The Mystery of Death
5. The Intervention of the Christ-Impulse in History — Bridging the Abyss Between the Living and the Dead
13 March 1915, Nuremberg
If spiritual science shall be a kind of life-force for our souls, and it can be that, this spiritual science must also prove itself powerful and suitable to extend the spiritual ken of the souls dedicating themselves to spiritual science in such times like ours in which a lot prepares which is so significant. One sees the events thereby in a wider perspective than other contemporaries often can do with their narrow view of materialism. One could see in that what our spiritual-scientific movement has nurtured during the years that one of the purposes has also consisted in extending the mood of soul, so that the human being frees himself from the bare thinking about his narrow self and about that what surrounds this narrow self and is really able to look at the big impulses, the big manifestations of forces which go through the whole evolution of humanity. If we have tried that way to extend the vigour of our feelings and sensations as it were, we also have to make the forces suitable which we have won by spiritual science, just in such times, on the one hand, the waves of which break so deeply painfully against the soul and, on the other hand, raise this soul to particular height because they bear such important matters in themselves. We must be able to come already to the position in such times to go along with that what is not so externally visible in the events, what the everyday mind is not able to see in these events. We must be able to ask ourselves: does that mean something prophetic for the whole earth development what as such a dreadful torch of war is burning above our heads?
Only that human being lives properly in the present events who sees these events in such a significant light as far as it is possible. Friends, who are in our circles, will often have asked themselves, why I have spoken in our circle during the last years now and again of the fact that in decades of the 20th century times come for which we must look ahead with a particular attention because children and grandchildren of those who live now will have to experience important and immense, but also tragic and painful events. Those upon whom it is incumbent today to give something to keep the souls of the children and grandchildren upright towards that what the humankind of the 20th century experiences must be aware that this gift must be a strong internal spiritual force. Even more than we can imagine already today in our everyday life, our offsprings of the 20th century will need strong internal forces keeping up the soul to pass on the achievements of humankind, which were accumulated in the human development throughout centuries. To quite other storms of life the offsprings of humankind now living on earth will be exposed. I said that someone could be surprised when that was said within our circles that way. Now, however, a sensation of that may arise if we consider that we are in the most dreadful war events which concerned human beings, since humankind experiences history consciously on this earth.
It would be absolutely wrong if we did not penetrate ourselves so intensely as possible with the importance of the moment and present the question to ourselves: with what does that have actually to do that we strive for out of internal longing of the soul, what spiritual knowledge does have to do with that which should come in the development of humankind? Don't we see, even if we look only cursorily, a tempest breaking out which got up from the East since long ago menacing modern education and civilisation of Europe? You have at least to know that in the lap of this East immense forces are working from which you can already see that they make themselves noticeable; so that they now intend to dismember, destroy the European civilisation. You can only anticipate now to which extent this is the case.
Our European civilisation is in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. It is the culture of the consciousness-soul in whose middle souls are among us who have to give something to humankind. Looking back at what was the Greek-Latin culture, this Greek-Latin culture was basically, even if in another arrangement, an echo, a recapitulation of that what already lived in the old Atlantis but on a higher level. It lived there still differently. In the fourth post-Atlantean culture-epoch a kind of recapitulation happened. The fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch in which we stand is a new formation, is something absolutely novel what has been added to the current development of humankind. We should not conceive that only as an abstract truth, as a theory, but with the deepest and most intensive human sense of responsibility. We should also be clear to ourselves about the fact that in the earthly evolution still long times will have to run off, until everything has come out of the human hearts and souls what the divine cosmic order has to give to humankind in the fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch.
In the fourth culture-epoch, the impulse of the Mystery of Golgotha took place as the most significant event of the whole earth development. Just as this Mystery of Golgotha had an effect in the fourth culture-epoch, it does not merely continue working in the fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch. This fifth culture-epoch is incumbent to go to meet the Mystery of Golgotha gradually with full knowledge of spirit, with full understanding, with all forces of knowledge of the soul; not only with the forces of the reason, the forces of devoutness. It has to comprehend Christ, Who went through Death and Resurrection, bit by bit with everything the soul can produce from itself of knowledge and understanding forces. So that the word of Paul 1Galatians 2:20 is true, indeed, in a new way: “not I, but Christ in me.” Every effort we make in spiritual science is a preparation to grasp with all internal recognising forces of the soul in the end what is, actually, this Christ. This is a significant, great task of the fifth culture-epoch.
Now we may imagine what it means, actually, if such efforts are expected from the fifth culture-epoch. Let us put before our souls the way how the Christ Impulse has worked since the Mystery of Golgotha in humankind. If the Christ Impulse could have worked only by that what the human beings understood about this Christ Impulse in the course of the centuries, since the Mystery of Golgotha has taken place, then the Christ Impulse could have worked only a little among the human beings. But it is not such an impulse which has spoken only conceptually to the human understanding or to the feeling understanding, but it is a real impulse which flowed into the course of history with living forces. The external symbol of the blood flowing on Golgotha represents the living force flowing into the history of humankind.
We will try to get clear in our mind with the help of a historical event in which way this Christ Impulse has worked, without being understood already by human beings, in which way it has worked as a living driving force in the evolution of humankind. The fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch has a vocation to make conscious the whole internal nature and being of the Christ Impulse. But that has already worked as a living force in the subconscious soul forces, before it became fully conscious in humankind. One of those figures the Christ Impulse selected to work through them, to work something significant is, for example — one could still give others — the figure of the Maid of Orleans. If we pursue the history of Europe up to the event that is connected with the personality of the Maid of Orleans, we must say, even if we look only externally at history: with that what she accomplished in those days when she struck back the English, in the midst of the French people rising up, — she did that really, — the map of Europe was arranged as it was just arranged gradually. Any other historical consideration is basically a fairy tale for the last centuries, in so far as it concerns the distribution of nations and states in Europe. It is something unconscious that the Christ Impulse as a living impulse with the help of the Maid of Orleans caused the distribution of the European nations and national forces in those days.
I may say: while the learnt people argued about a lot, already started to argue about the question whether one has to take the Communion in this or that form whether this or that has to be interpreted according to this or that formula, and while the learnt people showed that they were not yet able to comprehend the Christ Impulse, this impulse worked through the simple farmer girl, the Maid of Orleans, worked as a formative force in European history.
Because the effect of the Christ Impulse is just not dependent on the understanding which somebody shows for it. By his Michaelic representative the Christ Impulse worked in the Maid of Orleans. Now, however, the Maid of Orleans had to go through something that is similar to an initiation. We talk of initiation today and give the rules to the consciousness of the human being which I have collated in my book How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds But such an initiation of the Maid of Orleans is out of the question, of course. You can only talk about an initiation which was as it were a relic of the ancient initiation which took place more in the subconscious soul forces of the human beings. Now just these ancient initiations have reproduced like elementary forces up to the modern time. In old legends and fairy tales a lot is told: that this or that happened to this or that person by which he got the internal soul-force. That is why he has seen this or that of the spiritual world. Such matters should be only an indication of it, like without any help of the human being, by the effect of divine-spiritual forces permeating the world, certain human beings, who are suitable for that because of their karma, are natural initiates, by the place on which they are put by karma where the karma of humankind flows together with the personal karma. A good echo of such a natural initiation, as one would like to call it, gives us a poem which speaks of the fact, that the “solar son” Olaf Åsteson was in a kind of sleeping state during thirteen nights and days — the interval between Christ's birth and His Epiphany, up to the 6th January. The name Olaf Åsteson already indicates that subconscious hereditary forces of knowledge are included in it, because somebody is called Olaf Åsteson through whom the blood of his forefathers runs. The solar son Olaf Åsteson sleeps through and dreams for thirteen nights which are the darkest of the year or contain at least the biggest force of the earthly annual darkness in them, from the first Christmas Day up to the 6th January, to Epiphany.
That is not only superstitious nonsense what goes back to these nights in such legends. Since, indeed, there are two seasons which are in a certain way like two opposite cosmic poles for the soul-life of the living human being. If we take the season around the St Johns-tide in summer, this is the time when the human soul with all its passionate impulses is united with the universe through the external physical sun force whose energy then reaches its peak. Hence, the St Johns-tide festival of the old time was intended to put divine-spiritual forces, permeating the universe, into the human soul when the human beings forgot themselves and were wrapped up in the external strong physical forces of the universe. However, when the solar force is physically the weakest, in the middle of winter, the spiritual forces which have an effect in the darkness reaches its peak in return. And rightly, one can say, according to the cosmic laws the birth of Jesus of Nazareth is in this time. When the physical surroundings are the darkest, the soul can have the profoundest experiences if it feels united with the forces permeating the aura of the earth.
That is why Olaf Åsteson keeps on sleeping during these days, and experiences everything we call Kamaloka, soul-world, and, finally, spirit-land. The Norwegian legend tells us that Olaf Åsteson, when he awoke again after thirteen nights, knows to tell about his experiences that he has met the souls in the soul-world and in the spirit-land. Indeed, these are pictures which correspond to an Imaginative knowledge, but they point to that what really living possibilities of the human soul are if these souls feel transported in that time of physical darkness which is, however, the time of spiritual enlightenment, if they feel transported to that what flows and weaves in the earth's aura. At the end of the legend, we see the forces of the Christ Impulse which get hold of the subconscious understanding of Olaf Åsteson. In such legends one speaks — as it were — of natural initiations which were still possible in olden times, of beholding the spiritual world. In these times the earth's aura really has a force which it does not have in other times when it is flooded and outshone by the physical sun force. Because Christ is united with the earth's aura since the Mystery of Golgotha, the force of the Christ Impulse is also able to work into the souls particularly during these days if the souls are susceptible for it.
Hence, one may assume, before one investigates something historical, that — also with such a figure like the Maid of Orleans — the Christ Impulse would have worked subconsciously in her soul during thirteen days. The fact that also she would have gone through something like enlightenment by the Christ Impulse in the subconscious soul forces — what Olaf Åsteson has gone through during thirteen days and nights in the sleeping state. Then, however, the Maid of Orleans would have been in a kind of sleep once during the thirteen days from the 25th December to the 6th January, and then on the 6th January the Christ Impulse would have grasped this soul after it had been in a kind of sleeping state. That what one can assume did really exist in a peculiar way, only in a quite particular time when the human being can be, indeed, in a kind of sleep. Namely, before the human being does the first gasp in his earth-life, before he is released from the body of his mother and receives the first earthly-physical beam of light, he spends a time as a nascent human being in a true sleeping state. Just as you get a dreaming sleep in the evening, you are in the body of the mother in such a dream-like sleep.
Those days in which the dream-like sleep is most receptive to the unaware influence of the spiritual world are just the last days which the human being spends in the body of his mother. That is why it could also be that just these days would have been used with the Maid of Orleans to plant the Christ Impulse to her, before she saw the physical sunlight with physical eyes and did the first gasp outside the body of her mother. This was the case, because the Maid of Orleans is born on the 6th January. On the 6th January, it took place that the whole village gathered because something uncertain was in the aura of the village. This is a historical fact. The people did not know what had happened: the Maid of Orleans was born. Behind such matters a lot is hidden. Only if humankind gets round to seeing this mysterious fact once in the right light, will understanding of that also exist what really takes action in the human development under the surface of the external sensory world. The divine forces look for the most manifold ways for themselves to get into the human soul. Of course, the karma of the Maid of Orleans had to be suitable that such a thing could happen.
But while the karma of the Maid of Orleans coincided with the fact that she was born on the 6th January, the historical chance was given that the Christ Impulse had a particular effect on her and gave Europe a new formation. These are matters which you can examine if you observe the course of history with some understanding. These are the matters which the spiritual understanding resumes in future when this fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch really gets every knowledge force out of the souls. Then the soul experiences the existence of the Christ Impulse more and more consciously. But it experiences this only if humankind is able to regard spiritual science not as a mere theory, but to feel it as living, to experience it internally. Then spiritual science is able to achieve its actual mission in the development of humankind.
In such a time like ours, we must be clear to ourselves in particular about the fact that the chasm must be bridged which opens for a materialistic age more and more between the human souls, who are here incarnated, and those who have already gone through the gate of death. More and more one will get round to regard also the souls which stand in the life between death and a new birth as belonging to the whole humankind, like those who are in the physical life between birth and death. The consciousness must become stronger and stronger, that we all are united on earth, also those who have gone into the supersensible realms before us who work only with different forces among us than we do who are incarnated. This consciousness must become more and more intense. However, just understanding of the spiritually effective forces is necessary. It is necessary that we learn to look at the connections of the earthly phenomena in that new light spiritual science can give.
Only because spiritual science should be something that touches our hearts at the same time, while it helps our souls in knowledge, want I to talk to you about something that has concerned us during the last weeks. I do that to explain something about the way which goes back at the same time to something that occupied us in the farther vicinity of our spiritual-scientific current during the last weeks. I could also take other cases, indeed, but these cases are connected with our karma immediately, so that I can speak about them just today again. You can extend that what I say here also to other persons who stand within and beyond our spiritual-scientific movement with their destinies and their relation to death in a similar relation as in the cases about which I want to speak.
Last autumn we have experienced a distressing case in Dornach in the vicinity of our construction. Dear friends had moved with their children to Dornach, settled there near the construction to manage the garden. And the oldest, seven year-old child, a spiritually infinitely bright boy who was something quite peculiar, however, also concerning his heart qualities was really a little bit like a sunny child. One had the most intimate interest in the soul of this child, even if one could see it only briefly here and there. When then the father joined the armed forces to do his duty as a German citizen on the battlefield, there was the seven-year-old boy with his heart, I would like to say, already in the whole situation of life that he made particular efforts to substitute the father, as well he was able to do, to help his mother, while he managed everything possible. He went into the city, made purchases, the seven-year-old boy quite on his own. One evening the boy was missed. It was just an evening lecture. A person friendly to us came possibly at ten o'clock and said that the boy would be missed. It could not be unclear in the end at all that this had to do something with a removal van which had toppled over near our construction at a place where perhaps a removal van has never gone before and and will probably also not go for a long time. The van had toppled over a small embankment in a meadow that the carters said, it would be out of question that one could lift the van in the evening. They unyoked the horses about which they were very anxious, and left the van to lift it the next day because they believed that they had to work for a whole day to be able to lift the heavy carriage. Now it was ten o'clock in the evening. We had to assume that the boy was missed because the carriage had toppled over. All possible tools were brought, and everybody who could work worked, and in two hours the carriage was lifted. At midnight we found the dead boy under the removal van.
Now if one takes only externally into account and considers, how from longer time, before this had happened, everything pushed itself together, so that the boy who had always gone, otherwise, a somewhat different way by which he would have passed the van on the right side, however, at that time he went so that he passed the carriage on the left side where the carriage just had to topple over him. If you imagine that he was detained a little bit in the most benevolent way, so that he left possibly a quarter of an hour later — he got something for the supper in the so-called canteen, — so that he has left later than he wanted, actually. If you imagine that the whole accident took place that it depended really on some, even not some minutes that the boy was just here where the carriage toppled over, and nobody noticed the accident. Not far away from that place people noticed that the carriage fell down, but they did not see the boy. If you imagine everything, you will recognise already externally that this is a most remarkable example of logical delusion which may occur easily to human beings.
I have often shown clearly, also to you, that the human being can already delude himself in the external life, so that he mistakes cause and effect. I have said: imagine that you see a person from the distance going along a riverside. You see him suddenly staggering and falling into the river. He is pulled out dead not long afterwards. Now you are quite justified to suppose according to all external reasons that the person has fallen into the water and has just drowned. If you do nothing else, you adhere to this judgment. In this case it only requires external means to convince you of the opposite. One has still found a stone where the person has fallen into the river, and you are supported in your judgment. If one opens the corpse, one will find out that the person suffered a stroke that he has fallen consequently into the river and that he has met his death not because he fell into the river, but that he fell because he was dead. So cause and effect were completely mistaken. However, somebody who understands the matters observes that at many places above all in science. In our case where the boy met his death, we must say: the karma of this boy ordered the removal van; karma brought the van just to that place. The judgment is wrong if one believes that chance played a role. The boy should only arrive just at the seventh year in this incarnation. I would like to say, the whole arrangement was made for that. We must completely get used to exchange cause and effect compared with the way of judging matters in the everyday life.
If we look now with the glance of the seer at the life of this soul, something stupefying becomes apparent to us that at the same time lights up the divine-spiritual secrets of the world. Not long after the boy's death, the whole aura of the Dornach construction changed. While I say this, I say something to you that is connected with my experiences. If anybody himself has to work for the Dornach construction of the Anthroposophical Society, if one has to instigate what is to be carried out there, then one knows what one has to thank the supporting forces for working from such an aura into one's soul. Since those days, the still unused etheric body of the boy is really connected with the aura of the Dornach construction. After the human being has taken off his etheric body, he goes on with his ego and astral body; this is something different. But the etheric body if it is taken off at such a tender age has forces in itself which could still have supplied the physical body and its life for decades. Now these forces have gone unused through the gate of death. They are taken off after some days. These forces just co-operate with the aura of our construction. One is not allowed to say that it is the soul itself of this individuality, but it is the unused etheric body. Nothing gets also lost in the spiritual world. The physicist knows that nothing of physical forces gets lost that the forces only change. Also in the spiritual world we have to look for transformed forces, unused etheric forces which ascend from early-deceased human beings to the spiritual world. We approach these matters if we observe them in concrete cases. That is why I may talk to you only about such concrete cases today.
A dear anthroposophical friend (Sibyl Colazza) died before some weeks in Zurich after a life which had brought her some ordeals, and the karma of our movement brought it about that I had to speak at the cremation. The time from death up to cremation lasted from Wednesday at six o'clock p. m. until Monday at eleven o'clock a. m. This interval was a little longer than usual. That is why the separation of the individuality from the etheric body had already happened, while the cremation took place. Now the peculiar was that in the time, in which the soul had already separated from the etheric body during the days between death and cremation, the necessity arose to me to speak certain words before and after the obituary. My own ability of coining words had really to do a little with the way these words were coined. However, by identifying with the soul of that personality the necessity resulted to characterise this personality as if an inspiration came from her soul itself. The soul said as it were: coin your words, so that they characterise my soul. — But the soul was still unconscious. The words came not consciously from the soul, but from the being of this soul. I had to characterise her as she wanted not to mirror herself in selfish way, but as she appeared to herself if another soul looked at her. For this other soul the necessity arose to speak the following words at the beginning of the funeral speech and to coin each single word. The words had to be spoken as an address to the soul who had gone through the gate of death:
You walked among us.
Your being's gentle spirit
Spoke through the quiet power of your eyes —
Ensouled, alive, peace
Flowed in waves,
With your glance
To things and people
Bearing your inner weaving;
And your voice ensouled this being
Your voice that eloquently,
More in the kind of words
Than in the words themselves,
Revealed what worked hidden
Within your beautiful soul;
Yet your sacrificial love
Unveiled itself completely
To sympathetic people without words —
This being, who, from noble, quiet beauty,
Heralded the sensitive awareness
Of worlds-and-souls creation.
As I said, in the beginning and at the end of the funeral these words had to be spoken. Now, indeed, this soul was as it were like sleeping during the whole process, during the funeral ceremony. Then the cremation followed. Strangely enough the soul experienced a first flashing of consciousness, which later passed again, at the moment when, one cannot say the flame, but the heat seized the corpse. There one could say: now this soul has gone through the gate of death, it had taken off its etheric body, and it now appeared how such a soul looks back. In this retrospective view, the whole funeral ceremony stood before the soul, looking at the spoken words. Someone could see there the secret of time effectiveness for the soul, after it has gone through the gate of death. One could always have seen this in such a case. If one here in the physical body looks at something spatial and then leaves it, this object does not leave, but is left, and one can always look around — one sees that it is left. However, that does not hold true of something we experience in time in the physical life. There we have a memory picture of the events only. If one looks back after death at past events, they are left; one looks at the events like through space. Thus the words had been left; the soul looked back at them like at spatial things through the course of time. This is the way to look at the things of the Akasha Chronicle. Then a kind of sleeping state happened again. But particularly in this case it was rather clear that the fear of the materialistic soul is unfounded that the consciousness of the soul is reduced when it goes through the gate of death.
We do not have no consciousness or not enough consciousness after death when we sink in a kind of sleeping state, but we have too much consciousness. When we have taken off the etheric body, when the life tableau is taken off, we are full of consciousness that blinds us at first, and the human being must orientate himself first. — I gave more details in my talks of the Vienna cycle The Inner Nature of the Human Being and Life Between Death and New Birth. — The soul orientates itself, while it looks back at its own earth-life and at its character in this earth-life. It has to orientate itself by means of self-knowledge. The force of orientation must take hold there, and then the abundant consciousness is reduced as far as the human being is able to endure it, depending on what he has gone through in his last incarnation. It is, actually, reducing the superabundance of consciousness to the degree which the human being can endure. But that may happen in stages. When the body was seized by the heat, the first flashing of real consciousness took place in the soul of this personality friendly to us.
It appeared to me especially clearly in another case that the soul, when it has gone through the gate of death, wants to summarise its being. I said that you can experience these matters at every death, but I give you typical examples of the most recent time. It appeared to me with quite particular clearness in another case when a friendly personality, after it had reached higher years, has gone through the gate of death. During the last years which it lived through on earth it was given away with all feelings in a rare way to the impulses of spiritual science. It felt the details of spiritual science more than it grasped them with the mind, that it united with its soul the kind of feeling which gives not a theoretical, but a true view of spiritual science. Shortly after the hour of death, while the soul experienced the life tableau with its etheric body, it tried now to grasp its self where it had taken off its body. This process seemed likewise to ray forth to me, and I identified with it. I had then to note words shortly after death, when the soul was still united with the etheric body, which I have also not coined with the help of my human knowledge. These words are nothing else than a reproduction of that what the soul worked internally in itself to summarise what it had been able to get from spiritual science and came to an internally complete self-awareness that way. There the words sounded from the soul which I had to speak then also, following an inspiration, before and after the funeral speech. You will immediately notice the great difference to the whole tone of those words I gave for the other personality before.
Into cosmic distances I will carry
My feeling heart, so that it grows warm
In the fire of the holy forces' working;
Into cosmic thoughts I will weave
My own thinking, so that it grows clear
In the light of eternal life-becoming;
Into depths of soul I will sink
Devoted contemplation, so that it grows strong
For the true goals of human activity;
In the peace of God I strive thus
Amidst life's battles and cares,
To prepare myself for the higher Self;
Aspiring to work in joy-filled peace,
Sensing cosmic being in my own being,
I seek to fulfil my human duty;
May I live in anticipation
Oriented toward my soul's star,
Which gives me my place in spirit realms.
The soul speaks of itself as “I.” In the former case, the considering soul had to characterise the other soul interchanging with it. In this case, the considering soul had nothing else to do than to transport itself completely into the soul which still tried to grasp, enriched by spiritual science, with the forces of the etheric body to become clear that it has now to orientate itself in the spiritual world.
These are cases again in which one realises that the human being, after he has gone through the gate of death, is dependent on looking back at himself in self-knowledge. One could see clearly that somebody who is still in the physical body can help the dead to formulate in words what works and weaves in him. Of course, the times, when the human being sees his weaknesses and mistakes, his sins, come later in the soul-world. But we have to retain: as much as death is feared now and again by those who are still in the body, death is something completely different seen from the other side in the retrospective view. Here in the physical life nobody can look so far back with his everyday human forces to the hour of his birth. Actually, nobody who does not have clairvoyant forces has the possibility to look at his entry into the world; only later the point in time up to which one can look back takes place.
Just the reverse is the case with that birth for the spiritual world which we call death. The human being looks at this point in time permanently in the life between death and new birth. This moment belongs to the most marvellous, greatest at which one can generally look in the spiritual world. Death is always an immediate proof of the fact that the spirit incessantly celebrates his victory over the physical nature. And you experience this in yourself. That is why the soul wants to experience that which one can be also really in the soul after death. Hence, it is a help if a soul living in the body expresses that in words what the soul strives for, so that the soul clearly sees itself with the best it has before its own spiritual view after it has gone through the gate of death. I just could see in this case that such words came to me with an internal necessity which referred to the soul in question when I had to speak at the funeral and did not speak out of arbitrariness, but obeyed the divine voice which told me what I had to do.
In still another case that appeared to me by the karmic course of the last times, when one of our friends died as young man who gave rise to great hopes just for our movement. He died in the thirtieth year of his life. On the 26th February he would have been thirty years old, he died shortly before. This friend, our dear Fritz Mitscher, has been somebody who was able to summarise that spiritual-scientifically what he had gained in learning — he had a disposition to scholarship, — with infinite, sacrificing devotion, and thus, indeed, he stood before something our movement needs so much: taking up our extensive science in oneself, so that one penetrates it spiritual-scientifically and reports it spiritual-scientifically, so that one stands completely on the ground of the scientific present. He was well prepared for that. Even if now the karma runs a way that such souls go early through the gate of death, this has its significance in the whole world course. Like in the other cases — because I was urged just by karma to speak at the funeral, — it was there also that I had to speak words in the beginning and at the end of the funeral speech which had to be spoken again in the same manner, transporting myself into the soul's being, so that I coined the words again not arbitrarily, but grasped them in the lively being together with the deceased. There I had to say then:
A hope, filling us with happiness:
You entered the field
Where, through the power of soul being,
Earth's spirit blossoms
Reveal themselves to investigation.
Your longing was bound from the beginning
To pure truth-loving being;
To create out of spirit-light
Was the earnest life goal
For which you strove without rest.
You nurtured your beautiful gifts
To tread with steady steps
Bright paths of spirit-knowledge
As truth's true servant
Unperturbed by worldly contradiction
You trained your spirit-organs
That, with courage and persistence,
On both sides of the path
Repelled error for you
And made a space for truth for you.
For you, to form your Self
For the revelation of pure light
So the soul's sun-power
Might shine mightily within you
Was your life's concern and joy.
Other cares, other joys
Barely touched your soul,
For knowledge seemed to you to be
The light that gives existence meaning,
Seemed to you life's true value.
A hope, filling us with happiness:
You entered the field
Where, through the power of soul being,
Earth's spirit blossoms
Reveal themselves to investigation.
A loss that pains us deeply,
You disappeared from the field
Where the Spirit's earthly kernels
In the womb of soul being
Ripened your senses for the spheres.
Feel how we lovingly gaze
Into the heights that now
Call you to other works.
Give to the friends left behind
Your power from spirit-realms,
Hear our souls' entreaties
Sent to you in confidence and trust:
For our earthly work here we need
Strong forces from spirit-lands,
For which we thank dead friends.
A hope, filling us with happiness,
A loss that pains us deeply:
Allow us to hope, that you, far-near,
Un-lost, light our life
As a soul-star in spirit-realm.
Already in the next night I could experience that the following sounded from this soul from the spiritual realm:
For me, to form my Self
For the revelation of pure light
So the soul's sun-power
Might shine mightily within me
Was my life's concern and joy.
Other cares, other joys
Barely touched my soul,
For knowledge seemed to me to be
The light that gives existence meaning,
Seemed to my life's true value.
I assure you, when I had written down these verses, I did not think, not in the least, that in both stanzas each “you” can be transformed to “me,” each “your” to “my.” I took notice only, when both stanzas sounded back from the other soul like an answer in the next night. So that the stanzas could just remain, only the second person was replaced by the first person.
I mention this, because a heart understanding can arise to us that in the future of the human development the possibility remains to speak from soul to soul, when the mouth is no longer the tool. In the same way we get answer here for the everyday life from the mouth of the other soul, it was here at an example where the soul gave answer still even from the unconscious of its being, saying as it were: I have now understood, because it was to me really that way in life; now I understand what I have aimed at in life, after I have taken off my body.
It does not only depend on the fact that we take up concepts, ideas and mental pictures of the spiritual worlds, but that we live in a certain life, in a certain way of life as human beings, while we go as human beings of the fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch towards the sixth and seventh culture-epochs. It depends on the fact that the chasm is bridged really which separates the living human beings from the so-called dead that humankind becomes one more and more not only in so far as it is incarnated in the body, but also as it has taken on those forms of existence which the human being lives through between death and new birth. Spiritual science has not only to bring that to humankind, but for the life which the earth needs for the rest of this post-Atlantean development, spiritual science is the first, I would like to say, still stammering attempt, because what can be given in spiritual science is basically only a stammering compared to that what future generations experience of spiritual science.
My account tried to make that comprehensible by the force of heart what we can think about the relations of life and death, referring today to spiritual science facing life, so that you get another understanding than the head understanding, the lively heart understanding which we seek for, actually, through the spiritual-scientific deepening. That is the task of the fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch. The sixth and the seventh epochs follow it. However, you understand only what is to be defended as Central European culture if you just feel this Central European culture intimately connected with that which must be gained in the fifth culture-epoch for humankind. Something may then begin from that which I have mentioned in the beginning of this consideration: a widening of the view beyond that what our destiny-burdened times have in their lap.
In the East, a kind of human life prepares which will be significant for the future. You only need to read up about that in the series of talks about the mission of the folk-souls 2The Mission of the Individual Folk-Souls in Connection with the Germanic-Nordic Mythology 11 lectures in Kristiania (today Oslo, June 1910), Steiner's Collected Works volume 121 I held once in Kristiania (= Oslo). But totally different from the soul kind which is just that of the Central European is already the soul kind of the Eastern European not to speak at all of the Far Eastern — totally different. We have already to get on by that what spiritual science should be for us to create an open spirit eye for such things. What is often told that once the Varangians were invited by the Russian-Slavic population that they would have said to them: we have a nice country, but we have no order, come to us and make order. Arrange something like a state for us. What is told sentimentally as a starting point of the Russian history is nothing else as a legend without any historical background. This has never taken place that way. In truth, these Varangians came into the country as conquerors and were not called really. Nevertheless, what is told in history has more significance, even more than it would have if it corresponded to a historical truth. Because it means something prophetic, something really prophetic, something that has not yet happened that happens, however, in future. What should develop in the East, has to develop so that the abilities of the eastern peoples are used to take up what the western civilisation has created, and to process it in itself to get fertilised with that which the West has created. This is the task of the eastern peoples in future.
One can just characterise the nature of the Russian eastern nation briefly. When we look at the real nation — not at that dishonest society which now governs the Russian nation, — then we have to be aware of the fact that the Russian soul has an immense lot of talents that it is gifted as it were for everything; but just while it unfolds its mission in the world human development more and more, will appear that something can be there in humanity what one can call: talent without productive power. The talent will still become greater and greater. That, however, what distinguishes, for example, the Central European, that he has combined his talent with the spiritual force that he produces that “for him whose striving never ceases ...” and lives intimately with his folk-soul. He wants to produce that what he wants to understand at the same time what is there so splendid in Fichte's philosophy where the ego to understand itself wants to produce itself perpetually — one will see only later which significance this philosophy has, — just that what distinguishes Central Europe. The opposite of that is in existence in Russia, in the east of Europe. These Russian souls are receptive first of all: they have the biggest gift for taking up, and if one speaks of productiveness, one is mistaken. They have a vocation to develop talents without productiveness. Today even the concept is difficult to grasp because something like that has not yet existed in the development, but has to develop only bit by bit. In future it happens that from the East over here to the West the call goes out: we have a nice country, but no order — for disorder increases more and more, — come and make order. — Central Europe has a vocation to bring spiritual productiveness to the East. What happens now means that they defend themselves unreasonably against that which must still happen in future. One wants to crush that to which once one will have to come and say: come to us and make order. — It is thus in the historical evolution of humanity that that is thrown back mostly, pushed back mostly what one has to long for in the end. The biggest misfortune would be that the east of Europe, if Russia were victorious in this process. That would not be the biggest misfortune for Central Europe, not at all, but for Russia herself, the biggest misfortune, considered internally, because this victory would have to be cancelled again. This victory could not last with its effects. Thus we stand before the tragic moment of the historical evolution of humanity that the East defends itself against something it will long for in future, will long for with all its forces. Because it would experience an entire decline if it could not be fertilised by the spiritual life of the directly bordering West. In the further course of its culture this West has to produce a lively cultural life, not only idealism, but lively cultural life. This lively cultural life will be like a spirit sun which moves from the West to the East, opposite to the movement of the sun. The external Russian human being will see more and more how little he is able to do by himself how he is dependent on arranging himself really in the whole evolutionary process of humanity; how he commits the biggest sin assaulting the west-European culture.
I would like to say we could feel strange pre-flashes of it. Something appeared in this East that was impossible in the West: the so-called world view of the discalced friars, 3the following quotation from the dramatic poem The Lower Depths by Maksim Gorky (1868–1936) stems originally from a writing by Dmitry Merezhkovsky (1865–1941) a type of philosophy of the discalced friars which has quickly spread over big circles, while it was not there some years ago at all. Being discalced! The world view of those who make the absolute unbelief in human beings and humanity a philosophy, because they cannot believe that the human being is really something different than that what there walks around between birth and death under tribulation and fright, that the words liberty, fraternity, compassion and love are empty phrases, and that the only wise one is who walks as a pilgrim barefoot through the world, who the whole culture, the whole putrescent west-European culture — as the discalced friar says — feels as a big deception and regards the tattered clothing, the musty room and broad street as something through which the human being walks, when he forced himself to the discalced friars' world view. When a poet allows to express this discalced friars' world view by one of his persons with characteristic words, this must touch us quite strangely who always try to find out that of the Central European world view which can kindle the light of the future for the human beings. If a poet allows to express a person that what is, however, basically a kind of a summary of the discalced friars' world view and their philosophy how does it seem to us?
”Yes what does this person mean to you? Do you understand? He collars you, quashes you under the nails like a fleeing! Then you may feel sorry for him ... Certainly! Then you may manifest your whole stupidity to him. He will stretch you on seven instruments of torture for your compassion; he wraps your intestine over the hand and pulls all your veins out of the body, an inch per hour ... Oh you ... Compassion! Pray to God that one may thrash you simply without any compassion, and finish ... Compassion ... Bah!”
And Gorki of whom you have already heard something says to such words: “Cruel, but true,” while he returns now not only the world view of a poetic personality, as the poet expresses it, but he expresses his own world view which results for him as the consideration of the world. This is the world view of a discalced friar, a world view about which one can just talk like about other world views now in existence. It is the world view which has lost the possibility to come out of itself to something that rays light to life. It has to wait, until it is fertilised by this light, and then it can fulfil its mission in the human evolution. However, now it rebels against that what it just must do. One could experience many phrases in the world, but I say that from the most tragic feeling:
Such phrases, as they were spoken by the most different parties in August 1914 on the war assembly of the Russian Duma, such a sum of phrases exceeds the peak of phraseology. Such a thing is only spoken when any lively productive force of the soul is exhausted. In the East one stands in reality in the eve of that what should become first, and unfolds a force that is opposite to that what will once make this East great. We in Central Europe have to say to ourselves: nevertheless, this East waits just for the spiritual wisdom which has to arise in the middle of Europe.
My dear friends, try to transform that into feelings what I has suggested to you with grievous feelings, I would like to say, in single words that it can light up that what we are able to see as spiritual scientists with enlarged sensations and with which we should familiarise ourselves to understand the real necessity and also the contemporary historical necessity of the spiritual-scientific world view. Then we penetrate ourselves with thoughts which ascend from our souls to cosmic distances. Thoughts which meet then what works down from these spiritual worlds, when peace prevails on earth.
Today I have shown you how the etheric bodies of those souls work which free themselves as unused etheric bodies from the souls, which could work still for years, still for decades here in the physical bodies, for the physical lives. The idea must become apparent to us how many such unused parts of etheric bodies ascend into the spiritual world — still except that what human beings going through the portal of death on the battlefields take with their individualities into the spiritual world. However, these etheric bodies represent a big sum of spiritual forces, those spiritual forces which should help forming a spiritual world view from the spiritual spheres which should seize humanity more and more. It is necessary that thoughts ascending from earthly human beings to the spiritual spheres meet these forces of the unused etheric bodies which are able to work down from the spiritual spheres. These human thoughts have to show understanding for the secret work of the spiritual world into which the forces of these unused etheric bodies are woven.
However, this should be an encouragement for us that we penetrate ourselves with the profundities of spiritual science. Since these profundities stimulate thoughts in us which have an effect then more and more also in other human beings. Depending on what develops as destiny-burdened contents of our days, days full of peace will come when that what the souls have planted of spiritual science in themselves will ascend. It will meet the forces that have collected from the etheric bodies of those who went through the gate of death on the battlefields and flow down. Then this will happen what I would like to subsume in some words as a result of this spiritual-scientific consideration. If we are able to put the fruits of spiritual science in our time rightly, then that will happen what I would like to express in the words:
From the courage of the fighters,
From the blood of the battles,
From the grief of the bereaved,
From the nation's sacrifices
Will grow up the fruits of spirit
If souls aware of spirit turn
Their senses to the spirit-land.