From Anthroposophy


Lecture coverage and references

Vreede page 297


The sign of this stage of development, when one culture is ending and another is beginning, is the vortex. There are such vortices everywhere in nature; in star nebulae as, for example, the Orion nebula. There too, one world is falling into ruin and a new one is coming forth


This spiral we find in the Orion nebula as well as in the form of living beings. Human and animal embryos have a spiral form in the early stages of their development. One part is a picture of the physical; the other part, which spirals around and into the first, is the astral. The start of a new stage in human history is also symbolized by the sign of two spirals joined together - this is the zodiacal sign of Cancer. When the ancient Indian subrace originated after the submergence of ancient Atlantis, the Sun rose on the first day of spring in the zodiacal sign of Cancer. When we learn to read the esoteric script, we learn to orient ourselves in the astral world.


One really has to speak in paradoxes if thoughts that result quite naturally from spiritual research are to be carried to their logical conclusion. No one who thinks in line with modern natural science believes that a light shining at a given point in space will appear equally bright at a distance. The physicist computes the decrease in the strength of light by the square of the distance, and he calculates gravity in the same way. Regarding these physical entities, he knows that the validity of what is true on the earth's surface diminishes as we pass out into the surrounding cosmos. But he refuses to apply this principle to his thinking. Yet in this respect thinking differs in no way from anything we can learn about earth matters in the laboratories, in the operating rooms — from anything on earth, right down to twice two is four. If gravity diminishes by the square of the distance, why should not the validity of the system of nature laws diminish in a similar ratio and eventually, beyond a certain distance, cease altogether? That is where spiritual science penetrates. It points out that when the Nebula of Orion or the Canes Nebula is to be the subject of research, the same course is followed as though, with tellurian concepts, Venus, for example, were to be illuminated by the flame of a candle. When spiritual science reveals the truth by means of such analogies people think it is paradoxical. Nevertheless, in the state in which during sleep we penetrate into the spiritual world, greater possibilities are offered us for investigating the Nebula of Orion or the Canes Nebula than are provided by working in laboratories or in observatories. Research would yield much more if we dreamt about these matters instead of reflecting on them with our intellect. As soon as we enter the cosmos it is useless to apply the results of our earthly research. The nature of our present-day education is such that we are prone to apply to the whole cosmos what we consider true in our little earth cell; but it is obvious that truth cannot come to light in this way.


Related pages

References and further reading

  • Elisabeth Vreede: 'Astronomy and Spiritual Science' - Letters 6 and 7 of year three 1930.