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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death
GA 157a

A Course of six lectures, given by Rudolf Steiner at Berlin in November and December, 1915. In the collected edition of Rudolf Steiner's works, the volume containing the German texts is entitled, Schicksalsbildung und Leben Nach Dem Tode, (Vol. 157a [formerly 157.3] in the Bibliographic Survey, 1961). An authorised translation, edited by H. Collison.

I. Spiritual Life in the Physical World and Life Between Death and Rebirth November 16, 1915
As seen from Spiritual world Death is proof of immortality, in that we retain our Ego-consciousness. Differences between birth and death. Before and after death spiritual insight always gradual. Humility. Sleep. What is forgotten of sleep we remember in Kamaloka: third of our life. Life a preparation till thirty-fifth year. The Septennial divisions. Young people who die. There is wisdom in the War's young deaths. War's mantram or meditation.
II. On the forming of Destiny November 18, 1915
Fraulein Stinde. The War. Similarity between classes now and at beginning of our era. After death we look from outwards in. Ego-consciousness. Differences in life after death. After death in order to perceive a soul, one is active or passive according to whether that soul is dead or alive. Karma in Kamaloca. Differences in character and opportunity. Often those dying before thirty-five get a mission in next life. But no fixed rule in these matters. Early and late death. Outer and inner activity. This is an epoch of spiritual decay, but it brings future spiritual blossoming.
III. The Subconscious Strata of the Soul-Life and the Life of the Spirit After Premature Death November 20, 1915
Our soul in the different epochs. The Greek worked in the mind soul. Sculpture was an inner experience. Homer not so interested in colour as in form. We have left the Greek power behind in the etheric. The etheric has a prophetic nature. Geometry is below in our unconscious life and a heritage from the Greeks. In the astral we have much of what we are rightly unconscious. The astral knows more than our consciousness does of the people we meet. The astral knows and seeks the so-called accidents when necessary. The astral is clairvoyant. The true Ego still more so. Sudden and premature death. Prophetic nature of etheric. In the spiritual world, the spiritual world is only perceived by our own activity within it. The physical world to dead and to living is perceived without any effort. The reason for Idealists. Those dying prematurely are for the spiritual world like the Idealists for the physical. A child who dies is not necessarily a child. There must be martyrs for the world. Here our inner being is passive, but in our spiritual world, it should be active.
IV. The Connection Between the Spiritual and the Physical Worlds, and How They Are Experienced After Death December 7, 1915
The dead can distinguish between those on earth and those in the intermediate stage, but require to construct a picture, i.e., to build an inner activity: First the thought and then the picture. An important distinction by a dead person between perception of other dead and those still living, the latter is a more passive realisation. The dead feel and see the memory that one has of them. If one wants an answer to a question on the spiritual world one must wait till one is worthy to receive it. And then it comes from an unexpected quarter. The pleasure of Art is analogous to loving memory to the dead. All Souls Day. Love and reverence to the memory of the dead must be united with love for the physical world. ‘Thou art that.’ Expansion in the outer world. The hidden wisdom of the Astral body. The Guardian Angel. One must avoid egotism in approaching the spirit world. ‘The heart must often direct our Karma.’ The Mystery Plays. We must expand our consciousness, expand our interests, and we thus kill egotism. Reason for not making my books easy; making them difficult enables readers to overcome egotism and acquire Spiritual Science in a more hallowed frame of mind. As the physical body grows old, the etheric body grows young.
V. Concerning the Subconscious Soul Impulses December 14, 1915
Path to Spiritual takes two directions. Below the subconscious is prepared what belongs to life after death. The Ego-consciousness supported by memory. What one sees in the spiritual world one does not describe from memory, but one re-creates it again from the spiritual world. To see into the spiritual world the veil of memory becomes transparent and we begin to employ a ceaseless activity. Von Berger's Hofrat Eysenhardt. One cannot get reality by philosophic reflection. We must strengthen ourselves by meditation, and revelation then comes through Grace. By Forethought not by Afterthought we penetrate the secrets that fill the soul. Incarnation proceeds from the Spirit. Christoph Oetinger, the Theosophist. Professor Richard Rothe. Man's subconscious fear of the spiritual world. He becomes at death a thought of the Hierarchies. Man's will as formed before birth lies in the unconscious part after birth.
VI. Lecture on the Poem of Olaf Åsteson — The Darkness of the present-day Spiritual Life and the Lack of Truth in our Thinking. December 21, 1915
Spiritual importance of the thirteen nights from Christmas. Olaf &Åsteson. In all experiences of our will there is a hidden inner spectator. Departmental expert knowledge is dogma. Kant. Fritz Mauthner. Laudauer. The Vanity of to-day. Cases where Lucifer leads man to Ahriman. Spiritual Scientists must not follow in the train of modern materialistic science. They must go another way. Belief in authority wears to-day the mask of freedom. Short description of the history of the Christ Impulse. It can never be proved on lines of materialistic thought. In everything that man can prove in external fashion, Ahriman plays a part. But Ahriman has no power to meddle with the proof as to Christ. Therefore there is no historical proof. Christ can only be found through the Spirit. The story of the little children at Christmas, by Adalbert Stifter, Berg Cristall. The Christ is with us always.