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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Instructions
GA 270

Seventh Lesson

11 April 1924, Dornach

My dear friends! A whole group of new members of this school have arrived here today, and so I am obliged to say at least a few words once again to convey something of the principles of this school.

The first thing to be said about this school is that it forms the esoteric aspect of the existing Anthroposophical Movement, which with the Christmas Conference here at the Goetheanum has been newly reestablished. Earlier there were a few esoteric circles at the Goetheanum. All these esoteric circles must by and by come into this school, for it certainly has occurred that with the Christmas Conference a new spirit has come into the Anthroposophical Movement, insofar as it streams through the Anthroposophical Society.

I have also just spoken the words abroad, in recapitulation, which should point out the difference between the Anthroposophical Movement before Christmas, and what we now have since Christmas. Previously the Anthroposophical Society was a sort of administrative body for anthroposophical teachings, for the substance of Anthroposophy. Since Christmas it is different. Now it does more than merely foster Anthroposophy in the Anthroposophical Society. Now it is constituted so that Anthroposophy is actually done, which means that all things that flow through the Anthroposophical Society bearing on operations and ideas are constituted so as to be anthroposophical through and through.

What has happened with this renewal, my dear friends, must be taken in with sufficient depth, and fundamentally must be taken in with deepest sincerity. The renewal will then allow a differentiation between the Anthroposophical Society in general, and this esoteric school within the Anthroposophical Society. In keeping with the principle of openness that was established at the Christmas Conference, the Anthroposophical Society will of course require no more of its members than that they stand honestly by whatever Anthroposophy is, that they are, we might say, listeners to Anthroposophy, and that they make of this Anthroposophy whatever they can with their hearts and souls.

It is quite different within the school. Whoever enters this school, declares thereby that as a member he will be a true representative of the Anthroposophical Movement. And in this esoteric school, that eventually will be expanded into three classes, in this esoteric school the freedom implicit for every member of the anthroposophical community most certainly must be made to rule. Also, for the directorate, the Executive Council at the Goetheanum, 1Der Vorstand whose members answer for the school, full freedom must rule.

Being a true member of this school entails that in whatever matters a member is engaged with in daily life, that an anthroposophical approach is displayed to the world. And the Goetheanum Executive Council, as it appears to them, must be able to decide whether a member, not being able to be a representative of the Anthroposophical Movement, should therefore be stricken from the membership of the school. It must be a two-way relationship.

In the future, in the holding and handling of this school, a certain spirit must be engaged, a spirit that is ever more and more serious and in a certain sense stronger. Otherwise, we just cannot progress further with the Anthroposophical Movement. We ourselves must really feel it within the school, especially if we have a chance to enhance and strengthen Anthroposophy. There will be hard times ahead for Anthroposophy, and so the members of the school must know the difficulties that they have taken upon themselves. They are not simply devoted to Anthroposophy, but are members of an esoteric school.

And it must be seen as a commitment, a most inward commitment, that the operation of the Executive Council, as it is presently constituted, is seen in its esoteric substance. This must ever more and more come into the awareness of the members, which has not yet happened. It must happen. It must come to be generally known. And it says a lot, that at this time an Executive Council has come into being out of the esoteric.

What is certainly being pointed out, is that all of those who rightfully regard themselves as members of the school, should see the school as having been founded not by men and women, but rather by the will of the present-day ruling spiritual powers of the world. The school should be seen as having been put in place by the spiritual world, and should be seen as the meaningful work of the spiritual world, the spiritual world that not only feels somewhat responsible for it, but the spiritual world that feels responsible for it in the strongest sense. Therefore, whoever does not take this School seriously, and does not carry it within when involved in daily activities, without fail, for such a member, who does not take the matter seriously, his membership must be stricken.

Actually, lassitude to a very great degree has infiltrated the Anthroposophical Society in the last few years. To remove this forever is to be one of the many functions of this school. We should feel ourselves to be responsible for the words that we speak, we should before all things feel responsible for them, so that every word we speak, in the most serious sense, has been so fully verified by us, that we can represent it as truth. For untruthful statements, even when coming forth with good will, will work destructively within an occult movement. There must be no deceit about this, but rather the fullest clarity must reign. It comes down to this, the intention is not to allow it to wash lightly over a person, but the intention is to arrive at the absolute truth. And among the first responsibilities of a student of the esoteric, is that he not only feel a commitment to relate what he believes to be the truth, but that a commitment is felt to verify that the things that are said are actual objective truths. For only when (in the sense of objective truth) we have won godly spiritual might, the strength of which runs through this school, will we thereby be able to steer our way through all the difficulties that will beset Anthroposophy.

One should also not fail to attend to what is happening in the external world. Now please, my friends, whatever is spoken in the environs of the school should remain within the environs of the school. Yet I tell you that even within the environs of the school, one may not forget the sorts of things that are being discussed by authoritative personalities, such as the following: “Those who represent the principles of the Roman Church will be doing their utmost in the near future to make the individual states of the former German Empire independent,” and I am merely reporting, “so that out of these independent states, with the exclusion of Prussia, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation can once more be established, which in turn, having been established out of such a prominent quarter, will of course spread its influence over neighboring regions.” These persons say that they will have to do this in order to destroy, in root and branch, those movements that are most dangerous and frightful. They add that if they fail to reestablish the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, then they will find other means by which to destroy in root and branch those most contrary, those most dangerous movements. The movements they are referring to are the Anthroposophical Movement and the Movement for Religious Renewal.

I am quoting them almost word for word. And you should see, from what I say time and again, that the difficulties will not become smaller, but rather every week greater, and that what I say is built through and through on a firm foundation. I would like you to take this to heart at once, by bringing an earnest heart-felt quality to what you become acquainted with as members of this school. Only when we are members of this school openly, fully, in earnest, and actively, will we be able to reach the bedrock that is absolutely necessary, if we are to make it through the difficulties of the future.

You may conclude from this that opponents will take Anthroposophy, and its branch Religious Renewal, much more seriously than many already ensconced as members. For when one becomes aware of the intention of reconstituting the broken-up Holy Roman Empire of 1806, and the implication that it is in order to dispose of our Movement, then one must take the matter very seriously. In a movement grounded in the spirit, it really and truly does not matter, my dear friends, just how many members are in the movement. What does matter is the sort of strength living within, strength that has come out of the spiritual world. The opponents know that this sort of strong force dwells within our Movement, so don't enter into it lightly, but with sufficient strength and firmness.


Now, my dear friends, the content of these class-lessons has essentially been drawn from those things which can be imparted about meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold, and what this meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold on first encounter, on first experience signifies for the attainment of truer, more genuine supersensible insight, of actually knowing. Today I would like to add a few remarks to what we have already been looking into.

It is not easy to present to someone that the meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold can really happen, if the person has not had the experience of knowing what it means for their human nature to be in the "I am” and their astral body to be outside of the physical body. For if a person's essential being is closed up within the physical body, he can only take whatever is in his vicinity as the truth, when it has been verified through the apparatus of the physical body. And through the apparatus of the physical body, the sensory world can only come to be taken as a reflection of the spiritual world, which initially is not disclosed through the senses, but is merely reflected.

Now in general, it is not so difficult to leave one’s body. It is done every time one goes to sleep. A person is then outside of his body. But when outside of his body in the state of sleep, then his awareness is also quenched to the point of unconsciousness. Only illusory dreams, or perhaps also dreams that are not illusory, surge up out of this loss of consciousness. It is part of the subject matter of the attainment of higher awareness, however, to leave the physical body with fully aware-self-possession, so that external to his physical body one may perceive around about himself, just as within his physical body with the help of the physical senses he perceives the physical world. And he partakes then, outside of his physical body, of the spiritual world in truth.

Initially, however, a person just sleeps without awareness. Under ordinary conditions it is not given to us to know what could be seen when outside of one’s body. And this specifically is due to a person being protected from coming upon the spiritual world unprepared.

If and when a person is sufficiently prepared, what happens with him then? Then, when the person steps up to the abyss between the sensory world and the spiritual world [It was marked in red.], when the person has been found to be prepared, as has been pointed out in the last lesson, then the Guardian of the Threshold takes the true individuality of the person out and beyond, allowing over-flight of the abyss [It was marked in yellow.], under the agency of what has been delineated in the foregoing mantric verses. And for the first time, from the other side of the Threshold, a person can then observe his own sensory being, his physical being.

Such is the first grand impression of true experience, my dear friends, when the Guardian of the Threshold can say to a person, "Look over there, there you are, so you appear to the outside while within the physical world, but with me, you appear in your innermost being."

And then resounding again and again from the Guardian of the Threshold is a significant word. For now, it resounds from the Guardian of the Threshold out over the abyss, this significant word, in calling out to the person, for him to retain his presence of mind when he looks upon himself quite differently from the other side of the abyss. And he does look upon himself quite differently. He beholds himself as threefold. [It was marked in green.] 2Sinn is “mind-awareness,” whereas Geist is “body-free spirit-awareness.” Body-free thinking becomes many-formed sensing. Body-free feeling becomes seed-awakening heart-thinking. Body-free willing becomes goal-directed willing.

Full Blackboard Drawing
Mind — Spirit

He beholds himself in his threefold nature, expressed in soul in thinking, in feeling, and in willing. There are actually three people, the thinking person, the feeling person, and the willing person, all of which have been stuck into each person, and for the time being are really only drawn together in the physical world through the physical body. And all this, that the person looks upon, is intoned by the lips of the Guardian of the Threshold in the following manner.

O show the three
They are the one,
When you bear the stamp of man
In existence-awareness on the earth.

Or it could be the human stamp, for one must of course translate the words from the occult speech.

O show the three
They are the one,
When you bear the stamp of man
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

Experience the head’s world-gestalt
Feel the heart’s world-beat
Think the limb’s world-strength

They are the three,
The three, that live as one
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

[The mantra was now written on the board.]

O show the three
They are the one,
When you bear the human stamp
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

Experience the head’s world-gestalt
Feel the heart’s world-beat
Think the limb’s world-strength

They are the three,
The three, that live as one
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

The Guardian of the Threshold points out here how the three, which separate from one another as soon as the person leaves his physical body, how the three appear in relationship to this physical body. The gaze is directed out upon the physical body, upon the head, the heart, the various members of the body, and as said by the Guardian of the Threshold, "When you in actual truth behold the human head, this human head will be an image of the heavenly universe. You must gaze out upon the far-flung depths that seem to border on and to define the world, and realize it is not so, your physical one-sided envisioning of it, you must gaze out and on, and in your gazing out and on, you must remember that your head, in its roundness, is really a truthful image of the surrounding heavenly world.” And one may connect to this here and now by bringing into awareness the mantric verse.

Experience the head’s world-gestalt

One connects outwardly through the symbol of a triangle pointing up. [It was drawn before the line.]

Through this symbol, as one pauses at this line of the mantric verse, you send your attention to the wide-open space above, and take note that everything around and about the earth is certainly part of this wide-open space above. You send your attention out and make it all an immediate presence.

Feel the heart’s world-beat

Through this cosmic-heavenly presence flows the rhythm of the world, resounding as music of the world. When we feel the human heart beating, it seems as though this human heart is merely beating out upon all that passes before the human organism. In reality, what beats in the heart is a harmonious counterpoint to what has been circling as world-rhythm for not merely a thousand years, but a million years. Hence one again pauses, as the Guardian of the Threshold speaks accordingly the words "Feel the heart’s world-beat" and one senses, finds with empathy, feels what takes effect both in the heart and all around and overhead. [Now the symbol ⧖ of a down-pointing and an up-pointing triangle connected at the tips was drawn before the second line.] The triangles in this diagram join all that is below with all that is overhead.

Think the limb’s world-strength

This world-strength is the one in which gravity and the other earthly forces are concentrated and rise from beneath. In our thinking, that is, insofar as it is earth-thinking, adapted merely to grasping the earthly, we must gaze down and under, then we grasp the things that stream out of the earth working effectively in men and women. Again, one pauses by the "Think the limb’s world-strength” in a triangle facing downward. [▽ was drawn before the third line of the stanza.]

Three parts of Man
head — heart — limbs

And one will feel the character of the word of the Guardian, how it should work today on the human heart, on the human soul, if one allows this mantric verse in commensurate manner to come alive within and to work effectively.

O show the three
They are the one,
When you bear the stamp of man
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

One says the following verse while rendering the up-pointing triangle symbol △ before the head:

△ Experience the head’s world-gestalt

One says the next verse while rendering the connected up and down symbol ⧖ before the chest.

⧖ Feel the heart’s world-beat

One says the last verse while rendering the down-pointed triangle symbol ▽.

▽ Think the limb’s world-strength

These are the three,
The three, that live as one
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

And one tries, after having allowed this mantric verse to work on his soul, to blunt the senses, to close the eyes, to hear nothing with the ears, to perceive nothing, and to remain in the dark for a while, that one might live fully and completely in the atmosphere of what sounds through the words. And in this manner, a person will place himself in the sphere in which initiation into all reality can then be experienced. In undertaking this, a person may take the first step beyond the Threshold.

But one must allow the profound word of the Guardian to work upon him fully and in earnest. This profound word of the Guardian speaks of everything, the moment we cross over the Threshold, of everything being different than it is in the sensory world. In the sensory world we think that thoughts, that ideas are predominant in people. This is the way it is in the sensory world. By itself this predominance of envisioning, of thinking, which is perceptible to customary awareness as well, is always intermixed with a bit of willing. Always in stepping from one thought to another, we must be using our will, as we do when we bring an arm into motion, or a leg into motion, or in doing just about anything we wish to do. But it is easy and refined, this willing that carries one thought on to the next. And so it is, when we are in the sensory world, the two are bound together, the predominance mostly of thinking with a little bit of willing, an easy willing. Yet as soon as a person comes across over the Threshold and comes before the Guardian, it will be quite the opposite, for there the bundled predominance is mostly of far-flung will and minimally of thinking. And in this willing that is otherwise sleeping in people, one catches in it a scent of the spirit, for the human head is constituted out of the cosmos, out of the heavenly world, a spherical copy in all particulars.

Hence the Guardian of the Threshold, when we have crossed over to the other side of the Threshold, calls out the following words. [A new part of the mantra was written on the board forthwith.]

The head's spirit,
You can will it;

And now one sees that willing is something quite different than it was previously. Previously the senses facilitated sensory perceptions, mediated sensations, and one had no awareness of will coursing through the eyes, of will coursing through the ears, of will coursing through the sense of warmth, of will coursing through every sense. Now, one sees that of all that the eyes sense as manifold colors, that the ears hear as manifold tones, that a person discerns as warmth and cold, as the difference between coarse and smooth, as odors, tastes, et cetera, that all this, all in the spiritual world is a sort of willing. [The mantra was continued on the board.]

And willing becomes for you
Sensing’s many-formed heavenly weaving;

If a person has come to know this by looking back at his head from the other side of the Threshold as willing becomes predominant, [The verb "willing" in the second line of the mantra was underlined.] how the mind sets willing in place there, [The word "willing" in the third line of the mantra was underlined.] then he would furthermore know, how the heart harbors the soul, and how he can feel the soul in his heart, just as he can will the head's spirit correspondingly in the head. And then he knows for the first time, when he regards thinking not as a capacity of the brain, but rather as an capacity of the heart, of the soul of the heart, how thinking belongs not to an individual person, but rather to the world. Then he experiences world living, circling around as world music. [The second stanza was begun on the board.]

The heart's soul,
You can feel it;
And feeling becomes for you
Thinking’s seed-awakening world living;

You live in glory, not in soulless semblance of glory, but rather in the glory of the glow of the being of the world. [The summary lines of the first and second stanzas were now written, as the first stanza was once again spoken.]

The head's spirit,
You can will it;
And willing becomes for you
Sensing’s many-formed heavenly weaving;

Summarized in the final line:

You weave in wisdom.

Summarized, bearing on the heart's soul, on feeling, in the sentence:

You live in glory.

[The words "wisdom" and "glory" were underlined.]

Just as a person gets to know the mind as a willing, so he gets to know feeling as a thinking in regard to personal presence and awareness in the world, if from the other side he observes the three, which only in the sensory world are one. [In the second stanza “feel” and "feeling" were underlined.]

And the Guardian continues in the third section. [The third stanza was begun on the board.]

The limb's strength,
You can think it;

Now we have the full reversal. On the other side a person maintains a concentration in the head of something else than thinking, for willing is here [The first stanza was indicated.], as I have just explained, concentrated in the head. Feeling remains in the heart, where it is also felt in the sensory world, for the inner force of the heart continues on in the spiritual world,

The limb's strength,
You can think it;

["Think" was underlined.]

On the other side, thinking is brought together directly with the limbs, which is quite the reverse in the sensory world. [The writing was continued.]

And thinking becomes for you
Willing’s goal-directed human striving;

And the will does this for thinking. ["Thinking" was underlined. The writing was continued and the word "virtue" was at the same time underlined.]

You strive in virtue.

And so, we have the full reversal in the spiritual world, by means of what the Guardian of the Threshold has said to us. While not being able to differentiate willing, feeling, and thinking while a person looks up from down under, it is differentiated as a trinity when the person looks on it from the other side, willing up at the head, feeling in the middle, and thinking down among the limbs.

In this way one becomes aware that what is willed, concentrated in the head, is wisdom woven into the world, in which all the beings of the spirit stream forth, and that thinking, seen in the extremities, is human striving, that can live as human virtue. And the three appear before the spiritual gaze:

The head's spirit,
The heart's soul,
The limb's strength.

[At the same time the words on the board "head's", "heart's", and limb's" were underlined in white, and the words "spirit", "soul", and "strength" were underlined in red.]

In this way the mantric verse is built. And a person must be aware of the inner congruence, more than aware, for as it floods into him, he must allow the mantric verse to work on him:

heavenly weaving
world living
human striving

[Forthwith were these three word-groups underlined on the board in yellow.]

These are the words of the Guardian of the Threshold, in which the three, emerging from the one as we cross over into the world on the other side of the Threshold, the three are guided into our mind's eye.

The head's spirit,
You can will it;
And willing becomes for you
Sensing’s many-formed heavenly weaving;
You weave in wisdom.

The heart's soul,
You can feel it;
And feeling becomes for you
Thinking’s seed-awakening world living;
You live in glory.

The limb's strength,
You can think it;
And thinking becomes for you
Willing’s goal-directed human striving;
You strive in virtue.

These are the impressions through which the soul must sift, if real insight, real inward knowing is to be attained, resounding in the admonitions of the Guardian of the Threshold, as he also says to us:

Enter
The door is opened 3Das Tor ist geöffnet is neither present-perfect in German nor in English, so should not be “The door has opened,” which would imply that someone has opened it. Instead, it is phrasal-reflexive auto-causative intransitive, so must be “The door is opened.” This leaves one with the proper sense of wonder at how one’s meditative activity in conjunction with the spirit has caused the door to be opened.
You will 4Regarding the translation of wirst in the next to last line, according to the Oxford Dictionary, normally “shall” is used only with first person pronouns, and “will” is used with second and third person pronouns, but if strong determination is expressed, the order is reversed. The word “shall” is now seldom used in any normal context in American English. The question is does the Guardian say to put our will into entering and “You will become,” or does he admonish us with determination to enter and says, “You shall become.” Both are correct translations. become
A true human being.

[It was written on the board.]

Enter
The door is opened
You will become
A true human being.

And these are the words, that for countless thousands of years, that yawn at all portals to the spiritual world, and at the same time, that resound spiritedly:

Enter
The door is opened
You will become
A true human being.

Imagine, my brothers and sisters, 5In this lesson for the first of many times Steiner says the phrase Schwestern und Brüder. This sounds just fine in German, but in English, one always says it the other way around, for otherwise it just does not sound right, so it should be translated always as “brothers and sisters.” saying to yourselves at once, "I will take these words of the Guardian of the Threshold seriously; I will know that I was not yet human; I will know that I become so through insight into the spiritual world." Imagine, my brothers and sisters, saying to yourselves a second time, "Why, the first time I did not take these words seriously enough; I will tell myself that I need twice as many steps, from my present state of being, not being a true human being, in order to become a true human being." Imagine declaring to yourselves a third time, "I will know that I need three steps, from the spot on which I stand, not being a true human being, in order to become a true human being."

Serious is the first admonition that you give to yourselves. More serious is the second admonition. But the stamp of highest seriousness must be borne by the third admonition. And when you know how to bring this trinity in three-fold seriousness into the depths of your souls, then you will have an inkling of what it means for a person, through insight, through actual inwardly knowing, to become a person. And then you will have come full circle, as we have in this class today, coming full circle to the first admonition, all of which should live in our souls as one self-transmuting verse.

O show the three
They are the one,
When you bear the stamp of man
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

△ Experience the head’s world-gestalt
⧖ Feel the heart’s world-beat
▽ Think the limb’s world-strength

These are the three,
The three, that live as one
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

Just so, my brothers and sisters, it has sounded just so in the heart, since there has been human existence on the earth, struggling for awareness. There has been a pause in this struggle since the emergence of the fifth post-Atlantean cultural epoch. This pause is at an end, by will of the heavenly, spiritual entities leading mankind. May it once again commence in a worthy manner. In your human hearts may it sound again. So the wise leaders of mankind, ever since there has been human existence upon the earth, have guided human hearts into glimpsing what works as spirit in the world, what works as spirit through the world in human beings, as the crown of the world.

Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard Text for the Seventh Lesson

O schau die Drei
Sie sind die Eins,
Wenn du die Menschenprägung
Im Erdendasein trägst.
Erlebe des Kopfes Weltgestalt
Empfinde des Herzens Weltenschlag
Erdenke der Glieder Weltenkraft
Die sind die Drei,
Die Drei, die als das Eins
Im Erdendasein leben

Des Kopfes Geist,
Du kannst ihn wollen;
Und Wollen wird dir
Der Sinne vielgestaltig
Himmelsweben;
Du webest in der Weisheit.
Des Herzens Seele,
Du kannst sie fühlen;
Und Fühlen wird dir
Des Denkens keimerweckend
Weltenleben;
Du lebest in dem Scheine.
Der Glieder Kraft,
Du kannst sie denken;
Und Denken wird dir
Des Wollens zielerfassend
Menschenstreben;
Du strebest in der Tugend.

Tritt ein
Das Tor ist geöffnet
Du wirst
Ein wahrer Mensch werden.

O show the three
They are the one,
When you bear the stamp of man
In existence-awareness upon the earth.
△ Experience the head’s world-gestalt
⧖ Feel the heart's world-beat
▽ Think the limb’s world-strength
These are the three,
The three, that live as one
In existence-awareness upon the earth.

The head's spirit,
You can will it;
And willing becomes for you
Sensing’s many-formed
heavenly weaving;
You weave in wisdom.
The heart's soul,
You can feel it;
And feeling becomes for you
Thinking’s seed-awakening
world living;
You live in glory.
The limb's strength,
You can think it;
And thinking becomes for you
Willing’s goal-directed
human striving;
You strive in virtue.

Enter
The door is opened
You will become
A true human being.