Festivals of the Seasons
13. Easter and Whitsuntide I
4 April 1915, Dornach
During this Easter-Tide, a stately procession of events has been passing before our spiritual vision. 1 These lectures were given in connection with scenes from Goethe’s Faust, demonstrated in Eurhythmy. Amongst these events there have been those which represented the struggles of a soul. This soul, of its own free will, was about to pass through the Portals of Death, but, at the last moment, it was recalled to this mortal existence by the Easter message.
It seems to me that of all the impressions which the great poem Faust is likely to make upon the mind, the impression created by this episode will be the deepest and the most lasting.
And now—that is to say, today, after the transformation of the scenery, representing the world and its evolution, (N.B. At the words: ‘Christ has arisen,’ the black scenery is changed to red)—now, consider, what your souls have assimilated from this view into the hidden meaning of Faust. Consider this in connection with what I said yesterday, when I spoke of that true vision which must appear before the soul of man, as it approaches the symbolical representation of Christ Jesus at rest in the sepulchre. You will remember that we saw yesterday, that according to the extent a man is connected in his earthly evolution with the Luciferic or the Ahrimanic. world, so in a corresponding measure will his spiritual insight or his spiritual sensations be quickened.
We must consider that in Faust we meet at once with a soul which from the very first confesses that it is steeped in Ahrimanic wisdom and experience. In watching this soul, we see it tear itself away from its bondage in Ahrimanic wisdom and—from our spiritual level we may dare to express it thus—fly to the spring of Life, whose source is in Christ. What a tremendous movement in the history of a human soul is this, which is here presented to our spiritual vision! Let us pause and contemplate this human soul with all the powers of our spiritual understanding. There it lies before us with all the knowledge which it has assimilated during its investigation of the outward material world and its connections. There it lies before us, with all the knowledge and experience which it has been able to gain, to grasp by means of those instruments which the investigator of external nature uses in his endeavour to penetrate her secrets .... And to what goal has this soul arrived? To what has it attained with all its investigations with various instruments and also by means of the phial which contains the juices, which in this earthly life ‘do drunken make without delay.’ (Latham). We feel already that the Ahrimanic being is ruling at the side of the Faust-Soul, and we also feel how inseparable this Ahrimanic being is from earthly death. Does it not seem as if this human soul, so steeped in Ahrimanic knowledge, hesitates before the consequences of its Ahrimanic perception? And it is this perception and these consequences, which Ahriman is able to bestow upon mortal man, which find expression in the words:
‘Now hail, thrice hail, incomparable phial!
With reverent hand I bid thee to the trial.
In thee I honour human wit and skill.
Compendium of kindly, slumberous juices,
Essence compact of deadly, delicate uses,
Show now a favour at the master’s will!
I see thee, all the pain sinks into slumber;
I grasp thee, all the strife ceases to cumber;
The spirit’s flood ebbs with slow pulse away.
It draws me to the Deep, resistless streaming,
Full at my feet the glassy sea lies gleaming,
On to new shores, woos me the newer day.’ 1 The quotations from Faust in these lectures are (unless otherwise stated) taken from Latham’s translation.
And this soul has already the vision of arrival upon the other shore, where perhaps it may find that which, as it is forced to believe, it cannot find on this earth through its Ahrimanic bondage. Already the soul sees itself sinking gently downwards to the other shore.
‘A flaming car floats down on wafting pinions
Hither to me. Ready to cleave am I
On pathways new, the ethereal dominions,
Borne to new spheres of pure activity.
That life divine, that bliss of God-like being,
Dar’st thou, but now a worm, make it thy goal?
Aye, thou hast but to turn thy face from seeing
The Earth’s sweet sun, with dauntless soul!
Be bold to wrench the brazen gates asunder,
Past which no mortal but is fain to slink!
’Tis time by deeds to show that e’en not under
The majesty of Gods, Man’s dignity need shrink.
To face yon gloomy cavern never tremble,
Where fancy dooms herself but self-bred torments to,
And though all Hell its flames assemble
About the narrow mouth, press boldly through;
Blench not, but blithely let the step be taken,
Were it with jeopardy, ne’er from the Naught to waken!’
And having grasped the other Ahrimanic instrument he is ready to make his way over into those regions of which he has learned in the Ahrimanic school, that he will never have any knowledge, so long as he is imprisoned in the physical body.
From this frame of mind the soul is suddenly snatched away by the sound of the Easter bells and the voices of the Easter choir. And Faust’s soul once more assumes the physical body, so that now it may seek in the secret meaning of physical life for that which, as a result of its search while in the physical body, it must take with it through the Portals of Death, so that it may carry it above into those spiritual regions where it will be needed for the soul’s further development.
What you have heard today from the first part of Goethe’s Faust, as well as much that belongs both to this part and to this scene, appeared in Goethe’s Faust, when it was first published in completed form in 1808. But Faust, a Fragment, by Goethe, had already appeared as early as 1790. This Fragment, however, was without the Gretchen scene, also without the scene we have been considering today,—the one containing the episode of such vast importance for Faust’s soul. In 1790 Goethe published his Fragment again without the Easter scene and without the monologue, which probes into the innermost secrets of the human soul on earth. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, it was discovered how much Goethe had completed in 1780 and even in 1770, also what he had completed in 1790. This was published under the insipid title of The Original Faust. In this Original Faust, of course, we do not find the Easter scene. We say ‘of course’ advisedly.—Why is the Easter scene not there? My dear friends! Goethe was the child of his time. In order to be able to depict the effect of the Christ-Impulse upon the soul of Faust, from his own standpoint and according to the essential quality of his own soul, it was necessary for him to reach maturity. And up to 1790 Goethe had not reached maturity. About 1790 that expansion of Goethe’s soul took place, which is reflected in the well-known Fairy-tale of The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. This was written during that period of time extending from the first publication of Faust without the Easter scene, to the Second publication of Faust, which included it. An infinitely profound expansion of Goethe’s soul took place owing to the experience which he has related in the Fairy-tale of The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. And not until he had undergone this experience, could Goethe understand how he should allow the Easter Resurrection scene to influence the soul of Faust.
Now, having gained an insight into this Faust soul itself, let us go to the opening lines of Goethe’s Faust which coincide fairly closely with the sequence of Goethe’s revelations about himself. We know that:
‘I have studied, alas I Philosophy,
And Jurisprudence, and Medicine too,
And, saddest of all, Theology,
With ardent labour, through and through I
And here I stick, as wise, poor fool,
As when my steps first turned to school.
Master they style me, nay, Doctor, forsooth,
And nigh ten years, o’er rough and smooth,
And up and down, and acrook and across,
I lead my pupils by the nose,
And know that in truth we can know—naught!’
Thus he had been a professor for ten years! We will take it for granted that he had followed the regular course necessary for a professorship. In this case he would have become a professor at the age of thirty. From his thirtieth year onward, he had been dragging his pupils by the nose around after him. Now recollect what I said yesterday.
Between the age of thirty and forty man will be faced with the Image of the Jupiter Existence, when the temptation of which I spoke yesterday will rise up before him. And a vision, a prophetic vision of that temptation passes before everyone, as they stand before the Christ lying in the sepulchre. Is it not this vision which is represented in the drama of Faust? Do we not see plainly, that he is standing before the Easter Mystery? And has he not reached the late thirties as regards age? May we not take it for granted that something is stirring amongst his perceptions and that something, a kind of foreshadowing of the Jupiter experiences with Lucifer and Ahriman which come to all who are brought face to face with the Easter Mystery.
In Goethe’s time, it was impossible to represent this as it can be represented today. But Goethe could represent the feelings which the Easter Mystery awakened in his heart, and these were the feelings which were stirring in the soul of Faust. And when Mephisto-Ahriman approaches him, does it not seem as if Faust realised how completely his soul is forfeited to the Ahrimanic powers? As if he must save himself from something? Yes I But from what? What is it from which he must save himself? May we not say that this was Goethe’s own experience? That after he had attained to maturity in body and soul, he had let work upon him the Faust-mood of his youth and in so doing, as far as it was possible in his times, Goethe had undergone the Easter experience as we recognise it today. Hence, the necessity for the insertion of the Easter scene into his Faust. By the insertion of the Easter scene between 1790 and 1800, Faust was transposed into the Christ-Consciousness.
What years were those which Faust had to endure? Which years were those from which he shrank so terribly that he was ready of his own accord to seize the phial? Those years which mark the second, that is, the descending, half of human life. That part of life when, as we have seen, man, as he is confronted with the vision of the Jupiter Existence, becomes aware that later, on Jupiter, he must carry with him the food that Christ can give him. Otherwise, he will have to suffer hunger during the second half of his life. What is it that Faust seeks? Nourishment for his soul during the second half of his life. We all seek for that as a matter of fact. Ever since the time when the Mystery of Golgotha disappeared from our earthly evolution, we have all been seeking it. For that which upon Jupiter will take a physico-psychic form, exists already in the depths of our souls and we must all share to some extent in this Faust-experience. We need a strength which we cannot obtain by those means which give us freedom only while we are mortals, and which afterwards lead us to Lucifer or Ahriman. It is the Christ-force, the Christ-strength, my dear friends! The Christ-strength which Christ Himself possessed, after he had passed through the Gates of Death. But Christ did not pass the second half of earthly life in the physical body. Christ came down and passed a part of the first half of human life in the physical body, but not the second part. Why did he not do this? Because this force which must be expended by man during the second half of his earthly existence, was to circulate into the earthly aura, so that all mankind might be able to find it in themselves during their earthly evolution. Through the Easter Mystery arises that which we require for the pilgrimage of our soul, our whole life long.
And now, mark the deep significance of this in Goethe’s Faust. Faust had acquired—and Goethe knew by what means, for he published Faust, the first time, without the Easter scene—had acquired all that can be learnt from a compact with Lucifer and Ahriman, all that makes it possible to liberate the soul. But he who has fathomed the depths of his own soul sees clearly that he can no longer live by them. In order to live any longer he requires something else. And Goethe having arrived at maturity was in a position to show, that what Faust needed was the Impulse of the Easter-Mystery. Does not the Easter-Mystery in all its profundity come before us as we note this alteration made by Goethe in his Faust, after he had attained maturity? The Easter-scene could not have found a place in the first edition of Faust in 1790, because at that time Goethe did not yet understand it.
How did the idea of this poetic drama arise in young Goethe’s mind, by means of which we have been led into such immeasurable depths? We know that Goethe as a young man was deeply impressed both by the puppet play of Faust, where the fate of Faust was merely enacted by dolls, and also by the popular drama of Doctor Faust. The latter, though quite a play for the people, sank deeply into Goethe’s soul. And in Goethe’s soul the question arose at once, ‘What is the meaning of this Faust’? This Faust must represent struggling humanity in general. The man, who by his struggles can probe into all the hidden paths of the life of the human soul, and who must find the way above into the clear heights of the spirit. That a secret path must be travelled by the human soul, the young Goethe was certain. For what Faust’s soul experiences, at the sight of the various signs, is nothing else, in fact, but a meditation—a meditation which in the end leads him to a vision of the Earth spirit ranging over and permeating the earth. The answer to the meditation is contained in the words:
‘In floods of being, in action’s storm,
Up and down I wave! '
To and fro I flee,
Birth and the grave,
An infinite sea,
A changeful weaving,
An ardent living;
The ringing loom of Time is my care,
And I weave God’s living garment there.’
Meditation and contra-meditation! This carries Faust at once into the very depths of life. But what about the way out? How is he to escape to the spiritual heights?
My dear friends, when we consider the greatness of Goethe’s conception of the struggling man—Faust—which owed its origin to the puppet play and to the popular drama, and then consider the form which this powerful conception took, after Goethe had realised the Easter Mystery in the depths of his own soul, the question arises: How much did Goethe contribute to Faust during his own life?
Again, when we consider the powerful conception aroused in Goethe’s mind through the influence of the Faust-impulse, the question arises: How has this conception been treated from the artistic and poetical point of view? Considering what I have said before, it will be helpful for our purpose to understand Faust from this standpoint also.
In 1790, Goethe published A Fragment, which ends approximately with the Cathedral Scene. But the scene which makes Faust so wonderful for us today was not there. Goethe composed it later and added it when he was in Rome. In 1787, he added the scene which is now called ‘The Witches' kitchen.’ From time to time he added different scenes to the original manuscript which was written over and corrected so much that by the time the later scenes were added, it was described by himself as a ‘dog-eared, time-stained manuscript.’ When Schiller at the end of the eighteenth century urged Goethe to take up Faust once more and finish it, Goethe replied, that after having left the old monster Faust for so long, it would be difficult for him to take up the threads of it again and finish it in a consistent manner. Goethe was afraid to insert into Faust, which represented himself, as he was and as he appeared to be up to 1790, the experiences he had undergone after he had reached maturity.
And now let us consider this first part of Faust in general. Is it not a work which, as a close study shows, has been woven together out of material collected at various periods of time? If we do not adhere too closely to traditional criticism, we shall see in Faust the most powerful conception of isolated human nature that has ever been given to the world. At the same time we must confess that from the artistic and poetical point of view Faust lacks unity, that it is throughout an inharmonious work. That everywhere there are gaps and chasms into which much might be inserted which is not there. Considered artistically, it is not even really finished. It is not, in fact, an artistically complete work. The great genius of Goethe could only gradually complete, in a fragmentary manner, the events which were passing in his own soul. And much as we must admire, the intense beauty of many of the scenes, just as little can we conceal from ourselves (that is, if we are impartial, and do not rely solely upon the traditional judgment passed by literature and history) that Faust as it stands is not in itself a harmonious work of art, but that it is patchy in many places and full of gaps and chasms, as a whole. Why is this, my dear friends? Why is this? Goethe, in advanced old age had once more undertaken to finish the second part of Faust. Isolated scenes for this were already completed, and these he incorporated with the Faust of his extreme old age. For example, the whole classical-romantic phantasmagoria, the Helena Interlude, was completed in 1799-1800, and many parts were written earlier still. Further, there is no ground whatever for saying, as some historians of literature say, that no one can ever understand Faust; or, to quote the words of a man who was by no means foolish, but, on the contrary, extremely clever, that ‘Faust is a bungling performance patched together by an old man in his dotage.’ It is not that, by any means. On the other hand, it is a work the scope of which was so tremendous that even the profound and long experience of life of Goethe himself was not sufficient to carry it out. Everyone may have his own opinion about even the very greatest in this world. Yes! Their own opinion. But why is this so? In a course of lectures given at the Hague, I pointed out that Faust is by no means anything new in the history of the world. Faust, as he existed in the popular drama which Goethe saw, and as he existed in the puppet play, represented a man descending into the very depths of spiritual experience in order that he might rise to the heights of knowledge. This representation was so realistic that it moved the greatest poet of modern times to invoke the aid of the Easter-Mystery in order to save the man’s soul.
The Faust of the popular drama was taken almost directly from real life. He is taken from Doctor George Faustus, a vagrant scholar who lived in the second half of the Middle Ages. This we learn from Tritheim von Sponheim and other celebrated men who had met him and who even had a certain respect for him—the respect commanded by a striking personality endowed with intellectual knowledge and some spiritual power. And it was not without reason that this Doctor Faust was so styled. I quote his titles below: ‘Master Georgius Sabellicus, the younger Faustus, Second Magician, the well-head of Necromancers, astrologer, cheiromancer, agromancer, pyromancer, the second in the hydric art.’
Thus he styled himself . At that time it was the custom to bear as many titles as possible, and a long list of similar high-sounding appellations might be compiled, from those borne by Giordano Bruno and many other famous spirits of the Middle Ages. If today we find it extraordinary that learned men like Tritheim von Sponheim and others, who were aware of the existence of the real Faust, should have believed that he was in communication with the demon-world and the secret earth forces, and that through them he could work wonders, we must recollect that even in Luther’s time such phenomena were not considered anything very extraordinary. We know, indeed, that Luther himself wrestled with the devil. We know that all this sort of thing, with its visions and marvellous tales, formed an important part of the life of those times. But there was a feeling in all this which contributed to fix the figure of Faust in the popular consciousness. I say ‘feeling’; not a ‘conception,’ not ‘an idea.’ The feeling that natural science is advancing, natural science which brings the Ahrimanic part of true activity before the human soul. And from that arose the feeling that Faust is, and, in fact, always was, a personality who is in league with the Ahrimanic Powers. Simultaneously the secret threads are seen by which Faust is bound to the Ahrimanic Powers, and the fate of Faust was seen to be inevitable after his surrender to these powers. It was felt and acknowledged that Lucifer and Ahriman were inseparably connected with the whole evolution of the human soul. So much remained from the ancient clairvoyance and clairvoyant experience. The figure of Faust was connected with the feeling of man’s dependence upon the Luciferic and Ahrimanic Powers. At this time this perception was already disappearing in the twilight, and such matters had already become confused and indistinct. Still the feeling arose that struggling humanity with all its endeavours and trials and in all the dangers to which its soul is exposed might be adequately represented in the figure of Faust. But the exact nature of the relationship of struggling humanity with Ahriman and Lucifer was no longer understood. Little by little that knowledge had vanished. Hence the wild confusion, which meets us as we take up the Faust Book of the Middle Ages. Here all the experiences and adventures which this popular hero is supposed to have gone through, are jumbled up in the greatest confusion with all lands of adventures and experiences with which the human soul could meet during its struggles on earth: besides all possible and impossible demons, elementary spirits as well as Lucifer and Ahriman. Truly, a grotesque hash or ragout!
When Lucifer and Ahriman could no longer be visualised, after they had been dismembered and ground into a pulp with all the elementary spirits of nature, the figure of Doctor Faustus was introduced into the mixture, namely, this popular Book of Faust. The keen insight and wide sympathies of Goethe enabled him to recognise the greatness of the root idea of this horrible mixture. He rescued it from the depths and brought it up to meet the fight of the Easter-Mystery.
It is really most interesting to notice how from time to time Lucifer and Ahriman are cut up and made into these ragouts. If we look back and seek for the prototype of Faust in olden times, we shall find it in the popular books of the age, which were in the hands of everybody; and they all dealt with such matters.
Augustine was a great favourite at the time when this book was patched, cobbled, glued together, which seems more as if it had been compiled by a bookseller whose one idea was to make as fat a book as possible, than written by a literary man or an author. But whoever he was he must have known his Augustine, that is to say, the biography of Augustine.
Now the whole development of Augustine appears to us very remarkable. At first he cannot understand what the essence of Christianity is. Then, by degrees, he works his way through the secret antagonism to Christianity which develops with the evolution of his soul, and turns first to see what the Manichean doctrine has to teach him. From one of the most important men of the Manichean sect, Augustine hears about the Manichean Bishop Faustus. And we can almost guess now who the Faust senior was, as distinguished from that other Faust, who, as I mentioned just now, styled himself Faust Junior. This is he whom Augustine once came across in ancient times and who as Faustus, Bishop of the Manicheans, preserved something of the earlier Manichean doctrine. And what was this? It was that which has since been devoured by Ahriman, so that mankind no longer understands the way in which man is connected with his soul, with the whole cosmos, with all the impulses from the stars. We may say that the girdle of knowledge leading to cosmic enlightenment, which shows how man was born out of the cosmos, which knowledge man must have if he would understand the Easter Mystery, was already sundered in the time of the Manichean Bishop Faustus. And it was possible for the compiler of the Horn-Book of Doctor Faustus to make Faust, the prisoner of Ahriman, arise out of the figure described by Augustine as the Manichean Bishop, Doctor Faustus. But as all these matters had become so confused, he did not understand that Ahriman was the adversary. We see traces of Ahrimanic danger glimmering through the plot of the popular drama, but they are very faint. It arouses, however, a distinct feeling that Faust is the representative of struggling humanity and that he is threatened with danger from the Ahrimanic powers.
And there was much in the figure of Faust as he was portrayed until the time of Goethe, which was borrowed from that Manichean Bishop, Faustus Senior. Many chapters of the ‘Faust Book’ appear to have been copied, very badly, it is true, directly from the book in which Augustine describes his own development and his meeting with the Bishop Faustus. So we can prove clearly that the Ahrimanic features in Faust spring from this source, and also that when the ‘Faust Book’ came to be written down, only the last faint impulse was left to imprint the Ahrimanic elements in human nature upon the figure of Faust.
And now what about the Luciferic element? How have the Luciferic elements been dismembered in those bits of the ragout, which were then cooked up in the hash of elementary spirits, with bits of Lucifer and bits of Ahriman, as I said before? Yes, we shall have to hunt if we wish to discover Faust’s connection with Lucifer. And we must also seek in history. For this we need not travel very far, only to Basle, where we can halt and find out how Lucifer has been dismembered for the ragout. It is related that Erasmus of Rotterdam met Faust at Basle. They wished to have a meal in the College, but they could not find the food they wanted. Then suddenly it occurred to Erasmus what he would like to have and he told Faust, who sat next to him and was going to dine with him. But they could not get what they wanted. Then the Faustsaga relates that Faust suddenly produced strange birds on the table, no one knew from whence, for they were unobtainable in the Basle Market—cooked, baked and ready to eat. Here we have a scene between Erasmus of Rotterdam and Faust, in which Faust has power to set before Erasmus birds which could not be bought either in Basle or the neighbourhood at that time. What does this mean? As it stands in the saga it is incomprehensible, one must say utterly incomprehensible. But if we go further and seek amongst the writings of Erasmus of Rotterdam, the matter becomes more comprehensible. Erasmus himself tells us that in Paris he made the acquaintance of a certain Doctor Faustus Andrelinus. This Faustus Andrelinus was not only an extraordinarily learned man, but an extraordinarily sensuous man. Erasmus soon became well acquainted with this Faust, but had no liking for the sensuous side of his character. However, he speaks of a meal which the two had together. Now, certainly, two learned gentlemen of that time such as Erasmus of Rotterdam and Faustus Andrelinus would neither of them set before the other such a bird and in such a manner as Faustus is supposed to have put before Erasmus in Basle; we cannot entertain such an idea for a moment. It is probable that the tale has arisen from some kind of joke exchanged by the two during the meal. But we can see a little behind these joking words if we recollect that Faust—this time it really is Faust—had declared that he did not like what had been set before him and he would like to satisfy himself by eating strange birds and rabbits. Yes! Strange birds and young rabbits. Erasmus at once had the idea that this must have some hidden meaning. He behaved in exactly the same way as some theosophists do who meditate on the meaning of things and believe everything must have a meaning. Erasmus thought to himself: Might he not mean flies and ants? Now, he will forego the young rabbits, but the birds must really be flies, and these he particularly wished to partake of. Now we see daylight. Now the birds, through an astral change, have become flies. And in Goethe we find the figure of Mephisto as the god of flies. It only needs the presence of the spirit who rules these beings to bring them by magic to the place. And so we have found the connecting link between the incomprehensible Legend of Basle with the wonderful birds and the flies who came simply from the devil. And we need not be surprised that the devil should set flies before his guests. If we follow Erasmus a little further to his stay in Paris, we shall see more clearly the kind of soul possessed by Faustus Andrelinus. In Paris, Erasmus was not very willing to fall in with the views of this Faustus Andrelinus. However, he then had to go to London. From there he writes that he, Erasmus —can you believe it that he has now learnt how to behave in a salon, whereas before he had the manners of a rough peasant—that now he has learnt to bow and even how to move about upon the polished floors of the Court. And, yes! —Erasmus himself writes—that he is living in an atmosphere in which everyone kisses their neighbour on meeting and at parting. We see from this time that he wishes to please his Paris friend. He writes: ‘Come over here, and if the gout detains you, fly over in your magic car, through the air. That is one of your elements.’ Here is a reference to the Luciferic tendencies of Faust’s soul.
In Goethe’s account we meet the Luciferic influence and its temptations in the betrayal of Gretchen. Lucifer has now become so faint among the influences which surround Faust, that we are obliged to make these kind of literary investigations if we wish to prove the connection between the Faust in Paris and Lucifer. But in the Horn-Book of Faust we see clearly Faust as he stands—with Lucifer and Ahriman beside him—although showing faintly through the confusion of that time, all jumbled together into a ragout. Need we be surprised to find in the popular play and in the drama and even in Marlowe’s Faust a remnant of the original intuition belonging to those times, when by means of an atavistic clairvoyance, the connection of humanity with Lucifer and Ahriman was recognised? But all that had become confused and in the literary productions of which I have spoken was always represented in a confused manner. Goethe indeed perceived the profound connection, but then what was there that he could not do? He could not, however, separate Lucifer from Ahriman. He welded them into the mongrel being, Mephisto, of whom we cannot rightly say whether he be the devil, or Ahriman, or the real Mephisto, for Goethe has invested him with some of the Luciferic qualities. Goethe takes the ragout, so to speak, he perceives that both Ahriman and Lucifer reign there, but he cannot as yet tear them apart, he combines them both in what—from an occult standpoint—is the impossible figure of Mephisto, who is a cross between Lucifer and Ahriman. The time of which Goethe caught a glimpse when he became acquainted with the book of Faust, may be termed the last aftermath of the ancient cognisance of Lucifer and Ahriman. And Goethe’s Faust is the early dawn of a knowledge, not yet above the horizon, of Ahriman and Lucifer. It is dim and confused in the figure of Mephisto, who is a combination of Lucifer and Ahriman.
But already the need had arisen of showing how mankind may profit by what was poured into the earth-aura, when the Christ-Being passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, if man will permit this to work upon his soul. The Easter Mystery itself in Goethe’s Faust appears to us as the beginning of a new era in the spiritual life of humanity. About this work, in spite of the masterly way in which the theme is handled, there is always a feeling of confusion, something of that dim, misty, morning twilight, which we see below us, if we climb a mountain to see the sun rise earlier than we should have done had we remained below.
If we allow the Faust of Goethe to work upon our minds, we shall feel how one of the greatest of men, through his endeavours to revive the ancient knowledge, turns his soul to the Easter Mystery. And if we let it work on our souls in the right sense, my dear friends, we shall feel what takes place in the heart of a really great man, when that man’s heart is moved by the Easter Mystery—as was that of Goethe himself. We shall see also that in this early perception by Goethe of the Easter Mystery there is something which also demonstrates that after the red dawn into which the first faint, clear rays of the Easter Mystery are already streaming, the Sun of a new spiritual experience will rise. The human soul itself will arise from the grave of the darkened perception into which it had to descend.
In the course of its evolution the human soul will itself experience the Easter Mystery, the resurrection of the Christ-Impulse which lies buried in the deep underworld of its being, if it unites itself with the force gained by a contemplation of the Christ-Easter-Mystery.
Let us thus realise Goethe’s appeal; and after we have meditated on the tragedy of the Easter Mystery let us transform it into an appeal for a corresponding resurrection of spiritual experience in the hearts and souls of men, in the future. May the hearts and souls of men receive the deep Mysteries of Easter with joy I Yes, after the realisation of this, the greatest of all tragedies, may they experience with holy joy the glories of the resurrection of Christ in the depths of their own being.
May you, my dear friends, through these words which I have permitted myself to speak to you today, experience something of this perception in your souls, that the reason you are here, the reason why we are gathered together around our Bau, 2 The Johannes building or Goetheanum, at Dornach, Switzerland, then in course of erection, but later destroyed by fire. dedicated as it is to spiritual investigation, is that you may thus, through the strength drawn into your souls, carry away into the future something of the Resurrection-Impulse that has appeared so plainly to us in the Easter Mystery, and towards which, as we have seen, the greatest minds of the past pressed so eagerly.