Basle, 20 November, 1907
was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus
Christ.” If we thoroughly understand this passage we
shall also understand that deeply significant event in the
history of humanity which took place through the appearance
of Christ on the Earth. In the earlier lectures of this
course we have traced the evolution of humanity in broad
outlines, and we have described the way in which the
consciousness of the Ego developed in the distant past whole
groups and generations of human beings had one Ego in common.
From this we learned to understand the long age of the
patriarchs. Gradually this feeling of the Ego became limited
more and more to the single personalities. We also showed how
two spiritual streams made themselves felt in this evolution:
the one was the stream of blood-relationship, which
endeavoured to hold men together by natural ties, and the
other, the Luciferic, which made men independent and prepared
them for the purely spiritual tie which was to come.
whole period of the Old Testament one understood by
“Law” something which brings order into human
society from without. After blood-relationship had lost its
binding power, men had to be brought into a certain
connection with one another by an outer thought-order. The
law was perceived as something coming from outside, and this
Law which was given from outside holds good until the
“grace and truth,” or devotion and truth, which
comes through Jesus Christ, has developed in us from within,
the understanding for the true knowledge. Devotion and truth
can only develop gradually. Christianity, which is to bring
devotion and truth in place of the Law, is only at the
beginning of its growth; the further the Earth progresses in
its evolution the stronger will be the influence of
Christianity on humanity. Humanity is to raise itself to a
stage of social life at which each one is drawn, by an
impulse arising within himself, to act towards his neighbor
as one brother to another. Men could not however, raise
themselves of their own power to this high stage of
development, and it is the task of Christianity to help them
to do this. Men will no longer need any outer law to force
upon them this attitude when they have the inner impulse so
to act that devotion and truth are the motives for their
We do not mean
to say by the above, that humanity no longer needs the Law,
but that which we have described is an ideal, which should be
striven for. Gradually men will come to where the harmony of
the world will be brought about through their voluntary
action, but for this goal to be reached the Power which in
the Gospel is called Christ had to step in. In the occult
schools it is said of one who, of his own inner power, is
able to raise himself into this relationship to all his
fellow-men, that “he bears Christ within him.” In
order to understand what we are about to say, it will first
of all be necessary to recapitulate once more the real
constitution of man. Recall to mind the contents of the third
lecture with the aid of the following sketch:
work of the Ego upon the astral body the latter is
transformed into Spirit Self. But this takes place step by
step, through the sentient soul being developed first, then
the intellectual soul, and finally the spiritual soul; then
the Spirit Self pours into the purified and mature spiritual
soul. In the same way the Ego works upon the etheric body,
and the impulses which are most effective in this case are
the influences of art, religion and occult training.
There were also
occult schools in pre-Christian times, where pupils were
trained, so that they were able to look into higher worlds;
but this vision only existed among the true pupils in the
most hidden occult schools, and even they only at the actual
moment of initiation, when the etheric body was separated
from the physical body . The raising of a human being, so
that he might be able to see in the spiritual world, was
called Initiation. In all initiations of pre-Christian times
the one who was to be initiated had to be brought into a kind
of sleeping state. This sleep of initiation was distinguished
from ordinary sleep by the fact that in the latter the
etheric body remains united with the physical body, whereas
in the former the etheric body was for a short time separated
from the physical body. During this time the Hierophant had
to keep the body alive. Through the etheric body being
separated, it was possible to lead it, together with the
other parts, into the higher worlds, in order there to
undergo experiences which could afterwards be imparted to the
physical brain. That was the method of initiation in
advent of Christ Jesus an entirely new kind of initiation
came in. Imagine that a man has transformed the whole of his
astral body into Spirit Self. This Spirit Self then impresses
itself into the etheric body, as a seal impresses itself into
sealing-wax, and gives it its imprint. The etheric body is
thereby changed into Life Spirit. When this has come about
completely, the Life Spirit then imprints itself in the
physical body and makes it into Spirit Man. Now it was only
through the appearance of Christ Jesus that it became
possible to imprint the Life Spirit directly into the life
body; and the experiences undergone in the higher worlds
could henceforth be embodied in the physical brain without
the necessity of a previous separation of the etheric body.
Thus all the pre-Christian initiates had undergone the
experiences of initiation outside the physical body; they had
then descended again into the physical body and could from
that time forward, out of their own experience, announce what
had taken place in the spiritual world.
and others were initiates of this kind. In Jesus there had
come to the Earth for the first time a Being who, while still
remaining in the physical body, could see the life of the
higher worlds. The teachings of Buddha, Moses, etc., were
quite independent of the personality of their agent. Those
who accept the teachings of Buddha or Moses are Buddhists or
followers of Moses, for these founders of religion only
passed on what they had experienced in the higher worlds.
With Christ it is different. It is only through His
personality that His teachings become Christianity, and in
order to be a Christian it is not enough merely to follow the
teachings of Christianity. Those alone are true Christians,
who feel themselves united with the historical Christ.
Certain sentences contained in Christian teaching, or
something very similar to them, could also be found in that
world before Christ appeared; but that is not the point. The
essential thing is, that the Christian believes in Christ
Jesus, that he considers Him to be the One Who, while walking
in the flesh, represents the perfect man.
times the statement was often made; ‘The initiate is a
divine man.’ The reason for this lay in the fact that
during the ceremony of initiation the initiate was above in
the spiritual world with the spiritual or divine Beings; He
was then the divine man. But one could “see” in
the physical body for the first time through Christ Jesus,
the Deity, — but never before. Thus we have to take the
words of John 1:18. quite literally: “No man hath seen
God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom
of the Father, He hath declared Him.” Formerly the
Deity could only be perceived by one who had himself made the
ascent. In Christ the Deity had for the first time come down
visibly to the Earth. This is told us in St. John's Gospel,
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” It
was also taught in the Dionysian School. Christ came to show
men the way; they are to become His followers; they are to
prepare to imprint what is in the etheric body into the
physical body; that is to say, to develop within themselves
the Christ principle.
The Gospel of
St. John is a book of life. No one who has merely enquired
into it with his intellect has understood this book; he alone
who has experienced it really knows it. If a man meditates
upon the first fourteen verses day after day for some time,
he will discover the purpose of these words. They are really
words which, when one meditates upon them, awaken in the
human soul the capacity to see the various parts of the
Gospel, such as the marriage at Cana in chapter two, the
conversation with Nicodemus in chapter three, as one's own
experiences in the great astral tableau. Through these
exercises clairvoyance develops in the human being and he can
then experience for himself the truth of what is written in
St. John's Gospel. Hundreds have experienced this. The writer
of St.John's Gospel was a great Seer who was initiated by
“John” is never mentioned by name in this Gospel.
We read of him as “the disciple whom the Lord
loved,” for example in Chapter 19:26. This is a
technical expression and signifies the one who was initiated
by the Master Himself. “John” describes his own
initiation in the story of the “raising of
(Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
55 And the Jews\' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.
56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?
57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
King James Version', STICKY, CAPTION, 'John 11 ...', HAUTO, 1, VAUTO, 1, CELLPAD, 8, 8, 8, 8, WIDTH, 400, BGCOLOR, '#445555', FGCOLOR, '#CCDDDD', CAPCOLOR, '#FFFFF8')" onMouseOut="nd()">Chapter 11).
It was only through the writer of
St. John's Gospel being initiated by the Lord Himself that
the most secret connections between Christ and the evolution
of the world could be revealed. As we have already said, the
old initiations lasted for three and a half days; hence the
raising of Lazarus on the fourth day. It is also said of
Lazarus that the Lord loved him
While the body
of Lazarus lay as if dead in the grave, his etheric body was
lifted out in order to undergo the initiation, and to receive
the same force that is in Christ. Thus the one whom the Lord
loved, the one to whom we owe St. John's Gospel, was raised,
he was awakened. Not a line in St. John's Gospel, contradicts
this fact; the process of initiation is represented in a
Let us now
consider another scene in this Gospel. In
we read: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His
mother, and His mothers sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas,
and Mary Magdalene.” If we wish to understand this
Gospel it is necessary to know who these three women are. We
do not usually give two sisters the same name; neither was it
the custom in former times. The passage we have quoted proves
that, according to St. John's Gospel, the mother of Jesus was
not called Mary. If we search through the whole of this
Gospel we nowhere find it said that the mother of Jesus was
called Mary. In the scene of the Marriage of Cana, for
example, Chapter 2, we only read, “the mother of Jesus
was there.” In these words something important is
indicated, something we only understand when we know how the
writer of this Gospel uses his words. What does the
expression “the mother of Jesus” mean? We have
seen that man consists of physical, etheric and astral
bodies. We must not consider the transition of the astral
body to the Spirit Self so simply. The Ego transforms the
astral body very slowly and gradually into sentient soul,
intellectual soul and spiritual soul. The Ego goes on working
and only when it has developed the spiritual soul is it able
so to purify it that Spirit Self can arise in it.
diagram represents the constitution of man.
The Spirit Man
will only be developed in the distant future, and Life Spirit
is also only germinal in most people of the present day. The
development of the Spirit Self has only just begun; it is
closely united with the spiritual soul (somewhat like a sword
in its sheath). The sentient soul is similarly united with
the astral body. The human being thus consists of nine parts
or principles; but as the Spirit Self and the spiritual soul,
and the sentient soul and the astral body are so closely
united, we often speak of seven parts. Spirit-Self is the
same as the “Holy Spirit,” who according to
esoteric Christianity, is the guiding Being in the astral
world. According to the same teaching, Life Spirit is called
the Word or the Son; and Spirit Man is the “Father
Spirit” or the “Father.”
beings who had brought the Spirit Self to birth within them,
were called Children of God; in such men “the light
shone into the Darkness and they received the light.”
Outwardly they were, men of flesh and blood, but they bore a
higher man within them; the Spirit Self had been born within
them out of the spiritual soul. The “mother” of
such a spiritualised man is not a bodily mother, she lies
within him; she is the purified and spiritualised spiritual
soul; she is the principle who gives birth to the higher man.
This spiritual birth, a birth in the highest sense, is
described in St. John's Gospel. The Spirit Self or the Holy
Spirit pours into the most highly purified Spiritual Soul.
This is referred to in the words, “I saw the Spirit
descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.”
Spiritual Soul is the principle in which the Spirit Self
develops, this principle is called the “mother of
Christ,” or, in the occult schools, the “Virgin
Sophia.” Through the fertilisation of the Virgin Sophia
the Christ could be born in Jesus of Nazareth. In the occult
school of Dionysius, the Intellectual Soul was called
“Mary,” and the Sentient Soul “Mary
man is born of the union of two human beings; but the higher
man can only be born of a Spiritual Soul which embraces a
whole people. Among all the peoples of olden times the method
of initiation was essentially the same. Each initiation had
seven stages or degrees. Among the Persians, for example,
they were called as follows: — I. The Raven. One at
this stage had to bring information from the outer world into
the temple. The Raven has always been called the spiritual
messenger, for instance in the legend of the Ravens of
Barbarossa, and also in the German legends of Odin and his
two ravens. 2. The Occult. 3. The Warrior. In the occult
school the warrior was allowed to go forth and announce the
teachings. 4. The Lion. The Lion was one who was firmly
grounded in himself; he not only had the word, but he
possessed also the magical forces; he had stood the test
which guaranteed that he would not misuse the powers entrusted to
him. 5. The Persian; 6. The Sun Hero. 7. The Father.
Let us consider
the title of the fifth degree,the “Persian”, a
little more closely. In all the occult schools an initiate of
the fifth degree was called by the name of the people to whom
he belonged; for his consciousness had widened where it
included the whole people. He felt all the sorrow of the
people as his own; his consciousness had been purified and
expanded to the consciousness of the whole people. Among the
Jews the initiate at this stage was called an
“Israelite.” Only when we grasp this fact do we
understand the conversation between Christ and Nathanael
Nathanael was an initiate of the fifth
degree. The words of Christ Jesus to Nathanael, that he had
seen him under the fig tree, refer to a special process in
initiation, namely, the reception of the Spiritual Soul.
considerations will help towards the understanding of the
inner process of initiation. The individual
“I”-consciousness of man is in the physical
world; men walk the Earth with their Ego. But the egos of the
animals are on the astral plane; each group of animals there
possesses an ego-consciousness in common. There is, however,
in the astral world, not only the ego of the animal, but also
the ego of the body which man has in common with the animals,
the ego of the human astral body. In the Lower Spirit World
we find the ego of the plants and also the ego of the body
man possesses in common with the plants, the ego of the
etheric body. If we rise still higher, into the Higher Spirit
World, we there find the ego of the minerals and the ego of
that part which man has in common with the minerals —
the ego of the physical body. Thus through our physical body
we are connected with the Higher Spiritual World. We are here
in the physical world with our individual Ego only. When, in
the case of an initiate, the ego of the astral body is
permeated by his Individual ego, the consequence is that he
becomes conscious in the astral world; he can then perceive
the beings around him there and become active in that-world.
He then meets Beings who are incarnated in astral bodies; he
also meets the group-souls of the animals, and the higher
Beings who in Christianity are called angels. On being
initiated still more deeply, the ego of the etheric body is
also permeated by the individual ego. The consciousness of
the human being then extends into the Lower Spiritual World.
There he encounters the egos of the plants and the Spirit of
the Planet. A still deeper initiation takes place when the
individual ego permeates the ego of the physical body,
— man then rises to personal consciousness in the
higher Spiritual world. There he meets the egos of the
minerals and still higher Spirits. Thus continued initiation
raises a man to higher and higher worlds, in which he meets
with higher and higher Beings.
Higher Spiritual World.
Egos of the Minerals.
Ego of the Physical body.
Consciousness in the Higher Spirit World.
Lower Spiritual World.
Egos of the Planets.
Ego of the Etheric body.
Consciousness in the Lower Spirit World.
Egos of the Animals. (also Angels).
Ego of the Astral body.
Consciousness in the Astral World.
individual Ego has gained full control over the three bodies,
it has brought about inner harmony. Christ possessed this
harmony to the fullest extent, — he appeared on the
Earth in order that men might develop this power of inner
harmony. In this Son of Man we see represented the full
development of humanity, up to the highest spiritual stage.
Formerly this inner harmony did not exist, outer laws worked
in its place, — this inner harmony is the new impulse
which humanity received through Christ. Man is to acquire the
“Christ capacity,” that is to say, he is to
develop the inner Christ. Goethe said: “The eye is
built by light for light;” in the same way this inner
harmony, this inner Christ is only kindled through the
presence of the outer, historical Christ; before His
appearance it was not possible for man to reach this stage of
beings who lived before the appearance of Christ on Earth are
not excluded from the blessings He brought to humanity; for
it should not be forgotten that, according to the law of
reincarnation, they will come again to the earth and will
therefore have the opportunity to develop the inner Christ.
It is only when people forget the law of reincarnation that
they can speak of injustice. St. John's Gospel shows the way
to the historical Christ, to that Sun which enkindles the
inner light in man, just as the physical Sun has enkindled
the light of the eyes.
The ego of the
etheric body may be compared to the engineer who builds a
motor-car; the ego of the astral body may be compared to the
one who drives it; and the ego of the individual to the one
who owns it.