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Things in Past and Present in the Spirit of Man
GA 167

III. Shedding Light on the Deeper Impulses of History. Blavatsky

28 March 1916, Berlin

Today it is my task to speak of a very deep historical impulse. As far as anthroposophical spiritual science is concerned, we are already familiar with the fact that spiritual forces, spiritual intentions, spiritual goals stand behind everything which occurs in the world. The anthroposophical spiritual scientifically schooled view is able to see more directly the spiritual processes which stand behind historical occurrences. In order to understand what is going on we must know not only the material historical facts, but we must be able to complete then by knowledge the sort of facts which we are going to present to you today.

We will start by indicating a personality whom you all know, namely, H. P. Blavatsky. You all know that H. P. Blavatsky was a particularly psychic person in a time when materialism was at the high point in external life and she stood in a very special way in the spiritual movement of the second half of the 19th century. H. P. Blavatsky was not a personality whom one can designate in the ordinary sense as a medium, but she had, in the deepest sense, very striking psychical properties, she was a psychic personality. If you want to understand this you must realize the milieu out of which she proceeded. She came out of the Russian milieu, out of how the spiritual and physical can work together in a life in such a way that it is not normal, but abnormal. And to understand that, we must cast our attention on the special folk characteristics of the Russians, how that is different from the Central and Western Europeans.

The Middle and Western Europeans are indeed, in a certain sense, the continuous and also the newly creative configuration of that culture which proceeded out of the 4th post-Atlantean period, the Greco-Latin cultural period. What lived in this Greco-Latin cultural period is continued in Central and Western Europe, through the fact that in this West and Middle Europe the physical bodies specially develop themselves, also become special instruments for spiritual working, for thinking, feeling and willing. That which thinking, feeling and willing can bring together through the Instrument of the physical body, that should come out in a very primary way in West and Middle Europe. However, the situation is different with the Slavic peoples in Eastern Europe and in particular with the Russians. One can say that the way in which the physical body is mechanized through as is the case in West and Central Europe cannot occur with the Russians in so far as this people remains in its national quality. You cannot understand the Russians with West European science. You can only understand them when you know that an ether body exists. The precise characteristic of the Russian people consists in the fact that the most important activity of life does not enter into the physical body as it occurs in West and Middle Europe, but more into the ether body and therefore does not permeate the physical body so much. In the Russian people the ether body has a much greater significance than it now has for the Western and Central Europeans and especially for the American people. Hence, within the Russian people, within the folk people, not the ruling classes, a direct strong ego as is the case in West and Central Europe can never be developed in the same way. However, the “I” is always veiled over by a certain dreaminess, it almost has something of a dreamy nature in it, because just as the “I” now lives in the 5th post-Atlantean period, so it is conditioned by a special development of the physical body. During this 5th post-Atlantean period, the Russian people are not advanced far enough for the building of the “I” directly as such. That which lives and weaves in the ether body should not imprint itself into the physical body. Hence, one can say that that which is predisposed in the Russian folk, in the main, cannot at the present come to external manifestation.

Now, H. P. Blavatsky grew in part out of the Russian people, to the greatest part she has grown out of the Russian Folk Soul. It will be understandable from that that with her, the ether body in a high degree in its activity is able to be much more powerful than all physical activity in so far as we are dealing with a cognitive activity. Hence, we have in H. P. Blavatsky, in the main, a personality who can experience a large amount of her ether body, but naturally that is quite different from what one can experience through thinking and cognition with the help of the brain. Because Blavatsky has grown out of the Russian folk, she can experience an immense amount in her ether body. However, connected with that is the fact that she lacks certain qualities which West Europeans cannot be without if they want to have revelations from the spiritual worlds. H. P. Blavatsky lacked the possibility of thinking logically. This is the faculty which the Western European must have to obtain proper revelations from the spiritual world, but H.P. Blavatsky lacked this possibility of grouping together her knowledge. Nevertheless, that which permeated her ether body, which was contained in her etheric cognitive ability, did not prevent her from receiving significant revelations. Therefore precisely at the time when mankind was at the height of materialism, such a personality coming out of the East European people is present who in her stream of heredity, in her blood, still had, I might say, a dose of the Central European aspect. So there was present in her, but it was overpowered by the East European element, that which in Middle Europe leads to a logical nature and which in particular leads to will initiative which the Russian as a belonger of his folk does not have. Now what actually happened?

When we put together these two extreme poles, then we can say—of course you know that we have English books written by Blavatsky—that which occurred came as a result of her roots in the Russian nature which came out of her ether body, that was taken hold of by the English being, and it appears that her books are worked out in English. However, the most important thing is what lies between; and to understand what does lie between one must become clear that in Western Europe, particularly from the British beingness, an extensive working in of occult science proceeds which always was present as far as one can speak of the English history. Through its whole evolution of its spiritual culture, Middle Europe actually did not have the slightest idea of how incisive occult working has always come out of the British land and spread itself over Western Europe, also over Southern Europe, and so on.

When one wants to know how things stand, one must at least understand this British colored occultism. This British colored occultism is absolutely present. That which people know of as all sorts of high grades of Scottish Freemasonry and so on is actually only the external side which is shown to the world. However, comprehensive working occult schools actually stand behind this external side and they have taken up the ancient occult traditions and the ancient occult stream into themselves in a much higher degree than is the case in Middle Europe. In Central Europe, however, one must strive more and more to permit a knowledge of the spiritual world to rise up out of one's own spirituality. In the British aspect, they have preferred to lean on that which has been traditionally handed down from the more ancient occult schools. Actually we are able to go back to the beginning of the 17th century and find particularly in England, Scotland and Ireland (less in Ireland but over Scotland) such occult societies spread out in which they have continued to propagate that which was occult knowledge in the ancient times, which however they transformed in a certain way.

If one wants to find the reason for this transformation, then one must know that the 4th post-Atlantean cultural epoch which was comprised of Greekdom and Romandom lasted until the beginning of the 15th century and the task of this 4th period was to work over in itself in a purely human way that which in earlier epochs was there as spiritual revelations. What man received in revelations, that was supposed to be spiritually worked over in this Greco-Latin period. Then came the 5th period which begins with the beginning of the 15th. century. Man was supposed to focus more upon the external, more upon the physical world and not to work out new concepts. All the concepts which you have in the world today have come over from the Greco-Latin period. There have not been any real new concepts developed since the 15th century; the ancient concepts were only applied in a new way upon the processes. Darwinism never brought in one single new concept of evolution; it only applied it to certain processes. Thus, not one single new concept has arisen since the beginning of the 15th century. All of these arose previously in the Greco-Latin period. The 5th post-Atlantean period was supposed to direct its glance at the external physical plane and the British people were especially prepared for this task. They were especially adapted for this task, because the British characteristics were developed later in the British Isles.

Now, at the beginning of the 15h century something was threatening. What threatened to arise was a kind of confusion; the purely physical striving of the Britishdom threatened to be confused with a much more spiritual life, with a spiritual life which was fructified from ancient times. This took place when English dominion crossed over the channel into France. The fact that a real separation occurred was effected from the spiritual world through the appearance of Joan of Arc who precisely from the spiritual world itself had to create order in the beginning of the 15th century. The whole of external Western Europe depends, as we have said before, on this appearance of Joan of Arc. At that time there was a complete separation between the French nature and the British nature. This British being originally arose from the Angles and Saxons who had the occult sagas of Hengis and Horsa when they migrated over towards the British Isles. Now, at the time of Joan of Arc, this Anglo-Saxon layer was ruled by the Norman-Roman element and formed a lower caste. That particular British beingness which today is the superior, only happened since the 17th century, at the time when the French element was still working, and the Anglo-Saxons were the lower layer and the French spirit was the aristocratic spirit. They despised everything coming from the Angles and Saxons. For example, there was a very common expression in the 10th, 11th, 12th centuries used as a curse by the aristocracy still living in France in whom there still lived French Normanhood which went as follows: “God damn me to become an Englander”. This curse was often heard. You were not supposed to be an Englander if you wanted to be well regarded. However, this thing changed fundamentally after the separation occurred through Joan of Arc and then the Englander aspect began to develop.

There are many different processes playing about here and it would take too much time if I were to describe them completely, but deep spiritual forces held sway behind the civil war of the Red and the White Roses. But the important thing is that in the beginning of the 17th century, a certain soul incarnated in the British kingdom who did not work in a very significant way externally, but worked further and in a very stimulating way. This person incarnated in a British body in whom there was more French and Scottish blood working together and very little British blood. There actually proceeded from this soul that which gave the impulse not only for the external British spiritual life but also to the occult British life. Naturally there were certain intermediate processes which if described would cause us to go far off our theme which also formed this occult British spiritual life .

I have told you that this spiritual life was a continuation of the occult streams of the 4th post-Atlantean period. One knew an immense amount precisely because physical bodies had the most significance. There in the British occult life they knew the significance of the physical body, that the ether body was made least active, and that the physical body was regarded as an instrument of all spiritual life; and precisely because of that there was no possibility in these occult schools themselves to experience very much from the spiritual world. However, one preserved the ancient traditions in the occult schools; one preserved that which was handed down through what the ancient clairvoyant observed and they sought to permeate that with concepts. Therefore an occult science arose which worked only with the experiences of what had been handed down from what had been seen by clairvoyance in the 4th and even in the 3rd post-Atlantean period. However, that which came into existence through clairvoyance was worked through with purely physical concepts, with that conceptual material which you have when you think through the physical body. Therefore, an actual occult science arose which, however, stretched itself out over all domains of life.

Above all it is interesting to realize that in this chapter of occult science there are facts which actually were taught in these British occult schools about the destiny of the European people. That formed a very important chapter in these occult schools. I will attempt to characterize what was taught there about the destiny of the European peoples. They said the following. There was a 4th post-Atlantean period. This is what they had out of tradition. This 4th post-Atlantean period abounded with spiritual life. This 4th post-Atlantean period has brought forth the conceptual world for man, the perception about social organization. This 4th post-Atlantean period brought forward all possible things; it abounded with spiritual life. It had developed itself in Southern Europe on the Greek and Italian Peninsulas and it radiated out from there. Now, the people of Central and Western Europe were in their infancy in reference to spiritual connections at the time of the flowering of the 4th period. I am now telling you just what was taught there. Thus, the Central and Western Europeans were infants in reference to the spiritual life, infants in relation to that which could radiate out from the cultural results of the 4th post-Atlantean period. These Central AND Western Europeans very gradually worked themselves up out of their infancy until the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation, and they became maturer and maturer. When we say the Reformation, we do not mean the German Reformation but the English Reformation under James I, and so on. The central and Western Europeans were able to separate themselves in a sense and now a quite definite dogma arose within these occult schools, a dogma which was very strongly held, the dogma that just as the Greco-Latin peoples were the leading peoples of the 4th, now in the 5th post-Atlantean period the Anglo-Saxon culture has to take the lead. This was impressed again and again. The Anglo-Saxondom has to reign spiritually through the 5th postAtlantean period, and everything that was thought in reference to mankind's development had to be so arranged that this dogma of the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon as the leaders of the 5th had to be effected.

They taught the following in these schools. There lives in East Europe today the people who are in the same condition in which the Central and Western Europeans were at the time of the Greco-Latin period; the Slavic people who are now in their infancy are in the East of Europe. They realize that these Slavic peoples must develop out of their infancy in a similar way as did the Central and Western Europeans. And just as the Romans were the wet nurse in spiritual connection in the West and Middle Europe, so must the Anglo-Saxon be the wet nurse for the East European peoples and lead them over to their later spiritual life period. It was also taught that just as the Germanic peoples differentiated themselves into Gothic and other tribes in the course of European history, so to speak, so do the Slavic peoples also differentiate themselves. Therefore they depicted how the present forces point to certain future configurations.

For example, in Russia itself, there were a number of different communities which were gathered together spatial aspect just as once numbers of people were gathered in Central and West Europe, and these people who are gathered together in Russia, so to speak, are artificially held together by a state bond. On the other hand, a folk like the Poles were held together by their religion and in spite of their attempts to become independent, these Poles had to be inserted into the Russian beingness. One had confidence in these schools that the whole of Polishdom has to be shoved in turn into the Russian being and they said that they are of the Dornau there are single Slavic peoples who exist in isolated kingdoms. And the following was repeated again and again in these schools: Such independent Slavic folk states are forming. However, these will only last until the next great European war which was going to bring everything into disorder. And they said: The independence of the Slavic States would only last a while and in the future a quite different way of being held together in reference to these East European peoples who are at present in their infancy state, must take place. This was the teaching that was given; it was not just theory but was repeated again and again in these occult schools. Therefore numerous people attempted to configure the external life to influence it in different ways so that the actual facts could form themselves in the sense of what their dogma said. People do not realize what enormous attempts were made by their occult brothers in the British Isles who had other groups in Western Europe and Italy. They knew what one person must do, what another must do and how to work in life in order to achieve their aims. For example, there was one English statesman who became friendly with a certain statesman from a small state in the Dornau which was part of Austria. A friendly arrangement was set up between them. It was so artfully arranged that, for example, on the one side they made friends, but on the other side they tried to put forth all sorts of criticism about this same state. The situation is of great significance when you methodically follow a path in which you develop friendship on the one side in order to win a certain people over and on the other side begin to show the shadow side of these people and attack them.

This is a very devilish thing, but it is an Ahrimanic trick which you can use. One member of such a brotherhood would write a book which would cause a rightful movement to be called forth, for example, and another person would write a book in order to develop friendship. That is how they work between the lines of life; all this so that the British aspect could become the ruling aspect: let us look at how the personality of H.P. Blavatsky works in this occult brotherhood situation. These occult brothers have become aware of her. These ahrimanic occultists knew very well when there was such a person who is configurated as is H. P. Blavatsky, there are all sorts of developmental forces occurring. And here we have H. P. Blavatsky in whom the ether body is active in a special way and they wanted to utilize her so that certain spiritual truths could come forward which could be favorable to their dogmas of the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon people. Therefore the tendency arose in the 60's and the beginning of the 70's with these occult brothers of the West to utilize Blavatsky so as to place spiritual truths before the world of which one can say the following. Here is a person whose ideas do not come out of an ordinary human brain, but come out of an ether body and in addition to that one who can predict future elements from such an ether body, a future that holds a foundation for the 6th post-Atlantean period. And, since the 6th post-Atlantean period has not yet arrived, they can then make certain preparations in the 5th. In the case of Blavatsky who was not an ordinary medium, they could so influence her mediumistic forces that she would say what the British brotherhoods wanted. They themselves could not come before the world and say Britain shall be the rulers, but they could say: Look here, here is a person who we are not influencing in any way; she brings a quite new knowledge out of her own ether body. Their goal was that this new knowledge should be placed in the service of the Anglo-Saxon brotherhoods. These brotherhoods related themselves to her so that they were a sort of wet nurse and she was the infant. The intention of these brothers was to put a certain new occult science into the world which would be very suitable for the special aims of these Western brothers.

They would have succeeded in their intentions if Blavatsky had been a pure Russian. However, as I mentioned earlier, she had a certain dose of Central European nature in her. She had an independent nature and very soon became aware of what lived in her ether body and then she did not want to go along with what these occult brotherhoods, who wanted to develop Earth as a higher medium, wanted. After a certain time, H. P. Blavatsky developed many things on very good paths, then she entered into a high order in Paris. However, this Parisian order was dependent on the British occult streams and they tried to prepare her so that what they wanted could come out of her soul. but, as I said, she had much of this Germanic element in her and insisted on certain conditions in this order which were impossible to fulfill and the consequence was that she was excluded from this order. In the meantime she was able to take up into herself many significant secrets which were present in these orders and she began to acquire a very special taste for the whole role; she wanted to play the foremost occult role. She did not want to be just a higher medium; she wanted to direct the thing herself. She entered an American order where they told her many secrets which were only given to those in high grades. Nevertheless, this American order had a very definite intention and in time she received into her consciousness a great deal of knowledge. A whole new situation was now created. Here was a personality who knew much of the occult knowledge which the secret orders had preserved and protected. Here was a situation which had never occurred before. In America she again tried to set up certain conditions to which the American order could not agree, because if they had done so terrible confusion would have come about.

Therefore, through very dubious means, they put her in what is called occult imprisonment which one achieves through certain ceremonial magic in which the soul which you are imprisoning can have ideas which go to a certain sphere and then are reflected back. Everything that develops in the person can be seen by themselves but it is not possible to share it with the external world. It only works within itself; it is an occult imprisonment. This particular ceremonial magic leading to occult imprisonment was done in order to try to make H. P. Blavatsky harmless. In the year 1879 there was an association of occultists of various lands and it was decided that an occult imprisonment was to be placed over Madam Blavatsky and she then lived for a number of years in real occult imprisonment. It then came about that certain Indian occultists freed her from this occult imprisonment and now begins the time when Blavatsky enters into the Indian influence. Everything which I told you up to now is a kind of pre-history of Blavatsky.

We now have the development which everyone knows about. All the difficulties and problems which Blavatsky had are connected with all this pre-history. Certain Indian occultists who strove to save themselves from the British now applied certain means to release her from her occult imprisonment, and this actually was done with the consent of those who had put her in this imprisonment. The consequence was that there streamed into her soul that which was connected only with the Indian occultism. All these goings on are effected by the British brotherhoods completely rejecting that which applies to Central Europe. These brotherhoods tried to utilize Blavatsky for their political objects, but in Paris and America she objected; the inner opposition of her Russianness objected and there was opposition against making the Russians dependent upon West Europe and America. When she was in Paris, she set forth a special stipulation which could not be fulfilled because it would have necessitated a political transformation in France. In America she herself did not put forth the stipulation, but she allied herself with a man named Olcott who was interested in producing all sorts of political machinations. These people originally wanted to guide her into a certain channel failed because she was released from this and went into a different channel in which the mahatma was not what Blavatsky thought he was.

You can see in the well known novel of George Sand how occult societies and particular movements occur in Western Europe, people have a sub-role and are not externally visible. I mentioned all these things in the public lecture on Friday, all the occult streams which produce conspirators resulting in the assasination of Jure (sic), also the murder of Franz Ferdinand. Here you have the whole source of the conspiracy of which the outside world knows very little. It begins in London, it spins over into Western Europe, goes into Southern Europe, goes into the Balkans and finally goes over to St. Petersburg and plays into the whole circle in St. Petersburg. I tell you all these things because you must know that so much of what is happening is produced by causes that you know nothing about.

Our Society has a special task of freeing itself from the influence of these Western European brotherhoods. For example, remember how I was attacked in 1909, how I was accused of wanting to become president of the whole Theosophical Society, of wanting to go to India in order to influence certain political activities. On the one side you have the Berlin-Bagdad Railway and an the other side Anthroposophy. I was trying to work for the Pan-Germanic tendency, to separate India from England. In 1909 in Budapest, Mrs. Besant's intentions was to make Krishna Murti the carrier of the Christ and I would be the reincarnated St. John, the Evangelist in order to get my recognition. Actually I would not go along with that sort of thing. There were many other Theosophists against all this, in fact the International Society of Honest People was formed, really noble people and among them was Keightley who was used earlier by Mrs. Besant to correct the mistakes in her books. This International Society asked me to become its president. And in 1909 I told Mrs Besant that I did not want to connect myself with any other occult movements, only that which works with German culture within Europe. At that time I asked her what she thought about the mighty German occultism which appeared at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century in connection with German culture. And this is what she said: “Ah, that which appeared in Germany was an unsuccessful attempt in occultism that took other forms, and because that failed England must now take the situation in hand and occultism must be brought to Europe from England.” Now you can see how the situation stands. I tell you all these things as students of esoteric wisdom, you have to know these things.