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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Mission of Folk-Souls
GA 121

Eleven lectures given in June of 1910 at Christiania (Oslo). From the lecture series entitled, The Mission of Individual Folk-Souls, published in German as, Die Mission Einzelner Volksseelen Im Zusammenhang Mit der Germanisch-Nordischen Mythologie. Copyright, 1929, by Marie Steiner, Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland. These lectures, and those in The Spiritual Guidance of Man, are the only lectures reworked by Steiner for the public.

Lecture I June 07, 1910
The homeless man. Message to the Folk-Souls: ‘know yourselves’. The work of the Ego in transforming man, in connection also with previous embodiments of earth. Angels, archangels, archai. Transformation of their principles or bodies. Future full consciousness in sleep. Division of man. His power on a future Jupiter. Beings prematurely developed: Birds. Archangels — Folk-spirits. Post-Atlantean epochs. Time Spirit or Zeitgeist. Spirits of Cyclic Periods. The repetition of one epoch in another. Angels the link between Folk-spirits and man.
Lecture II June 08, 1910
Etheric aura of countries. Archangels. Choleric, sanguine and phlegmatic temperaments effective by etheric aura of a people. Variations form national character. Spirit of Form: normal, abnormal. The abnormal are going through archangel stage. Creation of Speech. Spirit of the age, archai. Galileo, oscillation. Abnormal Spirits of Form remaining on moon, influence man's brain, from within. Two types of men: those influenced by normal spirits of age and those influenced by abnormal Spirit of Form from moon. Spirits of Languages and Thought Spirits. An abnormal Spirit of Form at Stage of Spirit of Personality may also be called an abnormal Spirit of Personality working on Thought. The abnormal archangel is really an abnormal spirit of Form working on speech. Sanskrit was created by a triple agreement between these two abnormal beings and an abnormal archangel; a constellation arose at the right time for this purpose. North Americans are under an abnormal Spirit of Personality.
Lecture III June 09, 1910
Normal Folk-spirit, transforming his etheric body into Budhi or Life-spirit, two degrees above man; but man is spun into the web of this work. The three soul principles, three modifications of the astral body. The Folk-spirit has three modifications of the etheric body. To conceive of an archangel, one proceeds by pure thought, such as mathematics, no way dependent on an outer world. Archangel does not share in our sentient soul, but shares in our moral ideals in the intellectual soul or soul of higher feelings. Art and religion are influences of the archangel, because there are the operations within of moral ideals. Ego of archangel is two stages above man. As we are conscious of warmth and cold the archangel is conscious from within of the temperaments of individuals and realises their separate auras as centres of activity or negation. He realises his youth and age in his decline of a people. He is born into a people when it begins to produce blossom; but withdraws into Devachan when his people decline. Angels transform their Astral body into Spirit-self or Manas, but have not nearly finished doing it. Man is beginning to do this transformation. Angel's Ego reaches much further than man's. A case given where the spirit of the age controls the archangels is where the Dutch separated from the common German stock in order to carry the mission of the spirit of the age overseas. The same occurred when the Portuguese broke from Spain. After the active interference of the spirit of the age, the Dutch and Portuguese each receive their respective archangels normal and abnormal. Spirits of Form, Motion, Wisdom. Distinction between race and people. Normal Spirit of Form would keep one united humanity, but abnormal Spirit of Motion takes the lower grade of Spirit of Form and divides mankind into races. This belated Spirit of Motion may be called an abnormal Spirit of Motion or an abnormal Spirit of Form.
Lecture IV June 10, 1910
The three ages of man in which Spirit of Form takes no interest. Spirit of Form only interested in Ego, therefore when man is 19 – 20. Owing to Spirit of Motion abnormally remaining behind, man attains consciousness soon after birth, these are active as abnormal Spirits of Form. Up to 20 man under these abnormal spirits. The last third of his life under normal Spirits of Form, to whom he must repay the first third. Reason for man's dependence on earth during middle third. Only in the past were racial characteristics dependent on place of birth; owing to propagation they are inherited. Only in later Atlantis did heredity succeed locality. Idea of ever revolving wheel in evolution is wrong (c.f. Sinnett in Esoteric Buddhism). Due to abnormal spirits that place became important in another sense: Earth radiations of Africa affect childhood; of Asia affect youth; of Europe affect maturity. Hence black, yellow, white. Earth radiations of North America affect man in his decline and death. In our day racial characteristics are being overcome. After evolution of races had died in West, evolution of civilisation began and went to East. Soul characteristics (India) take the place of physical race characteristics and Atlantis is repeated in old Indian civilisation in a higher state. Battle between normal and abnormal Spirits of Form in old Persia in Ormuzd and Ahriman. Freshness of youth always declines as it goes West; productive forces decline. Physical development begins in Africa, shown in shape of African Continent, compare Asia and Europe, the latter compressed with its lands and peninsulas. The further we go West the more need to take something from East. Romans took their spiritual life from the Greek they had conquered. Rosicrucianism is the evolution of all humanity and not one part. Plato's ancestry and race.
Lecture V June 11, 1910
Contour of earth's surface formed by a balance between forces of Spirits of Will and Spirits of Motion; this was the original means and is shown in Alps; something has since been added to give solidity: Spirit of Form on earth, Cherubim in air, Seraphim in heat. All radiations from centre of earth. Spirits of Form, Motion, Wisdom, work from outside earth: form in light, motion in chemical forces (Music of Spheres), wisdom in life ether. After effects of Saturn in outer as physical body; in inner man as will; of Sun in outer as etheric body; in inner man as feeling; of Moon in outer as astral body; in inner as thinking. The external physical body emanating from Spirits of Will is will seen externally. For this a whole planet had to come into existence and disappear. Similar for Sun and Moon. Earth missive must bring equilibrium to the three, and man must do this first within himself. Equilateral triangle and its centre. Fourth element thus added, Love. Trinity becomes Quaternary. This is missive of normal Spirits of Form called Spirits of Love. Here a very useful summary of Spirits.
Lecture VI June 12, 1910
For a proper understanding, one course of lectures should be studied alongside of other courses. On Sun are found seven Elohim or Spirits of Love. To save confusion from abnormal Spirits of Form Jehovah goes to Moon. The abnormal have centre in other planets, and form the five root races — Negroes, Mercury; Malays, Venus; Mongolians, Mars; Europeans, Jupiter. In America races die, Saturn. These centres form Mystery places in Atlantis. To form the above races, mercurial spirits affect etheric or glandular system; Venus astral or nervous system, indirectly through breathing deep down in the sub-conscious solar plexus. Mars affects Mongolians and enters the blood thus coming in contact with Elohim on Sun and Jehovah on Moon; hence the formation of the Semitic, a modification of collective humanity. Jupiter works through senses and nervous system through respiratory organs into solar plexus of Caucasians. Greeks saw the spiritual in the physical and became basic for sculptures and art. Council of Buddha, Skythianos, Zarathas, and One still greater. Saturn ossifies the glandular system of the North American. The North American looked from old Atlantis to the One Great Spirit, not divided as later into six or seven. The picture of the meeting between a Red Indian and a white man.
Lecture VII June 12, 1910
Ethiopians and Malays formed in early Atlantis. The first archangel to become Spirit of the Age was he who in the East guided sacred Indian culture in first post-Atlantean epoch. After leading the Rishis he was given the leadership of post-Atlantean humanity. An archangel was promoted for Persian epoch; another for Egypt; another for Chaldea; another employed by Jehovah for the Jews. Two spiritual currents: monotheism and polytheism. Monotheism the peculiar characteristic of Semites. Archangels of Europe took longer and by the time Spirit of the Age for Egypt and Persians had become Spirits of Form, the archangel of Greece had only become a Spirit of the Age in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch. This spirit, at the time of Christ, renounced promotion to a Spirit of Form, and became the guiding spirit of exoteric Christianity, the guiding spirit of the age; as he withdrew from the Greeks, the Greeks withdrew away. The Celtic archangel renounced promotion to archai and remained archangel and the leader of esoteric Christianity, and the Celts vanished as a combined people. Mysteries of Holy Grail and Rosy Cross. The Archai of fifth post-Atlantean epoch was promoted from one of the many archangels of the manifold German peoples. And as in Europe people adhered long to Folk-spirit or archangel, the work of Spirit of the Age came very late. The German Spirit of the Age now ruling is under the influence of the Egyptian Spirit of the Age who had been promoted to Spirit of Form and is still immature. Before the Celtic archangel found his centre for the Grail, the Scandinavian had found his centre above the earth near Paderborn and Detmold, but he moved it to the Grail centre. No mythology gives so clear an Anthroposophical picture of evolution as Scandinavia. The question is how far will their tendencies be developed after the Scandinavian Spirit has been educated by the ‘Christian Spirit’ of the age.
Lecture VIII June 14, 1910
Germanic Scandinavian Mythology. In old India the experiences of the Ego objectively came later than it did in the Scandinavian. During dim clairvoyances the Indian had not been conscious of the work of Spiritual Beings and the Folk-spirit. When they awoke to self-consciousness they could reach spiritual worlds unaided and therefore more independently than those of the West. They had, however, forgotten the lower hierarchies, and attended more to totalities of the Spirits of Motion and Wisdom. The Persian was interested one stage lower (i.e., the Spirits of Form) when his Ego awoke, but he had forgotten the other hierarchies. When the Ego of the Chaldean awoke, he was aware of Archai. The Græco-Latin had a memory of archangels and angels, and this memory was more distinct than actual experience. The Oriental having forgotten so much of the Spirits he had experienced in dim clairvoyance cannot understand the Westerner who is conscious of angels and Folk-spirits. The Oriental had developed too far to understand the Christ. The Oriental Ego had not awakened. The Ego of the Westerner awoke much earlier but in a lower state; when conscious of angels. Wotan or Odin and speech. Mimir, wisdom. Hoeder, imagination. Loder, complexion, blood. These were normal archangels; but Villy and Ve, abnormal, working within. Thor remained behind as angel to guide the German-Scandinavian, upon waking the Ego. Thor, son of Odin. Odin transforms air into words. The air passes through into Ego and produces blood, whose pulsation the hammer of Thor. Nebelheim and Muspelheim. Ginnungagap. Riesenheim.
Lecture IX June 15, 1910
Elucidation of 8. To the Indian, the objective Ego is unimportant; to the Westerner, all important. Lucifer in inner being or astral. Freedom and the possibility of evil. Lucifer from within leads to Ahriman outside. Old Testament conscious of Lucifer not of Ahriman. St. Mark mentions Satan, Ahriman. Difference between Mark and Matthew. Old Persian realised Ahriman. Old Indian realised Lucifer not Ahriman. The German-Scandinavian realised Lucifer and Ahriman. Loki. Lucifer influences both etheric and physical body from the astral body; and turns the etheric body to lies. The astral body which is the inner part of man, is turned to selfishness. The physical body to sickness and death. Midgard, snake, selfishness. Fenris-wolf, self-deceit. The wolf pursues Sun. The eclipse, Moon in front of Sun. Hela, sickness, death. Loki is the parent of these three influences. These myths originate from clairvoyant consciousness: Loki cause blind Hoeder to kill Balder, the one who sees clairvoyantly and Ahriman arrives. Norse mythology was actively experienced before and after the time of Christ, whereas in the Greeks it was a memory. Difference in the East. John Baptist. To the Norse man, Christ's coming meant return of Balder and the time spent on earth was a time of transition. The Northern initiates taught that men would again see into the spirit world but other powers will be added and conditions changed. Ragnarok, twilight of Gods.
Lecture X June 16, 1910
Recapitulation. Tacitus and German Group Soul. Thor, representing Ego has for spouse Sif, the group soul. The Celtic group soul or Folk-spirit had task of educating youthful Ego of European peoples, this was done by Druids. As it became necessary for Folk-spirits to teach men independence, so the mysteries began to withdraw, and they withdrew into more secret depths. The successive stages of post-Atlantean civilisation (see diagram). Scandinavia, Rome, the Peninsulas, France, Britain, in relation to the Ego. The Impulse of the Spirit Soul penetrating human Ego is shown by Britain in its external constitution and world mission. The different work of the South German firstly in the Spirit Soul with Sentient Soul and the work of North German with Spirit Soul and Intellectual Soul. Hegel represents the Spirit Soul. So too Fichte. This Developing Impulse is the mission of the North Germans in Central Europe. The two opposite poles of post-Atlantis — Indian and Chinese will some day clash. The Indian is capable of development, but the Chinese remain rigid as in old Atlantis. The Great Wall of China. The old Gulf Stream encircling the Atlantean continent. Oceanos. The Chinese have enclosed within the Great Wall what they rescued from Atlantis. The sixth age of civilisation when the Spirit-self shines into the Spirit-soul is a receptive civilisation and is being prepared by Slavs of East Europe and West Asia. The West has received a series of successive worlds. In the East we find distinct consciousness of Cosmic Father, and this Father from Devachanic world fertilises Mother Earth world, and the Blessed Child in the third world. The fourth world is from Persia, the Sun. The fifth world is the Elves of Light. The Slav is receptive of West European culture showing the will to receive something better, but takes no interest in details of West Europe, Solovioff. Feeling, Thinking, Willing, human and divine. Solovioff goes further than Hegel and Kant. He is the prophetic dawn of the sixth post-Atlantean civilisation.
Lecture XI June 17, 1910
Norse Mythology. Descent from planets during end of Lemuria and Atlantis, of souls who previously had gone to the planets. Tacitus. Nerthus. Njodr. Riesenheim. Freyr and Freya. Gerda. Bluthuf, horse of Freyr. Miraculous expanding at sleep and contracting into skull by day. In Germanic North are best conditions for understanding second coming of Christ. Kalijuga ended in 1899. How the vision will come to a few. This new manifestation of Christ more common from middle of twentieth century. Christ appeared on physical plane because at that time the forces of man were adjusted to the physical plane; now we are becoming more highly developed. Anthroposophy is a preparation for the reception of Christ. The appearance of Christ may take a materialistic form, if man gets too materialistic. Always false Messiahs. Old clairvoyance will take a different form, but the world of Odin and Balder will return when other forces have been working in the human soul. The Folk-spirit of Scandinavia has a special clairvoyant faculty. Etheric clairvoyance is the next clairvoyance. Freyr overcome by flaming sword of Surtur. Fenris Wolf (false clairvoyance) remains to fight Odin. Etheric form of Christ will embody in etheric form of Vidar, who has all this time been silent, and he will overcome Fenris Wolf. A picture near Cologne has a likeness of Vidar, but no one knows whom it represents. These matters cannot be dealt with by feelings of sympathy or antipathy, but only by the truth revealed. Christianity belongs to no sect, place or people, for Christ is God of all humanity. We are bound as Anthroposophists to reject Dogma. The best Anthroposophists are those who take what is said as a stimulus, and prove it by life itself. Anthroposophical tolerance.