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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 28

Berlin, 3-14-'08

Strive towards fire;
Then you'll have fire.
Ignite fire.
Throw body, soul and spirit in fire;
Then you have dead and living fire.
It becomes black yellow white red fire.
Give birth to your children in fire.
Feed, water and nourish them in fire.
Then they live and die in fire.
Their silver and gold all become fire,
And finally become a fourfold philosophical fire.

Graphic 2

If an esoteric mediates on these lines and the diagram they give him much strength. During the Saturn period there was only a warmth globe on which the spirits of darkness attained their human stage. The blood we had then was dark. There was a hidden fire or warmth on the planet, but no light. When Saturn disappeared, the Sun rose from the darkness, the second, air element with its oxygen made Saturn's glimmer burst into flames, and then there was light, as is symbolized by the alchemist's sulfur. Blood turned from black to yellow.

During the Moon period the whole atmosphere was watery, but not like the water we know. It was divided into spherical drops that moved past each other with tremendous speed. One finds this condition of Moon substance in quicksilver, that also divides into very small spheres and is more mobile than all other substances. During the Moon period blood was as white as this substance, and it was given forms by the world tone. These forms are female. The whole Moon represents the female principle.

The fourth, earth element appeared during the Earth period in connection with the third alchemistic substance—salt, the symbol of crystallization and dissolution. This is where the male element appears. Our present men with their red blood are shaped on the earth. Everything that dissolves is salt.

Thus we have four kinds of fire in the four kinds of blood: black on old Saturn, yellow on old Sun, white on old Moon and red on earth. The warmth that now lives in our blood is the warmth of the planet Saturn. All these bloods or fires are still in us and are instruments for spirits who work in and on us, until we'll be individualized enough to do what these spirits do. The air we inhale is the instrument, bearer or body of a certain kind of spirit. The light rays that pass into our eyes have a light spirit in them who works upon our eyes. Saturn spirits find a point of attack in the warmth of the blood and ego. Some of them are very bad and dangerous.

The verse above shows the way to control our instruments. The four kinds of fire refer to our four lower sheaths that are the “children” of the I. They must be “burned in the fire of the spirit,” so that they can become a fourfold philosophical fire in the Vulcan period. We must “add fire to fire,” that is, the fiery, lower passions must be purified by uniting them with the higher, spiritual fire.

We might get a clearer idea of how this happens if we consider that our whole life is filled with four kinds of activity. We perceive the surroundings with our physical senses. We feel sympathy or antipathy for others with our life body. We feel wishes and emotions with our desires body. We draw conclusions and make decisions with our intellect. That's the most important part, that we form conclusions and decisions. We can change our opinions about a thing, but a done deed remains, and the result of a whole planetary period depends upon the decisions that were made during it. Just as fire leaves ashes of the burnt material behind, so a resolve or decision leaves something good or bad behind forever. That's why an occult principle says: when in doubt, do nothing.

The ashes that a thought leaves strengthen bones, and so people with rickets do better if they think abstractly. Our sympathy or antipathy works on the etheric body. We can easily see this through ordinary observation. We know that the etheric body controls glands. A gourmet drools when he sees good food. The glands in our body dry out and become like the bark of a tree that protects the interior to the extent that we learn to control ourselves and to bring our sympathy or antipathy into harmony. Saps rise and fall in a plant, and in winter it dies because it has no protection from the cold. Whereas a tree allows its outer side to dry out and become bark; this protects it from the cold and storms. That's the way an initiate is; his life body doesn't die from one incarnation to the next. That's the way Druids were, and “Druid” means oak—the strongest tree.

Blood is the I's instrument. Saturn spirits work in the warmth of our blood, as Christ worked in Jesus' blood from age 30 on. Before that Jesus had worked on his physical, etheric and astral bodies. Then Christ took hold of the blood and purified it during the three years. That's why blood had to flow. When we've purified our four bodies in the same way we'll then have the four-fold philosophical fire that belongs to the Vulcan period.