Festival of Easter
20 April 1924, Dornach
One may say that the original idea of Festivals was to make people lift their eyes, turning them from dependence on earthly things to dependence on super-earthly ones. And it is consideration of the Easter Festival that can especially bring about such thoughts. In the course of the last four or five hundred years the civilization of the world has gone through a spiritual evolution which has inclined humanity to turn its attention more and more away from its connection with cosmic forces and cosmic powers. Human attention has been restricted increasingly to the study of those conditions prevailing between man and earthly forces and powers. It is also the case that with those means of knowledge which are considered legitimate to-day it is impossible to keep other connections in view. If anyone in pre-Christian times, or even in the first Christian centuries, who was closely associated with the Mysteries could have experienced our present-day knowledge, he would not in the least have understood — if he approached things with the thoughts and feelings of those days — how it was possible for people to live without a consciousness of their super-earthly, their cosmic connections.
I might here give an outline of many things which you find more fully described in different cycles of lectures; but as these present lectures are intended to give a more intimate understanding of the thought of Easter, I naturally cannot bring forward every particular but can only hint at how things are.
If we were to transfer ourselves in thought into the various ancient religious systems of the past, we might choose as an example that one most familiar to modern people, the ancient Hebrew-Jewish system; we would find, when these ancient systems are mono-theistic, the worship of the one Godhead. This is that Godhead of whom, in accordance with Christian acceptance, we call the Father.
Now, in all those religions in which the thought of this Father-God lived, there has existed more or less, but especially among the priests of the Mysteries, a connection between this God and the cosmic moon-forces, a connection with everything streaming down to earth as force from the moon.
Of this ancient consciousness of the connection between man and the moon forces, hardly anything has remained other than the stimulus given to the poetic fancy of the soul by the moon, and the number of months in the gestation period of man, in accordance with the ten lunar months as reckoned in medicine. But in the older ideas concerning such things a clear consciousness did exist, that when man came down from the spiritual world, where in pre-earthly times he had lived as a psycho-spiritual being, into physical life, he was filled with and strengthened by impulses that streamed to him from the moon. When a man considers what it is that has formed him as living being, what lives in him as the forces of nutrition and ˂ breathing, and as forces of growth generally, he must not look to the forces of the earth but to forces outside the earth.
It is easy for him to see how, when looking to earthly forces, these are connected with him. But if our body were not held together by forces outside the earth, if it did not receive its form from forces beyond the earth, what could the mere earthly forces do towards its preservation and cohesion (Zusammengehalt)?
The moment the non-earthly forces — those coming from beyond the earth — leave it, the body is exposed to the forces of the earth: it then perishes, disintegrates, and becomes a corpse. The forces of the earth can only make corpses of men, they cannot construct their human form. Those forces living in man, by which he is raised above what is earthly, so that between birth and death he can live on earth as a coherent organic form and not succumb to the forces of earth that lay hold of him at death and destroy him, against which he wages a life-long struggle here — for they must be struggled against — these forces he owes to the influences of the moon-world.
If on the one hand we can state theoretically that the moon contains the forces by which the human body is formed, we must realize on the other hand that ancient religions reverenced these as the divine Father-forces which were the means of bringing man into physical existence at birth. The ancient Hebrew Initiate had a distinct consciousness of the fact that the forces leading man to earthly existence streamed to him from the moon, maintained him on earth, and were torn from him as physical man when he passed through the gates of death.
A kindly feeling of love for these Father-forces, a looking up to them in the practice of their cult by means of prayers, etc., was the content of certain ancient monotheistic religions. These ancient mono-theistic religions were more consistent than people think. Such matters are very incorrectly represented in history, because history can only go by external documents, not by what is observed with the help of spiritual vision.
Those religions which looked up to the moon, and to that which existed in the moon as spiritual Beings, belonged to a later period. Compared with the opinions held by them concerning the moon, those held by earlier religions concerning the Sun-forces, and even the Saturn forces, of which I shall have something to say later, were very clearly defined, but they concerned themselves principally with the Sun-forces.
With these early religions we enter an historical field of study for which external documents no longer exist, lying as they do many thousands of years earlier than the foundation of Christianity. In order to provide this age with a name I have called it in my book, “An Outline of Occult Science,” the “Old Indian,” which was followed by the “Old Persian,” age. In these civilizations human development was very different from what it became later, and religious beliefs depended upon this development. During the last two thousand years and more we have developed so that we are not aware that a split has occurred in our earthly evolution. This has hardly been noticed. What takes place in the greater part of present-day humanity, inwardly, at about their thirtieth year, has also hardly been noticed. It has remained to a great extent in the subconscious; it has not entered into man's consciousness. Conditions were very different in a humanity that lived eight or nine thousand years before the foundation of Christianity. The development of individuals was then more continuous up to about the age of thirty. With the thirtieth year a great change took place. What I have now to say about this change has naturally to be spoken of somewhat crudely, but these simple descriptions are in accordance with the facts that concern us at the moment.
In those remote times the following might happen: A man might have contracted a friendship with someone (before his thirtieth year who was considerably younger than himself — perhaps three or four years younger. This man shortly afterwards experienced the change that took place about the age of thirty. It might happen, these two men not having seen each other for a long time, that the one who had experienced the change at his thirtieth year was spoken to by the other without his knowing who he was. His memory had been so completely changed. I have had to put this in the language of to-day, hence it may strike you as being somewhat crude. In olden times the control of certain arrangements (Einrichtungen) stood in close connection with the Mystery schools; and by these, in the small societies then existing, a register of the lives of the young people was kept, because they themselves forgot, owing to the great alteration (Umschwung) that had taken place in them, and had to be taught again what they had experienced in life before their thirtieth year. These men then knew: I have become a quite different being in my thirtieth year, I must go to “the registry” (a modern expression, of course) in order to learn what I had previously experienced. This is actually what happened! Through instructions they received, at the same time they were told: Before your thirtieth year the Moon-forces worked in you exclusively; after attaining this age the Sun-forces entered into the development of your earthly life. The Sun-forces work on man with an entirely different purport from the Moon-forces. What does present-day humanity know of the Sun-forces? Only the outer physical part. Man knows that they warm him, that they cause him to perspire; he knows besides this that people practise sun-bathing, that there is something therapeutic connected with the forces of the sun, but all this he learns in a merely external way. He has no idea what the forces that are spiritually connected with the Sun do to him.
Julian the Apostate, the last of the heathen Cæsars, had experienced something of these forces in the last lingering note of the Mysteries, and just when he desired to make proof of these experiences he was murdered on his expedition into Persia; so powerful in the early Christian centuries were the forces which desired all knowledge of such things to be lost.
It is therefore not to be wondered at that even to-day no knowledge concerning them can be acquired. While the Moon-forces are those which determine what man is, which permeate him with an inward necessity (Notwendigkeit), as to his actions, and determine his instincts, his temperament, his emotions and the nature of his physical-etheric body generally, the spiritual Sun-forces free him from this compulsion. They caused this necessity or compulsion to dissolve, as it were, and man became really a free being through the Sun-forces. In that ancient time to which I have referred, the difference between these two forces in human evolution was strictly defined. In his thirtieth year a man then became a Sun-man, a free man; up to his thirtieth year he was a Moon-man, and was not free. To-day these two conditions slide one into the other. To-day the Sun-forces work along with the Moon-forces even in childhood, and the Moon-forces continue to work on into later years; so that to-day these two things, compulsion or necessity and freedom, work one into the other. This was not always the case. In the early pre-historic times of which we are speaking the action of the sun and that of the moon were absolutely distinct in the course of a man's life. This is why it was said at that time concerning the greater part of humanity: a man was born not once but twice. For it was held to be abnormal, something pathological, if a man did not experience this great change of life in his thirtieth year. It came about in the course of human evolution that the second of these births — they were spoken of as the Moon-birth and the Sun-birth — that the Sun-birth was no longer so noticeable in man, and certain ceremonies were carried out, certain exercises and actions were performed on those who desired initiation into the Mysteries. Such persons then experienced, in the Mysteries, what could be no longer experienced generally by men, and they became the “twice-born.”
When this expression “twice-born” is found in Oriental literature to-day it is misleading. Any Oriental scholar, any Sanskrit expert, might be asked — I think Professor Beckh is present here and you can ask him — if it is not the case that, as a matter of fact, no Oriental science can clearly and distinctly put before you, in a few words, what the content of the expression “twice-born” really is. Formal explanations there certainly are in plenty, but what it means in substance no one knows. Only those who are aware that it reaches back to a reality know the reality I have just explained to you. In such things spiritual observation alone can speak. And when once it has spoken, I would like to ask all those who hold with what can be learned from documents, with everything external science can discover — I would like to ask, taking for granted that science has gone to work in an unprejudiced manner, if this science does not corroborate in every particular the investigations made by spiritual science? Your attention must, however, be directed to certain things which take precedence of all documentary science; for the understanding of life, of man, cannot be gained by a science of documents.
Let us turn our gaze back to a very far-off age when people spoke of the Moon-birth of man as creation through the Father. With regard to the Sun-birth, people were quite clear that in the spiritual Sunlight the power of Christ, the Son, was active, and that this was the power that freed people. Consider for a moment what this force, this Sun-force, does. It is the force that enables us as men on earth to make something out of ourselves. We would have been strictly confined within an unchangeable, natural — not fateful — necessity, if the liberating Sun-forces had not by their influence dissolved this necessity.
This fact was known to those who held the more ancient opinions concerning the world. They looked up to the sun and said: This eye of the world, from which the power of Christ streams forth, is the cause of my not having to remain always under that brazen necessity with which I was born from out of the forces of the moon, as a man whose whole life had to evolve under compulsion. It is the Christ-force looking down on me through that cosmic Sun-eye that enables me through my inner freedom to make something of myself during my life on earth, something I could not have been, through the Moon-forces which placed me here.
This consciousness that he could transform himself, could make something out of himself, is what men saw in the forces of the Sun.
I would like to add here, but only by way of parenthesis, that Saturn was also looked up to as a third source of birth. In the Saturn forces these men saw all that preserved them when they passed through the gate of death: the third earthly metamorphosis. Birth on earth, meaning birth through the Moon; the second birth, meaning birth through the Sun; the third birth, meaning Saturn birth or earthly death. Man was here upheld by the mighty forces of Saturn, forces then holding sway at the extreme limit of the planetary system of the earth. These forces preserved him, bore him out into the spiritual world, and provided a connecting link for his being, when the third metamorphosis took place. This was absolutely the mental outlook of the men of those ancient times.
But human evolution goes on. A time arrived when it was no longer known in the Mysteries how the Sun-forces affected mankind. Knowledge concerning these forces was preserved longest among the medical workers in the Mysteries. For the forces which in his ordinary development give man freedom, and the possibility of making something out of himself — the Sun- or Christ-forces — live also under various conditions in certain plants and in other earthly beings and things, and reveal in these earthly things properties of healing.
Generally speaking, all sense of their connection with the sun was lost to humanity; and while for a considerable time the consciousness still remained that man is dependent on the Moon-forces, or Father-forces, all consciousness of his dependence — or rather his liberation by means of the Sun-forces — had long been lost. What to-day we call Nature-forces, almost the only ones we do speak of when discussing our conceptions of the world, are but Moon-forces that have become entirely abstract. But the Sun-forces were still known to One, even Jesus of Nazareth, the bearer of the Christ, who lived His life in accordance with them. He knew them because he was ordained to receive these forces into his own body as they streamed to earth from the sun — forces which men had only been able to come in touch with in the Ancient Mysteries when they looked up to the sun. This I explained in the last lecture. What was of greatest importance was this, that in the thirtieth year of His life a change took place in the body of Jesus of Nazareth similar to that change which in primeval times took place in everyone, only it was but the reflection (Schein), as it were, of the Spiritual sun that shone into these men, while now the original Lord of the Sun, the Christ himself, came down into human evolution and took up His abode in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. This fact lies behind the Mystery of Golgotha as the supremest event (Urergebnis) affecting all earthly life.
You will realise the full connection of these things when we now consider how the festival of Easter, which in those days was an entirely human concern, was actually carried out in the Ancient Mysteries — the Festival of Easter was, in fact, an initiation. The ceremony progressed through three stages. The first requirement, before the neophyte could attain true knowledge, before he could be initiated, was that through all that came to him from the side of the Mysteries he should be made so humble that people to-day can hardly form an idea of this deep, inner humility. People imagine to-day that they have the appearance, as regards knowledge, of being exceedingly modest, while for those who can see into the matter they are really possessed by pride. When about to enter upon initiation a man has, in the first place, to feel convinced that he cannot consider himself to be a man at all, but says rather: I have first to become a man!
It cannot be said of people to-day that at any point in their lives they consider themselves not to be men. But this was the first demand made on them, that they should hold themselves not to be men and should address themselves as follows: I certainly was a man before I came down into an earthly body; in pre-earthly existence I was a man of soul and spirit. The Soul-Spirit then entered a physical body, which it had received from its parents.
It, then, not clothed itself with the physical body — that would be to express it incorrectly — but it permeated itself with this physical body (durchdrungen mit diesem physischen Leibe). Men have really no idea of the manner and means by which the Soul-Spirit, in the course of long ages (das Geistig-Seelische durchsetzt das Physische), permeates the physical, permeates the nerves and sense-system, permeates the rhythmic-system, the digestive-system, and the limbs of man. They have no idea of this. They know very well that they are able to perceive the physical world by means of their senses. But what is a man capable of when he has reached the point where he has permeated his physical body so profoundly with his soul and spirit nature that he considers his development to be complete, when he is a fully evolved, fully developed man. ... What is he then capable of? At present he can certainly see external objects, he can hear external sounds, perceive through his skin things warm or cold, smooth or rough: he can perceive things outwardly; but he cannot perceive inwardly. He cannot look into himself with his eyes; he can at most remove the skin from a dead body and think that he sees into it, but he does not do so really. It is childish to think, for instance, here before me is a house, it has windows but I cannot see through them, so I will take all kinds of instruments, and, if I am strong enough, smash the house down, but then I will have only a heap of broken bricks before me, and these ruins are all I see. This is what people do to-day. They flay, they dissect people, in order to learn about them; but by such means they learn nothing. It is not the man at all they learn to know by such methods. If it is desired really to know something of man, you must be able to turn your eyes inwards and view him exactly as we view him to-day when we direct our eyes to him outwardly, and in the same way you must hear inwardly with your ears. All these activities taken together — those of the eyes, the ears, the whole skin as organ of touch, the organs of smell, etc., all these were called in the Mysteries the door to man (das Tor zum Menschen).
Initiation depended principally upon a person becoming aware that he knew nothing at all of human nature (vom Menschen); therefore, as he had no self-consciousness of human nature, he could not be a man. He had first to learn to look inward through his senses as ordinarily he looked outward. This was the first stage or degree of initiation in the ancient Mysteries. As soon as the pupil learnt to look thus inwards, in that same moment he became conscious of his pre-earthly existence. At that moment he knew: I am now “in my soul and spirit.”
The ordinary man looks outwards; instead of this the pupil of the Mysteries learnt to look inwards. In this inward gazing he became aware of what had entered into him in his pre-earthly existence, what had passed into him through his eyes, his ears, his skin, and so on. He was aware of these things, and through this was also aware of his pre-earthly existence. At this stage he was told that he would learn to know what we call natural science.
When we study natural science to-day, how do we do it? We are led to observe the things of Nature, to describe them, and so on. But this is much the same as if I were to meet a man again whom I had known long ago, and someone were to insist: You have to forget everything you did in company with this man; on seeing him again you are not to recall the intercourse you had with him. It is unbelievable that responsible people would do such a thing as this! I can indeed believe that occasionally this might be agreeable.... but under such conditions life could not go on. But this is imposed on the man to-day simply through the laws of civilization. For he knew the kingdoms of Nature; he knew them from their spiritual side before he came down to earth. To-day he is told to forget all that he knew of the mineral, plant, and animal world before he came down to earth, whereas the ancient Initiates taught him about them in what was called the first stage of the Mysteries. The Initiate said: Look at this piece of quartz. ... And then he did everything he could that might enable the pupil to recall what he had known about quartz before he came down to earth, what he had known, say, of the lily, the rose, etc. What was thus imparted as knowledge of Nature was a remembrance, a re-cognition (wieder erkennen). And anyone who had learnt the teaching regarding Nature as a remembrance of what he had seen before he descended into earthly life was received into the second degree.
In the second degree the pupil learnt Music, which at that time was Architecture, Geometry, Surveying, etc. For in what did this second degree of initiation consist? It comprised all that a man perceived when he not only looked inwards into himself with his eyes, or listened inwardly with his ears, but when he actually entered into himself (in sich hineinsteigt). The neophyte seeking initiation then said to himself: Thou enterest now into the grotto of the human temple (Tempelgrotte). He now learnt to know this grotto of the human temple. This was that physical part of him which was permeated by the soul and spiritual forces which were man before he came down into earthly life. Into this he now entered. He was told that this hidden place had three chambers. The first was the chamber of Thought; there he learnt all that was connected with this. ... Verily seen from outside the head is small.... when a man enters and sees it from within it is as vast as the whole universe. Here he learnt to know his spiritual nature. This was the first chamber. The second chamber was that in which he learnt to know Feeling. The third chamber was where he learnt to know Will.
He then learnt how a man is organised according to his instruments of thought, feeling, and will; he learnt what was of value on earth. Knowledge of Nature was not only of value on earth; man had already acquired knowledge of Nature before he came down to earth. But here we must remember that houses are not built above in the spiritual world as they are here with the help of earthly architecture. Over there, there is music, but it is spiritual Melos. Earthly music is something projected into earthly air; it is a projection of heavenly music, but as experienced by men it is earthly. It is the same when we measure things here on earth. We measure earthly space; the art of measuring, geometry, or surveying is an earthly science. It was important that those seeking initiation in the second degree should be made to realize that all talk of knowledge gained by mere earthly means, unless connected with geometry, architecture, or the art of surveying, is illusory; that true natural science is a recollection of pre-earthly knowledge; and that geometry, architecture, music, and the science of measuring are sciences that have to be learnt here on earth.
Thus in the second degree of initiation a man descended into his own self and learnt to know the men of the three chambers in respect of the single earthly incarnation, as he would otherwise learn to know them from outside, without descending into their inner being.
In the third degree the pupil learnt to know men, not simply by sinking down into himself (wenn er nun nicht bloss in sich untertaucht), by getting to know himself as spiritual being, but when this spiritual part of him learnt further to know the body. Therefore in all the Ancient Mysteries this degree was known as the gate of death. Here he learnt how it is with a man when he lays aside his earthly body; only there is a difference between actual death and that experienced during initiation. Why this must be I will explain in the next lecture; at present I only mentioned the fact.
When man really dies he lays aside his physical body. He is no longer bound to it, nor does he follow any longer the forces of the earth, having been freed from them. But while still bound to his physical body, as was the case in olden times at initiation, he had to attain liberation from the body (which at death comes of itself), and had to maintain it for a certain time through his own inner power. The attainment of those strong powers by which a man is able to maintain his soul in freedom, apart from the body, was necessary to initiation. It is these that give him a higher knowledge concerning the things he can never perceive through his senses, never think through his understanding. They place him as man in the spiritual world as the physical body places him as man in the physical world. He had then advanced so far as to be able to realize what he was as man of soul and spirit, to know that he had been initiated while still in earthly life. From this time onwards the earth for the Initiate was as a star existing outside humanity (Von da ab war die Erde ein ausser dem Menschen befindlicher Stern für den Initiierten), and in the ancient Mysteries he had before all else to learn to live with the sun instead of with the earth. He knew what he had received from the sun, and how the Sun-forces worked in him.
This third degree that I have just described was followed by a fourth. It affected the man seeking initiation in the following way: When on earth a person eats vegetables or game, when he drinks various things, he knows that such things were outside him and that now they are within him. He breathes the air; at first it is outside, then within him, then outside again. He is so closely bound up with the forces of the earth that he bears within him earthly substances and forces which otherwise were outside him. It was clearly explained to those seeking initiation in ancient times: Before initiation thou art a bearer of Earth, of vegetables, game, pork, etc. But when once initiated in the third degree, and when all those things have been imparted to thee that can be imparted to one who is free of the body, thou art no longer a bearer (träger) of cabbage, pork, or veal, but thou then dost become a bearer of those things which the Sun-forces give to thee.
That which the Sun-forces give spiritually was called, in all the Mysteries, Christos. Therefore, he who had surmounted the first three degrees of initiation — though on earth he might feel himself to be a bearer of cabbages — knew that he was a bearer of the Sun-forces and that he was called a Christophoros. In nearly all the Ancient Mysteries this was the name for those who had entered the fourth degree.
In the third degree certain things had to be grasped; the Neophyte had principally to realize that, in moments of knowledge, desire according to the physical body must cease, that as regards his physical body he belonged to the earth, but that really the earth has only to do with the destruction of his physical body, not with its construction. If the man of those former ages had been addressed in the words of to-day, he would have had things explained somewhat as follows (the sense would certainly have been made clear to him, but to you I can only say these things in the language of to-day, not in that of those former times): If you would know the teaching concerning substances, how these unite and separate, you must look up to the spiritual forces that from out the cosmos permeate all substance. This you cannot do unless initiated. For this you must have been initiated in the fourth degree. You must be able to perceive with the forces appertaining to Sun-existence; you can then study chemistry.
Supposing that someone to-day, wishing to take a degree in chemistry or in pharmacy, had first to submit to the necessity of feeling as a cabbage feels with regard to the forces of the sun, how absurd this would seem! But this was a fact. It was made absolutely clear that with such forces as people have in life, and which are generally employed during life, only geometry, surveying, music, and architecture can be studied ... not chemistry. If people speak of studying chemistry to-day, they speak in an entirely external way. All talk of chemistry has been entirely external ever since the time when the ancient initiation-wisdom was lost. This is a fact. It is enough to drive to desperation those who really wish “to know,” when they have to learn modern official chemistry, for it is founded only on assertion, not on any inward understanding of the matter. If men were only unprejudiced they would acknowledge that something else is needed, that people must be able to understand or realize differently if they wish to study chemistry. It is the modern timidity regarding knowledge or realization (erkennen) that has been implanted in people that holds them back from such an impulse.
After this a man was ripe. When sufficiently ripe to become Astronomos, which was a still higher grade (for to learn something of the stars externally, through calculations and the like, was considered absolutely unreal), he knew that in the stars spiritual beings dwelt who can only be known when physical perception has been overcome, when geometry has also been overcome, when man actually lives in the universe (Weltenall) and learns the spiritual nature of the stars — he was then a “Risen One.” He could then see how the Moon-forces and the Sun-forces actually work within earthly humanity.
I must therefore endeavour to-day to help you to understand from two sides how Easter was experienced inwardly in the ancient Mysteries — how this Festival did not take place at any fixed season of the year but when a man attained a certain degree of development. Easter was then experienced by him as a resurrection of his soul and spirit-nature out of the physical body, as a rising into the spiritual universe (Weltenall). It was thus that those who still knew something of the wisdom of the Mysteries at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha regarded this Mystery. They said: What would have happened to mankind if the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place? In olden times it was possible for man to be initiated into the secrets of the cosmos, for in quite ancient times he experienced a second birth naturally, as one might say, when he was about thirty years old. At that time at least there were still memories of this, and there was a science of the Mysteries which preserved in its traditions what an earlier age had experienced. All this had faded and been forgotten by the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. Mankind would have become entirely decadent, if the Power to which Initiates of the Mysteries rose when they became Christophoroi had not entered into One Jesus of Nazareth — so that it has remained on the earth ever since — and men, through Jesus Christ, have been able to unite themselves with it.
Thus what rises before our eyes to-day in the Festival of Easter had already formed a part of the history of the Mysteries. Men will only know the real meaning of Easter when they revive this ancient portion of the history of the Mysteries. They will only approach an understanding of the real meaning of Easter when they endeavour in some way at least to understand what men seeking initiation experienced in olden times. Such an Initiate said to himself: Through initiation I have become aware of how sun and moon work in me in their reciprocal relations to each other; I now know that I have been formed as physical man in a certain way; that I have eyes of a certain kind, a nose, a whole bodily form constructed within and without as it is; and the fact that this form is able to grow and continue to grow to-day through the nourishment it receives depends on the Moon-forces. All I require comes from them. That I am inwardly free, that I can be active as a free being within my bodily nature, that I can transform myself, take myself in hand, depends upon the Sun-forces, upon the Christ-forces. These I must stimulate, if I wish to achieve consciously by my labour what the Sun-forces accomplished in me under other conditions through a sort of natural necessity.
From this we can understand how man still looks up to Sun and Moon to-day and from their reciprocal constellations fixes the time of the Easter Festival. This method of reckoning is something that has remained from former times. People ask: When is the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring equinox? And they fix the Easter Festival of the year on the first Sunday after the full moon; indicating thereby that people see something in the structure, in the form of the Easter Festival, that comes from the cosmos and must accord with it. The thought of Easter must be grasped once more. It can only be understood when people look back to the content of the Ancient Mysteries, where man was first made aware of what took place when he looked into himself: the door of humanity! When he entered into himself, living inwardly in himself: the three-chambered inner man! When he made himself free: the Gate of Death! When he moved freely in the spiritual world: when he was a Christophoros.
The Mysteries themselves went back to a time when free human development had to find a place. And the time is now come when the Mysteries have to be found once more. They must be found again. People must realize consciously that preparations have to begin now, by which they can be found again.
Out of this consciousness the “Christmas Session” (Weihnachtstagung) was held, for it is an urgent necessity that a place should exist on the earth where Mysteries can once more be established. The Anthroposophical Society in its further development must provide the means for a renewal of the Mysteries. Your task, my dear friends, must be to co-operate towards this end, doing so out of the right consciousness. This demands that life be considered according to its three stages — according to the stage in which a man looks into the nature of men; according to the stage when he strives towards the inner being of men; according to the stage in which he is in that state of consciousness which otherwise he only experiences in the reality of external death.
As a remembrance of the lesson that has been given here to-day, let us take with us the following words, allowing them to work powerfully in our souls: —
Stand before the portals of the lives of men,
Behold on their lintels words of power.
Live in the inward souls of men,
Feel in this realm the beginning of worlds.
— otherwise world-beginning is not always perceived, but only what is in the world —
Ponder the earthly-end of man;
Find in it the Spirit's turning-point.
In these words you have the essence of to-day's lesson —
Steh' vor des Menschen Lebenspforte;
Schau an ihrer Stirne Weltenworte.
Leb' in des Menschen Seeleninnern;
Fühl' in seinem Kreise Welt beginnen.
Denk an des Menschen Erdenende;
Find' bei ihm die Geisteswende.