Enlivened images

From Anthroposophy

Man's experiences in thinking, feeling, willing are inscribed in the Akasha, in the higher planes starting from the fourth subplane of the Spirit World, see also Planes or worlds of consciousness.

With 'free thinking', not materialistic shadow thoughts about the 'dead' kingdoms of nature, but the activity of spiritual science that are quickened to live through feeling and willing, one creates enlivened images that are also the Seeds for future worlds. This is like a reverse ritual when Man as a Microcosm is not a receiver but a giver, a contributor to the future Macrocosm of the future - see also Meaning of Free Man Creator.

Before the Mystery of Golgotha, Man did not have access - in his functioning as a human being - to the higher ethers, the chemical and life ethers. See also Christ Module 11 - A new physics.

In 1920-05-16-GA201 lecture is explained how the MoG transforms this process into enlivened embodied pictures with inner reality for the life to come.

To relate to how this works more technically, is explained with Matter is destroyed in the brain and Etherization of blood.



Schema FMC00.213 relate Thinking Feeling Willing (TFW) activities of the human soul to the three worlds and Truth Beauty Good (TBG).


Lecture coverage and references

We start by referencing the process by which, in Man, soul experiences are impressed by the astral and stored as pictures in the etheric.


This content of his I will be vivified by Buddhi


(not on rsarchive, extract freely translated; see first extract on Christ in the future cultural ages and next epochs)


.. is an eye-opener lecture and also refers to the 'enlivened images' the 'quickening to life of the current shadow-pictures of the intellect' and projects an dramatic destiny for those who will not be able to achieve this by then (last paragraph of this long quote)

Just as the separation of the moon was a decisive event, so too will be its re-entry. It is true that as human beings we shall still be inhabiting the earth, although birth will no longer take place in the ordinary way. We shall be connected with the earth by other means than through birth. We shall, however, have evolved in a certain respect by that time. And we must learn to connect what is happening today — I mean the fact that the intellect is becoming more and more shadowy — with what will one day be a great event in earthly evolution — the re-entry of the moon into the substance of the earth.

If the intellect continues to become even more spectral than it is already, if men never resolve to receive into their being what can now flow to them from spiritual worlds, then they will inevitably be absorbed into the shadowy grey-ness of their intellectual life.

What is this shadowy intellect? It cannot understand the real nature and being of man. The mineral world is the only realm which the shadowy human intellect is to a certain degree capable of understanding. Even the life of the plant remains enigmatical; still more so the life of the animal; while human life is altogether beyond the grasp of the mind. And so man goes on his way, evolving pictures of existence which in reality are nothing but a great world-question. His intellect cannot begin to grasp the real nature of plant or animal, and least of all that of the human being. This state of things will continue if man fails to listen to what is being given to him in the form of new Imaginations, in which cosmic existence is pictured to him.

The living wisdom that Spiritual Science is able to impart must be received into his shadowy, intellectual concepts and thoughts, for only so can the shadow-pictures of the intellect be quickened to life.

This quickening to life of the shadow-pictures of the intellect is not only a human but a cosmic event.

You will remember the passage in the book Outline of Esoteric Science dealing with the time when the human souls ascended to the planets and afterwards descended once more to earth-existence. I spoke of how the Mars-men, the Jupiter-men and the others descended again to earth. Now an event of great significance came to pass at the end of the seventies of last century. It is an event that can be described only in the light of facts which are revealed to us in the spiritual world. Whereas in the days of old Atlantis human beings came down to the earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so on — that is to say, beings of soul were drawn into the realm of earth-existence — since the end of the seventies of last century, other Beings — not of the human order — have been descending to the earth for the purposes of their further development. From cosmic realms beyond the earth they come down to the earth and enter into a definite relationship with human beings. Since the eighties of the nineteenth century, super-earthly Beings have been seeking to enter the sphere of earth-existence. Just as the Vulcan-men were the last to come down to the earth so now Vulcan Beings are actually coming into the realm of earthly existence. Super-earthly Beings are already here, and the fact that we are able to have a connected body of Spiritual Science at all today is due to the circumstance that Beings from beyond the earth are bringing the messages from the spiritual world down into earth-existence ...

.. I repeat, that since the last third of the nineteenth century Spiritual Beings from the cosmos have been coming into our own sphere of existence. Their home is the sphere lying between the moon and Mercury, but they are already pressing forward into the realm of earth-existence and seeking to gain a foothold there. And they will be able to find it if human beings are imbued with the thought of their existence. This can also be expressed as I expressed it just now, by saying that our shadowy intellect must be quickened to life by the pictures of Spiritual Science. We are speaking of concrete fact when we say: Spiritual Beings are seeking to come down into earth-existence and ought to be willingly received. Catastrophe after catastrophe must ensue, and earthly life will fall at length into social chaos, if opposition is maintained in human existence to the advent of these Beings. They desire nothing else than to be the advance-guards of what will happen to earth-existence when the moon is once again united with the earth.

Today people may consider it comparatively harmless to elaborate only those automatic, lifeless thoughts which arise in connection with the mineral world and the mineral nature of plant, animal and man. Materialists revel in such thoughts which are — well — thoughts and nothing more. But try to imagine what will happen if men go on unfolding no other kinds of thoughts until the time is reached in the eighth millennium for the moon-existence to unite again with the earth. These Beings of whom I have spoken will gradually come down to the earth. Vulcan Beings, ‘Supermen’ of Vulcan, ‘Supermen’ of Venus, of Mercury, of the Sun, will unite with this earth-existence. But if human beings persist in nothing but opposition to them, earth-existence will pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years.

It will be quite possible for the men of earth, if they so wish, to develop a more and more automatic form of intellect — but that can also happen amid conditions of barbarism. Full and complete manhood, however, cannot come to expression in such a form of intellect, and men will have no relationship to the Beings who would fain come towards them in earth-existence.

And all those Beings of whom men have such an erroneous conception because the shadowy intellect can only grasp the mineral nature, the crudely material nature in the minerals, plants and animals, nay even in the human kingdom itself — all these thoughts which have no reality will in a trice become substantial realities when the moon unites again with the earth. And from the earth there will spring forth a terrible brood of beings, a brood of automata of an order of existence lying between the mineral and the plant kingdoms, and possessed of an overwhelming power of intellect. ...

.. And from the earth there will spring forth a terrible brood of beings, a brood of automata of an order of existence lying between the mineral and the plant kingdoms, and possessed of an overwhelming power of intellect.

This swarm will seize upon the earth, will spread over the earth like a network of ghastly, spider-like creatures, of an order lower than that of plant-existence, but possessed of overpowering wisdom. These spidery creatures will be all interlocked with one another, and in their outward movements they will imitate the thoughts that men have spun out of the shadowy intellect that has not allowed itself to be quickened by the new form of Imaginative Knowledge by Spiritual Science. All the thoughts that lack substance and reality will then be endowed with being.

The earth will be surrounded — as it is now with air and as it sometimes is with swarms of locusts — with a brood of terrible spider-like creatures, half-mineral, half-plant, interweaving with masterly intelligence, it is true, but with intensely evil intent. And in so far as man has not allowed his shadowy intellectual concepts to be quickened to life,

  • his existence will be united not with the Beings who have been trying to descend since the last third of the nineteenth century,
  • but with this ghastly brood of half-mineral, half-plantlike creatures. He will have to live together with these spider-like creatures and to continue his cosmic existence within the order of evolution into which this brood will then enter.

This is a destiny that is very emphatically part of human evolution upon the earth, and it is quite well known today by many of those who try to hold humanity back from the knowledge of Spiritual Science. For there are men who are actually conscious allies of this process of the entanglement of earth-existence. We must no longer allow ourselves to be shocked by descriptions of this kind. Such facts are the background of what is often said today by people who out of old traditions still have some consciousness of these things and who then see fit to surround them with a veil of mystery. But it is not right any longer for the process of the earthly evolution of humanity to be veiled in mystery. However great the resistance, these things must be said, for, as I constantly repeat, the acceptance or rejection of spiritual-scientific knowledge is a grave matter for all mankind.

See more on Mineral plant like spiders


.. in this lecture is explained how the MoG transforms this process into enlivened embodied pictures with inner reality for the life to come.

What has just been presented can be followed into the thoughts themselves, for this process only takes place at the moment when thoughts change into mere pictures. At first thoughts live, as it were, embodied. They are permeated by substance; but as pictures they separate themselves out from this substance. If however, we go to work in a truly spiritually scientific way, we can quite easily distinguish pure thought, sense-free thought that has separated itself out from the material process, from all thoughts belonging to what I have called in these lectures the “instinctive wisdom of the ancients.”

This instinctive wisdom of the ancients, as we learn it today, bears in it, quite literally and exactly, the character of not being brought to such filtration of thought that all material substance fell away. Such falling away of all matter is a result of human development. Although not observed by external physiology, it is a fact that virtually — of course virtually and approximately — the thoughts of earthly humanity before the Mystery of Golgotha were always united with matter, and that at the time of the intervention of the Mystery of Golgotha in Earth-life, humanity had arrived at the point in evolution of being able to dissociate itself from matter in the inner process of thought; matter-free thought became possible.

This is not to be regarded as unimportant! It is indeed of the utmost importance that we should observe this development in earthly life — that man in his evolution has become free from the embodiment of thoughts; that they have changed to pure pictures. Thus we may say that up to the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, embodied pictures lived in man; but after the Mystery of Golgotha, matter-free pictures lived in man. Before the Mystery of Golgotha, the Universe worked upon man in such a way that he could not attain to pictures free of the body, free of matter. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, the Universe has, as it were, withdrawn. Man has been transposed to an existence which only takes place in pictures.

What man felt before the Mystery of Golgotha as his connection with the Universe, that he related also to the Universe. He related human life on Earth to Heaven. This we can observe quite exactly. The Hebrew of old was clearly and distinctly conscious that the twelve tribes of old Israel were projections on Earth of the constellations of the Zodiac. The twelve-foldness of the Universe comes to expression in the life of man; and we may say that in those days the life of man was pictured as a result of the twelve-foldness of the Heavens, of the Zodiac. Every man felt the starry Heaven streaming into him; and above all a group of men felt themselves as a group into which the starry Heaven rayed. In the evolution of Hebrew antiquity we must go back to the time when we are told of the twelve sons of Jacob as the projection on Earth of the twelve regions of Heaven. Just as there was this in-streaming of the heavenly forces upon Earth-man in gray antiquity, so also, since in the different parts of the Earth's surface evolution came about at different times, in Europe we find a similar thing at a later time. We must go back to the Middle Ages and study the legends of King Arthur and his Round Table, those significant Celtic legends. For Mid-Europe developed later to the stage reached by the old Hebrews thousands of years before. Mid-Europe was only so far on at the time to which the Legends of Arthur and his Round Table are assigned. There was however, a difference. Hebrew antiquity evolved to the point where the in-streaming from the Universe still yielded embodied pictures. Then came the point of time when the body was withdrawn from the pictures, when the pictures had to be given a new substance. There was indeed a danger that, as regards his soul-life, man would pass completely into a picture-existence. This danger man did not at once recognise. Even Descartes was still floundering, and instead of saying: ‘I think, therefore I am not’, he said the opposite of the truth: ‘I think, therefore I am’. For when we live in pictures, we really are not! When we live in mere thoughts, it is the surest sign that we are not. Thoughts must be filled with substance. In order that man might not continue to live in mere pictures, in order that inner substance might once more be in the human being, that Being intervened who entered through the Mystery of Golgotha. Hebrew antiquity was the first to meet with this intervention of the central force, which was now to give back reality to the human soul that had become

picture. This, however, was not at once understood. In the Middle Ages we have the last ramifications in the twelve around King Arthur's Table; but this was soon replaced by something else — the Parsifal Legend, which places One man over against the twelve, One man, who develops the twelve-foldness from out of his own inner centre. Thus, over against that picture which was essentially the Grail picture, must be the Parsifal picture, in which what man now possesses within him, rays out from the centre. The endeavour of those in the Middle Ages who wished to understand the Parsifal picture, who wished to make the Parsifal striving active in the human soul, was to bring into the picture-existence that could crystallise out in man after all the materiality had filtered away — to bring into it true substance, inwardness of being. Whereas the Grail legend shows still the in-streaming from without, the Parsifal figure is now set over against it, raying out from the pictures that which can restore reality to them.

Inasmuch as the Parsifal Legend appeared in this form, it represented the striving of humanity in the Middle Ages to find the way to the Christ within. It represents an instinctive striving to understand that which lives as the Christ in the evolution of humanity. If one studies inwardly what was experienced in the form of this figure of Parsifal, and compares it with what is to be found in the modern creeds, one receives a strong impulse towards that which must happen today. People are now satisfied with the mere husk of the word ‘Christ’ and believe that they thus possess Christ, whereas even the theologians themselves do not possess Him but hold to the outer interpretation of the word. In the Middle Ages there was still so much direct consciousness left, that by comprehending the representative of humanity, Parsifal, men were able to wrest their way upwards to the form of Christ. If we reflect on this we receive the impression of man's place in the whole Universe. Throughout the world of Nature, conversion of forces prevails. In man alone matter is thrown out by pure thought. That matter which is actually cast out of the human being by pure thought is also annihilated, it passes into nothingness.

If we reflect upon this, we must think of all Earth-existence as follows: Here is the Earth, and on the Earth, man; into man passes matter. Everywhere else it is transmuted. In man it is annihilated. The material Earth will pass away in proportion as matter is destroyed by man. When, some day, all the substance of the Earth will have passed through the human organism, being used there for thinking, the Earth will cease to be a cosmic body. And what man will have gained from this cosmic Earth will be pictures. These however, will have a new reality, they will have preserved an original reality. This reality is that which proceeds from the force which, as central force, makes itself felt through the Mystery of Golgotha. Thus, when we look to the end of the Earth, what do we see? The end of the Earth will come when all its substance is destroyed as described above. Man will then possess pictures of all that has taken place in earthly evolution. At the end of the earthly period the Earth will have sunk into the Universe, and there would remain merely pictures, without reality. What gives them reality however, is the fact of the Mystery of Golgotha having been there in humanity; that gives these pictures inner reality for the life to come. Through the Mystery of Golgotha, a new beginning is set for the future existence of the Earth.

From this we can see that what is contained in our stream of evolution is not to be regarded merely as a continuous stream, where one thing is always related to another as effect to cause, but we must so consider the Earth-evolution that we recognise in the first place a pre-Christian evolution, out of which came all that men were able to think at that time, for what they were able then to think was contained in the Father-God, was imparted to the Earth through Him. The nature and work of the Father-God however, was such that what He created as Earth-evolution was given over to that part of Earth-evolution that tends to pass away. A new beginning was made with the Mystery of Golgotha. Of all that went before only pictures were to remain, as it were descriptive paintings of the world. These pictures were, however, to receive new reality through that which entered as Being into the evolution of the Earth through the Mystery of Golgotha. That is the cosmic significance of the Mystery of Golgotha; that is what I meant years ago, when I said: Christianity will not be understood until it has penetrated even into the physics of our Earth, until we understand how, even in physical things, the Christian substance works in the world-existence. We have not grasped Christianity until we can say to ourselves: Precisely in the domain of heat such a change is taking place in man that through it matter is being destroyed and a purely picture-existence comes forth out of the matter; but through the union of the human soul with the Christ-substance this picture-existence is made into a new reality.


The intellect will become more and more shadowy. If man does not resolve to absorb what is to descend from the spiritual world, he will pass completely over to the shadowy side of his intellect. The intellect is now only able to understand the mineral kingdom, it cannot penetrate to the human being. Plant life is a deep riddle to it, animal life is more so, human life is completely opaque. The formation of images devoid of reality will continue unless man resolves to develop imagination. If he does this the shadowy pictures will be re-animated by Spiritual Science, and become not merely human events but cosmic as well.

With pictures is meant, all that man has taken in as mineral substance on earth gets used and destroyed, so all that has taken place in earthly evolution. Man experiences this through the senses, and these astral images are then 'annihilated' or pass into nothingness.

Now the context of the Christ Impulse of the higher ether linked to the etherization of blood, with this context the 1911-03-23-GA128 can be the door-opener lecture in this matter, if we also consider this destruction of matter in the head, which is mentioned in the GA201 lecture.

It can resonate with ao the following extract from


Through the suffusion of the earth with the rays of a new force (being the first impulse for the transformation of the earth into a Sun), the possibility was afforded for mankind to be irradiated by the same force. What I described to you yesterday received then its first impetus — namely, the radiating of the Christ-force into the human etheric body.Thanks to this astral force streaming into it, the etheric body could begin to absorb new vitality such as it will need in the distant future. If you compare a future condition of humanity with the point of time at which the Deed of Golgotha was accomplished, you may conclude that at the time of Christ's coming the condition of the earth was such that it could not of itself radiate light into the etheric bodies of men. A short time after this event the etheric bodies of those who had found access to the Christ-impulse became radiant; having understood Christ, they absorbed into themselves that radiant force, that new illuminative force which has been in the earth ever since. They received into their etheric bodies the Christ-light. The Christ-light streams into the etheric bodies of men.
And now the Christ-light being always present, to some extent, in the etheric bodies of men ever since that time,

what is the consequence of this? What takes place after death in that part of the etheric body which has absorbed into itself the Christ-light? What is it that has gradually made its way into the human etheric body in consequence of the Christ-impulse?

Since that time it has become possible for something new to show itself in the etheric bodies of men, as an effect of the Christ-light; something which exhales life and is immortal, and can never fall a prey to death. But if it does not fall a prey to death (while man still continues being a victim of the illusion of death), it will be saved from death and will not participate therein. Since that time, therefore, there has been something in the etheric body of man which does not share in his death and is not subject to the earthly forces of dissolution. And that something, which does not die with the rest and which man gradually wins for himself through the influence of the Christ-impulse, now radiates back and streams into the world of space. In proportion to its strength or weakness in man, it gathers a force which streams out into space.

and here we continue into the scope of two other study Modules: Module 7 - Cosmic Impact, and Module 8 - Resurrection

In proportion to its strength or weakness in man, it gathers a force which streams out into space. This force will form a sphere surrounding the earth, a sphere in process of becoming a Sun. A kind of spiritual sphere is developing round the earth, composed of those etheric bodies endowed with light. As the Christ-light streams from the earth, there is in like manner a kind of reflection of the Christ-light in the circumference of the earth. The Christ-light which is here reflected and which appeared in consequence of Christ's life on earth; this, it is, which Christ called the ‘Holy Ghost’. True as it is that the change of the earth into a sun began with the event of Golgotha, it is equally true that the earth thenceforward began to be creative and to form a spiritual ring round itself which, in time to come, will become a kind of planet surrounding it.

Thus, since the event of Golgotha, a momentous process has been taking place in the universe. At the moment when the Cross was raised on Golgotha and the blood ran from the wounds of Christ Jesus, a new cosmic centre was created. We were there as human beings, whether in a physical body or out of it, between birth and death. Thus do new worlds arise. But one thing we must understand, that while we behold the dying Christ, we stand in the presence of the birth of a new Sun.

Christ united Himself with death which has become, on earth, the characteristic expression of the Father-Spirit. Christ goes to the Father and unites Himself with the expression of the Father — with death; thereby the image of death (as it has become) is shown in its falseness; for death now becomes the seed of a new Sun in the universe. Let us feel this event, this growing delusion of death; let us feel that the Death on the Cross is the seed from which a new Sun bursts forth, then we shall also truly feel how mankind on earth must have felt that Event to be the supremely important transition in human evolution.


Let us suppose that the Christ had not come. What would have happened in the evolution of the Earth?

From the time in which the Mystery of Golgotha would otherwise have taken place, men would have spiritually created dense forms to which they had imparted death. And these dense forms would have become the very things that had to pass over to the Jupiter stage with the Earth. Man would have imparted death to the Earth. A dead Earth would have given birth to a dead Jupiter.

It could not have been otherwise, because if the Mystery of Golgotha had not come about, man would not have been able to permeate the radiations he gives out with the essences of the Music of the Spheres and the Cosmic Life.

These essences would not have been there; they would not have flowed into the human radiations; but Christ brought them back through the Mystery of Golgotha. And when there is a fulfillment of the words, “Not I, but Christ in me”, when we bring about a relationship to Christ within ourselves, that which rays out from us and would otherwise be dead, is made living. Because we bear death within us, the living Christ has to permeate us, in order that He may give life to the spiritual Earth-being that we leave behind us. Christ the living Logos, permeates and gives life to the objective guilt and sin which detaches itself from us and is not carried further in our Karma, and because He gives it life, a living Earth will evolve into a living Jupiter. This is the outcome of the Mystery of Golgotha.


see Process of perception#1921-10-01-GA207


describes memory in various stages as it is experienced not only in life, but also those same memories of life experiences, in the process between death and a new birth where they are metamorphosed in the etheric view, the astral, and then the spirit world

It is only now, after having undergone all this, that we enter the spiritual world and are really able to live there. Our faculty of memory now undergoes its fourth metamorphosis.

We feel that everywhere behind the ordinary memory of earthly life something has been living in us, though we were not aware of it. It has engraved itself into the world and now we, ourselves, become it.

We have received our earthly life in its spiritual significance; we now become this significance.

After travelling back through birth to the spiritual world we find ourselves confronting it in a very peculiar way. In a sense, we ourselves in our spiritual counterpart — in our true spiritual worth — now confront the world. We have passed through the above experiences, have experienced the pain caused to another, have experienced the spiritual value corresponding to an experience with a tree, let us say; we have experienced all this, but it was not self-experience. We might compare this with the embryonic stage of human life; for then — and even throughout the first years of life — all we experience does not yet reach the level of self-consciousness, which only awakens gradually.

Thus, when we enter the spiritual world, all we have experienced backwards gradually becomes ourself, our spiritual self-consciousness. We are now what we have experienced; we are our own spiritual worth corresponding thereto.

With this existence, that really represents the other side of our earthly existence, we enter the world that contains nothing of the ordinary kingdoms of external nature - mineral, plant and animal kingdoms - for these belong to the Earth. But in that world there immediately come before us, first, the souls of those who have died before us and to whom we stood in some kind of relationship, and then the individualities of higher spiritual beings. We live as spirit among human and non-human spirits, and this environment of spiritual individualities is now our world. The relationship of these spiritual individualities, human or non-human, to ourselves now constitutes our experience. As on Earth we have our experience with the beings of the external kingdoms of nature, so now, with spiritual beings of different ranks. And it is especially important that we have felt their sympathies and antipathies like spiritual rain (to use yesterday's metaphor) permeating these experiences during the retrospective part of the life between death and birth that I have described to you schematically.

We now stand face to face with these beings of whom we previously perceived only their sympathies and antipathies while we were living through the spiritual counterpart of our earthly life: we live among these beings now that we have reached the spiritual world. We gradually feel as if inwardly permeated with force, with impulses proceeding from the spiritual beings around us. All that we have previously experienced now becomes more and more real to us, in a spiritual way. We gradually feel as if standing in the light or shadow of these beings in whom we are beginning to live. Before, through living through the spiritual worth corresponding to some earthly experience, we felt this or that about it, found it valuable or harmful to the cosmos. We now feel: There is something I have done on earth, in thought or deed; it has its corresponding spiritual worth, and this is engraved into the spiritual cosmos. The beings whom I now encounter can either do something with it, or not; it either lies in the direction of their evolution or of the evolution for which they are striving, or it does not. We feel ourselves placed before the beings of the spiritual world and realise that we have acted in accordance with their intentions or against them, have either added to, or subtracted from, what they willed for the evolution of the world.

Above all, it is no mere ideal judgment of ourselves that we feel, but a real evaluation; and this evaluation is itself the reality of our existence when we enter the spiritual world after death.

When you have done something wrong as a Man in the physical world, you condemn it yourself if you have sufficient conscience and reason; or it is condemned by the law, or by the judge, or by other men who despise you for it. But you do not grow thin on this account — at least, not very thin, unless you are quite specially constituted. On entering the world of spiritual beings, however, we do not merely meet the ideal judgment that we are of little worth in respect of any fault or disgraceful deed we have committed; we feel the gaze of these beings resting upon us as if it would annihilate our very being. In respect of all we have done that is valuable, the gaze of these beings falls upon us as if we first attained thereby our full reality as psycho-spiritual beings. Our reality depends upon our value. Should we have hindered the evolution that was intended in the spiritual world, it is as if darkness were robbing us of our very existence. If we have done something in accordance with the evolution of the spiritual world, and its effects continue, it is as if light were calling us to fresh spiritual life. We experience all I have described and enter the realm of spiritual beings. This enhances our consciousness in the spiritual world and keeps us awake. Through all the demands made upon us there, we realise that we have won something in the universe in regard to our own reality.

Suppose we have done something that hinders the evolution of the world and can only arouse the antipathy of the spiritual beings whose realm we now enter. The after-effect takes its course as I have described and we feel our consciousness darken; stupefaction ensues, sometimes complete extinction of consciousness. We must now wake up again. On doing so, we feel in regard to our spiritual existence as if someone were cutting into our flesh in the physical world; only, this experience in the spiritual is much more real — though it is real enough in the physical world. In short, what we are in the spiritual world proves to be the result of what we ourselves have initiated. You see from this that man has sufficient inducement to return again to earthly life.

Why to return? Well, through what he has engraved into the spiritual world man has himself experienced all he has done for good or ill in earthly life; and it is only by returning to earth that he can actually compensate for what, after all, he has only learnt to know through earthly experience. In fact, when he reads his value for the world in the countenances of these spiritual beings — to put it metaphorically — he is sufficiently impelled to return, when able, to the physical world, in order to live his life in a different way from before. Many incapacities for this he will still retain, and only after many lives on earth will full compensation really be possible.

If we look into ourselves during earthly life, we find, at first, memories. It is of these that, to begin with, we build our soul-life when we shut out the external world; and it is upon these alone that the creative imagination of the artist draws. That is the first form of memory. Behind it are the mighty ‘pictures’ which become perceptible immediately after we have passed through the gate of death. These are taken from us: they expand to the wide spaces of the universe. When we survey our memory-pictures we can say that there lives behind them something that at once proceeds towards the cosmic spaces when our body is taken from us. Through our body we hold together what is really seeking to become ‘ideal’ in the universe. But while we go through life and retain memories of our experiences, we leave behind in the world something still further behind our memories. We leave it behind us in the course of time and must experience it again as we retrace our steps. This lies behind our memory as a third ‘structure’. First, we have the tapestry of memory; behind it, the mighty cosmic pictures we have ‘rolled up’ within us; behind this, again, lives what we have written into the world. Not until we have lived through this are we really ourselves, standing naked in spirit before the spiritual universe which clothes us in its garments when we enter it.

We must, indeed, look at our memories if we want to get gradually beyond the transient life of Man. Our earthly memories are transient and become dispersed through the universe. But our Self lives behind them: the Self that is given us again from out of the spiritual world that we may find our way from time to eternity.


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