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Nature and Spirit Beings
Their Effects in Our Visible World
GA 98

Part I

III. The Rosicrucian Initiation

15 December 1907, Düsseldorf

When talking about the initiation of the Rosicrucian, or the Rosicrucian Initiation, we must briefly place the concept of initiation in front of our soul. Mainly, this concept is about searching for a way to penetrate, through our own experience and own adventures, into the higher worlds that underlie our sensory world. We must distinguish three paths: initiates, clairvoyants and adepts. These are the three distinct paths to establish a relationship with the higher worlds.

Today, we will talk about how man can get to know the super-sensible worlds through his own experience. We will dispense with the tripartite division for today, but keep in mind carefully that when talking about initiation, we have one method of initiation in front of us.

One will easily get over the differences in the various methods, considering that people seek the way to the higher worlds from different starting points. When we have reached the peak of a mountain, we will have a clear view from up there. To get up there, we can start from different points of departure, using different ways. It would be nonsensical if, to get to the peak, we did not use the path straight in front of us, but first went around the mountain.

Let's apply this principle to initiation. Again, we encounter different starting points because people have different dispositions. External natural science is not in a position to really study the subtle differences which we encounter here. Our physiologists and anatomists are not able, with their crude instruments and methods, to find out these subtle differences of human beings. But for someone with occult knowledge there is a tremendous difference between a person born in the Orient, and one born in Europe or in America. This is evident right down to the physical nature. There is an enormous difference between someone who still has the living immediate emotion and feeling for Christ, and a man who is completely alienated from the original Christian feeling and whose entire worldview is based on the accomplishments of modern science. Not only are the feelings and thoughts of such a person different from those of someone with a Christian spirit, but differences can be observed even in someone's physique. Such subtle differences exist, which affect the most subtle structures of the body, that physiology and biology have nothing to say about them. Therefore the individual human nature has to be considered, as one cannot lead everyone in the same way to rise up into the higher worlds through higher development.

To understand this, we must go back into former ages of mankind. Mankind has gone through a long period of development. At the time we call Atlantean, our ancestors, that is, our own souls, lived in completely different bodies in ancient Atlantis in the West between our present-day Europe and America. Floods then occurred, on which the story about the biblical flood and many other different sagas of floods are based, including those floods which caused the downfall of the ancient Atlantis. This was followed by the post-Atlantean evolution in which we still find ourselves.

We have gone through four time periods during the post-Atlantean evolution, and we are still in the fifth. The first of these time periods included the old Indian culture, where people were taught by the holy Rishis themselves, inspired human beings who modern man can no longer imagine. Then came the second cultural epoch, the Persian, with the Zarathustra-religion. The third cultural epoch was the Babylonian-Assyrian-Chaldean-Egyptian one, from which the Hebrew culture slowly developed. As a fourth one, the Graeco-Roman cultural period followed, within which Christianity arose and which derived its elements from the people who had developed organically from the third culture. Now we are living in the fifth cultural epoch and heading towards the sixth.

Not only the thinking has changed, in the long time since the Atlantean catastrophe, but also the astral body, the etheric body and the physical body. We must not imagine though, that all people are equally placed within our fifth cultural period. Many peculiarities of the earlier cultural traditions were preserved. What has developed one after another, still lives next to each other.

Human beings went through completely different cultural epochs. They experienced changes within their whole being, which made it necessary to adapt the introduction to the higher worlds given to them by their spiritual guides.

During the Atlantean age men were still astrally clairvoyant. They lived together with their Gods and spirits in the same way as with the external plants, minerals, animals and humans. In the post-Atlantean period, men could no longer gain access to the higher worlds. They could no longer penetrate by direct observation of the divine-spiritual into the higher worlds, but could only artificially put themselves into a state where they became ‘companions' of the Gods again. This is the basis of the Indian way of yoga initiation. This yoga introduction to the higher worlds consists mainly in the dampening of the consciousness that man had acquired in the post-Atlantean age, the external perception, and in putting oneself back into former clairvoyant states of consciousness like those which were experienced by the Atlantean man.

If we continue to trace mankind's evolution beyond the Persian and the Chaldean cultural periods, we arrive at the Christian cultural period. This brought with it the Christian initiation, which can only be attained by a direct relationship with Jesus Christ through the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse. Then follows in the 13th and 14th century the first dawn of the materialistic cultural period. At that time the enlightened people were able to perceive: now the material time is coming up. Everything, that was fully realised in the 19th century, what had happened in the extreme, had been prepared long before. We find materialism not only in areas of external activity, but must confront it in all areas.

Until the turn of the 13th to the 14th century men held on to completely different feelings and emotions. A drastic change occurred in all areas, even in the most seemingly isolated ones. In the art of painting, for example, we encounter a great change in the emotions of people. Today, it seems arbitrary to the materialist when, for example, Cimabue1Cimabue, from 1240 until after 1302, Italian painter, teacher of Giotto. paints the background in gold on his pictures. However, this painter still followed the tradition of illustrating the higher world. When looking into the highest regions of the astral world, one will find that this golden background is a reality, an actual fact. Those, who later wanted to paint similar things, as imitators of those ancient painters who still possessed knowledge of the reality of the astral world through tradition, appear to us like barbarians compared to those who really still had a relationship to the higher world. For example, Giotto2Giotto, 1266-1337, Italian painter and master builder, student of Cimabue. did no longer portray what he felt to be true, but everything is painted based solely upon external tradition. At his time, it was natural to move towards that which could only be seen on the physical plane, to materialistic art. Only the greatest painters of that time still held on to tradition.

In Raffael's3Raffael, actual name Raffaello Santi, 1483-1520. Disputa (Disputation of the Sacrament) one can see how in the basic colour from the bottom to the top is indeed reproduced with a certain accuracy, the experience that someone has who ascends to the higher worlds. This experience of the gradual transition from the lower to the higher worlds, up to the illustration of the genii that emerge from the golden background, is a necessity.

Those who know the spiritual truths know that behind the physical facts something else is hidden. They know that the reason why people are materialists today is that they are under external materialistic influences. But it is not just a matter of external perception. From the occult perspective one learns to know about other reasons. Thoughts and feelings are realities that radiate out into the world. We are swarmed by materialistic thoughts. Everywhere those thoughts are buzzing around us. Even if no books and newspapers that promote the materialistic views reach a farmer out in the countryside, materialistic thoughts that matter still buzz around and influence him.

If we ask, how human beings entered into the world at times when one still knew about occult powers, we will find that in those times care was taken, for example in China, that a human being at his birth into the physical world was welcomed by people filled with spiritual thoughts. This is something completely different from being welcomed by a materialistic doctor and a materialistic thinking environment. Here quite different things are encountered by man than what was formerly the case in an environment alive with spiritual thoughts. Herein lies the reason for the materialistic attitude of man. Already since the 13th and 14th century, man dives into a materialistic atmosphere from the moment of his birth. This had to be so. But, therefore, a method also had to be created for those who wanted to rise into the higher worlds, by which they could become strong and robust enough to be able to achieve the ascent into the spiritual worlds, despite the external materialistic circumstances.

This initiation method is the Rosicrucian one, which was created around the turn of the 13th and 14th century and was first inaugurated by Christian Rosenkreutz,4Christian Rosenkreutz: Not recognised by public history as a real historic figure of the 14th/15th century, Christian Rosenkreutz became legendarily known from two anonymous Rosicrucian texts Fama Fraternitatis or the Discovery of the Brotherhood of the Highly Laudable Order of R.C., Kassel 1614, and Confessio Fraternitatis or Confession of the laudable Brotherhood of the highly honourable Rose Cross, Kassel 1615. According to this, he was a German of noble birth who lived from 1378 to 1484. The name appears for the first time in a text handwritten and as such distributed in 1604, and in 1616 anonymously published in the text The Chymical Wedding of Christiani Rosencreutz, Anno 1459. Rudolf Steiner portrayed the author of this text, Johann Valentin Andreae, as the carrier of inspiration of Christian Rosenkreutz. Refer to Rudolf Steiner, The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz in Philosophy and Anthroposophy. Collected Essays 1904-1923, GA 35. The essay is also contained in the translation of The Chymical Wedding into New High German by Walter Weber, Basel 1978. According to Rudolf Steiner, Christian Rosenkreutz was a real historical personality. Compare also, The Esoteric Christendom and the Spiritual Leadership of Humanity, GA 130. one of the great leaders of mankind. Strictly separated from the external world, this method worked since those times for centuries, known only to a tight circle, most closely restricted during the 19th century, the materialistic one. Only during the last third of the 19th century it became necessary to reveal to the world through Theosophy what had been taught, at least in its elemental parts, in the Rosicrucian schools.5Re the Rosicrucian method - refer to note 4 above. Obviously, the deliberations of Rudolf Steiner at this point have been only fragmentary captured by the note taker. For better comprehension refer to the presentation in the lecture dated 15 September 1909; Lecture 1 in The Lucas Gospel cycle, GA 114.

In the year 1459 the true founder of the Rosicrucian stream himself reached that level, by which he gained the power to exert influence on the world in such a way, that this initiation could be brought by him to the world.

Since that time, this individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz has appeared again and again as leader of the movement in question. Through centuries he led a life ‘in the same body'. We have to understand the expression ‘in the same body' as follows: When looking at the physical body, we find nothing is left of what it consisted of ten years ago. But the consciousness has stayed the same. Every seven to eight years a human being exchanges all parts of his physical body, but the consciousness outlasts this ongoing exchange of physical substances throughout the whole life. What we in this way experience between birth and death, an initiate will experience this by dying and, shortly afterwards, reincarnating in a new body as a child. But he makes this journey fully conscious. The consciousness is maintained from one incarnation to the next. Even the physical resemblance remains with the initiate, because the soul builds up the new body consciously based on the experience of the previous incarnation. In this way the highest leader of the Rosicrucian school lived for centuries.

Only now it has become possible to make public some of the Rosicrucian principles. Until then none of this was made accessible, only once something had been shared.6Rudolf Steiner refers to an article about the Philosopher's Stone by Karl Arnold Kortum (1745-1828), which appeared in a central German newspaper, the Reichsanzeiger, on 8 October 1796. That which, according to the Rosicrucian study, leads human beings up into the higher worlds, are the following seven stages: First, the Study; second, the acquisition of Imaginative Knowledge; third, learning the Occult Script; fourth, the preparation of the Philosopher's stone; fifth, the correspondence of Microcosm and Macrocosm; sixth, the union with the Macrocosm; seventh, the Divine Bliss.

This does not mean that these seven stages need to be completed consecutively. A student, who meets a Rosicrucian teacher receives his instructions for higher development according to his individuality. From the seven stages of higher development will be selected what is most suitable for him. One might begin with the first and second stage and then maybe the fourth and fifth will follow for him. Only what is called ‘the Study', everyone needs to begin with.

Here ‘Study ' means something different than what is usually understood by it in daily life. What is meant is the particular way of acquisition of ideas and concepts, which is called ‘sensory-free thinking'. The whole thinking of an ordinary man is attached to the external sensory nature. Pay attention to everything that you experience from morning to night and then mentally discard everything that you have seen and heard externally. For most people, very little or nothing will be left. But whoever wants to make his way into the higher worlds must get used to being able to think without connecting to the external world, when the source of his thinking lies only within himself.

The only type of sensory-free thinking in European countries is arithmetic. The child learns that two times two is four, first by looking at an external illustration, at the fingers or the beans or at the terrible adding-machines. But a person will not arrive at a satisfactory result in this field as long as he is not able to imagine without the crutch of the external visual aid. One can never see a circle in the external reality. Circles, which one draws on the blackboard are chalk hills strung together. Only a devised circle is exact. You must construct the circle in your mind, you must devise the circle.

Today, people's sensory-free thinking can only be found in the fields of numeracy and geometry. But for most people these are not accessible and therefore only mentioned for the purpose of comparison. The best means to acquire sensory-free thinking is Theosophy itself, because there a person will hear about things he hasn't seen. What people learn there—how the human being consists of a physical, etheric and astral body, or how the Earth itself developed by going through different stages—they cannot see. Only when we exert our thinking and perceive the inner logic of a thing, we will grasp these things with ordinary logic, provided one relies on the comprehensive basis of logic. If people today are saying that they cannot comprehend this, then this is not because they are not clairvoyant, but rather because they do not wish to apply the logic of comprehension. The experiences of a clairvoyant can be understood with simple logic; clairvoyance is needed only for research purposes. Theosophy is the only logical thing for the theoretical and practical life. In contrast, what people say about super-sensible things in a materialistic way is illogical. What the science of the spirit brings is real concrete fruitfulness in life.

If we look at the principle of education from the standpoint of a theosophical worldview and from the standpoint of a materialistic mind-set, we can draw a comparison. In the former, things are being said about the developing human being which cannot be seen from the outside. But it is so that just within this the real, the true, the concrete exists. Today's materialistic worldview does not understand the growing child. Only by considering the whole nature of a human being, not only observing the outside, does one learn to place a human being with its full potential into the world.

At the same time, someone, who immerses himself into the teachings of the theosophical worldview, has got a method to learn sensory-free thinking. The true Theosophy will always aim as much as possible to develop sensory-free thinking. When we look at Theosophical teachings we will find descriptions of conditions that we cannot see. When looking at the evolution of our Earth and where it emerged from, we describe a planetary condition where everything was different from the current stage of our Earth: that old Moon—not the current one—where no hard, mineralised Earth crust yet existed on which the human being can walk, but where the planet only existed in a kind of plant nature. In this compound, which we can compare with cooking lettuce or spinach, more solid components only existed in a form like today's crust or bark of trees. Minerals didn't exist then at all.

If this is disputed from a materialistic perspective, because one can only imagine plants growing in mineral soil, then one could admit that under today's conditions this is certainly not possible any other way. But in earlier ages completely other conditions prevailed. A materialist is not able to imagine this, because he will always relate to today's conditions.

However, by means of such pictures, one can free oneself from what one sees all around. Nonsense makes sense when we contemplate far distant circumstances. Thus we learn to educate ourselves, to get away from our sensory conditions. We learn to place pictures before our soul, that we do not know today. Thus, our thinking lifts off from what is possible today. Those who try to connect with their thinking only to what would be possible today, stick to today's conditions and can't get away from them. For study in the Rosicrucian spirit it especially matters to train one's thinking on images of conditions that no longer exist today. To let a concept emerge from a concept, out of completely sensory-free thinking, is a means to arrive at what is called the Study. One can also get there by studying a book like the Philosophy of Freedom.7 Translator's note: The book The Philosophy of Freedom is also known as The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. The author has offered in it only the opportunity that thoughts think themselves. There the individual thoughts emerge by themselves out of completely sensory-free thinking, organise themselves in such a way that no thought can be removed from its place and be placed into a different spot. Just as a hand cannot get cut off from the body and be placed into another place. This is the way of sensory-free thinking.

A burning desire to absolutely want to raise oneself into the higher worlds is something many want, but it is something unhealthy. Striving is healthy only when an inner, dignified logic is cultivated by a thinking that is completely free of sensory impressions.

One who knows one's way around the higher worlds, knows that the perceptions there are quite different from those in the physical world. But there is one thing that remains the same element in the three worlds—in the physical, in the astral and in the Devachan world: that is logical thinking. This safe leader protects us from following all the will-o'-the-wisps. Without it we will never learn to tell illusion from reality, and come to believe that every illusion is an astral reality. Here in the physical world, it is easy to differentiate illusions from reality because the external facts correct us. For example, if you have walked down the wrong street, you will not arrive at the right place. In the higher worlds we have to find the correct way ourselves by applying our own mental strength. Otherwise, we will keep getting into increasingly more difficult labyrinths there, if we have not learned to tell illusion from reality beforehand. We can learn this in a Rosicrucian training.

The second stage in the Rosicrucian training is imaginative recognition, the recognition through pictures. This is the first stage of ascending from the physical into the spiritual world. Goethe provided the leitmotif, the leading principle, with the last words of the second part of his Faust, when he said: “All that is transitory, is but an allegory.”8Goethe, Faust, Part II, 5th act, closing choir. If we begin to see everything that surrounds us as spiritual pictures, then we strive upwards into the world of imagination.

In the Rosicrucian schools and also in earlier schools, it was attempted to teach the students the evolutionary principle that applies throughout the different kingdoms. Today one speaks about evolution in relation to materialistic thinking. Theosophy also speaks about this, but it is something else to transform the concept of evolution into a picture and lift it into imagination. Normally, it is only the mind that is occupied with the evolutionary principle. We arrive at the imagination as follows: Through many weeks or through months the soul was transformed through the directions of the teachers in the following way. We can best retell this in the form of a dialogue which, however, has never happened in this way. The teacher might have said something like, look at the plant, how with its leaves and blossoms it strives up towards the sun and sinks its roots into the ground, striving towards the centre of the Earth. If you are comparing it with the human being, it would be wrong to compare the bloom with his head, the roots with his reproductive organs. Darwin9Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, British Natural Scientist. His hint about the correspondence of the human head and the plant root can be found in his work The Power of Movement in Plants translated from English by Victor Carus, Volume 13, of Charles Darwin's Gesammelte Werke, Stuttgart 1881, Chapter 12, Summary and Final Remarks, Page 492 (Ending): “It is hardly an overstatement, when one says, that this tip of the root is equipped in a way that has the ability to direct the movements of the neighbouring parts, like a brain of a lower animal; the brain sits within the foremost end of the head, and receives impressions from the sense organs and directs the various movements”. drew the right comparison. He pointed out that the root of the plant corresponds to the head of the human being. The human being is the inverted plant. The root, that the plant sinks into the ground, corresponds to the head of the human being. But that which the plant chastely holds up towards the Sun, the bloom and its fertilisation organs, the human being turns towards the Earth. If one turns the plant around fully, one gets the human being. If one turns it around halfway, one gets an animal with its horizontal spine.

If we conceive these things imaginatively, then not only our thoughts, but also our feelings and our emotions will be deeply ushered into the world that surrounds us. We will learn to recognise the inner relationship between plant and human being. We will recognise the pure, chaste plant nature which has not yet been pervaded by desires and passions, and the nature of the human being in whom chaste plant substance has been transformed into flesh pervaded by desires and passions. But through this entered at the same time something higher into man's being—he gained the clear day consciousness. The plant is asleep, but the human being has gained his clear day consciousness by being incarnated in flesh pervaded by desires, passions and instincts. To do this, he had to complete a full turn. The animal stands right in between. Although it has desires and passions, it has not yet gained the clear day consciousness.

The teacher told the student: If you feel this, you'll understand Plato's10Rudolf Steiner often quoted this saying from the Timäus, Chapter 8, always using the wording of the Vienna philosopher Vincenz Knauer, from his work Die Hauptprobleme der Philosophie in ihrer Entwicklung und Teilweisen Loesung von Thales bis Robert Hamerling, (The main problems of philosophy in its development and part solution from Thales to Robert Hamerling) Vienna and Leipzig 1892, page 96 (belonging to the library of Rudolf Steiner and underlined by him): The myth told in Timäus is that God created the world soul in the shape of a cross that he laid through the universe and spanned across it the world body”. In Timäus itself it says that God split the world soul into two halves “slang both parts together in the form of the letter Chi (X) and twined of each a circle, so that both met with each other across the middle, and each one with itself. To both parts he gave the uniform and in the same room happening movement of the circular reversal, but one of the circles he made into the outer one and the other into the inner one” (quoted from the translation by Otto Apelt of Die Philosophische Bibliothek, Volume 179, Leipzig 1919). In the view of the elders two circles were of greatest importance in the whole world: The equator and the ecliptic. Thus the translator (O.Apelt) remarks about this point in Timäus: “And so it is then in Plato's explanations, that by way of a mysterious process the soul extends itself to the spatial building of the ecliptic and the equator. When the position of these two biggest circles towards each other is illustrated through the form of the letter X (Chi, whereby one needs to imagine the letter not in a vertical but horizontally orientation) then this is a quite appropriate comparison. Because these two circles cut each other at an angle of 23 1/2 degrees. The reversal of the equator proceeds from East to West (that is from right to left, because the ancient ones have often, when determining areas of the world, turned their gaze towards the North); the rotation of the ecliptic proceeds from West to East.” In addition, it should be remarked that the Church Father Justin the Martyr points out in his first Apology, that the source for Plato's teaching about the creation of the world is the Old Testament: Even what Plato said in the Timäus about the Son of God for the explanation of the World, where it says “He builds him in the universe like a Chi”, was similarly borrowed by him from Moses. Because in Moses' scripts it is written that at the time when the Israelites left Egypt and were in the desert, they were confronted by poison spraying animals, adders, vipers, and all kind of snakes, that brought death to the people. Then Moses, acting on an inspiration and impulse from God, took ore and shaped a cross from it. He then erected it in the holy tent and talked to the people; “If you look at this picture and trust in it then you will find healing.” Thus, so he reports, the snakes died, but the people, he continues, escaped death. This was read by Plato, and because he did not understand it properly and believed that it was not the shape of the cross that was meant, but the form of the Chi, he made the statement that the power that is primary to the first God, was distributed in the universe like a Chi.” Quoted from Bibliothek der Kirchenväter. Frühchristliche Apologeten und Märtyrerakten, Band 1 (Early Christian Apologists and Martyrs Files, Volume 1), Kempten-Munich 1913, Page 73/74). saying, “The world soul is crucified on the world body”. Plant, animal, man, that is the real innermost meaning of the sign of the cross. What passes through the nature kingdoms as common soul substance, as ‘world-soul', appears in symbolic form as a cross. This has been taught in the occult schools as the deepest meaning of the cross.

Then the teacher said to the student; watch how the plant chastely holds its calyx towards the Sun, how the shaft of sunlight kisses the plant's bloom. This was called the chaste kiss of the sunray, the holy lance of love. In this chaste kiss of the sunray, the holy lance of love, to which the calyx of the plant opens up, is a hint towards the ideal of the future where the human being once again will develop his organs higher to the chastity of the plant. Currently, man has developed up to the stage where he is penetrated by desires. He will develop further to the stage where he will have transformed his desires and will again be kissed by the spiritual sunray; where he will, on a higher level, bring forth his own kind anew, where the reproductive power will be spiritualised. This was called the ‘Holy Grail' in the occult schools. This is the real ideal of the Holy Grail—an organ that man will have, once his reproductive powers have been spiritualised. In the past, we see the chaste plant-nature; in the present, we see man permeated by desires; and in the future, we will see man with the purified body and how he receives in the Holy Grail chalice, a higher stage of development of the plant calyx, the spiritual shaft of sunlight.

This is not abstract thinking, but a state of being, where we feel each stage of development, not only think about it. When we feel in this way what is evolving, then we slowly raise ourselves up so that we arrive through the pictures at imaginative recognition. The picture of the Holy Grail will stand before us, once we detach these pictures from the sensory appearance, and receive the picture from the higher world.

If we let such pictures affect us—those that represent specific processes in the spiritual world and that were validated in the occult schools—then we call this ‘allowing the Occult Script to affect us'. This is the third stage of the Rosicrucian training.

We will find such pictures in seals and pillars, like those that were portrayed at the Munich Congress,11A Congress of the Theosophical Society held in May 1907–compare Rudolf Steiner, Pictures of Occult Seals and Columns; the Munich Congress, Pentecost 1907 and its Impacts, GA 284/85. of the beginning and the end of the evolution of mankind and in the Apocalypse. In former times man was on an Earth that consisted of molten magma. He has come to his current body only gradually, through many incarnations, and he will continue to evolve through many incarnations. In particular there will be a transformation of the larynx and the heart. These will be the reproductive organs in the future. Today, my thoughts, feelings and emotions only embody in words which let the emotions of my soul in this room reach your ears through vibrations and will awaken similar thoughts and feelings in your souls. Later, the human being will create warmth and finally light, just as he now communicates his thoughts in words through the air. Just as man descended from of a sphere of light and warmth in the past, he will create warmth and light himself in the future.

This is depicted on the first apocalyptical seal.12Refer to note 10 above. The original condition of mankind, when the Earth was still in a stage of molten magma, is represented by the feet of the man on the picture being submerged in a fiery metal stream. The state of the future is depicted by a fiery sword, protruding from the mouth of a man. Such a picture works not only on the imagination, but also on someone's will power, when we observe the great powers of nature in this way. Because the same power, which lives as primordial force in the will of the human being, also lives in the whole external world. By learning to train our will, the will of the world will live in us—then our will is going to become one with the will that flows through nature. Man learns this by selfless devotion to the occult scripts.

The fourth stage of the Rosicrucian training is the preparation of the Philosopher's stone. This is a high mystery, kept secret. Towards the end of the 18th century some of it was revealed. For example, there was a remark in a central German newspaper13Refer to note 6 above. by a person who had heard something about it. It said, “The Philosopher's stone really exists, and there are only a few people who do not know it. Many already held it in their hands, without knowing that it was the Philosopher's stone.” This definition was correct verbatim, only one must understand it. It is not a mere allegory. A Rosicrucian works on reality in such a way that he will penetrate into the physiology. He works at the real transformation of the Earth and of man, deeply into the physical body, not only on what is usually known as moral uplift, refinement of morals, and so on.

Let us look at the human breathing. Regulation of the breathing process forms an important part of occult development. People breathe in, use the oxygen that mixes with the carbon inside of them, and then they breathe out carbon dioxide. If this would continue forever by itself, then the atmosphere of the Earth would incrementally be filled with carbon dioxide and that would lead to the downfall of mankind. The existence of mankind presupposes the existence of plants. The plant absorbs the carbon dioxide, retains the carbon and releases the oxygen again. A continuous circulation happens between humans and plants. Humans, animals and plants belong together, one is not possible without the other.

The development in the human body is like this: Today, what the plant has to do for man, namely to produce the coal ― plant corpses are still recognisable in hard coal ― will later be done by man himself. Occultism can demonstrate that through the further development of the human being and his later transformed heart and respiratory organs, man will achieve this himself. One way how the human being can take up the plant process and consciously carry this out himself, is by rhythmisation of the breathing process, so that he doesn't release the carbon dioxide to the plant, but builds up the carbon within his own body The human being learns to build up his own body within himself.

If we compare this, with what we have been told about the Holy Grail, we will have the Grail now concretely before us. Through the rhythmisation of the breathing process man learns to produce in himself the carbon, that occurs in nature as graphite and diamond, in the form of chaste plant nature. To produce within oneself the carbon, the pure, chaste substance, is called the “Preparation of the Philosopher's Stone”. One must imagine it similar to a translucent diamond, but in a softer form. Man is a mighty inner apparatus, he learns through occult training that he is working on the evolution of his own lineage to a higher form. Someone with a materialistic view, on hearing about this, very characteristically remarked, that this would be a nice thing, from which it might be possible to develop a profitable branch of industry. Not at all! Exactly this remark illustrates the necessity to keep such disclosures secret. For only when people have reached such a moral and intellectual level that they can no longer think egoistically can such secrets be revealed to them.

The fifth stage is the ‘correspondence of microcosms and macrocosms'. For everything that happens in the world outside, there is a process within the human being, that repeats this in him on a small scale. One must only contemplate what happens within oneself, then one will intuitively come across the processes in the external cosmos. For example, through a specific meditation and concentration on the inner part of the eye, man learns to recognise the inner nature of the Sun, because the eye is an extract of the essence of the Sun. Goethe once said that ‘the eye is made by the light for the light.'14Goethe once said; “The eye has been made by the light for the light”... literally: The eye owes its existence to the light. From similar animal auxilliary organs the light calls forth an organ that is capable of becoming its equal. And so the eye builds itself at the light for the light, so that the inner light can meet the outer light”. In Goethes Naturwissenschaftliche Schriften (Goethe's Natural Science Writings), published by and commented on by Rudolf Steiner in Kürschner's German National Literature, 5 Volumes, 1884-97. Reprint, Dornach 1975, GA 001, Volume III, Design of a Theory of Colours, Introduction, page 89. The light created the eye. Without the Sun, there is no eye. All that is essential in the Sun is in some way reflected in the eye. To recognise the light of the Sun by concentrating on the essence of the eye—this is Rosicrucian training. In this way, one can learn to know the whole world from within the human being. For example, through concentration on the liver, man learns to know quite specific creative natural forces, right into the creativity of man. Thus man learns to know the whole world through himself, because he is a small world. Here he learns how in reality microcosm and macrocosm correspond to each other.

Concentrating in a certain way on the human heart will provide knowledge of the lion nature outside. This is not only a phrase. Each human being must singularly find the way into the vast universe. Then the perception of being one and feeling one with the whole cosmos will occur by itself. When man learns fully, out of every limb of his body—also out of his etheric and his astral body—to walk the way to the vast universe with patience step by step, then he will expand his organism to one that encompasses all space. He will then be within all beings. He is then able to experience the feeling which is called ‘divine bliss'.

It is important that man lets go of himself, so he can find the way to the creative powers. The more he emerges out of himself, the more he will reach into the higher worlds. Goethe described in the poem The Mysteries,15Re the poem The Mysteries refer to GA 98, Part 1, Lecture 4, Cologne, 25 December 1907. how someone walks to a mysterious temple to meet with various people, through whom the diverse schools of thought come together. Goethe places a cross that is entwined with roses at the entry portal of the temple. ‘Who added to the cross the wreath of roses?' says the poem. Only someone who knows that the cross entwined with roses expresses the development to a higher human state would say this. Goethe has also expressed this in those words:

And until thou truly hast
this ‘dying and becoming’
thou art but a troubled guest
over the dark earth roaming16“and until though truly hast, this dying and becoming..” is the final verse of the poem by Goethe Blessed longings of the collection West-Eastern Divan.

Man has to approach more and more a state where he, out of the dying part of himself, will be newly created inside. Like a tree whose bark outside is dying, but on the inside new shoots are developing, thus man too surrounds himself with death on the outside, to be newly created inside. Thus in former times initiates were compared to the oak and called druids.17Druids were called knowledgeable of oaks, from Latin after Caesar, Cicero and Tacitus. This ‘dying and becoming' means the human being always creates fresh life inside. The dying will become for him the preserver of new life.

Therefore, it is said:

The power that holds constrained all humankind,18Goethe, The Mysteries, 22nd Verse.
the victor over himself it no more can bind.

By this it is meant for humankind to overcome the ordinary life and turn it into a vessel, so that within it the sprouting seeds of a higher life can evolve to fruition.