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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Ancient Myths
Their Meaning and Connection with Evolution
GA 180

Ancient Myths Cover

Starting with the myths of Osiris and Isis and the Greek gods, Steiner shows how humanity has been deserted by the Gods and made independent. But it is only in our thinking that the Gods have deserted us. They are still present and active in other realms; and we can have access to them through Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition.

Seven lectures given in Dornach, 4th to 13th January, 1918. Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer, by M. Cotterell. These lectures are from the lecture series entitled, Mystery Truths and the Christmas Impulse. The original German text of these lectures are published under the title: Mysterienwahrheiten und Weihnachtsimpulse. Alle Mythen und ihre Bedeutung. Geistige Wesen und ihre Wirkungen (Vol. 180 in the Bibliographical Survey, 1961).

I. The Nature of Mythical Thinking, Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew January 04, 1918
The nature of mythical thinking. Egyptian, Greek and Hebrew way to connect oneself with the Universe. Osiris-Isis Myth and the generation of the Gods of the Greeks. What had been spiritual experience in Egyptian and Greek myth became teaching in Old Testament.
II. The Change of Soul in the Change of Consciousness January 05, 1918
Looking back on the change of soul in development of consciousness. Change from picture writing to letter script. Separation of the word from the soul experience. Formerly a change of consciousness at puberty. Forces underlying the feelings of nationalism. Development of abstract thought. Meaning of the cross.
III. How Can Osiris Be Awakened to New Life? January 06, 1918
How can Osiris be awakened to new life? Man must work towards the experiencing of Imaginations. The Veil of Isis. Man to learn to lift the veil of knowledge. He must lay hold of the Word. Instead, today, Man flees from Wisdom. Eulenspiegelism.
IV. The Theory of Heredity, Old Isis Inscription January 08, 1918
The theory of heredity. The old Isis inscription and the motto which completes it for the present and the future. In the present time man is estranged from reality. Man turned gaze to the earth and now must turn to the spiritual. Inner mission of our time is the development of a spiritually free humanity.
V. The Getting Younger of Humanity while Advancing in Time January 11, 1918
The getting younger of humanity while advancing in time. In consequence the possibility of development of the single human being diminishes. Materialism must bring unhappiness and can be countered by Spiritual Science. Art of education is wanting. Friedrich Schlegel's demands for a spiritualization of science fails. Cannot build on old but through a new impulse.
VI. Duality of the Human Being, Head and Trunk January 12, 1918
Duality of human being. Head-man and trunk-man. Transformation of head knowledge into heart knowledge. Transformation of education needed. Concepts of a mechanical universe have to be overcome so that child may feel himself to be a member of whole cosmos. When secrets of the world and of man become social wisdom of life then a social theory is possible that grasps real life. Lack in religion, also. Hatred of Czarism.
VII. Man Is the Solution of the Riddle January 13, 1918
Man is solution of world riddle. His being unites with a cosmic auric substance that streams into earth and out again. Today, no relation between head-man and heart-man. Mankind unable to find connection of its soul with its thoughts. Task of future educational science to enable child to feel how he is built up out of Cosmos. Value of myth and legend. What it accomplishes is rejuvenation of man and proper reaction between head and heart. Socialism is head knowledge and the head not of this earth. A spirituality connected with the earth's future must be found.