The Presence of the Dead
3. Awakening Spiritual Thoughts
5 May 1914, Basel
I am very glad that we can meet here today and take a break, so to speak, for a while from the work on our new building in Dornach. 1Work on the construction of the first Goetheanum in Dornach. Started in 1913, it was destroyed by arson on New Year's Eve 1922/23. But I thought it would be impossible to gather here so near our building without also discussing anthroposophical matters. I hope we can do this more often in the course of the year; otherwise our friends working on the building will not have as many opportunities to attend such meetings as they do when they are not working on our building.
Let us start with some thoughts on the life of the spirit that might be useful in considering what meaning spiritual science and living with anthroposophy can have for us, for our soul. People new to anthroposophical thinking, feeling, and perception may think we should not worry about the life of the spirit, about the spiritual world, since we enter the spiritual world anyway after death (even a materialist might say this) and will there learn all we need to know about it. Why should we not be satisfied in this life between birth and death simply to do what is necessary for life in the physical world; why is it wrong when we just fulfill our duties in the physical world, and leave matters concerning the spiritual world in the realm of the uncertain and indefinite? One could hear these words often during the time when the tide of materialism engulfed human development, especially in the last third of the nineteenth century. And it was by no means the most morally reprehensible souls who said: While on earth, let us concentrate on our tasks here and leave the rest for the world we enter after death.
Now, let us talk about something that can be grasped immediately by anyone who begins to concern himself with — I do not even want to say spiritual science — but with truly logical thinking. We actually spend only part of our time between birth and death in the physical world, namely, our waking time. And even people who have not yet thought much about the spiritual world, but who can think logically, would have to admit that with our conscious mind we know as little about life in sleep as we do about life after death. And certainly no one can deny that we continue to live in sleep — unless such a person were prepared to accept that we really die every evening and are created anew each morning. That is unlikely, but the truly logical person will be equally unable to accept that the whole human being is really present in a sleeping body lying in bed.
The fact that we sleep regularly should at least make people think. And then they will be motivated to reflect on what spiritual science has to offer. In particular, the natural sciences will more and more realize that our soul is not present in our physical body when we sleep. In fact, they will reach this conclusion on their own before the end of this century of scientific development. Then they will look to spiritual science for answers to their questions. They will be forced by their own conclusions to realize that our soul-spiritual being is really not connected with our physical body when we are sleeping. It will then become ever more important for people in the twentieth century to know something about sleep. Therefore let us begin today and get an idea of what people in our century will have to know about the nature of sleep.
We know from our studies in spiritual science that when we fall asleep, two members of our being, the ego and the astral body, leave the physical and etheric bodies. Where are the ego and the astral body when we are asleep? To begin with, we can say they are in the spiritual world. Of course, we are always in the spirit realm, because the latter is not separated from the physical world, but surrounds us just as air envelops us everywhere. We are always in the spiritual world, even when we are awake.
However, we inhabit it in a different way when we are asleep than when we are awake. Now, it may be sufficient for the immediate needs of spiritual science to describe this situation by saying that in sleep our ego and astral body are outside our physical and etheric bodies. But then we would actually be telling only half the truth. It is the same as saying the sun sets here at night; because the sun in fact sets then only for us in Europe. We know this does not apply to all the inhabitants of the earth. Fundamentally, the ego and astral body leave our physical and etheric bodies properly, we might say, completely, only after death. In sleep they actually leave only the blood and nervous system. But when the “sun” of our being, namely, the ego and astral body, sets in relation to our blood and nervous system, which they penetrate during the day, it rises for the other half of our being, that is, for the other organs.
Our ego and astral body do just what the sun does, which shines here during the day and when it sets for us, it rises for the people on the other side of the earth. When ego and astral body “set” for our blood and nervous system, they rise for the other organs and are linked all the more strongly with them.
These other organs, to which our ego and astral body are connected when we sleep, have been constructed out of the spirit, as has everything else in the world. And the remarkable fact is that while we are sleeping, we strongly influence these other organs of our body with our ego and astral body. During the day, our ego and astral body work strongly upon our blood and nervous system, but they influence our other organs, all those not part of the blood and nervous system but which affect the blood from the nerves, when we are asleep.
From this follows that it is of some consequence how we enter sleep with our ego and astral body. Materialists will not care much about what happens in sleep to their ego and astral body, which they never mention anyway. However, those who understand these things will know that the organs that are not part of the blood and nervous system and do not manifest in our conscious existence are dependent on those aspects of our ego and astral body that are active in sleep.
Let me illustrate this with an obvious example. As we know, people today are haunted by a fear we can compare with the medieval fear of ghosts. It is the fear of germs. Objectively, both states of fear are the same. Both fit their respective age: People of the Middle Ages held a certain belief in the spiritual world; therefore quite naturally they had a fear of spiritual beings. The modern age has lost this belief in the spiritual world; it believes in material things. It therefore has a fear of material beings, be they ever so small. Objectively speaking, the greatest difference we might find between the two periods is that ghosts are at any rate sizable and respectable. The tiny germs, on the other hand, are nothing much to write home about as far as frightening people is concerned. Now of course I do not mean to imply by this that we should encourage germs, and that it is good to have as many as possible. That is certainly not the implication. Still, germs certainly exist and ghosts existed also, especially as far as those people who held a real belief in the spiritual world are concerned. Thus, they do not even differ in terms of reality.
However, the important point we want to make today is that germs can become dangerous only if they are allowed to flourish. Germs should not be allowed to flourish. Even materialists will agree with this statement, but they will no longer agree with us if we proceed further and, from the standpoint of proper spiritual science, speak about the most favorable conditions for germs. Germs flourish most intensively when we take nothing but materialistic thoughts into sleep with us. There is no better way to encourage them to flourish than to enter sleep with only materialistic ideas, and then to work from the spiritual world with the ego and the astral body on those organs that are not part of the blood and the nervous system. The only other method that is just as good is to live in the center of an epidemic or endemic illness and to think of nothing but the sickness all around, filled only with a fear of getting sick. That would be equally effective. If fear of the illness is the only thing created in such a place and one goes to sleep at night with that thought, it produces afterimages, Imaginations impregnated with fear. That is a good method of cultivating and nurturing germs. If this fear can be reduced even a little by, for example, active love and, while tending the sick, forgetting for a time that one might also be infected, the conditions are less favorable for the germs.
These issues are not raised in anthroposophy merely to play on human egotism, but to describe the facts of the spiritual world. This concrete case demonstrates that in real life we cannot avoid dealing with the spiritual world, because it is the basis for our actions between going to sleep and waking up. If people were given thoughts that lead them away from materialism and spur them on to active love out of the spirit, it would serve the future of humanity better. Then infinitely more productive work could be achieved than through all the preparations now being developed by materialistic science against germs. In the course of this century, the insight has to spread more and more widely that the spiritual world is by no means irrelevant to our physical life, but is of essential importance to it because we are in the spiritual world between going to sleep and waking up, and continue to affect the physical body from there. Even if this is not immediately obvious, it is nevertheless true.
Now, we will have to get used to the fact that the direct healing powers of spiritual science have to work through the human community if we are to see these matters in the right light. What does it mean that some individual here or there enters the spiritual world in sleep with thoughts turned toward the realm of the spirit, while all around other people nourish and nurture the germ world with their materialistic thoughts, materialistic feelings, and with fears, which are always connected with materialism? What is the real nature of germs? Well, here we come to a subject essential for human life. When we see the air around us filled with different species of birds and the water filled with fishes, when we observe the life forms that creep along the earth and others frolicking on it and revealing themselves to our senses, we are looking at beings we can correctly describe as creatures of the developing Godhead in one form or another, even if they are occasionally harmful. But in the case of germ-like creatures resident and active in other living beings, in plants, animals, or humans, we are dealing with creations of Ahriman. To understand the existence of such creatures correctly we must know that they express spiritual facts, namely the relationship between human beings and Ahriman. This relationship is established through a materialistic attitude and purely egotistical states of fear. We see the conditions allowing the existence of such parasitic beings correctly if we realize that they are a symptom of Ahriman intervening in the world.
Clearly, then, it is not a matter of indifference whether we take materialistic or spiritual ideas with us into the spiritual world when we fall asleep. As soon as we realize this, we can no longer claim it is irrelevant whether or not we know of the spirit in this world. We have to start at a specific point if we really want to understand the great importance of spiritual scientific research for our life between birth and death.
It will become increasingly clear to us how this earthly life is connected with spiritual life. We rely on nature, which is on a lower level than we are, for our nourishment. For some time after death, the dead derive their nourishment from the ideas and the unconscious emotions that we here on earth take into sleep with us. Those who have died perceive a tremendous difference between people who in their waking life are filled only with materialistic feelings and ideas and also take them into sleep, and others who are wholly filled with spiritual ideas while awake and who continue to be filled with them in sleep. The two types of people are as different in their effect on the dead as a barren region where no food can grow, where people would starve, and a fruitful area that offers nourishment in abundance. For many years after death, the dead draw a vitality from the souls sleeping here on earth filled with spiritual content, a vitality that is similar, only transposed into the spiritual realm, to what we draw in our physical life from the beings of the kingdoms of nature below us. We literally turn ourselves into fruitful pastures for the dead when we fill ourselves with the ideas of spiritual science. And we turn ourselves into barren ground and starve the dead if we take only materialistic ideas and attitudes into sleep.
It is not out of the enthusiasm that leads to the establishment of many other associations and societies that we speak of spiritual science in these times. Rather, the urge to speak about it comes out of necessity and the heartfelt realization that in the twentieth century people will need it. Regardless of outer circumstances, those who fully understand how much the world needs spiritual science cannot help but talk about its results and share it with their fellow human beings. The power of the words at our disposal seems much too weak to meet the necessity of making spiritual science ever more available to those who would otherwise sink deeper and deeper into materialism.
Let us think about the nature of our relationship to the dead we were connected with in life, whom we can clearly visualize, and of whom we often think. What is our relationship to those who have died, apart from offering them spiritual nourishment by taking spiritual thoughts into sleep? What is our relationship with the dead in waking life?
If the dead draw nourishment from the content of our souls in sleep, then every thought that enters the spiritual world and is concerned with it and its beings can be perceived by the dead. On the other hand, if we do not cultivate such thoughts, the dead are deprived of them. Ideas related only to the material world, to things in nature, live in our souls in such a way that the dead cannot perceive them. These ideas, however scholarly or wise, are meaningless for the dead. As soon as we have thoughts about the spiritual world, not only the living but also the dead have immediate access to them. That is why we have often recommended that our friends read silently to an individual with whom they were closely connected and who has passed on to the spiritual world. One forms an image of the person and then, while thinking about him or her, one reads on a subject related to the spiritual world. The dead can then participate in the process, which is important. Although the dead are in the world we know through spiritual science, thoughts about the spiritual world must be produced on earth. The dead must perceive more than the spiritual world around them; they need the thoughts of those who live on earth, thoughts that for them are like perceptions.
The most important and the most beautiful thing we can give the dead is to read to them in the way I have just described. We can give something to the dead by reading on a spiritual subject. And if you doubt that this is useful, since the deceased is in the spiritual world anyway, just think that we can be surrounded by things and beings in the physical world, yet may not understand them. The understanding has to be acquired. Thus, although the deceased is in the spiritual world, thoughts from earth have to flow to him. Illuminating thoughts must flow up to those regions where the dead dwell, just as rain streams down from the clouds as a blessing to the physical world.
All these examples show that it is infinitely important even for the physical world to experience the spiritual world in thought. Obviously, we cannot wait until after death for knowledge about the spiritual world. In truth, a thorough study of the spiritual world shows us that we are not on earth for nothing; we are here to learn something that can be learned only on earth — a possession of such value that the living can give it even to the dead.
The close connection between our earth existence and life immediately after death also manifests in many other respects, but it is difficult to talk about this connection in concrete terms, because the words can so easily be misunderstood. People are greatly inclined to prejudice, and whenever a subject, such as the spiritual world and its beings, is discussed, certain motives of the heart provoke misunderstandings. When I tell of an individual case where there is this or that connection between a person's life here on earth and after death, people all too easily jump to the wrong conclusions out of a very understandable self-centeredness and apply the description of a particular case to themselves. They are tempted to think that things are quite different in their case; therefore, they will not experience something this beautiful after death. Instead of deriving satisfaction from the events described, the listeners out of egotism feel that their experience will not be equally exceptional after death.
As soon as we do more than just speak in general terms and deal with specific cases, we must develop selflessness so we can observe someone else's destiny without drawing conclusions about our own life. Then we will not worry that if the same does not happen to us, we are missing out on what is being described. These and similar reactions provide grounds for misunderstandings, which I want to avoid.
A short time ago, a very dear friend of ours died, and many of us attended his cremation. 2Christian Morgenstern May 6, 1871 – March 31, 1914. See Lecture Two, note 8. He would have celebrated his forty-third birthday tomorrow, on May 6. In the final years of his life, he suffered much. I would like to tell here, parenthetically as it were, a wonderful story from his last years as his wife told it to me. 3Christian Morgenstern, Alles um des Menschen Willen: Briefe, (Munich, Germany: Piper, 1962), letter of January 22, 1914, to a young girl, p. 398. During his great suffering, our friend fought not against admitting to himself that he had to suffer, but against saying that he was ill. He was not ill, he said. He suffered, yes, but he was not ill, and he was adamant that such a statement should not be taken as quibbling but as something meaningful. This definition, “I suffer, but I am not ill,” arose from his awareness that what he carried within him as spiritual science, what supported and carried him inwardly, defeated all attacks of illness. He was aware that he suffered, but the health of his soul is so great that, when he compared it to his physical condition, he could not call himself ill. This definition is very important and well-suited to permeate our soul as a feeling.
Anyway, we saw how the person concerned spent his last years on earth in a sick body, in a suffering body. Yet he did not see himself as sick but only as suffering. If we compare that with the spiritual life that has now begun for our friend, we will have a worthy image of what connects our earth existence with life after death. It is a fact of the spiritual world that a series of Imaginations was prepared in his body, a body that showed the symptoms of illness. A series of Imaginations, powerful Imaginations, lived, so to speak, in the sick limbs. He was completely filled with the content of the spiritual worlds. They lived in him in such a way that they worked on all those organs we are usually not as aware of as we are of our brain and nervous system, that is, organs we experience on a more subconscious level. These powerful Imaginations lived in these organs, and all the more so, the more outwardly ill these organs became. They prepared themselves and now face the soul of the deceased as a mighty tableau of the spiritual world. Now he is living in the images that were trapped in his sick organs, especially in his final years. They prepared themselves in such intensity that they now surround him as his spiritual world.
It is impossible to see more beautiful worlds, or to see the spiritual cosmos more perfectly and more beautifully, than those that blossom and unfold in spiritual art, which cannot be observed better anywhere else than through such a situation. Here, on the physical plane, an artist can create in beauty a piece of the world, so that the image on canvas or in marble lets us see more of the world than we do on our own. All of this, however, pales into insignificance in comparison to the spiritual world seen as it is and also as it arises and blossoms forth from the soul of the deceased who has been prepared by his karma in the way I have described. How he was prepared will be clear from his poetic works, which are now being printed and will appear soon. 4Morgenstern, Wir fanden einen Pfad. See Lecture Two, note 9. His poetry reveals that this kind of spiritual life and passage into the spiritual world after death are intimately connected with what we have for many years called the Christ-Impulse. The Christ-Impulse, in the sense spiritual science speaks of it, is beautifully alive in our friend's poetry.
In this connection I want to add something that can truly lead us to feel the relationship between the world of our earthly life and the one we pass through between death and a new birth. I will not present this connection with abstract thoughts, but so you can grasp it at the level of feeling. You see, one can be either stupid or clever here on the physical plane; one can even be a scholar — in the life after death it is of little importance whether one was stupid, clever, or learned if all these qualities relate only to the things of the physical world. Our thoughts about the material world may be ever so clever; they will be of no use to us once we have passed through death. They will then no longer have any meaning. After death we need thoughts, ideas, and feelings that do not relate to the physical world, because only those have meaning then.
Now, I would like to put this in a somewhat grotesque, paradoxical way. Do not be put off by the paradox; what I want to say will become clear immediately. Let us assume that someone refuses to have any thoughts that are not called forth by sensory perception. As soon as anything impinges on him and thoughts begin to develop, he says: I do not want you. I proceed only on the basis of what my eyes see and my ears hear. That is what I want to think about. Stop bothering me with anything else; I will not bother with it ... Such a person does not accumulate any strength that can be used after death. He is blind when entering the world between death and new birth.
Let us assume now that someone else has a lively imagination, but cannot be bothered to approach spiritual science and learn things slowly and gradually. He finds it much easier to develop ideas about the spiritual world from his imagination, to fantasize about the spiritual world. This person has ideas concerning the sense world as well as all kinds of fantasies about the realm of the spirit. Such an individual would not enter the spiritual world as a blind person, but will have soul forces that will enable him to see in the spiritual world. However, such people will be as we are when our vision in the physical world is impaired and we see things inaccurately as a result. Such inaccurate vision is a lot worse in the spiritual world than on the physical plane because there it leads to confusion at every turn. What I have just said, even if it seems grotesque at first, shows us that we need ideas reaching beyond the life of the senses if we really want to become citizens of the spiritual world, as we must. And unless we get our bearings from beyond the sense world, we will live in the spiritual world in a crippled state, as do those who take in only ideas related to the sensory realm and those who allow their imagination to run wild.
Various founders of religions appeared throughout history to prevent people from having thoughts triggered purely by physical objects or by fantasies about the spiritual world. If we look at these personalities and the teachings they gave humanity, we find that the aim of all these religious founders was to offer people ideas about the super-sensible world that would allow them to enter it healthy and whole, not crippled. The founders of our religions provided ideas that met the needs of their particular time and culture.
Our age is different from the past and requires us to grow up into mature human beings. Please do not take this in a superficial, merely external sense, but in a deeply inward one. We have to reach maturity and find the path into the spiritual world through our souls. The ancient founders of our religions spoke to a humanity that was not yet mature. They addressed people at a stage through which all our souls have also passed. These ancient religious leaders knew their times, and also knew that they could not speak in the same way to a humanity moving further toward the future. For humanity must develop toward maturity and independence.
If people of ancient times had either restricted themselves to sense impressions or had reached for the products of their imagination, in both cases they would have entered the spiritual world crippled or at the very least in a confused state. At that point a leader appeared, bringing true ideas from the spiritual world. People then said that they themselves did not gain access to the spiritual world through sensory perception or use of the imagination, but rather through Zarathustra, Buddha, or Krishna, who stimulated thoughts in them that allowed them to enter the realm of the spirit. 5Zarathustra, 628–551 B.C. Persian religious leader. Buddha, Siddharta Gautama, 563–483 B.C. Founder of Buddhism. Krishna, Indian deity, appears in Bhagavad-Gita as teacher of Arjuna. In our time human beings must come of age, regardless of whether the ego causes confusion or blindness. The Mystery of Golgotha took place so that we can find the way into the spiritual world as independent beings. Religious leaders no longer appear in history as they did in earlier times.
Those who compare Christ to the ancient religious teachers do not understand anything about him. In the first place, Christ worked through a deed, the ancient religious leaders through their teachings. To describe him merely as a teacher of humanity means not knowing at all who Christ is. The essential thing about him is the deed he performed, which began as a consequence of his baptism by John and ended with the crucifixion on Golgotha. What was done there for humanity is spiritually all-important. What happened there is what can permeate human souls ever since then, namely, the experience St. Paul described as “Not I, but Christ in me.” Indeed, Christ has become the path into the spiritual world because he brought it into this world. He brought us the spiritual world we need if we are not to be crippled or blind after death.
It is quite possible these days to deny Christ and claim that there is no evidence that Christ lived in the physical world in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, people have even produced evidence showing there was no historical Christ. But with that they merely prove that they missed the point. If Christ had chiseled into a rock for all future generations, “I was here,” then those future generations would have known he existed from the sensory world, and they would not have needed to believe it. His deep significance, the possibility of redemption, is precisely that this was not the case, that we cannot comprehend him through our senses but have to accept him with the forces of the spirit. Seen in this light, we find Christ intimately connected with those things that even here on earth lift human beings beyond the sense-perceptible world into the spiritual realm. None of this exists for those who cannot raise themselves to the spiritual world, because they cannot escape their doubts.
In this context it can be a great relief for someone fully involved in modern culture, in science and art, to come across a view of Christ that is appropriate to our modern civilization, namely the anthroposophical view of Christ presented in spiritual science. Much can be learnt from it, for example, how to view the physical world correctly. Oh, the physical world — where is it headed these days? I hinted at some of these things recently in a public lecture, but now I can be more explicit. 6Rudolf Steiner, “Homunkulus,” public lecture, Berlin, March 26, 1914, in Geisteswissenschaft als Lebensgut, vol. 63 in the Collected Works, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1959). Of course, we have to admire materialist civilization and all the achievements of technology, industry, and so on. An immense amount of intellectual energy has flowed into these things; they have taken up a great deal of human energy. But who benefits from these intellectual efforts? Insofar as they satisfy the material needs of modern humanity, they serve Ahriman. Christ Jesus experienced the temptation by Ahriman. Ordinary human souls could certainly not survive the sudden shock of such an experience. For us the temptation has to be diluted. But as a consequence of this dilution of temptation, Ahriman can say to us: Yes, think only with the power of your science, with all those things you can discover through science applied to technology, industry, and so on. Use only those things for your thinking and apply them to nothing but physical experience; that suits me fine. It fits in well with my aims, says Ahriman, if you are unable to see me. You might well despise reason and knowledge, the supreme achievements of human beings; thus you are absolutely mine — at least as long as you do not see me. I will instill the drive in you to use reason and knowledge only for earthly things!
Something else is required to counterbalance the service we render Ahriman. It is therefore important that we gather everything modern technology and so on can accomplish to build something with it that is not to serve our outer existence, but only our spiritual life.
In ancient times, people presented sacrifices to the gods, the first fruits of the field and of the herd. I do not intend to talk about the meaning of sacrifice today, but you can see what it could signify presented in a form appropriate to modern times. When the first fruits had been sacrificed to the gods, the people partook of the remainder. Spiritual science is certainly not based on false asceticism. It will not be guilty of the absurdity of ranting and raving against modern culture with all its material blessings. On the contrary, it recognizes their value. But if it wants to avoid serving only Ahriman, it has to sacrifice something of the first fruits of this external material culture to the gods.
So you see, there is a profound thinking underlying the building that is growing outside on the hill at Dornach: We want to offer the first fruits of modern civilization to the gods. Everything is different now from the way it was in the times our souls passed through in previous incarnations. And we have to understand the nature of our current task just as we understood what we had to do in our earlier incarnations when we were guided by spiritual luminaries. That is especially difficult now because we have to take into account not only the nature of our time but also our soul qualities. In addition, we can no longer rely on the external authority that supported the founders of religions; we have to work with quite different forces. Christ was the Word; in the same way true spiritual science wishes to work only through the word and must not use any other means.
Such reflections give us an insight into the connection between the spiritual world and our world here on earth. And no matter where we begin, we see the Mystery of Golgotha radiating toward us as the heart and soul of such reflections. But we must not forget that we have to become mature, truly mature, so that we can understand what spiritual science is meant to be. We must never forget that it must exist because humanity must come of age.
It is completely true that humanity descended from higher spiritual regions and has moved away from the old atavistic clairvoyance by developing a world view based on reason and systematic thinking. We have to take this progress in evolution seriously. We must realize we live at a time when it is our mission to develop our thinking, to advance through our thinking, and to learn through studying. Spiritual science is our basis, our point of departure. We must try to immerse ourselves in these ideas so that they stimulate within us what our souls need in the future. What spiritual science offers can be understood by everyone. Those who claim one cannot understand the contents of spiritual science, but must believe it, speak without knowing how these things really are.
We must not be misled when we meet people who have not advanced by means of intellectual understanding, but have certain psychic abilities that seem to appear spontaneously. Based on our understanding of the mission of spiritual science, we know that souls can now think only because the clairvoyance of an earlier age has been suppressed. People with natural clairvoyance, which was not acquired through inner effort, must be seen as persons who have remained at an earlier evolutionary stage and who should therefore receive special care in our Society, rather than be considered particularly advanced. It would be an incorrect judgment if we were to consider such souls particularly mature, as having experienced particularly high incarnations. People with a natural gift of clairvoyance have gone through far less than those who are thinkers nowadays. These things have to be properly understood in our Society. Then it would be possible (and it is my duty to say this) for our Society to be a place where such souls with psychic powers can find care and be guided on the right path. Our Society could give them what they cannot get anywhere else: order in their soul. But to make that possible most of the members of our Society must have a profound inner knowledge of the mission of true spiritual science in the present. If that happened, then the case that so saddened us in recent days could not recur. I am referring to a member, who joined in the belief our Society would care for clairvoyant psychic forces, but then found here a captive audience and took on the role of a prophet. Such an event opens the door to all those things that, if they were to prevail, would turn our Society into the exact opposite of what it should be according to the intentions of the spiritual forces supporting it.
Unfortunately, we have had to suffer the case of ..., who came from a country in the north. He might have become a good member if he had worked quietly on developing his psychic powers. Instead, he was immediately surrounded by a kind of aura. He presented himself everywhere as a healer in a way we can only consider regrettable. It became necessary to announce that he could no longer be considered a member of our Society. For it would be turned into the exact opposite of what it should be if we failed to carefully draw attention to psychic phenomena that are not imbued with true spiritual power, which, after all, is the true power of Christ. Christ, not psychic powers, must work in us. These circumstances must be handled so as to make it clear that our Society will have nothing to do with this. It knows no other sanction than the one used in the last few days. Unfortunately, a step had to be taken we otherwise oppose in principle: a member had to be expelled.
This cannot be separated from a serious and worthy concept of the mission of the Anthroposophical Society. And certainly you will understand that it is only with great sorrow one lives through the events that had to be lived through here in the last few days. We are in principle opposed to all expulsions and yet could not avoid expelling someone in such a case. It will happen less and less frequently if our dear friends continue to take to heart the things that have been said so often and that were also the subject of tonight's talk. With that I will conclude my remarks, my dear friends, and entrust them to your souls.