Descriptive Sketches of the Spiritual World
11 October 1913, Bergen
When people gradually become interested in the various branches of anthroposophical knowledge, there are many points regarding which they are quite justified in wishing for further information. Let us, therefore, spend part of our time today in asking ourselves questions which might thus arise. In answering such questions one is often obliged to go more deeply into the connection of cosmic facts in so far as the spiritual world affects these facts, and particularly into the connection between these facts and the nature of man. One question may arise in a person's mind when he gradually sees the importance and great significance of what we call reincarnation. He may ask: “How is it that in his ordinary life today man has no recollection of preceding earth-lives?” Clairvoyant consciousness can actually expand the memory to such an extent that recollections of former earth-lives rise to its surface; but in the ordinary life of present-day humanity this does not occur. If the question is put from the standpoint of clairvoyant investigation, however, it takes the following form. It is then realized that the force required for clairvoyant investigation arises from the innermost part of man, from the very soul itself. One must develop from the ordinary human standpoint to the clairvoyant standpoint.
The forces by means of which we look back later at our former earth-lives must naturally exist in every human being. The question, therefore, is: “What becomes of these forces? What does man's nature do with these forces which are present in him, which are born with him, but which he cannot bring to the point of helping him to a retrospective memory of his former earth-life?” If we investigate this clairvoyantly we find ourselves obliged to look for them in very early childhood. There only do we find those forces at work which can be used in clairvoyance for the retrospective vision of former lives. In present-day man they are used to construct the human larynx and all that appertains to it; and especially in all which enables that organ to be used later for speech These forces are in every man, for the purpose of enabling him to look back into earlier earth-lives. But at the present day they are so largely used in constructing man's organ of speech that, under normal circumstances, he cannot in later life have that memory of the past. There were earlier times when man had this retrospective memory and this was the case almost all over the world, but this was because the said forces were not all used in building up the larynx; some were kept back. The development of humanity was such, however, that speech gradually assumed a form which in our present cycle depends more upon the forces of the etheric body than was formerly the case. At the present time, therefore, man fails to observe the forces which remain behind after the greater proportion have been used in building the larynx. If he were to do so, as the clairvoyant must, he would be able to look at his earlier earth-lives. That is the reason for the fact which I indicated in the public lecture: If a man gets so far as to develop that activity of the etheric body which is otherwise only developed for the need of the organ of speech, and releases that from the larynx; if he is gradually able to listen inwardly without speaking, and to develop this feeling more and more, the exercise of that force can really reproduce the memory of past lives. Modern man pays no attention to the surplus forces of his speech-organ which are capable of being used for the retrospect into earlier earth-lives. This is one of those cases in which through clairvoyant investigation one can indicate the place occupied in normal life by those forces which are otherwise used to enable man to have insight into the spiritual life.
This applies also to the forces used by man today in the creation of the so-called grey brain-substance, which principally constitutes the organ of thought. Thinking is, of course, not actually accomplished by the brain; but we need the brain as an instrument of thought. And those thought-forces which, if they were wholly at his disposal, would enable man to grasp with ease what is to be found in my Occult Science, are used by the normal man for the construction of his grey brain-substance. This grey brain-matter was by no means so highly organised in the humanity of ancient Greece in the fifth or sixth century as it is in the average man today. In this respect the nature of man alters much more quickly than is supposed. Thus to the Greeks of the prehistoric times, of the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries B.C., it was quite natural that, at a certain time of life, all that is now again being given out by Spiritual Science should appear to him clairvoyantly. We must, therefore, use those forces which still remain to us after having constructed our grey brain-substance, in endeavouring, in the manner prescribed, to acquire a clear idea of what is described in Occult Science. What is the reason that these things are so described in that book? The descriptions given therein are not too difficult for the man of today to understand; one might almost say that it is a wonder that many people have not of their own accord attained knowledge of them. One might wonder that these descriptions meet with so much antagonism, for it really is not difficult, comparatively speaking, to attain the necessary degree of clairvoyance wherewith to observe them. All one need do is the following: although the saying in Faust may well be applied here: “True 'tis easy; yet what seems easy is still difficult!” The development of the brain is most actively carried on during the early years of human life. Clairvoyantly one sees the etheric and astral bodies actively at work then in constructing and forming the brain. This work lasts for a comparatively long time. It is not too much to say that, although in later years this work proceeds more slowly, yet man becomes cleverer and cleverer through the experience of his life, and work is always going on in his brain-substance. The following is, however, not observed, nor can it be.
If at a definite age man decides to discontinue for a while a mental occupation dear to him (this applies to external matters, because through them the grey brain-substance is moulded, but, of course, one can always study Anthroposophy as long as one does not study it like any other science) — if a man decides to cease studying something which has been his favourite pursuit for many years and strictly compels himself to leave it off, and then in quiet meditation tries to arouse the forces economised in this way — which forces would have been spent in the continued activity, but can now be used otherwise — it will be comparatively easy to attain, at any rate, a high degree of self-knowledge of the things described in my Occult Science. The reason that so few people do so is that this is very seldom carried out; for a man who really has an occupation to which he is devoted will seldom have the power of self-denial deliberately to give it up for seven whole years. You see, then, that part of what is now being given out might be acquired with comparative ease.
If you consider our modern civilization with all its amazing external activities, you cannot wonder that a large amount of the forces belonging to the etheric body has to be employed in the working of man's brain; for, indeed, almost all external culture is the result of the working of the human brain. All the forces are used in working the brain. Many might say: “Well, I have taken no part in this work; I have nothing to do with it!” A man might really deceive himself in this respect, for that is not the case. It is hardly possible to find a spot on earth, however isolated, where external civilisation does not so far penetrate as to compel one to take part in it with one's thoughts, and that will suffice to divert our forces from what we might call the acquisition of clairvoyant consciousness. Of course, someone might say: “Well, but savages take no part in what thus works in the brain, yet one cannot say that the savages develop any special clairvoyant forces in this direction!” That is because of the ruling of a very special spiritual law, which ordains that what may be thus acquired clairvoyantly must have been prepared in a particular way. The savage might perhaps develop completely different clairvoyant forces, but the forces required to see what is described in my Occult Science could not be developed by him, because he has not been prepared for them, for these forces must be the transmutation of other forces.
You may perhaps say: “Well, but many people have never had what you call a favourite occupation. Why, then, have they not become clairvoyant?” The reason is that the development of the clairvoyant forces does not come out of the void, but from the transmutation of what already exists. One must have already developed one's forces in a certain direction, and have acquired the tendency to the particular intelligence which belongs to our modern civilisation. If, then, one renounces the using of these forces for a time, they become, in a sense, transmuted; and one is thereby enabled to follow clairvoyantly the facts Described in Occult Science; for in so doing the same forces are employed which in man's normal development enable him to use the higher forces of the brain. On the other hand, the transmutation of other human forces and faculties lead, not to the great universal viewpoints described in Occult Science, but rather to separate detailed circumstances. For instance, one may acquire the power of looking back into earlier earth-lives by holding back in the same way certain forces otherwise used in forming the organs of speech. Certain forces, which as a rule are not noticed, tend more than all the rest to hinder man from pressing on into the spiritual worlds.
I have now mentioned two kinds of forces which enable man to see into the spiritual worlds: namely, those which are used today in the forming of the grey brain-substance which enables man to see into the spiritual worlds, and those concerned with the formation of speech, which enable him to look back into his former earth-lives. But besides these there are others more adapted to enable man to see in detail what the individual human soul does there; this is described in general in Occult Science, but that is quite different from really seeing into the spiritual world, which necessitates quite other forces, forces hardly noticed during life. There is one thing in life for which man must use many forces, and that is the acquiring of the power of standing upright in early childhood, instead of going about on all fours all his life long. The forces which enable man to assume a vertical position are of such a nature that one who has penetrated into the spiritual world is filled with special reverence for them. To behold how a child learns to walk is a wonderful mystery, as seen by one who undertakes spiritual investigation. From the forces used in childhood when learning to stand upright there remain those which enable us to look into the world between death and a new birth, but these are too little observed. If we can get so far as to remember how we learnt to walk and the efforts we made, we can discover in ourselves the forces we saved up in our etheric body, for that body had especially to exert itself. (There are other methods of discovering these forces, but this is one way.) If we can discover in ourselves the forces we then saved — which still exist in us all — we can thus bring to the surface much which enables us to go back into the life spent between our last death and our last birth. You may ask: How is this done? If we have the good fortune to be able to carry on our Anthroposophical Movement, we shall have made a start towards bringing out these forces. If all goes well, these usually begin to stir after a period of seven years. A beginning has now been made, and this will work on in the nature of man; but as a rule they are unnoticed.
We can generally promote the discovery of these forces in ourselves by practising a certain kind of natural dancing. Not quite a year ago, in certain circles, the movements of the etheric body began to be studied according to certain basic rules, and this art we call Eurhythmy. This does not merely lead to nothing particular, like ordinary dancing, but movements are practised which are in complete accord with the movements of the etheric body. Through practising these movements we become gradually aware of the forces that still remain in that body, and which are brought to light by the free dance movements. In this way means are gradually created by which we can really perceive the undiscovered forces in man which can awaken in him an insight into the spiritual worlds in which he lived between his last death and his birth. In such ways Anthroposophy can really work practically upon human culture. You may be sure that it will not stop at merely teaching a few abstract truths, for it will influence mankind in such a way that it will learn that the forces slumbering today can be aroused, and that man can really raise himself to a realisation of spiritual life. These are curious things, but they must be said, for they are true.
When a man discovers the forces that remain over from his learning to walk, they will enable him to become clairvoyant, and to see into the worlds we inhabit between death and a new birth. This can also be done through meditation, which must, however, be carried so far as to merge into feeling; but feeling is the hardest of all things to acquire through meditation.
Those forces must be found which enable a man to look into the world between death and rebirth, forces by means of which he can contemplate what happened a long time before birth. In this domain there is a great deal which enables one to understand life as never before.
For instance, suppose we meet with misfortune; at first we only have the feeling that it is, indeed, a misfortune, one we find difficult to bear. But if we know why it is that this misfortune has come upon us, by reason of our having ourselves arranged, some decades or even some centuries before our birth, that it should be so, we shall find it easier to bear. We shall know that it was a trial, a means of making us more perfect. Other things, too, are experienced when we are able to look back at that portion of the spiritual worlds in which we undergo the preparation for our present life. I will not now describe the general conditions there; you will find these in my books. But I should like to show, by means of a few examples, how life before birth influences the subsequent life.
Strange as it may sound, w hen we have passed the middle of our prenatal life — which generally lasts several hundreds of years — the inner experience of the soul is chiefly centred on the earth; and when we turn back to that time, the impression We get is full of what was going on in the earth below, and what the human beings on earth thought and felt. Every soul receives impressions peculiar to itself. For instance, a soul may live back into the second half of the spiritual life, when rebirth was drawing near, and see himself looking down more and more on those below, the spiritually active one, preparing for a future age. Some of these may seem to the soul above specially to be admired; indeed, it may occur that the soul above fixes his attention particularly on one or two figures active on the earth below
Suppose a man was born in the second half of the nineteenth century and was therefore in the spiritual worlds at the beginning of that century and end of the preceding one. From thence he looked down at the important persons who influenced our civilization during that time. Among these are a few whom he particularly admired and who were dear to him; for it is one of our experiences thus to look down at the persons developing here. In so doing we actually influence them, not in such a way that we actually interfere with their freedom, but rather so that a feeling arises in their soul that they are being gazed upon by someone in the spiritual world. Thus human beings on earth are stimulated to be active and creative by the souls who are to be born later than they and who are now looking down at them. This may occur in intimate as well as wider matters.
I know a case of a soul, living in the spiritual world at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century, who took as his ideal a prominent personage on earth and resolved after his birth to imitate him. One can see clairvoyantly the books written by the person he wished to imitate, as he looked down with a certain yearning, a certain inner longing, from heaven to earth; and, though of course with a somewhat different feeling, one looks back as a living being to the other side, to the Heavens. There is, however, this very considerable difference between the two experiences. The vision of the earth-dweller looking up to Heaven, without having any knowledge of Spiritual Science, is apt to remain more or less indistinct; whereas the soul living in the spiritual world can see earth-conditions very clearly, he sees the human soul whom he admires so much and the books he wishes so much to read, with great distinctness. In short, in the second half of the spiritual existence between death and s new birth one may become acquainted with a human soul, even down to minute details, for one can gaze into that soul. We ourselves in our present life can become aware that, living above in the spiritual world, there are souls expecting to be born in the next decade or so who are looking into our own souls with longing eyes; for they see there what they need for their preparation for the earth-world, At this period of their spiritual lives they see our souls with great clearness, even as the earth-man on his part sees his Heaven with great indistinctness. This is merely a picture, but it will serve to show how, if we have only a slight knowledge of the spiritual world, we can really become aware that we are being observed, as indeed we are, in manifold ways. The gaze of the spiritual beings, and more particularly of those shortly to be incarnated, is turned upon our souls. We see by this that Spiritual Science cannot but do good, for it tends to make people more worthy of those in the spiritual worlds who as yet are not born. When clairvoyant investigation examines all this it certainly experiences remarkable and often staggering things, and amongst the most surprising of these is the vision of the souls on the way to birth, gazing down to earth and looking for those who may become their parents. In olden times this was even more remarkable than now, but the observation of such souls is still one of the most impressive experiences, and one carries away a wealth of impressions. I will describe one of these at first hand!
A soul preparing for incarnation knows that he will need for his next incarnation a particular sort of knowledge, which must be acquired in early youth; looking down he sees possibilities, here and there, of gaining it. It may occur, however, that in order to do so he must renounce the particular parents who, in other respects, could give him the happiest of lives, and finds himself obliged to take his natal flight to other parents, who cannot make his life happy. If he were to select the other father and mother, he would not be able to gain the most important experiences. We must not imagine that all the conditions of the spiritual life differ absolutely from our own. For instance, a soul who, before his birth, was thus dreadfully torn in his mind and undecided, may say to himself: “Perhaps I shall be dreadfully mismanaged in childhood by rough and rude parents.” Should this doubt exist, it sets up a dreadful conflict within him. One sees many a soul in the spiritual world having this to go through when preparing for birth. We must realise that souls are faced with these struggles with themselves in the spiritual world, and that such difficulties serve in a sense as a sort of external world to them.
What I am now describing is not only an inner soul-conflict, not only a battle of the inner feelings, but it is projected externally, and is, so to speak, all around one. One can see in visible imagery the imaginations depicting how such souls go down to their new incarnations, inwardly divided as it were. When we see all these circumstances unfolded before our eyes we can well understand why so many people do not like Spiritual Science; for most people prefer to believe that as soon as they die they enter eternal bliss for all eternity! This, however, is not the case, and it is well that things are as they are, for under existing circumstances the world will eventually reach its destined stage of perfection.
The power of investigating one's own life, or that of another, in the spiritual world, can be acquired — curiously enough — through the forces left over in the etheric body from our learning to walk. Practical clairvoyance shows us that these forces, when really developed, have certain advantages over the clairvoyant forces developed for the purpose of looking back into former lives. I want you to pay particular attention to this difference between them, for it may throw light in many respects on various things. There is no way in which a dangerous clairvoyance is more easily developed than by using the forces which exist in present-day man for developing the organs of speech, and which, if kept back, enable him to see into his former earth-lives; for they are mostly connected with the lower instincts and passions in man's nature. In no other way is one brought so near to Lucifer and Ahriman as by developing these forces, for although they certainly lead one to the height of being able to look back into one's own and other people's past lives, yet they lead to the powers of illusion; and if not rightly developed the clairvoyant may, under their influence, fall morally low, rather than rise to the heights. Thus these forces are among the most dangerous of all, and should only be developed if at the same time the teacher is determined to develop the purest morality in his pupils. For this reason an experienced teacher will not easily allow himself to be persuaded systematically to develop the forces which enable a man to see former incarnations. It is just as rare to find the forces developed objectively, in the right way, i.e. by only using the speech-forces for this purpose, as it is common to find a certain lower clairvoyance which can see into the spiritual worlds and give descriptions of certain spiritual regions. That is why other means are generally used when it is desired to lead persons to see their earlier incarnations, and here we reach an interesting point — showing how necessary it is to pay attention to things which are generally disregarded. It is but seldom that anyone is able through his spiritual teaching to look back at his earlier earth-lives by developing the speech-forces only; that is a very rare occurrence, yet there are many persons at the present time who can do so. This has generally been reached by other means, one of which may strike one as strange, but it rests upon a profound truth. Suppose that a man is well advanced in years; it would need too much of an effort, and perhaps lead to too much temptation, were he to look back karmically at his former lives by developing the speech-forces. Therefore the spiritual forces have recourse to another means, which many suppose to be merely accidental. He may meet a man who calls him by a special name, or mentions a certain time, or a certain people. This works externally upon his soul in such a way that as a result he may develop the necessary forces to serve as a support for clairvoyance etc. will then notice that the name he was called by, or the words mentioned, will, without any knowledge of this on the part of the speaker, lead to a retrospective view of his past lives. This is a case of outer means being resorted to. The man in question hears a name or an era or a nation mentioned, and is thereby stimulated from outside, as it were, to see his former earth incarnations. Such external stimuli are sometimes of' great importance to a clairvoyant observation of the world. One has what seems to be an entirely accidental experience, but from this rays forth a stimulus for clairvoyant forces which one otherwise possesses only in rudimentary form.
These are a few aphoristic indications which I wished to give you as to the way the spiritual world interpenetrates the earth-world; it is really a very complicated matter. We see, therefore, that looking back into former earth lives is a more or less dangerous proceeding, because the forces of temptation are connected with it; but, on the other hand, there are very few men who, having developed their clairvoyant forces for, the purpose of seeing the life spent in the spiritual world before birth, would be liable to the temptation of misusing them. As a rule only souls of a certain purity, of a certain natural morality, can look back with a measure of certainty into the life spent in the spirit before their present earth-lives. That is because the forces used as clairvoyant forces for the purpose of looking into the prenatal time are the child-forces, those economised when learning to walk. They are the most sinless forces in the nature of man. These innocent forces — I beg some of you to note this — are also those through which, when a man develops them, he is able to see into the life preceding his birth. This, too, is the reason why a little child is so enchanting and satisfying because it is surrounded in its aura by the forces the greater part of which are used in learning to walk — forces which are also able to illuminate what took place before birth. In this respect to the clairvoyant experience a child in whose countenance is expressed innocence and inexperience of the world expresses in its aura something a great deal more interesting than what can be seen in the aura of many a grown-up person. The struggles and conflicts it went through in the spirit-land before birth, and which determined its destiny, make what surrounds the child as its aura something immeasurably great and filled with wisdom. That wisdom is often much greater than a human being can put into words in later life. The countenance of the child may as yet be undefined, but the clairvoyant who sees it can learn immeasurably from the child if his vision is able to perceive what surrounds it as aura. And if the forces belonging to childhood are later on developed clairvoyantly one can perceive the concrete circumstances which precede human birth. It may perhaps be a personal satisfaction to be able to look into that world, but it is more particularly of interest to one who is anxious to understand the whole connection. A search into the Akashic Records concerning certain personalities of the world's history not only consists in reading what is therein inscribed about their lives on the physical plane, but also shows us how they are preparing their next lives on that plane, while living as souls in the spiritual world between death and rebirth.
Now the forces which can throw light on former incarnations, if we keep them pure, are not so much saved over from childhood as from that age in a human being when the passions (and often the lowest and worst) are developed. These forces which have quite different tasks in the nature of man are developed long after those connected with speech-formation. They hang together with all that develops in man as feelings of sensual love and everything connected with it. There is a special relation between all that leads to sensual love and all that leads to speech; and this is, indeed, expressed in the nature of man in the breaking of the voice, the change of voice. From that age in particular many of these forces are stored up, and if we keep them pure they lead to a retrospective vision of our former earth-lives; but if they are not kept pure they can be brought out as the sensual instincts of man, and may then lead to the greatest occult depravity. These clairvoyant forces, economised from that particular time of life, are the most subject to temptation.
Thus you understand the whole connection, my dear friends. The clairvoyant who is willing to talk about the time spent between death and a new birth (and some of you may have noticed that there is but little talk about that), has developed in himself the forces economised from early childhood. But one should mistrust the clairvoyant who talks a great deal — mostly nonsense — about people's former incarnations, and this happens very frequently, for some people dish up such information on a salver as it were. We should mistrust such persons, because in this domain forces may be drawn upon which are most of all open to temptation. The forces that may be economised for this are saved from the time when sensual love develops, while man does not yet stand outwardly in social life. Sometimes these forces lead to great nonsense, and particularly to occult nonsense, because these, more than any others, are subject to delusion after delusion in the realms of the spiritual world.
Why, then, is the information of clairvoyants who are subject to these particular forces so frequently unreliable? Because among these arise at the same time out of man, like a mist, the lower instincts and impulses; and then Ahriman and his Ahrimanic spirits approach, and out of what thus arises they form phantoms which can be seen, and are then regarded as belonging to former incarnations.
The right sort of clairvoyance through which to describe circumstances such as are given in Occult Science can be easily developed by economising the forces which can only be economised in later life — after the age of twenty to twenty-five. The forces developed then are usually such as are connected with the life of the intellect, and during this time life can be regarded with a certain calm common sense. Thus the investigations in this domain are least of all subject to error and illusion.
We see, therefore, that the great world-relations, the great spiritual world-relationships, can be ascertained through those forces in human nature which work at the development of the brain.
The vision of former earth-lives can be acquired by cultivating those forces which are economised in youth, when they are no longer required for developing the speech and rule the realm of sense desires and their organs.
The spirit-land proper, which is specially interesting because there the new life is being prepared, can be investigated through those forces which can be economised in earliest childhood, when the child is learning to walk.
The above are, indeed, remarkable facts, but if we wish to penetrate the spiritual world we must accustom ourselves to accept many new conceptions which at first must appear paradoxical. But the spiritual world does not exist simply to present a continuation of the physical sense-world — indeed, in many respects it is exact opposite of the latter. Man himself appears as a very important being in the universe when we look on the one side at all he goes through in his earth-life, his destiny, his capacities, and his activities. On the other hand, through having learnt to understand the spiritual, we see the very different life lived by him between death and a new birth. Then only do we contemplate man in his full significance and destiny.
In these two lectures I wished to give you an idea, a description of various things in the spiritual world. I wanted to do so in a more aphoristic way, because we have met here for the first time, and because you will know most of the systematic presentations from my books and writings, and I wished to add a little here and there to what I have already given out. It seemed to me that this would be more useful to our friends in this town than if I had selected a more connected chapter of Spiritual Science. If you will allow me to say so, at the conclusion of, to me, such a happy union here, I should like as much as possible of Spiritual Science to flow into the hearts and souls of men at the present time. This is important for two reasons.
First, because when we consider the life around us and observe the facts of that life, and how, even through the greatest acquirements of culture man becomes more and more materialistically minded, we see how more and more necessary it is that he shouldst have Spiritual Science, how much he needs it, just because this outer life makes him so materialistic. Just because the great facts of external life must make man materialistic, he needs the counterbalancing of Spiritual Science. It is a necessity in the earth-life of humanity, and must become more and more so in the near future. Anyone who reflects how, even through the greatest achievements of civilisation, external life must gradually descend deeper and deeper into materialism and gradually decay and die out, will feel the longing within him to see Spiritual Science entering the hearts and souls of mankind. Our civilisation must become greater and greater and make more progress; but although we need our railways and steamboats, telephones, airships, and all that civilisation can bring us, yet, just as the singing-birds are driven away by our smoky chimneys, so will the joy and freshness and harmony of our soul-life disappear under the influence of this material culture, unless Spiritual Science leads man to spirituality. Therefore he who is able to see the circumstances clearly must have the deepest longing to make Spiritual Science more widely known: it is a necessity.
On the other hand, there is another fact, namely, that on account of this materialistic culture, never has mankind rejected Spiritual Science so strongly, nor hated it so much, as today.
Today we are confronted by these two unavoidable facts, Necessity and Misunderstanding — they face us like two pillars between which we have to pass, if we wish to bring Spiritual Science into the world. For us, who wish to make our souls ripe for Spiritual Science, there will be on each pillar a challenge, a stern request — to do everything in our power which will bring ourselves and all those persons who long for it, to Spiritual Science.
I wished to address you from this standpoint the first time I spoke in this town, and from this same standpoint I wish to say my parting words; so that something of what I have been allowed to say may pass into your hearts and souls and not only into your minds. You may thereby feel yourselves more closely united with us and with all those who would like to carry this movement out into the world more actively than they have hitherto done.
As we cannot remain together in space as we have just been — for the first time — I should like to feel that this visit will draw our souls together more closely than before. With this wish, my dear friends, I take my leave of you and your beautiful town; in the full consciousness that when such a meeting has taken place our union in space has given a stimulus to a union which depends on neither space nor time. With these words I give you greeting and take my leave of you. May the fact of our having been thus together in space provide a stimulus for a permanent, enduring union in the spirit.