces properly, they were in harmony with the working of the forces
of the air and water. However, from the middle of the Atlantean age
onward, the Atlantean magicians increasingly approached their moral
fall; and in the mysteries of the black occult schools these magical
forces were misused in a terrible way. They were placed in the service
of the most horrible egotism. In this way the powers of air and water
were increasingly excited which finally had to result in the mighty
Atlantean water catastrophe. Today, those who know the secret of the
use of these forces know full well that the use of such forces in our
time means that powers of black magic are at work. Magic must never
be made to serve when selfish purposes are involved. Hence, the employment
of seed forces is not permitted today even to serve white magic. On
the other hand, in Lemurian times the seed forces of the animals were
used. But everywhere that the growth forces of animals are misused,
horrendous forces of fire, the vulcanic element, are awakened.
Today these things are
not so obvious. Today the feeling for one's self, the overwhelming egohood
of people has brought about the drying up, the desolation of those regions
of the earth that have developed this egotism to the greatest extent.
It is absolutely true that this war of all against all is being prepared
on the surface of the earth because a connection exists between the
egotistical withering of the soul's forces and the paralyzation of the
earth's productive powers. The Nordic myth of the Twilight of the Gods
also tells us this.
We must understand the
difference between the evolution of souls and the evolution of bodies. From
epoch to epoch human souls find themselves again and again in different
bodies. These souls will one day see the strife that will reign among
the human souls who will be born in the last post-Atlantean age. This
experience will be a lesson for them and will help to free them from
egotism. Then they will be able to grow into an era where they will
have the fruits of selfhood but without its disadvantages. An age will
come with clairvoyant conditions similar to those prevailing in ancient
Atlantis, but with this difference: human beings will have a free
consciousness of self. We will then have learned, in these seven cultures
of the post-Atlantean age, what can be achieved in the physical world.
This self-perception or consciousness of self can only awaken in a
physical body; but the human being must again subjugate the physical body.
After the war of all against all, we will have achieved a stage of
evolution where we live in a bodily nature in such a way that we are no
longer slaves of our physical bodies.
The impulse for this
development comes from the Christ principle. Christ even falls right
in the middle between the age of the Atlantean catastrophe and the war
of all against all. On the one hand we can thank the descent into matter
for our consciousness
of self within our physical bodily nature. On the other hand, we thank
the Christ event for our ability to ascend with the achievements of
the physical world. We thank the Christ principle for our ability to
ascend to universal brotherly love, to the universal love of humanity,
since we will again unite in groups with love for one another.
If we look back to the
time of the original group souls of Atlantis and then into the future
we see these four group souls appearing again. The lamb will stand in
the middle as a sign for the love that will unite people who will then
be living in a bodily nature that is less dense.
But this state must be
prepared today through the setting aside of a small group that will
carry brotherly love into the future. Therefore, a stream has arisen
in our time that will lead to brotherly love through real spiritual
knowledge. Humankind will not attain brotherly love through preaching
but rather through knowledge. Preachers who constantly speak of love
achieve nothing. But if people are given wisdom, knowledge of evolution,
in such a way that it becomes life in the soul, then humanity will arrive
at love. The soul can attain this when it is warmed by wisdom. Then
it can radiate love.
For this reason the masters
of wisdom and harmony of feelings have formed this stream for the raying
forth of love into humanity and for the influx of wisdom into humanity.
Humankind, rushing toward the war of all against all, will then find
the fruit of the theosophical movement in an understanding of peace
— while all around it, the nature of humankind will have everywhere
led into strife those who have not heard the call of the master of wisdom
and harmony of feelings on the basis of the Christ impulse in the fourth
Let us look back again
to the first epoch of our culture, to the holy Rishis who pointed to
the Vishva Karman, whom, as clairvoyants, they saw by means of the etheric
bodies of the Atlantean initiates they carried within them. The writer
of the Apocalypse directed his spiritual gaze toward him and saw how
he holds the seven star oracles, through the seven Rishis, in his hand.
These holy, simple men wanted to awaken the spiritual senses of humanity
by saying to human beings that the world surrounding them is just maya
or illusion. Only the spirit standing behind the surrounding world could
be called truth. The seven holy Rishis pointed to this spirit. Human
beings had to descend into physical life; but in order to preserve them
from a descent into matter that would be too deep. they first had to
absorb the teaching concerning maya or illusion. The souls that are
now living in our bodies have also lived in Indian bodies, and at that
time learned to see matter as an illusion. But all around there were
the souls of many human beings who were locked in the fetters of matter.
For those souls incarnated again today it means that they are theoretical
materialists. Among materialists those are the least harmful, for their
materialistic thoughts will be driven out of them in the future when
the earth will become devastated and only the soul will remain alive,
the soul that they no longer believe in today.
What is even worse is
practical materialism. But this form of materialism was even more dangerous
in ancient times because the memory of magic powers was still present;
then this materialism always led to the practice of black magic. Therefore,
at that time this materialism always signified the fall into the decadence
of black magic. The writer of the Apocalypse always spoke of these people
as Nicolaitans who have lost the first, the glorious love of the spirit.
Therefore, when he wanted to praise he said that the Nicolaitans were
We find the least amount
of black magic in the ancient Indian culture. We find the greatest misuse
in Egypt because the lofty teachings of Hermes went over into the art
of black magic. Balaam is intended as a black magician. The writer of
the Apocalypse directs his admonishment to the community in Pergamon
in the verse: “But I have a few things against you: you have some
there who hold the teachings of Balaam.”
Common immorality is not meant here but rather the development of the
powers in matter, black magic.
In the occult schools
of the first age after Christ the Apocalypse was a favored book. The
ancient mysteries founded the primal wisdom, the wisdom of the Atlanteans.
The Christian mysteries, on the other hand, strive to direct their view
to the future. They did this not only in order to know but also in order
to stimulate their wills so that, with this spiritual treasure, humanity
could pass through increasingly higher incarnations.
Publius Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 55 – 120
the Roman historian, in his book “De origin et situ
Germanorum,” generally known as “Germania.”