Occult Research into Life Between Death and a New Birth
I. The Cosmic Aspect of Life between Death and New Birth, The Way through the Planetary Spheres
17 February 1913, Stuttgart
During the second half of last year, it became my duty to carry on some occult research into life between death and a new birth. We have, it is true, already described what has to be considered there, but a complete knowledge of this part of human life, a real penetration therein, is only possible if one carries on research into it from the most diverse points of view. Though everything found in the writings and cycles about this theme is correct, still to all this may be added that which must be said tonight and perhaps also the day after tomorrow about the subject.
When the human being has stepped through the portals of death — that is, when he has laid aside his physical and his ether body — the soul during the first interval of time is particularly taken up with memories of the span of life it spent on earth. We know, of course, that the soul requires a certain amount of time to free itself from all that connects it with the last earthly life. Now, let us present this process of growing out of the preceding life on earth as it relates to the whole of the universe, to the world.
When the human being leaves his physical body and his ether body, and thus lives only in his astral body, which we may also call the soul body, a complete spatial expansion takes place, one might say: a dilatation of his being into the far reaches of space; this takes place not merely after death, but also in sleep. Every night we really expand over the stellar spaces. After death, we expand slowly and gradually in such a way that we must seek the substance of our soul — for we cannot now say: the substance of our body — in the circumference of the earth, at first far beyond the atmosphere. Farther and farther it expands, until we (though it may sound paradoxical, it comes to that) have expanded the life of our soul over the whole expanse of the sphere which in the end corresponds to the moon's orbit around the earth. We grow so large that the boundary of our being is the orbit of the moon. As long as we thus grow larger, that which we may call the Kamaloka-time prevails. That is the time of inner connection with the preceding life on earth.
Then, however, the expansion goes on. The human being expands in fact out into the world of the stars, and then the time begins when he expands so far that the outer boundary of his being; may be designated as the orbit which, in astronomical terms, is described by Venus, in occult terms by Mercury. Now, the condition of life for man, after he has left the sphere of the moon, depends on the kind of life he led here between birth and death. When he carries his life into the universe to the sphere of Mercury, then he may live there in Such a way that he can easily find contact with people with whom he lived on earth, with whom his soul was united on earth; or, on the other hand, it may be man's fate to have difficulties in finding such contacts — that is to: say, to be condemned to loneliness in expanding his life thus into the sphere of Mercury. And it depends on the way in which he has led his life on earth whether he feels that he is destined to loneliness, or, if one may use the term, to sociability. A person who in life has not cared to awaken in his soul moral feelings a moral way of thinking, a moral mood, benevolence, sympathy — a person who has developed this only to a small extent — feels doomed to loneliness after death when he expands to the sphere of Mercury. And it is difficult for him to find other souls with whom he is united. A person who has developed much sympathy, a moral way of thinking, will live companionably with other souls as he expands to the sphere of Mercury. Thus it is given into our hands to arrange our life between death and a new birth. The sphere of Mercury — in occult terms — is therefore the sphere in which our moral qualities are expressed. It also is the sphere in which what we have developed in the way of moral qualities becomes effective in still another manner.
Another aspect to be considered is the fact that precisely during this passage through the sphere of Mercury (in occult parlance) we have the after-effect of having been in the life between birth and death a conscientious human being, or one lacking conscientiousness. You see, everything that happens in the world here in physical life receives its direction or its causation from the spiritual world. We have several times considered the natural death from old age, which has to occur for man because it is what really must happen to him in order that life may take its right course from incarnation to incarnation. But as we know, there is not merely this death from old age, well founded in evolution; there is also a death which befalls the human being in the flower of youth, even in childhood. There are in the world manifold illnesses, epidemics, and so forth playing a part in human life. And they are not merely the effect of physical causes, but they are ordained, directed from the spiritual world. And this actually comes from the region of Venus, that belt around the earth which, however, in occult parlance we call the sphere of Mercury. That is, if we take the radius from earth to Venus and draw a circle — quite without considering astronomical relations — that, then, is the sphere of Mercury (we mean a circle, not around the sun, but, around the earth); and in this belt, in the space occupied by this plane, there lie the forces by which illnesses and death are directed on earth: death in so far as it does not occur as natural death from old age, but in an irregular manner. Certain spiritual beings are operative there, those beings whom occultism designates as the spirits of illness and death. An individual who (in occult parlance) enters the realm of Mercury after having spent his life on earth as a person without a conscience, condemns himself to become a servant of these — as we may well call them — evil spirits of illness and death, while he is going through this realm. Indeed, we do not have a conception, an impression, of what is meant by a “lack of conscience” until we know this fact. Lack of conscience sentences a human being to bear the yoke of these evil spirits in the realm of Mercury for a time between death and a new birth. And when those forces are developed which are sent from the surrounding realm to the earth so that epidemics, illnesses, take place, so that death at the wrong time takes place, then these souls “without conscience” must cooperate as servants of the spirits of illness and death who send these forces into our physical world.
Something else happens when a trait which is very widespread on earth has its after-effect all the way up to this sphere: laziness. Our life is really conditioned by laziness. Innumerable things would be done differently by men if they were not lazy. Also by laziness, the human being sentences himself to become for a time in the sphere which has just been discussed the servant of those powers which are subordinate to Ahriman, and which we may designate as the powers of hindrance — that is to say, of those spirits who hinder work on earth. Servants of the spirits of hindrance we become for a definite period of time, more or less prolonged, through everything we have poured into our soul by laziness. In this way, we get a conception as to how those forces which we have developed in our soul during our physical life have their effect in that life between death and a new birth.
The next sphere to which the soul expands is designated in occultism as the sphere of Venus. [astronomically: sphere of Mercury.] We prepare ourselves for it by religious qualities, a religious attitude. A human being who has developed in the time between birth and death an attitude which causes his soul to look toward the spiritual primordial powers and primordial forces of the world — such a person is able to be a social being in the sphere of Venus, so that he lives together with other human beings with whom his soul has established relationship on earth. But also other spirits of the Higher Hierarchies enter from then on into the human sphere, and man lives there with spirits of the Higher Hierarchies if he has developed a religious attitude, religious sentiments, religious feelings. On the other hand, if here on earth he has not brought his soul into contact with religious impulses, he sentences himself to loneliness, to seclusion, to tormenting loneliness. If he has been an atheist here on earth, then he will be a completely isolated individual after reaching the sphere with which we are concerned here. And it must be said that those people who today foster an irreligious attitude condemn themselves to complete loneliness. Those, for instance, who unite in the Monist Society, inhibit their inner freedom of movement, and because they have found themselves united here under that “flag,” they sentence themselves to sit each in his own cage, each separate from the other.
The next sphere into which we enter is the sphere of the Sun. Again circumstances are different from those known to physical astronomy. We obtain this sphere if we draw a line between the earth and the sun — that is, if we use this line as the radius and draw a circle around the earth. In the spiritual world, conditions do differ from those in the physical world. We expand to the extent of this sphere after having gone through the sphere of Venus. For this sphere, the preparation valid for the sphere of Venus no longer holds good. For the Venus sphere, we may be prepared in such a way that we find contact with all those souls with whom we have established religious fellowship in the life between birth and death. In the sphere of Venus, human beings are so to speak confined in regions like the regions in which on earth peoples, races, live together. Thus there are in the Venus-sphere regions in which those persons find each other who are related through their religious feelings. This is not sufficient for the sphere of the Sun. In the sphere of the Sun the feeling of loneliness prevails if the human being was prepared on earth only for a certain kind of religious feeling in his soul. In the sphere of the Sun, a person is a social being only when he has developed, in the best sense of the word, an understanding of every religious feeling; when, so to speak, he has developed a deeper tolerance for all religious Systems on earth. Up to our time, since the Mystery of Golgotha, the exoteric Christian faith has been more or less sufficient, for this Christian faith contains in a certain way, though in quite a different way, an understanding of other systems of religion which far transcends that involved in a limited religious system. We can easily convince ourselves of this. Many other religious systems are still confined to certain regions of the earth, and if we wish to see, we can very easily note how the adherent of Hinduism, of Buddhism; and of other faiths; will indeed speak of the equal validity of all religions and of a wisdom common to all religions ... but if we consider more deeply what he means, we find that he means his own religion exclusively. In the last analysis, he demands of other people that they should acknowledge his own religion. That is what he then calls the equal validity of all religions. Read theosophical periodicals originating in India. There, the East Indian religion is considered the one religion, valid for the world, and those who do not accept this are said not to be honest theosophists. Primitive Christianity from the beginning has not been attuned to this idea, especially where it has become occidental religion. If things were in the Occident as, they are in India, we would have today a religion of Wotan; that would be then, what Hinduism is for the orient. The Occident, however, has not taken up the religion, which has evolved from it, but from the beginning the religion of a founder who has lived outside of the Occident, of the Christ Jesus. Unegotistically, the Occident has received a religion into its very being. That is a difference in principle, and in the very essence of Christianity there lies a true tolerance for every religious system, even though this essence may have been little understood by occidental Christians.
In fact, for the Christian, everyone is a Christian, no matter what he may call himself. And it is nothing but narrow-mindedness, if one wants to spread Christian dogma everywhere. Broad-mindedness is something quite different. If one considers the Hindu, the Chinese, the Buddhist, if one enters into the deeper elements of their being, one will find everywhere the beginnings of Christianity and will stress in everything they themselves think the beginnings of Christianity, without having to mention the name of the Christ. But this more narrow Christianity, as it is given today to man between birth and death, is only one preparation for the sphere of the Sun: another thing is necessary — that which we designate in the right, the true sense, as Theosophy. [Rudolf Steiner was talking to members of the Theosophical Society. — Ed.] It gives us an inner comprehension of all religious systems on earth, of their very essence. If we acquire this understanding here on earth, then we prepare ourselves in the right way for the sphere of the Sun. This understanding of the different religions and of the Mystery of Golgotha, of the Christ impulse, is necessary for us if we are not to become hermits in relation to other human souls and in relation to the spirits of the Higher Hierarchies in the sphere of the Sun, between death and a new birth.
When we come into the sphere of the Sun between death and a new birth, we find there two things. The first thing we find is something we can express only in an image: we find an empty throne, an empty World-Throne. And that which we may seek on this empty World Throne we can find only in the pictures of the Akashic Record. On this throne, which we find empty during the time we pass between death and a new birth, the Christ once sat within the Sun sphere. He expanded into the earth sphere through the Mystery of Golgotha, and since that time the inhabitants of the earth must gain here on earth an understanding of the Christ impulse, and must keep this impulse in their memory. Then they will be able to recognize the image which appears in the Akashic Record while gaining a living experience of the Sun sphere. He who has not attained this understanding here on earth will not recognize who at one time was sitting on the throne, and what is preserved as an image only. And he cannot find his way within the Sun-sphere between death and a new birth. There we see why it is the mission of the souls of men on earth to seek here for themselves the connection with the Mystery of Golgotha as we seek it in our spiritual movement. Through this, we keep between death and a new birth the memory of the Christ Impulse, and do not become hermits in the sphere of the Sun, but social beings, by reason of the forces which we have taken with us; so that in a way, by our own strength which we brought with us, we bring to life the image — which is now merely an image in the Sun-sphere — of the Christ. And we must take so much strength with us from the time on earth that this strength remains with us also for the subsequent time, and cannot be lost.
We find a second thing in this sphere of the Sun, a second throne: and it is now occupied by a real being, by Lucifer. And so, between death and a new birth, when we have reached the sphere of the Sun as it has been described, we feel ourselves on the one hand in the presence of Christ, on the other in the presence of Lucifer. If we had not received the Christ impulse, Lucifer alone would have to become our leader. But if we have received the Christ impulse, then we are, on the far voyage through the universe, under the leadership on the one hand of the Christ impulse, on the other of Lucifer; for we also need him for the ensuing times. We also need Lucifer, for he leads us in the right way through the lower spheres of the universe, at first as far as the Mars-sphere.
That is the next sphere to which we expand between death and new birth. In order that Lucifer may lead us in such a way as is fitting for us men, we must have the Christ impulse as a counterbalance; then the Lucifer impulse is salutory for us; otherwise it is evil for us. Another thing has become necessary: in the sphere of Mars, we must have the possibility of taking into account, with our whole being, certain changes which have occurred on Mars in the course of recent centuries. These changes may be described in about the following way. Every heavenly body is related to every other heavenly body through the agency of certain forces; all heavenly bodies stand in a certain relation to the earth. From them the forces radiate. In fact, from Mars and its sphere not only does the light effect radiate, which comes to the earth, but from it also spiritual forces radiate. If we go back to earlier centuries, we find that the forces radiated from Mars which inspired men to that which human beings needed in earlier times: physical forces, to further the evolution of mankind. It is not merely a myth but an occult truth that what has developed as warlike force and warlike complication in the world, what has made man energetic, courageous through centuries and millennia, stems from an influx of the forces of Mars. But such is the life of a planet that its forces go through an ascending and a descending development. And Mars has changed in a certain way its mission during the last centuries. The warlike forces that are developed now are the ebbing warlike life of the previous centuries; new life from inciting forces of Mars does not flow in any longer. For at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Mars had reached a decisive point, a point which, in the life of Mars, may only be compared to the time when the earth had come to a decisive point, the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. It is a fact of immense importance upon which we touch here. Mars went through a decisive period. That fact was known within the earth-mysteries, in which the decision is made for the great spiritual concerns of earth-existence. That is to say, since the twelfth century, the decisive preparations have been made within the mystery development of the earth in order to take into account the change in the Mars-sphere. The forces which Mars was to send out to bring courage and energy to earth, were past for Mars: they were no longer destined to penetrate to the earth. But by the fact that Mars has gone through such a crisis, there came a change for the souls who live between death and a new birth, in the experiences they would have to go through in the Mars-sphere after death. That is to say: When man goes beyond the sphere of the Sun, forces radiate into the essence of his soul, forces which already have a significance for the next incarnation. The soul who passed through the sphere of Mars in the early times, before the seventeenth century, came into contact with those forces which permeated it with courage and energy. Lucifer was the leader to the sources of courage and energy. But the souls who came in later times could no longer find the characteristic forces: Mars was then going through its crisis. Where, within the Mysteries, the great spiritual decisions are made, there one does not take into consideration merely human life between birth and death, but also its salvation or perdition between death and a new birth; that is, in the Mysteries one sees to it that those things are infused into the spiritual culture of mankind which cause the souls after death to go through the different spheres in the right way.
If we wish to comprehend the meaning of the happenings in the Mars-sphere, we must consider the following. A great decisive matter confronts the Rosicrucian Mysteries because one had to consider that for the development of the earth, very special times were ahead: the times of external material culture, of external material triumphs. We cannot oppose these: though they bring nothing spiritual, we must of necessity experience this time of machines, airplanes, and other inventions. But these times bring a kind of death of the soul. We cannot oppose them, we must gain a living experience of them. — The materialistic era had to come, but it always was the endeavour of higher spiritual beings to create a counter-balance against this materialistic era. When we consider all that has come to light in the development of the earth as a counter-balance against materialism, we have as the last and most significant phenomenon Francis of Assisi; that Francis of Assisi who, in his entity as Francis of Assisi, turned away from all external life, who led in Assisi that life which is known to you and which has been painted so wonderfully by Giotto on the walls of the church of Assisi ... so that even today when these pictures have been painted over so often, life yet radiates movingly from the walls. And even though that place also has gone through a development tending toward materialism, we will have to say: the region around the town of Assisi still is pervaded by the spiritual atmosphere of Francis, that atmosphere which has assimilated the elements of a life alien to the world, but on intimate terms with the soul, not merely with the human soul, but with the soul of Nature. In the cycle Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy you may read that wonderful poem into which Francis of Assisi poured what he felt toward the soul of Nature and of Nature's beings. One may say that no poet has found more beautiful accents, and perhaps only Goethe has found again accents as beautiful about the life of Nature. What is the cause of all this? The cause of all this is the fact that Francis of Assisi in his previous incarnation, in the seventh, eighth century, in a Mystery School near the Black Sea, was the pupil of an individuality who was no longer incarnated in a physical body.
This is a noteworthy matter. Francis of Assisi, in his immediately preceding incarnation, had lived in this School of Mysteries, and with other disciples he was a disciple of a being who then worked only in the spiritual body among the pupils including Francis of Assisi. And this was none other than the Buddha, who we know was incarnated for the last time as Gautama Buddha. Nevertheless, he continued to be active in the spiritual body. We know that as a spiritual being he was present at the birth of the child Jesus of St. Luke's Gospel. He has continued to be active in the School in which Francis of Assisi lived in his previous incarnation. There the latter assimilated the impulses of his life so intimately associated with the soul, of that life which was to lead men away from everything that was to spread out on earth, which was to lead away from the purely materialistic life. And all this remained in Francis of Assisi. We see the after-effects of this in the Francis of Assisi incarnation. But it could not come about that on earth, in the era which had the materialistic mission, many souls should join a Francis of Assisi community. Those could not do this who had to progress with the time. So, in a way, a conflict was created. It could not come about that on one side there was only exterior, material culture, on the other disciples of Francis of Assisi. Although Francis of Assisi is great and powerful, on the one side, yet on the other the rules he gave could not be of use for ensuing times. How only could it come about? What had to happen on earth?
This has been established in significant perspectives in the Rosicrucian Mysteries since the twelfth century. There it was said; The human being will have to work with the earthly body, will have to gain a living experience in an external way of the material existence between birth and death, and he will have to go along with the triumphs of this material existence. But for every soul who becomes inured, intimate with material existence, a possibility must be created to have, with part of its nature, an understanding for the inner experience of that which lies in the teachings of Francis of Assisi. It is precisely this which constitutes the essence of progress of souls on earth: that these souls must increasingly develop so to speak two natures, the farther they go into the future; that we with the organs of our soul shall be able to take hold of the impulses of existence on earth, so that we may become familiar with them; but that we should be able to develop within ourselves moments and hours in which we can be given over in solitude to the life of the soul itself. While we become more open to the world and more familiar with it, we must at the same time have hours when we can become familiar with our soul. While on the one hand we follow Edison, we must be able to become quietly, in our hearts, disciples of Francis of Assisi or of his great teacher, the Buddha. Thus every human being must be able to feel even if he is being pushed into material life. And for this development the preparation had to be given in the Rosicrucian Mysteries. Christian Rosenkreuz had the mission to care for it.
How can all this be brought about? Only through the fact that a certain period of the life between death and a new birth may be used for the soul in a very definite way. They said to themselves in the Rosicrucian Mysteries: Mars, so to speak, loses his old task; let us give him a new one. — With the beginning of the seventeenth century, at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Buddha who had apart from this completed his last incarnation on earth, was sent to Mars, to the sphere of Mars, and one may say, speaking quite correctly: At that precise time the Buddha accomplished for Mars something similar to what the Christ accomplished on earth — only in a larger measure — in the Mystery of Golgotha. That which had always emanated from Mars, and was part of its essence, that very thing the Buddha transformed by his sacrifice. He transformed the whole nature and essence of Mars. For Mars, the Buddha has become the great Redeemer. It was a sacrifice for him. You only have to remember how the Buddha arose to the point of expounding the doctrine of giving the message of universal peace, of harmonious existence. He was then transferred into that planetary sphere from which the force of aggressiveness originated. He, the Prince of Peace, crucified himself, so to speak, though not through the Mystery of Golgotha. In this way, something else is brought into the Mars-sphere: Mars is permeated by the essence of the Buddha. As on earth the substance of the Christ has flowed out from the Mystery of Golgotha, so the peace substance of the Buddha flows into the Mars-sphere, and since then is in the Mars-sphere.
It was thus that they spoke within the Rosicrucian Mystery. In consequence of the sending of the Buddha, human souls could live for some time between death and a new birth in the sphere of Mars, after they had found themselves in the Sun-sphere and had borne the Christ Impulse up to that sphere. After the soul has entered there through the right permeation with the Christ Impulse, and through the guidance of Lucifer, the soul comes out farther into the sphere of Mars; and precisely in our time, an event occurs in the Mars-sphere, which previously could not take place: the souls are permeated by that which no longer can occur on earth, — they are permeated by the Buddha — Francis of Assisi — element. Between death and a new birth each soul — if it is prepared in the right way — can go through that which has become living experience on earth, as in a last blossoming, in the soul-life of Francis of Assisi, but which since that time cannot have a proper home on earth. The human soul by experiencing the sphere of Buddha in the life between death and a new birth can acquire there the strength that will enable it to do what has just been said: it may enter by a new birth into a purely material existence, may be thrown into a terrestrial existence which will be more and more materialistic, and yet will be able to develop forces in another part of the entity of the soul so that it may be given up to the world of the spirit and of the soul. This is the truth about the secrets which are hidden between death and a new birth.
Then, we expand farther and farther into the reaches of the stars, to Jupiter, Saturn, and farther. What has been described now, occurs only, in fact, with the most advanced souls. Those souls which have not fulfilled the conditions and will not fulfil them until later — such souls, in the life between death and a new birth, come into contact only with the spheres nearest the earth. They also go through the other spheres, but in a certain unconscious state akin to sleep. In the outer spheres, in the spheres beyond the sun, the forces are gathered which man must acquire in order to be able to work, to collaborate, in building up a new body as he approaches a new birth. What man consists of has not merely been acquired on earth. It is the greatest short-sightedness of materialists to believe now that man is a creature of the earth. If man builds himself up in this way with the forces which are given to him, if he builds himself up in the most comprehensive meaning of the word, these constructive forces are cosmic forces which man first had to acquire for himself. While expanding, between death and a new birth, to the Sun-sphere, he still has contact with the forces which are after-effects from his previous life. The forces he needs in order to work into the sphere of the earth whatever can construct his physical body out of the surrounding spheres, those forces he must extract from the forces which meet him outside of the Sun-sphere. The human being really must expand into the cosmos between death and a new birth; he then must live with the cosmos, for on earth alone the forces are lacking which really can bring forth the human being. No new human being ever could result from the human germ which originates from the combination of the two sexes, if the following were not to take place.
There is in existence this small human germ. With this human germ unites something immeasurably great and significant, something which had first expanded in a mysterious way into infinite reaches of the world, and then contracted again. After man expands to the spheres of the stars, he begins to contract again. He goes through the spheres of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Moon, becoming ever smaller and smaller. And as he grows smaller, he takes into himself the spiritual forces of the cosmos. And he grows ever smaller and smaller. And that which is finally compressed, compacted into a small spiritual globe, that has been actually condensed from an immense dilution. And this now unites with the physical globe which is the germ cell, and fertilizes it by forces from the spiritual realms. Thus we see how man enters existence by birth.
After having gone through his previous death, he expanded into the distant spaces of the universe, became so to speak a giant globe. In spirit, he was together with spiritual beings and facts; then he compresses himself again, becomes ever smaller and smaller, until the time has come when, by the forces inherent in him, lie unites with physical matter. That which forms, together with the human germ cell, the human body, has been brought in from the cosmos. From this human germ cell, even if it were fertilized, nothing could result that might live on earth, if the compressed spirit-globe could not unite with it; this can be ascertained by occult investigation. And what only could result from this human germ-cell? From it only the foundation for the senses and the nervous system could result, but nothing that is capable of living, such as the body of man which must build itself up around the senses and the nervous system; the former does not originate with father and mother. Earth can give the forces for the senses, the nervous system. What grows organically around them, must be brought in from the cosmos. And when finally the time comes when a new science will grasp the processes in the human germ-cell according to the application of occult knowledge, then human beings who think clearly will be able to understand what they now cannot grasp in any scientific presentation. Whether you read Haeckel's sparkling discussions of this matter, or others, you will find everywhere that things are not understandable by themselves. What one does not know is the fact that a third force unites with that which comes from father and mother. The third force comes in from the cosmos. Only one certain group of people know — or today we may say, knew — of this secret, but this state of affairs is coming to an end now. Children and their nurses and educators mention it — or, at least it was mentioned, when they related that the stork or some other sort of being brings in an element by which human beings can enter the world. That is only a metaphoric expression for a spiritual occurrence, but it is more intelligent than what intelligent people maintain today. For our time, however, it is regarded as enlightened to explain human conditions in a materialistic way. This metaphoric presentation really still should have an effect on the children's souls, on their imagination! People do say: The children no longer believe in the stork — because those who tell this fairy-tale no longer believe it themselves. But those who today become anthroposophists believe in the stork, and they will soon find that in this metaphoric presentation a good interpretation is given of spiritual happenings.
Thus we have contemplated the cosmic aspect of life between death and a new birth; the day after tomorrow we will more particularly touch upon the human aspect of practical life.
But now we will consider one more thing. Kant once, following truly, one might say, an inspiration, made this significant statement:
“Two things have made a great impression on me: the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.”
This statement may seem significant to the occultist. For what is the strange relation that exists between the starry sky and that which is best in the life of our soul? Both are one and the same. We expand between death and a new birth as far as the starry sky, and we bring its forces into life and feel them as the most significant forces of our soul. No wonder! We are, indeed, the external images of the heavens. We look up to the starry sky where we were between death and a new birth, and we see that which we have taken into ourselves. No wonder that we feel at one with that which lives in us as guidance for the life of our soul and that which radiates into us from the starry sky, and which we feel effective in us when we appeal to the deepest life of our soul. The starry sky is one and the same with us, and we with it, when we contemplate our existence as a whole.
Thus we must tell ourselves that such an anthroposophical contemplation does not merely give us that which we may call understanding, knowledge, in the usual every-day meaning. It really gives us moral strength and support in the feeling that the whole universe lives in us. And gradually we see ourselves permeated by the universe when we go through life between death and a new birth. Truly, it is hidden to the external eye, this life between death and a new birth; but that also is hidden which in the depth of our soul's existence drives us, impels us. And yet it is in us, it is effective in us and gives us our strength, this our best being. We carry the heavens within us because we experience them before we enter into our physical existence. We then feel the obligation to make ourselves worthy of these heavens which have done so much for us that we owe to them our entire inner being.
More of this the day after to-morrow, when we shall contemplate life more under the aspect of man, and from a point of view which affects rather the practical activity of life.