What takes place as we sleep

From Anthroposophy

During sleep, Man looses his daytime waking consciousness.

Therefore he is not consciously aware of what is going on, and this has two aspects

  • his own activities with astral body and I seperating and changing from their usual functioning in the physical and etheric bodies, to have different experiences - of which Man is not aware with waking consciousness
  • what goes on in the different bodies during sleep, how these are maintained by spiritual entities in absence of the own astral body and I

Aspects

  • sleepwalking - a level of consciousness that Rudolf Steiner calls 'Moon men' (see 1923-09-15-GA228)
  • the ether body at night
    • the etheric body during sleep, and the work of the hierarchies is described in the beautiful 1923-05-02-GA224 (see below)
      • during sleep, the I and astral body of Man experience the etheric body .. as individualised Logos. Our speech is transformed and turned inwards etherically and repeated in the opposite order in a way that reveals the nature of the soul in a resounding individualized logos. This resounding brings to expression and writes into the time-sequence of the etheric, the spiritualized transformed version of what is spoken during the day.
    • exposure to Ahrimanic influences during sleep: The moral order on Earth is bound up with the human etheric body. Man is only conscious and ‘armed with his moral qualities’ while awake, while asleep is he open to Ahrimanic influences on his etheric body. See more on: Ahrimanic influence on Man
    • the process at night with the instreaming etheric flows, with different flows for different moral characters, is described at the end of the 1911-10-01-GA130 lecture, see Etherization of blood
  • The integration of soul experiences
    • like the tape archive metaphor - the image of a ‘record to tape’ at night of the daily experiences. In is described how the human heart (not physical, but etheric and astral) is this ‘karma recorder’ as of the age of puberty, see The etheric heart as an astral recorder

the spiritual hierarchies at work

  • the work of the hierarchies at night during Man's sleep, see 1924-06-27-GA236 below
    • every night, a meeting or connection of Man's I with the angel, as part of the development of the spirit-self, see Three Meetings
    • during sleep, an archangel replaces our astral body, and an archai our 'I'. "We now meet these beings when we have developed our astral organs, and this powerful event is so sacred to us is called in spiritual science the 'encounter with the higher self' " (1909-12-07-GA266/1 and see also Schema FMC00.132 below)
  • spiritual beings of The elementary kingdoms (re the higher ethers) maintain Man's blood during the time when Man is asleep, and replace the I and astral body in this function while Man is asleep (see FMC00.285 below, see also Blood is a special fluid)
  • role of backwards Archai of Old Sun working on our physical and etheric bodies during the night (1910-08-21-GA122), see also The elementary kingdoms
  • the work of the angels in Man's astral body, and what is required for the development of Man: if Man does not pick up the spiritual activity as required by the age and as enabled by the Christ Impulse (see also Christ in the etheric, on Christ Module 19 - experiencing the Christ), then the angels could have to perform this work during sleep when Man is unconscious, but this would have major consequences for humanity at large (1918-10-09-GA182)
  • penetration of Man's higher triad by the Christ Impulse takes place during the state of sleep, see Christ Module 16 - During sleep

dreaming

  • interpretation of dreams
    • presentient warning dreams
    • symbolism and emotional dynamic in dream experience
  • lucid dreaming - a lucid dream is a type of dream where the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming (reported since 17th century, see 'Further reading' section below

Inspirational quotes

1914-04-25-GA266/3

During the night the elemental beings, servants of the hierarchies, are within us and work on our senses.

Illustrations

Schema FMC00.387 illustrates how the aura of Man is different in waking state versus during sleep.

FMC00.387.jpg

FMC00.285 describes the blood not just as a physical mineral fluid, but also its other dimensions. The Human 'I' lives with consciously in the warmth .. the other components are physical due to the Luciferic infection. In both drawings, the blue rectangle highlights what happens during sleep: spiritual beings of The elementary kingdoms (re the higher ethers) maintain Man's blood during the time when Man is asleep, and replace the I and astral body in this function while Man is asleep.

FMC00.285.jpg

Schema FMC00.245 illustrates how the soul and spirit live in Man's bodily principles and I-organization. How the threefold soul activity and thinking feeling willing relates to the bodily organisms, and our contemporary waking consciousness is just a part of this. Man is actually asleep in part of his bodily constitution and functioning.


Schema FMC00.132 shows how Man, after death, grows into connection through his own Individuality and 'guiding' angel, with the angel and archangel organism. Man is already connected with H3, see the Three meetings (and schema FMC00.023B that extends the below) as H3 live in Man's 'I' soul activity during incarnation, see Man and the spiritual hierarchies

FMC00.132.jpg


Lecture coverage and references

1910-03-22-GA119
1910-08-21-GA122

.. in the cycle on Genesis, describes how the backward Old Saturn beings played during the Old Sun evolutionary stage, especially the backwards Archai.

But something else is also necessary as well as light. To understand what this is, we have to consider the rhythmic alternation of sleeping and waking. What does it really mean to be awake? All the activity of our souls, all that we develop in our thinking and feeling, all the ebb and flow of our passions — in short, all that happens through the fluctuating energies of our astral bodies and our egos, constitutes a continual using up of our physical bodies during day life. That is a very ancient occult truth, a truth to which even modern physiology comes if it knows how to interpret its own findings properly. What the soul unfolds as its inner life in the waking state continuously uses up the forces of the external physical body, the first rudiments of which were bestowed during the Saturn existence. The life of the physical body is quite different in sleep, when the astral body with its fluctuant inner life is outside it. Whereas in waking life there is a continuous consumption, or even a continuous destruction, of the forces of the physical body, in sleep these forces are being restored, being renewed and built up again all the time. So that in our physical and etheric bodies we have to distinguish destructive processes and processes of renewal — destructive processes which take place during waking life, processes of renewal which take place during sleep. But nothing which happens anywhere in space is isolated, it is always related to existence as a whole. And we must not think of those processes of destruction, which take place in our physical bodies from the time we awaken to the time we go to sleep again, as being confined within the limits of our skin. They are closely bound up with cosmic processes. They are merely a continuation of what flows into us from outside, so that during the waking life of day we are connected with the destructive forces of the universe, and during sleep with the forces of renewal.

This destruction of our physical bodies which goes on during the waking life of day could not have happened during the Saturn evolution, otherwise the first rudiments of our physical body could never have been formed. For obviously one can build up nothing if one starts to destroy it. The Saturnian operation on our bodies had to be a constructive one. The destructive process takes place in the daytime under the influence of light, but on Saturn there was no light. Therefore the Saturn activity on our physical bodies was an up-building one, and had to be maintained at least for a time, even into the later period, when on the Sun light appeared. Then the up-building activity could only be maintained through Saturn Beings remaining behind to care for it.

It was necessary for the Saturn Beings to be kept back in cosmic evolution, so that they could undertake the rebuilding of the physical body during sleep, while there was no light. Thus the backward Saturn Beings have their part to play in our existence; without them we should be exposed to nothing but destruction. There has to be an alternation, a co-operation, of Sun Beings and Saturn Beings, of light and darkness. Thus if the activity of the light Beings is to be rightly guided by the Elohim, they must inweave into their own work in an orderly fashion the work of the Beings of darkness. There can be no stability in cosmic activity unless the force of darkness is everywhere interwoven with the force of light. And in this complication of the forces of light and darkness lies one of the secrets of cosmic existence, of cosmic alchemy. This secret is touched upon in the seventh scene of my first Mystery Play, where Johannes Thomasius enters Devachan, and where one of Maria's companions, Astrid, is given the task of weaving the dark into the light. Throughout the conversation between Maria and her three companions you will find many cosmic mysteries concealed, which can well be pondered for a long, long time.

Thus we must never forget that the interplay between the forces of sun-light and Saturn-darkness is a necessity of our existence. When therefore the Elohim placed the Spirits of Personality as their deputies in charge of the weaving of the light forces, of the work which is performed upon us men and upon other earthly beings while the light is affecting us, they had also to appoint the backward Saturn Beings as fellow-workers; they had to see that the whole work of the universe was carried on by the normally advanced and the backward Archai together. The backward Archai are active in the darkness. Hence the Elohim employ not only the Beings designated by yom, day, but they set in opposition to them Beings who weave in the darkness. And the Bible says with a wonderfully realistic description of the facts: And God called the light Day (yom), and the darkness He called Night (lay'lah). [ 2 ] And lay'lah does not mean our abstract night, but lay'lah are the Saturn Archai, who at that time had not advanced to the Sun stage.

And to this day it is they who are active in us during sleep, when they work upon our physical and etheric bodies, building them up. This mysterious expression lay'lah, which has given rise to all kinds of myths, is neither our abstract “night” nor is it anything which need lead to myth-making. It is simply the name of the backward Archai, who unite their activity with that of the advanced Archai.

1912-12-10-GA141
1918-10-09-GA182

.. is the famous lecture called 'The work of the angels in Man's astral body (please read in full)

And what if this should happen after all? What if humanity on earth should persist in sleeping through the momentous spiritual revelation of the future?

If this were to happen in respect of the freedom of the religious life, for example, if men were to sleep through the repetition of the Mystery of Golgotha on the etheric plane, the reappearance of the etheric Christ, or other matters as well,

then the angels would have to try different means of achieving what the pictures they weave in the astral body of Man are intended to achieve.

If men do not allow this to be achieved in the astral body while they are awake, the Angels would, in this case, endeavour to fulfill their aims through their sleeping bodies. Therefore what the Angels could not achieve, because in their waking life men slept through it, would be achieved with the help of the physical and etheric bodies of men during actual sleep. It is there that the Angels would seek forces required for the fulfillment of what could not be achieved through men in their wideawake consciousness when the souls were within the etheric and physical bodies in the waking state. It would be achieved by means of the etheric and physical bodies in the sleeping state, when human beings who ought to be awake to what is going on were outside these bodies with their I and astral body.

Here lies the great danger for the age of the consciousness soul. This is what might still happen if, before the beginning of the third millennium, men were to refuse to turn to the spiritual life. The third millennium begins with the year 2000, so it is only a short time ahead of us.

It might still happen that the aim of the angels in their work would have to be achieved by means of the sleeping bodies of men — instead of through men wideawake. The angels might still be compelled to withdraw their whole work from the astral body and to submerge it in the etheric body in order to bring it to fulfillment. But then, in his real being, Man would have no part in it. It would have to be performed in the etheric body while Man himself was not there, just because if he were there in the waking state, he would obstruct it.

But what would be the outcome if the angels were obliged to perform this work without Man himself participating, to carry it out in his etheric and physical bodies during sleep?

The outcome in the evolution of humanity would unquestionably be threefold.

  • Firstly, something would be engendered in the sleeping human bodies — while the I and astral body were not within them — and Man would meet with it on waking in the morning ... but then it would become instinct instead of conscious spiritual activity and therefore baleful. It is so indeed: certain instinctive knowledge that will arise in human nature, instinctive knowledge connected with the mystery of birth and conception, with sexual life as a whole, threatens to become baleful if the danger of which I have spoken takes effect. Certain angels would then themselves undergo a change; a change of which I cannot speak, because this is a subject belonging to the higher secrets of initiation science which may not yet be disclosed. But this much can certainly be said: The effect in the evolution of humanity would be that certain instincts connected with the sexual life would arise in a pernicious form instead of wholesomely, in clear waking consciousness. These instincts would not be mere aberrations but would pass over into and configure the social life, would above all prevent men — through what would then enter their blood as the effect of the sexual life — from unfolding brotherhood in any form whatever on the earth, and would rather induce them to rebel against it. This would be a matter of instinct.

So the crucial point lies ahead when either the path to the right can be taken — but that demands wakefulness — or the path to the left, which permits of sleep. But in that case instincts come on the scene — instincts of a fearful kind.

And what do you suppose the scientific experts will say when such instincts come into evidence? They will say that it is a natural and inevitable development in the evolution of humanity. Light cannot be shed on such matters by natural science, for whether men become angels or devils would be equally capable of explanation by scientific reasoning. Science will say the same in both cases: the later is the outcome of the earlier ... so grand and wise is the interpretation of nature in terms of causality! Natural science will be totally blind to the event of which I have told you, for if men become half devils through their sexual instincts, science will as a matter of course regard this as a natural necessity. Scientifically, then, the matter is simply not capable of explanation, for whatever happens, everything can be explained by science. The fact is that such things can be understood only by spiritual, super-sensible cognition. That is the one aspect.

  • The second aspect is that from this work which involves changes affecting the angels themselves, still another result accrues for humanity: instinctive knowledge of certain medicaments — but knowledge of a baleful kind! Everything connected with medicine will make a great advance in the materialistic sense. Men will acquire instinctive insights into the medicinal properties of certain substances and certain treatments — and thereby do terrible harm. But the harm will be called useful. A sick man will be called healthy, for it will be perceived that the particular treatment applied leads to something pleasing. People will actually like things that make the human being — in a certain direction — unhealthy. Knowledge of the medicinal effects of certain processes and treatments will be enhanced, but this will lead into very baleful channels. For man will come to know through certain instincts, what kind of illnesses can be induced by particular substances and treatments. And it will then be possible for him either to bring about or not to bring about illnesses, entirely as suits his egotistical purposes.
  • The third result will be this. Man will get to know of definite forces which, simply by means of quite easy manipulations — by bringing into accord certain vibrations — will enable him to unleash tremendous mechanical forces in the world. Instinctively he will come to realise in this way the possibility of exercising a certain spiritual guidance and control of the mechanistic principle — and the whole of technical science will sail into desolate waters. But human egoism will find these desolate waters of tremendous use and benefit.
1923-05-02-GA224

... gives a beautiful clairvoyant description of flowing streams of thoughts in the etheric body during sleep, describing this in the language of the hierarchies. Below is just a limited extract, it is advised to read the lecture in full.

We know that when, under earthly conditions, the human being goes to sleep, the etheric body remains within the physical body, and that — as we have always described it — the astral body and the I leave this physical body and etheric body. The life of the astral body and I is still so weak, at the present stage of their cosmic development, that they are not capable of conscious experience between falling asleep and awakening. We have often discussed, up to a point, the subconscious experiences through which the astral body and the I pass during this time.

But today we shall look back at what is left behind in bed when a human being is asleep, and in particular at the etheric body. In this way we shall treat the term “etheric body” so as to draw out the Spirit from it, by that art of which I said just now that it was cultivated in the ancient Mysteries. Looking at this etheric body, we shall consider its real nature, as it is beheld super-sensibly, when the human being is asleep.

  • We see the physical body grow still. We see the human being unable to move his limbs — unable also to pour his will through his bodily form, so as to make use of his senses. The relation of the external world to his senses does not change. But the relation of the senses to the external world changes, inasmuch as the human being becomes inwardly still. Just as externally his arms and legs are still, in his organs of perception his will is not active in the delicate movements of response to the external world which are necessary for sense-perception.
  • But it is a complete mistake to believe that the sense-organs themselves, or more exactly the sites of the sense-organs, are not filled by any activity during sleep. Over its whole extent, the physical body rests — but the human etheric body becomes all the more active and inwardly mobile between falling asleep and awakening. This is a characteristic fact: in the same measure as the functions of the physical body come to rest, at and after the moment of falling asleep, a more and more lively activity of the etheric body begins. This lively activity of the etheric body streams out, in particular, from the senses. If the super-sensible gaze is directed upon the sleeping human being — that is to say upon the part of the human being present in the physical frame — then it is found that from those places where the sense-organs are located, a continual lively activity streams inwards. This is the life of the etheric body, or vital body during sleep.
  • For example, from the moment of falling asleep there is a particular process which originates from the region of the human eyes. It is as if, through the influence of light during the waking period, the eye had stored up forces for an activity that develops only after sleep begins. And this is in fact an etheric activity.

In the same measure as the influence of light and colour from outside upon the eye is darkened, the eyes themselves begin, like two phosphorescent suns, to irradiate the interior of the physical part of the sleeping human being. The interior space of the human being is illumined by a phosphorescent, glimmering light. It is not surprising that this light, which streams into the interior of the human being, cannot be seen in the ordinary way. External, physical eyes do not see what goes on in the interior of man; there is no organ within the physical body which could immediately perceive this phosphorescent glow.

Now the inner activities of the etheric body in the human being during sleep can be described as follows.

  • Into this there flows a further process. What a man can still observe while he is going to sleep — a kind of humming and singing, a changing murmur within his organism — continues during sleep itself as a music, extraordinarily rich in melody and harmony, which also fills the whole interior of man during sleep. From falling asleep to awakening, this musical activity continues. And the I and astral body, which are outside the physical and etheric body, receive strong impressions from this — from what they have left behind, the resounding music in the etheric body. And while it resounds in music, the etheric body is at the same time radiant with light. But the impression made upon the I and the astral body remains unconscious.
  • In the same way, etheric streams of warmth flow into the interior of man from the whole surface of the skin. The result — with much else that is more remote from what we perceive in the external world as warmth, light, and sound, and is thus difficult to describe — is an immensely beautiful and impressive living and streaming activity of the human etheric body.
  • Distinct, like an island, there stand out from the general etheric life of the cosmos this particular music, and radiance, and flooding stream of warmth. They stand out for inner reasons — which are rooted in the very existence and being of man himself. They belong to man's individual etheric body. And this flooding warmth, this phosphorescent glow, this resounding music — it is these that detach themselves, a few days after man's death, as etheric body from the astral body and Ego, and flow out into the general cosmic ether.

... [parethesis note] ...

You see what complex processes are embraced in the human etheric body. And if the attempt is made to penetrate further — using the methods with which penetration into such realms is possible — then it can be observed that in reality this flowing warmth, this gentle phosphorescent glow, this living music, are an outer revelation of cosmic beings.

-         All that I have described is the external clothing, the revelation, the glory of mighty cosmic beings.

And these beings disclose themselves as those we know from anthroposophical writings as the SoF

I have often named these SoF Revelations, because they live, in accordance with their inner nature, in the shining stream which during earthly sleep flows from the human sense-organs towards the interior of man. In this stream the weaving life of those beings we name Exusiai is revealed.

And now, with the same methods with which one observes these revelations of the human senses, so active in their etheric substance during sleep, these streams can be followed further along their course into the interior of Man's organism.

  • If one is looking at some shining object, one can follow the line from the eye towards this object. It is to be found somewhere on this visual line that leads outwards from the eye.
  • In the same way you can follow inwards from the senses the streaming, flooding etheric radiance.  There is not so far to go; very soon something different is reached. The mild phosphorescent glow, proceeding from the eyes; the living music, which comes from the region of the organs of hearing; the streaming warmth, which goes inward from the whole surface of the skin — all these become an organically coherent etheric system.

(When one observes the waking human being, one sees the etheric body in activity — the physical body of course as well — and this activity is somewhat different from that I have described for sleep; the activity then extends a little outside the physical body.)

  • Now one sees how all that streams and flows and shines inwards, from the senses and from the whole skin, is formed into a shell-like copy of man, but within him, extending to a certain depth. From the eyes, one sees this phosphorescent glow, inwards, changing into something I will describe in a moment.

The streaming warmth goes inwards from the skin, attains a certain thickness like a shell, and then forms a kind of etheric organism which is compounded of the living music, the glowing light, the streaming warmth, intermingled with one another.

All these, and much else, flow through one another, influence one another mutually, and form an organism — the etheric organism of Man. If one contemplates this etheric organism with spiritual vision, and begins to understand its phenomena, one is bound to describe it as consisting simply of the forms of thoughts, of flowing thoughts. What is flowing within it is everywhere Thought.

If one were to follow this inner activity of the etheric body during sleep, in its continual fluctuation, and then draw it at a particular moment, one would draw of course lines, or coloured forms. But to describe the substance of these lines or coloured forms one could only say: it is as if thoughts were starting to flow. What lives otherwise in the activity of thought becomes an ever-changing flood and flow.

It is the thought-process of the Universe individualised. This individualised thought-process of the Universe reveals itself as individualised Logos.

1924-06-27-GA236

... (SWCC) covers the three hierarchies H2, H3 and H1 during our sleep, the 'rising and descending'

Now there is another and different condition of our earthly existence: the condition of sleep.

How does this condition of sleep present itself in its cosmic counterpart?

When our physical and etheric bodies are there in the bed, and our astral body and I outside, then out in the cosmos we have to think of the sun at a position where the earth must first let the rays of the sun pass through it before they reach us. Now in all the ancient Mysteries a certain teaching was given which, if fully understood, produced a profoundly moving impression in those who become pupils in the Mysteries and gradually mastered the Science of Initiation. They reached a certain stage of inner development which they might have described in the following way. — I am now telling you what might have been said by one of these ancient Initiates when he had attained to a certain degree of Initiation. — He would have spoken somewhat as follows:

“When I stand in the open fields in the daytime, when I direct my gaze upwards and give myself up to the impressions of the senses, then I behold the sun; I see it in its dazzling strength at noontide and behind the dazzling strength of the noontide sun I behold the working of the spiritual beings of the second hierarchy in the substance of the sun. Before my Initiation the substance of the sun vanished from me at the moment of its setting. The shining radiance of the sun vanished in the purples of sunset. Before my Initiation I went through the dark path of night, and in the morning, when the dawn came, I remembered this darkness. Out of the dawn the sun shone forth again and took its course onward towards the dazzling brightness of noon. But now, having attained to Initiation, when I experience the dawn and behold the sun as it passes from dawn on through its daily course, a memory of my life during the night-time awakens within me. I know what I have experienced in this night life, I remember clearly how I beheld a blue, glimmering light arise from the evening twilight and gradually spread, travelling from west to east. And I remember how I beheld the sun at the midnight hour, at the opposite point in the firmament to where it had stood in its noontide, dazzling strength; I saw it gleaming there behind the earth, full of deep and solemn meaning. I beheld the Midnight Sun!”

Such has actually been the monologue of Initiates in their meditation, and it faithfully expresses their experience. The Initiate is conscious of these things. And when we read Jacob Boehme's book entitled Aurora then we cannot help being deeply moved by the realisation that the words which are written in this book are echoes of a wonderful teaching of the ancient Mysteries.

What is the “Dawn” to Initiates?

  • It is an instigation to cosmic remembrance, to remembrance of the vision of the Midnight Sun behind the earth. With our ordinary sight we see the radiant yellow-white disc of the sun at noon, but with the vision of Initiation we see the bluish-violet sun at the opposite point of the heavens. The earth appears as a transparent body, with the sun gleaming on the other side of it with a bluish-red light. But this bluish-red sheen is not what it seems. I must utter the paradox: it is not what it seems. When we are gazing at the Midnight Sun it seems at first that we are looking at something hazy in the distance. And when we learn with the help of Initiation more and more clearly to see what at first appears as a blur in the distance, then the bluish-red light will begin to take shape and form; it will spread itself over the whole of the sky but still on the other side of the earth and covered by the earth. It becomes peopled. Arid just as when we go out of our house on a starlit night and look up at the majestic spectacle of the starry heavens with its sparkling points of light, perhaps with the moon in the centre, so to the gaze of Initiation a whole world becomes visible on the farther side of the earth which is now transparent. It is a world that emerges, as it were, out of the clouds, becoming a world of living forms. It is the world of the Second Hierarchy, of the SoW, SoM, SoF . There they appear, these beings of the second hierarchy. And as we watch more and more closely, if we can attain the stillness of soul that is required, then something else happens. All this reveals itself after preparation and meditation and only becomes a conscious experience at dawn, as an after-memory, when it is immediately present with us, when we know we have actually beheld it during the night. What appears on yonder side of the earth is in reality the weaving world of the beings of the second hierarchy. And from out of this weaving, living world of the second hierarchy there now radiates a world of other beings — raying to us through the earth. It is a truly wonderful world of beings that works thus through the earth at night, hovering there in the firmament, now approaching man, now drawing away, now approaching him again. We see how the line of the weaving beings of the second hierarchy ever and again fades out, while another Hierarchy approaches man, now hovering towards him and now drawing away from him again. And by-and-by we learn to know what all this really means. We have been conscious the whole day long and now we lie down in sleep. This means that the physical and etheric bodies are left to themselves, working in sleep as a plant and mineral world. But by day we have thoughts; all day long, ideas have been passing through our being. They have left their traces in our physical and etheric bodies. We should not be able to remember the experiences of our earthly existence at all if these traces which we subsequently use in our memories did not remain. There they remain, these traces, in what is left of man as he lies asleep at night — in that part of his being which he has left behind. A mysterious process takes place there, above all in the etheric body. All that man has thought during his waking life from morning till evening begins to move and, ring on waves of sound. If you think of a certain region of the earth where men are sleeping, and think of all that weaves and works in the etheric bodies as an echo of all that these sleeping men have been thinking during the hours of their waking life, this will give you a picture of what has happened through the hours of the day. And those beings who hover over us, rising and descending, busy themselves through our hours of sleep with the traces that have remained in our etheric bodies. This becomes their field of action. It is an immediate experience in them and absorbs their attention. When this is revealed to us, we say with a sense of deep reverence: “Thou, 0 Man, hast left thy body. And as it lies there it bears within it the traces of the day's experiences. It is the field where live the fruits of thy thoughts and ideas during the day.
  • The beings of the third hierarchy (H3), the angels, archangels and archai, now enter this field. While thou hast left thy physical and etheric bodies, these beings experience what thou hast thyself experienced from the thoughts and ideas of thy waking hours.” — Deep reverence fills us at the sight of some region of the earth where human bodies are left in sleep and whither the angels, archangels and archai wend their way to all that unfolds as an echo of the life of day. And we here behold a wonderful life, born of all that is unfolded between the beings of the third hierarchy and the traces of the thoughts we have left behind. As we gaze at this field, we become aware how, as human beings, we have our place within the spiritual cosmos, and how, when we wake, we create work for the Angels during our hours of sleep. It is so indeed: during our waking hours we create work for the angels during the time of sleep. And now we learn to understand something about our world of thought. We realise that the thoughts which pass through our heads contain the fruits of what we lay into our own physical and etheric bodies — fruits which angels gather at night. For angels gather these fruits and bear them out into the cosmos in order that they may find there their place in the cosmic Order.
  • One thing more we see as we behold these beings of the third hierarchy coming forth from the beings of the second hierarchy and their activity. We behold how behind this weaving, again beings of sublime majesty and grandeur take part in the activity of the second hierarchy. We gaze at the second hierarchy, and we see how into this weaving life of the second hierarchy something else works from behind; and we soon become aware how this not only strikes, lightning-like, into the weaving and working of the second hierarchy, but striking right to the other side of the earth, it has to do, not with the part of man that is left on the earth, but with that other part of his being that has gone out, namely, the I-organisation and astral body. And as we gaze at what has been left behind and behold it as a field where the fruits of thoughts throughout the day are being gathered by the angels, archangels and archai for the purposes of cosmic activity, so too we see how the beings of the second hierarchy, uniting their activity with that of the first hierarchy (H1): the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones — concern themselves with the astral body and I.

Discussion


Related pages

References and further reading

  • Klaus Raschen: 'Der Schlaf. Ein pastoralmedizinische Studie' (1987)
  • various authors (o.a. Stefan Leber, Ernst M Kranich, Jörgen Smit, etc) in 'Beiträge zur Pädagogik Rudolf Steiners'
    • Der Rhythmus von Schlafen und Wachen: Seine Bedeutung im Kindes- und Jugendalter (1992)
  • Stefan Leber: Der Schlaf und seine Bedeutung - Geisteswissenschaftliche Dimensionen des Un- und Überbewussten (1996)
  • Seth Miller: Sleep and dreams in anthroposophy (PDF) or online (2006)
  • Richard Seddon: 'The Wonders of Sleep: An Anthroposophical Study' (2012)

Lucid dreaming

  • Stephen LaBerge
    • Lucid Dreaming: The power of being aware and awake in your dreams (1985)
    • Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming (1990)
    • Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in your Dreams and in your Life (2009)
  • Robert Waggoner
    • The Lucid Dreaming Pack: Gateway to the Inner Self (2008)