At the Gates of Spiritual Science
Notes from Answers to Questions
2 September 1906, Stuttgart
Question about the work of the Ego
Work can be done on the astral body, on the etheric body, on the physical body. Every human being works on his astral body; all moral education is work on the astral body. Even when a person enters on the process of Initiation, on occult training, he has still much work to do on his astral body. Initiation leads to stronger work on the etheric body through the cultivation of aesthetic pleasure and of religion. The Initiate works consciously on his etheric body.
Astral consciousness is four-dimensional in certain connections. In order to form an approximate idea of this, the following may be said. Anything that is dead has the tendency to remain in its three dimensions. Anything living extends all the time beyond the third dimension. Anything that grows has, through its movement, the fourth dimension within its three dimensions. If something moves in a circle, and if the circle it traces goes on increasing in size, we come at last to a straight line. But the straight line will not return to its starting point, because our world is three-dimensional. In astral space, a line does return, because astral space is closed on all sides. It is quite impossible, there, to go straight on for ever. Physical space is open to the fourth dimension. Height and breadth are two dimensions; the third dimension leads out into the fourth. In astral space a different geometry prevails.
Why are Theosophists still so inadequate?
One should not allow a personal element to enter into one's judgments. An objective assessment of things should be the aim.
About conditions in Devachan
Pain and grief are external in Devachan. You do not experience your own pains there. Pain is something you look at. You see it as thunder, as lightning, as colour. That is blessedness. You are looking at pictures of happenings caused by others here below. A peaceful condition in Devachan depends on the lives of people between birth and death. Harmony here on Earth brings about peace in Devachan. A man lives continuously in the three worlds. “Rest in peace!” is not quite right.
Is there any value in reading Masses for the dead?
Good thoughts are balm for the dead. It is not selfish love that we should send them, not mourning because we no longer have them here; this harms a dead person and weighs on him like lead. But love that endures, which does not lay claim to the dead person by wanting him back again — this nourishes him and augments his happiness.
Remorse has no value. But one must make good for harm done; this shortens the Kamaloka period.
On communion with loved ones in Kamaloka
It is clearer, more definite, in Devachan, for in Kamaloka consciousness is clouded by the paying off of debts incurred through personal guilt.
The lotus-flowers are inner movements, within the human being.
If one is out of harmony with one's parents, what is the reason for it?
To be out of harmony with one's parents is generally something determined by karma.
What does the astral body look like?
When the astral body is together with the physical body, it is somewhat egg-like in shape. After death it is a wonderfully radiant, mobile formation. In accordance with individual characteristics it has various colours, radiant colours. Its three gleaming points are at first widely separated, joined together but open below. They are centres of force; they draw progressively together and then they look like a small triangle. 1. Heart; 2. Liver; 3. Brain. These three points work together at the time of a new incarnation. In Devachan they are radiant centres of force, which stream out from the three points. In the astral world these three points form a triangle; in Devachan they form a six-pointed figure — two interlaced triangles. They are bells.
A question was asked about the “permanent atom” often spoken of in theosophical circles at that time.
Atoms are a speculation. Hence we avoid speaking about them, for they are only an assumption. One should not think about things which are not facts; human beings should only look and observe.
Can one look into the future?
This is possible, but the occultist refrains from doing so, because, almost always, it behoves only a high Initiate to know the future. The Initiate's prevision does not determine what another person does; the latter will act in the future entirely out of his free will.
On family connections
Families with a strong family tradition are subject to a quite definite law, whereby the family karma is worked out. The ancestor upholds the family until he can build a new body for his own next incarnation. The continuity and cohesion of the family depends on the blood.
Art is the revelation of hidden laws of nature. Goethe says: “The beautiful is a manifestation of hidden laws of nature which would otherwise remain forever concealed.” Nature can realise her intentions only up to a certain stage; man can bring them to expression, but the artist has to leave out the blood and life.
At a later, much later, time the Group-Souls will embark on the same experiences that humanity undergoes today. They will eventually build individual bodies for themselves. They will become single individuals, each with an individual soul. Animals will never give rise to men, but human beings — of a kind quite different, certainly, from ourselves will develop out of the Group-Souls. The human stages — the Saturn stage, the Sun stage, the Moon stage, the Earth stage, and so on — can be gone through in the most varied ways.
What is your attitude to the Lord's Prayer?
The primal Christian prayer is: Lord, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. One should not pray egotistically. Prayer should be a raising up of oneself into the spiritual world, a source of strength and invigoration.
Marriage is a duality. In the world today there is a prevailing tendency to lead everything back, quite wrongly, to the sexual. A great antithesis plays into the realm of marriage: the husband has a female etheric body and the wife a male etheric body. The spirit and soul in the man is more feminine, and vice-versa. The human soul strives towards the highest. Hence the man will equate the highest with the womanly, because his soul is feminine. The external part, the body, is only an outer symbol, only a parable. “All things transient are but a parable.” “The eternal-womanly draws us to the heights.”
On the Ego-body
The Ego-body appears to the clairvoyant as a blue hollow between the eyes, behind the forehead. When a person begins to work on it, rays stream out from this point.
On the nature of comets
A comet is an assemblage of Kama, desire-substance, without the corresponding spiritual substance. The comet gets as far only as the astral body. The visibility of comets arises from the powerful friction caused by the astral body passing through etheric substance.
How does gold arise?
We have first the four ethers:
No life can arise without Life ether, which fills out the bodies. Each ether can be cooled so that it becomes solid. In earlier times gold flowed in clefts; earlier still it was gaseous; it was Fire ether, Light ether. The rays which come to us from the Sun were formerly etheric substance. All the gold was once Sun ether, Light ether. Gold is densified Sun ether, densified sunlight; silver is densified moonlight.
Which beings inhabit the Moon?
The Moon is inhabited by those physical beings who have remained behind at an earlier stage of evolution: Luciferic beings. On the Old Moon there were beings who had fallen so far into evil that they could not take part in further evolution. They established themselves on the Moon. These malevolent beings are evident especially in the waning Moon; when the Moon is waxing they are less harmful. Some dreadful beings inhabit the Moon, but there are also favourable beings, actively concerned with growth and birth.
On the Book of Revelation
The Book with Seven Seals in the Revelation of John is written by man himself. His evolution and involution are inscribed there. The first writing in it applies to the seven sub-races. Each sub-race writes and seals a page of it. When the next sub-race emerges, the page is unsealed.
On the difference between cremation and burial
The difference exists chiefly for the etheric body. Cremation provides correctly for the dissolution of the physical body into cosmic space. “Decaying” (Verwesen) means a return to one's being (Wesen).
On the life of Jesus
The life of Jesus is at the same time a fact and a symbol. Proof of his life can be given only by Spiritual Science. You will not find any historical proofs, for the Christ was not known as a high Initiate to the writers of those days.
On the inner Word
The inner Word reveals itself after a man has already attained astral sight. Then he enters into the Devachan condition; then he hears the world-secrets sounding in himself; and then he hears the name that belongs to each thing. Later, his own name will be spoken to the Initiate, and to meditate on it is especially effective. That, then, is the inner Word. The Initiate is thereby awakened, and this inner Word is a sure guide for his later development.