26 March 1910, Vienna
At the conclusion of what was said yesterday on the subject of the deeper mystical path, it was necessary to speak of the chief danger encountered on this path by anyone who attempted to tread it without a leader in times before the methods of Initiation now available, were in existence. In order to indicate still more explicitly how great these difficulties were, I want to add the following.-
We have heard that the difficulties are mainly due to the fact that on descending into his inner being, a man becomes almost entirely filled by his egoistic impulses. The Ego awakens with a strength that would place everything in its service; everything would be viewed in accordance with the colouring given it by this reinforced Ego. For this reason it was essential in the process of the ancient Initiation that the strength of the, Ego-feeling, the Ego-consciousness, should be subdued. The Ego had as it were to be given over to the spiritual leader or teacher. This subjugation of the Ego was effected in such a way that through the power emanating from the spiritual leader, the Ego-consciousness of the candidate for Initiation was reduced, to begin with, to one-third of its ordinary strength. That is a very considerable reduction, for it can be said, broadly speaking, that with the exception of the very deepest stage of all, our consciousness in sleep is reduced to about one-third. But in the ancient Mysteries the process was carried further than that; the consciousness was reduced to a quarter of a third (that is, to one-twelfth), so that finally the candidate was actually in a condition resembling death. To outer observation he was exactly like a dead man.
But I must emphasise that this Ego-consciousness did not fade away into nothingness. That was not the case. On the contrary, only then was it possible to realise through spiritual perception the intense strength of human egoism; for even when Ego-consciousness was reduced to one-twelfth, a powerful force of egoism still came forth spiritually from the individual. And strange as it may sound, in order to hold in check this outpouring egoism, to keep a spiritual hold on the man whose Ego was thus subdued, twelve helpers were needed for the teacher or leader. — That is one of the so-called secrets of higher Initiation in certain ancient Mysteries. It has been mentioned here only in order that a man may know what is found when he descends into his own inner being. Left to his own resources he would develop traits twelve times worse than those he possessed in ordinary life. These traits were held in check in the ancient Mysteries by the twelve helpers of the priest of Hermes. — This is said merely to supplement the references made at the end of the lecture yesterday.
Today we will turn our minds to the other path that a man may take, not by descending into his inner self at the moment of waking, but by consciously experiencing the moment of going to sleep, consciously experiencing the condition during which he is given over to sleep. We have heard how man has then expanded as it were into the Macrocosm, whereas in his waking state he has plunged into his own being, into the Microcosm. We also heard that what a man would experience if his Ego were to pour consciously into the Macrocosm, would be so dazzling, so shattering, that it must be regarded as a wise dispensation that at the moment of going to sleep man forgets his existence altogether and consciousness ceases.
What man can experience in the Macrocosm opening out before him, provided he retains a certain degree of consciousness, was described as a state of ecstasy. But it was said at the same time that in ecstasy the Ego is like a tiny drop mingling in a large volume of water and disappearing in it. Man is in the state of being outside himself, outside his ordinary nature; he lets his Ego flow out of him. Ecstasy, therefore, can by no means be considered a desirable way of passing into the Macrocosm, for a man would lose hold of himself and the Ego would cease to control him. Nevertheless in bygone times, particularly in certain parts of Europe, a candidate who was to be initiated into the mysteries of the Macrocosm was put into a condition comparable with ecstasy. This is no longer part of the modern methods for attaining Initiation, but in olden times, especially in the Northern and Western regions of Europe, including our own, it was entirely in keeping with the development of the peoples living there that they should be led to the secrets of the Macrocosm through a form of ecstasy. Thereby they were also exposed to what might be described as the loss of the Ego, but this condition was less perilous in those times because men were still imbued with a certain healthy, elemental strength; unlike people today their soul-forces had not been enfeebled by the effects of highly developed intellectuality. They were able to experience with far greater intensity all the hopefulness connected with Spring, the exultation of Summer, the melancholy of Autumn, the death-shudder of Winter, while still retaining something of their Ego — although not for long. In the case of those who were to become initiates and teachers of men, provision had to be made for this introduction to the Macrocosm to take place in a different way. The reason for this will be evident when it is remembered that the main feature in this process was the loss of the Ego. The Ego became progressively weaker, until finally man reached the state when he lost himself as a human being.
How could this be prevented? The force that became weaker in the candidate's own soul, the Ego-force, had to be brought to him from outside. In the Northern Mysteries this was achieved by the candidate being given the support of helpers who in their turn supported the officiating initiator. The presence of a spiritual initiator was essential, but helpers were necessary as well. These helpers were prepared in the following way. —
Through a special kind of training, one individual underwent with particular intensity the experiences arising from inner surrender, for example to the budding life of nature in Spring. Certainly, any human being can have something of the same feeling, but not with the necessary intensity. Therefore individuals were specially trained to place all their forces of soul in the service of the Northern Mysteries, to forgo all the experiences connected with Summer, Autumn and Winter, and to concentrate their whole life of feeling on the budding life of Spring. Others again were trained to experience the exuberant life of Summer, others the life characteristic of Autumn, others that of Winter. The experiences which a single human being can have through the course of the year were distributed among a number, so that individuals were available who in very different ways had strengthened one aspect of their Ego. Because they had cultivated one force in particular to the exclusion of all the rest, they had within them a superfluity of Ego-force, and now, in accordance with certain rules, they were brought into contact with the candidate for Initiation in such a way that their superfluity of Ego-force was transmitted to him. His own Ego-force would otherwise have become progressively weaker. Thus the one who in the process of Initiation was to experience the whole cycle of the year, lived through all the seasons with equal intensity; the Ego-force of these helpers of the initiating priest streamed into him so effectively that he was led on to a stage where certain higher truths connected with the Macrocosm were revealed to him. What the others were able to impart poured into the soul of the candidate for Initiation.
To understand such a process we must be able to form an idea of the intense devotion and self-sacrifice with which men worked in the Mysteries in those olden times. The exoteric world today has very little conception of such fervent self-sacrifice. In earlier times there were individuals who willingly developed one side of their Ego with the object of placing it at the service of the candidate for Initiation and thus being able eventually to hear from him a description of what he had experienced in a condition that was not ecstasy in the usual sense, but — because extraneous Ego-force had poured into him — a conscious ascent into the Macrocosm.
Twelve individuals-three Spring-helpers, three Summer-helpers, three Autumn helpers and three Winter-helpers were necessary; they transmitted their specialised Ego-forces to the candidate for Initiation and he, when he had risen into higher worlds, was able to give information about those worlds from his own experience. A team or college of twelve men worked together in the Mysteries in order to help a candidate for Initiation to rise into the Macrocosm. A reminiscence of this has been preserved in certain societies existing today, but in an entirely decadent form. As a rule in such societies special functions are also carried out by twelve members; but this is only a last and moreover entirely misunderstood echo of acts once performed in the Northern Mysteries for the purposes of Initiation.
If, then, a man endowed with an Ego-force artificially maintained in him, penetrated into the Macrocosm, he actually ascended through worlds. [* See Note on terminology (at the end of this work) with reference to the different terminology employed for these worlds.] The first world through which he passed was the one that would be revealed to him if he did not lose consciousness on going to sleep. We will therefore now turn our attention to this moment of going to sleep as we did previously to that of waking.
The process of going to sleep is in very truth an ascent into the Macrocosm. Even in normal human consciousness it is sometimes possible, through particularly abnormal conditions, to become conscious to a certain extent of the processes connected with going to sleep. This happens in the following way. — The man feels a kind of bliss and can distinguish this consciousness of bliss quite clearly from the ordinary waking consciousness. It is as though he became lighter, as though he were growing out beyond himself. Then this experience is connected with a certain feeling of being tortured by remembrance of the personal faults inhering in the character during life. What arises here as a painful remembrance of personal faults is a very faint reflection of the feeling a man has when he passes the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold and can perceive how imperfect he is and how trivial in face of the great realities and Beings of the Macrocosm. This experience is followed by a kind of convulsion — indicating that the inner man is passing out into the Macrocosm. Such experiences are unusual but known to many people when they were more or less conscious at the moment of going to sleep. But a person who has only the ordinary, normal consciousness loses it at the moment of going to sleep. All the impressions of the day — colours, light, sounds, and so on — vanish, and the man is surrounded by dense darkness instead of the colours and other impressions of daily life. If he were able to maintain his consciousness — as the trained Initiate can do — at the moment when the impressions of the day vanish, he would perceive what is called in spiritual science the Elementary or Elemental World, the World of the Elements.
This World of the Elements is, to begin with, hidden from man while he is in process of going to sleep. Just as man's inner being is hidden on waking through his attention being diverted to the impressions of the outer world, so, when he goes to sleep, the nearest world to which he belongs, the first stage of the Macrocosm, the Elementary World, is hidden from his perception. He can learn to gaze into it when he actually ascends into the Macrocosm in the way indicated. To begin with, this Elementary World makes him conscious that everything in his environment, all sense-perceptions and impressions, are an emanation, a manifestation of the spiritual, that the spiritual lies behind everything material. When a man on the way to Initiation — not, therefore, losing consciousness while passing into sleep — perceives this world, no doubt any longer exists for him that spiritual Beings and spiritual realities lie behind the physical world. Only as long as he is aware of nothing except the physical world does he imagine that behind this world there exist all kinds of conjectured material phenomena — such as atoms and the like. For the man who penetrates into the Elementary World there can no longer be any question of whirling, clustering atoms of matter. He knows that what lies behind colours, sounds and so forth is not material but the spiritual. Certainly, at this first stage of the World of the Elements the spiritual does not yet reveal itself in its true form as spirit. Man has before him impressions which, although in a different form from those known in waking consciousness, are not yet the spiritual facts themselves. It is not yet anything that could be called a true spiritual manifestation but to a considerable degree it is something that might be described as a kind of new veil over the spiritual Beings and facts.
The form in which this world reveals itself is such that the designations, the names, which since olden times have been used for the Elements are applicable to it. We can describe what is there seen by choosing words used for qualities otherwise perceived in the physical world: solid, liquid or fluid, airy or aeriform, or warmth; or: earth, water, air, fire. These expressions are taken from the physical world for which they are coined. Our language is after all a means of expression for the physical world. If therefore the spiritual scientist has to describe the higher worlds, he must borrow the words from the language that was coined for the things of ordinary life. He can speak only in similes, endeavouring so to choose the words that little by little an idea is evoked of what is perceived by spiritual vision. In depicting the Elementary World we must not take the terms and expressions that are used for circumscribed objects in the physical world but those used for certain qualities common to a category of objects. Otherwise we shall lose our bearings. Things in the physical world reveal themselves to us in certain states which we call solid, liquid, aeriform; and in addition there is also what we become aware of when we touch the surfaces of objects or feel a current of air which we call warmth.
Things in the everyday world are revealed to us in these states or conditions: solid, liquid, aecriform or gaseous, or as warmth. These, however, are always qualities of some external body, for an external body may be solid in the form of ice or also be liquid or gaseous when the ice melts. Warmth permeates all three states. So it is in the case of everything existing in the outer world of the senses.
The fact is there are not objects in the Elementary World such as are found in the physical world, but in the Elementary World we find as realities what in the physical world are merely qualities. We perceive something there that we feel we cannot approach. The feeling might be described as follows: I have before me something — either an entity or an object of the Elementary World — which I can observe only by going round it; it has an inner and an outer side. Such an entity of the Elementary World is called earth. Then too there are things and entities which may be described as liquid or fluid. In the Elementary World we can see through them, we can penetrate into them, we have a sensation similar to the sensation in the physical world of dipping the hand into water. We can plunge into them, whereas what is called earth is something that offers resistance, like a hard object. The second state is described in the Elementary World as water. Whenever mention is made of earth and water in books on spiritual science, this is what is meant; physical water is only an external simile for what is seen at this stage of development. Water is something that pours through the Elementary World, not, of course, perceptible to the physical senses, but intelligible to the higher senses, to the faculty of spiritual perception, of the Initiate.
Then there is something in the Elementary World comparable with what we call airy or aeriform in the physical world. This is designated as air in the Elementary World. Then, further, there is fire or warmth, but it must be realised that what is called fire in the physical world is only a simile. Fire as it is in the Elementary World is easier to describe than the other three states for these can really only be described by saying that water, air and earth are similes of them. The fire of the Elementary World is easier to describe because everyone has a conception of warmth of soul as it is called, of the warmth that is felt, for example, when we are together with someone we love. What then suffuses the soul and is called warmth, or fire of excitement, must naturally be distinguished from ordinary physical fire which will burn the fingers if they come into contact with it. In daily life, too, man feels that physical fire is a kind of symbol of the fire of soul which, when it lays hold of us, kindles enthusiasm. By thinking of something midway between an outer, physical fire that burns our fingers, and fire of soul, we reach an approximate idea of what is called elemental fire. When in the process of Initiation a man rises into the Elementary World, he feels as if from certain places something were flowing towards him that pervades him inwardly with warmth, while at another place this is less the case. An added complication is that he feels as if he were within the being who is transmitting the warmth to him. He is united with this elementary being and accordingly feels its fire. Such a man is entering a higher world which gives him impressions hitherto unknown to him in the world of the senses.
When a man with normal consciousness goes to sleep his whole being flows out into the Elementary World. He is within everything in that world; but he takes his own nature, what he is as man, into it. He loses his Ego as it pours forth, but what is not Ego — his astral qualities, his desires and passions, his sense of truth or the reverse — all this is carried into the Elementary World. He loses his Ego which in everyday life keeps him in check, which brings order and harmony into the astral body. When he loses the Ego, disorder prevails among the impulses and cravings in his soul and they make their way into the Elementary World together with him; he carries into that world everything that is in his soul. If he has some bad quality, he transmits it to a being in the Elementary World who feels drawn towards this bad quality. Thus with the loss of his Ego he would, on penetrating into the Macrocosm, transmit his whole astral nature to evil beings who pervade the Elementary World. Because he contacts these beings who have strong Egos, while he himself, having lost his Ego, is weaker than they, the consequence is that they will reward him in the negative sense for the sustenance with which he supplies them from his astral nature. When he returns into the physical world they transmit to him, for his Ego, qualities they have received from him and made particularly their own; in other words they strengthen his propensity for evil.
So we see that it is a wise dispensation for man to lose consciousness when he enters the Elementary World and to be safeguarded from passing with his Ego into that world. Therefore one who in the ancient Mysteries was to be led into the Elementary World had to be carefully prepared before forces were poured into him by the helpers of the Initiator. This preparation consisted in the imposition of rigorous tests whereby the candidate acquired a stronger moral power of self-conquest. Special value was attached to this attribute. In the case of a mystic, different attributes — humility, for example — were considered particularly valuable.
Accordingly upon a man who was to be admitted to an Initiation in these Mysteries, tests were imposed which helped him to rise above disasters of every kind even in physical existence. Formidable dangers were laid along his path. But by overcoming these dangers his soul was to be so strengthened that he was duly prepared when beings confronted him in the Elementary World; he was then strong enough not to succumb to any of their temptations, not to let them get the better of him but to repel them. Those who were to be admitted into the Mysteries were trained in fearlessness and in the power of self-conquest.
Once again let it be said at this point that no one need feel alarmed by the description of these Mysteries, for nowadays such tests are no longer imposed, nor are they necessary, because other paths are available. But we shall understand the import of the modern method of Initiation better if we study the experiences undergone in the past by very many human beings in order to achieve Initiation into the secrets of the Mysteries.
When the candidate in those ancient Mysteries, after long experiences connected with the Elementary World, had become capable of realizing that earth, water, air, fire — everything he perceives in the material world — are the revelations of spiritual beings, when he had learned to discriminate between them and to find his bearings in the Elementary World, he could be led a stage further to what is called the World of Spirit behind the Elementary World. Those who were initiates — and this can only be described as a communication of what they experienced — now realised that in very truth there are beings behind the Physical and the Elementary Worlds. But these beings have no resemblance at all to men. Whereas men on the Earth live together in a social order, in certain forms of society, under definite social conditions, whether satisfactory or the reverse, the candidate for Initiation passes into a world in which there are spiritual beings — beings who naturally have no external body but who are related to each other in such a way that order and harmony prevail. It is now revealed to him that he can understand the order and harmony he perceives in that world only by realising that what these spiritual beings do is an external expression of the heavenly bodies in the solar system, of the relationship between the Sun and the planets in their movements and positions. Thereby these heavenly bodies give expression to what the beings of the spiritual world are doing.
It has already been said that our solar system may be conceived as a great cosmic clock or timepiece. Just as we infer from the position of the hands of a clock that something is happening, we can do the same from the relative positions of the heavenly bodies. Anyone looking at a clock is naturally not interested in the hands or their position per se, but in what this indicates in the outer world. The hands of a clock indicate, for example, what is happening here in Vienna or somewhere in the world at this moment. A man who has to go to his daily work looks at the clock to see if it is time to start. The position of the hands is therefore the expression of something lying behind. And so it is in the case of the solar system. This great cosmic clock can be regarded as the expression of spiritual happenings and of the activity of spiritual beings behind it.
At this stage the candidate for the Initiation we have been describing comes to know the spiritual beings and facts. He comes to know the World of Spirit and realises that this World of Spirit can best be understood by applying to it the designations used in connection with our solar system; for there we have an outer symbol of this World of Spirit. For the Elementary World the similes are taken from the qualities of earthly things — solid, liquid, airy, fiery. But for the World of Spirit other similes must be used, similes drawn from the starry heavens.
And now we can realise that the comparison with a clock is by no means far fetched. We relate the heavenly bodies of our solar system to the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, and we can find our bearings in the World of Spirit only by viewing it in such a way as to be able to assert that spiritual Beings and events are realities; we compare the facts with the courses of the planets but the spiritual Beings with the twelve constellations of the Zodiac. If we contemplate the planets in space and the zodiacal constellations, if we conceive the movements and relative positions of the planets in front of the various constellations to be manifestations of the activities of the spiritual Beings and the twelve constellations of the Zodiac as the spiritual Beings themselves, then it is possible to express by such an analogy what is happening in the World of Spirit.
We distinguish seven planets moving and performing deeds, and twelve zodiacal constellations at rest behind them. We conceive that the spiritual facts — the courses of the planets — are brought about by twelve Beings. Only in this way is it possible to speak truly of the World of Spirit lying behind the Elementary World. We must picture not merely twelve zodiacal constellations, but Beings, actually categories of Beings, and not merely seven planets, but spiritual facts.
Twelve Beings are acting, are entering into relationship with one another and if we describe their actions this will show what is coming to pass in the World of Spirit. Accordingly, whatever has reference to the Beings must be related in some way to the number twelve; whatever hag reference to the facts must be related to the number seven. Only instead of the names of the zodiacal constellations we need to have the names of the corresponding Beings. In Spiritual Science these names have always been known. At the beginning of the Christian era there was an esoteric School which adopted the following names for the Spiritual Beings corresponding to the zodiacal constellations: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Kyriotetes, Dynameis, Exusiai, then Archai (Primal Beginnings or Spirits of Personality), then Archangels and Angels. The tenth category is Man himself at his present stage of evolution. These names denote ten ranks. Man, however, develops onwards and subsequently reaches stages already attained by other Beings. Therefore one day he will also be instrumental in forming an eleventh and a twelfth category. In this sense we must think of twelve spiritual Beings.
If we wanted to describe the World of Spirit we should have to attribute the origin of the spiritual universe to the co-operation among these twelve categories of Beings. Any description of what they do would have to deal with the planetary bodies and their movements. Let us assume that the Spirits of Will (the Thrones) co-operate with the Spirits of Personality (Archai) or with other Beings — and Old Saturn comes into existence. Through the co-operation of other Spirits the planetary bodies we call Old Sun and Old Moon come into existence.
We are speaking here of the deeds of these spiritual Beings. A description of the World of Spirit must include the Elementary World, for that is the last manifestation before the physical world; fire, air, water, earth, must also be considered. On Old Saturn, everything was fire or warmth; during the Old Sun evolution, air was added; during the Old Moon evolution, water. In describing the World of Spirit we must begin with the Beings. We call them the Hierarchies and pass on to their deeds which come to expression through the planets in their courses. And to have a picture of how all this manifests in the Elementary World we must describe it by using terms derived from this world. Only in this way is it possible to give a picture of the World of Spirit lying behind the Elementary World and our physical world of sense.
The Beings, the spiritual Hierarchies, their correspondences with the zodiacal constellations, the planetary embodiments of our Earth described by using expressions connected with the Elementary World-all this is presented in detail in the chapter on the evolution of the world in the book Occult Science — an Outline, 1Chapter IV, Man and the Evolution of the World, pp. 102-221 in the 1962-3 edition. and we can now understand the deeper reasons for that chapter having been written in the way it has. It describes the Macrocosm as it should be described. Any real description must go back to the spiritual Beings. I tried in the book Occult Science to give guiding lines for the right kind of description of the World of Spirit — the world entered when there has been an actual ascent into the Macrocosm.
This ascent into the Macrocosm can of course proceed to still higher stages, for the Macrocosm has by no means been exhaustively portrayed by what has here been said. Man can ascend into even higher worlds; but it becomes more and more difficult to convey any idea of these worlds. The higher the ascent, the more difficult this becomes. If we want to give an idea of a still higher world it must be done rather differently. An impression of the world that is reached after passing beyond the World of Spirit may be obtained in the following way. — In describing man as he stands before us we may say that his existence was only made possible through the existence of these higher worlds. Man has become the being he is because he has evolved out of the physical world but above all out of the higher, spiritual worlds. Only a fantasy-ridden, materialistic mind can believe that it would be possible for a man to originate from the nebula described by the Kant-Laplace theory. Such a nebula could have produced only an automaton — never a man!
Around us, we have, firstly, the physical world. The physical body of man belongs to the world we perceive with our senses. With ordinary consciousness we perceive it only from outside. To what world do the more deeply lying, invisible members of man's nature belong? They all belong to the higher worlds. Just as with physical eyes we see only the material aspect of man, so too we see of the great outer world only what the senses perceive; we do not see those super-sensible worlds of which two — the Elementary World and the World of Spirit — have been described. But man, with his inner constitution, has issued from these higher worlds. The whole of man's being, his external, bodily nature too, has become possible only because certain invisible spiritual Beings have worked on him. If the etheric body alone had worked on man, he would be like a plant, for a plant has a physical and an etheric body. Man has in addition the astral body; but so too has the animal. If man had only these three members (physical body, etheric body, astral body) he would be an animal. It is because man has his Ego as well that he towers above these lower creatures of the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms of nature. All the higher members of man work on his physical body; the physical body could not be what it is unless man also possessed these higher members. A plant would be a mineral if it had no etheric body. Man would have no nervous system if he had no astral body; he would not have his present structure, his upright gait, his over-arching brow, if he had not an Ego. If he had not his invisible members in higher worlds, he could not confront us as the figure he is.
Now these different members of man's organism and constitution have been formed out of different spiritual worlds. To understand this we shall do well to remind ourselves of a beautiful, profoundly wise saying of Goethe: “The eye is formed by the light for the light.” [* See Goethe's Studies in Natural Science. (Kürschner, Nationalliteratur, Vol. 35, p. 88). “The eye owes its existence to the light. Out of indifferent animal organs the light produces an organ to correspond to itself; and so the eye is formed by the light for the light so that the inner light may meet the outer.”] Schopenhauer, and Kant too, want to present the whole world as man's idea; this philosophy seeks to emphasise that without an eye we should perceive no light, that without an eye there would be darkness around us. That, of course, is true, but the point is that it is a one-sided truth. Unless the other side is added a one-sided truth is being regarded as the whole truth — than which there is nothing more pernicious. To say something that is incorrect is not the worst thing that can happen, for the world itself will soon put one right about it; but it is really serious to regard a one-sided truth as the absolute truth and to persist in so regarding it. That without the eye we could see no light is a one-sided truth. But if the world had remained forever filled with darkness, we should have had no eyes. When animals have lived for long ages in dark caves they lose their sight and their eyes go to ruin. On the one side it is true that without eyes we could gee no light, but on the other side it is equally true that the eyes have been formed by the light, for the light. It is always essential to look at truths not only from the one side but also from the other. The fault of most philosophers is not that they say what is false — in many cases their assertions cannot be refuted because they do state truths — but that they make statements which are due to things having been viewed from one side only. If you take in the right sense the saying that “the eye is formed by the light, for the light”, you will be able to say to yourselves that there must be something in the light that admittedly we do not see with our eyes but that has developed the eyes out of an organism which at first had no eyes. Behind the light there is something hidden. Let us say here: The eye-forming power is contained in every ray of sunlight. From this we can realise that everything round about us contains the forces which have created us. Just as our eyes are created by something within the light, all our organs have been formed by something that underlies everything we see in the world outside as external surfaces only.
Now man also has intellect, intelligence. In physical life he is able to use his intelligence because he has an instrument for it. Remember, we are speaking now of the physical world, not of what becomes of our thinking when we are free of the body after death, but of how we think through the instrument of the brain when we have wakened from sleep in the morning; after waking we see light through the eyes. In the light there is something that has formed the eye. We think through the instrument of the brain; thus there must be something in the world that has formed the brain in such a way that it could become an instrument of thinking suitable for the physical world. The brain has been made into an organ of thinking for the physical world by the power which manifests externally in our intelligence. Just as the light we perceive with the eye is an eye-forming power, our brain is the surface manifestation of a brain-forming power or force. Our brain is formed from out of the World of Spirit.
One who has attained Initiation recognises that if only the Elementary World and the World of Spirit existed, man's organ of intelligence could never have come into being. The World of the Spirit is indeed a lofty world but the forces which have formed the physical organ of thinking must have streamed into man from a yet higher world in order that intelligence might manifest outwardly, in the physical world.
Spiritual science has not without reason figuratively expressed this frontier of the world we have described as the world of the Hierarchies, by the word “Zodiac.” Man would be at the level of the animal if only the two worlds that have been described were in existence. In order that man could become a being able to walk upright, to think by means of the brain and to develop intelligence, an in-streaming of even higher forces was necessary, forces from a world above the World of Spirit. Here we come to a world designated by a word that is totally misused today because of the prevailing materialism. But in a past by no means very distant the word still conveyed its original meaning. The faculty man unfolds here in the physical world when he thinks, was called Intelligence in the spiritual science of that earlier period. It is from a world lying beyond both the World of Spirit and the Elementary World that forces stream down through these two worlds to build our brain. Spiritual Science has also called it the World of Reason (Vernunftwelt). It is the world in which there are spiritual Beings who are able to send down their power into the physical world in order that a shadow-image of the Spiritual may be produced in the physical world in man's intellectual activity. Before the age of materialism no one would have used the word “reason” for thinking; thinking would have been called intellect, intelligence. “Reason” (Vernunft) would have been spoken of when those who were initiates had risen into a world even higher than the World of Spirit and had direct perception there. In the German language “reason” is connected with perception (Vernehmen), with what is directly apprehended, perceived as coming from a world still higher than the one denoted as the World of Spirit. A faint image of this world exists in the shadowy human intellect. The architects and builders of our organ of intellect must be sought in the World of Reason.
It is only possible to describe a still higher world by developing a spiritual faculty transcending the physical intellect. There is a higher form of consciousness, namely, clairvoyant consciousness. If we ask: how is the organ evolved which enables us to have clairvoyant consciousness? — the answer is that there must be worlds from which emanate the forces necessary for the development of this clairvoyant consciousness. Like everything else, it must be formed from a higher world. The first kind of clairvoyant consciousness to develop is a picture-consciousness, Imaginative Consciousness. This Imaginative Consciousness remains mere phantasy only for as long as the organ for it is not formed by forces from a world lying beyond even the World of Reason. As soon as we admit the existence of clairvoyant consciousness we must also admit the existence of a world from which emanate the forces enabling the organ for it to develop. This is the World of Archetypal Images (Urbilderwelt). Whatever can arise as true Imagination is a reflection of the World of Archetypal Images.
Thus we rise into the Macrocosm through four higher worlds: the Elementary World, the World of Spirit, the World of Reason and the World of Archetypal Images. In the next lectures I will deal with the World of Reason and the World of Archetypal Images and then describe the methods by which, in line with modern culture, the forces from the World of Archetypal Images can be brought down in order to make possible the development of clairvoyant consciousness.