Ancient Myths, Their Meaning and Connection with Evolution
Dornach 6th January 1918.
We have been endeavouring in these lectures to understand something of the course of mankind's evolution; we have sought to follow up the deeper foundations of such Myths as the Osiris-Isis Myth; we have further sought to find our way again, from a certain aspect, in the world of the Greek Gods. We have lightly touched upon the inner meaning of the concepts which perhaps do not come to clear expression, but which underlie the poetic myths of Egypt and Greece, and have sought to study, at any rate to indicate, the connection between the basis of these myths and the Old Testament doctrines. These Old Testament doctrines have sprung from a different spirit from that of the mythology of the Egyptians and the Greeks. We have seen that the Egyptian and Grecian mythologies in the manner of their structure, are derived from certain ancient experiences of mankind. They are based on a certain consciousness that humanity once possessed atavistic clairvoyance, and through the atavistic clairvoyance had stood in the same inner relation to the spirit pervading Nature, as later on man is related between birth and death to the things of the senses. We have seen that for this old atavistic knowledge the far-reaching world-conception, which was an inner experience, signified more than the mere sense-perception knowledge of the transitional humanity to which we still belong.
All that had arisen as pictures in the Egyptian and the Greek mythology, or better to say, contemplation of the Gods, is to be found in the Old Testament as actual doctrine, with the key-note of morality. In fact, the day before yesterday, as I spoke of the important difference between the mythology of Egypt and Greece and the Old Testament, I told you that the divine spiritual Beings who stand at the beginning of the Old Testament, the Elohim, Jahve, can only be thought of as together creating mankind. We can only think of them as producing through their deeds what we call earthly humanity. In fact the whole evolution of earthly man is only accomplished according to the fundamental deed of the Elohim, of Jahve. I said that that is not the case in Egyptian or Greek mythology. There men looked back into ancient times and said to themselves: the Gods Osiris, Isis, Zeus, Apollo, Mars, Pallas, who are now connected with the guidance of human destiny, they have arisen from other generations of Gods, but men were already in existence. The Egyptian and the Greek mythology traced man back to older times in which those Gods were not yet creating and ruling who were recognized in their own times. Thus men in Egypt and Greece ascribed to themselves a greater antiquity than that of the Gods then in power.
This is so fundamental and significant a difference that one must bear it well in mind. In the course of these studies we shall see to what an infinitely important and significant fact this conception points. In the Old Testament doctrine the Gods who were revered were at the same time the Gods who created the human race. Only because the Old Testament doctrine makes the Divine the creator of man, only through this was it possible for the Old Testament doctrine to insert at the same time the moral element, moral impulse, into the divine order and hence into the whole ordering of mankind, into Providence, one might say.
This is important for an understanding of the present-day world conception. For the world concepts of today are not derived in any very definite way from a uniform source; they have very different origins, and we bear much within us in which we believe, which we profess as modern men, that is directly rooted in Greek ideas. We bear much within us, especially the immediate present bears much in it, that points back to the Old Testament. The search of many human beings to find their right way among these often contradictory concepts and ideas, comes through the impulse that proceeds from the Mystery of Golgotha. This all lies as yet in our programme and we shall have to build it up in the time we are still vouchsafed to be together.
It is above all important that we can lay one thing as a foundation; I have already referred to it yesterday. We have often related that we are living, since the 15th century, in the fifth Post-Atlantean epoch, and in a certain connection, I said, certain impulses of the third Post-Atlantean epoch, the Egypto-Chaldean must reappear in the fifth, just as in the sixth Post-Atlantean epoch, certain impulses of the second, the Zarathustra, the Old Persian epoch will light up, and as in the last Post-Atlantean epoch, the seventh, certain impulses of the original Indian epoch will light up again. That is a law in the course of human evolution which points in a significant manner to the essentials standing spiritually before mankind up to the new catastrophe that is to come — like a catastrophe of nature.
Now we have seen in part what immense depth of human consciousness in ancient times is expressed in the fact that these ancient ages evolved the Osiris-myth. We have seen that this early age meant to say: there once lived a perception among men through which man could still directly experience the spiritual in his natural surroundings in his atavistic imaginations. That was the age in which Osiris ruled. But the new perceptions, the Typhon perceptions, those perceptions that have made the letter-script from the picture-script, those perceptions which from the primeval sacred language which men used to speak in common have formed the individually sounding languages, these perceptions of Typhon, they have slain what lived in humanity as the Osiris-impulse. So that since then Osiris is a Being at the side of men only when they are between death and a new birth.
We have then followed the Osiris-Isis Legend in its essentials, have seen how Osiris was regarded as a primeval ruler of Egypt who brought the Egyptians the most important of their arts, who ruled in Egypt throughout long ages, who also traveled from Egypt into other lands, and not by the sword but by persuasion brought them the benefits of the arts taught in Egypt. During his absence upon journeys, as he conferred on other lands the benefits with which he had instructed the Egyptians, Typhon, his wicked brother, introduced innovations into his own land of Egypt. And then as Osiris returned he was slain by Typhon despite the watchfulness of his consort Isis. Then Isis sought everywhere for Osiris. Through boys — so says the legend — it was revealed to her that the coffin had been carried away by the sea; she discovered it then in Byblos in Phoenicia and brought it back to Egypt. Typhon cut up the corpse into fourteen pieces. Isis collected the pieces; with the use of spices and by other means she was able to give each piece the appearance of Osiris again. She then induced the priests to accept a third of the land from her, and by being in possession of a third of the land, on the one hand they should keep the grave of Osiris secret, on the other hand institute the Osiris cult — that is to say, a memorial service of the ancient Osiris-time, to keep in memory that there had once been a different perception in humanity. This remembrance was thenceforward to be preserved and all sorts of secrets surrounded it. The time in which Typhon had slain Osiris was indicated to be the time in the November days of autumn when the sun sets in the seventeenth degree of Scorpio, and opposite in Taurus the moon appears in the Pleiades as full-moon.
Then it was related that Osiris once more betook himself from the Underworld, where he rules over the dead and judges them, to the Upperworld in order to instruct his son Horus, whom he had had by Isis. It is further related by the legend that Isis let herself be induced to set free Typhon, whom she had held imprisoned. Her son Horus, instructed by Osiris, grew so angry at this that he came in conflict with Isis his mother and seized the crown from her. Then it is related that either he himself, or, in other versions, Hermes, set cow-horns upon her head in place of the crown, and since then she has been portrayed with these.
Now you see Isis in ancient Egyptian myths standing there at the side of Osiris. And for the feeling of the old Egyptians she was not only a mysterious deity, a mysterious spirit-being who stood in inner relation with the ordering of the world, but one could say that Isis was the epitome of all the deepest thoughts the Egyptians were able to form about the archetypal forces working in nature and in man. If the Egyptian was to look up to the great mysteries in his surroundings, then he must look up to Isis who had a statue in the temple at Sais which has become famous. Beneath this statue, as is well known, stood the inscription that should express the being of Isis: ‘I am the All, I am the Past, the Present and the Future; no mortal has yet lifted my veil.’
Especially in the later period of the Egyptian civilization that was a central thought. And in gazing at the mysteries of Isis, one remembered the other mysteries of the ancient Osiris age. And in connection with Isis, with the Isis at the sight of whom the pious Egyptian trembled when he let the words work upon him: ‘I am the All, I am the Past, the Present and the Future, no mortal has yet lifted my veil;’ when these words worked upon him the Egyptian remembered at the same time that Isis was once united with Osiris, when Osiris still wandered upon earth. The laity looked at it as legendary. In the mysteries the Priests explained that the ancient Osiris time was that in which the old clairvoyance united man with the spirit of nature all about him.
For an understanding of the Osiris-Isis legend or myth at the present day, one must view it with the sensations and feelings which were in the soul, in the heart, of the Egyptian. We have done so in a few characteristic features to begin with. And through these characteristic features there is to stand before our soul's gaze that which once sounded over from ancient times into newer times, which lost its meaning through the Mystery of Golgotha, but must be again unriddled today — precisely for the better understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. There must stand before our soul's gaze all the mystery that at first could only be divined when the Egyptian felt the words that gave the description of Isis: ‘I am the All, I am the Past, the Present and the Future; no mortal has yet lifted my veil.’ For, my dear friends, we will set opposite this Osiris-Isis myth another Osiris-Isis myth, quite another one. And in the relation of this other Osiris-Isis myth I must count upon your freedom from prejudice, your impartiality in the highest degree, in order that you do not misunderstand it. This other Osiris-Isis myth is in no way born out of foolish arrogance, it is born in humility; it is also of such a nature that perhaps it can only be related today in a most imperfect way. But I will try to characterize its features in a few words.
It is in the first place left to each one — though that can only be provisionally — to fix the time when this Osiris-Isis myth was related in a way that I can only relate today approximately, superficially, even banally. But, as I said, I will try to relate this other Osiris-Isis myth disregarding as much as possible many prejudices and calling upon your unbiased understanding. This other Osiris-Isis myth then has somewhat — I say ‘somewhat’ — the following contents. ‘It was in the age of scientific profundity, in the midst of the land of Philisterium. Upon a hill in spiritual seclusion was erected a Building which was considered to be very remarkable in the land of Philisterium.’
(I should just like to say that the future commentator here adds a remark that by ‘the land of Philisterium’ not merely the very nearest environment is meant.)
If one wanted to use the language of Goethe one could say that the Building represented an ‘open secret’. For the Building was closed to none, it was open to all, and in fact everyone could see it at convenient times. But far the greater number of people saw nothing at all. Far the greater number of people saw neither what was built nor what this represented. Far the greater number of people stood — to use Goethe's words again — before an ‘open secret’, a completely open secret.
A statue was intended to be the central point of the Building. This statue presented a Group of beings: the Representative of Man, then — Luciferic and Ahrimanic figures. People looked at the statue and did not know in the age of scientific profundity in the land Philisterium that the Statue, in fact, was only the veil for an invisible statue. But the invisible statue was not noticed by people, for it was the new Isis, the Isis of a new age.
Some few persons of the land of scientific profundity had once heard of this remarkable connection between what was visible and what, as Isis-image, was concealed behind what was open and evident. And then in their profound allegorical-symbolical manner of speech they had put forward the assertion that this combination of the Representative of Man with Lucifer and Ahriman signified Isis. With this word ‘signified’, however, they not only ruined the artistic intention from which the whole thing was supposed to proceed — for an artistic creation does not merely signify something, but is something — but they completely misunderstood all that underlay it. For it was not in the least the point that the figures signified something, but that they already were what they appeared to be. And behind the figures was not an abstract new Isis, but an actual, real new Isis. The figures ‘signified’ nothing at all, but they were in fact, in themselves, that which they made themselves out to be. But they possessed the peculiarity that behind them there was the real being, the new Isis.
Some few who in special circumstances, in special moments, had nevertheless seen this new Isis, found that she is asleep. And so one can say: the real deeper-lying statue that conceals itself behind the external statue is the sleeping new Isis, a sleeping figure — visible — but seen by few. Many persons then turned in special moments to the inscription, which is plainly there at the spot where the statue stands in preparation, but which also has been read by few. And yet the inscription stands clearly there, just as clearly as the inscription once stood on the veiled form at Sais. In fact the inscription stands there: ‘I am Man, I am the Past, the Present and the Future. Every mortal should lift my veil.’
Another figure, as a visitor, once approached the sleeping figure of the new Isis, and then again and again. And the sleeping Isis considered this visitor her special benefactor and loved him. And one day she believed in a particular illusion, just as the visitor believed one day in a particular illusion: the new Isis had an offspring — and she considered the visitor whom she looked on as her benefactor, to be the father. He regarded himself as the father, but he was not. The spirit-visitor, who was none other than the new Typhon, believed that he could acquire a special increase of his power in the world if he took possession of this new Isis. So the new Isis had an offspring, but she did not know its nature, she knew nothing of the being of this new offspring. And she moved it about, she dragged it far off into other lands, because she believed that she must do so. She trailed the new offspring about, and since she had trailed and dragged it through various regions of the world it fell to pieces into fourteen parts through the very power of the world.
Thus the new Isis had carried her offspring into the world and the world had dismembered it in fourteen pieces. When the spirit-visitor, the new Typhon, had come to know of this, he gathered together the fourteen pieces, and with all the knowledge of natural scientific profundity he again made a being, a single whole, out of the fourteen pieces. But in this being there were only mechanical laws, the law of the machine. Thus a being had arisen with the appearance of life, but with the laws of the machine. And since this being had arisen out of fourteen pieces, it could reproduce itself again, fourteen-fold. And Typhon could give a reflection of his own being to each piece, so that each of the fourteen offspring of the new Isis had a countenance that resembled the new Typhon.
And Isis had to follow all this strange affair, half-divining it; half-divining she could see the whole miraculous change that had come to her offspring. She knew that she had herself dragged it about, that she had herself brought all this to pass. But there came a day when in its true, its genuine form she could accept it again from a group of spirits who were elemental spirits of nature, could receive it from nature elementals.
As she received her true offspring which only through an illusion had been stamped into the offspring of Typhon, there dawned upon her a remarkable clairvoyant vision: she suddenly noticed that she still had the cow-horns of ancient Egypt, in spite of having become a new Isis.
And lo and behold, when she had thus become clairvoyant, the power of her clairvoyance summoned — some say Typhon himself, some say, Mercury. And he was obliged through the power of the clairvoyance of the new Isis to set a crown on her head in the place where once the old Isis had had the crown which Horus had seized from her, that is to say, on the spot where she developed the cow-horns. But this crown was merely of paper — covered with all sorts of writings of a profoundly scientific nature — still it was of paper. And she now had two crowns on her head, the cow-horns and the paper crown embellished with all the wisdom of scientific profundity.
Through the strength of her clairvoyance there one day arose in her the deep meaning, as far as the age could reach, of that which is described in St. John's Gospel as the Logos. There arose in her the Johannine significance of the Mystery of Golgotha. Through this strength the power of the cow-horns grasped the paper crown and changed it into an actual golden crown of genuine substance.
These then are the main features, my dear friends, that can be given of the new Osiris-Isis Legend. I will not of course make myself the commentator who explains this Osiris-Isis Legend. It is the other Osiris-Isis Legend. But it must set one thing definitely before our souls: Even though the power of action which is bound up with the new Isis statue is at first only weak, exploring and attempting, it is to be the starting point of something that is deeply justified in the impulses of the modern age, deeply justified in what this age is meant to become and must become.
In recent days we have spoken of how the Word has withdrawn, as it were, from the direct soul-experience from which it originally gushed forth as from a spring. We have seen how we live in the age of abstractions, where men's words and concepts have only an abstract meaning, where man stands far away from reality. The power of the Word, the power of the Logos, however, must be laid hold of again. The cow-horns of the ancient Isis must take on quite a different form.
It is difficult to say such things with the modern abstract words. For such things it is better if you try to bring them before the eye of your soul in such Imaginations as have been brought before you, and to work over these Imaginations as Imaginations. It is very important for the new Isis, through the power of the Word which is to be regained through spiritual science, to transform the cow-horns, so that even the paper crown which is written upon in the new deeply profound scientific method, that even the paper crown will become a genuine golden crown.
‘So one day someone came before the provisional form of the statue of the new Isis, and up above at the left was placed a figure of humorous deportment, which in its world-mood had something between seriousness, a serious idea of the world and, one might say, even a chuckling about the world. And lo and behold! as once upon a time someone stood opposite this figure in a specially favourable moment, the figure became alive and said quite facetiously: Humanity has only forgotten the matter, but centuries ago something was placed before the new humanity about the nature of the new humanity, in so far as this new humanity is still only master of the abstract word, the abstract concept, the abstract idea and is far removed from the reality. This new humanity keeps well to words and always asks: Is it a pumpkin or is it a flask? ... when it happens that a flask has been made from a pumpkin ... always clings to definitions, always stops short at words! In the 15th, 16th, 17th centuries — so said the chuckling being — mankind still had self-knowledge about this peculiar situation of taking words in a false sense, not relating them to their true reality, but taking them in their most superficial sense. Today, however, men themselves have already forgotten what was put before them for the benefit of their self-knowledge, in the 15th, 16th, 17th centuries.’
And the being went on chuckling and said: ‘What modern humanity should take as a real recipe for its abstract spirit is depicted on a tombstone in Mölln in the Lauenburg district. Because a tombstone stands there and on this tombstone is drawn an owl (Eule) which holds before itself a looking-glass (Spiegel). And it is related that Till Eulenspiegel, after he had wandered through the world with all sorts of buffoonery and pranks, was buried there. It is related that this Till Eulenspiegel existed, that he was born in the year 1300, went to Poland, even reached Rome and in Rome even had a wager with the Court-jesters over all sorts of odds and ends of wisdom, and committed all the other Till Eulenspiegelisms, which indeed are to be read in the literature about Till Eulenspiegel himself.’
Learned men — and the men who are scholars, are indeed very learned today and take everything with extraordinary gravity and significance — these have naturally discovered — they have discovered various things: for example, that there was no Homer, etc. — the scholars have naturally also discovered that there never was a Till Eulenspiegel. One of the chief reasons why the actual bones of the actual Till Eulenspiegel, who was only the representative of his age, are not supposed to lie beneath the tombstone in Lauenburg, on which is depicted the owl with the looking-glass, was because another tombstone had been found in Belgium upon which there was likewise an Owl with a mirror. Now the learned men naturally have said — for that is logical is it not, and logical are they all — how does it go in Shakespeare — for they are all honourable men — all, all, all! — logical are they all! They have said: if the same sign is found in Lauenburg and Belgium then naturally no Eulenspiegel existed at all.
Generally in life if one finds a second time what one has found a first time, one takes this as a reinforcement — but it is logical, is it not, in these things to take matters so. Well, we say, if I have one franc, then I have one franc. I believe it. So long as I only know that I have a franc, I believe it! But then I get another and I now have two. Now I believe that I have not one at all! — that is the same logic. This is the logic in fact that is to be found in our science — if I were to recount to you how everywhere it is to be found wry frequently! But what is the essential point of the Eulenspiegel-buffoonery? Read it up in the book: the essential thing of the Till Eulenspiegel-buffoonery always consists in the fact that Eulenspiegel is given some sort of commission, and that he takes it purely literally and naturally carries it out in the wrong way. For obviously if, for instance — to exaggerate somewhat — one were to say to Eulenspiegel (whom I now take as a representative figure) ‘Bring me a doctor,’ he would take the word literally and would bring a man who had graduated as doctor from a University. But he would perhaps bring a man who was — excuse the strong language — a perfect fool, he only went by the sound of the word. All the fooleries of Till Eulenspiegel are like this, he only goes by the wording. But this makes Till Eulenspiegel precisely the representative of the present age. Eulenspiegelism is a keynote in our modern times. Words today are far removed from their original source, ideas are often still farther removed, and people do not notice it, but behave in an Eulenspiegel way to what civilization happens to serve up. It was therefore possible for Fritz Mauthner in a philosophical dictionary to take all the philosophical concepts that he could find and convince one that all these philosophical concepts are actually merely words, that they no longer have a connection with any kind of actuality. People have no notion how far they are removed from reality in what today they call ideas, and even ‘ideals’. In other words: mankind does not know at all how it has made Eulenspiegel into its patron saint, how Eulenspiegel is still wandering through the different lands.
One of the fundamental evils indeed, of our time, rests on the fact that modern humanity flees from Pallas Athene, that is, from the Goddess of Wisdom, and clings to the symbol, the owl (Eule). And mankind no longer has the least idea of it — but it is true, as I have often shown, that the foundation of external knowledge is only a reflection — but, my dear friends, in a mirror one sees that which one is! And so the owl ... I mean the modern scientific profundity, sees in the glass, in the world-maya illusion just simply its own face.
Over such matters as these the being at the left above the modern Isis Statue chuckles and sniggers, and over many other matters which, out of a certain courtesy towards mankind, shall not be mentioned at the moment.
But, a feeling should be called forth that with the peculiarity of this presentation of human mysteries through the real existence of the Luciferic, Ahrimanic, in connection with the Representative of humanity itself, a state of consciousness is to be roused in mankind which wakes those very impulses in the soul which are necessary for the coming age.
‘In the Primal Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God.’ But the word has become phrase, it has withdrawn from its beginning. The word sounds and resounds, but its connection with reality is not sought for; there is no endeavour among men to investigate the primary forces of what goes on around them. And one can only investigate these fundamental forces, in the sense of the present age, if one realizes that the essentiality which we call Luciferic and Ahrimanic, is really bound up with the microcosmic forces of man. And one can only understand reality today for the man living between birth and death, if one can form a few ideas of the other reality, which indeed we have often studied, that lies for man between death and a new birth. For the one reality is only the pole of the other reality, the inverted pole of the other reality.
We have spoken of how in ancient times, when human beings entered on the age of maturity, they not only experienced a change such as still occurs today in the change of voice or some other part of the bodily organism, but they also underwent an alteration of the soul. We have indicated how the ancient Osiris-Isis myth was in fact connected with the vanishing of the alteration of the soul. What then arose in humanity through those essences and forces of which we spoke yesterday, must come again differently, inasmuch as men experience the force of the word, the force of the thought, the force of the idea in a new form. It must not now be as if something arises through the forces of nature from the depths of the bodily organization — as in the change of voice in the boy — something which embellishes man with the power of the animal organization and functions invisibly upon his head as cow-horns. No, there must be a conscious grasping by man of what is meant by the Mystery of Golgotha, by the true power of the Word. A new element must draw into the human consciousness. This new element is radically different from the elements which people still enjoy describing today. This new element, however, has its significance for the social life, for the pedagogy of humanity, when pedagogy, or the theory of Education, comes out of the tragic state in which it exists today.
What does the deeply profound Eulenspiegelism — I should say ‘natural scientific profundity’ — speak of principally when it speaks of man? Of what does even a great part of modern fiction speak? It speaks of the physical origin of man in connection with physical beings of the line of descent. Fundamentally the so-called modern, the much renowned modern theory of evolution is nothing but a conception placing the doctrine of physical descent in the centre. For the idea of heredity plays far the greatest role in the theory of evolution. It is a onesidedness. Men are thoroughly satisfied with such onesidedness, for people think nowadays that in this way one can be very learned. So one can, with quite arbitrary explanations of things, drawn apparently from deep logic, but in reality from misty vagueness.
Yesterday we saw an example of how whole literatures are written because men have lost the connection of a concept with the original experience from which the concept proceeded: the Cross-symbol. A whole literature has been written about it, the cross has been related to everything imaginable. We saw yesterday to what it must be related. The same has been done in regard to many other things and people think themselves very profound when they do it.
I will remind you of one case, my dear friends. Just think how infinitely important many men think themselves nowadays when they believe that they are speaking as we have spoken here today! There are a fair number of people who say — in fact they very frequently use the words — Oh, one can read it any moment in the papers (with respect be it spoken) — ‘the Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’. And with this, one thinks one has said something most profound. But one should inquire about the origin of such a saying. It goes back to those times when one had living concepts which indeed still had a connection with what had been undergone and experienced. When one talks today there is little connection — especially between the word and its place of origin. If you want to have a right connection between words and sentences and their origins, then I advise you to read the little book in which ‘Swiss-German Proverbs’ have now been collected. For one still finds in these popular proverbs an original harmonizing of what is said with the direct experience. The letter ... by this is meant, as you know, the letter-script in contradistinction to the ancient kind which the Imaginative life drew out of the spirit, as we described yesterday. This ancient spirit gave life, and the livingness in that epoch of human evolution resulted in the Imaginative atavistic clairvoyance. But there was a consciousness that this epoch must in turn be succeeded by another, that the letter must come which kills the ancient livingness.
And now bring that into connection with all that I have said about the actual nature of consciousness in connection with death. For it is the letter that kills but that also brings the consciousness which must be overcome again through another consciousness. The sort of disdainful rejection that modern journalistic folly attaches to the proverb ‘the letter kills but the spirit gives life’ is not what is meant, but the sentence is connected with impulses of man's evolution. It implies approximately: In ancient times, Imaginative times, Osiris times, the spirit kept the human soul in a state of dulled livingness, in later times the letter called forth consciousness. That is the interpretation of the sentence, that is what it originally meant. And in many instances, Just as in this one, men today are very ready with opinions, with arbitrary explanations, because they do not connect anything with them.
This does not prove that it is false what the modern profound scientific method has to say about the idea of heredity, it is only that the other pole must be added when one speaks of heredity. If man points to his childhood, and back from childhood to birth, if he asks himself ‘What do I carry within me?’ — then the answer is: what parents and ancestors have carried within them and transmitted to me! There is, however, another way of looking at the human being which present-day man does not as yet practise, which the man of the future must practise, and which must be put in the centre of pedagogy, the art of Education. This is not the looking back at having been younger, but the right consideration of the fact that with every day in life one becomes older. As a matter of fact modern mankind only understands that one has once been young. It does not really understand how to grasp realistically that one gets older with every day. For they do not know the word that must be added to the word heredity when one sets the becoming-older opposite the having-been-young. If one looks to one's childhood one speaks of what one has inherited; in the same way, when one looks towards the getting-older one can speak of the other pole; as of the Gate of Birth, so one can speak of the Gate of Death. There arises the one question: What have we gained through our forefathers by entering this life through the Gate of Birth? There arises the other question: What perhaps do we lose, what becomes different in us through the fact that we are approaching coming times, that we get older with every day? What is it like when we consciously experience the becoming-older-with-every day?
That, however, is a demand on our age. Humanity must learn to become older consciously with every day. For if man learns consciously to become older with every day, then this really means a meeting with spiritual beings, just as it means a descent from physical beings, that one is born and possesses inherited qualities.
I will speak next of how these things are connected: of that important inner impulse which must draw near the human soul, if the soul is to find what is so necessary for the future, what alone can round out and complete the one-sided teachings of Natural Science.
Then you will see why the new Isis Myth can stand beside the old Osiris-Isis Myth, why both together are necessary for the men of today; why other words must be combined with the words which resound from the Statue of Isis at Sais in ancient Egypt: ‘I am the All; I am the Past, the Present, the Future; no mortal has lifted my veil’ ... Other words must sound into these; they may no longer echo one-sidedly into the human soul today but in addition must resound the words: ‘I am Man, I am the Past, the Present and the Future. Every mortal should lift my veil.’
Today I have set before you more riddles than solutions. We will, however, speak of them further and the riddles will then be solved in manifold ways.