May 18-22, 1907
Lecture I The Rosicrucian Initiation
Lecture II Planetary Evolution and the Development of the Human Being
Lecture III Commentary on the Arrangement of the Conference Hall
Translated by Katherine Rudolph
The Munich conference of the Theosophical Society [May 18-22 1907] sought for a renewal of the mysteries of the occident. Thereby was a new artistic impulse brought into being for Theosophy. Rudolf Steiner, who was the leader of the German Section at that time, taught a Christian Rosicrucian path, which differed from the Theosophy’s traditional eastern path of mysteries. The conference was the turning point that, some years later, gave rise to the independent Anthroposophical Society initiated by Rudolf Steiner.
Here Hilda Raske describes the spiritual-scientific artistic impulse that was brought forth during the conference:
‘Forms, as expressions of inner life, born out of ‘spiritual hearing’ and ‘spiritual seeing’ came into being. Out of ‘spiritual hearing’ did the ‘Planetary Columns’ emerge and out of ‘spiritual seeing’ did the Apocalyptic Seals comes to birth. The seals are sketches from the Revelations of St John.’
[The representations had been printed in 1861 in Eliphas Levi’s “Dogma et Rituel de la haute Magie”; they had been transformed, painted in colour and embellished by Rudolf Steiner with the help of Clara Rettich. The Seventh Seal had been transformed into pictorial representation for the first time.]
‘For the conference, seven columns were painted on two metre high narrow boards. These were imprinted with the signs of the planets as expression of the great levels of cosmic developments. These ‘columns’ were placed on a festive, red wall, and between them were the seven Apocalyptic Seals. The ceiling was to be formed by means of blue domes, which was not possible to achieve in that short time span.
The red-blue polarity of wall and ceiling colours was represented in a red and a blue column. The red one carried the letter ‘J’ and the blue one carried the ‘B’, the initials of ‘Jakin’ and ‘Boas’, the columns of Solomon’s temple. The two columns are also on the fourth, the middle of the seven Apocalyptic Seals. They appear as well in a scene from his mystery drama, ‘The Guardian of the Threshold’.
In front of the podium were the busts of Hegel, Schelling and Fichte, as representatives of an individual middle-European striving for knowledge. Later in the painting of the Goetheanum, 1914, there stood in the same place a mighty imagination of the cosmic human being, comprising thinking, feeling and willing…’
With this conference in only a few days, Rudolf Steiner gave the first impulse for a renewal of spirit-filled art as it later unfolded in the first Goetheanum.
The above quote is taken from page 23 of The Colour-Word, (Das Farbenwort) by Hilda Raske,1983, Verlag Freies Geistesleben, GmbH, Stuttgart.
– Katherine Rudolph
THE ROSICRUCIAN INITIATION
One of the three great busts you see standing here, is the German philosopher, Hegel. His affirmation concerning the being of human evolution is summed up in the following words: ‘Evolutionary development is a progressive step towards conscious freedom’. He meant that human development is not a continual repetition of the same facts and the same happenings, but rather a progression leading steadily upward, from epoch to epoch. Mankind is constantly climbing upward to higher levels of attainment.
He who contemplates human evolution from a spiritual point of view, will find a profound truth, indeed, in this utterance of Hegel’s. Of course, one should not conclude that there have never been periods of decline throughout this constantly evolving progression. It means that, seen from a higher vantage point, the overall development of our human race (when one does not take the fleeting epochs of decline into account) is gradually ascending. Only he who cannot penetrate the depths of the developmental process could support the present day conception that mankind and the natural world have always appeared more or less the same as they do now. When this kind of evolution is spoken about [the huge changes which come about from one epoch to another concerning the human spirit in cultural progression] those whose minds are only active on the physical plane cannot understand this concept of ascension. To them, it may appear strange to describe the great changes which occur in the realms of nature or to relate visions of future epochs.
When one contemplates and differentiates the process of growth in mankind, one first comes to see configurations of higher worlds in relation to the physical plane. It is when one recognises his own epoch, that he first knows where he stands in human evolution. We must look around a bit to see where we are – to which process our present human development is related. Then we are led to understand (from what is known as occult wisdom) that ‘spirit’, as differentiated from the other counterparts of the human being, is presently descending. Spirit has descended the deepest ever into the physical plane of matter in this epoch. Since the last third of the 19th century, it has begun to ascend once more. He who recognises this configuration can only express it in the following way: During this epoch the spirit has penetrated the deepest into matter; that is the significant development of this epoch. Spirit is just beginning to ascend once more. And all who strive spiritually, are striving to arise out of this depth of involvement in the physical.
This critical link in time has been long in coming. When one examines it from an occult viewpoint, it becomes apparent that this important segment in the human spiritual development has been four to five hundred years long in preparation. It goes back to the time when the human spirit descended down into the depths of the knowledge that emerged out of the astral plane. This can be seen as a specific ‘mission’ necessary for human evolution. An extremely important moment occurred when this evolutionary process moved down out of the astral plane into the physical plane to carry spiritual understandings into the material world. This was the time when Copernicus brought the old Ptolemaic worldview down into the physical plane. This Ptolemaic view is certainly not meaningless, but rather a projection of astral knowledge onto the physical plane. These principles penetrated in their later phases of development, until in the 19th century they had been brought down deeper than the human being had ever been able to conceive of as spirit, interpreted into the material realm. He who understands the theosophical movement in the right sense, does not criticise what humankind has brought down into the physical. That would not be active theosophical living. The active theosophical life would be more likely to ask: ‘how can we arise again out of the bonds of the physical plane?’ – and it would try to understand the task which this descent into the physical plane has fulfilled.
We look back on Egyptian wisdom, on the wonderful Chaldean-Babylonian wisdom and ask ourselves: What is the difference between what the Egyptian priest, who served Hermes, saw when he looked out into the starry heavens – or what the Chaldean astronomer saw in the stars, compared to that which present day science sees? Materialistic science can give us no idea of what was going on in the dome of the heavens. But, by analogy it is possible to conceive of it when one contemplates the human being.
We mustn’t contemplate human beings in such a way that we simply look at the physiognomy of the face. If we see tears falling, we don’t simply look at how they move according to the forces of weight. – Indeed if an angel came down from the sky, material science might first calculate it speed of descent. Rather, we see pain in the teardrops and in the soul’s suffering. And if someone smiles, then we see in his smiling the countenance of what brings joy to his spirit. We know that archetypal elementary feelings are taking place in human beings.
This ‘seeing-through form’ in the material world into its soul-spiritual counterpart in the soul was that which the followers of Hermes meant when they said: “As above, so below”. No material essence exists which is not the outer expression of a soul-spiritual content!
In the same way that ice is only water in another form, so also is all material essence only spirit in another form. If somebody came and showed us a piece of ice, and we said “that is condensed water” and he denied it, we would say to him, “you are naïve, you are wrong, this ice is only condensed water”. It is actually only something other than that if we look at its form.
In a similar way, material essence is only transformed, condensed spirit. But it is not sufficient to only know it; we must gather up all of our knowledge into our soul. And spiritual life allows all that lives within our soul to attain to active being; it is not enough that habitual thoughts, feelings and will impulses live within our soul. If we can also awaken an additional inner life, then we can feel, like the Egyptian followers of Hermes or the Chaldean astronomers who looked out into the heavens: Mars, Venus, Moon or Mercury, all of that is the expression of spirit which lives in the stars. Therefore in the early times of spiritual life, the meaning was not at all similar to what the modern day astronomer understands regarding the stars. For, under the name, Mercury, for example, the ancient wise man, living in the spiritual senses, would conceive the spirit itself which lives throughout Mercury, is like the soul living in a body. And the wise man taught everyone who heard his words.
Now imagine exactly how one might have looked out into space and seen the stars there; not an abstract, but an intimately spiritual life connected him to that world. One ‘saw spirit’ and in the spiritual spaces one was floating and felt oneself as an appendage of that world, in the same way as a finger is no more than an appendage of one’s hand. If this being had been cut out of the universal spirituality, he would have died away and appeared no more alive than a finger would appear if it were cut off of the hand. Compare this to what the modern day astronomer sees. For him, the physical planets are just balls flying around. The living feeling for their spiritual state of being is missing. But this living impression is not so easy to experience now. Perhaps the astronomer is theoretically a spiritually attuned being; but now it is harder to be spiritually attuned to life itself, than to wholly theoretical viewpoints. Now mankind lives in purely physical surroundings. One does not find the living harmony between the divine and the physical any more. But it is indeed the right thing and is deeply meaningful that this disharmony came into being.
Let us compare that which people on the physical plane of being can accomplish to the accomplishments of the highly spiritual priestly wisdom. In ancient times a primitive culture was predominant. When we see the endless work and trouble that went into each of the objects which stand about us, as spiritual creative accomplishments of the last four hundred years; then we do not desire to forget that all this exists, thanks to the human spirit of the last four hundred years. Every epoch has its special task. Because that is especially the case for the last epoch of world history, those wellsprings out of which spiritual life always flows had to send the spiritual impulse downwards to those who wanted to receive it in devotion to spiritual striving.
If we count backward to the spirit’s penetration into the material plane [four to five hundred years ago] and then even farther to the two hundred years of preparation preceding, we find a spiritual stream at work on the earth. In spite of the descending forces, it was able to prepare a way for the human spirit to find ways and means back upwards when the time came to arise once more . This stream is called the Rosicrucian Stream. And, while in ancient times, human beings had to be led upwards; so, it is that the human being must independently seek the way into the Rosicrucian initiation. In this we do not mean to say that there are different truths in the human path of development. The truth is one [as is, the sun which lights the whole of the earth’s physical surroundings] but the paths to the truth are different. Think for a minute, that you were to compare a perspective that you had developed, to the view from a mountain peak. From above, you could see an unhindered free vista from all sides whenever you went up. Wouldn’t you call it unreasonable if someone was standing on a cliff on the left-hand side [who could find a path on that side of the mountain], but instead, that person went straightaway around the mountain to find another path that was not on the same side that he had been standing on? Nevertheless, it was like that in the case of human development. The points of departure of the cultures are like the paths on the mountain; the various folks must climb up on different paths. The truth – the spiritual cognition – is one and the same. Only someone who believed that different races would always repeat the same things could hold that the paths of initiation were just the same. But, just as the human body of a person born in the 15th century is different from a human body that is born today; so must the treatment of each student who desires to take the path be different. And at a certain time the renewing processes must align with the folk soul into which the human being is born. This is needed even though the structural relationships may come from the same measure of sight. Both Occult Physiology and Occult Anatomy make us aware that the structural relationships of the physical brain must become different when human beings overcome the physical plane. The physical structural relationships represent only the lower level of facts corresponding to that which is above spiritually. And thus, today, there exists a Rosicrucian Initiation.
Among the various kinds of initiation we only need to mention the three most outstanding ones. It is understood what we are talking about when the Yoga path, the Christian-Gnostic path and the Rosicrucian path are mentioned.
One knows the Yoga path from the literature written about it. The Christian-Gnostic path is that path of Christian esotericism that was taught in the earliest days of the preparation for Christianity with Dionysus Areopagita. The scholars speak of him as a pseudo-Dionysus, who lives in the 6th century and probably wrote all of the great books. The Christian tradition points back to the time of the Apostle Paul. The scholars only ask: When were these scrolls written? Christian esotericism knows that this Dionysus Areopagita was a student of the Apostle Paul and was given the task by his master to ground the esoteric school of Christendom. For untold human beings, this Christian esotericism has become the truth. Today we can hardly imagine out of what wellsprings many of the words of the Christian teachers came to us. This Christian initiation looks like a fantasy tableau for one who thinks like a modern day materialist.
It was essentially, life itself for people of those days. There are seven levels, which everyone who desires to attain the Christian initiation must undertake. Let me name them at this time:
The Washing of the Feet
The Crown of Thorns
The Mystical Death
The Burial and Resurrection
The Ascension of the Soul
They are the seven true levels, which had to be undergone in the mystery schools where the Christian initiation took place. I will characterise at least two of these levels, the first and the fourth, for your understanding.
When the Christian neophyte was far enough along that he lived ‘morally’ in the usual sense [purified and already on a higher level] and it was evident that he would not stray from the higher morality, then he was received by his master of Christian initiation. He had to live through something that I can only describe to you in the form of dialogue, although it never took place in a dialogue as such.
After the student was taken into the discipline, the teacher would say to him:
Look around at the plant world. It grows on the mineral world. If the mineral world were not there, the plant could not flourish, although it stands on a higher level. If the plant could think, it would have to say to the earth, “Indeed, you are standing deeper in the realm of the natural kingdoms, but I could not exist without you. I humbly bow down before you!”. And then the student would be led to recognise this humility in all the realms of nature. The animal must revere the plant and the human in turn revere the animal: bow down and say, “Without you, I could not be!”. And the human being who is standing on a higher level would have to bow in humility before those who are not so far along; for no one can stand above without the others below. If the person understands this conception of the ‘ladder-of-initiation levels’, then he looks humbly down at those who are standing below.
So the student learned to grasp what is spoken about in the 13th chapter of the Gospel of St John: that the highest (although twelve stand below him) bows in humility before them and bathes their feel. Whoever is raised up to higher moral levels in the sense of esoteric Christianity, first begins to understand the inner meaning of the St John’s Gospel. The St John’s Gospel is a book of initiation. The Apocalypse is the content of that initiation.
When the student had gotten so far that this humility was self-evident to him, then the 13th chapter of the Johannes Evangelism had become a truth for his soul. Then the teacher could bring fourth the conditions for specific feelings to arise. The student could feel and know that he now had the possibility of arising to a higher level. He felt [and this was a common experience of all who had begun the Christian initiation] as if his feet were standing in water, as if the spirit waters were interweaving with him. And an inner sign arose for each student in picture form, built up through his own inner forces. It was that picture which is conveyed by the 13th chapter of the St. John’s Gospel. That is not merely an outer historic picture, but a spiritual picture which one can see at the same time that the ‘the Washing of the Feet’ is unfolding before him on the astral plane.
To help us understand, I will now continue on to the fourth step, the Crucifixion. When the third level was over it was made clear to the student that he could no longer reckon that his body belonged to him. He had to feel his body as an object outside of himself. The ordinary person believes that his body is his ‘I’. Whoever wishes to attain the fourth level of Christian initiation, must bring himself to believe that his body is like nothing more than a chair or a table around him. The ordinary man says “I am going in by the door”. To the initiated one, it is self-evident that, “I am carrying my body in through the door”. Then two signs appear: the voluntary bringing forth of the ‘stigmata’ is the manifestation of the fourth initiation level. Exactly on the parts of his body that are called the stigmata, he can voluntarily bring about a reddening of his skin, through the inner forces of his spirituality. On the palms of the hands, on the feet, and on the right side of the chest the stigmata appear. That is accompanied by the inner manifestation that the student can see himself as a cross on the astral plane.
One does not speak of the dangers of this development. It is purely a question of inner development, and at that time, one does not speak of dangers anymore. Whoever wants to do this without the advice of a teacher, is certainly in danger. He who patiently and humbly offers himself up to a teacher will serve through his martyrdom as a helpful servant of humanity. In any case, one should not take the task upon oneself until the moral responsibility to feel it is present.
The Christian initiation was also the basis and wellsprings of outer Christian life. The Christian initiation became transformed into the Rosicrucian initiation, some 200 years before the descent of the spirit into the material plane.
The Rosicrucian initiation is by no means un-Christian. It is a further development of Christian initiation. But he who undertakes it does not step outside of the everyday surroundings, as is practised in the purely Christian initiation. He who wishes to live today, as a worthy participant in human evolution, must work in the physical world. It would be wrong to retreat from it. We must learn to understand it and grow into it. If Christian initiation had kept the earlier form, then the human being could have ascended higher up into the soul-spiritual level, but would have become weakened in the physical world.
Let us think of the materialistic advancements on the physical plane, of the great discoveries like the art of printing, and so forth. What contributes to this from the other realms? [Part of the text is missing here]
Therefore, a completely different criteria is needed. Other strong impulses must come into being to lead that which can arise from material development into the right paths. The Rosicrucian initiation is such that the human being makes himself an instrument to use all the mediums at hand for cultural advancement. It teaches the spirit to delve into matter, so that the human being can grasp the relationship of the deepest physical matter with spiritual substance. Thus, the spiritual can be allowed to flow into the material.
Rosicrucian initiation is born out of the necessity of the times. It also has seven levels:
The first is known in a larger sense as ‘Study’, the second, ‘Acquiring Imaginative Knowledge’; the third, ‘Acquiring the Occult Script’; the fourth, ‘Producing the Philosopher’s Stone’ – that is the technical word for it; the fifth, ‘The Correspondence between the Microcosm and the Macrocosm’; the sixth, ‘The Ability to Ascend into the Macrocosm’; the seventh, ‘Divine Redemption’ or ‘Divine Bliss’. It is not to be imagined that each student takes these steps one right after another, rather the teacher must choose what is fitting to the individuality of each student within each category. Each must attain the level of ‘Study’. Then one must apportion the training in very different ways. And now we can speak about each of the levels.
‘Study’ in the Rosicrucian sense, is not that which is meant by study in everyday life. In the Rosicrucian sense it is that which must actually be called: living in pure thought. What that means is not very easy to grasp. Hegel himself tried to help the Germans to grasp the meaning of living in pure thought throughout his whole lifetime. And ten years after his life ended, the depth of what Hegel had brought had all been forgotten. Today we are not even far enough along to understand what Hegel tried to bring. And nevertheless, his books still show quite well what it means to ‘live in thought’ which is beyond the sense world. The newer philosophers: Eduard von Hartman, for example, completely deny the ability to form thoughts which are not influenced by the sense world. They have sworn that there is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses. That which does not come from the senses is not supposed to be real. If their words were true, there would be no mathematics. The Gnostics called spiritual life ‘Mathesis’, not because they imagined that mathematics was its basis, rather because Gnosis is a higher level of pure thought and cognition. One finds this also in mathematics. This level manifests a higher sense-free thinking. This pure thought does not flow out of objects, but from thought to thought. It is for those who wish to experience sense-free thought, that I wrote such a book as The Philosophy of Freedom. It is not a personal effort. It developed like an organism: it is a thought organism meant for ‘study’ in the Rosicrucian sense. Of course many cannot complete such an undertaking. For most people who cannot complete such a study, there is sufficient teaching in Theosophy, as such. In sense-free thinking one cannot hear or see anything. It you study Theosophy, you are on the first level of Rosicrucian study. Theosophy itself is Rosicrucian study when it is carried on correctly. It is not necessary to lose oneself in philosophical heights. The most unpretentious soul can penetrate its depths.
Imaginative knowledge is the second level of the Rosicrucian initiation. It is attained when the human being succeeds in transforming thoughts into pictures. It is a veritable fact. One person who was knowledgeable about the Rosicrucians wrote the following words in a play: “All things perishable are only a semblance!” In that way, one distances oneself from the physical plane of being. To illustrate how this can be accomplished, I will give two examples. Take the three dimensions: The Logoi’. Everything that has been brought forth so far has been connected primarily to the physical plane. We are first raised up to a higher level by means of imaginative knowledge. When one describes these three dimensions schematically and speak about their projection, one can get a mental image of physicality, even when one notes that the second ‘logos’ has a different ‘vibration’ from the first. But such terms are merely to facilitate the understanding. Everything that is connected with three-dimensional plane cannot be taken up into the higher planes. It is only possible to raise that which does not have to do with space. A tone or quality of colour can indeed be expanding into space but it is not ‘spatial’. Astral ‘space’ is a flowing sea of colour and light. On the astral plane one is met with what is experienced here as qualities of colour and tone. What is physical in the sense of colour and tone becomes lifted up onto a higher plane; one must only cleanse and purify these qualities in order to accomplish this. Therefore, the teacher says: “Take the sense-world quality directly away from whatever you desire to look at; imagine how a colour would be, lifted out of the physical. Then one will come to the method involved in imagination. And if one wants to attain this level, one must place oneself opposite the outer world itself in such a way as to perceive a scenario where, for example, the three dimensions can be spoken of in terms of quality instead of quantity. Now perceive the third Logos as something that penetrates the world as tone – an actual tone. The second, insofar as astral projection comes to mind can be perceived as flowing light. The first Logos can be perceived as world fragrance, as a floating totally purified aroma. The Rosicrucians have perceived this through and through. These are pictures, imaginations, and not descriptions that come from the physical plane.
Another picture, which allows for a more ‘down to earth’ appearance is brought forth for us in a wonderful myth, the Myth of the Holy Grail. It is a meaningful experience for Rosicrucian students as well, and is a true perception concerned with the life of the soul. The master says to the student: “Now, look at the plant; it lives with its roots in the ground and sends its stem above to its calyx – which later will bring another plant into being – and turns toward the sun”. Even materialist teachings have noted that if we were to compare the plant with the human being, it would be necessary to compare the root with the head. The plant is, as it were, like a human being set upside down. Evolution takes place in the process of the picture becoming reversed: That which is chastely opened before all the world in the plant, is directed downward in the human being. That which is the root of the plant which strives towards the middle of the earth is directed upwards in the human being. Between the two exists the animal world whose spinal cord is horizontal. Now, the student was told: “Place yourself in front of the plant, the animal and the human being and you see the cross of the world”. The cross represents the picture of world being in human form. The plant becomes fruitful, only when touched by a ray of the sun, which is called the ‘Holy Lance of Love’. The plant fulfils its task when it is touched by these rays. Now think of the human being with the ‘Kama’ that affects him; these lower organs must be cleansed and purified and must appear again on a higher level, in order that the ‘calyx’ or chalice can open from above in the course of evolution. When the human being has been transformed, when he has purified this ‘calyx’ or chalice he also will have the occasion to be touched by the Holy Lance of Love – then the purification of the human being will be accomplished – not only astrally or etherically, but physically. This is an imaginative picture of evolution. He who can penetrate this experientially will behold the manifestation of the astral plane.
The third level is the Acquisition of the Occult Script. It is not a script similar to our present day abstract signs and letters. One can become worthy of its harmonious quality. The teacher says to the pupil: “If you ascend to the cognition of the occult script, you will hear the ringing of what was known as ‘the harmony of the spheres’ in the Pythagorean School”. That is a reality for the initiated ones, not a simple allegory. That which is offered by modern day science as the numerical system, is related to the harmony of the spheres in the following way: Imagine that a symphony could be indicated by waving movements in the air. The occult student learns to hear tones in the spiritual world. Goethe also knew about this when he said: “The sun sounds forth in its age-old way as brother spheres contending”. And in another place: “Sounding now for spirit ears, the newborn day at once occurs”. What happens there is not only to be heard by physical ears, but is only spiritually perceptible. The occurrences sounding on spiritual planes of being beget the harmonies of the spheres. And the signs of the occult script are real forces of worlds. Whoever knows them feels the streams of world forces right down to the physical organism. Here is an example: I will cite four numbers to you. When I say them, they are abstract. If you would spiritually perceive the music for them, you would perceive the relationship of the four lower human sheaths. These numbers are 1, 3, 7, 12. These numbers manifest the four lower sheaths of the human beings sounding forth harmoniously together. That is the mystery of the Pythagorean numerical teachings. One must change them into spiritual music.
The fourth level is ‘Producing the Philosopher’s Stone’. Modern teachings have made a fairy tale out of it. That is right in a certain way; because if it were really such as science imagines, it would be a child’s game. It is, however, the highest goal that one can strive for.
At the end of the 18th century, something of what the Rosicrucian mysteries are was surmised. There we find that people heard a rumour about something. We can actually find an extraordinary writing in a German newspaper! It says there, concerning the Philosopher’s Stone: ‘It exists. If one could know about its whole meaning and value, one would possess the mystery of immortality. Actually a large number of people know it. Many hold it in their hands everyday.’ The man who writes this has no idea what it is about. He did hear a message which was partly right. We actually only need to contemplate a process which the human being is always going through, seeing it in a cosmic sense. That is the process of breathing. We breathe in and out. Breathing in oxygen, we breathe out into the surrounding world. The out-breath of carbon dioxide is a poisonous gas in which we cannot live. The plant absorbs it continuously, keeps the carbon from the carbon dioxide and builds its own body. The oxygen, however, is given back to the animals and human beings. Thus, plant, animal and humans form a whole in so far as the breathing process is concerned. The human being needs the plant in our time. The corporeal remains of the plant become black coal when they are transformed and dug up out of the earth. They finally become transformed into the transparent diamond. We humans carry these two processes as potentialities within us. But we cannot use them. We must give it up to the plant as its breath of its life. The plant builds up its body from the carbon dioxide. It can do something that the human beings today cannot do yet, but which we will be able to do later. Imagine this process: taking up carbon dioxide through the plant being, then sending out oxygen – the transference into the inner part of the human [Part of the text here is missing) … that is, we must flow together with the plant world at that point, which will then be taken up into human constitutional nature. We could build up a pure chaste body during such a process, as the plant does today within itself. To become a being who can fulfil this process consciously is the goal towards which the human being is now proceeding. When the goal has been achieved, mankind will be in the condition through which the chalice of the Holy Grail can be developed. So the process of breathing is not a finished accomplishment. It is on the way to becoming perfected to finally achieve what is now happening outside our human body inside us. This will transform human substance, which is interwoven with Kama into pure chastened substance. This is true alchemy. Then man will be able to perform the inner alchemy through which he will learn to transform the cosmos. The symbol for that is Holy Grail. We must not avoid pursuing this high ideal, just because it is still millions of years away from us. It is likely to be attained out of the principle that ‘continuous drops of water will hollow out the stone’. It is to be achieved by those who learn to bring the breathing process more and more into a rhythmical flow. Bit by bit, that goal will be achieved. The Philosopher’s Stone is carbon, the substance which will form the human body of the future. This transformation is alchemy in the Rosicrucian sense. Naturally the inmost indications will only be given from teacher to student.
The fifth level, the ‘Correspondence between Microcosm and Macrocosm’ is the task of learning how what we have within us is interrelated to the outer macrocosm. Paracelsus once said: “Let’s look at the animals, the plant, and the minerals. Everything is in some way or another in the human body. In the human being, all that is in outer nature has flowed together. Nature is simultaneously, a human being separated into parts. Nature works like a spelling process. The human being is however the word which is formed out of this spelling”. When this knowledge penetrates into the consciousness, then the student sees how the eye is formed out of light. The eye is made up of light. Our organism comes out of another one that did not yet have an eye; but the light called forth the eye. This state of consciousness has not been existent for a long time. The human being today does not know anything about it, but the seer in the astral plane can behold it. Thus one learns to recognise that which weaves in the inner cosmos, as weaving within one’s own being. Then one learns to know the cosmos through being cognizant of one’s own sheaths; from the eye, the light; from the ear, tone, and so forth. This is understood in such a way as can only be given from teacher to student.
When the human being has progressed so far that the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm has been grasped, then human being itself can arise to the sixth level: ‘The Ability to Ascend into the Macrocosm’. Then you are like a friend to all that is in nature. There comes into being a loving relationship to every being in nature, somewhat the same as what lives in the love between man and women. The sunflower appears differently than before, as well as the violet, the lion and the tiger. All has a transformed appearance. The whole cosmos appears as differentiated as does the love between a man and a woman. Our inner being flows from the inside to the outside and that is bound up with a transformation of the heart: the etheric and the astral bodies transform the heart so it can be a voluntarily controlled muscle. Here occult teaching will in effect spread the light as it becomes perfected. Today the heart is a cross in the physiological sense. It is not a voluntarily controlled muscle, but relative to its striations it is a voluntary muscle because it is striated with vertical lines. All voluntary muscles are vertically striated whereas non-voluntary muscles have lengthwise striations. So even today the design has been provided. When the human of the future can create out of the spirituality of the cosmos, he will be able to move his heart in the same way that he can move his hand today. And I could provide hundreds and hundreds of examples of how occult science can throw light on riddles that physical science cannot solve.
When the human being has gradually attained this innermost relationship to the whole surrounding worlds, then he will no longer need to use physical brainpower. Then, the teacher says, he can first begin to grasp what the Rosicrucian calls, “Divine Redemption’ or ‘Divine Bliss’ a condition where independent consciousness is preserved but the initiate can feel the highest being.
I have only been able to give an overall impression; but the Rosicrucian schooling can give still more. Much opposition can be brought forward; one can be made aware of the dangers that can come about. There is one thing that can be noted : if the human being does not come blundering out of his egotism towards the goal, but rather feels himself to be a part of the evolution; if he comes not out of greed but rather feels a kind of obligation; if he wants to serve the evolutionary process, if he purifies all that he must purify; then there is no danger. And the Rosicrucian schooling will indeed cause a moral purification to take place. The striving to go forth into pure thought must hover before the soul, because pure thought is a powerful moral purification. It works then as a preparation for the six levels.
All of the goals of occult development must have the process of overcoming or mastering at their basis. This has also been expressed by Goethe. Only when we have conquered ourselves, are we allowed to develop in a higher sense. That must become our basic ideal, for this mastery is the basic ideal of the Rosicrucians.
‘Free from the forces which bind all things
Is the human who has conquered himself.’
PLANETARY EVOLUTION AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
May 20, 1907
Yesterday I spoke about initiation in the sense of the Rosicrucian spiritual world stream. I spoke of the levels of knowledge, feeling, and impulses of the will, and the activities that the human being has to go through when he approaches higher levels of being on the path of knowledge. Today, let us attempt to take up a chapter of Rosicrucian Theosophy itself. It is not as if Rosicrucian wisdom were something other than the general spiritual wisdom of all folks and times; it has merely been adapted to our modern way of creating mental images to serve the needs of our times. It has been born out of the knowledge that our epoch needs to communicate the age-old archetypal truths of all times. In such a way it can live in present day human beings of Europe and the Americas.
It is perhaps chapter concerning the far-distant past that has been chosen here, but one of the most essential ones. Nothing shows us the grounds and goals of human beings as well as an understanding of this theme. It leads us at the same time to the forces which we should unfold in ourselves, so as to become co-workers in the service of human evolution. We can contemplate the great evolution of the cosmos in no better way, than by beginning with the human being and his state of being, as such. I will speak out of nothing more than that wisdom which Theosophists and Rosicrucians possess in common, such that anyone could speak about concerning these wellsprings. There are no contradictions. Many of you already know what I would like to say here.
We differentiate seven sheaths of the human nature. This morning we heard that another relationship could also lie at this basis: three times three. It makes no difference that I have brought the three middle sheaths together under a single name this morning. I shall combine these three sheaths this time into one that I will call the fourth. In such a way they will completely fulfil our undertaking today.
We shall divide the human being up by saying that there is first of all, the physical body; that is what hands can touch and eyes can see, what the human being has in community with all of nature. The laws of chemistry and physics are found at the basis of this physical body. The second one is named the etheric body. It is that body by which the chemical and physical forces are called to life and that which then leaves the relationship of physical and chemical matter at death.
In occultism it is said that the human physical body is a combination of matter and forces that cannot exist alone, but only because an etheric body is enclosing them. As long as the etheric body remains, will the physical body be preserved. At the moment that the etheric body leaves the physical body of forces, death steps in and the physical body becomes a corpse. Therefore one says that the etheric body preserves us at all times from death. In the etheric body there is a great battle going on every minute, against that which our chemical substance would cause to disintegrate.
The third body is the carrier of lust and pain, joy and sorrow, feelings and affections, and is called the astral body. It is the sheath of the human being that we have in common with animals. In the same way that the etheric body is held in common with the plants and animals, and the mineral body is held in common with the entire outer world. The word astral body has been used since the origins of time. There is no better name for the sheath of the human being than astral body. And there is perhaps no more beautiful reason why this body is called the astral body than the one which the great philosopher Paracelsus gave. In the same way as the etheric body leaves the physical body at death, so the astral body leaves the etheric body, not long after death. But the astral body leaves the physical and etheric bodies as well every night. If it is outside us, where is it then?
There Paracelsus asks rightly, “Where is it and what does it do in the night. Is it resting, does it have a task?” Yes, certainly it has a task. In fact he who doesn’t have clairvoyant forces, cannot look into the activity of the astral body during the night. But everyone feels the consequences of this activity. Everyone lies down tired at night. The tiredness is the expression of the disharmony found in the combination of our physical and astral bodies. This tired condition comes about in order to bring back the harmony between the physical and etheric bodies during a time when the astral body no longer holds sway. And the present state of the human being in our times makes it necessary that this disharmony should come about during the course of the day. If our physical and etheric bodies were to be dominated by the astral body (given the way the forces should actually combine) there would always be harmony in our etheric and physical bodies. But the astral body does not live in that way in the physical body. The whole environment, the physically perceptible things have their effect due to the level of consciousness that the human being has reached on the planet earth. From the outside to the inside flow the impressions of the eye and the ear and the other senses as well. During the course of the day (the waking state) there occurs a disharmony in every human being who has not yet attained a certain level of spiritual development. If this astral body could never spend any time in another place than in our physical and etheric bodies, it would itself become disordered. Then the streams of its forces could not remain the way they need to be for the formation of a proper etheric and physical body. During the day the inner harmony of the astral body becomes disordered, and the expression of the disorder is tiredness. At the moment that you feel tired, an inner disharmony is there. Where does the astral body go at night?
Paracelsus said correctly: “When the lines of forces which bind it to the physical body during the day begin to loosen, then it comes into relationship with the whole harmonious system of forces which streams through the starry heavens. At the moment when the human being sleeps, he is resting in the harmony of the spheres. And from there he brings the forces back again which rebalance those used during the day. So, the astral body rests in the starry forces during the night. Its true native land is actually in the stars. When it comes back, it brings back forces from the stars in order to be rid of the substances caused by tiredness. Therefore, good sleep is a good doctor. Order and harmony can come in as long as the astral body rests in that world out of which come the laws of the starry heavens. Those are the laws of the spiritual world, as such. When the human being has had no sleep, his health is therefore damaged, because the astral body has not rested for a time in the starry world. So, the astral body has received its name from the stars.
Earlier no name had been given which was equal to its being. And before we correct occult names and signs, we must first think about why they were given their names. When a comet or a planet is discovered today, we open up a lexicon or a mythological book, and give the star a name out of there. The principle of giving names in spiritual times was to let the being of the thing ring forth. It rang out its connection to the world in sound.
In the fourth sheath of his being, the human being carries the crowning glory of the unfolding earthly creation. Please follow me for a few minutes in a subtle contemplation. In the sphere of German language there is one word – and it is similar in other languages – which is to be distinguished in a very basic way from all other words. Every one of you can say ‘table’ to a table, or ‘picture’ to a picture, and so forth. There is however ONE name that we cannot use in that way. No one can say ‘I’ to another person. Every other person is ‘you’ for the one who says ‘I’; and the one who is called ‘you’, for himself he is ‘I’, while the others are in turn ‘you’. If this name designates oneself, no other sound in the outer world can embody it. It must ring out of each person, himself or herself. Such has been the perception in all times by all religions that have carried the impulse of mystery wisdom. In mystery wisdom, one says that the name for that essence [and in the Hebrew mysteries the unutterable name of God, ‘Jahve’] is no other than the name for the ‘I’.
In truth the Jahve name represents that which speaks a monologue in the soul, so to dwell within oneself. It has been perceived in world-views and religions that are built on a spiritual basis as: ‘In the ‘I’ the innermost part of the soul begins to speak’. It is only a beginning, however, this ‘I’ – this single centre point – is the essential sign that differentiates the human being from all other beings who live on this planet. Thoughtful minded people have always experienced what ‘John Paul’ tells us. While he stood in the courtyard of his parent’s house as a very small child, he could exactly remember how he felt when he realised that he was an ‘I’ being! And he adds that it is not possible that others could have added something to his memory. “Because at that time”, said John Paul, “I looked into the most holy grounds of my inner being; I knew then that I was beyond death, because I had found my relationship to God”.
If we start with the ‘I’, we come to the contemplation of the other reciprocal sheathes of the human being. Human development arises, when the ‘I’ is working on the other sheathes, wherein it appears like a seed within a fruit in its skin. And how does the ‘I’ work?
If we wish to understand that, we must remember the primitive folk souls. Look at a folk soul that lives on a lower level of culture. You will see that these people are governed by their feelings and instincts, by drives and passions, exactly like the animal is. Compare such people now with a person in a higher order of cultural development, with a Francis of Assisi. What differentiates these two types of development?
If we wish to answer this question, we must be clear that the human being develops his sheathes throughout many incarnations: first the astral body, then the etheric body and finally the physical body as well. The wild man follows all the drives and passions that live in him. The cultured being says to himself: ‘there are certain drives that I must not allow myself.’ He does not let certain drives and passions control him. The idealist on a yet higher level not only forbids them. He also brings forth out of himself ideals that add something new, transforming the drives of the astral body in a primitive culture. In the idealist one can clairvoyantly observe, that the astral body is made up of two parts: that part which was originally in him and also that which the ‘I’ itself has fashioned out of it. If one observes a highly developed idealist, the latter part [a sketch is made on the board] becomes larger [through the work of the ‘I’] than it is in other persons; and in a person like Francis of Assisi, one can observe how little is left of what the human being called his own at the time of first incarnation. In Theosophy the part of the astral body that becomes practically mastered by the human being is designated as ‘Spirit-Self’, otherwise is known as ‘Manas’. It is a transformed part of the astral body.
However the human being also works on his etheric body, from out of his ‘I’. What does it mean to work on the etheric body? This will be made clear by an example. One can see it by means of one’s own development. Remember what concepts and images you knew as a seven-year-old child, compared to what you know today? What has been learned and changed in the living pictures and representations that you now understand? You will find out a lot if you do this. Compare all of that, with the amount that has been transformed regarding tendencies of temperament, memory and certain other basic characteristics of human nature. If you were hot-tempered as a child of eight, this hot temper will still sometimes appear. If your temperament was melancholic, you will perhaps retain a tinge of this all your life. So that we might say as a means of comparison that what the human being actually learns in visual representations moves forward like the minute hand of a clock; but the overall tendencies move more slowly, like the hour hand. And the etheric body changes as slowly as does the hour hand. The etheric body is thicker than the astral body.
Therefore the work of the ‘I’ on the etheric body is essentially harder than is its work on the astral body. When the ‘I’ is not only working on its intellectual images, but rather begins to transform its temperament, it can begin to take part in the forming of its etheric body. For many, that only becomes possible at the crossing over from one incarnation into the next. But it is exactly that kind of forming which is essential in an occult training. Everything that one learns, is only the preparation for the occult training, and one can achieve much by striving to be rid of some basic characteristic (for example, the act of changing a melancholic temperament into a harmonious one). At the moment when one begins to change not only feelings and impulses, but also the deeper lying dispositions, the work on the etheric body has begun. The part of the etheric body that becomes transformed to such a degree by the ‘I’ becomes once again a higher sheath of human nature. Many people today can’t consciously cause this transforming of the etheric body to take place. In fact it is only possible for those who are in an occult training. A law of the Pythagorian School was, for example, that the astral body had to become completely cleansed, before the work on the etheric body could begin. And one must differentiate between the conscious and the unconscious training of the etheric body. The part of the etheric body which is penetrated by the work of the ‘I’, is called the ‘Life-Spirit’. It is that which has been known as ‘Buddhi’, thus far in Theosophy.
The third and most meaningful transformation is when the human being not only begins to master the forces of his etheric body, but also starts working down into his physical body. It could seem as if the work on the physical body would be the lowest level. It is however the highest. And the work on the physical body is once again harder than the work on the etheric body. When the human begins to work in such a way as to become master of the forces of the physical body, then something else begins to come into being. That which works in the physical body adheres to the same forces that work in the cosmos. When the human being learns to master the forces in his blood and his breathing, then he learns the magic of the cosmos. And that which flows out of his physical body into the universal world comprises the real work, which can first begin when the human being has attained a certain level in the etheric body. And because one begins with the process of ordering or regulating the breath so the name of the breath, ‘Atma’ has been given. The amount that the human being can transform of his physical nature is the amount in that human being which can be called ‘Spirit Man’ or ‘Atma’. Thus has a part of spiritual substance been transformed in him.
It does not have to do with an ascetic escapism out of the physical world; rather, we have the task to humbly place ourselves in the physical world to transform it into a spiritual one. That is the great law of redemption. Actually this physical being itself is understood as part of the spiritual. It has become like it is, so that we can attain our level of development. We now have the task to elevate this physical body into a spiritualised state. That is to redeem it. Behind the word redemption is the principle of elevating the physical body. Now the interconnection of the seven sheathes of the human being has been described, as one must realise them to be in practical theosophical work.
Let us contemplate the evolution of mankind. One who knows the physical body only, is a materialist, and can only have an abstract view of human evolution. One who understands how complicated the human being is can also see how complicated his evolution is. Which of the four sheathes is the oldest and most perfected? Many will be surprised to hear that the oldest and, in its way, the most perfected sheath of the human being is the physical one; that is the one which needed the most time to develop. The etheric body is younger, the astral body even younger, and the baby is the ‘I’. It is a mistake to call the physical body an imperfect part of the human being. Contemplate, the way the uppermost part is built [it is a wonderful piece of art] and how it is carried with the least possible energy. Now, let’s look from the limbs upwards to the forming of the human heart. Whoever deeply studies what can be learned from the heart and also the rest of the physiology of the organs, knows that these parts are so wisely formed and developed that no human wisdom could ever penetrate the forming process of these physical forms. Understanding of the physical body itself might be enough for all people. But now, let us look at the astral body and what it does during our whole lifespan. The human being is constantly poisoning the heart in the physical body through the activity of the astral body. But, the heart is so wisely built that it holds out the whole time against the attack of the astral body. That is only one example. The physical body is the oldest sheath of human nature, for which the longest evolutionary time was necessary. All the sheaths of the human body are interwoven with the whole environment. In the same way that a single finger can only subsist when it is a limb of the whole hand, so is the human being only comprehensible in relationship to the whole cosmos. If one were to lift us up, as such, a few miles above the earth, then we would be exactly like the finger that had been cut off. And it is just because we human beings can walk about on the earth that we think we are independent.
Look back into the far distant past! If you look from that vantage point into future times you will see that the form of the human sheaths is constantly changing. But this can only change because everything in the environment of human beings is changing as well. Despite the fact that our advanced science can only view a short span of time, we tend to think that things were always the way that they are now. But one who looks farther back knows that our planet must change from form to form, if we ourselves want to change.
But it is not enough just to come upon the changes which the earth itself makes, but one must realise that the human being was, in a certain sense already there, before the earth could be called ‘earth’ in a cosmic sense. In much the same way that the human has progressed, so have the planets and the beings that live on them. Our planet is the reincarnation of another planetary condition, and we can follow three earlier incarnations of our earth and look forward to three more to follow in the future. That which we call planetary development is no more than an analogy for understanding our human development. The three earlier planetary conditions through which our earth went are called: ‘Saturn’, ‘Sun’ and ‘Moon’ in Rosicrucian terms. We can imagine: the earth was Moon before it was earth; and before it was Moon, it was Sun; and before the Sun, it was Saturn; and the later conditions to which we can look forward are called Jupiter, Venus, and Vulkan. What does it mean that the earth has gone through these conditions?
Today we are in the fourth incarnation of our own planet that is intimately connected to human evolution. In the first planetary stage – that is Old Saturn – the first preparations for the human physical body appeared. At the time of the Saturn evolution, the physical body had as yet no independent etheric body with which it was surrounded. During the Sun and Moon conditions until the earthly condition, this physical body became more and more perfected so that we can say: the human physical body stands today at the fourth level of evolution, and it stands at the point of Earth evolution. It was at the second incarnation of our present earth. that the physical body first became surrounded with an independent etheric body. At that time, the physical body became more complete, through the workings of an etheric body within. Then, in the third reincarnation of the earth – the Moon – the astral body became incorporated into the physical and etheric bodies. The resident of the Moon, the predecessor of today’s earthly human, was made up of three bodies – the physical, the etheric and the astral bodies.
And the meaning of this earth evolution is that these three sheaths are to be incorporated by the ‘I’, or the worker, who then begins to transform what he had become earlier. So we see, that the physical body is older than the other ones, and the ‘I’ is only on the first level of its evolution. One can also understand what we have evolved from in the Saturn condition by studying the configuration of the physical body. The sense organs are the most highly elevated in our physical body, and the seed of our sense organs was first set on Saturn. And so, sheath after sheath was built up, and became more and more perfected from one level to another in connection to the other sheaths of the human being.
What was known as ‘(old)Saturn’ and ‘(old)Sun’ is not what Saturn and Sun are today; [thereby are the phases of development designated.] Nevertheless, that which our earth has gone through in its development stands in relationship to present day Saturn.
Present day Saturn stands in relation to the earth in the same way that a boy stands to an old man. The same life relationships that present day Saturn is going through were once gone through by our earth. Therefore one speaks not of ‘Saturn’ or ‘Sun’ in true occultism, rather from a Saturn, a Sun and so forth. Our earth is a Saturn which has grown older.
Now we must still be clear about what meaning this whole evolution has. When we look back on that Saturn development, when the human being was still without etheric body, astral body or ‘I’ – in the sense of independent beings, we can get the best impression of the difference between those far distant conditions and that of today. This we can take into ‘consciousness’. It is a state of consciousness that comes into connection with every condition of development. The present human being is in the fourth one.
This development cannot exist in anyone who cannot say ‘I’. By that quality the human being has been able to develop the form of consciousness that he has on this earth. The earth development has the meaningful task of developing day consciousness. At the earlier planetary stages there was an incomplete sense of consciousness. On Saturn, the predecessor had a consciousness in his primitive state which was on the level of the minerals: the human physical progenitor is that consciousness. We can hardly find the words for it; we can only indicate it. This consciousness is a very, very dim one – a deep trance – sleep consciousness full and dusky, which, however, has in itself an advantage. It views a much greater circumference; it is much more universal. The consciousness of a mineral knows about the whole planetary system.
Then this consciousness was narrowed down to the boundaries of plant consciousness. That is however already a bit more filled with light than the mineral consciousness. The human being existed in that lighter consciousness in the time that the earth was in Sun period existence. The third form of consciousness is that of picture-images, and is also called the first psychic consciousness. It is different than that of our present day in that it works in pictures that convey the psychic state of the other. Imagine a being that doesn’t yet have any sense-world consciousness, yet can, on the moment of awakening, is able to imbue static objects with colour. The human ancestors in the Moon period were just such beings. The last remains of such consciousness is that of the world of dreams. The present dream consciousness is related to the Moon-consciousness in the same way that an atrophied limb is related to its form as it once appeared. It had a task to fulfil in the human being. For example, certain muscles, that can cause the ears to move, have now lost their purpose. -The present day dream world is like a rudimentary vestige of the astral or psychic picture consciousness; therefore the dream world of today works in the same way as that imaginative astral consciousness. Imagine that someone dreams that he has caught a tree frog. He sees it hopping along and catches it. Then the sleeper awakens and sees that he has the fringe of a bedspread in his hand. Or, another dream which really happened. A farmer’s wife has dreamed that she is going to church. She listens reverently to the sermon. Then the preacher lifts his arm with great force and, behold, he suddenly gets wings. It didn’t seem all odd to the pious farmer’s wife that the preacher, who preaches about heaven, should perchance become winged. But what happens then? The preacher now perches on the pulpit and crows. At the same time, the farmer’s wife awakens to hear that outside in the courtyard the rooster is crowing.
What is happening there when such a dramatic scene is set before us? In a symbolical picture, something is being expressed which one might see happening in an outer world representation of those objects during day consciousness. Something is pictured symbolically, which is not actually happening in that way. But keep the symbol form in mind. Imagine that the human being is using it to have a perception of the true psychic world. From that point of view, you can understand what I am talking about. A symbolic consciousness that was real and true existed at that time. Imagine a person today without the consciousness of present day objects. Another state of being exists. Forms do not appear with their boundaries; rather, there appeared a colour representation before him. While feeling sympathy, the human being sees a very specific colour whereas in antipathy to something he sees another. That is something different than the colour we see today: it is the expression of sympathy or antipathy for the other being. And the being with Moon consciousness acts accordingly to that condition. Behaviour is directed by symbolic representations. If he perceives a certain colour, he knows that there is something happening which would be like an enemy to his being and he would draw back into himself.
It is a later form of development that arises under the influence of the ‘I’, where the consciousness, rather than the psychic appearance is perceived in a greater sense. There what arises as colour is placed over the objects. The colour that one sees spread over objects in our times, is the old colour which first arose in psychic pictures.
If present day humans had the Moon consciousness as well, so that we could perceive the psychic world as well as the physical one, it would mean that we had extended our present consciousness to that of imagination. A higher form yet would be experienced if we had added the consciousness of the present day plant life, which human beings had during the Sun incarnation. And the highest form would be experienced if the human being also had the mineral consciousness, which allowed him to go out into the universal cosmos. This last consciousness floats above us as an ideal of human beings, and it is called spirit consciousness.
The meaning of the plant development calls for states of consciousness to go in sequence; but for that state of consciousness, the planetary stages of being appear differently. We can overview the complete evolution only if we know that within each planetary state, there are again seven levels that relate to the existing conditions of being. So Saturn, Sun, Moon and now the Earth each has seven levels. ‘Rounds’ in Theosophy are called ‘Realms’ in Christian Esotericism. Each of the planetary sequences which the earth goes through has seven smaller paths of circumference; because each consciousness has degrees, as it becomes elevated from the least perfect to the most perfect. One can also name seven states of manifestation or seven conditions of form: arup, rupa, astral, physical, sculptural, intellectual, and spiritual (archetypal).
Thus we have 7 times 7 times 7 = 343 conditions; they signify the 343 planetary incarnations in their fulfilment. Each 49 of these conditions span the development of one state of consciousness. So you see how one can look into an enormous cosmic development.
During the time we lived on the Sun only the etheric and physical bodies were developed. The human being was totally different than today. We were not plants, but we were at that time a plant being. In ‘spatial’ relationship to the earth, we were inverted: that which projects freely up into the etheric at this time, the head, was at that time directed toward the middle point of the earth. With the development of consciousness, a complete reversal of the human form has now come about. Therefore one can call the Sun human being, one who is directed toward the middle point of the earth, and in the same sense, one can call the human being of the Moon phase, one who is circling around. If a tangent were drawn from the surface of the Moon… [ part of the text is missing). And the human being now upon the earth is an upside down Sun human being.
Thus, all is moving forwards. When one observes the Moon development, it becomes clear that what emotions have become today was first imbedded into the astrality on the moon. At that time we had not yet developed the ‘I’. Because the ‘I’ first was developed on earth, the Moon human being did not yet feel pain as his own. It was not individual pain but more Moon-pain. This physical, etheric, and astral ancestor in the Moon phase was not independent. Passions, emotions and pain were not individualised. They were made manifest. For example, it happened on the moon that all living beings who were surrounded by an astral body would ‘sing out’ tones together at certain times of the year; that was connected to a certain development of animal life. A remnant of this is now the mating cry in the sexual life of certain animals. There are still specific cries that are linked to this manifestation.
Now, the law of evolution is such that in later states of being certain earlier states are repeated. Thus, the earth had to go through a repetition of Saturn, Sun and Moon conditions. Now the Earth is going through its actual existence. You can get an impression of what is called the Sun phase if you were to take all the beings which are on the sun, moon and earth phases and mix them all together in a porridge. Everything was once together in one being on the sun. At the time of the Sun phase, sun moon and earth were one body. Then Sun developed into Moon existence. Later the Sun and the Moon first became separated. And at the recapitulation in the Earth phase, first the Sun and then the Moon became separated. With the separation of the Moon, as we know it, the ‘Becoming of the I’ actually became connected to the evolution of the human being. The Moon contains the forces that would impede the further development of the sheaths, from becoming the carriers of the ‘I’ consciousness. I can only indicate that the point of time which came forth in our evolution as the old Lemurian time, could only do so because first the Sun separated and then the Moon. When the earth had become independent, the first human spirit could be brought forth, out of which the present day human being then developed.
Thus the human development is very deeply connected to the cosmic one. Look back to the time of Atlantis which was the predecessor of our time today. When the human being lived in Atlantis, human ancestors were existent who had not yet developed the consciousness that we have today. I mean the one we use to do mathematics and to manufacture industrial products. Natural science has at least been able to research this age by studying the animal remains. The Atlantean human being had an extraordinary memory, the likes of which one cannot really imagine today. A certain phenomenon is linked to this memory. One can experience that old Atlantis was very different than what the configuration of the earth is today. What we call water and air was not yet there. The air was completely filled with a fine moisture-like fog. Water was not separated from air.
Therefore it is call ‘Nifelheim’ in the old Germanic sagas. It meant that people all lived in a kind of water-impregnated air, and only in such an air could the pictorial consciousness of the human being of that age live. The myths and sagas of Germanic mythology came out of this consciousness. Whoever knows this folk in truth knows that they did not write poetry in the same way that most learned men might believe. The myths and sagas were the remains of an old etheric picture-consciousness. They were the expression of an age-old kind of twilight clairvoyance. Mankind has forgotten the wellsprings of this, since it has advanced to today’s daylight consciousness.
So you see, how the evolution of human beings is bound together with the cosmos. In a ‘round’ of the earth where air was impregnated with water, the human being perceived the world much differently. For the Atlantean, the rustling of the wind was a language which he understood. At that time there were no commandments or laws. Those were still the times when the human being went out and listened to the well when he wanted to know how he should behave. It told him something. And when he went out to listen, then he listened to a ground tone and an undertone; which was present as is the musical ‘prime’ tone that the Atlantean understood. Its sounding penetrated everything and the Atlantean would say to himself: In this ‘prime’ tone, God is speaking to me. And if he wanted to direct his prayer to God, it happened through this ‘prime’ tone. The wisdom of the old Atlantean needed to be transformed into our wisdom in order for the human being to progress. We must once again in our development strive to understand the consciousness of the Atlantean and apply it to our own. We must sacrifice for a time what remains sleeping as age-old wisdom.
So the development of human beings is connected with the development of the Cosmos. Imagine how far away the human being is now from the wellsprings of wisdom that still remain indirectly connected to the world! How far away are we from the direct connection with nature? What we have left behind, we will gain back once more, and add to what we have conquered. The consciousness that we have nowadays has evolved out of single concrete facts, which one can call the ‘worldly wisdom’ in Rosicrucian terms. It penetrates the whole life of mankind. If we penetrate into ourselves with this consciousness, then we can experience what the teacher called ‘Rosenkreutz’ desired. He is a leading individuality who has led and linked the spiritual movement together through the centuries.
It appears to be a far off goal when one contemplates it in relationship to the whole world; but if it penetrates into our hearts, then our strength shall mature as we make use of it. In turn, it will bless our efforts, as we work together for the transformation and transubstantiation of the cosmos. We have the task to join in with the cosmos. In the same way as the single stone does not seek to break apart from the whole of the house, so also the human being must not allow himself to break away or exempt himself from the cosmos. One must understand that the task must be to serve within the great world evolution. Then that which is eternal in us will join with world existence. There will shine a ray of it into the presence of our everyday lives so that this wisdom may be expressed in every movement of our hands. Then the cosmos will really receive something from human beings, for everything is in the process of transformation. Everything must become transformed through those beings who take part in the process of the movement of worlds. If we work with this, we will feel its truth in a living way. And the truth will be the impulse for our deeds. Thus will the words of a highly inspired poet come true.
Time is a blossoming flower
Nature is a great living being
And everything is fruit and all is seed!
COMMENTARY ON THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE CONFERENCE HALL
May 21, 1907
I would like to say a few words about the colour of the hall in which we have held this gathering. There is a good reason why it is red. When we see it around us, it forms the complementary colour inside us; the eye has the tendency to produce greenish-blue on the inside when it sees red before it: that is the inner activity of the eye. With children, the body’s reaction to outer impressions is of great importance. I am referring to what I have said concerning the red colour in talks about education. The inner eye’s reaction to red surroundings with the perception of greenish-blue has a calming effect. Therefore the colour red in the surroundings has a calming effect on excited children. Remember that later stages of human development on a higher level always lead back to childhood. Now you will understand why, for a place which seeks to remind you symbolically of a place of initiation, the colour chosen would be one which would awaken its opposite in a child’s body, namely a sacred blue. It is not in vain that the Bible says: If you do not become as little children, you may not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Our inner world must become as purified etherically as the world ether above, which moves toward us in blue. Our understanding about it finds expression in the red colour of our surroundings. If red surrounds us outside, its complementary colour lives inside us.
Therefore red is present in all ceremonial places of the esoteric cults, whereas exoteric sites in which the mystery teachings are spoken of in outer symbols can be represented by the colour blue. The Rosicrucian worldview conveys esoteric meaning in the colour red. If this space were to be completely set up in the sense of a Rosicrucian worldview, then the area above would be lifted up as blue domed curves.
What do the two columns of the Rosicrucians mean? To understand these two columns that stand before us, let us start with the Golden Legend. It says:
‘When Seth, the son of Adam who took Abel’s place had matured enough, he was allowed to catch a glimpse of Paradise and go past the Angel with the fiery sword. He stepped into the place out of which mankind had been banished. There Seth gazed on something quite special. He saw how the two trees, the one of Knowledge and the one of Life, were woven together. Seth received three seeds from these entwined trees; he took them with him and set them in Father Adam’s mouth in the grave where he was laid. Out of this grave there grew an enormous tree. For many who had a psychic sensitivity, it appeared as a ray in flames of fire and these fire flames wound themselves together into the letters J and B, the beginning letters of two words that I am not at liberty to speak aloud today. They mean ‘I am he who was. I am he who is. I am he who will be’. This tree divided into three parts. The wood that Seth took from it has been used in manifold ways during earth evolution. A staff was made from it which was said to be the magic staff of Moses; so says the legend. It was this same wood out of which the beams of Salomon’s Temple were formed. There they remained so long as human beings understood the ancient mysteries. Then the wood was thrown into a pond to which the lame and the blind went to be healed at times. Afterwards it was taken out again and it was formed into the bridge over which the Redeemer walked on his way to the cross. And it was also formed into the cross itself on which the Redeemer was hung. It was the same wood of the tree that had grown out of Adam’s mouth after the seeds of that intertwined Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge were laid there.’
This legend has a deeply symbolic sense. Remember now the processes through which the student goes in the transformations concerning the fourth level of the Rosicrucian training ‘to produce the Philosopher’s Stone’. It has to do with a certain activity in our red blood. Let us think about this meaning not only because of the Goethean utterance: “Blood is a very special juice”, but also because it has been taught in the occultism of all ages. The creation of this blood is a result of breathing oxygen. We can only refer to it briefly. Now at the moment in the Legend and in the Bible when Seth was permitted into Paradise, the human being as such had already been banished. The old condition of the human being had been in the womb of the spiritual world. The following quote from the Bible calls forth the physical event of becoming which parallels the fall of man. He who wishes to understand the Bible must understand it literally in the depth of its meaning.
It is stated ‘God blew the breath of Life into the human being and he became a living soul’. This blowing of the breath was a process which is pictured here. It extended over millions of years. What did it mean?
There was a time in human development while the physical body was being fashioned, that the human body did not yet have lungs. Oxygen could not yet be breathed in. In these times the human being was more or less floating in a liquid element. There was an organ, a kind of air bladder out of which the lung later came into being. That air bladder has been transformed into a lung and we can follow the process of that transformation. When we do so, it is made manifest as that process which the Bible expresses with the picture that arises out of the words ‘and God breathed living breath into the human being so that he became a living soul’. With this in-breath the production of red blood cells became possible. So the descent of human beings had an inner connection with the production of the ‘Red Tree’ of blood vessels.
Imagine that a person stood before you and you could follow the invisible flow of red blood. The Christian esoteric would say: It is the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ the human being has taken hold of himself and ‘tasted’ of the ‘Red Tree’ of blood vessels. The arising of the ‘Red Tree” of blood which is the true ‘Tree of Knowledge’ carries the meaning ‘to sin’. And God banished human beings out of Paradise so that he would not take ‘taste’ of the Tree of Life. For we have yet another tree in us, that you can imagine just as you did the first one. But it has reddish-blue blood. This blood is the substance of death. The reddish-blue tree was planted in the human being at the same time as the other one, while the human being was resting in the womb of the Godhead. The Godhead caused what we understand as life and knowledge to be woven together. There will be a moment in the future when the human being will be able, by his own higher consciousness, to change the blue blood into red blood. Then there will be a wellspring in him for the transformation of the blue blood tree into the ‘Tree of Life’. At this time it is a ‘Tree of Death’. Thus, in this picture there lives an overview of the past and of the future.
You see that there is an interwoven Red and Red-blue Blood Tree. The red blood is the expression of the ‘I am’; the blue blood is the expression for Death. As a punishment the red ‘Tree of Knowledge’ was joined together with the ‘Tree of Death’. In the far future, this ‘Tree of Death’ will be transformed into the ‘Tree of Life’, as it was in the beginning. If you imagine the present human being as he now stands before you, his entire life is connected to the transformation of these two trees.
The fact that Seth was allowed to walk into Paradise means that he was an initiate, and he was allowed to look back into the divine spiritual condition, where the two trees were interwoven together. And he laid three seeds in Adam’s mouth, out of which a three-sided tree came into being. That is: the tree which grew out of the human being: Manas, Buddhi, Atma, the three parts which make up the upper being of mankind, are not to be found in the design. In the legend, it is noted that in the human design, the threefold Godhead is already present in Adam. How it grows is only seen by the initiated. The human being must go along the path of development. All that has been fulfilled along that path which leads to initiation are expressed as the legend continues.
Out of the knowledge that the three-sided tree rests within us (the tree of the eternal) arise the words: ‘I am he who was. I am he who is. I am he who will be there’. Thus we gain the strength that carries us forwards and places the magic staff of Moses in our hands. From the three seed came the wood for the Temple of Wisdom. The cross was also fashioned from this wood. The three seeds are seen as a sign of initiation that means: the lower members will be conquered by means of the three higher parts of our being.
In the Legend, the initiated ones foresee a future state of being where the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ (the red tree), and the ‘Tree of Life’ (the reddish-blue tree) become interwoven in the human being as such. The person who is evolving will engrave the meaning of the two columns into his heart (on one side, the meaning of the red-blood column, and on the other, the meaning of the blue columns). At this time the two are separated. The red column stands on the left and the blue column stands on the right. They are encouraging us to overcome the present condition of mankind and link up to the moment, when the two columns will be interwoven in us due to our heightened consciousness. They will become interconnected and as such will be called J-B. The red column stands for the J. the bluish red column stands for the B. The verses on the columns will make you aware of what is related by them. On the red column stand the words:
In clear thought you will find
The self that can hold and support
Change your thoughts into pictures
And you experience creative wisdom.
Whoever meditates on this can ‘infuse the power of thought that leads to the goal of the ‘Column of Wisdom (the above verses) into the red blood column. Into the ‘Life Column’ (the verses are seen below) one can ‘infuse’ the power needed to devote oneself to the thoughts that stand on the blue column:
Transform your feeling into light
And you will manifest the forming forces
Forge your will into being
And you will work in the world’s being.
The words of the first column are about knowledge, those of the second are about life. The forming forces ‘are manifested’ first in the meaning of the first verse. It becomes ‘magic’ when one understands the meaning of the second verse. Arising out of the plain strength of knowledge to the activity of magic lies in the way one traverses the path from the first column’s strength [revealed in the verses] on the first column to the strength of the verse second column [likewise revealed in the verses].
So you see how the ideals and goals of the Rosicrucian students are found in the relationships between the meanings of those two columns. In many esoteric societies, these two columns are exhibited. The esoteric groups become connected with the meanings that they are given to understand.
The seven pictures which decorate the room are symbolical expressions for age-old wisdom. They exemplify the so-called seven seals of age-old and ever-new wisdom. They are also spoken of in ‘The Revelations of St. John’ and this apocalypse is also a kind of interpretation of an occult symbolic language. Whoever studies these seals will also recognise them in the visions of the author of ‘Revelations’.
Each of the letters and every colour of the pictures mean something. When we look at them together we perceive the right relationships. Then very specific feelings will be released, which can bring forth inner strength. The point is that we are not working with tedious allegories but with living expressions which have to do with what every initiate can experience as living fact on the astral plane of being.
The ‘first picture’ is the man with the sword of fire in his mouth, and this is the most important feature. It is directly connected to the mystery of evolution. Speech has always been compared to a sword. It is not simply a poetical picture.
In occultism, everything is to be taken in depth to the word. One must only understand it properly.
There is a certain mysterious connection between that which is uttered as word through our larynx, and the present day lower human drives for procreation. The human form is to be conceived of as always in transformation. In our times, one may even see that which will become physical in the future at present in the astral plane. A condition of being that we will one day attain has been envisioned in pictures such as the first one of the seven seals. In our times this picture is an astral one. It gives an impression of the future evolution of the human physical body.
If we want to understand how this future condition will be, we must think ‘By means of the present day lower reproductive forces, mankind practices a kind of procreation that is unintentional and unconscious. Through the procreative urge he can bring forth substantial complete forms. Now, there is another force in human beings that has not yet matured. It can also create forms that can remain substantial; that is the force of speech.
As I speak here at this time, I am also bringing forth something. If you could follow what is happening in this space when I speak, then you would perceive waves of air swinging in space. These are nothing more than words set into movement. It was by such transformed words that the creation of life was first ‘uttered into being’ in the distant past. Today we express this by our means of procreation. What is condensed today was, when it was spiritual substance, what can be called ‘word transformed into movement’. What the human being of today can form into movement by speaking words will later really become the power to procreate. Just think, if you were able to freeze my words right now so that the frozen airwaves would come to rest. Then you would be able to see a special form for each word (one form for ‘and’, and a different one for ‘God’). A kind of ‘mussel shaped form’ is what I mean. If I spoke ‘God’ other forms would be there than if I spoke ‘and’. Occultism shows us that everything that is in the physical condition of being has come into being in such a way. The spirit of the Logos rang out into space and substance was created. What happened later became merely a process of ‘stiffening’.
What stands around us today in formed and fashioned word is the condensed word of God. The forces in ourselves are condensed godly-forces. That which was earlier made by the word has now been transformed into natural forms. Thus the human larynx will become a reproductive organ in the course of time. We will not only be able to initiate movement, but the larynx itself will become the true reproductive organ. What speech is today will beget its likeness, a representation of what has been spoken. The larynx of the future will be the spiritually proffered reproductive organ. For that reason one can already observe a parallel between the development of sexuality and the development of the larynx in the male human being. With the transformation of the voice at the time of sexual maturity there is a prefiguration of the creative force, which will one day evolve out of the voice of the human being. Out of speech will ensue the real procreative force, the conscious forces to bring forth human beings. And as you know we call those spirits that were our true ancestors ‘Fire-spirits’, because they were as connected to fire as we are we are to air. In our ascent, we will transform from an air-spirit to a fire-spirit. Not only will the forces be streaming out of the larynx, they will become fire-spirit forces.
The second picture represents the apocalyptic beasts generally called: the Lion, the Eagle, the Bull, and the Human. Let us remember that the animal of today does not have an individual sense of ‘I am’ in their soul, such as we do. The animal does not have an individual soul on the physical plane; the single animal behaves as a part of the ‘I am’ sense of his group soul, in the same way that a limb of the human being adheres to his whole sense of the ‘I am’. Thus we speak of the group soul in relation to the animal, and when you look into this, you will discover it on the astral plane. Now we must all clearly understand that the human being, during his evolutionary states of being, has also gone through that condition where his physical being did not yet have a sense of ‘I am’. Human beings have also gone through the conditions of having a group soul. At the point of time which we call ‘Lemuria’, where the soul descended into the physical state, that which was the group soul was transformed into the individual soul. In the far future human beings will again be elevated to the state of a group soul, but in a higher sense, with full consciousness. The symbol for that higher group soul is the second picture. This unity will be represented in the far future through the outer fashioning of that group soul which the human being manifested in an earlier state. That group soul out of which the human individual soul has come and to which it will again return is divided into four types of groups. They are really astral groups. One is characterised as it still appears today in the rudimentary bodily state of the Bull-soul, the other has developed as the Lion-soul; the third, as in the Bird-soul; the soul which was taken up, and allowed to flow into the state of individuality, is known as human. The human being has come out of these four group souls and will return to them again. The group soul which is the most advanced, which is already individualised in the astral plane, is the one we can see in the symbol in the middle. It is the Christ-soul symbolised through the lamb. It completes the other four group souls.
Now you can look at the rainbow that surrounds the whole representation with seven colours. It is the creative principle of the world that was the basis of the inner human course of evolution at the time the human being was still on that level. And in reference to the numerals I to XII which are to be read along the colours of the rainbow like the numbers of a clock, let us remember that once Earth, Moon and Sun were one body.
Such are the conditions of being which have to do with the unity, as it is pictured here. This form was necessary to cosmic order so that the human group soul could evolve. Our present day division of time has to do with the placements of the heavenly bodies. In that far distant past, when the earth did not yet go around the sun, the relationships of time had to be different. At that time there were not days and hours. The sun itself went on its path and there was a huge cosmic numeric process. It represented the places that the sun passed by. The hour hand on our watches passes by the hour two times in the course of a day. The sun moved through the zodiac in that age-old cosmic reckoning not only once, but two times as well: through the time of light and that of the darkening. This twofold passing by process through the stations is called: ‘passing by the brothers of the cosmic order’. They are the twenty-four Elders of the Apocalypse. Thus a kind of ‘clock of the worlds’ was arranged.
If we look toward the far future, we will see in the ‘sixth picture’, a representation of future stages when the human being will again have ascended into his higher group form. We observe that earth and sun will be united again and that which is separated out will depart as the body of the moon. Remember that Goethe named the highest level that the soul could strive for as the eternal feminine. That which will conquer what cannot be used in human nature will be experienced as a feminine being. When the earth has united with the sun, then the human being, as such, will be the wife of the sun. The human being will have created the unity. The unusable substance is represented as the moon that will be trodden upon by the feet. The separation that will occur when the earth becomes sun once again is represented as the dragon beast. It will be overcome when the earth once again has become sun.
The third picture shows an opened book surrounded by peelings and angels blowing trumpets surrounded by flowing light and colours. The trumpeting angels are expressing the harmonies of the spheres. When one ascends from the astral plane to the plane of devachan, then one has the experience that the ‘flowing light and colour world’ is penetrated through by the harmonies of the spheres. The fact that what one can behold inside the astral plane as that flowing light and colour begins to ring, establishes it as the expression of the beings of the mental plane. The Pythagorean teachings name this harmony as the music of the spheres. Goethe also speaks of it when he says: “The sun is resounding in its age-old way” and “sounding now for spirit ears is the new day being born!”
The peelings represent the so-called peelings of anger; it means that the human being will have been able to conquer and transform that which we call anger. All anger must be done away with; for that reason are the peelings of anger blowing away.
The book refers to nothing else but that the human being himself in his development [if we understand his mystery rightly] becomes an image of the eternal world evolution. If one has understood the fact the human being is a picture of world evolution, then one can ‘read’ oneself. Oneself become a book. Then a moment of time comes into being, of which the Apocalypse speaks, when John must ‘swallow’ the book. The next seal carries this further.
The two columns in the fourth picture represent the Red and Blue Blood Tree in the act of being engulfed or swallowed.
In the fifth picture we see a being overcoming the dragon. That is the future human being who has the dragon, or the lower forces, bound and chained. That has to do with the cosmic conditions which ensue when we have conquered what is called ‘Kama’, so that we can then stand upon it.
The condition which comes forth when that has happened is symbolised in the Holy Grail of the last picture. The transparent cube below represents a transparent diamond-cube, which is made out of pure carbon. When the human being has progressed so far that he can use carbon itself for the fashioning of his body [without the combined activity of the plant] then the human being will be able to produce that cube. That cube of crystallised pure carbon is the best indication of that future condition of mankind. Then the human being will be far enough evolved that he will not only recognise three dimensions, but also the approaching ‘counter-dimensions’. For from that viewpoint, three other dimensions will come forth in mirror image of the first three.
These ‘counter-dimensions’ represent what the human being will attain when he has overcome the physical being through the spirit. The snakes stand for the development toward the heights. That is what the violet-blue winding represents as a light-filled picture in the seal. This light-filled representation of the snake has a special significance that is the sacrificial nature of knowledge. Only this kind of sacrificial nature can grasp the world-spiral in the staff of mercury that will then become fiery, and will unfold out of pure knowledge. Then it will become transformed into the pure chalice, pointing downwards. The calyx of the plant is now chaste, pure and directed upwards. In the human being, its counterpart is the opposite. But the human calyx [or chalice] will one day be chaste once more, and will turn downwards. For that reason the Grail is represented here as a downwards turning calyx [or chalice]. The pure human being, the human being returned to innocence is represented as the dove. The rainbow represents the seven-fold creative human being.
Thus in the seven seals, the entire human development is intimated. Through the contemplation of such pictures, conceptions are brought forth, which we must wrestle to attain and which themselves represent active moments of evolution.
The ‘Program Book’ is circumscribed with the signature of the Rosicrucian School: E.D.N.I.C.M.P.S.S.R. That means:
Ex deo nascimur
In Christo morimur
Per spiritum sanctum reviviscimus.
The seven seals are imprinted with the mysteries of initiation; in the seven columns, they are expressed in planetary form. These columns carry the ‘heavens’, in other words, the whole evolution. The motifs of the capitals carry their exact meaning throughout each single movement characteristic of their shape. When you perceive in a sculptural way how the above corresponds with the below, the feelings will arise in you which indicate the accompanying states of being of these embodiments of the worlds. The motifs of the first column have simple tendencies and curving. By contemplating them, the streams of movement through which the earth went when it was embodied in its first state of being, the Saturn condition can be perceived. From thence comes the Saturn column.
If you perceive the process in the formation of the motif in the second column,[the below is formed like the seed bud of a plant, and from above downwards it is formed in such a way that it can become transformed into a calyx or chalice]. In such a way, do one’s feelings flow forth and represent the forming movement that the earth’s embodiment went through when it was in the Sun condition. Therefore we speak of the Sun column. And so on by the third, fourth, and further columns. When one moves from one column to the next, different feelings brought about by the movement are constantly developing in relation to the forming processes.
The first half of the Earth’s evolution receives its essential characteristics from the influence of Mars. In the second half of the Earth’s evolution, it stands under the influence of the forces that the occultist can behold flowing from Mercury. Thus the Earth evolution is divided into two halves, that of Mars and that of Mercury. If we consider the Vulcan stage to be a kind of octave of the Saturn stage, that leaves the following sequence in the stages of the Earth evolution: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus.
In the Mercury column, the Saturn motif and the Mercury motif are woven together. The ‘snake staff’ proceeds organically out of the one before. It then develops further. And the continuing capital motifs deepen and manifest what is emerging in the earthly stream of evolution. The mystery of the seven planetary conditions of our earth has been placed in conjunction with the days of the week. They are called ‘Saturnday’(Saturday, Samedi, Samstag); ‘Sonntag’; ‘Montag’ (Monday); ‘Marstag’ (Mardi, oder Ziu, Tuesday, Dienstag) ‘Merkurstag’ (Mercredi – Mittwoch is a secular name) ‘Jupiterstag’ (Jeudi, thor, Donar, Thursday, Donnerstag) ‘Venustag’ (Vendredi, Freya, Freitag). The names of the weekdays are deeply symbolic. In the way they follow each other, we understand what the Initiates meant to communicate. Imagine that you were placed in the living evolution of time. Thus, we are taught how to understand the ‘highest’ which is, the next in sequence. Or, as it has always been expressed: that one which is in the immediate proximity.
The evolutionary thought of mankind should be represented in the columns. There it should be expressed in the way it has always appeared in occult sign language. The ‘places’ of occultism were arranged and exhibited. In form, in picture, and in colour, one should behold what lives in the soul. It should ‘beam out’ to us. In such a way one takes part in the continuing development. It is above all our task to think unselfishly about this immense evolution. It will become fulfilled when we let the inner life flow completely into the outer.