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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Knowledge of Soul and Spirit
GA 56

V. Initiation

28 October 1907, Berlin

In the course of our winter talks on spiritual science, we have already dealt with some unpopular and only tolerated issues. However, one can say that no issue is less popular and tolerated than the object of our today's consideration: the initiation.

If one speaks of the spiritual, higher worlds, the thought will also appear of course: how does the human being come to the knowledge of these higher worlds? The today's consideration on initiation can only give a preliminary answer—only all talks of this winter can give a complete answer. We must assume two principles of any spiritual science that we have already touched in the first talk. The first principle is the knowledge that there is another or even a number of other supersensible worlds behind the sense-perceptible one. The second knowledge is that to the human being these supersensible worlds can become accessible gradually, so that he can recognise them by his own development.

Of course, with it, spiritual science causes the opposition of all those people who speak about such matters and say, “we” or “one” cannot recognise. With it from the start, the speaker concerned who wants to make himself the standard measure of any human knowledge postulates a kind of knowledge monopoly, of infallibility.

Spiritual science stands exactly on the opposite point of view. It has the point of view that the human being has abilities and cognitive forces that are embryonic in him and can be developed higher and higher. One has to admit that it is quite right if anybody says, he cannot recognise certain higher worlds. However, at the same time, one has to say that these higher worlds are not to be penetrated just only with those cognitive forces that he means, and that logically nobody has a right to say: my cognitive forces are the absolute only ones; what I recognise signifies the limit of any possible knowledge.—For one rejects the human ability of development with it, denies from the start that the human being can ascend to higher and higher stages. However, it is the basic conviction of any human being who looks impartially at the world, and especially within our German education, it is easy to acknowledge this principle.

Goethe repeatedly pronounced and emphasised in the most various, wonderful sentences what founds a way of thinking leading to initiation. I would like to place some words of Goethe's deep-thought fragment The Secrets (The Mysteries) at the head of our considerations today. He points there to the inner human force that strives on and on and higher and higher, indeed, that is hindered by that what surrounds us at every moment what is forced upon us from the outside, from the sensuous as the inhibiting force. However, the inner force has still a means to come to the inner, to the world knowledge.

Goethe says in this poem The Secrets (The Mysteries) in which he speaks of a special initiation of the Rosicrucians and indicates the principle of initiation with the profound words:

For any force rushes forward into the vastness
To live and to work here and there;
However, the stream of the world hinders
And constrains us from any side and tears us off;
In this inner storm and outer quarrel
The mind hears a hardly understood word:
From the force that binds all creatures
That man is delivered who masters himself.

It completely complies with Goethe's way of thinking to search this force of the human being that can be developed to higher cognitive forces, to look for means and ways to an objective knowledge and wisdom beholding into the inside, into the spiritual of the things. It complies with his way of thinking if we eavesdrop on him where he expresses his level of knowledge most intimately. There we find many tips, which pronounce this clearly.

At the beginning of his Theory of Colours, Goethe says that the eye is created “by the light for the light.” The time has not yet come to understand this work of Goethe; perhaps, in some time if the perspectives prevail which I have mentioned in my talk The Natural Sciences Facing a Crucial Decision. He says, it was an indifferent, not photosensitive organ. The light caused the organ to see the light, to perceive the illumined objects. One has to think in the sense of Goethe what I have said in the sense of spiritual science: the human being had no eyes in primeval times, which could perceive light; the eyes arose from quite different organs. Which force accomplished this change? The light! It conjured up the eye that had become photosensitive. At the same time, Goethe indicates that there are other, unknown and misjudged abilities in the human being which—if they are developed—just open a new world as the eye opens the world of light and colours if it is elicited. In no other sense, we speak in spiritual science of the higher, extrasensory worlds.

Exactly in the sense of the dictum of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the great thinker, we speak of such extrasensory perception. Fichte says, if a sighted man goes among blind people and tells them about light and colours, they regard him probably as a daydreamer. Also is that what he, Fichte, had to say to his listeners in those days only for an organ which has to originate only, and this—only on a higher stage—can be compared to the organ of the blind-born who has recognised the world only touching before the operation and sees it lighting up in colours and light afterward. Thus, it is also possible to elicit abilities by the development of forces slumbering in the human being to perceive new forces and objects in the surroundings that one can only perceive with spiritual abilities. In this logical sense, one speaks in spiritual science of higher worlds.

He who doubts the higher worlds is on the same level of the power of judgement as someone who is born blind and says, there is no world of light and colours because I do not see them. Nobody can really assess the possibility. However, someone can decide on the reality who knows it. Not anybody has to decide on a matter who knows nothing about it, but only someone who knows something of it. Indeed, only the principle of experience has to decide on initiation.

However, is it unnecessary to talk about these matters? No, it is necessary; for in which sense does anybody talk who informs about such higher worlds? He talks about them because he knows that merely by these communications, merely by this report the abilities and forces slumbering in all human beings can be woken up to penetrate to these worlds. Someone who is reluctant to receive information about these worlds resembles someone who was once reluctant to take part in the development of the eyes with which the human being can see the sun. He could also have said, why shall I develop anything, so that I can recognise the sun and the light? He did not know the sun and the light before. Only by a foreign power approaching us, the inner disposition can develop in the human being. Only if we can open the soul freely to the communications about the higher worlds, we get the first impulse to develop the higher forces which make us sighted, initiated finally.

One spoke of the principle of initiation at all times of the human development. Only the relation to the public working was different from that in our age. If we go back to the ancient Indian, Chaldean, Babylonian, Egyptian, or Greek-Roman culture-epochs, if we go up then to the Middle Ages, to the 16th, 17th centuries and our time, initiates and disciples of the initiates always existed. However, one did not speak about that publicly. What meant to be initiated? One differentiates an initiate, a clairvoyant, and somebody who applies the higher forces in the service of the physical world.

However, we do not want to get involved in these finer differences. Somebody is a clairvoyant who is able to behold into the extrasensory worlds to whom the worlds that are concealed to the usual human being are obvious, discernible worlds. Why was the introduction to such higher worlds pursued, so to speak, secretly? Why did one not speak of it publicly in former times? We speak of the dangers of initiation next time. I would like today to draw your attention only to the fact that on the border between the sensuous-visible world and the invisible-extrasensory world, indeed, a certain danger lies in wait for the human being, and that someone who wants to become an initiate has to overcome this danger at first. It consists in the fact that it is exceptionally difficult to distinguish illusion from reality, dreams from reality, vision from the real view at the border of the physical and the supraphysical worlds. In this area, it is very easy to confuse own fantastic things of the soul with the objective reality. One needs different qualities that are explained in the following: keeping cool, retaining certainty of the soul, courage, perseverance and energy at the border. If the human being lost the clearness about that which is appearance and what is reality at this border, he would have lost his mind, then he would be a fool instead of an initiate.

Nowadays an immense greed, a true fury exists with most people indeed, if they hear of such matters to behold something of the higher worlds. However, with most human beings the perseverance and the will and above all the strength to overcome everything that must remove the indicated dangers do not exist. Hence, at all times it was necessary that one examined the people whom one admitted to initiation concerning their intellect, their spiritual and moral abilities and their feelings. Only those who could stand the test before the pervasive view of the initiate could be admitted to initiation. There were such persons who were able because of their living conditions to submit to that, which enabled them to distinguish appearance and truth, vision and reality on the border between the physical and the spiritual worlds.

The question may now arise: why are those not quiet also today who know something about these matters after one could be quiet so long? Why does one not carry out the principle of the strict seclusion also today concerning the introduction to the higher worlds? Why is it broken? This has good reasons. Humanity advances. It is different in the different epochs of its development. History is also much more different in its organisation and developmental stages than the nonprofessional believes it. Someone who does not know the matters imagines that the human beings are the same today as they were centuries ago. Those who studied history and anthropology also have the same idea tacitly. The human beings of different centuries differ really very much who are apparently the same to the external anatomy and physiology. The differences are not obvious at first sight, and the external anatomy and physiology know nothing at all about them. Humanity progresses, and the human mind and the human soul have advanced so far that one needs the knowledge of the world secrets, the views, concepts, and ideas that lead us into the depth of the things, which were always preserved in the so-called secret schools to the general welfare and progress of humanity.

I present the further details in the following talks. We need only to point to the immense difference that took place in humanity in the course of a few centuries. We need only to mention one thing that deeply intervened in the human development: the art of printing.

Imagine once how the human beings lived concerning their soul, their spiritual education before the invention of the art of printing, how the communication was between those who knew something, and those who wanted to learn something, before there were books. Compare how today the communications of science and scholarship penetrate to any soul by thousands and thousands means, by popular writings and newspaper articles. If you go on imagining, you can get the idea that today it looks different in the souls, and you do not think that the sensations, thoughts, and impulses in the souls have no influence on life as a whole. Someone who believes that everything obvious is an imprint of the spiritual says to himself that the human beings have other physical and social needs today than in past times. Once it was possible that single persons knew something of certain events, of truth and wisdom. Today, however, the principle of initiation must be made accessible to everybody. Because of a duty towards humanity the strict secrecy and seclusion of former times was broken through. That is why today not only about that is spoken which is to be said about the higher worlds from the viewpoint of the spiritual research, but one also speaks in a certain way at least in the elements how the human being ascends even to these worlds, how he can accomplish the first steps of initiation. However, from the start one has to call attention to the fact that nobody should believe that the principle of initiation is to be taken easily and less seriously because the first steps of initiation are accessible to everybody today. Everybody can accomplish these first steps in every situation, as you will hear. Then higher and higher stages begin up to that of an initiate in the true sense of the word.

I have to characterise this concept first. What is an initiate? If I assume that there are higher and higher worlds behind our sensuous world, an initiate would be someone who has an insight into these higher worlds. The training for the initiation gives the human being the means and instructions how he can develop his spiritual eyes and ears to be able to behold into this spiritual world as he looks with his physical organs at the physical world.

Strictly speaking, all that is only a preparation for the real initiation. He who becomes a pupil of initiation receives certain instructions from his teacher how he can develop the abilities slumbering in him. All that aims to a point that leads him into a preliminary depth of the world to the highest degree, to a centre from which the rays of world creation and world principles go out. Such a thing does exist. This secret would be pronounceable even in words and, nevertheless, it is not pronounced. Allow me this indication from the start, because even if it sounds apparently mysterious, someone who thinks a little bit about it will find that even the kind in which such a thing is pronounced is very significant for the sensation that one should appropriate to understand the principle of initiation.

One prepares the pupil for the acceptance of the world secret that would be pronounceable if one is allowed to pronounce it. The initiate is somebody who knows a certain secret that is significant to the highest degree, for the life of the human beings. A secret, because if it were pronounced in the everyday life it would appear mad, brainless, paradoxical. Now, this would still be the less. However, there are other reasons why, nevertheless, someone who could pronounce the secret is not allowed to pronounce it. The reason is so deep that the secret that finishes certain stages of initiation cannot be wrested from anybody who knows it even not if one tormented and tortured him. He can never wrest this secret from himself. For this secret is not informed in words from human being to human being. The essentials consist of the fact that one brings the pupil to the point where he gets around by the imparted development of his own abilities and forces to solving the riddle by himself which is behind the matter, so that, so to speak, the pupil faces the teacher with that luminous eye which announces: I have found it!

Training means leading to finding oneself. A big part of that what the human being has to gain for the penetration into the higher worlds lies just in that big and immense sensation of the soul when it awakes and feels as newborn, after it was led to the higher capabilities and stages of development. One can compare that feeling on a lower level with that of a blind-born who could only touch the things up to now, and to whom after the operation light, colours, and forms appear from the darkness. Only if this relationship exists between teacher and pupil, the relationship is a healthy one. It is built on the highest that there can be between human being and human being: on freedom. That relationship must be there in which nothing at all of an unjustified influence from the teacher is there, because everything that should be developed is got out from the pupil himself.

After we have characterised the mood that should control the principle of initiation, we want to go somewhat more precisely into the development of the abilities slumbering in the human being. We start from the obvious matters and advance to the more distant ones. Three abilities are already there for the usual observation: thinking, feeling and willing, thought, feeling and will. This is the level of the average human being. All three abilities are developable. At first the thinking: it cannot lead the human being beyond the physical world, even if it is developed ever so subtle, ever so intimate. However, the thinking is still the first stage of development if it is a matter of getting beyond the physical world. We shall solve this ostensible contradiction, however, straight away. I have to speak immediately of those principles of initiation which were usual in the course of the last centuries in the secret schools and which are informed initially today to the public by those who know something of them.

First, the pupil has to develop the thinking free from sensuousness. What does one call thinking free from sensuousness? If the human being looks at the world around himself by his senses, he creates mental pictures and ideas of the world. These mental pictures and ideas make the world comprehensible to him. However, all that is no thinking free from sensuousness. The modern science, because of a certain inner weakness, often does not want to accept another thinking. Nevertheless, another thinking has its origin solely in the human inside, in the human soul. The modern human being only knows very little of the big extent of this thinking that is free from sensuousness and if anybody hears anything of it, he rejects it, and does not want to accept it.

The human being cannot only have thoughts referring to the sense-perceptible world; he can also have thoughts that arise from an inner power that the senses can never stimulate. Even philosophers do not see that today. I can produce evidence. Mathematics, geometry, can deliver it. Nobody can outdoors see a real cycle; nobody can outdoors see the principle that two times two are four.

However, one can get out by inner meditation without counting beans that two times two are four, or one can construct the circle by inner view, so that the circle line is always equidistant to the centre. What did the great Plato write above his school? He wrote that nobody could be accepted without knowledge of geometry. That does not mean that he had to know the entire geometry, but that he had a suitable sense for it. If we reproduced the external circle in concepts only, we would never be able to form a true circle. However, we can form a circle and its principles in our mind that way. Thus, we must work out the circle from own mind. This is thinking free from sensuousness. Mathematics is not popular, and, nevertheless, it is the only thinking free from sensuousness that is done in our schools. However, most people laugh at someone if he says that there are still other concepts that one can find wholly spiritually, as those of space and number and figures. One ignores and despises the philosophers and thinkers who asserted that the human being is able to put up a building of ideas that harmonises with the world.

Someone who has put up such ideas free from sensuousness within our German education and culture for other fields than geometry is Goethe again. It is a wonderful great achievement of the spiritual life of humanity what Goethe performed with the type of the plants, with the archetypical plant, and the type of the animal, the archetypical animal. What sort of thoughts are these? Goethe himself tries to make clear them his way. Many people wrote about that. However, the most is nonsense because most people are not able to understand how a spiritually constructed circle whose principles we can see relates to the circle drawn on the board which is nothing but a number of little chalk particles. However, Goethe's archetypical plant relates to the external sense-perceptible plant. Outdoors are the different plants—Goethe thought—, the one looks this way, the other that way. However, an inner spiritual strength lives in us with which we are able to find the concept of the archetypical plant out of inner production. The botanists thought that Goethe meant an imperfect plant. This is nonsense! He meant the spiritually beheld plant! I tried in one of my books to reconstruct this archetypical plant, as one also constructs the circle in mind. Goethe's archetypical plant contains possible plants if one is able to conjure up all possibilities out of it. His archetypical animal contains all possible animals. Goethe created a spiritual biology there. It enables us to create in spirit what cannot appear to our senses. However, there we start from a profound, significant spiritual fact. Goethe started from this fact, from which he got what he found as archetypical plant. This was no mere idea to him, but it was the creating force in all plants. The archetypical animal was the creative in any animal to him.

I have often cited a famous conversation about the plants that immediately at the beginning of their acquaintance Goethe and Schiller had with each other. They came from a talk of the society of naturalists in Jena. Schiller said that it is unsatisfactory to look at the creatures in such a way that one cannot see their coherence. Goethe answered that there could be also another method where one can see the common, the spiritual tie, which holds everything together. Goethe describes the conversation to us, and that he took his pencil then and drew the picture of the archetypical plant with some characteristic lines.

There Schiller, the speculative poet, said, this is no fact; this is an idea, no reality. Goethe answered, if this is an idea I see the ideas outdoors with my eyes. In the plant is the force creating life. Because of the deep view that the Goethean mind had of such a being it was possible that in his mind that was awoken which creates in all animals and plants. A mysterious tie exists between the human inside and that which is spread out in the animal and plant realms. If the human being conjures up the archetypical plant in himself, he conjures up that form after which the plants have been created. We regard ourselves in this way as spiritual participants in the productions of nature. Goethe as it were immerses in the things and conjures up in his mind the spirit living in the things. Goethe presents this to the human being.

One can try the same in higher fields. A German philosopher did it, not sufficiently but fundamentally and profoundly, but one did not understand him. If an anecdote were true, it would prove this fact in its depth. For Hegel (Georg Friedrich Wilhelm H., 1770–1831) should have said: “Only one understood me, and also he misunderstood me.” Hegel tried to create concepts free from sensuousness of the surroundings and history of the human beings. His Philosophy of History has now appeared in Reclam's Universal Library in which he gives a great survey of the whole world history. Many things in it are not right, unfortunately. Many things are as one-sided as just only Hegel could be one-sided, so that the book can serve only as suggestion. However, it may serve to find the principle. Hegel cared about thinking free from sensuousness, so that he lets everything appear in its own spirit, which is the same spirit that led humanity. He, who wants to do this, needs a more intimate knowledge of the human spirit and that of the peoples than Hegel could possess. Hence, everything seems abstract, grey, and logical in the bad sense; however, the things are ingenious and stimulating. One has to say, what is wrong there can be even more useful to humanity than many right but trivial things.

Just as one can think in mathematics free from sensuousness and create as one can do it also in history, my The Philosophy of Freedom should give a picture of the inner development of the human being with his entire cognitive faculties as one can grasp this from the thinking free from sensuousness. This is a book like an organism where a sentence follows the other, a book of a thinking that moves in itself and is self-contained. I wanted to show in it how the human being who wants to go from sensuousness to the extrasensory has to cultivate his thinking.

However, there are easier means, namely those about which spiritual science informs. What we can read in the spiritual-scientific books about the different human members, about reincarnation and karma, the life after death, the development of the human races and cultures and about what we shall still speak you cannot see with senses, but it is something that you can understand if you generally get involved with human understanding. Spiritual science gives the human beings a thinking free from sensuousness as it was given in the secret schools once, and as the human being must have it, before he is able to behold into the spiritual worlds. Clairvoyance and initiation are necessary for that. However, he who has got the possibility to inform in a certain way can form a bridge. Then everybody can convince himself by enclosing logical thinking and a healthy power of judgement that the things are right. Clairvoyance is necessary to find the higher profundities, only a healthy mind and logic to understand them.

Indeed, today many people are possessed by a more or less materialistic thinking or by that arrogance of infallibility that is due to the positivistic science. This is a real pipe dream. If the people only know that they live, strictly speaking, under suggestions, that they do not know what is real and what is not real! Indeed, they do not want to acknowledge the infallibility of the pope; however, they regard themselves as infallible. That who stands on the viewpoint of science is the most intolerable one. He regards the spiritual scientist as a fool and himself as an infallible man! One can inform about the world that is not accessible to the senses only with a thinking free from sensuousness. Hence, the first training is the training of thinking which only makes it possible to develop the thinking and to lead to a real beholding into the spiritual worlds.

The second is the development of feeling. Nobody should train the feeling, before he has not brought the thinking free from sensuousness to a certain level. That who knows how it looks in these higher worlds tells you: if you ascend to the higher worlds, you come to the astral world and then to the spiritual or devachanic one. The impressions are completely different there than the human being can imagine who knows the physical world only. Even if all experiences are different, one thing remains: the logic, the healthy thinking. The human being who appropriates the healthy thinking who is a reasonable person firmly standing on his legs cannot go astray if he ascends to the worlds that offer many surprises. That who develops this self-assured thinking working from the origin of the soul has a sure leader also beyond that border where one can hard distinguish between the physical and the supraphysical.

With healthy thinking one gets over the abyss which opens there. If anyone lives without healthy thinking and says, you give me thoughts only; however, a divine power lives in me, why should I not be able to ascend to the higher worlds?—Then I can only answer: those who speak in such a way have no idea of the conditions of the higher worlds where the outer world does not correct us where we must have the leader in ourselves if we should not go astray.

The development of the feeling happens with the help of Imagination at the school of those to be initiated. The pupil creates a figurative notion of the world at first; then he has to carry out his world consideration rather quietly under the Goethean saying: “All that is transitory is only a symbol.” I would like to give you an example that I have given several times how one leads someone who aims at a spiritual development into the depths of the things, how one teaches the development of the feeling by Imagination (anthroposophic concepts of initiation are capitalised). If you want to understand the development of the beings and stop at the thinking, you never can go fairly beyond this sensory world. You can appropriate the most different concepts how subordinated beings develop higher and higher up to the human being, you can take even the spiritual-scientific evolutionary theory how the logos poured forth and formed more and more complex forms and worlds: plants, animals, human beings, how all differentiations formed, evolutions and involutions and so on. These are teachings that you find in theosophical books, nice and interesting concepts. However, you cannot come into the higher worlds this way. You can thereby form ideas, which are analogies of higher worlds, but you never can come with them into these worlds. You need Imagination. This is not anything that one imagines.

It is something that is produced with a productive power and amounts to nothing more than concepts only, so that these concepts, like Goethe's archetypical plant and archetypical animal, correspond to the outer realities; but pictures are formed corresponding to the spirit that creates behind these things. I would like to explain in the form of a dialog what one said always in such secret schools to the pupils. I say this to you to make clear the principle, the method of initiation. What I speak in a few words takes a long period of training. The dialog that I describe never did take place, but that what it shows has always taken place in any spiritual school. One says to the pupil, look at the plant, which points with its root to the earth, which lets grow its stalk, its leaves, and blossoms upwards, and compare it to the human being. You would compare wrongly if you wanted to compare the head to the blossom and the foot to the root.—I would like to remark that also that who founded the newer natural sciences so greatly gets to this view. He compares the root to the head of the human being and regards the plant as the reverse human being and the human being as the reverse plant.—The root is the head that the plant sticks toward the centre of the earth, just as the human being sticks his head that he holds in the opposite direction toward the sun or the heavenly forces. The plant turns its reproductive organ, the blossom, virginally to the sunbeam that one called the “holy lance of love” in the medieval secret schools. The human being is the exact opposite. He sticks his organs of conceptions toward the centre of the earth, the head toward the space. In between, one says to the pupil, is the animal who does half a turn, so that the spine is horizontal. Look at plant, animal, and human being and you understand the dictum of Plato that the world soul is crucified on the cross of the world. Plato understands plant, animal, and human being by the world. The plant stands vertically, the human being reversely to it so that he looks with the head at the free world ether, and the crossbar is the animal. This is the prototype of the cross, as one knew it in ancient times and in all secret schools.

Then one says the following to the pupil: imagine the plant and its pure, chaste substance. The human being is on a higher level than the plant. The plant resembles the sleeping human being. It has physical body and etheric body as the sleeping human being has physical body and etheric body. The human being is, actually, beyond the physical and etheric body. That what thinks in him and feels desire and pain has been cut off in the sleeping state. The plant has a consciousness that we know as sleep consciousness.

What does the development from the horizontal line up to the entire turn mean? It means that be the human being has attained his present bright day consciousness. With the transition from the animals, the human being has become a being with bright day consciousness. He had to lose something else for it. Look at the plant: a body of desires, an astral body does penetrate it. The plant has physical body and etheric body. The human being must go through the animal and integrate instincts, desires, and passions. He has higher risen integrating the astral body into the plant body.

Now spiritual science puts a great Imagination before him. This spiritual science shows how he can gradually develop the strength that leads him back again to the purification of his desire nature that leads him up to that point where he lives again in the pure, chaste body on higher developmental stages while retaining his current state of consciousness. There he has overcome what he had necessarily to absorb in himself with the transition to the higher stages. What the teacher put before the pupil was a future ideal: you will have the plant nature again! One gave him the means to attain it. One said to him, the entire humanity comes again to this stage once when the human beings have developed the purely spiritual strength. Then he is no longer tied to the desire nature, he no longer sticks his organs of conception toward the spiritual sunbeam. In the initiatory training, one calls this organ the Holy Grail, which then the human being has attained, and which is a spiritual organ.

Imagine the difference between the dry abstractions that one puts in mathematics or in idealistic writings before you and this idea where we go up through the animal state to the human being and again up to other future stages of humanity. If we visualise that, we accompany this Imagination with our sensations and feelings if we are generally able not only to think the spirit but also to feel it. We shall see this development not only in spirit, but we shall feel it. The evolution in the universe appears immense and big to us if we visualise it that way, not in abstractions. The whole universe with all world riddles was presented to the pupils. They claim not only his thinking, but also his feeling and sensing. It was to him, as if his whole soul went out and lived in everything that was round him. As with the Goethean archetype something is created in us that lives in all plants and animals, it is also, if the developed feeling rises from us, as if we felt the world soul which flows as power through all beings.

Thus, everything came to life that was around the pupil, it became Imagination. Where he went through woods and meadows, everywhere the pictures worked in his soul. This loosened the inner power in him and he looked behind the beings and behind the things gradually. If one tells this in such a way, it seems almost unbelievable. If the pupil was introduced under the guidance of the teacher in the Imaginative of the world, he was guided not only to the thinking, but also to the feeling and the impulses that have gushed out from the soul of the world creator. He was introduced in an essential world. Then the development continues from the feeling to the willing.

As well as the feeling develops by pictures, the will develops by the occult letters. This will is the deepest of the concealed power. This will becomes something like a skeleton that the human being squeezes out by the will into the outer world. If you remember the pictures of the Munich congress, of the columns and seals, they are there to train the will. In the portfolio, which we edited as Pictures of Occult Seals and Columns, they are reproduced. I want to discuss the principle of these occult seals and columns once and give their meaning for the initiation. Any seal explains what you can find in the Apocalypse or The Revelation of John. In this portfolio, you find signs. Any sign has an immense, stimulating effect on the human being.

You find a human figure on the first seal. The feet are like from liquid brass, a fiery sword goes out from the mouth. I do not want to describe the remainder. He who becomes engrossed in this seal sees that just this seal gives him something marvellous in particular by this contrast. We shall hear in the last talk of this winter on Sun, Moon and Stars that we are led back by spiritual science also to states of the earth where the earth was in a fiery-liquid state and that—in contrast to the materialistic science—the human being already existed. Spiritual science can make the objection to itself that the human being could not live in a fiery-liquid state. At that time, the human being was formed from fiery liquid mass. This beginning of the earth is shown in the fiery-liquid metal feet. A later future state is shown with the fiery sword that comes out of the mouth, and appears in all myths again. I can only indicate what it concerns here. You will see how spiritual science is connected deeply with the innermost essence of the world.

How does the mediation happen, if I speak to you? What I speak are my thoughts at first. These accept tones that make the air vibrate. The air is thereby set in motion in this hall. The oscillations of the air come to your ear, come to your soul, and impart themselves to your soul. My words live here in the room in certain forms of oscillation. If you could see them, you would see particular oscillations if I pronounce the word “soul.” As well as the human being is able today to form the air and make arise that what lives in his soul in the oscillating air, he will also be able to form organs. There are organs in the human being, which are at the beginning, and other organs are at the end of their development. The larynx and the heart are at the beginning of development. I know that I assert something scandalous for the positive science, because one regards these two organs as mechanical apparatuses, the heart like a pump. However, just the theories of the heart and the blood circulation will experience reorganisations in the not too distant future. One will find that the circulation of the blood is due to something quite different from the heart, and that the heart moves only by the blood circulation. If the human being feels abashed, he blushes. This is an influence of the blood. The heart will be in future a voluntary muscle, and it prepares itself to become one.

Here something is given that will almost coin the future of the human being externally-physically. The heart is a crux to the usual anatomy and physics. It has the configuration of a voluntary muscle, while it is no voluntary muscle today. A voluntary muscle has striated muscle fibers. The heart has such striated fibers, although it is not voluntary even today. However, it is on the way of becoming a voluntary muscle.

The larynx will also have another function. It will be the reproductive organ of the human being. The larynx that produces words of the soul will undertake the reproduction. The fire principle is the speech, and the fire principle of the speech will be a creative principle; hence, the sword in the mouth. This fiery sword is intimately related to the world forces. If the human being becomes engrossed in its picture, this strengthens his willpower. One can say that only that way. He who does it experiences it. Then he anticipates, thinks, and feels not only, but he penetrates with his willpower into the things. This is the way through the occult writing. One can state quite concretely, in which way one should develop thinking, feeling, and willing. If one has woken the forces slumbering in the human being, thinking, feeling, and willing become particular organs, which one calls spiritual eyes. From them the spiritual eyes originate which show the world of the flooding spiritual light and its colours and the spiritual forces behind our physical world. The trained willpower becomes the spiritual ears of which also Goethe speaks who was deeply initiated into these matters:

In ancient rivalry with fellow spheres
the sun still sings its glorious song,
and it completes with tread of thunder
the journey it has been assigned.

Goethe remains in the right picture. If one is introduced in the higher spiritual world, one is introduced by the ear. If one comes in the spiritual realm, it is immediately said: “In these sounds the new day is already born for spiritual ears.” Those who believe to understand Goethe but say, this is nonsense, and need an explanation of it, which one cannot expect the poet to accept, one has to answer: no, one cannot expect that Goethe wrote nonsense: “the sun still sings ...” is nonsense only if one applies it to the physical world.

Thus, we have seen that the principle of initiation is based on the fact that one gets out particular forces slumbering in the human being, so that these forces guide the human beings into the spiritual world surrounding him. What gets out these forces of the human being? We have to explain the matter completely in the sense of Goethe. Once there was a sense organ, an indifferent organ in his sensuous body, which was flooded from light. The light made it the eye, so that the human being could see the colours and forms round himself with the eyes. The eye originated that way. Unknown and unrecognised organs which one does not want to recognise slumber in the human being. In addition, other worlds are round us, except the world of light and colours. As well as with the blind human being the eye was woken for seeing, the spiritual ears and eyes are trained with the clairvoyance and clairaudience, so that the human being can behold into the surrounding spiritual world.

The human being has gained self-consciousness. He has become in such a way that he can relate everything to himself. However, because he develops the spiritual eyes and ears following the principle of initiation he immerses again in the outer world. He finds his higher self in this world. We are not allowed to say that we find the divine and spiritual in ourselves. This is a wrong expression. Recognise yourself! Is an old saying. However, one has to understand it in such a way as Adam recognised his woman. He fertilised her. Thus, that applies also to the organs. Fertilise yourself, be fertilised by the world.—Thus, the human being should develop the forces slumbering in him. It is true what Goethe says:

Unless the eye were like the sun,
How could we see the light?
Unless God's own strength were in us,
How could delight us the divine?

Indeed, the sun force is in us, and the eye does not create the divine being, does not create the sun, but it sees it, after it has been created.

We can develop higher forces and penetrate deeper and deeper into the world this way. Then the outer world does no longer appear to us as something that restrains and restricts us, but as that which brings true and spiritual reality. Harmony is created between the human being and the world. Thereby we overcome the lower self that looks out into the sensuous world. We attain the higher ego of the human being that is spread out in the whole universe. Goethe means this indicating the principle of initiation in his poem The Secrets (The Mysteries) with the words with which we want to close. They show how the human being flows out by self-conquest and into the feeling permeating the world, into the spiritual of the world, into the will of the cosmic spirits pulsating through the world:

For any force rushes forward into the vastness
To live and to work here and there;
However, the stream of the world hinders
And constrains us from any side and tears us off;
In this inner storm and outer quarrel
The mind hears a hardly understood word:
From the force that binds all creatures
That man is delivered who masters himself.