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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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

Eighteen lectures held in various cities between 5 November 1907 and 14 June 1908.

Originally published in German under the title Natur and Geistwesen: ihr Wirken in unserer sichtbaren Welt.

Volume 98 in the Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner Publishing House, Dornach, Switzerland.

Based on notes and transcripts taken by members of the audience, not reviewed by the speaker and published by the Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung. The publication was arranged by Hendrik Knobel, first edition, Collected Works, Dornach 1983.

Translated by Antje Heymanns. Edited by Karin Wietrzykowski in collaboration with Antje Heymans and Dr. Liesma Vasbenter. Part I, Lecture IV and Part II, Lecture II are edited from prior translations.

© 2023 Steiner Online Library

Part I

I.The So-called Dangers of Occult Development 5 November 1907
Occult development and theosophical work. The occult work of Christian Rosenkreutz, Initiate, Clairvoyant, Adept. The development of the human being to the twenty-eighth year of life. Softening and hardening. Rickits, tuberculosis, arteriosclerosis. The nature of the theosophical movement. The method of clairvoyance. Sensory-free thinking. Imagination. The picture of plant, animal and human being as a cross. Heart and larynx as future organs; sexual organs as dying ones. The holy lance of love. The grail. Lies and their effects. Spiritual Hearing. The picture of blood that will shine again. The Apocalypse of John.

II.Esoteric Development and Super-sensible Knowledge 7 November 1907
About the state of sleep. The lotus flowers (swastikas). Development of super-sensible organs. Mistakes during training that need to be avoided. Concentration, action based on initiative, control of desire and pain, positivity, unbiasedness. The life after death. Karma. Preview of the future life. The Guardian of the Threshold. Two sides of self-realisation. The fertilisation through the spirit in love and humility leads to divine bliss.
III.The Rosicrucian Initiation 15 December 1907
Different initiation methods. Overview of the post-Atlantean period. The nature of the Indian people. The more recent period. Cimabue, Giotto, Raffael. The emergence of the materialistic mindset through occult forces. Christian Rosenkreutz and his method. About the various lives of Christian Rosenkreutz. The seven stages of initiation. The Occult Study. Sensory-free thinking. Imagination. The Grail. The Occult Script. The Philosopher’s Stone. The correspondence of Microcosm and Macrocosm. Sun and eye. Divine Bliss. Goethe’s Mysteries. Oaks and Initiates.
IV.The Mysteries, a Christmas and Easter Poem by Goethe 25 December 1907
The Legend of the Three Holy Kings. The world view of Esoteric Christianity. The spiritual light of the Moon (Yahveh) and the Sun (Christ). The Sun seen through the Earth as the Star of the Magi. The unification of religions. Goethe’s Mysteries, text and exegesis. Devotion to the external world that is permeated by spirit.
V.Whitsuntide: Collective Spiritual Striving and Working toward Spiritualisation of the World I 7 June 1908
The loss of emotional content in relation to the annual festivals. About elemental beings and their relationship to human beings and animals. Sylphs, undines, gnomes, salamanders. The group-souls of animals. The development of the human being from a group-soul to the individual soul since the Atlantean era. The Germanic people in Tacitus. The patriarchal time of the Jewish people. The nature of animal group-souls. Excisions from the group-soul. New formation of a new human group-soul through internalisation of ideals. The festivals of the United Soul Endeavour as a future mission.
VI.Whitsuntide: Collective Spiritual Striving and Working toward Spiritualisation of the World II 9 June 1908
bout the elemental beings. Influences of higher beings on human beings during sleep. The emergence of elemental beings through bad traits of human beings. Phantoms, spectres, demons. The evolution of the etheric body (etheric head) since Atlantis until today. The gradual loosening of the etheric head in the future. The necessity of spiritual teachings. About Böcklin's Pietà. The influence of spiritual beings on building styles. The Whitsuntide thought.

Part II

I.Man and the Surrounding World 1 December 1907
Experience of nature in the theosophical spirit. Self-consciousness of humans, minerals and animals. The group-ego of animals. The plant ego. Well-being and pain in the plant realm. Cosmic spirit (animal realm) and cosmic soul (plant realm). The warm feelings of nature as true Theosophy. Pain and well-being in the mineral world. Childish will to destroy. The emotional experience of the soul-spiritual in the surroundings, in annual seasons of the Sun, Moon and Earth. Sun-beings and Moon godhead. The significance of Christ’s death at Golgotha for the Earth. About the nature of the six-fold Sun-spirit. The mystery of the Lord’s Supper. The withdrawal of the spirit caused by the culture of the intellect (good goblins). The Rainbow Bible. Goethe and the Bible.
II.The Elemental Kingdoms of Nature 4 December 1907
The four kingdoms of the sensory world. The three elemental kingdoms. Their connectedness to the higher planes. The nature of minerals, plants, animals and of man. The four-limbed human being. Evolution since the Old Saturn. Blood, nerves, glands and senses. The sleeping human being. The conscious Ego in the mineral kingdom today, and in the plant kingdom in the future. The influences on man from the astral plane during the night. The seven elemental kingdoms.
III.The Relation of the Human Being to Nature 7 December 1907
The nature of Theosophy and Theosophists. Minerals, plants, animals, human beings. The group-souls of animals (bird migration). Pleasure and pain in the plant kingdom. Mineral nature. Pleasure and pain in the mineral kingdom. Empathising with nature as a fruit of Theosophy.
IV.Supersensible Beings and their Influence on Humans 15 January 1908
Remarks addressing new members of the audience. Animal group-souls. Examples of fingers stretched through a wall. The two groups of beings on the astral plane. Roaring Moon-beings. Good-natured Mars-beings. Pleasure and pain in the plant kingdom. Two kinds of Venus-beings. Pleasure and pain in the mineral kingdom. Two kinds of Saturn-beings. Effects in blood, lymph and chyle. Overcoming the effects of Moon- and Mars-spirits in the lymph, the Venus-spirits in the chyle, by way of formation of the higher man (lymph), and through proper nutrition (chyle). The influences of Saturn-beings on the senses. Effects of scents (perfumes) on fellow humans.
V.Group Souls of Animals, Plants and Minerals I 2 February 1908 a.m.
The effect of Theosophy on the human being. About the group-souls of animals. Example of fingers stretched through a wall. Bird migration. Beaver. Bees. Group-egos and plant-egos. Pleasure and pain in the plant realm. Mineral group-Egos in the higher Devachan. Pleasure and pain in the mineral realm. Apostle Paul’s saying about the “sighing creatures”. About religious scriptures and their interpretation. Human beings and their place in the world.
VI.Group Souls of Animals, Plants and Minerals II 2 February 1908 p.m.
The nature of plants. The glow-light of the plant. The group-Egos of animals. Pain and pleasure in the realms of plants and in the mineral realm. The evolution and dissolution of the Earth. Apostle Paul’s saying about the sighing creatures. The work of the dead on the Earth in the past and in the future. The origin of the planets Mercury and Venus. The nature of the Sun and the Moon.
VII.The Influence of Other Worlds on the Earth I 8 February 1908
The Nature of plants. Differences between the astral and the etheric. Oxygen and nitrogen (Azote). The nature of a planet. The life of the old Sun. The fixed-star existence of the Sun and its evolution to becoming a Zodiac. The pre-Saturn existence. The nature of the Thrones pouring out substances (Saturn). The light-radiating nature of the Sun, the nature of the Moon. The origin of the planets Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Mars. The formation of the Sentient Soul, the Rational Soul and the Consciousness Soul, as well as that of Manas from planetary forces. The human being as a spectre, as a “ghost” of cosmic forces, apart from the Ego. The essence of the word Maya.
VIII.The Influence of Other Worlds on the Earth II 11 February 1908
About the animal group-souls. About the Moon-beings. Chyle, lymph, blood. About the Mars-beings and the Venus-beings. The environmental influences on human beings. Saturn-beings and their impact through the senses. Black magic practices in politics through the use of smells. Remarks about the burning of “undesired”; people in the past and their treatment today. Sugar consumption in Russia and England. Dealing specifically with questions such as sugar consumption. Realisation and Freedom.
IX.The Development of the Earth and Humanity 17 March 1908
How occult facts are portrayed. The evolution of the Earth through Saturn, Sun, and Moon. The description of the Old Moon. Beginnings of the Earth state. The human warmth-organ in the head. The Earth as a light being. The nervous system. The densification of the Earth into water. The differentiation of substances into organic ones. The external fire and ashes. The separation of the Sun from the Earth. Beings on Saturn, Sun and Moon at the level of human beings. Origin of the planets Uranus, Jupiter, Mercury and Venus. The first great Mystery Teachers. Mercury-Beings.
X.The Relationships Between Worlds and Beings 29 April 1908
The hierarchies of Christian Esoteric. The denial of the hierarchies due to the conveniences of materialism. The Angels; their inner wisdom, their leadership of humans in shaping of the Earth, their leadership of the eternal I in the human being. The Angel as the future shape of humans. The nature of the Archangels. Egyptian animal worship. The sense organs of Angels. The primordial forces as Epochal Spirits or Spirits of Time. Description of the post-Atlantean epoch. Giordano Bruno as an expression of the Spirit of Time. The nature of the Powers. Sun and Moon. Satan as master of hindrances. Christ and Satan. The nature of the movement of heavenly bodies. Copernicus and his three astronomical principles. The true path of the Earth. The Spirits of the Rotation of Time. Reflections on a psychology book.
XI.Elemental Beings and other Higher Spiritual Beings of the Nature Kingdoms 14 June 1908
External facts as physiognomic expression of spiritual beings and events. The intervention by higher beings into the sleep state of man. The effects of soul deficiencies of the human being in relation to the following; origin of phantoms, spectres and demons. The relationship of the human beings with higher spiritual beings through his spatial- and formative cultural activities; architecture, sculpturing, painting, music. Spiritual beings of the nature kingdoms; gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders. Anthroposophy as creator of culture. The future of the anthroposophical movement.


About the beings that influence human beings 24 February 1908
Spirit beings and group-souls. Etheric and astral bodies. Blood, lymph, chyle and sensory organs. About Moon and Venus beings. Types of human beings. Saturn-beings working through smells. The rainbow as a picture of the human being. Reality as a revelation of spiritual activity. Four kinds of counter-effects to bad influences from the planets Moon, Mars, Venus and Saturn. The star of Bethlehem. The possible effect of the word Yahveh. Overcoming evil.