Influence of deceased souls

From Anthroposophy

Aspects

  • influence of souls of important Individualities
    • things that happen on Earth work powerfully into the spiritual world
      • case example of Lord Bacon of Verulam (KRID06 - Individuality of Haroun al Raschid): demonic idols
        • after Bacon's death, because of the particular mode of thinking he had adopted in his incarnation as Bacon (and a morbid elimination of old spirituality) a whole world of 'demonic idols' went forth from his etheric body, and spread themselves out in the spiritual world .. his soul worked so shatteringly into the spiritual world that it was flooded by a whole host of idols. The materialistic form of educational science inaugurated by Amos Comenius provided the cosmic atmosphere for the idols of Bacon. ... [they were countered in a fight with the stream of Alexander, and] .. those demonic idols which it had not been possible to overcome, and which had escaped from the fight, descended to Earth and became the inspiring forces of the materialism of the 19th century with its many consequences. These forces are the inspirers of the materialism of the 19th century. (1924-08-27-GA240, 1924-09-16-GA238)
    • in the Middle Ages, there was an awareness of the living multitudes of the dead who lived on as shadows. People spoke of the living dead as if they were real personalities, they atavistically saw the dead living above them and directed their sight to certain important souls. From the fourth to the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries there lived in Europe the idea that people who had died, if they had accomplished important deeds in life, arranged their afterlife so as to enable themselves to be seen with something like a reflected image of the Christ event.
      • case example of Charlemagne (1922-07-23-GA214)
    • Christian Morgenstern (lived 1871 to 31/03/1914) (1914-05-09-GA154 and 1914-05-10-GA154)
      • .. during his long illness formed for himself a world of cosmic imaginations .. and as he then passed through the gate of death, his imaginations began to shine out in wondrous beauty so that in the spiritual world they can be perceived as a wonderful spiritual work of art, as if created out of the cosmos .. and for those who are able to see the spiritual worlds in other ways they provide a far richer gain in spiritual knowledge than can be acquired by direct spiritual observation; as in a work of art one sees the world as another soul sees it, side by side with what one sees oneself.
  • western brotherhoods: chaining materialistic souls to use them as an army of discarnate souls (1917-11-18-GA178, 1917-11-25-GA178, described further in 1917-11-29-GA182) - see Contemporary worldview war
    • the influence of the dead is used as a way to influence earthly matters and build power, without the masses even being conscious of this
    • hence there are strong agendas to push for materialism as very materialistic souls remain 'chained to the earth' and can be used for egoistic purposes
  • across generations and waves - see Impulses from waves of reincarnating souls
    • powerful impulses from the dead souls of the men of the last third of the 19th century, influencing the first decades of the 20th century - also in political events: "Never were the dead so powerful as are the dead of the last third of the 19th century. Their shadow-forces are to be seen at work in everything. (1924-07-04-GA237)
  • specific contexts
    • connection between children and their deceased parents and how children can be quite different before and after death of parents (1912-05-23-GA155), for example father of Raphael and painting (also 1913-04-23)
    • Order of the Swan and Guardians of the Holy Grail (1922-07-23-GA214)
      • specially chosen living dead were designated as 'Guardians of the Holy Grail', Swans' were physical human beings on Earth who dedicated themselves to act as vehicles for the outer working of these living dead.

Inspirational quotes

1917-12-10-GA179

The deeds of the dead are interwoven with the impulses of feeling and will of the so-called living. And this is real history.

1922-07-23-GA214 (SWCC)

For merely intellectual human beings the difference between this physical world and the spiritual world is such that an abyss exists between the two. This difference did not exist in the first centuries of the Middle Ages. The dead remained with the living.

...

To those who lived in those times it .. appeared laughable for men on the earth to consider themselves more real than the living dead.

We must feel our way into the souls of that time, and this is simply how those souls felt. Their consciousness of this connection with the spiritual world meant much for the world, and much for their souls.

They would have said to themselves: To begin with, the people here on the Earth consist of nothing more than what they are, right now, directly here. But a human being of the present will only become something proper and good if he takes into himself what one of the living dead can give him.

Illustrations

Lecture coverage and references

1912-05-23-GA155

quote A

Whoever pays attention to the capabilities of children can notice the individual element in every child, but such experiences can only be made by those who educate children.

Now if one of the parents of a child dies while the child is still young and the other parent is still living, the following may be noticed:

Certain inclinations will show themselves in the child which were not there before and which consequently cannot be explained.

But one who has charge of children has to occupy himself with these things. Such a one would do well if he said: “People generally look upon what is in anthroposophical books as mere folly: I will not take this for granted, but will try whether it is right or not.” Then he will soon be able to say “I find forces at work which were already there and again there are other forces playing into those which were already there.”

Let us suppose that the father has passed through the gates of death and there now appears in the child, with some strength, certain qualities which had belonged to the father. If this assumption is made and if the matter is looked upon in this way, the knowledge which comes to us through anthroposophy is applied to life in a sensible way, and then, as is soon discovered, we find our way in life, whereas before we did not. Thus the person who has gone through the gateway of death, remains united, through his forces, with those with whom he was connected in life.

People do not observe things closely enough, otherwise they would see more often that children are quite different before the death of their parents from what they are afterwards. At present there is not enough regard for these things, but the time is coming when they will receive attention.

quote B

Occult research comes in here again, not merely to put forth theories, but to tell us how things actually are in life. How do people write biographies of Raphael today? Even the best are so written that they simply state that Raphael was born on Good Friday of the year 1483. It is not for nothing that Raphael was born on a Good Friday. This birth already proclaimed his exceptional position in Christianity and shows that in the deepest and most significant way he was connected with the Christian Mysteries. It was on a Good Friday that Raphael was born. His father was Giovanni Santi. He died when Raphael was eleven years old. At the age of eight years his father sent him as a pupil to a painter, who was, however, not of any special eminence. But if one realises what was in Giovanni Santi, Raphael’s father, one gets a peculiar impression which is further strengthened when the matter is investigated in the Akashic Records. There it appears that there lived in the soul of Giovanni Santi much more than could be expressed in his personality and then we can agree with the duchess, who at his death said: “A man full of light and truth and fervent faith has died.” As occultist, one can say that in him there lived a much greater painter than appeared outwardly. The outer faculties, which depend on the physical and etheric organs, were not developed in Giovanni Santi. That was the original cause why he could not bring the capacities of his soul to full expression; but really a great painter lived in him.

Giovanni Santi died when Raphael was eleven years old. If we now follow what takes place, we see that man certainly loses his body, but that the longings, the aspirations, the impulses of his soul continue to exist, and continue to be active where they are most closely connected.

...

Giovanni Santi, the father, died when Raphael was eleven years old; he had not been able to attain great perfection as a painter, but powerful imagination was left to him and this was then developed in the soul of Raphael. We do not depreciate Raphael, if, while observing his soul, we say: Giovanni Santi lives on in Raphael, who appears to us as a completed personality, as one incapable of higher attainment because a dead man gives life to his work.

We now realise that in the soul of Raphael are reborn the vigorous forces of John the Baptist and in addition, there live in his soul the forces of Giovanni Santi; that together these two were able to bring to fruition the result which confronts us as Raphael.

It is true that today we cannot yet speak publicly of such extraordinary things, but in fifty years’ time this may be possible, because evolution is progressing quickly, and the opinions held today are rapidly approaching their decline. Whoever accepts such things, sees that in anthroposophy our task is to regard life everywhere from a new point of view. Just as in the future people will heal in the way to which I have referred, so they will reflect on the strange miracle of life wherein men attract to their assistance, from the spiritual world, the achievements of those who have passed through the gates of death.

1913-04-23-GAXXX

It must seem strange that Raphael was the same person as a thorny character like John the Baptist. How could it happen that this thorny man, who had to pave the way for the Mystery of Golgotha in such a violent way, reappeared as the gentle, pliable, charming Raphael? But look at this. Raphael’s father, Giovanni Santi, died when Raphael was eleven. He was a painter. He was not a great painter so far as external achievements go, but he had great ideas in his head, although he could not put them on canvas because he had no technical skill. He was also a poet. There was a great deal of fantasy in him, but the physical capacities simply were not there. He went early through the portal of death, and then his forces worked into his son. In Raphael’s hands and imagination worked all that his father could send into the physical world. One can say that the old Giovanni Santi was a painter without hands in the supersensible world, for in a wonderful karmic relationship he supplied, in combination with the Christ-filled individuality of the Baptist, what came to expression in Raphael. The supersensible world had to work with the physical world to achieve this result. It shows how the so-called dead are able to influence those who have been left behind.

1914-05-10-GA154

synopsis:

The dead perceive the living according to the measure of force received from higher hierarchies. We on Earth can thus be helped by the dead to be good. They do not give us faculties, but the fact of our knowledge of their presence is a help. The Mystery Plays. We are also helped unconsciously.

quote A

Let us imagine that some sort of climatic change were to corrupt the whole ground of the earth, so that nothing good for food could grow on it; we should then discover how important the earth's mineral and plant kingdoms are for man. If the earth were to decay under our feet, we should realize how much we need the lower kingdoms of earth, that human life may be sustained. What the ground and fruits are for our physical life ; that we are, as living beings with the activities of our souls, for those who have passed through the gates of death. It is a fact that the dead living in their sphere have need of a ground from which they may gather fruits.

The following illustration will give an idea of this: Let us think of a crowd of people asleep, all filled with conceptions belonging to earthly life alone, materialistic ideas. This ground which they form for the dead, is just as sterile for them as waste, corrupt ground would be to us. The dead feel this as a region in which they starve.

Every spiritual conception which we take into our soul and carry into sleep helps, while we sleep, to create part of the ground needed by the dead, even as the mineral and plant kingdoms are needed by us. In a certain sense souls filled with spiritual ideas during sleep, form the fruitful spiritual basis for the nourishing of the dead; and we take away the nutriment which the dead need and which must be gathered on our Earth, if we allow our souls to become desolate, i.e., empty of spiritual ideas and conceptions.

Here we see still more clearly the importance of cosmic spiritual knowledge, and its fruitfulness for the spiritual world itself.

Just as our sleeping souls provide the ground from which the dead draw their sustenance, so, if we knowingly cause spiritual concepts to pass through our souls, that helps the dead in their power of perception.

[reading to the dead]

For this reason I have advised those who have been bereaved to read to their dead. If we call them to mind, and read in thought something from spiritual science, or cause any other spiritual thoughts quietly to pass through our souls, our dead will perceive these. They observe them and are nourished by the unconscious after-effects of the spiritual ideas. Their own consciousness is refreshed or revived by means of what has been read to them. Here again we see constant intercourse between the physical and spiritual worlds. It may easily be suggested that the dead are in the spiritual world and that this method of reading can be of no use to them. Yes! They are in the spiritual world, but the concepts of spiritual science have to be formed on Earth, and nowhere can they be conceived except in the minds of men on Earth: the dead are indeed in a spiritual world and precisely there can these conceptions reach them and sustain them, and we enhance their consciousness if from Earth we send these to them.

As the most intimate connections exist between the dead and those amongst whom they have lived, the best persons to read to them are those who were friends and helpers before they died, or who have been closely related to them.

If you cultivate such thoughts about the connections of the physical with the spiritual world, you will actually experience a new disposition, which truly in the greatest sense of the word must be called the religious disposition of the future. From such spiritual-scientific studies as have just been given, a disposition will be developed which in the highest sense deserves to be called religious, for he who thus acknowledges the spiritual world will build upon the foundations of the Divine Wisdom streaming through the Cosmos.

It is tremendously important that we should acquire this feeling of the ruling Wisdom in the Cosmos and that we should fill ourselves with it. When humanity is permeated by this feeling, it will, with a deep genuine confidence in the wise ruling Wisdom of the Universe, accept its destiny and all the strokes of destiny which are so hard to bear. When we observe the spiritual worlds in which the dead live, we can often see how much easier it is for the dead when the friends they left behind on Earth are permeated with this ruling Wisdom of the Universe. Weeping over the dead is, of course, quite natural; but if we cannot put an end to our weeping it looks as though we doubted the ruling Wisdom of the Universe; and he who can look into spiritual worlds knows, that those who long for their dead to be here and not in the spiritual world, are doing the greatest harm to them.

We very much help the dead in their life after death if we accept our destiny, and think of the dead as having been taken from us at the right moment by a good ruling Wisdom, because they were needed for other spheres of existence beyond Earth.

In the future much will depend on people helping more (not less) in all that touches the sorrows of humanity, having a clear knowledge that destiny is ever at work, and that if through Karma even death has befallen those who belong to them, this had to be. This must not prevent us, as long as a person is living, from doing all that is possible to help him when he is ill if he is amenable to treatment, but as human beings, we may not presume to go beyond what is allotted to us as such. We must be sure that the ruling Wisdom of the Universe is wiser than we are. This is all commonplace and trivial, but it is too little spoken of today.

Great happiness would come to both the living and dead, if this knowledge were more generally circulated; if it could enter as a conviction into men's souls, if they could think of the dead as living, as having experienced a transformation of life, and not think of them as having been taken from them.

quote B - example of member

For the bringing of spiritual ideas, feelings and convictions into physical earth-life is of great importance. Let me now add some examples to what I have told you to-day. Examples will show us clearly the truth of what I have been saying.

A person well-known to some of the members of our Society died before attaining middle age. If a person dies early in life, about the beginning of the thirties, it is often asked: What is the meaning of this? Why should a person be cut off from earth life in the first third of his physical life on Earth? When we traced this person back, to describe what she was as an individual, we came to an earlier incarnation about the third or fourth century after Christ, in which she had acquired certain forces, of which we may say that, civilization being as it was at that time, these and similar soul-capacities did not really belong to that period. The time had not arrived when the talents then acquired by the soul of this individual could be used. She was born again in a new life, became one of our members and died before the first half of her life, the ascending part, had been completed. In this case we could immediately see, on studying the whole connection of the physical with the spiritual, that this person was one of the most important and significant workers with us in all our cosmic work.

Materialism is rampant in our times, it puts its stamp on earth-life more than we realize. In our day particularly, materialism is so strong that those beings of the higher Hierarchies whose task it is to carry on the progress of Cosmic evolution actually cannot rescue all the souls who have to-day become materialistic. These must not be left behind, they must be saved; yet their salvation can only be accomplished by the death of certain souls at an early age, who take with them into the spiritual world the forces which would otherwise have been used in the course of their earth-life, and which they then transmute so that they may help the beings of the higher Hierarchies who are working for the redemption of the materialistically-minded souls. Persons who have thus died early in life, are a wonderful help to the higher beings.

Now in the case of the soul to which I am referring, something special resulted. She brought with her into her latest incarnation the powers which could not be fully used in her earlier life, poured them as it were into her body, which became weak and ill because of the penetration of these forces. The soul was too powerful for the body; it really contained very great powers. This person died at the above mentioned early age, and, with the forces which instead of being weakened by age remained at their youthful strength, she passed through the gates of death into the spiritual world, still possessing the fund of strength which would have served a long life in that incarnation, and filled to overflowing with earthly force would have so poured itself into the body, as to bring the same into relationship with the external world. Instead she was able to take up spiritual ideas enthusiastically and thus to bring a great supply into the spiritual world. When we trace this individual, who was dear to a large number of our friends, we may learn a great deal from her.

What we see in her is, that at a definite time (in this case about the third or fourth Century A.D.) certain forces appeared on the path of human evolution which could not be brought to fulfillment then, and that the work to be done through these forces must be taken up later — we have to look back to what belongs to an earlier period and is preserved by certain individuals for a later life. Now when we look for this individual during her life after death we observe direct results — we see that the powers which have lain dormant for a time, reserved for a coming period, now burst forth and are preparing for humanity's future. Thus we see how a later life must be linked with an earlier one, when talking of human evolution. We could not know certain things, of which it may be said that what had existed in the third and fourth epochs had to be revived in the fifth post Atlantean times, unless we could see into the spiritual worlds and say: ‘There we see an individuality who, by means of a short life on Earth, acquired faculties which shine forth like a revival of something that has been lost to human life.’ A great inflow of strength comes to the spiritual investigator on observing such individuals in their life after death.

If the time of physical life on earth were ever so bad, if ever so many enemies were to arise against Spiritual Science, and if danger threatened on all sides, it would certainly be a sad and desperate outlook; but there is one thing which may always be a comfort for the future of anthroposophy, that is, that in those who have died, in such a way as the person above mentioned, we have the best helpers for our Earth, the most powerful fellow-workers. This is a case in which a short life on earth served for the gathering of strength with which to take possession of certain fruitful forces requisite for a later period on the path of human evolution. The wise ruling cosmic powers far surpass in Wisdom all that we, with our merely earthly wisdom, can comprehend.

Naturally such fruits of a shortened earth-life can only result when life is shortened in a purely natural way. In anthroposophical circles it should not be necessary to mention that such results do not occur in cases of suicides, and would be quite impossible.

quote C - on Christian Morgenstern

.. I shall give you another concrete example in reference to a member who has not long since passed from our midst, who had a very long illness, which was connected in a remarkable way with his condition of soul, a lively intellectual person, a renowned poet in his earth life and as we can clearly see, a much more important individual than we had deemed while observing his life on Earth. After a life lived in sickness of body and long years of suffering, how strangely the fruits of his suffering on Earth, after a relatively short period, reveal themselves in the spiritual world; though only in their beginning. That I may make you understand what I want to say, I should like to lead up to the right concept by means of a comparison.

With deep feeling we can admire nature — a scene in nature or a group of people-but we do not on that account lose anything when a clever artist comes along and depicts the scene as his own soul sees it. We then find in the picture created by the artist something which he has placed alongside nature. We know that we have gained by having looked at Nature through another's soul as well, if we can observe nature side by side with it.

Why do I say this? To make use of an illustration: we can go into the spiritual world, we can observe things there; yet it is of great importance to observe something else besides.

The person to whom I am referring, who died after a life of much suffering on Earth, had during his long illness formed for himself a world of cosmic imaginations, as it were lifting them up out of a sick body gradually approaching death. In the measure in which the body became more sick and incapacitated, there arose from it this world of cosmic imaginations. That person then passed through the gates of death, and his imaginations are beginning to shine out in wondrous beauty so that in the spiritual world they can be perceived as a wonderful spiritual work of art, as if created out of the cosmos. They had their origin in the sick body, and were carried from the sick body into the spiritual world; and for those who are able to see the spiritual worlds in other ways they provide a far richer gain in spiritual knowledge than can be acquired by direct spiritual observation; as in a work of art one sees the world as another soul sees it, side by side with what one sees oneself.

The above-mentioned person absorbed spiritual conceptions with great devotion, and was even able to put into his poems much of that which comes to the human soul when it grasps the Mystery of Golgotha in a truly anthroposophical way, when we allow ourselves to be permeated with the thought of the Christ whom we have learnt to know through anthroposophy. For we then so recognize Him in our nature, that we really live according to the Pauline saying ‘Not I, but Christ in me contemplates the universe.’

These truly Rosicrucian Christian thoughts flowed into the later poems of this personality. While his conscious earth-life was occupied with such poetry and creating these poems, his subconscious powers were molding this world of cosmic imaginations which really consumed the body by the strength of their inner life, but which so worked that to this person in the spiritual world is probably allotted a task about which I will not speak further now.

In any case it must be said that behind this conscious life lies another which passes through the gates of death and so manifests that we know it had already been prepared during Earth-life through the disposition which is the result of spiritual science, and which has turned into beautiful tableaux of cosmic imaginations which radiate toward the exploring spiritual investigator, and explain much that perhaps would not otherwise have been so easy to discover, but which will continue to work in the tasks which will be allotted to such an individual.

1916-11-09-GA168

On the Connection of the Living and the Dead, or How the dead influence the living

1917-12-10-GA179

sketches the context of the influence of the deceased on the world happenings

see History#1917-12-10-GA179

1922-07-23-GA214

This feeling, that the dead are here, was present, was incredibly strong, in the time that followed the fourth century, when the northern culture mixed with the Roman. You see, the northern peoples took Christ into this way of perceiving. They looked first at this world of the dead, who were actually the truly living. They saw hovering above them entire populations of the dead, and they beheld these dead as being actually more alive than themselves. They did not seek Christ here on the earth among people walking in the physical world; they sought Christ there where these living dead were. There they sought him as one who is really present above the earth.

  • And you will only get the proper feeling concerning the Heliand, which was supposedly written by a Saxon priest, if you develop these ways of perceiving. The descriptions in the Heliand follow these old German customs. You will understand the Heliand's concrete description of Christ among living human beings only if you understand that actually the scenes are to be transplanted half into the kingdom of shadows where the living dead are dwelling. You will understand much more, if you truly grasp this predisposition, this ability, which came about through the mixing of the northern with the Roman peoples.

There is something recorded in literary history to which people should actually give a great deal of thought. However, people of the present age have almost entirely given up the ability to think about such clearly startling phenomena found in the life of humanity. But pursuing literary history, you will find, for example, writings in which Charlemagne (lived 742–814) is mentioned as a leader in the Crusades. Charlemagne is simply listed as a leader in the Crusades. Indeed, you will find Charlemagne described as a living person again and again throughout the entire time that followed the ninth century. People everywhere called upon him. He is described as if he were there. And when the crusades began, centuries after his death, poems were written describing Charlemagne as if he were with the crusaders marching against the infidels.

We only understand such writings properly if we know that in the so-called dark centuries of the Middle Ages, the true history of which is entirely obliterated, there was this awareness of the living multitudes of the dead, who lived on as shadows. It was only later that Charlemagne was placed in the Untersberg. Much later, when the spirit of intellectualism had grown strong enough for this life in the shadows to have ceased, then Charlemagne was transplanted into the Untersberg (and, as another example, Frederick Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor, into Kyffhaeuserberg). Until that time people knew that Charlemagne was still living among them.

But wherein did these people, who atavistically saw the dead living above them, wherein did these people seek their Christianity, their Christology, their Christian way of seeing?

They sought it in this way: they directed their sight toward what results when a living dead person like Charlemagne, who was revered in life, came before their souls with all those who were still his followers. And so through long ages Charlemagne was seen undertaking the first crusade against the infidels in Spain.

[editor: crusades started in the 11th century, 1095 onwards. See here and also here.]

But he was seen in such a way that the entire crusade was actually transplanted into the shadow world. The people of that time saw this crusade in the shadow world after it had been undertaken on the physical plane; they let it continue working in the shadow world — as an image of the Christ who works in the world. Therefore, Christ was described riding south toward Spain among the twelve paladins, one of whom was a Judas who eventually betrayed the entire endeavor. So we see how clairvoyant perception was directed toward the outside of the spiritual world — not, as in earlier times, toward the inside — but rather now toward the outside, toward that which results when one looks at the spirits from the outside just as one looked at them earlier from the inside. Now, the splendor of the Christ event was reflected onto all the most important things that took place in the world of shadows.

From the fourth to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries there lived in Europe the idea that people who had died, if they had accomplished important deeds in life, arranged their afterlife so as to enable themselves to be seen with something like a reflected splendor, an image, of the Christ event. One saw everywhere the continuation of the Christ event — if I may express myself so — as shadows in the air. If people had spoken of the things they felt, they would have said: Above us the Christ stream still hovers; Charlemagne undertook to place himself in this Christ stream and with his paladins he created an image of Christ with the twelve apostles; the deeds of Christ were continued by Charlemagne in the true spiritual world.

This was how people thought of these things in the so-called dark time of the Middle Ages. There was the spiritual world, seen from without, I would like to say, as if imaged after the sense world, like a shadow picture of the sense world (whereas in the earlier times, of which the old theology was only a weak reflection, the spiritual world was seen from within). For merely intellectual human beings the difference between this physical world and the spiritual world is such that an abyss exists between the two. This difference did not exist in the first centuries of the Middle Ages, in the so-called Dark Ages. The dead remained with the living. During the first period after their death, after they had been born into the spiritual world, especially outstanding and revered personalities underwent a novitiate to become saints.

For the people of those times to speak of these living dead as if they were real personalities after they had been born into the spiritual world — this was not unusual.

[Guardians of the Holy Grail and Order of the Swan]

And you see, a number of these living dead, especially chosen ones, were called to become guardians of the Holy Grail. Specially chosen living dead were designated as guardians of the Holy Grail. And the Grail legend could never be completely understood without the knowledge of who these guardians of the Grail actually were.

To say: “Then the guardians of the Grail weren't real people” would have seemed laughable to the people of that time. For they would have said: Do you who are only shadow figures walking on the Earth really believe that you are more real than those who have died and now are gathered around the Grail? To those who lived in those times it would have appeared laughable for the little figures here on the earth to consider themselves more real than the living dead. We must feel our way into the souls of that time, and this is simply how those souls felt. Their consciousness of this connection with the spiritual world meant much for the world, and much for their souls. They would have said to themselves: To begin with, the people here on the earth consist of nothing more than what they are, right now, directly here. But a human being of the present will only become something proper and good if he takes into himself what one of the living dead can give him.

In a certain sense, physical human beings on the Earth were seen as though they were merely vehicles for the outer working of the living dead.

  • It was a peculiarity of those centuries that one said: If the living dead want to accomplish something here on earth, for which hands are needed, then they enter into a physically incarnated human being and do it through him.
  • Not only that, but there were, furthermore, people in those times who said to themselves: One can do no better than to provide a vehicle for human beings who were revered while living on the earth and who have now become beings of such importance in the realm of the living dead that it is granted to them to guard the Holy Grail. And the view existed among the people of those times that individuals could dedicate themselves to the Order of the Swan. Those people dedicated themselves to the Order of the Swan who wanted the knights of the Grail to be able to work through them here in the physical world. A human being through whom a knight of the Grail was working here in the physical world was called a Swan.

1924-07-04-GA237

It shows .. how powerfully the impulses of the past work upon the men of the present time, how contented they feel under these influences. It is due to the fact that the 19th century is working still so strongly into the 20th. Future historians — who will write their descriptions spiritually, as we write ours today by reference to outer documents, future historians will have to describe this feature above all, and they may well express it in some such words as these: ‘Look at the first three decades of the 20th century. Nearly everything appears as though it were being done by the shades, the images of deeds of men of the end of the 19th century.’

At this point I may perhaps say a word that is truly not intended in any political sense. Politics must be eliminated altogether from our Society. May I say this word, my dear friends, simply as a characterisation of the facts:

We can look back on the stupendous, revolutionising actions — or rather, happenings, I should have said, for they were not really active deeds, — which took place notably in the second decade of the 20th century. It has been said so often that it has become a truism. Since time has been, since men have written history, such world-shaking events have not happened. But are not men standing in the midst of them as though they were not there at all? We see it everywhere, — it is as though the revolutionising events were taking place outside the human beings, and the latter had no part in them at all. Almost every man we meet today, we would fain ask of him: ‘Did you really live through the second decade of this century?’ And how much more do we feel it when we look at it from a somewhat different point of view! How helpless, how infinitely helpless do the human beings seem today — helpless in judgment, helpless in action. Never were there such difficulties as there are today in filling the ministerial benches — the Cabinets! Consider only how curious this is, how helpless men are in the midst of the events.

At long last we are impelled to raise the question, who then is doing anything? Who is playing an active part?

My dear friends, more than any of the men of the present time, it is the men of the last third of the 19th century! Their shadow-forces are to be seen at work in everything.

This is the very secret of our time. Never were the Dead so powerful as are the Dead of the last third of the 19th century. This too is a world-aspect of realities.

When we enter into the spiritual content of these things in a single instance, we often come to strange conclusions. I recently had to consider whether I would alter this or that in the new edition of my books, written in the 70's, 80's and 90's of last century. The pedants of today declare: Everything has altered, the scientific theories and hypotheses of that time are out-of-date and long ago discarded. But when we look at it from a standpoint of reality, we can alter nothing at all! For in reality, behind everyone who writes a book today, or lectures from a professional chair, there stands the shade, the shadow-picture of another. There they still are, — the Du Bois Reymonds, the Helmholtzes, the Haeckels, — all those who were the spokesmen of that time, (in medicine the Obholzers, the Billroths and the rest) — they are still speaking.

Here we are lifting a corner of the veil, a secret of the present time.

Initiate science says in all truth: ‘Never were the Dead so mighty as in our age!’

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Meanwhile, on Earth, the last bout of the struggle was taking place. Haroun al Raschid had incarnated again as Lord Bacon of Verulam and in this new incarnation had set the impulse of materialism on foot. The universality in the teachings of Bacon, but also his materialism, came from his incarnation as Haroun al Raschid. Bacon was the reincarnated Haroun al Raschid. The Counsellor, who had taken the other path, incarnated in the same epoch, as Amos Comenius.

And so while Christianity illumined by Aristotelian and Alexandrian thought was going through its most important phase of development in the super-sensible worlds during the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th centuries — during this very same period we find materialism being established on Earth in the minds of men, established in science by Bacon, the reincarnated Haroun al Raschid, and in the realm of education by Amos Comenius, the reincarnated Counsellor of Haroun al Raschid. The two souls worked together.

When Amos Comenius and Bacon had once again passed through the gate of death, a remarkable thing came to pass in the spiritual world. After Bacon had passed through the gate of death, it happened that because of the particular mode of thinking he had adopted in his incarnation as Bacon, a whole world of “idols,” demonic idols, went forth from his etheric body, and spread themselves out in the spiritual world which was peopled by those who were the pupils of Michael.

As I have shown in my first Mystery Play, things that happen on Earth work powerfully into the spiritual world.

Bacon's mode of thinking on the Earth worked so shatteringly into the spiritual world that it was flooded by a whole host of “idols.”

And the materialistic form of educational science inaugurated by Amos Comenius provided the sphere, the cosmic atmosphere, as it were, for the idols of Bacon. Bacon provided the idols; and just as we human beings have around us the mineral and plant kingdoms, so these idols of Bacon were surrounded by other kingdoms which were necessary to their existence. And these were provided by what Amos Comenius had instituted on Earth.

The individualities who had once lived on the earth as Alexander and Aristotle set themselves to fight these demonic idols. And the conflict continued until the time when the French Revolution broke out on the Earth.

The demonic idols which it had not been possible to overcome, which had - as it were - escaped from the fight, descended to Earth and became the inspiring forces of the materialism of the 19th century with its many consequences. These forces are the inspirers of the materialism of the 19th century.

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I have already spoken, here at Dornach too, of Lord Bacon of Verulam as the reincarnated Haroun al Raschid. We know how intense and determining an influence Bacon's conceptions had on the whole succeeding evolution of the spiritual life, notably in its finer impulses and movements. Now the remarkable thing is this, that in Lord Bacon himself something took place which we may describe as a morbid elimination of old spirituality. For such spirituality he had after all possessed when he was Haroun al Raschid.

And thus we see, proceeding from the impulse of Lord Bacon, a whole world of daemonic beings. The world was literally filled supersensibly and sensibly with daemonic beings. (When I say “sensibly” I meant not, of course, visibly, but within the world of sense.)

Now it chiefly fell to the individuality of Alexander to wage war against these daemonic idols of Lord Bacon, Francis Bacon of Verulam. And similar activities, exceedingly important ones, were taking place on Earth below. For otherwise the materialism of the 19th century would have broken in upon the world in a far more devastating way even than it did.

Similar activities, taking place in the spiritual and in the physical world together, were allotted to the stream of Michael, until at length at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century there took place in super-sensible regions what I have already described as the enactment of a great and sublime super-sensible ritual and ceremony.

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