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Karma and Suffering

Rhea (talkcontribs)

I've only recently begun to really read the texts and lectures on anthroposophy and theosophy, so forgive me if the answer to this is obvious to some of you (or if any other question or idea I have in the future seems trivial or simple).

I was just reading Steiner's lecture GA 107 about Christ and the opposing forces. I thought it was very interesting how he describes the reason for suffering and karma coming into the world and being this counterweight that essentially is trying to keep us from getting stuck in the complete illusion that only physical reality exists/matters. And it's interesting how those things that seem to hurt us the most at times are actually calling us home. But it did make me wonder if there was ever even an actual possibility of those interferences from Lucifer and Ahriman not happening. He talks about how if humanity had evolved in the "intended" manner that we would never have lost our connection to Spirit and we would've known that everything was essentially of it. So what would have been the purpose of a life on the physical plane lived in that manner? Would it have in a way been "better"? I mean, I'm sure it wouldn't have hurt as much, but would we have gained more from that sort of experience than what we are gaining now?

Again, I've only really started with my reading so it's very possible that I'm just missing pieces of information. Also it is more of a philosophical question I guess because it's basically what would've happened in a completely different universe or planet at least.

I have the link for that specific lecture below

Diederik (talkcontribs)

Thanks for your question.

What Rudolf Steiner taught us, is that humanity is in the current situation and evolutionary frame, because divine guidance allowed for some 'counterforces' to exist. Today we call this evil, but they can better be seen as spiritual beings that are out of phase, to early or to late, versus our development. That way they provide resistance, and a consequence is the strengthened development for humanity. The reason why divinity allowed this, is for a real big idea: freedom of choice. Up to now the spiritual hierarchies are interlinked and carry forward and execute impulses from above downwards, but there is no such thing as free choice. Humanity, as the tenth hierarchy, is the first hierarchy that is set free from creation. Freedom is required for true selfless love. Bottom line, there is an exciting new development here, which is why it is said the gods are really watching humanity and Man is the crown of creation. See the topic page Evil (and eg Schema FMC00.427) for an overview.

Now to your question: to cut a long story short .. the above decision rippled through the hierarchies and resulted in what is called the luciferic infection. Angels that didn't finish their development on Old Moon now take the opportunity during the Earth cycle, but they do that 'in Man'. See Schema FMC00.238 (tip: suggest you always right click to open links in new tab)

The impact of this is vast, and now we come to the answer to your question. The best place to start reading is: Luciferic influence on Man#A very different world, and a bit lower on the same page are links to the many different aspects that this brought about versus 'a plan without': Luciferic influence on Man#Consequences of Luciferic infection for Man. And one that will probably interest you to read (as someone already asked a related or similar question before), is this: Q00.002 - timing of the Mystery of Golgotha .. because under point 2.1.3 is described how Man's consciousness would have been very different.

Now this is not the end of the story, as we haven't covered the further consequences of the Ahrimanic and Soratic counterforces, but the above is the first most important aspect to understand. We can come back on the rest, but have to keep things a bit concise here to not get side-tracked.

Bottom line to your question: we, and the cosmos, gain much more ultimately this way, even though it comes at a price. But note: what is also important is how we interpret and live the meaning of suffering and sacrifice: in the spiritual scientific worldview they gain a different meaning.

Hope I read your question correctly, and that the above answers or at least puts you on track for further reading.

PS: This is a broad topic, and as you will see one has to study its various aspects. As you probably know or have found, the GA is a jigsaw puzzle with some 50.000 or 100.000 pieces (you could say pages, or 5000 lectures with 10 or 20 topic fragments or aspects). What this site tries to do is provide a top level interface layer to that to facilitate the study process.

Now if you would just read the GA lectures, you'd also get there, but it would take many years .. however that approach has the advantage you're doing it organically and 'overall', as a worldview shift, all contents and topics at the same time in parallel as you work through and process the huge amount of information. Which has other benefits as well as challenges, hence this site is intended bring insights through enhanced efficacy of the study process itself. The key however remains your own mind and soul work.

Rhea (talkcontribs)

I think this website and the way you've organized the information is helpful as it gives me an overall idea of things, and what it is that's interesting to me in this moment and how it connects to other topics. But yeah I'll probably need to read a lot of the lectures to actually feel like I understand anything. Thank you very much for replying so thoroughly and giving me links as well. It means a lot to me.

Psichedout (talkcontribs)

Hello Do you start from Pisces and do the reversed Zodiac or start with Capricorn and go forward...what is the "place holder" for new year's eve? Thanks

Diederik (talkcontribs)

Dear, thank you for your question regarding the Thirteen holy nights

Unfortunately there is no simple answer as far as we know, as various sources entertain different versions of the mapping of the zodiac signs. Each with a different 'logic' or explanatory rationale. That is why there is no simple unambiguous statement on the site, and also why the comparative table was not uploaded yet (though we can do that as this question seems to come back, there were exchanges on this topic over email also).

That being said, I personally believe that the 'state of soul' and the depth of concentration or praying mood in this period is (much) more important than the contemplation along the zodiac signs. What I mean by that is that this is especially a period to go inward and contemplate within oneself, or put differently: strive for a connection with one's own inner and higher self, better future self.

This can be intuited from deeper study and meditation on the topic 'the three meetings', and I know people therefore 'fill in' this period with an own personal version for this special period. This praying mood can consist of many different elements such as (a) the lord's prayer, EDN-ICM-PSSR, after vacancy of mind along a morning and evening meditation of an hour each day. Connecting with the cosmic events of this period is a very personal matter, but you can certainly do so by entering into imaginations deeply. Another example (b): open the valve of imagination freely in one's meditative soul and imagine the winter solstice so important for people across millenia, the descent of the pure adam sister soul at christmas, the descent of the christ at epiphany, the white lodge at this time around christmas, what takes place with the spiritual hierarchies around this period of the year .. all of this to enter into a personal praying state of soul, and connect it to oneself as totally connected microcosm to the macrocosm.

What I'm trying to say is that a personal ritual is certainly no less valuable and may or will actually carry a deeper meaning because it is genuine and personal, comes from the depths of our soul (which is the key thing), and this, in my humble opinion, is certainly better than that we would get stuck with the intellectual dilemma around what is the right sequence of the zodiac signs. We should not feel bad or believe there are implications if we get it wrong because this is the only way and most important. Another way of saying the same thing is that the feeling and willing 'concentrate' are most important, which is a general comment for the study of spiritual science and the path of initiation.

Although it is not a direct answer to your question, still hope the above can be of value to you. I will however look into this further as I certainly appreciate the question and take it to heart, but today I cannot provide a simple direct answer on the single right way of this zodiac sign mapping.

Diederik (talkcontribs)

PS: the above-mentioned table was added as illustration on the Thirteen holy nights topic page, see Schema FMC00.360A.

Note: another aspect to be considered for this period is what happens during sleep, and the importance of the process of falling asleep and waking.

To get inspired for a start, read for example the RSL extracts on Three meetings first, and from there read Christ Module 16 - During sleep. Then with this, one can also try to imaginatively 'feel yourself into' the lower right part of Schema FMC00.023B on the Three Meetings page, and the connect between the intertwined rings depicted.

For people doing initiation exercises the daily 'connection' is part of daily practice (see eg IIH step 2), and this special period of the year becomes the culmination to take this a level higher.

What I wanted to add hereby is that once one has an imaginative understanding of the daily process , the yearly can be seen as a 'step up' in a way, which might perhaps help to tune in with your soul mood to what is happening in this period.

Yuriy (talkcontribs)

Indeed, the main point of participating in a spiritual sacrament in these 13 Holy Days and Nights period is, being in a meditative mood, to bear in mind that the Cosmic situation provides a unique opportunity for your True personal «I» to be united with the Universal «I» of Humanity, with The Macrocosmic Power of the Word/Logos – i.e. directly with Christ Himself.

I personally find useful to follow the scheme provided in 1927 by a Russian anthroposophist Andrey Belyi (pls., see the table).

These 13 Days and Nights are influenced by Macrocosmic Forces operating in a powerful way from a reality which is out of time and space – i.e., from eternity.

The inner spiritual Sun of the Earth – the Spirit of the Earth – sends from Its center on each of the following days its rays alternately towards each sign of the Zodiac, a pair (two rays) per day: during the day – into the future, and in the evening – into the past.

Every day is experienced by our soul as the rhythm of the change of the Zodiac Signs corresponding to each month of the year.

At this time, our «I» becomes the point of intersection, or, better to say, the point of joining in us of two streams of spiritual Light going from the center of the Earth to the signs of the Zodiac.

The experience of 13 Holy Days and Nights unfolds before us two times by twelve panoramas, corresponding to 12 months of the coming year and 12 months of the last year. That is, in the daytime we anticipate the future, and in the evening we observe (in images) month after month the outgoing year, summing up the work of the Spirit over the past 12 months.

Thus during this special time we feel connected both with the Primal Powers of the Word and that of the humanity as an indivisible unity, to which we belong.

Etheric loosening

Jschizz (talkcontribs)

Someone mentioned a “loosened etheric” as leading to an adversarial or ahrimanic clairvoyance. Is there some reading you would recommend to understand what is this?

Diederik (talkcontribs)

Thanks for that question, this is typical example of a sentence where one has to think twice on what may have been the context and how to best answer your question.

First: the loosening of the etheric from the physical body is an important evolutionary trend that is happening right now and will continue in the centuries to come, it is important to study and understand this, because to it are linked the awakening of a new clairvoyance, christ in the etheric, .. but also it represents the first step in the pathway of spiritualization of mankind. As sketched in the Book of Revelation (and on the wiki site) .. through stages of ao the Future Oriphiel age and especially the next sixth cultural age .. in the sixth epoch will have the opportunity to spiritualize and disconnect from the physical body, the reverse of what happened in the third Lemurian epoch. A certain cohort will in fact succeed in doing so. A large group will not. In our times, the fifth and sixth cultural ages are key in this development, and RS tries to awaken people, just as John the Baptist did, to the fact they have to wake up to what is happening and change their ways so as to jump on that train of evolutionary development. He also mentions only a third of the population reaches a certain goal in any period, a simple statement worth pondering over.

Now in that context we consider the 'elemental unbalance' of Man's bodily principles, RS calls it the luciferic and ahrimanic influences mostly, but there are also the soratic (see also The double, on the page I think I add a simple introduction by Daskalos). Now I use the term elemental unbalance because this is Bardon's IIH way of putting it, the step 1&2 soul mirrors are the way of introspection and shadow work that is key in this. What Rudolf Steiner describes, e.g. in the 1917-01-GA174 lectures, is that the development of the I, in its long process, can go as intended, but most obviously also can go wrong at every stage of development of the I: imagine each cultural age since the Atlantean epoch into the current. So there is the model-blueprint or 'correct' I, but there also many illnesses or aberrations. The population consists of all these variants. And so if one is under the spell of a dominant luciferic or ahrimanic, that has all kinds of weird by-effects.

So: The ahrimanic clairvoyance you mention is a term never used by RS, because it is not clairvoyance, it is a form of delusion that may feel the same as connecting with the spiritual world as in well-developed clairvoyance, but it's actually the consequence of elemental unbalances or deformations of the soul that cause one to get visions, hear voices, etc. That is also why RS explains large groups of people will suffer from this in the future in ever larger degrees: nervous diseases and suicides will become epidemic. The materialistic culture will react by trying to 'protect' people (from these natural effects of spiritualization and the loosening of the etheric) by medical treatments (...). Some people believe this is what has started now, that by getting into a person's blood, the human esoteric physiology can be so affected as to shunt, delay or stop a natural spiritualization. But that's a different topic.

If you're interested I would suggest to read up the relevant sections on:

Human etheric body (for the loosening)

Stages of clairvoyance (eg the 1910-GA120 quotes on there relate to your question, quite literally)

Development of the I#Other (first bullet, and FMC00.338, and the related topic of the sixteen paths of perdition in Schema FMC00.233, more on those on Human races#Note .5B1.5D - The sixteen paths of perdition which also includes a 1917-01-GA174 quote)

Last, in the above it's important to realize that the origin of illness comes 'into' Man through the I and the double. You will be able to find richer context on all that I answered on those pages, including literal quotes from Rudolf Steiner's lectures, often with direct links.

Please let me know if this helped or not really, feedback and suggestions warmly welcomed.

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