The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death
2. On the forming of Destiny
18 November 1915, Berlin
My first sad and heavy duty is to acquaint you with the fact that our dear friend, the leader of the Munich Lodge, Fraulein Stinde, now belongs to those whom we have to reckon to-day as the ‘Sphere-Beings.’ She left this physical plane yesterday evening. It is not possible just now to speak about this extremely severe and significant loss to our society. As a beginning to our consideration for to-day I will merely say these few words concerning this event, which is so painful and important to us.
Fraulein Stinde belongs to those who are certainly known to the greater number of our friends. She belongs to those who have grasped our matters in the deepest depths of their hearts and have completely identified themselves with them. In her house (and that of her friend the Grafin Kalckreuth) I was able as early as 1903 to give the first intimate lectures in our sphere, which I had to give in Munich. And one may say that from this first occasion when Fraulein Stinde approached us, she united with our aims not only her whole personality but the whole power of her work, so valuable, so excellent and influential. She forsook the artistic calling which was previously so dear to her, in order to put herself and her powers entirely at the service of our work, and since then she has worked intensely for this, in a rare, objective, quite impersonal manner, both in narrower and wider circles. She was the soul of our whole work in Munich. And she was one of those souls, of whom one could say, that through the inner qualities of her being she gave the very best guarantee that in Munich itself, our aims would be able to develop in the best possible manner. You know what an immense task was laid on all those persons helping in Munich in those early years, through the performances of the Mystery Plays and everything connected with them. Fraulein Stinde and her friend Grafin Kalckreuth gave themselves up absolutely to this work, and above all, it may be said, with the understanding created by the profound nature of their studies, and by the will which may itself be born of this. I may perhaps point out that the intense labour which Fraulein Stinde accomplished, really very considerably exhausted her life-strength in later years. It must be admitted that the valuable life-force which was perhaps too rapidly used up of late, was devoted to our cause in the most beautiful and deeply satisfactory manner. Probably no one among those who knew her most intimately, could help feeling that this personality was one of our very best workers. It is true many of the activities of Fraulein Stinde have been misunderstood, and it is to be hoped that the sun-like force that proceeded from her personality will presently be recognised, even by those of our friends and followers who through prejudice have misunderstood her work. And those of our wider circle who could observe all she did for our cause, will, in common with those more closely connected with her, preserve the most faithful recollection of her. We are sure that in her case we may quite specially emphasise the mantram which must often be uttered during these days in connection with the departure of many of our friends from the physical plane. It may be especially emphasised with reference to Fraulein Stinde, that amidst the many attacks and oppositions which our cause encounters in the world, we reckon on the help of those in the spiritual-world — we reckon on those who have only changed the form of their existence, and who, in spite of their passage through the gate of death, are still truly united with us in soul, and are most significant and important co-workers. The many veils which surround those still incarnate in the physical body, gradually fall away, and the souls of these dear departed friends — of this we are sure — work in our midst, and we specially need their help. We need the help of those no longer assailed from the physical plane, those who have no longer to consider the limits of the physical plane. If we have the deep and earnest belief in the success of our cause in the civilisation of the world, it is because we have the full consciousness that those who formerly belonged to us, are still our best forces, that they work among us from the spiritual world with spiritual means. The trust in our cause that we require, will often be strengthened by the knowledge that we must thank our departed friends for being in our midst in order that, by uniting our forces with theirs, we can accomplish the labour which is laid upon us for the spiritual civilisation of the world. I should now like to continue the considerations which we began to develop in our last lecture. Such times as our own, in which the enigma of death approaches the human soul in so many different forms — and on this we laid stress in our last lecture — urges us quite specially to investigate what man is certainly able to acquire regarding the spiritual world. Times like our own, in which humanity is exposed to such severe trials, are destined for the very purpose of leading the human soul to inquire as to the beings of the spiritual world. For who does not see at each step in what is happening to-day — and is happening in the greater part of the civilised world — who does not see at almost every stage the great riddle of Life confronting him? And who does not feel that great connections lie concealed behind such events as those occurring around us to-day and which, as they occur, convulse the souls and hearts of men with pain and sorrow, though fill them also with hope and confidence? Certainly, he who beholds the events of the world with but a short-sighted vision, will judge such far-reaching events by those which immediately precede and follow them. But one who externally, without entering into esoteric considerations, regards the course of cosmic events and compares earlier times with the present, will become conscious of how very much may be connected first with that, let us say, which in quite a different manner, runs its course later on in the Cosmos, as effect. Consider there are now many people who say: “The present events of the war are merely the results of external political opposition among the various nations and peoples.” Certainly, that is true, and there is no question of bringing forward anything in objection to the truth of such a conception in a limited sense; but, if we consider, for example, the wars which were waged in the beginning of the Middle Ages between the Central European peoples and those of South Europe and above all the peoples belonging to the Roman Empire, we must say that the wars which took place then in political strife also proceeded from the opposition, the political opposition which then existed; they had their causes in those oppositions in their immediate vicinity. These battles have now run their course. They have evoked certain configurations in the entire life of Europe. If we investigate but a little into history and consider what happened at that time through the battles of the Central European peoples with, let us say, the peoples of the Roman Empire, we shall come to the conclusion that out of the earlier configuration of the European World there has arisen a later one. But if we wish to estimate correctly the real point at issue, we must consider all the historical results. For these historical results which have occurred in Europe could not have arisen as they have, if those battles had ended the other way. And what was the consequence of this European History? The whole manner in which Christianity spread and grew in Europe is the result of it! And if we consider these deep connections we can say: In all that happened in the following centuries, the facts lie thus: the events of these centuries are karmically connected with their causes, the battles of those times. That means that the events to which we have alluded, are connected with the whole later configuration of the European World even in its spiritual relations. Just consider that in all its gravity, and you will admit that Christianity then spread in Europe and so fashioned itself, that through the youthful Germanic peoples opposing the Roman peoples who had now grown old, and through the uniting of their youthful forces with that which flowed into humanity as the announcement of Christianity, a certain European atmosphere was thereby created, into which the souls descending later were born. Thus the souls lived and developed in the following centuries, in accordance with these events. Thus we may say: If a man at that time had asserted: ‘How does that affect things? It is merely a political opposition between the nations of South and Central Europe,’ he would be right. But if another had said: ‘Just look, the configuration of the spiritual civilisation of all the following centuries will result from what is happening’ — he also would be right, and in a much deeper sense. If we seek the immediate causes of anything by pointing to the opposing forces nearest at hand, we do not therewith touch on the entire gravity of the occurrence. The affairs of this world are all very intimately connected. And if we require inner strengthening in order, as it were, to find the right forces for the support of our work, we need only remind ourselves that in a still smaller circle than our present one, were once seated together those who, when Christianity was first announced represented its great Cosmic Truths. I have already often used this comparison. But we shall apply it yet again to-day. There was a time which we can describe as follows: We see the old Roman Empire. We see it with its old philosophy. We see it living entirely in the atmosphere of the old heathen philosophy. We see this Empire with the people who in a sense formed the upper classes. And there below, truly more underneath than our ‘under’ signifies to-day — literally underneath, in the catacombs under the earth, we see the first small handful of Christians, possessing something quite foreign to the world-culture up above, but which they carried so deeply in their hearts that its force became truly cosmically creative. Let us picture to ourselves these catacombs. There, underneath in the catacombs, with their thoughts directed to the Christ-impulse, were the first Christians — and above, over their heads, the Romans, who behaved quite differently from the first Christians. You know all that, I need not relate it further. But if you picture two centuries later, how different everything appears! That which was above is swept away, and that which was venerated underground in secret has found its way to the surface! Certainly, the times and the forms in which such doings occur change; but the essential remains. Concerning those who to-day advocate the external scientific and spiritual culture it may be said — though this is not to be taken literally — they feel themselves above, and call that which is striven for in our circles, the philosophy of a few sectarians, derived from a few abnormal minds. But he who really penetrates the nature of these conceptions of ours and who above all permeates himself with them, may have the assurance that here too some day what is kept under will be on the top. Here then our thoughts may dwell on the transformed world which will arise out of these difficult times of ours, on the spiritual which mankind must learn to grasp. For there hardly exists a greater similarity in historical evolution, than that between our own times and that which played its part in the epoch when the old Roman culture was still above, and Christianity, tended by a few faithful souls, was still below.
I should like to point out — if I may do so without seeming narrow-minded through a too exact and pedantic reference to these things, for in these days we should be very broad indeed — that it is especially good to hold before the soul as imaginative pictures our own epoch and that of the Rome at the first appearance of Christianity.
Now, many who to-day oppose what we call Spiritual Science, cannot fail to feel the entirely different nature of that which Spiritual Science must advocate, in contradistinction to that which is otherwise upheld among the so-called ‘normal’ people of to-day. And here we need only observe, if we wish to understand this correctly, how the first announcement of Christianity was completely opposed to that which was upheld among the Romans, the normal men of those times: with such a thought we must make ourselves acquainted, for it is again and again leveled against us that with the accepted means of cognition man cannot reach worlds such as those with which we are concerned. We must really so grasp the more intimate work in our groups as to be able to say: This life in our groups is not useless. It is not without significance to this cause of ours, that we should meet together in such groups, and again and again renew, not only acquaintance with the theoretical results of our doctrine, which is not of importance, but also renew our warm feelings and sensations for the actual things and beings of the spiritual world. Thereby we accustom ourselves to that manner of psychic sensing and feeling which above all makes it possible for us to take up spiritual truths in a different way from those who are unprepared. In our group meetings there must occasionally be imparted to you something from the higher and later parts of spiritual knowledge. We cannot always start afresh from the beginning. But this intimacy within the life of the groups must make it possible for a number of our friends to take into themselves, into their souls, such things as I pointed out in the last lecture, namely, the special manner of verifying our spiritual knowledge, and of taking it into oneself. We cannot verify these things in the same manner as man does in the external world when he contacts things with his eyes: but he who has a feeling for such facts as I pointed out last time, will, even if he does not himself see into the spiritual world, feel that through the mutual support of spiritual truths the value of these truths is intensified. Therefore I shall yet again draw attention to the very significant fact that on the one side, through many years of study, the definite point of view is reached, that a third of our life between birth and death — in time — is again lived through after death; while now on the other side a quite different point of view is discovered — namely, that in reality we experience our sleep life in a special form during the time we call Kamaloka, and that this time also occupies a third of the life on the physical plane. These two points of view are quite independent of each other and have been discovered from different starting points. We have also shown on other occasions how, from three or four different points of view, one always comes to the same conclusion. Thus do the truths support each other. But for this, we must ourselves acquire the right feeling. This will produce something like a natural elemental feeling for the truth of this spiritual knowledge. I must often appeal to this, otherwise I could not give out the later and higher truths in the various group-meetings.
Last time we drew attention to the fact that the right connection of our Ego-consciousness between death and rebirth is, as it were, kindled through that panoramic review of our last earth-life which takes place after death. We go over our life again in a kind of tableau. You must quite clearly understand what a man there really beholds. We are here accustomed to stand on the physical plane, forming, in a sense, a kind of central point of our cosmic horizon, and we see the world around us which makes an impression on our senses. In normal life on the physical plane, we do not look into ourselves, we turn our gaze outwards. Now, if we want to form an idea of the life immediately following death, it is important to keep in mind that this gaze on the panorama of life is absolutely different from the perception we are accustomed to use on the physical plane. On the physical plane we look out of ourselves and regard the world as our environment. ‘We are here, we look outwards, and not into ourselves.’ Immediately after death we have a few days in which our field of vision is filled with that which we have undergone between birth and death. We then look within from the circumference to the centre. We regard our own life in its chronological course. Whereas we usually say: ‘Here are we and everything else is outside us’ ... immediately after death we have the consciousness that this distinction between us and the world does not exist. For we look from the circumference on to our own life, which for these few days is our world. In ordinary perception on the physical plane we behold hills, houses, rivers, trees, etc., so, in the same way, we see that which we have undergone in life from a certain personal standpoint, as our own immediate world. And because we see it, that gives the starting point for the maintenance of the Ego through the entire life between death and rebirth. It is that which strengthens and invigorates the soul, so that between death and rebirth it always knows: ‘I am an Ego!’ Here in physical life we realise our Ego through the fact — which I have often pointed out — that we stand in a certain relation to our body. Consider: if you reflect closely on a dream you will say: In the dream you have no clear feeling of the Ego, but often a feeling of separation. That is because man here on the physical plane only really feels his Ego through contact with his body. You can represent it very crudely thus: If you move your finger through the air — there is nothing there! Move it further — there is still nothing. When you touch something, however, in coming against something, you know of yourself, you become aware of yourself. We are thereby made aware of our Ego. Not the Ego itself is aroused — the Ego is a Being — but the consciousness of the Ego. The opposition makes us aware of our Self. Thus we are Ego-conscious in the physical body because of our living in it. For this reason we have received the physical body. In the life between death and rebirth we have an Ego-consciousness, because we have received the forces which proceed from the vision of the previous life. We come to a certain extent in contact with that which the world of space gives us and thereby win our Ego-consciousness for the life between birth and death. We come in contact with that which we ourselves have experienced between birth and death in the last life, and thereby have our Ego-consciousness for the life between death and rebirth.
There now follows the quite different life which occupies a third of the time of the life between birth and death, and which is usually called the Kamaloka life. This life follows. It is of such a nature that we may say a widening of our vision appears. While during the first few days our vision is really directed only to our self, to our past life, not to the personality — this, as time goes on, becomes quite different. Certainly the power of knowing oneself as an Ego remains. But there now appears, and you can gather for yourselves, from the lectures and books, what I am about to say — there now appears something quite peculiar, to which man has first to accustom himself, because the whole method of perceiving in that world is quite different from what it is here on the physical plane. A great part of that which man has to undergo after death consists in inwardly accommodating himself to a different mode of perception. Here we have nature around us. What we here regard in the physical world as nature is absolutely nonexistent in that world which is ours between death and rebirth. To see nature here we have our physical eyes, ears, and the whole physical apparatus of perception. And this nature as it exists with its fullness of colour and other characteristics could not be perceived by other, different organs of perception. Therefore we are endowed with a physical body, that we may be able to perceive nature. After death, in the place of what is here around us as nature, we have around us the spiritual world which we describe as the world of the hierarchies and world of pure being, of pure soul. Not matter or substance or objects which have colour, but pure being. That is the essential point. Therefore naturally the astonishment is greatest for those souls who denied the spirit while here in physical life. For those, who deny the spirit and believe nothing of the spiritual, are placed in a world which they have denied, and which is completely unknown to them. They have compulsorily to live in a world whose existence they actually refused to admit.
Thus we are encompassed by a spiritual environment of pure being, of pure soul. And now gradually emerge souls, fashioning themselves out of this universal soul-world, for at first there are souls everywhere — souls whom we do not recognise. We know they are all souls, but we do not recognise them individually; and gradually the individual souls appear more distinctly and concretely. And especially at this time appear those souls with whom we have lived here on the physical plane, the souls of men with whom we have lived here. While we face this fullness of souls we learn to know among whom we are: this soul is so and so, that soul is someone else, and so on. We make acquaintance with these souls. First of all we must recognise the fact that the whole relation in which we stand to the world then, between death and rebirth, is essentially different, in yet other respects to the relation in which we stand here on the physical plane. Here we say that the world is outside us; after death we have really the consciousness that the world is within us. Just imagine that for a moment here, on the earth, you were to dissolve entirely, that you were to vanish into vapour. The vaporous cloud which is you spreads out more and more and only ceases to spread further when it reaches the firmament. It expands, but it can get no further. Let us consider for a moment the firmament as a being. You then feel yourself as this firmament and now see everything within it; thus you stand outside with your consciousness and see the world inside. You feel yourself in such a way that everything that appears is within you. Just as here a pain is inside us, in like manner after death beings appear in us as inner experience. That brings about the infinite intimacy of the experiences between death and rebirth, the fact of being so bound together with them that we actually have them as our own inner experiences. And here there is a certain distinction. Consider such a soul as I have instanced, which one begins to recognise and of which all one can know at first is: ‘Yes, it is there, but it has no form. It is not yet perceptible, but it is there.’ To make it perceptible one has to accomplish an inner activity, an activity somewhat like the following: Let us suppose ourselves placed in the spiritual. If I feel behind me something which I do not see, the following idea arises in me: It is there, but I must accomplish an activity in order to get some conception of it. I may say it is comparable to touching a thing so as to get an idea of it. This inner activity is necessary if the imagination is to appear. I know the being is there, but I have first to create the imagination by uniting myself inwardly with the being. That is the one way in which man can perceive souls. The other manner is this: that one does not oneself accomplish this inner activity with such intensity, but it arises of its own accord. It appears without one's having very much to do with it. It is somewhat like our perception of something here, only of course it is transferred into the spiritual. And this distinction can exist between two souls. Of the one, man receives a perception through being very active himself; of the other, through an imagination arising out of itself. You only need be attentive to recognise this distinction. For if you become acquainted with a soul that requires more activity to be perceived; that is the soul of one who has died. But a soul that appears more of its own accord is a soul which is incarnate here on the earth in a physical body. These distinctions are really there. Man stands — with a few exceptions, which we can mention at the proper time — man stands in union after death both with the souls who have died and those who are still here on earth. And the distinction lies in a man's knowing which kind of soul he has to deal with; he knows he must be active or passive, according to the way in which there arises the imagination of the soul which he faces.
Now, there is one idea, one characteristic, which has indeed been expressed many times already, but which we will once more bring forward in connection with the life which occupies a third of the earth-life just elapsed, and which we are accustomed to call the life in Kamaloka. If you are living here on the earth and somebody strikes you, you are aware of it. You perceive it, and say: he has struck me. And as a rule it makes a difference whether somebody hits you, or whether you hit him, and if you hear something said by someone, you have not the same experience as when you yourself say something. All this is quite reversed in Kamaloka life, in which we live our life backwards between death and rebirth. To use this rough illustration it is then as follows. If you have given anybody a blow in life, you feel what the other person felt through the blow. If you have injured another through a word, you experience the feeling you caused him. Thus you feel the experience of the other soul. In other words, you experience the results brought about by your own deeds. We experience in this journey backwards everything which other people have experienced through us during our life here, between birth and death. If you have lived here between birth and death with many hundreds of men, these men have experienced something through you. But here in physical life you cannot feel that which those others felt and experienced through you, you only experience what they make you go through. After death this is reversed, and it is essential that we should experience everything in this review which others have suffered through us. Thus we undergo the effects of the last earth existence, and the task of these years really lies in our experiencing them. Now, while we are undergoing these effects, the experience is transformed in us into forces, and it happens in the following manner: Suppose I have offended a man, who has thereby suffered bitterly. During Kamaloka I now experience this bitterness myself. I go through it as my own experience. And while I now experience it, it makes good in me the force which must work as opposition; that is, while I undergo this bitterness, I create in myself the force to wipe away from the world this bitterness. I thus realise all the effects of my deeds and thereby absorb the force to wipe them away. And during this time in Kamaloka — which lasts a third of the earth-life — I absorb all the forces which may be expressed as an intense longing in the now disembodied soul, to remove everything which destroys perfection by retarding the soul's evolution. If you ponder over this you will see that man himself makes his own Karma, that is, that he has in himself the wish to become such that everything undesirable may be wiped out. Thus is Karma prepared, during this particular time. We incorporate into our souls the force which we must take up between death and rebirth, in order to bring about in the next incarnation that configuration of our life which we are able to regard as the right one. This is how Karma is created. In order to understand these things aright — not only theoretically but so to grasp them that they may penetrate deeply into our forces of feeling and willing — we must be clear that the whole mode of feeling common to the dead is absolutely different from that of the living. The living may very easily say, ‘I pity this or that dead man because he has to suffer something from which he cannot escape!’ But suppose he has terribly wronged another and can do nothing to put it right, you may perhaps feel sorry for the dead man, but that is quite uncalled for; for he desires nothing more than to be able to evolve the forces whereby he can balance the wrong. That is the very thing which he regards as precious. You would thus be wishing that he should not reach what he himself most longs for. To attain this he must undergo all the aforesaid suffering, for the positive develops out of the negative. Through insight into that which we have done, we develop the power of making compensation.
Thus we may say that at the end of this Kamaloka period a man has already determined, in accordance with his last life and its recapitulation, how he will enter the next incarnation in his existence; and in what relation he will stand to this or that person in order to compensate this or that. There we actually determine our Karma for the life we are to enter.
The first part of our time is spent in assimilating from the spiritual world the forces through which we can build up humanity in general, and through which we can form for ourselves a body suitable for our own individuality. First we have the plan of our Karma. Then we must fashion the human body to this end. That requires a much longer time, and takes place later on. Now, you can see from this that the essential of the time in Kamaloka lies in the fact that it gives us the possibility of ethically preparing our next incarnation in the right manner. We must be quite clear that each following incarnation depends on the earlier ones. We see how our following incarnations are prepared. And we see that the entire mode of a man's life depends on the way in which he went through his former life. The objection is raised by persons who have not yet fully considered the matter, that this contradicts a man's freedom. I will return to this later — it does not contradict freedom.
If we thus observe individual persons in life we find that they are very, very different; no matter how many men there are on the earth, they are all different. Yet one may distinguish categories. There are, for instance, men who so behave that from their earliest youth we can see that as individuals they are specially suited for this, or that. As you know, there are such people. Even in childhood we can predict that they will accomplish some definite purpose. They thrust themselves into it, as it were. They possess activity. They have a special task, because they develop force for this end. Others we find who are interested in many things but have no definite inclination to any one thing. They take up many things. Perhaps later in life they may come to a definite task which is not specially suited to them; they might perhaps have been able to do something else quite as well. In short, people are quite different one from another in reference to the way in which they act in life. And this really makes life possible. There are men, for example, who enter life, and who do not seem to have much to do, externally. But they need only speak a word or two to have an influence on people. Such men work more through their inner being. Others work more externally. That is intimately connected with the manner in which they have lived through their previous incarnation. There are persons who die in early youth — before the age of thirty-five — in order to have these very limitations. Such men with regard to their death in this incarnation are in a quite different position from those who die after the age of thirty-five. One who dies before the age of thirty-five still stands nearer to the world from which he descended at birth. This thirty-fifth year is an important boundary. One then crosses a bridge, as it were. The world out of which a man has descended then withdraws, and he produces a new spiritual world from his inner being. It is important that we should distinguish this. And now suppose a man dies before the age of thirty-five. On reincarnating, those forces develop in him which he did not use in the years which would have followed his thirty-fifth year. Such men, who before the thirty-fifth year go through death in this way in one incarnation, thereby economise for the next incarnation certain forces, which would have been exhausted if they had lived till fifty, sixty or seventy years of age. The forces which they thus saved are added to those with which they incarnate in the next life. Thereby such souls are born into bodies through which they are in a position, especially in their youth, to confront life with strong impressions. In other words: when such souls, who in their last incarnation died before the thirty-fifth year, reincarnate again, everything makes a strong impression on them. They are deeply stirred by things, they enjoy things deeply, they have living feelings and are easily urged to impulses of will. They are those who take a strong position in life, and who receive a mission. A man does not die without cause before his thirty-fifth year; he will thereby receive a quite definite mission in his next life. These things are complex, and death before the age of thirty-five may also bring about other things — it is not absolute law, for these are only examples. But when a man dies after thirty-five it happens that in his next life he does not receive such strong impressions from the things in his surroundings. He cannot easily be stirred or roused. He becomes acquainted more slowly but more intimately with things, and he thus prepares himself for a life in his next incarnation in which he will work more through his inner nature, without being so definitely guided to a special task in life. He will so stand in life, that he would perhaps have preferred some other task, and is diverted from it in order to accomplish something perhaps absolutely against his will. Because through the previous earth incarnation he had accustomed himself to work more delicately, he can now be used in a wider sphere. And if a man — I have already mentioned this case earlier — if a man is led in very early youth through the gate of death, let us say in his eleventh, twelfth, or thirteenth year of life, he then has but a short time in Kamaloka. But he remains very, very near the world which he forsook at physical birth. Everything appears different. After a life ending with the twelfth year, there follows the usual retrospect during the first days after death, but it takes place in such a manner that it appears more from outside. Whereas if a man dies at the age of fifty, sixty or seventy, he himself must do much more to bring about this retrospect. It must be brought about by his own activity. And because they have to experience this life after death in so many various ways, men are thereby differently prepared for their next life. It may be that in one life a man is especially active. Now, if an especially active man is summoned from life at an early age, it would then occur that in his next life his Karma would appoint him to a quite definite task in life, which he would certainly accomplish. He would be as if predestined. If, however, a man is especially active in one life and lives to a good old age, these forces are then intensified inwardly. He has then in his next life a more complicated task. Outer activity withdraws, and there appears in the soul the necessity to evolve inner activity.
Thus the life of man is complex as it develops from incarnation to incarnation. We shall continue these considerations in the next lecture. Now, I should like to conclude by saying one thing: When you face a whole epoch such as ours, in which in a relatively short time an exceptional number of men are led in abnormal fashion through the gates of death, then through this something quite exceptional is being prepared. And it was necessary that this should be prepared. You see each year how the time of blossoming comes to the world in intervals. If you look back in history you can also say that even there the blossoms appear at intervals. A great time of blossoming was the epoch of Lessing, Herder, Schiller, Fichte, Goethe. It is as if there was then a gathering of geniuses for a time, and it then ceased. And thus the world progresses in leaps. Such intervals of genius are recorded, and then these things change again. In the spiritual realms too, we have a blossoming, a special sprouting, at intervals. Now, in our days we have an interval of decay in the physical realm. Here you have again two things which you can place as pictures, side by side, and which as pictures are tremendously significant. Great physical decay — which is the seed for a later significant spiritual blossoming. Things have always two sides. From this standpoint, ever seeking again and again force and consolation — but also gaining confidence in our hopes — let us once more repeat in reference to our times, and from the consciousness of our spiritual science:
From the fighters' courage,
From the blood of battles,
From the mourners' suffering,
From the people's sacrifice,
There will ripen fruits of Spirit
If with consciousness the soul
Turns her thought to Spirit Realms.