[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib
 [Prev] [Next] [Top] [Search] [Index] [Print] [Home]  [Map
Version 2.5.4  



Highlight Words

Esoteric Lessons for the First Class of the
School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum
part 2

Schmidt Number: S-5794

On-line since: 31st August, 2017

The First Goetheanum

The First Goetheanum

by Rudolf Steiner

Translated from the German by Frank Thomas Smith

Lesson Sixteen

Dornach, June 28, 1924

My dear friends,

We will again start by letting the words resound from the cosmos near and far, which can be heard by everyone who correctly understands the world. But before doing so, because again many new members of the esoteric school are present, I must say at least a few words about the meaning of this school.

I will put it briefly. This School must be recognized as one which brings down its information from the spiritual world to human souls. Therefore, what lives here in the School and what is brought to human souls are to be perceived as communications from the spiritual world itself. From this you will understand that membership in the School must be regarded as serious in the highest degree.

This seriousness has only become possible because of the Constitution which the Anthroposophical Society received during the Christmas Conference. Since then the Anthroposophical Society as such is an openly public institution, but at the same time one through which an esoteric breath flows, which has been better received than the former exoteric one. 

So nothing more is expected from the members of the Anthroposophical Society than that they feel themselves to be receivers of anthroposophical wisdom. And, of course, what is generally expected of decent people in life. 

But membership in the School implies even more, that the member recognize the serious conditions for membership — namely the basic condition that anyone who wishes to belong to the School should present himself in life in such a way that he is in every respect a representative of anthroposophy before the world.   

To be a representative of anthroposophy before the world necessarily means that whatever he or she does in connection to anthroposophy, be it ever so remotely connected, also be with the approval of the leadership of the School, that is, with the esoteric Executive Committee at  the Goetheanum. Thus through the School a real stream can enter the anthroposophical movement, which today is represented by the Anthroposophical Society.

Therefore, it is necessary that membership in the School be understood in such a way that the member feels in his whole being that he is a part of what is being done and revealed from here in the Goetheanum. Such a condition should not be taken as a restriction on human freedom, my dear friends, for membership in the school rests on reciprocity. The leadership of the School must be free to give what it has to give to whom it considers right to do so. And the fact that no one is obliged to be a member of the School, but that it depends on his free will to be a member, means that the leadership may also place conditions on membership without anyone claiming that his free will is in any way infringed upon. It is a free agreement between the leadership of the School and those who wish to be members.

Furthermore, in order that the School really be taken seriously, it cannot be otherwise than that the leadership exercise its right to revoke a membership whenever it considers necessary because of certain events. And, my dear friends, that the leadership of the School takes this seriously is shown by the fact that since the relatively short time the School has existed, sixteen members already had to be suspended for shorter or longer lengths of time. And I must again emphasize that this measure will have to be strictly adhered to in the future, regardless of the personalities involved, because we will be entering ever more deeply into esoteric matters.


* * *


And now the words will be spoken which are always spoken at the beginning of our deliberations, reminding us of the admonitions which resound from all the events and beings of the world to all those who have the heart to understand them: the admonition to self-knowledge, which is the true foundation of world knowledge.


O man, know thyself!
So resounds the Cosmic-Word.
You hear it strong in soul,
You feel it firm in spirit.

Who speaks with cosmic might?
Who speaks in depth of heart?

Does it work through distant radiant space
Into your senses' sense of being?
Does it ring through weaving waves of time
Into your life's evolving stream?

It's you yourself who,
In feeling space, in experiencing time

Create the Word, feeling foreign
In space's psychic vacancy,
Because you lose the force of thought
In time's destructive flow.


My dear friends, we have advanced, in respect to what has been sent to us from the spiritual world in the form of mantras, to the mantric verses which correspond to the esoteric situation in which we feel ourselves: first of all, in meditation we imagine the being standing at the abyss of existence speaking to us.

Let us imagine it once more, for we cannot recall it to our souls too often. We see before us everything belonging to the kingdoms of nature. We observe the glorious heavenly bodies; we see the floating clouds; we see the wind and the waves, the thunder and lightning. We see everything from the humblest worm to the sublimest revelations in the glittering stars. Only a false asceticism, unrelated to true esotericism, could in any way despise this world that speaks to the senses. The person who wishes to be truly human can do nothing other than intimately relate to the sense-perceptible life, from the humblest creature to the majestic, divinely glittering stars.

We must never despise the grandeur and awesome beauty of all that surrounds us, which we must acknowledge; we must go forward step by step in the world and be able to appreciate what our eyes see, what our ears hear, what the other senses perceive, what we can grasp with our reason. However, a moment comes as you look around at the expanse of space, at the interweaving of time, that despite all the grandeur and awesome beauty in your surroundings, you cannot find there what the inner nature of your being is. So you must say to yourself: the inner source of my being is to be sought elsewhere. The very power of such a thought affects us.

What follows for the soul can only be expressed in imaginative thoughts.  At first these imaginative thoughts lead us to a wide field in which everything earthly and sense-perceptible is spread out before us. We find it to be radiant with the sun, we find it to be shining light. But as we look all around us we find our own self nowhere. Then we gaze before us and see that this sunny field, which is grandiose and beautiful and sublime to the senses, is blocked by a dark, night-bedecked wall. We see ourselves entering deeply into the darkness. We intuit that perhaps there in the darkness is our self's true origin; but we cannot see into it. 

And as we follow the path forward, the abyss of existence, the threshold to the spiritual world, appears before us. We must cross over this abyss. The Guardian stands there warning us that we must be mature in order to cross over the abyss, for with our thinking, feeling and willing habits which correspond to the physical sense-perceptible world, we cannot cross over the abyss of existence into the spiritual world in which our real self originated.

The Guardian of the Threshold is the first spiritual being we encounter. Every night we are in this spiritual world when we sleep. But it is like darkness around our I and our astral body, because we can only enter this spiritual world when sufficiently mature. The Guardian of the Threshold protects us from entering immaturely. But now as we encounter him he sends us his grand admonishments. And the admonishments are contained in the mantric verses which until now have formed the content of these esoteric lessons.

Those of you who do not yet have these mantric verses can obtain them from other members of the School. But the following procedure must be observed: not the person who is to receive the verses asks for permission, but the one who gives them.

These verses have not only shown us how our hearts are to react if we wish to cross over the abyss of existence, they have also shown us what our souls will feel once we have overflown the abyss and gradually sense — not yet see, but sense — how the darkness, which was at first night-bedecked, gradually becomes lighter. At first we feel becoming lighter, and we feel that the elements — earth, water, air, fire — are different on the other side, that we are living in another world. And the world in which we recognize our own being, and therewith the true form of the elements, is indeed another world. 

During the last lesson we considered the meditation with which we were to imagine how the Guardian stands before the abyss of existence; now we are already beyond it, first we feel — not yet see — how the darkness becomes lighter. The Guardian speaks to us, after he had previously made clear to us how we should comport ourselves in relation to the four elements. He tells us how these four elements change for us. He then asks questions.

Who answers? The hierarchies themselves answer these questions. From one side the third hierarchy — Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai — from the other side the second hierarchy, from a third side the third hierarchy.

The third hierarchy — Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai — answers when the Guardian of the Threshold asks what becomes of the earth's solidity. The second hierarchy — Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes — answers when the Guardian of the Threshold asks us what becomes of the water's formative force, which acts in us and gives us our inner configuration. And the first hierarchy — Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim — answer when the Guardian asks us what becomes of our breathing, of the air's stimulating power, which awakens us from dull plant-like existence to sentient-feeling existence.

Such mantras are to penetrate our souls, our hearts, to the extent that we feel ourselves to be within the situation. The Guardian of the Threshold poses the testing, admonishing questions. The hierarchies answer.

The Guardian:
What becomes of the earth's solidity, which supports you?

Angeloi:
Feel as we feel in your thinking.

Archangeloi:
Experience, as we experience in your feeling.

Archai:
Perceive, as we perceive in your will.


The Guardian:
What becomes of water's formative force, which penetrated you?

Exusiai:
Learn the spirit cosmic creating in the human body creating.

Dynamis:
Feel the cosmic life of spirit in the human body's life.

Kyriotetes:
Will the spirit's cosmic working in the human body's being.


The Guardian:
What becomes of the air's stimulating power, which awakened you?

Thrones:
Knowingly grasp inner being in your divine cosmic being.

Cherubim:
Warm your inner life in divine cosmic life.

Seraphim:
Awaken inner light in your divine cosmic light.


These, my dear sisters and brothers, are the admonishing words coming from the communion of the Guardian of the Threshold together with the hierarchies, which bring our souls ever forward if we experience them more and more in the right way.

In this way, we are doing what is appropriate for human beings of today and the future, what in the ancient holy mysteries meant that the student was being guided to the essence of the elements: earth, water, air.

But warmth, which is also an element, pervades everything: in the solid earth element, which supports us, is warmth; in the element of water, which forms us as humans, which gives form to our organs, causing them to develop and grow, warmth is also present; and in the element of air, by which the Jehovah-spirits once breathed into humanity its soul, through which man is even today awakened from his dull, plant-like existence, warmth is present. Warmth is everywhere. We must recognize it as the all-pervading element. We must immerse ourselves in it as the all-pervading element: Yes, we feel so close to it.

We feel far from the solid earth element, though we still feel the earth's support. We even feel far from the water element. The air element maintains a more intimate relation to us. When the air element does not fill us with regularity, when we have too much breath in us, or too little, our inner life indicates how the air-element is connected to us. Too much breath awakens fear in the soul. Too little causes fainting. Our soul is embraced by the air element.

We feel ourselves most intimately united with the warmth element. We ourselves are what is warm or cold in us. In order to live we must generate a certain amount of warmth. We are intimately close to the warmth element. If we want to be closer to it, then not only one hierarchy can speak, then the reminding words must resound together from various hierarchies.

Therefore, when the Guardian of the Threshold asks questions of us concerning the warmth element, the answers from the cosmos are different. The Guardian asks the question:

What becomes of fire's purification, which enkindled your I?

We already know this question; it is the question about our entrance into the element of warmth, or fire. But now the answer does not come from one hierarchy or from a rank of one of the hierarchies, but the answer comes in choir from the Angeloi, the Exusiai, the Thrones; secondly the Archangeloi, Dynamis, Cherubim answer the Guardian's question; and thirdly Archai, Kyriotetes, Seraphim answer. Thus the three answers about the general nature of warmth resound from the choir-like words of the three hierarchies.

Therefore, we are to imagine that when we hear the Guardian of the Threshold's warning reminders, the answers, which resound from our I, but which are stimulated by the hierarchies — come from all sides: first Angeloi, Exusiai, Thrones; secondly speak the Archangeloi, Dynamis, Cherubim; and thirdly speak Archai, Kyriotetes, Seraphim. All three hierarchies always speak: a rank from each of the three hierarchies always speaks. Thus the answers comes to us from the cosmos.

The Guardian speaks:
What becomes of the fire's purification, which enkindled your I?

Angeloi, Exusiai, Thrones:
Awaken in the cosmic etheric vastness the flaming script of life.

From all three hierarchies we are reminded that everything which happened to us during earthly life is recorded in the cosmic ether and we see it recorded there when we have passed through the gate of death. Once we have passed through the gate of death, looking back at our earthly life, but also gazing out at the etheric vastness, what we have done and accomplished in thoughts, feelings and deeds during earthly life is recorded. It is your life's flaming script.

Archangeloi, Dynamis, Cherubim — answer in us:
Create the soul's atoning forces in circling waves of time.

We are admonished during the second stage we go through after passing through the gate of death, where we experience in reverse, in mirror images — that is, in its just atonement — what we have done here on earth. If we have harmed another human being in any way, we experience in the reverse stream of time what the other felt because of us. As I have said, the Archangeloi, Dynamis and Cherubim admonish us in this second stage, which we pass through between death and a new birth.

What our karma works through during the third stage — what happens when as souls we cooperate with other human souls and with the beings of the higher hierarchies

— the Archai (primal powers), Kyriotetes and Seraphim admonish us:
Ask help from the redemptive eternal force of spirit.  

We must feel ourselves completely within this situation: the speaking Guardian of the Threshold — his earnest gesture toward us, his admonishment. And from the cosmic vastness, resounding, grasping our heart — what connects us with the riddle of life.

[The fourth part of the mantra is written on the blackboard.]

The Guardian speaks:
What becomes of fire's purification, which enkindled your I?

Angeloi, Exusiai, Thrones:
Awaken in the cosmic etheric vastness the flaming script of life.

Archangeloi, Dynamis, Cherubim — they answer in us:
Create the soul's atoning forces in circling waves of time.

Archai, Kyriotetes, Seraphim:
Ask help from the redemptive eternal force of spirit.


What previously stood before us like a black, night enclosed darkness, is not yet illuminated by light for the soul's eye. But we have the feeling that while we are standing within this black, night enclosed darkness, wherever we reach out we begin to feel a glimmering light. And we find ourselves in the situation where we know that we ourselves are within this glimmering light. We feel ourselves moving toward the Guardian of the Threshold. We had only seen him as long as we were in the field of the senses. Then we stepped into the darkness and heard his questioning, admonishing words.

But these admonishing, questioning words had led us to where we now feel something like a mild weaving, moving light. In this weaving, moving light we make our way to the Guardian of the Threshold seeking help. It is a unique experience: not yet light, but the light is making itself felt; in this felt light the Guardian of the Threshold, manifesting himself, as though he were becoming more intimate with us, as though he were leaning more to us now, as though we were also stepping closer to him.

And what he now says seems as though in [earthly] life a person is whispering something confidential in our ear. And what were at first admonishing, earnest words, trumpet-like, powerful, majestic, from all sides of the cosmos coming to our hearts, continues now as an intimate conversation with the Guardian of the Threshold in weaving, moving light. For now it is as though he no longer just speaks to us, it is as though he whispers to us:

Has your spirit understood? 

Our inner self becomes warm when the Guardian of the Threshold says in confidence: “Has your spirit understood?” Our inner self becomes warm. It experiences itself in the warmth. And this inner self feels obliged to answer with devotion, quietly and humbly. Thus we imagine it in meditation:


The cosmic spirit in me
It held its breath within
And may its presence still
Illuminate my I.


[Der Weltengeist in mir
Er hielt den Atem an
Und seine Gegenwart
Mög' erleuchten mein Ich.
]


Our I does not answer the question “Has your spirit understood?” with pride and arrogance: “I have understood”, but the I feels: divine being streams through the innermost essence of the human being; it is divine breath in man which quietly lingers and prepares us for understanding.

[The first part of the new mantra is written on the blackboard.]

The Guardian:
Has your spirit understood?

The I: 

The cosmic spirit in me
It held its breath within
And may its presence still
Illuminate my I.


Secondly, the Guardian in confidence asks:
Has your soul apprehended?

The I answers:
The cosmic souls in me
Lived in the council of stars
And may their harmonies
Resounding create my I.


Again it is not proudly that the I is tempted to answer when the Guardian asks: Has your soul apprehended? Rather is the soul becoming aware that in it speaks the cosmic souls of the beings of the higher hierarchies, and that in what they say not an individual entity is present, but an entire council, a consultative meeting, as if the planets of a planetary system were circling and contributing their respective illuminating forces. Thus do the cosmic souls send their concise suggestions. Our soul hears and hopes that from the harmonies the I will be so formed that the I in the human being is an echo of the cosmic harmonies which arise when cosmic souls take council among each other — like the planets in the solar system — and their advice and harmonies resound in the human soul.

[The second part of the mantra is written on the blackboard.]

The Guardian:
Has your soul apprehended?

The I:
The cosmic souls in me
Lived in the council of stars
And may their harmonies
Resounding create my I.


And the third confidential question which the Guardian directs to the person in this situation is this:

Has your body experienced?

The soul feels that in this body the cosmic forces — which are everywhere —  are concentrated in one point in space. But these cosmic forces do not appear now as physical forces. The soul has long since become aware of how these forces, which from outside appear as active physical forces, as gravitational, electrical, magnetic forces, as warmth forces, as light forces, when they are active in the human body are moral forces, are transformed into will-forces. The soul feels the cosmic forces as those which constitute eternal universal justice throughout the succession of earth lives. The soul feels them to be like forces of judgment which weave in the verdicts of karma and therewith the I itself.


When the Guardian asks in confidence:
Has your body experienced?

The human being feels obliged to answer with devotion to universal justice:

The cosmic forces in me
They judge the acts of men
And may their words of verdict
Guide the I in me.


[The third part of the mantra is written on the blackboard.]

The Guardian:
Has your body experienced?

I:

The cosmic forces in me
They judge the acts of men
And may their words of verdict
Guide the I in me.


Thus after having experienced the metamorphoses of the cosmic elements together with the Guardian of the Threshold and the hierarchies, the soul answers the Guardian's three questions with inner devotion; interwoven with what has been poured into it, the soul has advanced somewhat in answering the riddle of the words: “O man, know thyself!”

And today we will compare the opening words after having been filled with the element of warmth in devotion to the spiritual content of the cosmos, feeling how we have advanced further in following the great admonishment: “O man, know thyself!” We will see how we, as human beings, stand between the resounding of the demand for self-knowledge from all the cosmic events and beings, and the mantric verse, which has been contemplated in today's lesson:


O man, know thyself!
So resounds the Cosmic-Word.
You hear it strong in soul,
You feel it firm in spirit.

Who speaks with cosmic might?
Who speaks in depth of heart?

Does it work through distant radiant space
Into your senses' sense of being?
Does it ring through weaving waves of time
Into your life's evolving stream?

It's you yourself who,
In feeling space, in experiencing time

Create the Word, feeling foreign
In space's psychic vacancy,
Because you lose the force of thought
In time's destructive flow.


What becomes of fire's purification, which enkindled your I?
Awaken in the cosmic etheric vastness the flaming script of life.
Create the soul's atoning forces in circling waves of time.
Ask help from the redemptive eternal force of spirit.


Has your spirit understood?

The cosmic spirit in me
It held its breath within
And may its presence still
Illuminate my I.


Has your soul apprehended?

The cosmic souls in me
Lived in the council of stars
And may their harmonies
Resounding create my I.


Has your body experienced?

The cosmic forces in me
They judge the acts of men
And may their words of verdict
Guide the I in me.





Last Modified: 07-Oct-2019
The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com
[Spacing]