Secrets of the Threshold
25 August 1913, Munich
You will have seen that the soul experiences of those who appear in The Souls' Awakening take place on the boundary between the physical sense world and the super-sensible spiritual worlds. It is of great significance to the science of the spirit to seize this border region with the inner eye, for it is only natural that at first everything of the super-sensible world that the human soul can experience is an unknown territory from the viewpoint of our faculties and soul experiences in the physical sense world.
When a person has become familiar with the spiritual world by means of the various methods we have apprehended, that is, when the soul has learned to observe, explore and perceive outside the physical body, then such existence and perception in the spiritual world makes it necessary for the soul to develop quite special capacities, special strengths. When during its earth existence the soul is striving towards clairvoyant consciousness, whether already clairvoyant or wishing to become so, it should of course be able to stay outside the body in the spiritual world and then as an earth being come back again into the physical body, living as a human earth person, a normal sense-being within the sense world.
We may therefore say that the soul in becoming clairvoyant must be able to move in the spiritual world according to its laws, and it must ever and again be able to step back over the threshold into the physical sense world, behaving here — to put it in plain terms — correctly and sensibly. Since the faculties of the soul for the spiritual world must be and are different from those the soul employs for the physical senses and the rest of the physical body, the soul has definitely to acquire mobility, if it wants to become clairvoyant. Then it can perceive and take in the spiritual world with the necessary faculties for it, returning across the border and now experiencing the sense world with what is necessary here. The gaining of this adaptability, the capacity of transformation, is never easy. If we are to estimate correctly, however, the differences between the spiritual and physical sense world, we must keep clearly within our mind's eye precisely this border region between the two worlds and the threshold itself over which the soul must pass when it wants to leave one world and enter the other. We shall see in the course of these lectures how injurious it can be for the soul in many different ways to carry the habits of one world into the other, when — in one or the other direction — the threshold has to be crossed.
Our conduct when passing over this threshold is made especially difficult by the presence of beings within the world order that play a certain role in the happenings shown in The Souls' Awakening and the other dramas: the luciferic and the ahrimanic beings. Indeed, in order to gain the right relationship to the transition between one and the other world that we've been speaking about, it is necessary to know how to conduct ourselves in the right way towards both kinds of beings, the luciferic and the ahrimanic. Now it would certainly be convenient — and this solution is chosen at least theoretically by very many souls — to say: “Yes, indeed, Ahriman seems to be a dangerous fellow. If he has such an influence on the world and on human affairs, the simplest thing to do is to banish from the human soul all the impulses that come from him.” This might seem to be the most convenient solution, but to the spiritual world it would be about as sensible as if someone, in order to restore the balance to a pair of scales, were to take off whatever was weighing down the lower one. These beings we call Ahriman and Lucifer are right here in the world, they have their task in the universal order, and one cannot sweep them away. Besides, it is not a question of annihilating them, but — as in the case of the weights on both sides of the scales — the ahrimanic and luciferic forces must balance each other in their influence on human beings and on other beings. We do not bring about the true activity of any of the various forces by removing it but by placing ourselves in the right relationship to it. We have the wrong attitude to these luciferic and ahrimanic beings if we simply say that they are bad and harmful. Although these powers rebel in a certain sense against the general order of the universe — which had already been designed before they entered it — this does not stem from the fact that they invariably have to exercise a harmful activity, but rather that — like the others whom we have met as lawful members of the higher worlds — they have a definite sphere of activity in the sum total of the universe. Their opposition to and rebellion against the cosmic order consists in their going beyond their own sphere; they exert beyond this sphere the forces they should employ only within their lawful domain. From this standpoint let us consider Ahriman or the ahrimanic beings.
We can best characterize Ahriman by saying: he is the Lord of Death, far and wide the ruler of all the powers that have to bring about in the physical sense world what this world has to have, the annihilation and death of its entities. Death in the sense world is a necessary part of its organization, for otherwise the beings in it would accumulate to excess, if destruction of life were not at hand. The task of regulating this in a lawful way fell to Ahriman from the spiritual world; he is the ruler of the ordering of death. His sovereign domain is the mineral world, a world that is utterly dead. One can say that death is poured out over the whole of the mineral world. Furthermore, because our earth world is constituted as it is, the mineral world and its laws pervade all the other kingdoms of nature. Plants, animals, human beings — all are permeated, as far as they belong to the earth, by the mineral; they absorb the mineral substances and, with them, all the forces and laws of the mineral kingdom; they are subject to these laws insofar as they are part of the being of the earth. Therefore whatever belongs justifiably to death extends also into the higher regions of the lawful rule of Ahriman. In what surrounds us as external nature, Ahriman is the rightful Lord of Death and should not be regarded as an evil power but as one whose influence in the general world order is fully legitimate. We will enter into a right relationship with the sense world only when we bring a creditable interest to bear upon it, when our interest in the sense world is so reasonable that we can see everything in it without greedily demanding eternal life for any of its physical forms; on the contrary, that we can do without them when they meet their natural death. To be able to rejoice rightly in the things of the sense world but not to be so dependent on them as to contradict the laws of death and decay — this is the right relationship of the human being to the sense world. To bring about this right relationship to growth and decay, the human being has the impulses of Ahriman within himself; for this reason they pulsate in him.
Ahriman, however, can overstep his bounds. In the first place, he can so far overdo that he sets to work on human thinking. A man who does not see into the spiritual world and has no understanding of it will not believe that Ahriman can put his fingers upon human thinking in a very real way — nevertheless, he does! Insofar as human thinking lives in the sense world, it is bound to the brain, which according to universal law is subject to decay. Ahriman has to regulate the passage of the human brain towards decay, but when he oversteps his territory, he develops the tendency to loosen this human thinking from its mortal instrument, the brain, in order to make it independent. He tries to detach the physical thinking directed to the sense world from the physical brain, into whose current of decay this thinking should merge when the human being passes through the gate of death. Ahriman has the tendency, when he admits man as a physical being into the stream of death, to snatch his thinking out of the current of decay. Throughout a man's whole life Ahriman is always fastening his claws into this thinking activity and working on the human being so that his thinking will tear itself away from destruction. Because Ahriman is active in this way in human thinking and because men bound to the sense world naturally perceive only the effects of the spiritual beings, those who are thus in the clutches of Ahriman feel the impulse to wrench their thinking out of its place in the great cosmic order. The result is the materialistic frame of mind; this is the reason men want to apply their thinking only to the sense world, and the people who refuse to believe in a spiritual world are the ones particularly obsessed by Ahriman: it is he who enters their thinking and prevails upon its remaining in the sense world. First of all, if a person has not become a practical occultist, the result for his inner attitude will be that he becomes a rank, coarse-grained materialist who wants to know nothing about spiritual matters. It is Ahriman who has enticed him into this, only he doesn't notice it. For Ahriman, however, the process is the following: when he succeeds in severing the physical thinking from its brain-bound foundation, he throws shadows and phantoms out into the world which swarm then through the physical world; with these, Ahriman is continually trying to establish a special ahrimanic kingdom.
Unremittingly he lies in wait when man's thinking is about to pass into the stream wherein man himself will journey through the gate of death; there Ahriman lurks, on the watch to snatch away and hold back as much of this thinking as possible, and to form out of it, to tear from its mother-soil, shadows and phantoms that will people the physical world. Occultly observed, these phantoms drift around in the physical world disturbing the universal order; they are creations that Ahriman brings about in the way just described. We will have the right feeling for Ahriman when we appreciate his lawful impulses, for when he lets them enter our souls, we have a correct relationship to the sense world. However, we must be watchful that he does not tempt us in the way I have indicated. Certainly the policy some people choose is more convenient when they say: “Very well, we shall push every ahrimanic impulse out of our souls.” But nothing will be accomplished with this dislodgment except that the other side of the scales will be brought right down — and whoever through mistaken theories succeeds in driving ahrimanic impulses out of his soul falls prey to those of Lucifer.
This shows itself particularly when people, shying away from the right relationship to the ahrimanic powers, despise the sense world and root out their joy in it. Then they reject their former good relationship and in order not to become attached to it, they crush all their interest in the physical world. With this comes a false asceticism, which in its turn offers the most powerful handle to the entrance of the unlawful luciferic impulses. The history of asceticism could very well be written by presenting it as a continuous allurement of Lucifer. In false asceticism a person exposes himself to this kind of seduction because instead of rightly balancing the scales, using thus the polarity of forces, he does away with one side altogether.
However, when the human being makes a correct estimate of the physical sense world, Ahriman is fully justified. The mineral world is his very own kingdom, the kingdom over which death is poured out continuously. In the higher kingdoms of nature Ahriman is the regulator of death insofar as he affects the course of events and the creatures lawfully. What we can trace as super-sensible in the external world, we call for certain reasons spiritual; what is more active inwardly within the human being, we assign to the soul. Ahriman is a more spiritual being; Lucifer is more soul nature. Ahriman can be called the lord of all that takes place in external nature; Lucifer penetrates with his impulses into the inner nature of man.
Now there is also a lawful task belonging to Lucifer, one quite in accordance with the universal cosmic order. In a certain way Lucifer's task is to tear man and everything in the world pertaining to the soul away from living and being absorbed in the physical-sensory alone. If there were no luciferic power in the world, we would dream along in the perceptions streaming into us from the external world and in what comes to us from that world through the intellect. That would be a kind of dreaming away of human soul existence within the sense world. There are indeed impulses which will not tear our souls away from the sense world as long as they are bound temporarily to it but which raise our souls to a different sort of living, feeling and rejoicing from the kind the sense world can offer. We need merely to think of what humanity has been seeking as artistic development. Wherever the human being creates something through his imagination and his soul life of feeling, no longer clinging dully to the sense world but rising above it, Lucifer is the power that tears him out of that world. A large part of what is uplifting and liberating in the artistic development of mankind is inspired by Lucifer. We can designate something else as the inspiration of Lucifer: the human being has the chance through luciferic powers to free his thinking from a mere photograph-like copying of the sense world; he can raise himself above this in freedom, which he does, for instance, in his philosophy. From this point of view, all philosophizing is the inspiration of Lucifer. One could even write a history of the philosophical development of mankind, insofar as this is not pure positivism — that is, does not keep to the external materialistic — and could say: the history of the development of philosophy is a continual testimony to the inspiration of Lucifer. All creative work, in fact, that rises above the sense world we owe to Lucifer's rightful activities and powers.
However, Lucifer too can overstep his domain, and the rebellion of the luciferic beings against the cosmic order is due to their overstepping their place. Lucifer has the tendency continually to do this by contaminating the feeling life of the soul. Ahriman has more to do with our thinking, Lucifer with the feelings, with the life of the emotions, passions, impulses and desires. Lucifer is lord over everything of soul feeling in the physical sense world. He has the tendency to detach and separate this feeling life of the soul from the physical world, to spiritualize it, and to set up, one can say, on a specially isolated island of spiritual existence a luciferic kingdom composed of all the soul feeling he can seize and carry off from the sense world. Whereas Ahriman wants to hold back thinking to the physical sense world and make shadows and phantoms of it, visible to elementary clairvoyance as floating, wafting shadows, Lucifer does the opposite: he takes what is soul feeling in the physical sense world, tears it out and puts it in a special luciferic kingdom set up as an isolated kingdom similar to his own nature, in opposition to the general cosmic order.
We can form an idea about how Lucifer can get at human beings in this way by considering with all our heart and soul a phenomenon in human life that we will speak about later in more detail: the phenomenon of love in the widest sense of the word, the foundation of a true moral life in the world order of humanity. Concerning love in its widest sense, the following has to be said: when love appears in the physical sense world and has its effect on human life, it is absolutely protected from every unlawful luciferic attack if the love is for another person and for that other person's own sake. When we are met by some other human being or by one belonging to another kingdom of nature in the physical world, that being meets us with certain qualities. If we are freely receptive to these qualities, if we are capable of being moved by them, they then command our love and we cannot help loving that other being. We are moved by the other being to love it.
Where the cause of love lies not in the one who loves but in the object of love, this form and kind of love in the sense world is absolute proof against every luciferic influence. But now if you observe human life, you will soon see that another kind of love is playing its part, in which a person loves because he himself has certain qualities that feel satisfied, or charmed, or delighted, when he can love this or that other being. Here he loves for his own sake; he loves because his disposition is thus or so, and this particular disposition finds its satisfaction in loving someone else.
This love, which one can call egoistic love, must also exist. It really has to be present in mankind. Everything we can love in the spiritual world, all the spiritual facts, everything that love can cause to live in us as a longing for and an impulse upwards into the spiritual world, to comprehend the beings of the spiritual world, to perceive the spiritual world: all this springs naturally from a sentient love for that world. This love for the spiritual, however, must — not may but must — come about necessarily for our own sake. We are beings whose roots are in the spiritual world. It is our duty to make ourselves as perfect as we can. For our own sake we must love the spiritual world in order to draw as many forces as possible out of it into our own being. In spiritual love a personal, individual element — we can call it egoistic — is fully justified, for it detaches man from the sense world; it leads him upwards into the spiritual world; it leads him on to fulfill the necessary duty of continually bringing himself further and further towards perfection.
Now Lucifer has the tendency to interchange the two worlds with each other. In human love whenever a person loves in the physical sense world for himself with a trace of egoism, it occurs because Lucifer wants to make physical love similar to spiritual love. He can then root it out of the physical sense world and lead it into his own special kingdom. This means that all love that can be called egoistic and is not there for the sake of the beloved but for the sake of the one who loves, is exposed to Lucifer's impulses.
If we consider what has been said, we will see that in this modern materialistic culture there is every reason to point out these luciferic allurements in regard to love, for a great part of our present-day outlook and literature, especially that of medicine, is permeated by the luciferic conception of love. We would have to touch on a rather offensive subject if we were to treat this in greater detail. The luciferic element in love is actually cherished by a large section of our medical science; men are told again and again — for it is the male world especially pandered to in this — that they must cultivate a certain sphere of love as necessary for their health, that is, necessary for their own sake. A great deal of advice is given in this direction and certain experiences in love recommended that do not spring from a love for the other being but because they are presumed indispensable in the life of the male. Such arguments — even when they are clothed in the robes of science — are nothing but inspirations of the luciferic element in the world; a large portion of science is penetrated simply by luciferic points of view. Lucifer finds the best recruits for his kingdom among those who allow such advice to be given to them and who believe that it is imperative for the well-being of their person. It is absolutely necessary for us to know such things. Those words I quoted yesterday must be emphasized again and again: People never notice the devil, either in luciferic or ahrimanic form, even when he has them by the collar! People do not see that the materialistic scientist who gives the advice just mentioned is under the yoke of Lucifer. They deny Lucifer because they deny all the spiritual worlds.
We see therefore that what is great and sublime on the one hand, what carries and uplifts the evolution of humanity depends on Lucifer. Mankind must understand how to keep the impulses that come from him in their rightful place. Wherever Lucifer makes his appearance as the guardian of beauty and glory, as the patron of artistic impulses, there arises in humanity from his activity great and sublime power. But there is also a shadow-side to Lucifer's activity. He tries everywhere to tear the emotional side of the soul away from the sense organism and make it independent, permeated with egoism and egotism. Thus there enters into the emotional soul nature the element of self-will and other such tendencies. A person can then form for himself in freewheeling activity — with a generous hand, one can say — all sorts of ideas about the universe. How many people indulge in philosophizing, shake it out of their sleeves, without troubling themselves in the least as to whether their speculations are in accord with the general course of universal order! These eccentric philosophers are actually found in great numbers all over the world. In love with their own ideas, they fail to counterbalance the luciferic element with the ahrimanic one that always asks whether everything man acquires by his thinking in the physical sense world actually squares with the laws of the physical world. So we see these people running around with their opinions, which are just a lot of fanatic enthusiasms incompatible with the cosmic order. It is from the shadow side of the luciferic impulse that all these fanatic enthusiasms, the egoistic and confused opinions, the eccentric ideas and false, extravagant idealism arise. Most significantly, however, it is on the borderland or threshold between the sensible and the super-sensible that these luciferic and ahrimanic elements confront us, when we look with the eyes of clairvoyant consciousness.
When the human soul takes on the task of making itself capable of looking into the spiritual world and gaining insight there, it takes on itself, more than anything else, a task that otherwise is carried out by the subconscious guidance of soul life. Nature and its laws take care that in everyday life man does not often transfer the customs and regulations of one kingdom into another; the natural order would be entirely out of control if the separate worlds were to get mixed up together. We emphasized a moment ago that love for the spiritual world must evolve in such a way that the human being develops in himself first and foremost an all-pervasive inner strength, as well as a craving for self-improvement. He has to fix his eye on himself when he nurtures his love for the spiritual world. If, however, he transfers to the senses the kind of ardour that can guide him in the spiritual world to what is most sublime, it will lead him into what is most detestable. There are people who have in their outward physical experience and in their everyday activities no special interest in the spiritual world. It is said such people today are not uncommon. But nature does not permit us to use the ostrich strategy in her affairs. The ostrich strategy, as you know, consists in the bird sticking his head in the sand and believing that the things he doesn't see are not there. Materialistic minds believe that the spiritual world is not there; they do not see it. They are true ostriches.
Nevertheless, in the depths of their souls, the craving for the spiritual world does not cease to exist merely because they deaden themselves and deny its reality. It is actually there. In every human soul, however materialistic, the desire and love for the spiritual world is alive, but people who deaden their soul nature are unconscious of the craving.
There is a law that something repressed and deadened at one point will break out at another. The consequence of the repression of the egoistic impulse towards the spiritual world is that it thrusts itself into the sensual desires. The kind of love due the spiritual world hurls itself away from there into the sensual impulses, passions and desires, and these impulses become perverse. The perversity of the sensual impulses and their repellent abnormalities are the mirror image of what could be noble virtues in the spiritual world, were human beings to use for the spiritual world all the forces poured out into the physical world. We must consider this seriously: what finds expression in the sense world as loathsome impulses could — if they were used in the spiritual world — accomplish there something of the most sublime character. This is immensely significant.
You see how in this regard the sublime is changed into the horrible when the boundary between the physical sense world and the super-sensible world is not observed or valued in the right way. Clairvoyant consciousness should develop so that the clairvoyant soul can live in the super-sensible worlds according to the laws of those worlds; then it must be able to return to its life in the body without letting itself be led astray in the everyday physical sense world by the laws of the super-sensible worlds.
Suppose a soul could not do this — then the following would take place. We shall see that the soul in passing the boundary region between one world and the other learns most of all how to conduct itself in the right way through meeting the Guardian of the Threshold. But suppose a soul, having made itself clairvoyant (this can very well happen) had through various circumstances become clairvoyant without rightfully meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold. Such a soul could see into the super-sensible worlds clairvoyantly and have perceptions there, but it would return then to the physical sense world after entering wrongfully the spiritual world and merely nibbling at dainties there. Such eaters of sweet things in the spiritual world are numerous and it can truly be said that nibbling there is far more serious than it is in the sense world. After nibbling at the spiritual world, it happens very often that a person takes back into the sense world what he has experienced, but the experience shrinks and condenses. A clairvoyant of this kind, one who does not conduct himself according to the laws of the universal order, returns to the physical sense world bringing with him the condensed pictures and impressions of the super-sensible worlds. He will no longer merely look out and ponder the physical world but while he lives within his physical body he will have before him the after-effects of the spiritual world in pictures quite similar to those of sense except that they have no relation to reality, are only illusions, hallucinations, dream pictures.
A person who is able to look in the right way into the spiritual world will never again confuse reality and the fantastic. In this the philosophy of Schopenhauer, in so far as it is erroneous, refutes itself. In the case of its greatest mistake — that our whole environment is nothing but our mental picture — it refutes itself even in the sense world. If you press Schopenhauer's statement, it will show itself up as a fallacy, for you will be guided by life itself to distinguish between iron heated to 900 degrees that is actually perceptible and the imagined iron of 900 degrees that will cause no pain. Life itself reveals the difference between reality and fancy when one lives in the real world with the capacities belonging to it. Even Kant's statement by which he formulated his so-called proof of God, that is, that a hundred imagined dollars are just as valuable as a hundred real ones — that, too, will be contradicted by life. Certainly a hundred imagined dollars contain just as many pennies as a hundred real ones, but for all that there is a difference that comes strongly to the fore in real life. I would recommend anyone who considers Kant's statement to be correct to try to pay a hundred dollar debt with imagined currency; he will notice the difference at once.
If this is the case in the physical sense world when one really stands firmly in it and observes its laws, it is the same for the super-sensible worlds. If one only nibbles at the latter, one will have no protection against mistaking illusion for truth; when the pictures shrink and condense, one takes what should be merely picture for reality. The sweets, too, that such a person carries within himself out of the spiritual world are a special booty for Ahriman to pounce on. From what he can pull out of ordinary human thinking he gets only airy shadows, but — to put it plainly — he gets well padded shadows and plump phantoms when he presses out of human body-individualities (as well as he can) the false illusory pictures created by nibbling on the sly in the spiritual world. In this ahrimanic fashion the physical sense world is populated by spiritual shades and phantoms that offer serious resistance to the general cosmic order.
From all this, we see how the ahrimanic influence can encroach most strongly when it oversteps its boundaries and works against the general cosmic order; it turns to evil, especially in the perversion of its lawful activity.
There is no essential evil. Everything evil arises from this, something that is good in one direction is put to use in the world in another direction and thereby turned into evil. In a somewhat similar way the luciferic influence, the inducement to so much that is noble and sublime, may become dangerous, exceedingly dangerous, particularly to the soul that has become clairvoyant. This happens in just the opposite situation. We looked before at what happens when a soul nibbles at the spiritual world, that is, perceives something there, but then on returning to the physical sense world does not tell itself: “Here you may not use the same kind of thought pictures that are right for the spiritual world.” In this case the soul is exposed in the physical world to the influence of Ahriman. But the opposite can take place. The human soul can carry into the spiritual world what should belong only to the physical sense world, namely the kinds of perception, feeling, and passion that the soul must necessarily develop to a certain degree for the physical world. None of the emotions cultivated here, however, should be carried into the spiritual world if the soul is not to fall victim to the temptations and allurements of Lucifer to an unusual degree.
This is what was attempted to some extent in Scene Nine of The Souls' Awakening in presenting Maria's inmost soul attitude. It would be quite wrong for anyone to require in this scene something as dramatically tumultuous and exciting as what one likes to have in superficial physical drama. If Maria's inner nature were such that at the moment of receiving the memories of the devachanic world and of the Egyptian period, her soul had experienced disturbing passions, disturbing desires, it would have been hurtled back and forth by these waves of emotion. A soul that cannot receive the impulses of the spiritual world with inner calm, in absolute tranquillity, rising above all outward physical drama, will suffer in the spiritual world a fate that I can only render in the following picture: Imagine to yourselves a being made of rubber flying in all directions in a space enclosed on all sides, flying against a wall and thrown back from it, flying against another wall, thrown back again, flying back and forth like this in turbulent movement on the waves of the emotional life. This actually happens to a soul that carries into the spiritual world the kind of perception, feeling and passion belonging to the sense world. Something further happens. It is not pleasant to be thrown back and forth like a rubber ball as if one were in a cosmic prison. Therefore in such a case the soul that is clairvoyant follows chiefly the special policy of the ostrich; as a matter of fact, the soul stupefies itself in regard to this being thrown back and forth; it dulls its consciousness so that it is no longer aware of it. It therefore believes that it is not being thrown back and forth. Lucifer can then come all the closer, because the consciousness is dulled. He lures the soul out and leads it to his isolated kingdom. There the soul can receive its spiritual impressions but, received in this island kingdom, they are completely luciferic.
Because self-knowledge is hard to come by and the soul has the greatest difficulty in becoming clear about certain of its qualities, because, too, people are bent on getting as quickly as possible into the spiritual world, it is not at all to be wondered at that they say to themselves: I am already mature enough; I will of course be able to control my passions. As a matter of fact, it is more easily said than done. There are certain qualities that particularly challenge our control. Vanity, ambition, and similar things sit so deeply entrenched in human souls that it is not easy to admit to oneself: You are vain and ambitious! You want power! When we look into ourselves, we are usually deceived about just those emotions that are the very worst ones. To carry them into the spiritual world means that a person will most easily become the prey of Lucifer. And when he notices how he is thrown hither and thither, he does not willingly say: This comes from ambition or from vanity — but he looks for the way to deaden the soul. Then Lucifer carries him off into his kingdom. There, of course, a person may receive insights but these do not correspond to the cosmic order, which had already been designed before Lucifer began his meddling. 8See Rudolf Steiner, The Guardian of the Threshold, Scene 7. Contained in The Four Mystery Dramas. They are spiritual insights of a thoroughly luciferic nature. He may receive the most extraordinary impressions and judge them to be absolute truths. He may tell people about all sorts of incarnations of this person or that, but these will simply be purely luciferic inspirations.
In order that the right relationship should come about at her “Awakening,” Maria had to be presented, at the moment when the spiritual world was to rush in on her with such vehemence, as a person who could well appear absurd to someone like one of our fine young theater critics. A dainty little modern critic might well say: “After finishing the Egyptian scene, there sat Maria as if she had just had breakfast, experiencing these things without a bit of lively drama.” And yet anything else would be untrue at this stage of her development. Only Maria's quiet calmness can represent the truth of her development, as the rays of spiritual light fall upon the scene. We see from this how much depends on the soul mood, mastering within itself all the emotions and passions that are significant only for the physical sense world, if the soul is to cross the threshold of the spiritual world in the right way; otherwise it will experience there the necessary consequence of what remains of sensual feeling. Ahriman is the more spiritual being; what he carries out in the way of unlawful activity, of the unlawful activity he can create, flows more or less into the general world of the senses. Lucifer is more a being of soul; he tries to draw emotional soul elements out of the sense world and embody them in his special luciferic kingdom, where for every human being — according to the egoism rooted in his nature — Lucifer wants to ensure the greatest possibility of segregated independence.
We see from this that when we want to form a judgment of such beings as Ahriman and Lucifer, it cannot be a question of simply calling them good or bad. Instead we have to understand what is the lawful activity, what is the right domain of these beings and where their unlawful activity, the overstepping of their limits, begins. For through the fact that they go beyond their limits, they entice human beings to an unlawful overstepping of the boundary into the other world, taking with them the faculties and laws of this world. The scenes of The Souls' Awakening deal particularly with what is experienced in passing back and forth across the boundary between the physical sense world and the super-sensible world. In this lecture today I wanted to make a beginning by describing some of the things that must be carefully watched in the borderland between the two worlds. Tomorrow we will go further into this.