The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century
17 October 1915, Dornach
I want to add certain things today in continuation of what has been said in these lectures about the development of spiritual life in the nineteenth century.
We must turn our attention, on the one hand, to the role of the materialistic view of the world, and to the attempt that was made to counter the inevitable penetration of this materialistic outlook by means of the spiritual Movement of the nineteenth century; and further, how an attempt was made from different sides among occultists to save men from succumbing altogether to materialism. On the other hand, it will be well to connect with this subject a study of matters with which we ourselves are particularly concerned just now. This will help us to understand the character of those powers and forces which take effect outwardly on the physical plane in the way that has already cost us many discussions and will — at least so I imagine — have caused you much brain-racking. 1A reference to discussions that were taking place at the time in connection with certain internal affairs of the Society.
A connecting line exists from certain far-reaching factors in the spiritual development of the nineteenth century to the matters with which we ourselves are now concerned. I shall be obliged today to make a wide sweep and I ask you to treat the various communications I shall make with a certain discretion from the outset, for the simple reason that they relate to subjects which, as you will realise, can be known only to very few at the present time. Later on, they will be found to be fully confirmed.
We will take as our starting-point the fact that the nineteenth century was the epoch when materialism as a Weltanschauung arose in the natural course of progress and that the middle of that century was the time when the whole of mankind was, as it were, to be put to the test through the advent of materialism. Materialism was to stand on the horizon like a Circe, a temptress, and men's proclivities and feelings were to result in their becoming literally enamoured of it. For it may truly be said that the men of the nineteenth century were enamoured of materialism.
On the other side we have seen how greatly materialism deserves praise. As a method, materialism has made possible the great achievements of natural science which with all their technical, economic and social consequences, would not have been possible if the faculties of soul necessary for materialistic observation of the world had not been developed. There was a combination of two factors. On the one hand, the evolution of humanity had to take its course to the point where materialistic interpretations were inevitable when the study of nature was carried to a further stage. Honest thinkers could not but arrive at materialism if they adopted certain methods of investigation established by natural science; for materialism was good as a method for investigating and observing the secrets of the material world. — That was the one aspect that emerged. The other was that the hearts and souls of men were so attuned as to make them love materialism. Everything tended towards it. All the factors combined to put men to the test, as it were, through a materialistic view of the world.
Now I have already told you that those among the occultists who, so to speak, had the responsibility of seeing that humanity should not completely sink into materialism, an attempt was made with mediumship, and I showed you that mediumship led to aberrations. I have already indicated one of the most significant of these aberrations. It was remarkable that mediums everywhere professed to be able to give information, revelations, from the realm of the dead, the realm in which men live after death. The most remarkable thing of all, in addition to what I have already told you, was that these communications which came through mediums — allegedly from the realm of the dead — everywhere disclosed a strongly tendentious character. — You can examine all these proclamations made by the mediums and you will find that they invariably have a strongly tendentious character precisely where the life of the soul after death is concerned.
In important circles where mediums were used, declarations were made which to the old esotericists — that is to say, those who did not wish certain occult truths to be made public — were the cause of great consternation. I can indicate the reason for their consternation in the following way.
In order to be quite clear about the matter, please read the course of lectures I gave in Vienna in the year 1914, entitled The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and a new Birth. The lectures contain very important facts which emerge when one approaches the realm of the dead in the right way by putting oneself into the condition where they are able to speak to one.
But in very many circles where mediums were used, revelations of a quite different kind were made. If you peruse the mass of literature compiled from the communications of different mediums, you will discover — especially when these mediums were guided by the souls of living persons — that everything has a strongly tendentious character. Descriptions of the life after death were given which, if you compare them with what was said in the Vienna lectures, are entirely false. You will perceive, too, the tendency in the different mediums to allow nothing concerning repeated lives on Earth to come to light. Wherever the mediums alleged that the dead had spoken to them, they described the life after death in such a way that the conclusion was: there can be no repeated Earth-lives! In the development of mediumship there was the tendency to make false assertions precisely about the most important aspects of the life between death and a new birth — especially to make assertions which preclude the fact of reincarnation. It was desired to speak to this effect through mediums. That is to say, certain people who exploited this tendency in pursuance of their special aims, desired that revelations indicating that there are no repeated Earth-lives should be proclaimed through the mediums. The desire, therefore, was to use the mediums in order to oppose the teaching of repeated Earth-lives.
That was a very striking fact, a fact which caused the right-wing occultists the greatest consternation of all, for they themselves had been a party to the use of mediumship and what it produced — and this was being made to serve tendentious interests instead of the unbiassed truth.
All these things were possible because the leaning towards materialism was so strong in men. Now what is said in the Vienna lectures about the life between death and a new birth is irreconcilable with any form of materialism as a view of the world. But a man can be a materialist in his way of thinking and give credence to what different mediums have said about the life after death, for that is really only a kind of embellished materialism that is ashamed of being materialism and therefore has recourse to mediums in order to glean something about the spiritual world. Materialism was therefore a factor to be reckoned with, and those who did reckon with it fared the best.
In addition to all this there was something else. Even among those who knew something about the spiritual worlds great confusion had arisen in the course of the nineteenth century in regard to a matter about which, if a spiritual Movement is to make any real progress, it is absolutely essential to be clear. The confusion was due to the fact that Ahriman and Lucifer were continually being intermixed. People were no longer able to distinguish between them. A principle of evil and the representative of the evil — that they understood, but they saw no need for any sharper distinction. Even Goethe was unable to distinguish Ahriman — whom he called Mephistopheles — from Lucifer. In Goethe's presentation they are indistinguishable, for Mephistopheles is a mixture, a cross between Ahriman and Lucifer. In the nineteenth century men had no faculty for making a distinction between the representatives of the two spiritual streams—between Ahriman and Lucifer. I can only make certain statements on this subject today, but later on I shall be able to elaborate them and then confirmation will be possible.
Now when it is a matter of clarity concerning the spiritual world, very much depends upon being able to distinguish between Ahriman and Lucifer. That is why a strict distinction between the figures of Ahriman and Lucifer will be made in the representations in our Building. 2The first Goetheanum, later destroyed by fire. The statue now stands in a special room in the second Goetheanum. Lack of clear distinction between these two Powers leads to a particular kind of confusion in spiritual understanding. If Ahriman and Lucifer are intermixed as they are in Goethe's figure of Mephistopheles, the danger is that Ahriman will constantly appear in the form of Lucifer. There is no knowing whether one has to do with Ahriman himself or with Lucifer in the form of Ahriman. Ahriman wishes to convey untruths by way of the materialistic view of the world. But the materialistic view of the world would not lead to the consequence mentioned yesterday if people would only hold fast to the thread of thinking. Without this far-reaching thinking, materialism cannot be surmounted. But if Ahriman and Lucifer are intermixed, man is induced to accept the Ahrimanic picture of the world that is presented to him because Lucifer comes to the help of Ahriman and a certain longing arises in him to weave certain fallacies in the guise of truths into his conception of the world.
A remarkable trend has developed, namely, to harbour fallacies which indeed could flourish only in the age of materialism — one might say in the age of Ahrimanic deception — because Lucifer helps from within. Ahriman insinuates himself into the concepts formed of outer phenomena and deceives man about them. But man would see through these wiles if Lucifer did not incite him to lend force to certain materialistic facts in his view of the world.
That was the situation in which men were involved in the course of the nineteenth century and those who so desired were able to take advantage of it. A person able to see through such matters might set out to strengthen some tendency with a bias towards the left. This would not have been such a simple matter if in the nineteenth century men had not been in a position where they could easily be misled as a result of the intermixture of Ahriman and Lucifer.
And so it could happen that certain entirely materialistic natures had enough of the Luciferic element in them not to believe in materialism, but to attempt to find in materialism itself a spiritual conception of the world. Just think of it — the nineteenth century could produce a type of person whose head produced a thoroughly materialistic kind of thinking but whose heart was longing for the spiritual! When that is the case, such a man will endeavour to find the spiritual in materiality itself and will endeavour to give to the spiritual a materialistic form.
Now if behind a personality of this type there happens to stand some individuality who sees to the root of such matters, the latter has a very easy game to play. For if it is in the interests of this individuality, he can induce such a man to mislead others into envisaging the spiritual in a material form, and procedures calculated to trick these others can then take effect. These measures succeed best when they are carried out at just the right place, when truths are imparted to men and the door is opened for them to the things for which they long. In this way certain spiritual truths could be brought to mankind and a one-sided tendency steered in a certain direction; on the one hand a number of truths — with a materialistic colouring but truths for all that — were communicated, and on the other hand, at a certain place, something was introduced that would quite inevitably lead to fallacy but could not easily be detected.
This was what happened in the case of Sinnett's book Esoteric Buddhism. Sinnett wrote it — but behind him was the one he calls his “inspirer”, and whom we know as the later mask of a Mahatma-Individuality. Sinnett was a journalist and was therefore steeped in the materialistic tendencies of the nineteenth century; here, then, was a personality whose brain tended entirely to materialism, but the longing for a spiritual world was also present in him. He therefore had every aptitude for seeking the spiritual world in a materialistic form, and so it was easy for the above-mentioned individuality, in whose interests it was to make use of materialism in this way for special aims of his own, to develop in Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism an ostensibly spiritual teaching with an eminently materialistic colouring.
Now you may say: “But Sinnett's book certainly does not contain materialistic teaching!” The fact that this is not perceived — there you have the gist of the whole matter! Everything is embellished and disguised and can be understood only when one knows the antecedents of which I have just spoken.
Of course, the teaching about the members of man's being, the doctrine of karma and reincarnation, are truths. But materialism has here been woven into all these truths. In Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism a genuinely spiritual outlook is combined with an eminently materialistic tendency — a combination that it was not easy to detect because there was scarcely anyone who could discern that something entirely materialistic had insinuated itself into a spiritual teaching — something that was materialistic not merely in the intellectual sense but materialistic as opposed to a spiritual view of the world. — I refer to what is said in Esoteric Buddhism about the “Eighth Sphere”. 3See notes at end of Lecture Five.
Here, then, are teachings which contain a great deal that is correct and into which this utterly materialistic and misleading statement about the Eighth Sphere has been woven. This culminates in the assertion made in Esoteric Buddhism that the Eighth Sphere is the Moon. Owing to its journalistic qualities and the good style in which it is written, the book was a tremendous draw and captivated many hearts. Consequently these readers imbibed, not the true teaching concerning the Eighth Sphere, but the strange assertion made by Sinnett that the Moon is the Eighth Sphere.
So there was Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. The book was written at the time when Blavatsky, after all the happenings of which I have told you, had already been driven into the one-sided sphere of influence of those Indian occultists who belonged to the left and had special aims of their own. Hence teachings relating to the constitution of man and to reincarnation and karma are given in Esoteric Buddhism. It is therefore written in opposition to those who wanted the knowledge of reincarnation to be allowed to disappear. This will also show you how vehemently the conflict was being waged.
Blavatsky was connected with American spiritualists who wanted to let the teaching of reincarnation disappear. Mediumship was a means to this end and so that method was adopted. As Blavatsky revolted, she was expelled and came more and more under the sway of the Indian occultists; she was driven into their hands. This led to a conflict between American and Indian views in the sphere of occultism. On the one side there was the strong tendency to let the teaching of reincarnation vanish from the scene, and on the other, the urge to bring this teaching into the world but in a form that took advantage of the materialistic leanings of the nineteenth century.
This was a possibility if the teaching about the Eighth Sphere was presented as Sinnett presented it in the book Esoteric Buddhism. There are a certain number of other facts which are perhaps of sufficient importance to be at least indicated — because I do not want to shock you by what I am saying but to explain the spiritual principle upon which our own standpoint is based.
Two difficulties had arisen as a result of the way in which the teaching about the Eighth Sphere had been presented in Sinnett's book. One of the difficulties had been created by Blavatsky herself. She knew that what Sinnett had written on this subject was false 4See notes at end of Lecture Five. but on the other hand she was in the hands of those who desired that the false teaching should be inculcated into humanity. Therefore she tried — as you can read in The Secret Doctrine — she tried to correct in a certain way this conception of the Eighth Sphere and matters relevant to it. But she did this in such a way as to cause confusion. Hence there is a certain discrepancy between Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine. Blavatsky corrected in a way that actually reinforced the bias of the left-wing Indian occultists. She tried by very peculiar means, as we shall presently see, to let more of the truth come to light in order to overshadow the error. She was therefore obliged, in turn, to create a counterweight, for from the standpoint of the Indian occultists it would have been very dangerous to allow the truth to be revealed in this way.
She set out to create this counterweight — we shall gradually understand it — by pursuing a definite course. She came nearer to the truth about the Eighth Sphere than Sinnett had done but she created the counterweight by giving vent in The Secret Doctrine to a volley of abuse on the subjects of Judaism and Christianity, interwoven with certain teaching about the nature of Jehovah. In this way, what she had put right on the one side she tried to balance out on the other, so that too much harm should not be done to the stream of Indian occultism. She knew that such truths do not remain theory or without effect as do other theories relating to the physical plane. Theories such as those of which we are speaking penetrate into the life of soul and colour the perceptions and feelings of men; indeed they were calculated to turn souls in a certain direction. — The whole affair is an inextricable jumble of fallacies.
H. P. Blavatsky did not, of course, know that the driving forces behind both tendencies were directed towards a special aim, namely, to foster this particular kind of error instead of the truth, to foster errors of a type that would be advantageous to the materialism of the nineteenth century — errors such as could be possible only at the high tide of materialism. — There you have one side of the situation.
On the other side, Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and, in a certain respect, Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine too, had made a great impression, especially upon those who were really intent upon seeking the spiritual world. And that again naturally alarmed those who had cause to be alarmed at the possibility that an Occult Movement with such an oriental trend would appear.
Now a number of senseless polemics have been levelled against Blavatsky, against Sinnett, against the Theosophical Movement, and so forth. But among the different attacks made upon the Theosophical Movement in the course of time there have been some which emanated from well-informed but biassed quarters. The tendency of Anglican spiritual life was that as little as possible of oriental teaching, as little as possible of any teaching concerning repeated Earth-lives, should be allowed to come to the knowledge of the public.
There is no doubt that among those who, from the standpoint that here lay a danger to Christianity in Europe, set themselves in opposition to the oriental teachings, were people who may be called “Christian esotericists”. Christian esotericists connected with the High Church party set themselves in opposition with this in mind. 5Compare C. J. Harrison in The Transcendental Universe, London, 1893. See also Notes at end of Lecture Five. And from that quarter came declarations calculated to stem the current of oriental thought proceeding from Blavatsky and Sinnett, but on the other hand to foster in the outside world esotericism of a kind calculated to conceal the teaching of repeated Earth-lives. To amalgamate a certain trend of thought with the form of Christianity customary in Europe — such was the aim of this group. It desired that the teaching of repeated Earth-lives — which it was essential to make known — should be left out of account. And a method similar to that used in the case of Sinnett was put into operation.
I must emphasise once again that those who made the corresponding preparations were probably not fully aware that they were tools of the individuality who stood behind them. Just as Sinnett knew nothing of the real tendency of those who stood behind him, neither did those who were connected with the High Church party know much of what lay behind the whole affair. But they realised that what they were doing could not fail to make a great impression upon the occultists and that determined them to lend force to the trend of those who were intent upon eliminating the teaching of repeated Earth-lives.
If after these preliminary indications we turn to consider the particular fallacy contained in Sinnett's book, we find that it is the teaching that the Eighth Sphere makes itself manifest paramountly in the Moon; that the Moon with its influences and effects upon man is, in fact, the Eighth Sphere. Expressed in this form, this is a fallacy. — Here is the essential point. If in investigating the influences of the Moon we were to start from Sinnett's assumption, we should be trapped in a grave error arising from materialistic thinking and not easily fathomed. — What, then, was necessary if the truth were to be fostered? It was necessary to point out the true state of things in regard to the Moon as opposed to the erroneous presentation in Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism.
Read Chapter IV dealing with this subject in the book Occult Science: an Outline. It was my purpose there to describe how the Moon left the Earth. I attached particular importance to the fact that the exit of the Moon should be described with the utmost clarity. It was essential to indicate the truth here as opposed to the fallacy. Thus in order to counter the Indian influence it was necessary to describe in all clarity the function of the Moon in the evolution of the Earth. That was one of the things that had to be done in my book Occult Science: an Outline.
The other thing that was necessary will be clear to you if you think of the people of whom I have just spoken, people who were also under a certain leadership and who did not wish the teaching of repeated Earth-lives to be spread among men as a truth because they considered that it would alter the form of Christianity customary in Europe and America. They went to work in a particular way, a way which we can clearly discern if we picture how these occultists set about refuting Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. The occultists who were connected with the High Church party took upon themselves the task of refuting Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine.
In point of fact a great deal of good was done in regard to Sinnett's statement about the Eighth Sphere, for the falsity of the indications about the Eighth Sphere and the Moon was emphasised very poignantly from that side. But at the same time this was combined with another teaching. It was stated from that quarter that man is not connected with the Moon in the way described by Sinnett, but in a different way. True, this different way was not specifically described, but it could be perceived that these people had realised something about the process of the Moon's departure from the Earth as I have presented it in the book Occult Science. But now they laid great stress on the following. — They said: The Earth — and above all, man — was never connected with the other planets of the solar system ... therefore man could never have lived on Mercury, Venus, Mars or Jupiter. From that side, therefore, it was sharply emphasised that there is no connection between man and the other planets of the solar system. But this is the best way to instil yet another fallacy into the world, and to spread the greatest possible obscurity over the teaching of reincarnation. The other fallacy, Sinnett's fallacy, actually furthers the teaching of reincarnation in a sense, but in a materialistic form. The fallacy which consists in the assertion that during his Earth-evolution man has never had any connection with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and so forth — this fallacy was not actually spread abroad by those who gave it publicity, but by those who stood behind them. It was they who worked upon the souls of men in such a way that these souls could never seriously believe in reincarnation. What, therefore, was strongly emphasised from this quarter was that man had never been connected with any planet other than the Earth nor had ever had anything to do with the other planets of the solar system.
If we think about man as he is between birth and death, we can envisage that in regard to his evolution he stands under the workings of the Spirits of Form. This too is set forth in Occult Science. But if we then think of his life from death until the next birth, an essential fact must be taken into consideration, namely, that the spheres of activity of these Spirits of Form fall as it were into seven categories, only one of which is allotted to Jehovah, namely, that concerned primarily with the life between birth and death. The six other categories of the Spirits of Form guide the life between death and a new birth.
This can be discovered only if we investigate the life between death and a new birth. Just as Jehovah has to do with the Earth and actually made the sacrifice of going to the Moon in order from there to neutralise certain things in Earth-evolution, so have the other Spirits of Form to do with the other planets. But this fact must be cloaked, must be kept secret if it is desired that the conception of repeated Earth-lives shall be withheld from men; and moreover the concealment must be really effective, it must be brought about in such a way that men do not become alive to the secret of which I have just spoken. For if they are diverted from a true vista of the life between death and a new birth, their attention will be rivetted, without this secret, upon the life between birth and death and they will allow mediums to talk them into believing that the life after death is simply a continuation of the life on Earth.
In all the things that happen in this domain a tremendous amount of scheming goes on. For naturally, an occultist who undertakes anything of this nature knows, if he belongs to the left, into which direction he must turn the thoughts in order to bring the feelings too into line and thus divert men's attention from certain secrets in order that these shall not come to light.
That is what actually happened, and you can read about it in the relevant literature. You will often find the statement that man has nothing to do with the other planets of our solar system — but the implication behind this is: Nothing to do with the Guiding Spirits of these planets of our solar system. This was sharply accentuated in order that men should never evolve such concepts as would lead them to realise the credibility of the teaching of reincarnation. And now the other task was to present the truth as opposed to the fallacy. If you read Occult Science you will again find emphasis laid upon the fact that it is necessary for men to go away from the Earth in order that part of his life shall be spent on other planets. The book Occult Science deals in detail on the one side with man's relation to the Moon, and on the other, with his relation to the planets.
What these people set out to achieve can be indicated briefly by saying: they too availed themselves of the materialistic outlook of the time. For if you present the matter as I have done in Occult Science, you will show what has to be accomplished in the evolution of our Earth through its connection with the planets. The other planets, too, belong to the evolution of the Earth. To the materialist, the planets move around in space as mere clods of matter. And so, in describing their functions in the spiritual evolution of humanity, one had to go back to their spiritual realities of being, to the Spirits of the planets.
You see by this how the spiritual Movement was wedged as it were between two set purposes, one intent upon distorting the truth concerning the Moon, the other upon distorting the truth concerning the planets. — That was the situation at the end of the nineteenth century. H. P Blavatsky and Sinnett were to distort the truth about the Moon; the others set out to distort the truth about the connection of the planets with the evolution of the Earth. Do not imagine that it is an easy position to be wedged between two such currents; for here we have to do with occultism, and where occultism is involved a stronger force is necessary for grasping its truths than for grasping the ordinary truths of the physical plane. But consequently there is also at work a far stronger force of deception which it is essential to see through. This is not easy, because of the strong force required to counter it. On the one side, the truth about the Moon is veiled by the distortion, and on the other, the truth about the planets. One was therefore wedged between two fallacies committed in the interests of materialism. First, it was a matter of reckoning with the materialism emanating from the oriental side, which was responsible for promoting the fallacy about the Moon in order to introduce the oriental teaching of reincarnation. The teaching of the fact of reincarnation was of course correct, but we shall soon see what a strong concession had been made to materialism in Esoteric Buddhism — as the book was called. On the other side there was the desire that a certain form of Catholic Esotericism should be protected from the assault of the Indian influence, and there, more than ever, the tendency was at work to allow all spiritual reality connected with the evolution of the planetary system as a whole to be submerged in materialism. The mission of Spiritual Science was wedged between these two currents. This was the situation with which one was confronted. Everywhere there were strong forces at work, intent upon making the one or the other influence effective.
And now it is a matter of showing in what respect this distorted teaching about the Moon is a very special concession to materialism, and how the way in which it was then corrected by H. P. Blavatsky actually made matters even worse, because on the one side, with a great talent for occultism — which Sinnett did not possess — she amended his statements but on the other side made use of particular methods whereby the error could be preserved with even greater certainty.
The first essential is to discern how far Sinnett's teaching about the Eighth Sphere is a fallacy. Here you must keep firmly in mind the teaching regarding the whole process of the evolution of the Earth, namely, the teaching that the planet Earth passed through the Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon periods of evolution before entering its present stage. You must remind yourselves that the composition of the Old Moon was essentially different from that of the Earth. The mineral kingdom was added for the first time during the Earth period, and what constitutes the material world of the physical plane is entirely impregnated with the mineral element. All that you perceive in the plant, animal and human kingdoms is the mineral element that has been impregnated into them. Your body is “mineralised” through and through. That which is not mineral — the Moon-nature, the Sun-nature — is only occultly present there. We see only the mineral, the earthly. This must be firmly borne in mind if starting from what man now actually is on the Earth, we are to find the answer to the question: What is it in man that is the heritage of the Old Moon?
As you see, the preparation for our present study was made already a long time ago. — Within man as he now is, the Old Moon-man is present, but in a form that must be pictured as containing nothing mineral whatever. If you envisage earthly man in such a way that you see his mineral constituents only, you must picture the Moon-man within him. (A sketch was made on the blackboard.) But there is nothing mineral in this Moon-man, hence he cannot be seen with physical eyes but only with spiritual sight. A Moon-form underlies certain members of physical man, is contained within them, but can be perceived only with the eye of clairvoyance. Needless to say, what is there within was present on the Old Moon. But just remember how it was seen on the Old Moon. It was seen through Imaginative Cognition — in surging, undulating pictures. These are still present today, but to behold them, atavistic clairvoyance, at that time at least, was necessary. The Old Moon-man could be perceived only by atavistic clairvoyance, which in that era was the normal faculty of vision. Consequently everything that is connected with this Old Moon evolution can also be seen only in Imaginations, with the ancient visionary clairvoyance. It must never be thought that the Moon-man could be formed out of the mineral Earth; he was the product of the Old Moon as it can be seen in Imaginative clairvoyance. And so in connection with the Old Moon we must picture to ourselves that the whole environment was visible to the Imaginative clairvoyance of the Moon-men just as our own environment, with plants, animals, rivers, mountains, is visible to physical eyes.
Now we know that the forces contained in the Old Moon inevitably appear again in the Earth's evolutionary process but that Earth-evolution would have been doomed to perish, as I have shown in Occult Science, if these Moon-forces had not subsequently taken their departure. They could not have maintained their existence within the Earth-forces. And why not? Remember that the whole planet Earth had to receive into itself the mineral kingdom, to be mineralised, as it were. While the Moon formed part of the Earth, the Moon-forces were still within the Earth. But these forces had to be expelled, hence the Moon itself was obliged to separate from the Earth, because it could not have existed in the mineralised Earth; hence men would not have been able to evolve as they have actually evolved. I have spoken of all this in the book Occult Science. But now recall exactly what I have said to you today — that this Moon can be perceived only through Imaginative clairvoyance. If, therefore, you picture how man developed as earthly man, with a constitution organised for perception with physical senses, you will understand that he could never have beheld the departure of the Moon. The departure of the Moon and also its position out there in the Cosmos could only have been apprehended clairvoyantly. Man was so organised that the whole process of the departure of the Moon could have been seen only with clairvoyant sight, and the influences then proceeding from the Moon could only have been those of the Old Moon — that is to say, influences which worked in such a way upon man that among other things, Imaginative clairvoyance would have been evoked in him.
Try to imagine the situation in that ancient time! The situation was that “man” could come into being, that the souls could come down from the planets, and so forth — but the Moon would have worked as Moon, and in such a way that the forces in the human being as he descended would have been the same forces as had been present in the Old Moon which preceded the Earth. Nobody except one endowed with visionary clairvoyance could have beheld this Moon.
Then, as a material phenomenon accompanying this process of the departure of the Moon-forces, something else came about. — I have already told you how Jahve is related to the Moon. What happened was that through the connection of Jahve with the Moon, the Moon too was made material, was mineralised, but with a materiality much denser than that of the Earth. Therefore what can be seen today as physical Moon and of which it can be assumed that the Moon contains a mineral element, is to be traced back to the deed of Jahve whereby certain elements were added to the Old Moon.
Thereby, however, the Old Moon forces were crippled, and now work in a quite different way. Had the Moon remained unmineralised, its forces would have worked in such a way that its rays would always have evoked the old atavistic clairvoyance in men, and the effects of the Moon upon the will would have made men somnambulists in the most marked form. This was neutralised through the mineralisation of the Moon. The old forces can now no longer develop in such a way.
This is a truth of tremendous importance, for now you will realise that it was necessary for the Moon to be mineralised in order that it might not work in the old way. And so when speaking of the Moon as a recapitulation of the Old Moon, we must speak of a celestial body that is not visible with physical eyes, that is a concern of the spiritual world, albeit only the subconscious spiritual world that is perceptible to visionary clairvoyance. We must therefore speak of something spiritual if we are speaking of the recapitulation of the Old Moon; what is mineral in the present Moon has been added to the spiritual and does not belong to the Moon when the Moon is referred to in the old sense.
How was the materialism of the nineteenth century to be grappled with? Its adherents would certainly not believe that behind the material Moon there lies the very important remainder of the old, non-mineralised Moon; they would never believe such a thing. So a concession was made to materialism by speaking only of the physical, materialised Moon. Hence when Sinnett spoke of the Moon, he left out the spirit. In Esoteric Buddhism he merely says that the materiality of the Moon is far denser than that of the Earth. That is so, indeed must be so, but that the occult reality which I have indicated lies behind—that fact he omits altogether. He therefore made the concession in that he speaks only of the materiality of the Moon. But the spirituality behind the Moon does not there come into consideration; it does not belong essentially to the Earth but is connected much more closely with the Old Moon than with the Earth. This fact was completely veiled, and the consequence was of tremendous import; for Sinnett had thereby brought a true fact — namely, that the Moon has something to do with the Eighth Sphere — into an utterly false light and distorted it with great subtlety. He omits all mention of the spiritual aspect of the Eighth Sphere, namely that the Eighth Sphere, the representative of which is alleged to be the Moon, is that which lies behind the Moon, and he calls what was actually placed there to neutralise, to counter the effects of the Eighth Sphere, the Eighth Sphere itself. As we have heard, the materiality of the Moon is there in order to neutralise the Eighth Sphere, to render it ineffectual.
People do not realise what the effect of the Eighth Sphere would be if materiality were taken away from the Moon. The whole nature of the human soul would have become quite different on the Earth and that this has not happened is due to the fact that materiality of a greater density was incorporated into the Moon. That which actually makes the Eighth Sphere ineffectual, namely, its materiality, Sinnett calls the Eighth Sphere, and what is actually the Eighth Sphere, namely the Old Moon forces, he obscures. A trick frequently used in occultism is to say something that is true fundamentally but to put it in such a way that it is absolutely false — forgive the paradox! It is false to say that the material Moon is the Eighth Sphere, because actually it is the neutraliser of the Eighth Sphere. But it is quite correct that the “Moon” is the Eighth Sphere, because the Eighth Sphere is centred in the Moon, is actually present up there.
And now we have reached the point where we can say more specifically than has hitherto been possible, what the Eighth Sphere is in reality.—This is a matter most intimately connected with the spiritual aspect of evolution in the nineteenth century.