Christ Module 15 - Study of Spiritual Science and the Mystery of Golgotha

From Anthroposophy


How do we have to understand what is really going on when we study spiritual science, and how come its impact is so important?

For this we require an understanding of a number of aspects about what is going on as a spiritual activity when we study spiritual science with our heart and soul, how our non-sensory thoughts inscribe in the spirit world and create something new, and contribute to the future .. see also the topic of 'enlivened images'. Some angles to approach this are ao:

  • spiritual scientific knowledge lives not only in Man's soul but is inscribed into the akasha-substance and this is of significance for the general evolution of the world, for only Man is able to make these inscriptions in the akasha-substance that can be called by the name of spiritual science. After death, in the spiritual world between death and a new birth, Man lives in this substance, just as here on the Earth he lives in the atmosphere. (1913-05-01-GA152)
  • our thoughts and soul activity is food for the H3 of angels, archangels and archai (1913-12-18-GA148), and after our death we connect and grow into H3 (see also Schema FMC00.132 on Structure of Man between death and a new birth)
  • our thoughts during incarnate life reveal themselves as living elemental spirits in the etheric after death (1914-04-13-GA153 quote A)
  • physiological perspective: the newly developed organ for spiritual science to work on the etheric body (1905-05-05-GA266), this is the third eye and pituitary gland (in some lectures Steiner calls it the 'I point'), see also Kundalini page


  • it only possible to come to Christ via faith, or spiritual science, but not intellectual reasoning such as in philosophy (1914-04-12-GA153)
  • souls bouncing against ceiling of plant and animal kingdom if no spiritual concepts or thoughts in life on Earth (1917-11-29-GA182)
  • key point about the why (1908-05-13-GA102)
    • context: It is an fact of evolution that after the etheric has drawn into the physical body at the end of the Atlantean epoch, the reverse is now happening and the etheric body is again loosening from the physical body, and this gradual reemergence of the etheric will continue to come about by itself. When the etheric head is fully in the physical, there is no supersensible or clairvoyant experience but the current waking consciousness. The nervous symptoms and diseases of our time are symptoms of this loosening and emergence of the etheric body, and these will also steadily increase and become epidemic.
    • quote: "human beings must take with them in their emerg­ing etheric bodies ... the physical Event of Golgotha experienced in physical, earthly existence. Otherwise they will have lost something irrevocably: their etheric bodies will emerge without bearing with them the one essential reality and face emptiness in their etheric bodies. The consequence of the emptiness of the etheric body will be spiritual death: those who will never have known or incorporated in their etheric bodies the deep realities contained in Christianity and MoG, will face what is called spiritual death."
  • the study of spiritual science by modern Man as the 'reverse ritual'. In short: whereas before Man's ritual offered devotion and received from divine guidance, it is now upto Man himself to create through devotion
  • essential is the section on 'About the study process and working spiritual science' that describes the state of soul required, and what is meant with 'studying spiritual science' as soul work, 'developing imaginations', or the importance of working together. For the latter, working in groups, see 1915-06-15-GA159 on Communicating over spiritual science
  • see also link with cosmic breathing (as in: what we take into our souls), and the process at night.

Furthermore and related:

  • the concept of Grace brought by the Christ Impulse and how it heals or corrects for the Fall and Original Sin as a result of the Luciferic infection, and how the Human 'I' and consciousness soul is used to draw closer to the Christ (see eg 1911-05-03-GA127)
    • how this concept of Grace or the Christ Impulse is working without individual merit of Man, hence 'Not I but the Christ in me
    • how this is related to living spiritual moral ideals and ideas (as a center of a new spiritual beginning - see also Christ Module 7), which also underlies spiritual transformation, see eg in Bardon's IIH, from step 2 character transformation based on soul mirrors, up to step 10 communion with personal god)

Inspirational quotes

Opening quotes to 'set the scene' for this module


“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

Knowledge of full and complete truth and reality can make Man free and wholly and entirely human.


Members have often asked me how they can establish a relationship with Christ. This is a naive question; for everything we strive for, every line we read of our anthroposophical science, is an entering into a relationship with Christ. In a certain sense, we really do nothing else.


... what Man learns of Christ in this world [here on Earth] is not lost in the period between death and rebirth; he takes his knowledge with him; and this is what the expression “To die in Christ” means.


With the coming of Christ the etheric body began to loosen again from the physical body. It is becoming more and more independent and free and in the future will again be outside the physical body as it was before. The process of the loosening of the etheric body has already begun. But human beings must take with them in their emerg­ing etheric bodies what they have experienced in their physical bodies—above all, they must take with them the physical Event of Golgotha experienced in physical, earthly existence. Otherwise they will have lost something irrevocably: their etheric bodies will emerge without bearing with them the one essential reality. Such people will face emptiness in their etheric bodies. But those who have experienced the realities of spiritual Christianity will possess, in their etheric bodies, the abundant fruits of what they have experienced in the physical body.


In the end, however, those who will never have recognized - through experience in physical existence - the greatest of all the events in the physical world, who will never have known or incorporated in their etheric bodies the deep realities contained in Christianity, will face what is called spiritual death. Spiritual death will be the consequence of the emptiness of the etheric body.


The object of spiritual science, and of all that can be acquired as spiritual teaching, is to enable us to comprehend this Power of Christ. One cannot say that anthroposophy is Christianity, but one can say that what has been given to man and to the Earth by the Christ Principle will be gradually made comprehensible through the instrumentality of anthroposophy. When that mighty Christ Impulse is understood, it will pour into humanity more and more, for Man has need of it in order that, after having contracted and sunk most deeply into matter, he may once more tear himself free and turn again to his spiritual home.


I think I need not spend words in pointing out what moral principles and will impulses for present-day humanity can proceed from a real understanding of spiritual science.

For out of a rightly understood wisdom will a rightly understood goodness and virtue be born in the human heart.

Let us strive after a real understanding of world evolution, let us seek after wisdom — and we shall find without fail that the child of wisdom will be love.


We do not study spiritual science for the sake of curiosity, nor from an abstract desire for knowledge, but in order to provide the soul with a necessary form of nourishment. By means of an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, we give the soul the possibility of developing those feelings that it will need in order to cross the abyss between death and rebirth as just described.

One who has understood that the soul after death suffers a loss of consciousness, so heavy to bear in all future cycles of time, will seek every opportunity to bring the Mystery of Golgotha to the understanding of his fellow men.

For this reason the understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha is one of the most important facts that we must learn through the study of spiritual science.


This is why, when people base their ideas on spiritual science, there is so often an emphasis on the Christ Impulse, for the Christ Impulse has a direct relationship to formative thinking.

1923-05-07-GA224 makes the link with Pentecost

Through the Mystery of Golgotha the Christ Impulse has taken effect on the earth as a reality which is within the comprehension of spiritual cognition alone. No materialistic knowledge, no materialistic science can understand the Mystery of Golgotha. Hence the soul must acquire the power of spiritual cognition, of spiritual perception, of spiritual feeling, in order to be able to understand how, on Golgotha, the Christ Impulse was united with the impulses of the earth. The permeation of the human spirit-and-soul with the power to understand the Mystery of Golgotha is the sending of the Holy Spirit. This is the picture of the Whitsun festival, the festival of Pentecost. Christ fulfilled His Deed for all mankind. But to each human individual, in order that he may be able to understand this deed, Christ sent the Spirit, in order that the individual being of spirit-and-soul may have access to the effects of the deed that was accomplished for all men in common. Through the Spirit man must learn to experience the Christ Mystery inwardly, in spirit and in soul.

1918-10-16-GA182 from the lecture 'How do I find the Christ?'

.. always seek for the human setting in which words are used, do not think only about their content as is the custom today. Think of how the words come forth from the source when they are uttered ... the actual words themselves are not the essential; the essential is out of what spirit they were uttered. It is not words that we want to spread with anthroposophy, but a new spirit, the spirit that must be the spirit of Christianity from the 20th century onwards.

Rittelmeyer anecdote

Friedrich Rittelmeyer describes in his book 'Rudolf Steiner enters my life' how he wondered why he, as someone who had a deep inner soul connection with Christ and Christology, why he had to bother learning about Old Saturn. See also Evolution Module 1 - Foundation.


Note: the schemas below are taken from other topic pages. They illustrate what one needs to contemplate when using the word 'Christ'. It is not the label, or any meaning in the way we form and describe earthly human concepts, but the cosmic principle.

Schema FMC00.481 is a poster that concatenates a number of excerpts from Rudolf Steiner's lectures to elucidate the meaning of various terms related to what is most important for humanity: selfless love. As a cosmic principle in the higher spirit world this was called Christòs in ancient Greece, in ancient India and theosophy it was called buddhi, and Rudolf Steiner coined the term life spirit in anthroposophy.

This cosmic principle lives in archangelic beings that went through the human stage on Old Sun, on Earth these are called solar pitris or fathers (in theosophical terminology). These were able to incarnate in the early earthly conditions in the Hyperborean epoch and constituted what is called the Sun men or Apollo men. In more recent times and the language of the ancient myths such descending solar pitris are called Sun Heroes. As leaders of mankind, especially the beings part of the White Lodge are called Bodhisattvas in ancient Indian and theosophical terminology. And besides these descending beings there is also the ascending path upwards: a human being who reaches the sixth degree in initiation was called Sun Hero in the ancient Mysteries.

What all these have in common is that they are the carrier of the life spirit, buddhi, or Christ principle, which is a universal cosmic soul principle that is no longer individual but a higher feeling of the universal soul of mankind, and in that sense representing humanity (and it's future) as a whole.

Christ is the Cosmic Sun Hero who came down to unify the whole of humanity as the spirit of the Earth. Through the Mystery of Golgotha, the buddhi principle was planted as a latent seed in each human soul. This higher principle will develop in millenia, epochs and even planetary stages to come. In this context, Christ will be with Man until the end of the Earth, and represents the future group soul of humanity also called 'Second Adam'.


Schema FMC00.471 may be useful to meditate on Christ's relationship to the hierarchies during the Earth planetary stage of evolution. This has to be put in perspective of what happened in the evolution from Old Sun onwards, both for Christ and the spiritual hierarchies (see oa FMC00.077A).

See also Discussion Note [5] below on the notebook entry 1922-NB212-GA046 'About the I in the cosmic world order' which includes the text "the I .. is fully part of and included within the spiritual world order: I <- archangel <- SoF <- Cherubim"

Compare with Schema FMC00.472 and FMC00.472A.


Lecture coverage and references


1918-GA187 is a lecture cycle with a title that will speak to the readers of this Module: 'How Can Humanity Find the Christ Again?'

Source extracts


[editor: there are two lectures on that date for Dusseldorf, the statement below is not in the lecture called 'about the concept of the divine' (which is also about Man redeeming the other kingdoms to which he owes life), it may be in the other lecture about Goethe's Faust - the transcripts for that lecture are not on steinerdatenbank]

Man can only meet these Vulcan beings with understanding by raising himself to an artistic perception and insight (Imagination). True Spiritual Science points to an artistic understanding. ... The study of Spiritual Science is not something abstract; it opens the door to cosmic influences which have sought to pour themselves into the Earth since the last third of the 19th century.



The being whom we call the archangel Gabriel started directing things around 1525. Through the right control of births he brought it about that the organ that's in the sinus above the root of man's nose gradually developed. It's not directly perceptible physically, but if one could compare a recent corpse with one from the 13th century, one would find differences in structure and in the windings of the brain at the place mentioned. Archangel Gabriel gradually prepared this organ in man, so that he was able to take in the message of archangel Michael, who was next in line in 1879.

Through this new organ Michael will bring the message of spiritual science into men, although not directly but

  • by letting his wisdom stream into men's etheric bodies through the white lodge,
  • and from there Man must consciously let them flow into the organ for them, and then let them work in his etheric body.

Those who make messages receptive for the message are ready to work on human and earth evolution in the right way, and an esoteric should place this high, ideal goal before his soul modestly but also decisively and to become ever more aware of his high, responsible task. The others who don't use the organ allow it to degenerate and dry out, and so they don't do the work they should be doing.

Archangel Michael will see to it that the work gets done, but in a different way than it would have been done by men. Whenever men shirk their duty the spiritual world is obliged to do their work. When the Earth passes over to the Future Jupiter condition the task that was assigned to it in this evolutionary period must be done.

We want to unroll the great future panorama that will be seen when the Earth matures for the Jupiter condition.

  • It will be completely spiritualized by the men who worked in the right way, and these men will live in a wonderful paradise.
  • But another part of the Earth will harden and shrink into a small kernel, as it were, through the men who let their organ dry out, and the men who live on it won't perceive the others; they won't exist for them. They aren't mature enough to go into the Future Jupiter condition by themselves and will therefore be carried over in the lap of spiritual beings; and they'll show one how hard it is not to have gone along with evolution.

A Man only has this Earth period to develop to freedom and through it to love and we should get strength for this work in our meditations. Sooner or later we'll get to know spiritual worlds that surround us, and namely through our meditation, but we should always remember to do it with the right attitude, not out of curiosity — that we like to call thirst for knowledge — but to help mankind to progress towards freedom and love.


from lecture 'Christianity Began as a Religion but Is Greater than a Religion'

Science is increasingly becoming a collection of directives for tech­nical achievements; the universities are steadily turning into techni­cal training schools. This is regarded as right and proper today. But what is spiritual will develop into a free human possession, one not fettered to science. Then science will appear in quite a different set­ting, in quite a different form. Therefore, for humanity today one thing must happen: the link with the momentous experience of the supersensible world must be renewed.

How essential this is will be clear to you if you realize what will befall if this link is not reestablished.

[Loosening of the etheric body]

The etheric head has now drawn completely into the human being; the connection of the etheric body with the physical body has now reached its deepest point. Hence, the percentage of human beings capable of supersensible experience has never been lower than it is at present. But the evolution of humanity advances in such a way that a reemergence of the etheric body comes about of itself.

With the coming of Christ the etheric body began to loosen again from the physical body. It is becoming more and more independent and free and in the future will again be outside the physical body as it was before. The process of the loosening of the etheric body has already begun. But human beings must take with them in their emerg­ing etheric bodies what they have experienced in their physical bodies—above all, they must take with them the physical Event of Golgotha experienced in physical, earthly existence. Otherwise they will have lost something irrevocably: their etheric bodies will emerge without bearing with them the one essential reality. Such people will face emptiness in their etheric bodies. But those who have experienced the realities of spiritual Christianity will possess, in their etheric bodies, the abundant fruits of what they have experienced in the physical body.

The danger is greatest among those who, misguided by external science, have turned away from the spiritual truths. But the emer­gence of the etheric body is already in process and the nervous symp­toms in evidence in our time are a sign of it. These nervous troubles will steadily increase if, in the loosening of our etheric bodies, we do not take with us the greatest of all experiences possible for us in the physical body. True, we still have plenty of time, as far as the great masses of the people are concerned—the process is very long. Nevertheless, there are individuals who have already now reached the point of achievement. In the end, however, those who will never have recognized—through experience in physical existence—the greatest of all the events in the physical world, who will never have known or incorporated in their etheric bodies the deep realities contained in Christianity, will face what is called spiritual death. Spiritual death will be the consequence of the emptiness of the etheric body.

Atlantean human beings with their clairvoyance needed no reli­gion, because experience of the supersensible was immediate reality to them. All human development proceeded from such conditions. Vision of the spiritual world then faded away. Religere means 'to bind back'. Religion is the re-binding of the sensible with the supersensible. In an age of approaching materialism human beings needed reli­gion. But the time will come when they will again be able to experience the supersensible world; then they will no longer need religion. The necessary antecedent of the new vision is that human beings shall be bearers of spiritual Christianity. This is the basis of the sentence of which I would ask you to realize the profound signifi­cance: Christianity began as a religion but is greater than all religions.

What Christianity bestows goes with us into all ages of time to come and will still be one of the essential impulses in humanity when reli­gion, as we know it, is no longer in existence. Even when religion, as such, has been transcended, Christianity will remain. The fact that it was first of all a religion is connected with the evolutionary process of humanity. But Christianity as a world view is greater than all religions.


It was shown in the last lecture that during the Greco-Latin age Man had progressed so far in the conquest of the physical world, had become so deeply entangled in it, that he had to have a God in human form before he could recognize Him, for he could no longer penetrate to the spiritual world and perceive Him there. Meanwhile conditions on the other side of life — between death and rebirth — had also changed. Through man having descended so much further into the physical plane, and having developed so great a love for it, and derived so much pleasure from it, what was on the other side of life became ever less perceptible to him. He retained a considerable remembrance of this world when he lived on the other side between death and rebirth, and much of this has been preserved in legend. When we read in a book of Greek origin that the hero says: “It is better to be a beggar in the physical world than a king in the land of the shades,” it exactly expresses the feeling of that period. Because Man had conquered so much of the physical plane he longed to come back to it, for at that time he could not take much over with him. Only through Christ having come to Earth, and through man having already experienced Him in a preparatory way in the time of the Old Testament; only because man had received the Christ into his thoughts during life, could he take over with him that which brought light again to him on the other side. What he took with him made the other side clear and bright and restored the Christ to him with even greater splendour than in this world.

Hence we see how consciousness on the other side became darkened more and more as the time approached which we described yesterday; and how it then grew clearer through Man learning to know the Christ here.

For what Man learns of Him in this world is not lost in the period between death and rebirth; he takes his knowledge with him; and this is what the expression “To die in Christ” means.

From what has been said you will see that throughout evolution the life not only of the living changes, but also that of the dead. Because the dead are nourished on what they have learnt here concerning the Christ, because they take the fruits of this with them to the life between death and rebirth, returning here again in ever recurring incarnations, they will appear also in ever mightier, more Christ-filled bodies, and will make the earth more and more into an expression of what Christ can be to a transformed world when in the future He leads the earth to higher and ever higher conditions.

Thus we see how life, both on this side and on the other, cooperates in maturing the earth for what is to come; when the Earth through being filled with the Spirit of Christ will be united once again with the sun, and will thereby rise a stage higher in the cosmos.

The Christ Event — the coming of Christ — is therefore not only a fact of great importance to Man, but is of infinite importance also to the evolution of the whole of the cosmos.


Spiritual science does not merely signify the acquisition of knowledge; it signifies most pre-eminently an education, a self-education of our souls.

We make ourselves different; we have other interests. When a man imbues himself with spiritual science, the habits of attention for this or for that subject which he developed during previous years, alter. What interested him before, interests him no longer; that which had no interest for him previously, now begins to interest him in the highest degree.

One ought not simply to say that only a person who has gone through esoteric development can attain to a connection with the spiritual world; esotericism does not begin with occult development. The moment we make any link with spiritual science with our whole heart, esotericism has already begun; our souls begin at once to be transformed. There then begins in us something resembling what would arise, let us say, in a being who had previously only been able to see light and darkness, and who then through a special and different organisation of the eyes, begins to see colors. The whole world would appear different to such a being. We need only observe it, we need only realise it, and we shall soon see that the whole world begins to have a different aspect when we have for a time gone through the self-education we can get in a spiritual science circle.


.. is the lecture where Steiner talks about the importance of remembering MoG to maintain consciousness after death, see Christ Module 20 - After death

We do not study spiritual science for the sake of curiosity, nor from an abstract desire for knowledge, but in order to provide the soul with a necessary form of nourishment. By means of an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, we give the soul the possibility of developing those feelings that it will need in order to cross the abyss between death and rebirth as just described.

One who has understood that the soul after death suffers a loss of consciousness, so heavy to bear in all future cycles of time, will seek every opportunity to bring the Mystery of Golgotha to the understanding of his fellow men.

For this reason the understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha is one of the most important facts that we must learn through the study of spiritual science.


see also extract on Relationship between mineral and spiritual science and Clairvoyant research of akashic records

Through his human faculties Man strives for occult knowledge and may also acquire it, but spiritual scientific knowledge has a greater significance for the world than it has merely within the human soul. In the world around us we can distinguish different substances and materials through which its various phenomena and manifestations are given expression. In the Primal Principle, the essential nature of which can hardly be expressed in words of human language, all creatures, all things of the earth and all worlds are rooted. But the individual differentiations of this Primal Principle come to expression in the physical world in the substances of earth, of water, of air, of fire, of ether, and so forth.

One of the finest, most highly attenuated substances within the reach of human faculties is called akasha. The manifestations of beings and of phenomena in the akasha are the most delicate and ethereal of any that are accessible to Man. What a Man acquires in the way of occult knowledge lives not only in his soul but is inscribed into the akasha-substance of the world. When we make a thought of occult science come alive in our souls, it is at once inscribed into the akasha-substance and this is of significance for the general evolution of the world. For no being in the whole world other than Man is able to make in the akasha-substance the inscriptions that can be called by the name of spiritual science.

It is important to bear in mind one characteristic feature of the akasha-substance, namely that in the spiritual world between death and a new birth, man lives in this substance, just as here on the earth he lives in the atmosphere.


This is an indication of how anthroposophical teaching will bridge the gulf between the so-called living and the so-called dead; and already now we can see how human beings who have some understanding of the spiritual may be a blessing to the so-called dead by reading to them in thought the truths of Spiritual Science. If, either reading aloud or to ourselves, we follow in thought the ideas and concepts of Spiritual Science, at the same time feeling that one or more who have passed through death are there in front of us while we read, then this reading becomes very real to them, because such thoughts are inscribed into the Akasha-substance. Such reading may be of the greatest service, not only to those on the other side of death who while they were on earth concerned themselves with Spiritual Science, but also to those who during their earthly life would have nothing to do with it.

The question may be asked: As the dead are living in the spiritual world, do they need such reading of Spiritual Science by those on the earth? There are many who believe that it is only necessary to have passed through the gate of death in order to experience everything that can be attained only by dint of great effort on the earth, through Spiritual Science. Such people also believe that after death a man will be able to acquire all occult knowledge, because he will then be in the spiritual world. This, however, is not the case.

Just as here on the earth there live beings other than man, who perceive everything that man is able to perceive by means of his senses, whereas — as in the case of the animals — they are unable to form ideas or concepts of it, so it is with souls living in the super-sensible worlds. Although these souls see the beings and facts of the higher spiritual worlds, they can form no concepts or ideas of them if men here on the earth do not inscribe such concepts and ideas into the Akasha Chronicle.

This mission of human life upon earth is by no means without purpose; on the contrary it has very deep meaning and purpose. If human souls had never lived on the earth, the spiritual worlds would still be in existence but there would be no occult knowledge of these spiritual worlds. In the course of world-evolution the earth has reached a point at which spiritual knowledge can be developed by spiritual beings organised and constituted as men are on the earth. What has been inscribed into the Akasha-substance through Spiritual Science would never have been there if this science had not existed on the earth.

If a Man tries to put the life of his soul on the Earth to the test, he will discover in the first place that during our present age he has applied his faculties for the acquisition of knowledge to aims other than the attainment of spiritual knowledge. These faculties have been used for the acquisition of data of knowledge produced by means of the senses and through the intellect that is bound to the brain.

Thus human knowledge is of two kinds:

  • the one pertains only to experience acquired by means of the senses, which needs the organ of the intellect in order to transform it into knowledge;
  • the other kind is spiritual science.


  • The knowledge that belongs only to the sense-world forms the one stream;
  • the other consists of what men inscribe through Spiritual Science into the Akasha Chronicle. For spiritual science develops ideas and concepts which are then inscribed forever in the Akasha Chronicle. .

All science, all knowledge pertaining to experiences acquired through the senses, to technical things, to the commercial and industrial life of mankind, when inscribed in the Akasha-substance has this effect: the Akasha-substance discards it, thrusts it away, and the medley of ideas and concepts is obliterated.

If these facts are perceived with the eyes of a seer, a conflict may be observed in the Akasha-substance between

  • the impressions made by the occult knowledge acquired by Man — impressions which are eternal — and
  • those made by thoughts based upon the senses, which are only transitory.

This conflict arises from the fact that when Man first began to inhabit the Earth as Man (that is to say, in the Lemurian epoch), he was already then destined by sublime spiritual beings to acquire spiritual science.


It is important for the whole future of human evolution that through a deeper understanding of this Mystery, men should develop more and more reverence and loving and true heartfelt devotion for what occurred through that event for the evolution of mankind.


The Christ-Event which is now approaching us — not in the physical but in the etheric, and connected with the first kindling of the power of Memory, with the first kindling of the Christ-permeated Memory — will be such that Christ will approach man as an angel-like Being. For this event we must prepare ourselves. Spiritual Science is not simply to enrich us with mere theories. It is to pour into us something which will enable us to accept that which meets us in the world, and that which we ourselves are, with new feelings and perceptions. Our life of feeling and perception can be enriched if, through Spiritual Science, we penetrate in the right way into the nature of the Christ-Impulse and its sovereignty in Man, in the spiritual being of Man. ...

When we take into our hearts the meaning of such words as these, we take in something which is right for us human beings to receive. Just as the plant forms the seed for the next plant life, so do we learn to perceive and feel within ourselves not only the fruits that come to us from former incarnations, but also how to pass over into our future incarnations. It would go ill with our power of Memory in future incarnations if we were not permeated with the Christ-Impulse. Our Thinking is at yet permeated with the Christ-Impulse in the barest measure, and already this Impulse is approaching our Memory. May we learn, through Spiritual Science, to live not only for the transitory man who exists between birth and death but for that man who passes through ever-recurring incarnations. Let us learn, through Spiritual Science, what it means for the full development of the individual soul to have the right understanding, the right feeling and perception for the most powerful Impulse in the whole evolution of humanity — the Christ-Impulse.

For this next and fourth capability of Memory, see more on Walking Speaking Thinking



Let us take thought, that is, what we as humans think. At first these thoughts are in our consciousness, but not merely in our consciousness. At the same time they are in the consciousness of the beings of the next higher hierarchy, the angeloi, the angels.

But whereas we may have one thought, all our thoughts are the angels' thoughts. The angels think our consciousness. Thus you can see that when we ascend to clairvoyance, we must develop a different feeling towards perceiving the beings of the higher worlds than is the case in ordinary reality. If we thinks as we do in the physical-sensory earthly existence, we cannot achieve higher clairvoyance. One must not merely think, one must also be thought, and be aware that one is being thought. It is not easy — for human words have not yet been devised to describe what the feeling about this perceiving is. But to use a comparison: we make all kinds of movements and if we don't observe these movements in ourselves, but in the eyes of another and see there the reflection of our own movements we say to ourselves: by observing in this way we know that we are doing this or that with our hands or with our facial expressions. One already has this feeling at the next stage of clairvoyance. We know in general that we are thinking, but we see ourselves [doing it] in the consciousness of the beings of the next higher hierarchy. We let the angels think our thoughts. We must realize that we are not conducting our thoughts, but that the beings of the next hierarchy are conducting them.

We must feel the interweaving, undulating consciousness of the angels. We then receive information about the continuous impulse of evolution, for example about the truth of the Christ-impulse, how it continues to be active now. The angels can think this impulse; we humans can also think and describe it, if we devote our thoughts to the angels so they think in us. We can achieve this by continuous practice, as I described in my book 'Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment'. From a certain moment on we connect a feeling, a sensation with the words: “Your soul doesn't think any more, it is a thought which the angels think”. And when this becomes a truth for the individual human experience, we experience the thoughts about the truths of the Christ-impulse, also other thoughts about the wise guidance of earth evolution.

Those things related to the epochs of the earth's evolution — the ancient Indian epoch, the ancient Persian epoch and so forth — are thought by the archangels. By means of further [meditative] practice we are able not only to be thought by the angels, but to be experienced by the archangels. You must then come to the point where you know that you are delivering your life to the life of the archangels. In 'The Threshold of the Spiritual World' I go into this in more detail: how you have the feeling, when you continue the exercises — I also spoke about this in Munich, using a grotesque example — as if you were to stick your head in an anthill, and the ants are the thoughts in movement. Whereas in ordinary life we think that we think our thoughts, through practice we realize that the thoughts think in us, because the angels think in us.

And continuing with practice we arrive at the feeling that we are brought to various regions of the world by the archangels and thus learn about those regions. To correctly describe the [ancient] Indian or Egyptian cultures one must understand the meaning of: “Your soul has been brought to this or that time by an archangel”. It is as though our life body fluids knew that they support the life process and are carried through the organism as the blood is. Thus the seer knows that he is conducted through the life process of the world by the archangels.

[Soul food for Archai]

But where individual experiences of the soul are concerned, they can only be investigated if the soul gives meaning to the words: The soul delivers itself as food to the Archai, the spirits of personality.

What I just said sounds grotesque, but it is nevertheless true that one cannot investigate such concrete facts as the life of Jesus of Nazareth before one gives meaning to the words: One is eaten as spiritual food and thus serves the Spirits of Personality. Obviously this sounds like madness to people who live in the outer world. Of course it does! Nevertheless it is just as true as the piece of bread that enters our stomachs becomes our food, and if it could think it would know that its existence has meaning and purpose in that we make it our food. It is just as true that we humans have the purpose of serving the Archai as food. While we walk around here on earth we are at the same time beings who are continually consumed, eaten by the Archai. You will not deny that people in ordinary life don't know this, and that they would call it madness if someone told them something like this. Man is for the Archai what a grain of wheat is for you as a physical human being. Don't only know this theoretically, but live in respect to the Archai as a grain of wheat would live were it to be ground to porridge by our teeth and pass through our pallets and stomach with the awareness: I am human food.

Therefore also know:

  • I am the Archai's food, I am digested by the Archai; that is their life, which I live in them. To vividly know this means to enter the consciousness of the Spirits of Personality, the Archai.
  • Just as what it means to enter the consciousness of the Archangels when one knows: Your soul is brought to this or that epoch by the Archangels; and
  • what it means to enter the consciousness of the Angels when one knows: My thoughts are thought by the angels.

If we wish to enter the higher worlds, the conditions of experience must be different. It is necessary to be knowingly consumed by the Spirits of Personality if concrete facts such as the life of Jesus of Nazareth in human evolution are to be investigated.

Perhaps what I have said will serve to show that this occult research is completely different from research in the outer world. If you can think the analogies through, they provide the correct hints: You can imagine yourselves as the grains of wheat ground into porridge by your teeth in order to have a mental image, which is an analogy for reading in the consciousness of the Archai. One must be mentally ground up and feel it. It means that higher research is not possible without inner pain and suffering. If it is so abstract that it doesn't hurt, as is research in the physical world, then research in the higher worlds cannot be achieved if it is to be more than complete fantasy.

Therefore my efforts yesterday in describing the life of Jesus to separate it from abstract concepts and descriptions. Remember what I said in an attempt to point out what is important. I said: this was the life of Jesus of Nazareth from his twelfth, eighteenth and up to his thirtieth year. What I described is less important than having a vivid feeling of what Jesus' soul went through, to feel the pain of loneliness, the endless pain of having to stand alone with the untruths about which there were many ears to hear. I wanted to point out Jesus of Nazareth's feelings. His great threefold compassion for humanity from his twelfth to his thirtieth year. Not by describing the events to yourselves or to others, will you know something about the meaning of Jesus' experience as preparation for the Mystery of Golgotha, but rather that by conceiving of an idea - a mental picture - which shocks and moves your souls, a picture of what that man Jesus of Nazareth had to suffer before the Mystery of Golgotha in order that the Christ-impulse could stream into the Earth's evolution.

In this way a vivid idea of the Christ-impulse is brought about in that the suffering is reawakened, so that one must describe these facts which are related to such things by trying to bring to mind feelings. You can see this in how I tried to characterize in few words what Akasha research is. The more you are able to feel in yourselves the billowing, undulating feelings in a being such as Jesus of Nazareth was, the more you fathom such mysteries.

I have often spoken about what happened then — that through the baptism in the Jordan, after Jesus of Nazareth's three bodies [physical, etheric, astral] were spiritualized by the Zarathustra-I in them, the Christ-being entered them, that is, a being from the realm of the spiritual world descended whose destiny was to live bound in a human body for three years. It is important to understand what that fact means. Because this fact is fundamentally different from all other facts in the earth's evolution. Here we are entering into something which is not merely a human event in the earth's evolution.


See extract: Christ Module 9: Trinity and Logoi#1914-04-12-GA153

that explains how it only possible to come to Christ via faith, or spiritual science, but not intellectual reasoning such as in philosophy


quote A

[Memory forces transformed -> we realize our thoughts were but shadows of elemental beings]

The reason these forces do not act consciously during physical life is because during this physical life we have to transform them in order to be able to form memories.

The last great memory which we have after death in the form of the tableau must first fade away, must gradually grow dim. Then out of the darkness develops that which we could not consciously possess before death; for if we had had it consciously before death we could never have formed the forces of memory. The forces which now develop in the soul during the fading of the remembrance of the tableau of life were, during life, transformed into the power by which we remember: they now emerge, because the power to remember earthly thoughts in the ordinary way is overcome and this spiritually transformed memory-force is awakened within us as the first spiritual soul-force which comes forth from the human soul after death, just as the soul-forces come forth in a growing child in the first weeks of its life. As this soul-force grows it is revealed to us that behind our thoughts, which while we were on the physical plane were but shadows, something lives; there is life and movement in the world of thought. We become aware that the thought pictures in our physical body were but a shadow and that in them there really lives and expands a vast number of elemental beings. Our memories grow dim and in their place we see emerge a vast number of elemental beings out of the universal cosmos of wisdom.

You might ask, ‘Is it not a great loss when after death the power of memory is overcome and we have something else in its place?’

We do not miss it, because we then have a very good substitute for it. Instead of remembering our thoughts as we do in life, we notice after death that these thoughts, which we had in life as memory-thoughts, only seem to be memories. This treasure of memory which is ours during life becomes something much more than merely a treasure of memory.

When we are out of our physical body, we see all this treasure of memory as a living presence; it exists. Every thought is alive, is a living being.

Now we know: During physical life thou didst think, thy thoughts appeared to thee; but while thou wast under the delusion that thou wast forming thoughts, thou wast producing nothing but elemental beings. That is the new thing thou hast added to the whole cosmos. Something new exists, to which thou gavest birth in the spirit; that which thy thoughts really were now stands before thee.

[The elementals we have produced]

We now first learn by direct vision what elemental beings are, because this is the first time we come to know the elemental beings we have ourselves produced.

This memory-tableau is the very important impression we receive in the first period after death; but this begins to live, really to live, and as it begins to live we perceive it as nothing but elemental beings. It now shows its true face, as it were and its disappearance merely signifies its change into something different.

If, for example, we died at the age of sixty or eighty, we do not need the power of memory to remember a thought we had, say, at the age of twenty, because it is there as a living elemental being, it has waited and we do not need to remember it; then if we died, for example, at the age of forty the thought would only be twenty years old and we should see it clearly. These elemental beings themselves tell us how long it is since they were formed. Time becomes space: it stands before us, because the living beings reveal their own time-signature. Under these conditions time becomes the immediate present.

From these, our own elemental beings, which surrounded us during life and which we see at death, we learn the nature of the elemental world and thereby prepare ourselves gradually to understand the elemental beings in the outer world not produced by us, but existing apart from us in the spiritual cosmos.

Through our own elemental creations we learn to know the others.

[Comparing life between death and rebirth with earthly life]

Think how very different this life between death and rebirth really is from our earthly life.

  • The main thing is that after physical birth we are not aware of ourselves. What we experience as a baby, those around us experience with us; we are born, and others, our parents, look upon this which has been born.
  • Neither are we aware of ourselves at first after death, but we see as an outer world that to which we have given birth. We ourselves look upon that which is outside, that to which we have given birth at the moment of death.
  • When at our physical birth we enter into existence, we have an incomprehensible world before us, and to those around us we are indeed a being who only sprawls and cries and laughs; but
  • after death, after our birth into the spiritual world — which to the physical world is death — we enter at once into an environment to which we ourselves have given birth, which we have ourselves organised, for we have ourselves given birth to it.
  • There, we have given birth to a world, whereas, when we are born physically, this world gives birth to us. Such are the conditions with respect to thought and also to that which springs from thought as our store of memory.

It is different as regards what belongs to our feeling and our will. In the first lecture I mentioned that all that belongs to the spheres of our feeling and our will is not yet born in us, that in a certain respect will and feeling are something which is not fully born. This can be seen clearly after death; for will and feeling, as they pervade the physical body, still exist after death. So that after a time, after the will-star has withdrawn with the fruits of our last earthly life, we live in an elemental world which forms our environment to which we ourselves give the fundamental tone through our transformed memories.

We live in such a manner in this world, which really is ourselves, in the sense I have just explained, that we know:

Thy feeling and thy will are still in thee. They have still a sort of remembrance, a sort of connection with thy last earthly life.


.. is about the importance of meeting and working in groups. This is related to the 'creation of a new center', as explained in Module 7 on the Christ and the GA089 lecture where this principle is explained. This principle is iterated in other lectures: that a common ideal between a group of people is the development of, building of, a group soul, a new common center.

If this question is to be answered truly, we must realize that we make a distinction, even if only in thought, between the work we do in a group like this and our other work in the world. Those who are unwilling to enter deeply into more intimate truths connected with the spiritual progress of humanity, might ask if we could not cultivate spiritual science without forming ourselves into groups, but simply by finding lecturers and providing opportunities for people who may not know each other to come together and have access to the spiritual treasure of which we speak. We could, of course, proceed in this way. But as long as it is at all possible to establish, in the wider and narrower senses, associations of human beings who are known to one another and who come together in friendship and brotherliness within these working groups, we will continue to found them in full consciousness of the attitude of soul that is part and parcel of spiritual science. It is not without meaning that among us there are human beings who want to cultivate the more intimate side of spiritual knowledge and who sincerely intend to work together in brotherliness and harmony.

Not only are relationships and intercourse affected by the fact that we can speak quite differently among ourselves, knowing that we are speaking to souls consciously associated with us — not only is this so, but something else is also to be remembered. The establishment of individual groups is connected with the whole conception that we hold of our Movement if we understand its inmost nature. We must all be conscious that our Movement is significant not only for the existence known to the senses and for the existence that is grasped by the outward turned mind of man, but that through this Movement our souls are seeking a real and genuine link with the spiritual worlds. Again and again, in full consciousness, we should say to ourselves that by the cultivation of spiritual science we transfer our souls as it were into spheres that are peopled not only by beings of earth but also by the beings of the higher hierarchies, the beings of the invisible worlds. We must realize that our work is of significance for these invisible worlds, that we are actually within these worlds.

In the spiritual world, the work performed by those who know one another within such groups is quite different from work carried on outside such a group and dispersed about the world. The work carried out in brotherly harmony within our groups has quite a different significance for the spiritual world than other work we may undertake. To understand this fully we must remind ourselves of truths we have studied in many aspects during recent years.


We may therefore picture to ourselves that by uniting in brotherliness in working groups, something hovers invisibly over our work, something that is like the child of the forces of the spirit self - the spirit self that is nurtured by the beings of the higher hierarchies in order that it may stream down into our souls when they are again on earth in the sixth cultural age.

In our groups we perform work that streams upward to those forces that are being prepared for the spirit self.


.. covers the importance of spiritual scientific thinking and thoughts for the development of humanity (and the fact our human thoughts are work material for the third hierarchy). See also: Seeds for future worlds


Reconciliation is found if we unite ourselves in the right way with the Christ Being that pulsates through the earth since the Mystery of Golgotha. Every feeling and experience we can have in connection with the Mystery of Golgotha contributes to this reconciliation.

We have not yet advanced much in bringing about this reconciliation, but we must continue to strive for it. Even in our circles we see very often that the contrast I described manifests in one way or another. There are many among us who listen to the teachings of anthroposophy and accept them as they would accept conventional science. As a result, many people see no difference between anthroposophy and ordinary science. But we understand anthroposophy rightly only when we grasp it not just with the head, but allow every one of its utterances to kindle our enthusiasm and to live in us so that it finds its way from the nerve system to the blood system. Only when we take warmly to the truths contained in anthroposophy do we really understand it. As long as we approach it abstractly and study it as we study the multiplication tables, an arithmetic book, instruction manuals, or a cookbook, we do not understand it at all! We cannot understand anthroposophy if we study it in the same way as chemistry or botany. Only when it generates warmth in us, replenishes us with its own vibrant life, do we begin to really understand it.

Christ said: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” And He is with us not as one who is dead, but as a living Being among us, revealing Himself continuously. And only people so shortsighted as to fear these revelations can want us to stay with what has always held good in the past. Those who are not cowards know Christ is always revealing Himself; therefore, we may accept what He has revealed in the form of anthroposophy as a true Christ-revelation.

Members have often asked me how they can establish a relationship with Christ.

This is a naive question; for everything we strive for, every line we read of our anthroposophical science, is an entering into a relationship with Christ. In a certain sense, we really do nothing else. And those who seek an additional, special way of entering into a relationship with Christ are only naively expressing that they would prefer to avoid the more troublesome way of reading and studying.

My talk began like a conventional scientific talk, maybe one about anatomy or physiology, by looking at the substances in the human being, but now we find the transition to the loftiest knowledge we can have on earth: to Christology. You cannot find this transition in any other science. Spiritual science shows you that our nerve substance lost something in becoming earthly substance.

But where is what our nerve substance lost?

When Jesus of Nazareth was thirty years old, Christ entered his body and went through the Mystery of Golgotha. Try to warm yourselves through and through with this thought. What is lacking in our nervous system because we are living on earth, what has been replaced with an ahrimanic element, is what we find in the Mystery of Golgotha.

It is our task as human beings to take this Mystery into our blood to fill the luciferic element there with Christ, to kindle our enthusiasm so that it can live in us.

  • Our abstract thinking is connected to the nerve substance,
  • while our feelings, our heart and soul, enthusiasm, or mood, are connected to the blood.

The relationship between nerve substance and blood substance in our organism is the same as that in our soul between abstract, cold thinking and the enthusiasm we can feel when things do not remain merely cold thoughts for us, but warm us through the spirit. This warming through the spirit does not come naturally; we have to train ourselves to attain it.

Now you can see in spiritual and physiological terms as it were, what the Mystery of Golgotha accomplished. What we had left behind in the cosmos followed us. It can now once again permeate our soul, because it did not permeate our body at the beginning of our earth existence, or we would have become automatons of the spirit. As it was, we went through a period of evolution on the earth before we were to be ensouled by what did not permeate our body right from the very beginning. This great and wonderful connection reveals the activity of the spiritual in matter.

compare the above with Blood and nerves#1919-09-04-GA293


At the present time man is going through a crisis as far as understanding the Mystery of Golgotha is concerned. Last week I attempted to illustrate this crisis by means of a specific example. I wanted to show how a human being may make a thorough study of Christianity yet fail to find Christ. At present it is possible to belong to established Christian communities, perhaps to one which at present has an ever-increasing influence, without approaching Christ. This is a phenomenon which spiritual science must emphasize again and again. What must also be emphasized is that it is modern man's task to call up the inner forces of his soul which enables him to grasp spiritual-scientific thoughts. A certain power of soul must be called upon in order to make these thoughts inwardly living. Unless we do we shall make no progress, for it lies in the nature of present-day man that he should call upon this soul-force. A force which ought to be used, but is not, produces sickness in some form. Illness is caused not only through lack of something but also through overabundance of something. Numerous people who appear weak are in reality strong. Paradoxical as it may seem they are strong inwardly. Many who go about like weaklings dissatisfied with life, not knowing how to be — as they put it — “in tune with the infinite” are actually strong, but subconsciously. However, they are incapable of bringing their subconscious strength into consciousness because they have no inkling of what it is that clamours for recognition within them. As a consequence the subconscious rebels and causes instability. The aim of spiritual science is to make man conscious of what is stirring within him, of what is in fact striving to become conscious. A true and satisfying understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha is what above all wants to become conscious, a fact which often expresses itself in remarkable ways.



I would like to say that one such attempt was made just before the outbreak of this world catastrophe in the Vienna lecture cycle, (see Note 10) in which I spoke about life between death and a new birth in relation to the inner forces of the soul. Today I would like to draw your attention above all to a domain that in a certain respect is and must be the primary concern for the human being in his earthly life. It must be a primary concern that this very domain is closed to the experience of souls who have gone through the portal of death. Think how much we have, as earthly human beings, through mental pictures that come to us from the mineral and plant realms. To these mental pictures must be added all the impressions and mental pictures that come to us from heavenly space: the starry sky above us, the sun, the moon. Since they enable us during our earthly life to have physical images as perceptions, they belong precisely to what I am now calling mineral nature. This mineral nature, and essentially — I say, essentially — the plant nature as nature, are excluded from what souls will perceive between death and a new birth.


In all that plays into waking life as dream or sleep, the dead are living. They live with souls who are incarnated in physical bodies on the earth. They live in them just as we live within the plant world, except that we are not inwardly bound to the plant world as the dead are to our feelings, emotions, and will impulses. They live continually in all of that. This is their second realm. While here we unfold our feelings and sensations in human life, the dead live in this life continually, and indeed in such a way that the fluctuating, which I have just been describing as the strengthening and weakening of the will, as the increasing or declining of the will of the dead, has a certain relation to what here on earth the so-called living are dreaming and sleeping through as feelings and will impulses.

You can see, therefore, how little the realm of the dead is separated from our earthly realm and what an inner bond there is between these two realms. As I have said, under normal conditions (with certain exceptions that I will mention later), the dead have nothing to do with the mineral and plant realms, but they have very much to do with what goes on in the animal realm. That is in a sense the ground on which they stand. They also have much to do with what goes on in the realm of human feeling and human will. In these realms we are not separated from the dead at all, but it is like this: when one goes through the portal of death and experiences the strengthening and weakening of the will, one can live with the so-called living in their physical bodies, though not with everyone. There a definite law holds sway: one can live only with those to whom one is to some degree karmically related. Someone living here who is karmically a total stranger is not even perceptible to a dead person; he simply does not exist. The world that the dead person experiences has boundaries that were made by his own karma that had harnessed him here in life. This world is not limited only to souls who are still on earth; it extends also to souls who themselves have gone through the portal of death.

This second realm thus embraces all the relationships a person has made karmically with those who are still on earth and other souls who like himself have already gone through the portal of death. This realm rises out of another realm that is common to the dead, a realm of animal existence, by which we must not picture earthly animals! I explicitly said earlier that our animals on earth reflect what exists in the spiritual world, that is, the group-souls of the animals. In relation to the dead, we must think of the spiritual being of the animals. From this common soil, then, there arises for each and every dead person, in an entirely different sense from what is the case in our earthly realm, an individual karmic realm. One person has made this relationship, another has made that one. Only that by which karmic relationships are balanced is there from the human realm.


For some this lasts but a short time, for others longer. One can scarcely tell from the way an earthly life has taken its course how it will be after death. Many personalities, many souls whom one would not have expected, appear in the sphere of the dead person, because from the physical life one can easily make a wrong assessment. There is a fundamental law, however, that the karmic circle gradually widens, and the whole process of becoming acquainted in this circle takes place exactly as I described it in the Vienna lecture cycle, (see Note 10) where I dealt with life between death and a new birth. What I described there as an important element in the life of the dead is precisely this expanding life of will impulses. The will impulses are now for the dead what mental pictures are for the living, through which the dead person knows, through which he has his consciousness. It is extraordinarily difficult to explain to earthly human beings that a dead person knows essentially through the will, while the earthly human being knows through forming mental pictures. Obviously, this also makes it difficult to come to an understanding with the dead.

One can thus say that this realm entered by the dead as their second realm gradually widens. Later (this is always relative: for one it happens sooner, for another later) more distant karmic relationships are added to immediate ones. I mean this in the following way. When a dead person has spent a certain time in his life between death and a new birth, the circle of his experiences has widened and stretched beyond those souls — be they on earth or over yonder — with whom he had had particularly close karmic relationships. These souls now have karmic relationships apart from those of the dead person. It is like this: person A has a certain relationship with person B but not with person C. One sees how the dead person A lives with B as I have described and expands his experiences beyond B. Later it comes about that B becomes a go-between to person C. Previously A had had no relationship to C, but now he acquires that relationship directly through B's having a karmic relationship to C. Through this, the second realm slowly, gradually expands over an extremely large area. One becomes ever richer, as it were, in such inner experiences, experiences of strengthening or weakening the will, experiences that gradually accustom us to the realm of the dead — or living souls — after we ourselves have gone through the portal of death.

An essential aspect of life between death and a new birth is precisely that as souls we — if I may express myself trivially — increasingly widen our circle of acquaintances. Just as here in earthly existence we widen our experiences between birth and death, just as here we acquaint ourselves with more and more of the world around us, so there we undergo more and more experiences that relate us to the fact that one senses the existence of other souls, that one knows that through some of the souls one experiences a strengthening of the will, through others a weakening. This is an essential part of our experience there.

You can realize the actual significance of this for all existence, for all cosmic existence. It means that actually, in a certain relation between death and a new birth, a spiritual circle of acquaintances is being formed among a great portion of humanity around the earth, not just that faded ribbon the pantheists and mystics dream and thrill about. Really, if we look at what we experience between death and a new birth, we do not live all so far from human beings on earth. This is not an abstract bond but a really concrete one.

just as here on earth the animal realm stands as a third realm above the mineral and plant realms, so across the threshold we perceive as a third realm the realm of certain hierarchies, a realm with beings who never experience earthly incarnations but with whom we come into relation between death and a new birth. This realm of the hierarchies is across the threshold the same thing as what gives us between death and a new birth the fully intense experiences of our I. Through the first two realms we experience “the other”; through the hierarchies we experience ourselves. One can even say that as a spiritual being within the hierarchies man experiences himself as a son, as a child of the hierarchies. He knows himself as be is related to the other human souls as I have described it; he knows himself at the same time as a child of the hierarchies. As he feels himself here, when he perceives himself in the cosmos, as a fusion of the outer, natural forces and the surrounding cosmos, so across the threshold he feels himself organized, as it were, as a spiritual being through participation of the different hierarchies.

[key paragraph]

I spoke earlier of exceptions regarding the mineral and animal realms. Such exceptions are especially valid for our present epoch. They did not carry much weight formerly, but we do not need to speak of this now. In our time, in which a certain materialistic conviction is of necessity spreading over the earth, human beings can easily miss the chance to acquire spiritual mental pictures during their earthly lives.

In yesterday's public lecture I even went so far as to draw attention to how a person, if he fails to acquire spiritual mental pictures during his earthly life, chains himself to this earthly life; in a sense, he cannot escape from it, and he becomes therefore a source of disturbance.

Many of the destructive forces working in the earthly sphere come from these dead individuals imprisoned in it.

One must have compassion for such human souls rather than judge them critically, because it is not particularly easy to have to remain after death within a realm that is actually not suited to the dead. The realms in this case are the mineral and plant realms, actually that mineral realm that the animals bear within them, that man himself bears within him. These beings are permeated by the mineral realm.

For individuals who have not absorbed spiritual mental pictures, the situation is such that they shrink from this experience after death; feelings are aroused at all times, warning them that they cannot enter the realms that govern animal and human spirituality and that they can enter only what is mineral and plant nature.

I can scarcely depict this, because language has no words for it. One can only approach slowly and gradually what lies actually at the foundation, because the approach is at first something too frightful.


from the lecture 'How do I find the Christ?'

translation from rsarchive (see underlined, to be corrected)

when people ask today: How can I find the Christ? we must answer them in this sense, for they will not reach the Christ through cogitation, however subtle it may be, but only when they have the courage to enter with their whole being into the experiences of daily life. Even in regard to language you must feel the powerlessness caused by the body because it is the vehicle of language — and then, afterwards, you must feel the resurrection of the spirit in the word. ‘The letter killeth, the spirit maketh alive’ is one of those utterances that have often been misunderstood. The ‘letter’ (the articulated sound) does kill and the ‘spirit’ must be made living again, in that as an actual experience of his own, man links himself with the Christ and with the Mystery of Golgotha. This is a first step towards finding the Christ. Seek therefore always for the human setting in which words are used, do not think only about their content — as is the custom today. Think of how the words come forth from the source whence they are uttered. If many among us would be mindful of this, we should not so often find people saying: ‘So-and-so spoke quite “anthroposophically”, or “theosophically” — just read what he says!’ I repeat — the actual words themselves are not the essential; the essential is out of what spirit they were uttered. It is not words that we want to spread through Anthroposophy, but a new spirit, the spirit which from the twentieth century onwards must be that of a Christ-ruled world.

better would be

It is not words that we want to spread with anthroposophy, but a new spirit, the spirit that must be the spirit of Christianity from the 20th century onwards.

German original

Wenn die Menschen heute fragen: Wie finde ich den Christus? -, dann muß man eine solche Antwort geben, denn der Christus läßt sich nicht durch irgendeine Spintisiererei oder durch eine bequeme Mystik erlangen, sondern er läßt sich nur erlangen, wenn man den Mut hat, sich unmittelbar in das Leben hineinzustellen. Und in einem solchen Falle müssen Sie auch der Sprache gegenüber die Ohnmacht fühlen, in die der Leib Sie versetzt hat dadurch, daß er der Träger der Sprache wird; und nachher die Auferstehung des Geistes in dem Worte. Das ist es. Nicht nur: «Der Buchstabe tötet, der Geist macht lebendig», welcher Ausspruch ja auch vielfach mißverstanden wird, sondern schon der Laut tötet, und der Geist muß erst wieder lebendig machen, indem man konkret im einzelnen Erleben an den Christus und an das Mysterium von Golgatha anknüpft. In diesem ersten Schritte findet man den Christus: Suchen, nicht bloß, wenn da oder dort schöne Worte stehen, auf ihren Inhalt schauen - heute sind die Menschen das gewöhnt -, sondern suchen nach den menschlichen Zusammenhängen, suchen, wie die Worte hervor- kommen aus dem Orte, von dem her sie gesprochen sind. Immer wichtiger und wichtiger wird das. Wenn gerade manche unter uns dies bedenken würden, würden wir nicht so oft es erleben, daß Leute kommen und sagen: Der hat ja ganz anthroposophisch oder theosophisch gesprochen; man lese das nur einmal nach! - Darauf kommt es nicht an, was da für Worte stehen, sondern, aus welchem Geiste heraus sie sind. Nicht Worte wollen wir mit der Anthroposophie verbreiten, sondern einen neuen Geist, den Geist allerdings, der der Geist des Christentums vom 20. Jahrhundert ab sein muß.



see: Contemporary worldview war#1921-01-16-GA203


(limited extract, read lecture in full for context)

also on Third Hierarchy#1923-03-12-GA222

... Since the 15th century it has become characteristic of human evolution itself that in sleep man's I and astral body stretch out eagerly for union with the archai but are unable to reach them and feel a sense of helplessness in regard to them. The archai, however, are necessary in order that when he wakes man shall plunge with enough intensity into his etheric body. Understand me rightly here. Yesterday I told you that if an individual absorbs no spiritual knowledge, he will be unable to contact the archai during his sleep, although it is vitally necessary that in the sleeping state he should be able to establish as living a relationship with those beings as here on Earth, in the physical condition, he has a living relationship with the Sun. This is extremely important.


It is a very difficult thing for our dry intellect to accept: that what you study would make such a difference. But then it's not only the what but also the how.

The difficulty one may have at first to grasp this, is because one does not have the frame or perspective to realize what is going on with sense-free thinking and the processes of perception and thinking in the soul. The fact we fill this activity with something that comes from our innermost human nature and lives deep deep inside of us.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Fred Poeppig: 'Wege zu einem vertieften Christusverständnis', 26 Hefte (1969-1974)