Karmic Relationships IV
12 September 1924, Dornach
If we wish our human thought and action to be permeated once more by spiritual life, it will be necessary to receive again in full earnestness such conceptions of the spiritual world as have passed through our souls in these last lectures. For many centuries these conceptions have in reality been lacking to mankind and notably to civilised mankind.
Looking back into various epochs of human history we shall find how in earlier ages human action upon earth was everywhere connected with what was taking place in the super-sensible. It is not that a consciousness of the super-sensible — a certain abstract consciousness of it — has been lacking to the greater part of mankind in recent times. No — but the courage has been lacking to attach the concrete deeds and happenings in the earthly sphere to the equally real forms of life and movement in spiritual worlds.
With our recent studies we are coming to do this once more. And we do so especially when we bring the earthly life of men, as we have been doing here, into connection with the life between death and a new birth, when we connect what is taking place in one earthly life with that which is accomplished in the successive lives of man.
We have begun to consider that spiritual, super-sensible stream of which I was allowed to say that it is connected with our present stream of Michael in the service of which Anthroposophy has placed itself. We have thus entered upon the path which in a certain sense is to approach the karma of the Anthroposophical Movement itself, and at the same time, the karma of the individuals who unite the life of their soul and spirit sincerely, out of a straightforward inner impulse, with the Anthroposophical Movement.
I told you of a super-sensible event which took place under the aegis as it were of the Michael Power at the very time when the Council of 869 was taking place on earth. We know how deeply the whole life and civilisation of the Middle Ages was influenced by that Council. We need only watch the deep reserve with which enlightened spirits in the Middle Ages avoid speaking of the threefold human being, of body, soul and spirit. For the 8th Œcumenical Council at Constantinople had declared the doctrine of the threefold man heretical. Considering the power of such edicts in the Middle Ages it is quite clear that the whole of the spiritual life here on earth then had to take its course as it were under the shadow of this declaration which condemned Trichotomy as heretical.
But all the more intense was that spiritual life which has been working for a long time preparing the Michael stream for the 20th century, the Michael stream in which we stand since the last third of the 19th century and in which mankind will be for three or four centuries to come.
To-day we will speak of the course of this stream of Michael to which we have already begun to turn attention. Then, next Sunday, we shall approach more nearly matters connected on the one hand with the karma of the Anthroposophical Movement, and on the other hand karmically with the spiritual and intellectual life of the present time.
I told you of a kind of super-sensible Council which took place in spiritual regions over the earth at the same time as the 8th Œcumenical Council in Constantinople. In that spiritual council there met together the individualities of Haroun al Raschid and of his wise counsellor, and also the individualities of Alexander and Aristotle. Moreover there were also gathered there the individualities from the time of the spiritual service of King Arthur; and as I explained, all this took place under the aegis of Michael.
Then I told you how Haroun al Raschid appeared again, bringing with him into Europe an oriental spiritual life with an Aristotelian doctrine that had become unchristian. I told you how he appeared again as Bacon, Lord Bacon of Verulam, who had a great influence on the spiritual life of Europe, but an influence of an essentially materialistic tendency. Moreover I told you how the counsellor of Haroun al Raschid whom I had described, appeared again as Amos Comenius. Much is said, and justly, in praise of Amos Comenius. Nevertheless, in one aspect, in his striving to introduce clear pictorial representations into the methods of teaching, he worked powerfully for materialism. For in effect, he laid the greatest stress upon the immediate perception of things with the physical senses.
Thus we see bursting in upon this earthly life at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century, a stream which lies not in the straightforward line of Christian development, but which brings a foreign element, foreign to Christianity, into the spiritual and intellectual evolution of Europe. On the other hand the individualities of Aristotle and Alexander who remained united with the true stream of Michael worked on and on with all those who belonged to them. They went on working in the spiritual worlds.
Moreover other personalities were working within the same stream, partly in the spiritual worlds and partly on the earth itself. There were individualities connected with these spiritual streams and living between death and a new birth. There were others who appeared as personalities on earth in the course of the centuries. These were the individualities connected with Platonism rather than with Aristotelianism, connected also with all that the Platonic conception had since become.
Especially in the centuries following the 9th, we see Platonic spirits descending on to the earth, spirits of a Platonic trend and orientation. It was they who continued through the Middle Ages a Christian teaching regarded as heretical by official Christianity, official Catholicism, but which was nevertheless the truer Christian teaching. Meanwhile the individualities who continued the stream of Christian Aristotelianism remained, to begin with, in the spiritual worlds. For with the given conditions of evolution there was no real point of attachment for their stream down on the earth in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries. On the other hand, those who were more Platonic in character could unfold their spiritual life with remarkable intensity in isolated places, in isolated provinces as it were of the spirit. Interspersed with the Roman Catholic kind of Christianity which asserted itself more and more officially, we find individuals gathered in schools here and there, carrying on traditions of the ancient Mysteries and illuminating Christianity from these ancient sources. And there was one place where all these streams of old tradition seemed to flow together. I mean, of course, the School of Chartres, to which I have so often referred in recent lectures, a school which was spiritual through and through and in which there worked such great spirits as Bernardus Sylvestris, Alanus ab Insulis and others. Now what kind of a spiritual life was it which having thus evolved, flowed at length into the wonderful School of Chartres, only the external aspects of which have really become known to mankind? It was a spiritual life which has been completely silted up in modern times, a spiritual life in which the ancient traditions of the Mysteries were handed down.
Above all within that spiritual life we find a deep and spiritually penetrated conception of Nature, altogether different from that abstract conception of Nature which was afterwards made so much of, which knows only natural laws expressed in abstract thought. The spiritual stream to which I now refer received something spiritual from Nature into the human soul. So that in all Nature, not only abstract, dead, conceptual natural laws were recognised, but living creative activity. Men did not look so much to our present day chemical elements which have since commanded so much admiration, but they looked all the more deeply at what were called the Elements in the ancient sense: Earth, Water, Air and Fire. It was not a question of knowing them in words by mere tradition. The tradition was impregnated still with the most ancient of the Mysteries. And when this is so, we see in the Elements what is indeed not present in our seventy to eighty chemical elements, the world of elemental spirituality the world of certain elemental beings into which we penetrate when we enter livingly into the four Elements.
Then we see how man himself in his outer bodily nature partakes in the life and movement of the Earth, Water, Air, Fire which become in him the organic form and figure. They who thus looked into the life and movement of the Elements, of Earth, Water, Air and Fire did not see mere natural laws, but behind all this life and movement they saw a great and living Being, the Goddess Natura. And from their vision they had an immediate feeling that this Goddess Natura shows only one side of her being to man to begin with, while the other side remains hidden in the world in which man spends the time of sleep between falling asleep and reawakening. For then the ego and astral body are in a spiritual environment which lies at the foundation of Nature. The ego and astral body are with the elemental beings who underlie the Elements. Everywhere in the scattered schools and spiritual centres to which I have referred we find the teachers speaking to larger or smaller groups of pupils, and telling them how in the outer phenomena of Nature as they appear to men in waking life, the Goddess Natura shows only one part of her living and creative being. While on the other hand, in all the working in the Elements in wind and weather, in all that surrounds the human being and constitutes him, there also works what the human being cannot see, what is hidden from him in the darkness of sleep.
These scholars of the Middle Ages felt the great Goddess Natura as the Goddess who ascends for half of the time, revealing herself in the outer movement and activity of physical sense Nature and who on the other hand descends nightly and yearly to live and work in fields of creation hidden from man by the dark consciousness of sleep.
Now this was the direct continuation of the old conception of Proserpina as it existed in the ancient Mysteries. We must consider what this signifies. We to-day have a conception of Nature woven out of abstract thought, consisting of natural laws, speaking and thinking in abstract terms, containing nothing that is alive. But in that old conception of nature they still contemplated Nature as men had once contemplated the very active Goddess Proserpina, the daughter of Demeter. And in the ideas in which the pupils of those schools were instructed, proceeding as they did from a still living tradition, there were many sayings and expressions which were in reality an exact continuation of what had been said of Proserpina in the ancient Mysteries.
Then the teachers would lead the human being from a conception of his bodily life to an understanding of his life of soul. They made it clear to him: With respect to your bodily nature you consist of the Elements in which the elemental beings are working with you. But you also bear the soul within you. This is not subject to the influence of the Elements alone. On the contrary it rules over the organisation of the Elements within you and this your soul stands under the influence of the planetary world, of Mercury, Jupiter and Venus, of Sun and Moon, Saturn and Mars. Thus if psychology were to be studied, man's vision was directed upward to the secrets of the planetary world. The reality of the human being was extended from the bodily into the soul nature in such a way as to perceive always the living connection with the universe. From the working and weaving of the Elements, Earth, Water, Air and Fire, it was expanded to all that the planets do in the soul-life of man — the planets in their circling, in their glory, in the actions of their light, in their mysterious occult influences. Thus from the Goddess Natura, the successor of Proserpina, they looked up to the Intelligences, to the Genii of the planets when they wished to understand the human life of soul.
Then when it was a question of understanding the spiritual life (for the teachers of these isolated schools had not let the dogma of the 8th Council of Constantinople deter them from studying the spirit in itself) — when it was a matter of considering the spiritual life, they turned their gaze upwards to the fixed stars, and their configurations. They looked up above all to what is represented in the Zodiac. And they regarded what man bears within him as the spirit in connection with the constellations, the glory of the fixed stars, the spiritual Powers whom they knew to be there in the stars.
Thus from the whole universe, from the cosmos, they understood the human being. Thus the macrocosm was there in reality, and the microcosm, man. Such was the doctrine of Nature in that time, taught with enthusiasm in isolated schools and also offered to mankind by isolated individuals who were scattered here and there. And at length as in a kind of culmination, all these things were wonderfully reproduced by such individualities as Bernardus Sylvestris, Alanus ab Insulis and others in the School of Chartres.
Wonderful indeed was this School of Chartres. If we look at its writings to-day they seem, as I already said, like catalogues of names. But in that time it was not customary to write in any other way of things which one wished to have before one in full living spirituality. One simply catalogued them as it were. He however who can read such things, he above all who can read the order in which they are placed, can very well perceive how permeated by ancient spirituality are the writings that come to us from the teachers of Chartres. But the deep spirituality of the school worked not only in the teaching that was given, nor in the fact that there were many pupils who carried out again into the world what they had learnt there. No, it also worked in a direct spiritual way. The living spirituality that was present in that School radiated out even in an occult way into the spiritual atmosphere of mankind. We see the spiritual rays of the School of Chartres passing through France even into Italy. And in many schools whose outer name has been handed down to history, a teaching about Nature was given such as I have here indicated. Brunetto Latini, the teacher of Dante, returning from his post as an Ambassador in Spain suffered at the same time a slight sunstroke and a great shock as he came near to Florence, the city of his fathers. At that moment he was really touched by the occult radiations of the School of Chartres and underwent an experience which he himself describes as follows. — He said that as he came near the city of Florence he entered a deep forest. There he first met three animals and then he met the Goddess Natura who built up the kingdoms of Nature in the very way in which this had been taught for centuries as I have indicated. He, however, beheld it directly. In the semi-pathological condition which soon passed, what had been taught in the School became immediate vision to him. Then, having seen the Goddess Natura, the successor of Proserpina, in her creative work, he beheld how man is built up out of the Elements and how the soul lives and moves in the forces of the planets. Then with his thought he was uplifted even into the heaven of the fixed stars. Thus in his own person he experienced the whole of this majestic, medieval science. And he was the teacher of Dante. Had he not been so, had he not given to his pupil Dante what he had received in this majestic vision, we should not have the Divina Commedia, for the Divina Commedia is the reflection of Brunetto Latini's teaching in the soul of Dante.
Now you must see that in that time there was no other possibility than to work with such things within the institutions of the Church, and these indeed were much freer than they afterwards became. In effect, all these teachers of Chartres belonged to Monastic Orders. We see them wearing the garment of Cistercians. We see them connected with the good tendencies within the life of the Christian Monastic Orders.
Then came a strange phase of development. During the whole of this period, when the Platonists had been active in the way just described, the Aristotelians could not work on earth. The conditions were not there. But instead, they were preparing for the Michael stream in the super-sensible world, maintaining a continuous connection with those who were working on earth in the same direction and who then found their way to Chartres. The School of Chartres was in full flower from the end of the 11th and throughout the 12th century, and then a kind of super-sensible exchange of ideas took place between the Platonic souls from the School of Chartres who were now coming up into the spiritual world through the gate of death and the Aristotelian souls who had remained above. It was an exchange of ideas which took place in the Middle Ages at the turn of the 12th and 13th century, as to the manner of working in the future. (Earthly terms have to be used for these things, although naturally they are not really in keeping and can easily make one appear ridiculous.)
The outcome of this exchange of ideas — since different conditions now prevailed in the spiritual life of European humanity — was that the Platonists who had been so active in Chartres and were now coming up into the super-sensible world, passed on their mission to the Aristotelians. And these Aristotelian souls now descended into the physical world in order to carry forward in the way that conditions allowed, what I will call the cosmic service of Michael.
Within the Dominican Order, where they were active in the most manifold ways, we find again those souls who worked more in the Aristotelian sense. For the work on earth, the Platonic souls were replaced, so to speak, by the Aristotelian souls. And now there developed that system of thought which in truth can be rightly appraised to-day only within the Anthroposophical Movement — I once gave lectures here on the true form and background of Scholasticism [ The Redemption of Thinking. A Study in the Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Three lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in 1920. Translated and edited with an Introduction, Epilogue and Appendices, by A. P. Shepherd and Mildred Robertson Nicholl (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1956).] — there developed medieval Scholasticism, the teaching which in an age already hastening towards materialism strove to preserve as much spirituality in human concepts as it is possible to preserve.
Before Bacon of Verulam and Comenius appeared on earth, Scholasticism had been carrying forward the service of Michael. We see how Scholasticism, the so-called realistic school of philosophy, strove to rescue the source of spirituality which man bears in his thoughts. The Scholastics ascribe reality to that which man grasps through his thoughts. It is a thin, attenuated spirituality that could there be rescued, but it is spirituality.
Thus is the spiritual life carried forward in the evolution of the worlds. Seeing it in its reality, possessing the science of Initiation, we can do no other: we must always perceive the physical, or that which takes place in physical history upon earth, together with the spiritual that permeates it, coming from spiritual worlds. Thus we reach a united and harmonious conception. First, until the time of Chartres, the Platonic souls are working, and then the Aristotelian. We first behold the Aristotelian souls influencing with inspiration from the super-sensible worlds the teachers who, as Platonic souls, are dwelling upon earth, teaching and unfolding science upon earth in earthly forms of understanding. We gaze into this living interplay; we see the teacher of Chartres sitting there on this earthly ground, unfolding his studies that are permeated by spiritual vision, while there penetrates into this earthly scene the inspiring ray from the Aristotelian soul above, bringing the Platonically coloured teachings into the right channels. It is a very different conception of life from what is usual to-day. For in external life men are so fond of contrasting and dividing Platonists from Aristotelians. But in reality it is not so. The times and epochs of the earth require teachings to be given, now in Platonic, now in Aristotelian terms. But if our wisdom includes the super-sensible life in the background, we perceive the one fructifying the other, the one enclosed within the other.
Then again, when the Aristotelians were teaching in the Dominican Order, the Platonic souls, who were now once more in the spiritual world, were the inspiring genii. They had already come to an understanding in the spiritual worlds with these Aristotelian souls who afterwards descended to the earth. Life was altogether different in those times. One may believe it or not, but it was so. Looking back spiritually into those Middle Ages we find such a spirit as Alanus ab Insulis sitting in his lonely cell, given up to his studies, and receiving from the super-sensible world, like a spirit-visitor who comes to him as a companion, an Aristotelian soul. Nay, even afterwards, when the Aristotelians appear in the Dominican Order, there is still a powerful consciousness of belonging to the spiritual world. We can see it in such an instance as the following. One of the Dominican teachers descends into the physical earth-life earlier than another soul with whom he is united. The other soul remains behind in the spiritual world to begin with, in order to accomplish something there which he will afterwards carry down to his companion who went before him. And at length the two are working together again on the earth. All this takes place with consciousness. In their work and activity they know themselves to be in living connection with the spiritual world.
Subsequent history has left no trace of these things. But, my dear friends, to know the truth about historical life we must not seek to derive it alone from the documents of modern time. Moreover, we must see life with open-minded vision. It may be that it unfolds in circles with which perhaps we can have little sympathy. Yet we must see it as something which is placed by karma into these very circles, and the inner significance of which is altogether different.
The task and possibility of thus reading in the real events has come to me in many remarkable ways during my life. Only now do I perceive and penetrate many an experience that I have met with in the course of my life, clear and distinct like an occult writing. Indeed for the most significant of our experiences karma works and weaves in deep and mysterious ways. And if I may say so, there is a very strong karma underlying the fact that to-day and in recent times, at many places, I have been speaking of such things as the School of Chartres, and what preceded and what came after it. For the greatest of those who taught in the School of Chartres belonged to the Cistercian Order. Now the Cistercian Order, like the other Orders in the Catholic stream of development, has become decadent, but in this growing decadence there is also much illusion of appearance. For individualities occasionally find themselves in outer life-connections to which they do not properly belong, while in reality they are carrying forward old threads of spiritual life which are indeed of the greatest value for Anthroposophy itself. But life and karma brings them into these outer connections. Thus I have always been struck by the fact that from my earliest youth, until a certain period of life, something of the Cistercian Order again and again approached me. Having gone through the elementary school, I narrowly escaped — for reasons which I explained in my autobiography The Story of My Life — becoming a pupil in gymnasium or grammar school conducted by the Cistercian Order. Everything seemed to be leading in this direction; but my parents, as I have explained, eventually decided to send me to the modern school instead. Thus I did not become a pupil in the grammar school connected with the Cistercians, and, needless to say, this was also for very good karmic reasons.
But the modern school which I attended was only five steps away from the Cistercian grammar school. Thus we made the acquaintance of all those excellent Cistercian teachers whose work was indeed of a high quality at that time. I need not speak of the Order itself; it is the individuals to whom I refer. To this day I think with profound appreciation of one of those Cistercian priests who taught German literature at that grammar school with deep enthusiasm. And I see the Cistercian priest before me in many other individualities, in the Alleegasse in Wiener Neustadt, where the teachers used to walk up and down before the school hours began — Cistercian priests in civilian costume, eminently gifted men. At that time I was far more concerned to read the essays of the teachers in the school year-book at the end of the year, than the ordinary text-books during the year. I read with keen devotion what these Cistercians wrote of their own wisdom in the year-book of the grammar school in Wiener Neustadt.
In short, the Cistercian Order was near to me. And without a doubt (though these of course are hypotheses such as one uses only for purposes of illustration), if I had gone to the Cistercian school I should, as a matter of course, have become a Cistercian.
Then I came to Vienna. (All these things are described in The Story of My Life). After a time I came into the circle around Marie Eugenie delle Grazie, where many professors of the theological faculty in Vienna used to gather. I learned to know some of them intimately. All those professors were members of the Cistercian Order. Thus once again I came together with Cistercians, and through the currents which flow through the Cistercian Order to-day, I have been able to follow many things back into the past.
To show how karma works I will refer to one event. I had to give a lecture. Now through the afternoon teas at delle Grazie's I had grown well acquainted with the Cistercian professors of theology who frequented her house. I gave a lecture. A priest of the Cistercian Order was there — a remarkable and excellent man. When I had finished my lecture he made a very peculiar remark, the nature of which I will only indicate by saying: he uttered words in which was contained his memory of having been together with me in a
Such things do indeed educate us for life. It was in the year 1889. In Das Goetheanum, former life on earth.1The weekly periodical published at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland. Rudolf Steiner died before the autobiographical essays had been completed, but those that were available have been collected in the book The Course of My Life. of course, I could only take the external aspect of these things; but my autobiographical essays will be published as a book with added notes in which the inner aspect will also be duly dealt with. Here, you see, I have told you something of the karmic foundations which have made it possible for me to speak at all in this form about these particular spiritual streams. For one cannot study these things by mere study. One's study of them must consist in life itself.
Thus I have shown how the Platonic stream and the Aristotelian worked together. Then the Aristotelians too went once more through the gate of death. And as we know, with the age of the Spiritual Soul, materialism became more and more predominant on earth. But at the very time when materialism took its start on earth there was founded in the super-sensible worlds a kind of Michael School. As I said, we can refer to these things only with our everyday terminology. It was a far-spread School of Michael in which spirits like Bernardus Sylvestris and Alanus ab Insulis were united after death. And with them once more Alexander and Aristotle. These and other human souls who were not in earthly incarnation at that time, were united here with spiritual beings who, though they spend their lives without ever being incarnated on the earth, are yet connected with earthly souls. Michael himself was a Teacher, gazing back over all that had been the great teachings of the ancient Mysteries, comprehending in a marvellous sweep of vision the secrets of the ancient Mysteries, and opening out at the same time a mighty panorama of what was to come.
In one form or another we find certain souls who took part in that super-sensible school in the 14th/15th century. They had been connected together in many lives on earth. We find them among the hosts which strive towards the stream of Michael, receiving into the impulses of their will what we may call: The will to be united with the stream of Michael.
We gaze upon these souls. Very few of them were on earth. Most of them were in the life between death and a new birth, partaking in that super-sensible gathering, in that spiritual school. We find them there, these souls, we find them there, harkening to the teachings of Michael, and we find them again to-day in the souls who, connected on the earth, unfold a sincere and upright striving of their inner life towards the Anthroposophical Movement.
In the karma of those who tend with inner sincerity towards the Anthroposophical Movement, there lie the deep impulses, the karmic significance of which must again be studied in the spiritual worlds themselves. Of course the fact that those souls were driven by their karma to such a heavenly community at that time, is due again to the fact that in former earthly lives they had shaped their karma accordingly, so that it led them there. Nevertheless one cannot recognise the karma of human souls without looking, not only at what happens at any given time on earth, but also at what happens between death and a new birth.
Our outlook on the world is infinitely enriched by this. Contemplating the souls who labour in the world — and in the last resort this applies to all men — we no longer have to begin at the point where they enter earthly existence, or cease at the point where they die; for in effect they neither then begin to work, nor do they cease. And in all that takes place spiritually, not only the souls that are incarnated on the earth to-day are working, but other souls, who are now between death and a new birth, and who send their rays of influence in upon the earth. In our own actions their impulses are contained. For all these things work together, even as the deeds on earth penetrate into the heavenly regions, and continue working there, as I indicated pictorially, for instance, in the characters of Capesius and Strader in the first Mystery Play.
Brunetto Latini, Dante's teacher, he is there. He died. He went through the gate of death, but death itself is a transformation of life. He is still there. He works on, and we find him if we seek him spiritually.
The picture of the spiritual evolution of mankind is made complete if we are able to include the so-called dead. Nay, in reality, they are far more living than the so-called living. In very many things that happen on the earth we find Brunetto Latini living and working to-day, although he is not incarnate on the earth. Thus you will see how intimately united the earthly life is with the super-sensible. We cannot speak at all of a super-sensible world separated from the earthly world of sense. For everything that is of the senses is permeated at the same time supersensibly, and everything that is super-sensible is revealed somewhere and sometime in the world of sense. Moreover we can only truly receive and understand the earthly life if we recognise that these things are behind it.
This, my dear friends, is to be the future of the Anthroposophical Movement since the Christmas Foundation Meeting. We must treat of the super-sensible facts openly and without reserve, confessing them in fullness of knowledge. This should be the esoteric trait permeating the Anthroposophical Movement. Thus alone will it be possible to give it its real spiritual content.
For you see, all that I described to you as the stream of Michael has gone on into our time. But individualities appearing again on earth have to make use, in the first place, of the physical bodies that are possible in a given age. They must find their way into the impulses of education which a given age provides. In the materialistic age all these things become their external garment. And our materialistic age offers the greatest imaginable hindrances to souls who had a rich spirituality in former lives on earth. To pour this spirituality into the bodies of this age, especially when they have to be prepared by modern educational methods, is extraordinarily difficult. Thus you need not wonder when I say: The souls which strive earnestly towards Anthroposophy are to be found in this way in former epochs of evolution. We cannot lay the foundations of true knowledge unless we can perceive the real interplay of all that lives and works in the world. For spiritual research itself depends on the spiritual life and requires us to seek the spiritual along its own true path. The paths of the spirit are different in every age. In our age they are possible only if we have beneath our feet the firm ground of a spiritual knowledge of external Nature.
The former age which I described within the stream of Michael was followed by one which here on the earth shows an altogether materialistic aspect, an age in which all things are developed materialistically. In the super-sensible evolution of this age there is the most intensive work of preparation for the impulses of Michael, which have now been carried down, so to speak, from heaven to the earth. But this new age to-day cannot take its start from what has gone before in the last few centuries. We must indeed be familiar with the things that have unfolded upon earth in the last few centuries, but we cannot take our start from them. With the consciousness of this modern age we must take our start from what has taken place in the super-sensible during the last few centuries. In saying this we touch upon ground which must become the basis of anthroposophical life and work in this present time. Conceptions such as I have explained in the last few lectures must not merely be received with cold intellect and indifferent hearts. They must be received by the full human being, by the whole compass of the human heart and mind. Anthroposophy can mean something for mankind only if it is received with the whole compass of the human heart and soul.
Such is the foundation of the will of the Anthroposophical Movement, which is united since the Foundation Meeting with the Anthroposophical Society. We long that this should enter deeply into the souls of human beings who are united with this Movement, that they should grow conscious of what is truly connected with their karma in the depths of their own souls.
Thus we have laid a kind of foundation, and from this point we will proceed next Sunday when we will study the further course of the stream of Michael, so as to perceive its resulting tasks for Anthroposophy and for the whole spiritual life of the present time.