31 May 1924, Dornach
My dear friends! We have been studying the position of the human being in relation to the Guardian of the Threshold, and have led the soul in progressive steps into an understanding of the relationship a person has with the Guardian of the Threshold along the path of knowledge. Today we will initially focus our attention on the situation before Guardian of the Threshold, bringing it once again fully alive before our souls, in order to progress a bit forward by means of this esoteric consideration.
A person must forsake, and here I repeat what is appropriate for today and has been covered in prior lessons, a person must forsake the physical world, in which his customary awareness is in force. He comes to know that the sensory-physical world can be grand and joyful, but also full of sorrow and pain, that it can in fact be majestic, and that he has every reason in the world to remain within it, in his awareness. But he also comes to know that he cannot ever get to know himself if he only directs his contemplative eye and sensitive soul out upon this physical world. And he must say to himself, that it is quite grand, arrayed color upon color and arranged form on form, but that just what he himself springs from and is patterned after cannot be found in the encircling wide reaches around.
Yet even at this moment there rings forth from all sides unto a person, as the most noteworthy challenge in one’s life, the word of self-awareness: O man, know yourself!
And in this way, a person will become clearly aware that in customary life he is certainly safeguarded from entering unprepared into what in certainty is the world of his own essential being. Moreover, the Guardian of the Threshold is the same high being who shelters a person as he enters the spiritual world every night in sleep, who shelters the person from consciously experiencing what in sleep is all around him, for otherwise he would be terribly upset in experiencing all this in sleep, if he experienced it unprepared, so much so that he would not be able to continue on in waking life as a human being with strength intact. But at the same time, the Guardian of the Threshold makes it clear to a person that he, the Guardian himself, is the only portal to true, to authentic knowledge.
At this point, a person notices that he comes to an abyss, before entering the realm of knowledge, an abyss displayed as a bottomless chasm. The supporting pillars, that one stands on in the physical world, are gone. One cannot simply march over it. One can only carry himself across when freed of the physical, expressed symbolically, when one “grows wings”, so that one journeys over the abyss as a being of spirit and soul.
But first the Guardian of the Threshold calls out for you to be mindful in regard to the abyss, particularly in regard to the beasts that emerge as spirit-formations from the abyss, for these beasts are the external reflections of impure willing, feeling, and thinking, and these beasts must first be overcome. And in vivid pictures displayed before one’s eyes, willing, feeling, and thinking are revealed in the three beasts, one shown as spectral, one ghoulish, and so forth.
Then the Guardian of the Threshold shows us in greater depth how, in and of themselves, thinking, feeling, and willing can be strengthened, according to whether one has resolved in full awareness to overcome the beasts. And then, before someone actually enters the spiritual world, it is necessary to engage in situational meditations in perceiving the spiritual world, within which to discover how the cosmos speaks to a person, how the hierarchies speak to him, how at first all the things are proclaimed that await him there in the spiritual world.
And we will become progressively more aware, through what is played out before our souls in the mantras, that a person must become something else, if he would stride over the abyss, if he would live within what is on the other side of the abyss. Ever more and more, we will become aware that here on the earth, we are in the company of the beings of the three realms of nature and in the company of people, but over there we are in the company of disembodied souls and in the company of the spirits of the higher hierarchies. A different sort of acquaintanceship is present there. Quite a different constitution of soul is required there for this quite different acquaintanceship.
Once again, it is the business of the Guardian of the Threshold there to forcefully advise a person about how to comport himself, specifically about how to comport himself when striding across the Threshold and actually confronting the things of the spiritual world in their reality, about how in arriving there he must come to possess a wholly different soul-constitution.
There, a person will be aware that within himself two conditions of soul can become a reality, the soul-condition of customary awareness on this side of the abyss, and the soul-condition outside of the physical and etheric bodies on the other side of the abyss, which is the soul-condition of the purely spiritual world.
There, where the difference in these soul-conditions appear, great dangers await a person, dangers however, that initially present themselves in such a way that we have to characterize them as minor departures from normal conditions of soul, but that remain always within the soul when we characterize them properly, for they involve an extreme sickly soul-deformation. It must of course always be said, that when one’s path in the higher worlds is undertaken in the way so painstakingly delineated in the book How to Know Higher Worlds, in many smaller published anthroposophical works, and in the second part of my Outline of Occult Science, then straying from a normal soul-constitution should not happen, at least not easily. A person passing over into the spiritual world through healthy human understanding should be as fully aware of knowledge, initially, as one is through initiation. But a person must know that he may emerge in two different ways from the daily condition of soul-life that he is immersed in, if he does not pay attention to the proper sign-posts along the spiritual world’s pathway.
Here on this side of the Threshold we stand upon the earth, upon the fixed elements of earth. The ground is under our feet. The ground supports us. The watery element is around us, that also takes part in the formation of our own body. This watery element cannot support us in normal life, but infuses throughout us, attaching itself to our blood. It is contained within our forces of growth, within our forces of nourishment. The air is what we breathe. The aeriform, the gaseous element is all around us. Warmth is also all around us, the warmth-ether, the fourth element.
They are disconnected from one another in normal life. Where there is solid earth, there is no water. Where there is water, there is no air. Where there is air, there is no water. Only the fiery warmth presses into and throughout it all, for it is the only one that begins to press itself into everything.
But the moment we take leave, even the first time, my dear friends, the moment we take leave of our physical body, these differentiations cease. The different elements cease to have individual borders. We ourselves enlarge, we extend ourselves out, and we are simultaneously in earth, water, fire, and air. We can no longer differentiate one from another. The attributes held individually by the four elements cease. The earth no longer supports us, for its fixed solidity ceases. Water no longer forms us, for its formative forces cease. In other words, when we plunge into water, it is not as in swimming, where we are separated from the water, but rather it is as if we dissolve into it, as ice dissolves into warm water, as if in becoming one with the water, then we no longer carry, when we pass over into the spiritual world, we no longer carry our blood as a separate element in our vascular circulation, but rather our blood becomes one with the ever-moving watery element of the universe. And just so, air ceases to be a formative breathing-force in us. And warmth ceases to engender our ego-force, ceases to inflame us in warmth to the feeling of individuality. It all ceases. This must be confronted, it must be confronted in the proper manner, this cessation of the differentiation of earth, water, air, and fire.
To do this we may engage, in thought, in having already flown over the abyss. We have arrived on the other side, my dear brothers and sisters. There the Guardian of the Threshold calls out to us, that we should turn, lift our gaze, and face him.
Now think, my dear brothers and sisters, have a lively imagination, imagine a person’s arrival there on the other side, where in certainty the knowledge of the spiritual world is revealed to him. He is there. The Guardian of the Threshold prompts him to look about, to take up the admonitions that he now needs, that in a certain fashion he has now become accustomed to, in the soul-condition that is present there, on the other side of the Threshold, within the spiritual world, there where he lives pressed into the four elements themselves, into earth, water, air, and fire.
Just there a great danger appears, and please forgive the seeming triviality of the expression, my dear brothers and sisters, but if the person has possibly fallen in love with the illusion of disconnectedness of the solid earth, from the formative forces of water, from the creative forces of air, from the ego-awakening forces of warmth, then he may feel delighted merely in spiritual bliss, in giving himself over to the wonder of the spirit, and so he might remain within this spirit-bliss.
A person may be overwhelmed, as the alluring power of Lucifer musters up against him. It depends on his karma, whether a person is more or less susceptible to the alluring power of Lucifer. If he is susceptible, so that he simply totally and completely falls in love with dissolving into earth, water, air, and fire, then the Luciferic attaches itself to him, and he will no longer be able to emerge from this demeanor of soul. He runs the risk, when he once again returns to daily life, of remaining within this soul-demeanor. And so the Guardian of the Threshold must and does call out to him, “You may not do it. You may not fall under the sway of Lucifer. In the dissolution in earth, water, fire, and air you may not simply feel the solitary wonder of bliss. You must take yourself firmly in hand, or else, when you again return to the physical world, as a person in the physical world, when you take up the soul-condition of customary awareness of the physical world, then from then on you will be a person quite confused.”
That is the Luciferic danger, that on the return from the spiritual world, from the other side of the Threshold, a person may be bewildered and no longer have his senses about him, but would be an enthusiastic dreamer, an enthusiastic adherent of idealism, disdainful of customary awareness. That one may not do. And the Guardian of the Threshold admonishes, insistently, that one should be resolutely determined to live in the way corresponding to whatever world one is in, be it earthly or transcendental.
But the Guardian of the Threshold sets down a second admonition. The second admonition is this, that one should take care, when one has arrived on the other side with his thinking, feeling, and willing split apart, one should take care of how much of his thinking, feeling, and willing at hand is still connected to the earthly, is still inclined to the earthly.
There a person can once again be predisposed to remain in what has given him the experiences on this side in the fixed support of earth, to hold on tightly and cross over to the other side of the Threshold with a materialistic soul-constitution, to cross over with the formative forces of water frozen, solidified. Then he can become afflicted with an overweening earthly pride, and can say to himself, “In life on earth I have breathed in, have drawn into myself the very breath, out of which in times past the Father-God has formed human souls, human lives, which I can do also, when freed from earthly life’s confines.”
But if a person carries over into the spiritual world what he perceives in his breath as the creative force of God, then he falls under the sway of the Ahrimanic alluring power. In this condition he cannot return, because before he would return, there in the spiritual world he is enfolded in powerlessness. He would be non-sentient, more or less. His awareness would be disabled, crippled. In this manner, his awareness having been stunted, he would more or less be a sort of tool or implement of the Ahrimanic powers there in the spiritual world.
It is certainly so today since the beginning of the age of Michael, that the spiritual life of human beings, which today is crass and crude, frozen in materialism, is for the most part carried over as such into the spiritual world. And what this means, what it entails, is that the Ahrimanic powers enfold the human being in their grasp whenever his awareness has been stunted into something other than the condition of full wakefulness, and yes, my friends, this has been in evidence everywhere energetically ever since the outbreak of the great World War.
As I have most certainly said many times since the outbreak of the World War, the history of this war cannot be written about from the physical plane’s standpoint alone. Documents by themselves do not reveal the truth, that of the thirty or forty people who were most certainly engaged in the production of the war, a great number at various times were in a state of clouded awareness, and were therefore implements of the Ahrimanic powers. In this way much of what transpired in the World War was a legacy of Ahrimanic powers. This World War can only be written about in an occult manner. Whatever one has seen after a fashion, in his wanderings on this side of the Threshold, of various leading personalities immediately before the outbreak of the World War, all that can be taken truly to be indicative of the habits of soul that are carried over to the other side of the Threshold, and over there then become stunted, become stunted in awareness, and become, therefore, a working force of the Ahrimanic powers.
A person must be clear and fully self-possessed about this, that he may not carry back to this side, the soul-constitution of the other side of the Threshold. He may not carry the soul-constitution of this side of the Threshold to the other side, but rather, for every domain, this side and the other side of the abyss, a strongly stark human inner awareness must be developed.
It arises in this manner for all four elements in the admonition of the Guardian of the Threshold. And again, we should delve into this admonition meditatively.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, imagine that you are standing there on the other side of the Threshold. The Guardian has beckoned. You look straight at him. First, he calls out to you, admonishing.
Where is earth’s firmness, that supported you?
One no longer has it. But your heart moves, deep within, and would give an answer. But the heart can be moved inwardly in a three-fold manner, an answer emerging by means of and from the cosmos. It can be moved, this heart, by Christ and his force. Then it answers:
I leave its solid ground,
meaning, the earth’s firmness,
as long 1so lang: Translating so lang as "so long as" carries a hint of inevitability that this condition is bound to end sooner or later, whereas translating it more correctly as "as long as" still has the same sense of contingency, but additionally carries the sense that in choosing this condition it can carry on forever. as the spirit carries me.
That is the right demeanor of soul. I relinquish the pillars of earth, as long as the spirit carries me within the spirit-domain, as long as I am outside of the body. But the heart can also be moved by Lucifer. Then it answers:
I feel delight, that I no longer need the support.
So speaks the person in his lofty pride, in his self-satisfaction, as if he also would not need the support, when he traverses back into the physical world. Or the heart can be moved by Ahriman. Then it answers:
I will hammer it still harder by the spirit’s might.
The support is referred to here, and carrying the hammered support out and over.
No one should shrink back in fear from meditative soul-consideration of all three answers again and again, in order in this way to be able to choose and align with the first answer in freedom. For one must feel the inherent inward vacillation, the alignment with Lucifer, then with Ahriman. One must place this in meditation firmly within one’s vision. The meditation in this manner must embody the earthen element. [The first part of the mantra was now written on the board.] First the Guardian speaks:
I) Guardian: Where is earth’s firmness, that supported you?
The human heart must give answer. When moved by Christ, it answers:
Christ: I leave its solid ground, as long as the spirit carries me.
If the soul has been moved by Lucifer, it answers in this way:
Lucifer: I feel delight, that I no longer need the support.
The phrase “as long as” [The words “as long as” were underlined.] emerges from the heart, draws the eternal into temporality, and so transforms the sentence. If the heart has been moved by Ahriman, it answers in this way:
Ahriman: I will hammer it still harder by the spirit’s might.
And then, progressing further, so that the soul can fully devote itself to what stands there before it, the second admonition of the Guardian of the Threshold appears, pointing to the formative force of water. This formative force of water is what builds the fixed organs in us, drawing them out of the fluid elements. All that we take in as nourishment must first become fluid, and then the organs are formed out of it. All of a person’s sharply contoured organs have been cast out of fluid elements. This formative force ceases as soon as a person enters the domain on the other side of the Threshold. The Guardian warns, that this is the case. He calls out to us, when we stand there on the other side of the Threshold, our gaze directed onto his stern face. [The second part of the mantra was now written on the board.]
II) Guardian: Where is water’s forming force, that permeated you?
The person answers, if he has been moved in his heart by Christ, “My life extinguishes it, quenches it, as long as the spirit forms me.” The spirit begins to work on you over there, half out of your body.
Christ: My life extinguishes it,
in the sense of quenching it, putting it out, and by “it” is meant the forming force,
as long as the spirit forms me.
Again appears “as long as”, again unobtrusively. [The words “as long as” were underlined.] If the soul has been moved by Lucifer, however, then the phrase “as long as” is left out, and the sentence emerges with haughty arrogance:
Lucifer: My life expunges it, in the sense of melting it away,
Well, what has been extinguished can be rekindled, but what has been melted away, expunged, remains expunged. “My life expunges it”
that I may be released from it.
If the soul has been moved by Ahriman, then it answers:
Ahriman: My life affixes it, in the sense of holding it fast, that I may carry it to spirit realms.
Please take note, my dear brothers and sisters, how everything in mantric verse is fashioned inwardly, meaningfully, and with confident certainty. Here [The first verse was indicated.] we see, “I leave”, “I feel”, “I will.” The ego speaks in the answer. In the second verse the ego speaks, but not so egocentrically, but rather says, “My life”, as in “My life extinguishes it”, “My life expunges it”, “My life affixes it.” Any entry into all reality is only spoken about properly, if it is spoken about accurately in every aspect. Lassitude in the formation of sentences, which is appropriate for people in the physical domain, may not be carried forward into the spirit-domain. In the spirit-domain speaking must be exact and accurate.
You should also most certainly keep in mind, my dear friends, that it all corresponds to a reality, that this esoteric school has not been constituted out of human intentions, but rather out of those of the spiritual world, as was said at the outset, that all that comes to the fore here in the esoteric school of the Goetheanum, even though it is said through my mouth, is nevertheless a dictum of the spiritual world. This must be so in every rightfully constituted esoteric school, certainly in the present and in times to come, just as it was in the ancient holy mysteries. And this esoteric school is the true Michael School, the institution of those high spiritual beings partaking immediately of the inspiration of the cosmic will of Michael.
Concerning the domain of air, the Guardian of the Threshold once again speaks in admonition,
Where is air’s stimulation, 2Reizgewalt means alluring, stimulating power that waked 3erwechte: The verb in this line is
not erwachte, which translates as the intransitive awakened, but rather the transitive erweckte, which translates as waked (inspired, excited, aroused).you?
waking you into existence. As Jehovah, by means of his infusion of the breath of life into humans, transformed simple living beings, by means of the stimulus inherent in his breath, into beings that can perceive, so a person, through sensing, through the stimulus that the external world brings to bear on the senses, becomes a being who perceives. But what exactly are the senses?
My dear brothers and sisters, the senses are most certainly just refined organs of breathing. The breath broadens itself out into all the senses. As it lives in the lungs, so it lives in the eyes. Only that in the lungs it is bound up with carbon, but in the eyes with the more refined silica. In one’s organism carbonic acid is produced. [It was drawn in red and the word carbonic acid 4Kohlensäure was written down.] In the senses silicic acid is produced in a much more refined state. [Drawn in yellow, silicic acid 5Kieselsäure was written down.] A person lives in his lower pole where oxygen combines with carbonic acid, and in his upper pole, in the domain of his nerve-sense system, where oxygen combines with silicon, with silica, and forms refined silicic acid [green]. A human being lives in such a way, that when the breath forms up in the blood, he produces carbonic acid, and when the breath forms up in the senses, he produces silicic acid [yellow arrows], below and outwardly through the breath carbonic acid, in the senses and returning from the senses within the breathing-process silicic acid in a totally more refined dose.
The Guardian of the Threshold calls out to us concerning what is in the air:
Where is air’s stimulation, that waked you?
He who is moved by Christ in his heart answers:
My soul breathes heaven’s air,
no longer earth’s air, but heaven’s air,
as long as the spirit is about me.
The heart moved by Lucifer answers:
My soul cares not for it in spirit blissfulness.
The heart moved by Ahriman answers:
My soul absorbs it, that I may learn godlike to create.
As Jehovah once created with his breath, so those swayed by Ahriman absorb the air, in order to carry it along while crossing over into the spiritual world.
The Guardian speaks to the man: [The third part of the mantra was now written on the board and at the same time in the Christ-line the words “as long as” were underlined.]
III) Guardian: Where is air’s stimulation, that waked you?
The heart moved by Christ speaks:
Christ: My soul breathes heaven’s air, as long as the spirit is about me
The heart moved by Lucifer speaks:
Lucifer: My soul cares not for it in spirit blissfulness.
The air’s power to stimulate is not noticed at all.
The heart moved by Ahriman speaks:
Ahriman: My soul absorbs it, that I may learn godlike to create.
Concerning the fiery or warmth elements, the Guardian now speaks his last elementary word, admonishing that a person should not lose himself in the element of warmth, but also not carry over into the spiritual world the warmth-element as it is in physical existence, as displayed on earth.
Just before I do this, however, my dear brothers and sisters, I would like to call your attention to this progression along the ascent:
“I” is spoken by the person first.
“My life” is spoken next by the person.
“My soul” is then spoken by the person.
Now the Guardian speaks in warning concerning the fiery elements: [The fourth part of the mantra was written on the board, and at the same time in the Christ-line “as long as” was underlined.]
IV) Guardian: Where is fire’s cleansing,
or cleansing catharsis
that inflamed in you the I?
Our ego lives in warmth, in what presses into and throughout us as warmth. I have often, my dear brothers and sisters, remarked on this in the esoteric school, that the fixed elements remain unconscious within, and also the fluid elements, even though in one’s feeling of satisfaction, one already feels the perfusion of the fluid elements. In satiety or in hunger one experiences the essential nature of the fluid element. The aeriform element is experienced soulfully. A person becomes breathless when not connecting properly with air, and fear comes with breathlessness. This already enters the realm of soul. Warmth is something in which one feels wholly at home. He participates in his condition of warmth or of cold with the whole of his ego. Fire inflames his ego.
The heart moved by Christ answers:
Christ: My “I” blazes in God-Fire, as long as the spirit kindles me.
A person does not need the material warmth of earth when the spirit supplies the spark and ignites his ego. For the ego blazes there not in earthly warmth, not in earthly fire, but within the fire of God.
But the heart moved by Lucifer answers:
Lucifer: My “I” has flaming power through spirit sun-craft.
The heart moved by Ahriman answers, as if the fire begun upon the earth is taken as his own and carried over into the spiritual world, to master the spiritual world with the ego-fire of the physical world.
Ahriman: My “I” has its own fire, that flames purely through self-unfolding.
The ego will not blaze up except by deploying its own fire.
Once again, the progression arising in the formulation first appears in the person speaking “I”.
It then becomes more objective, in that the person addresses the things pertaining to himself as “Mine”.
My life extinguishes it
My life expunges it
My life affixes it
It then goes more inwardly, so inner nature becomes objective.
My soul breathes
My soul cares not
My soul absorbs
Now he climbs somewhat further into himself. And take note of the difference, my dear brothers and sisters. Early on is said merely “I”. Then “I” becomes objective, “my I”, as if it were another’s, as one would speak of another’s property. One is externalized even more, one is externalized out of the physical body, even to the extent initially of allowing one to speak fully egoistically of the ego, and one says:
as if it were an object. That is the proper way to render it here.
One becomes acquainted with this rendering, my dear brothers and sisters, in all its depth and intensity, when one speaks with souls who have gone through the portal of death and have been in the spiritual world awhile. They do not say “I”, but rather they always say “my I”. I have not yet heard of one departed after death who has said “I”, except at most for a very brief time after death. So some time after death, the dead one says “my I”, because he gazes upon the ego with the eyes of the gods. It becomes objective for him, characteristically objective. Therefore, an account, from someone who has been dead for a somewhat longer time, cannot be accurate if the departed says “I”, if he does not say “my I”. So here in the fourth progressive section, before the Guardian of the Threshold, the soul says “my I”.
And that, my dear friends, is the wonderful spoken exchange at the Threshold, between the Guardian of the Threshold and the human personality, that actually takes place when one stands there before the Guardian of the Threshold, as illustrated here, which must be attended to, in order to catch the feeling in its essential actuality when deploying and immersing oneself in this dialogue properly in meditation. So you form the words up in meditation properly, my dear brothers and sisters, the mantric words coming to you here today, when in a certain sense you hear the words that you yourself are speaking, but only in the course of the Guardian having been heard to be speaking before us first in a manner of soul. Therefore this is how one meditates, as if hearing four times over the Guardian of the Threshold at the start of each section, concerning earth, water, air, and fire, and then allowing one’s own true soul to answer, but in such a manner that one immediately hears the first answer as if inwardly ensouled by Christ, the second answer in the voice of the tempter, and the third answer in the voice of the pompous materialistic Ahriman-Spirit, who approaches a person with the desire to carry over into the spirit the manner of being of the mineralized human.
Now, in closing today’s esoteric lesson, we will allow the characteristic way this is to be meditated to sound forth with firm effect.
Where is earth’s firmness, that supported you?
I leave its solid ground, as long as the spirit carries me.
I feel delight, that I no longer need the support.
I will hammer it still harder by the spirit’s might.
Where is water’s forming force, that permeated you?
My life extinguishes it, as long as the spirit forms me.
My life expunges it, that I may be released from it.
My life affixes it, that I may carry it to spirit realms.
Where is air’s stimulation, that waked you?
My soul breathes heaven’s air, as long as the spirit is about me.
My soul cares not for it in spirit blissfulness.
My soul absorbs it, that I may learn godlike to create.
Where is fire’s cleansing, that inflamed in you the I?
My “I” blazes in God-Fire, as long as the spirit kindles me.
My “I” has flaming power through spirit sun-craft.
My “I” has its own fire, that flames purely through self-unfolding.
Hüter: Wo ist der Erde Festigkeit, die dich stützte?
Hüter: Wo ist des Wassers Bildekraft, die dich durchdrang?
Hüter: Wo ist der Lüfte Reizgewalt, die dich erweckte?
Hüter: Wo ist des Feuers Reinigung, die dir das Ich erflammte?
Guardian: Where is earth’s firmness, that supported you?
Guardian: Where is water’s forming force, that permeated you?
Guardian: Where is air’s stimulation, that waked you?
Guardian: Where is fire’s cleansing, that inflamed in you the I?