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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Instructions
GA 270

Lesson XVII

5 July 1924, Dornach

My dear friends! Once again, we begin today with what is spoken and confronts us, with a proper connection to the world by human hearts, sounding forth from all that exists and is coming into existence as the ever-present call to self-awareness, through which a person in certainty can begin to come into real world-awareness.

O Man, know yourself!
So sounds the word of worlds.

You hear it soul-forcefully,
You feel it spirit-powerfully.

Who speaks so world-mightily?
Who speaks so heart-inwardly?

Does it work streaming through space
Into your sense’s self-experiencing?

Does it sound weaving through time
Into your life's evolving stream?

Are you the one, who yourself
In sensing space, in experiencing time
Creates the word, feeling yourself
Estranged in in space’s soul-emptiness,
As you lose the power of thinking
In time’s destroying stream?

Once again, we let this move through our souls, this, which was joined together with the content of the last Class lesson. This had also emerged as a meditation of what a person can experience when he feels himself to be entirely in world cohesive inter-connection, above all in cohesive inter-connection with the spiritual world.

Yes, we have allowed to parade before our souls the human path to the abyss of existence, at which stands the Guardian of the Threshold. We have heard the lessons given by the Guardian of the Threshold. We have heard how whoever now arrives at the other side of the Threshold, initially feeling himself in light, experiences the world in a new way, in that he at once takes up what is spoken by the Guardian of the Threshold on one side, but also what is said to him by the spiritual beings of the higher Hierarchies. And the last dialogue was of this sort, in which the Guardian posed a question concerning the element of warmth. Warmth presses into and through everything, and from the other side of the abyss displays itself as a moral element, a moral element that casts illuminating wisdom, as one after the other the three groups speak, the Angels-Exusiai-Thrones, then the Archangels-Dynamis-Cherubim, and finally Archai-Kyriotetes-Seraphim. Then again, the Guardian speaks to the “I” in three stages, in questions penetrating into human nature, and as clarified last time, the “I” humbly answers, although in this slower-paced dialogue with the Guardian, the words now inwardly change.

The Guardian speaks:
What becomes of fire’s cleansing, that inflamed for you the I?

Angels, Exusiai, and Thrones:
Wake in world’s etheric reaches the life-flaming-script.

Archangels, Dynamis, and Cherubim:
Establish in time’s circling waves the world-atonement-forces.

Archai, Kyriotetes, and Seraphim:
Invoke in eternal being’s deeds the spirit-savior-powers.

The Guardian:
Has your spirit understood?

“I”:
The world spirit in me
Held his breath
And its presence
May illuminate my I.

The Guardian:
Has your soul accepted?

“I”:
The world souls in me
Lived convened in stars
And their harmonies
May soundly form my I.

The Guardian:
Has your body experienced?

“I”:
The world forces in me
Rectify human deeds
And their words of truth
May guide for me the I.

While the human being on the other side of the Threshold of Existence, where the Guardian stands, merely feels himself in the moving, living light, it will gradually, slowly, not just be felt-light, it will slowly be the sort of light of which one can say, that the person sees it. From a feeling of light that wafts and weaves, that one has, so to speak, in one’s spiritual grasp merely as an idea, it gradually becomes light that as such becomes visible to the eye of the spirit.

But a person can come into seeing this light in no other way than by receiving in turn the deep and fundamental words of the Guardian. And these admonishing words call attention to a mighty world-imagination, pointing to something through which, even while standing here in the sensory world, a person can gain his own impression of something enormously majestic, if he has the heart for it. And so, when a person becomes inwardly translucent and pours his attention wrapped in wonder into the sky above, into the entrancing cloud formation, the majestic rainbow, then he can perceive something else, as if there were glowing spirits, spirits showing through the colorful shining of the rainbow, spirits from the other side of the physical sensory show. Yes, it stands there, it forms up out of the universal all, it vanishes again into the universal all, and it is emplaced within this universal all as a mighty imagination.

At this moment the Guardian brings up that part of this impression of the rainbow which should also be clearly visible over there in the spiritual world.

[A secondary rainbow was drawn.] 1The rainbow drawn was the second paler rainbow that appears above a main rainbow, with the colors reversed.

Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (left side)

And the Guardian calls attention to the following, that whoever has crossed over and arrived in the spirit-world, should bring such an image into motion within himself out of his sensory-world memory, just such an image that the rainbow, having dominion everywhere, has always made for him. And it is noteworthy, my dear brothers and sisters, that when a person crosses over out of the physical-sensory world into the spiritual world, the image of the rainbow is such that one remembers it very easily, and quite easily and appropriately calls up in this remembrance the connection between the spiritual world, in which it really becomes all light, and the physical-sensory world, which with one’s powers of insight one has just taken leave of.

And then, for it is not the sight of the rainbow, it is the memory of the rainbow that is called forth by the Guardian of the Threshold, and then the Guardian continues his instruction. Now just try, we will hear the words with which the Guardian speaks, try now with the force with which you would otherwise be gazing outward with your eyes, to prepare for yourself the means of penetrating through the rainbow, the means of penetrating through, under, and beyond the rainbow to the other side.

Therefore, let us imagine [The second drawing was developed.], that within cloud-formations [white], looking outward from the earth [small arrows], the rainbow would be here [red in the cloud-formations]. So far, we have imagined the Guardian Teaching us to press on through that rainbow and from the vantage point [struck through the cloud-formation up to a small circle, on which the word “vantage point” was written] of the other side to look back, there from the wide reaches of the world, from there to look back at the rainbow. So, the Guardian instructs us about it, and also to be contemplative, to be mindful in our imagination, to deepen ourselves in meditation, so that in a way we may stride beyond the point reached in the last lesson.

Then, when from over there we look back, when you therefore envision, my dear brothers and sisters, that you have gone beyond the drawing on the board [a white arrow pointing left overhead in the first drawing], and are looking backward at the rainbow [a red arrow to the right underneath in the first drawing], as it re-emerges in memory and is gazed at backward, then the rainbow becomes a mighty basin, a sort of world chalice. And one no longer sees a bow. It is as if one were looking at an immense and mighty basin in the heavens, at a chalice within which colors are flooding one into another. That is the imagination initially put by the Guardian.

See the ethereal iris’s 2Farbenbogen: The word rainbow (Regenbogen) does not appear in the verse. Farbenbogen translates as iris. (Refer to Louis De Vries German-English Science Dictionary by McGraw-Hill 1946.) The Greek caduceus-carrying goddess of the rainbow was Iris, who carried the thoughts of men to the gods. The only other caduceus-carrier was Hermes, who carried the thoughts of the gods to human beings.
Light abundant round.
Through your eyes’
Light-forming force
Let your “I” penetrate through the arc,
And then behold from yonder watch
Color flooding the world’s chalice.
[This first stanza of the mantra was now written on the board.]

The Guardian:
See the ethereal iris’s
Light abundant round.
Through your eyes’
Light-forming force
Let your “I” penetrate through the arc,
And then behold from yonder watch
Color flooding the world’s chalice.

These are mighty words spoken here by the Guardian. And you must properly place yourselves in the situation, my dear brothers and sisters, in the situation of the whole force of formation within which the pupil of the Guardian of the Threshold finds himself, when summoned to behold the world-chalice with its content, the color-flooded light.

See the ethereal iris’s
Light abundant round.
Through your eyes’
Light-forming force
Let your “I” penetrate through the arc,
And then behold from yonder watch
Color flooding the world’s chalice.

One must thoroughly penetrate into, must be immersed by such imagery. And if the image works inwardly and quite deeply within the “I”, then a person sees that within this color-flooding that fills the chalice, that within this color-flooding the high beings of the Third Hierarchy appear, the Angels, Archangels, and Archai. And they breathe in the colors, after their own angelic fashion. They assimilate the colors.

One gains an appreciation of the world-creativity lying behind the sensory world, displaying itself in the deeds of the higher hierarchies, one gains an appreciation of this in the dominion of the spiritual beings on the other side of the rainbow, initially in their breathing in the colors of the world-chalice, inhaling them in their own way.

One sees that in passing over from the world into the rainbow, infusing into the rainbow, thoughts appear behind the rainbow, thoughts that have been absorbed, have been breathed in by angelic beings. In this way a person becomes acquainted with the nature of the rainbow. All that has been thought, the various thoughts coming from people everywhere, in every region, will time and again, ever and again, be gathered up and channeled through the arc of the rainbow into the spiritual realm, there to be breathed in by the high beings of the Third Hierarchy.

What shines so enchantingly within the reaches of the world-all has not just physical significance, but also inner spiritual significance. And one does not get to know anything of the magic of the ethereal arc by remaining within the physical-sensory world, but rather in order to really get to know it, a person must have assimilated the various admonitions of the Guardian of the Threshold, those that we have become acquainted with.

Then, however, directly through the impression one acquires from the vantage point of the other side, the impression of the rainbow there as world-chalice, it will be clear how for us the light gradually spreads out within it, although at the beginning it stood before us as a dark, night-bedecked sphere. We are no longer in darkness. It brightens and clarifies. It is sunlight. Seen from the other side of the rainbow, it is the color-flooded world-chalice.

Then the Angels, Archangels, and Archai internally begin to mirror their consciousness of human souls, as they breath in the color-flooding, so that what lives sense-perceptibly here upon the earth, insofar as it is suitable for the spirit-realm, will be carried into the spirit-realm.

And then, when one has witnessed how these high beings of the Third Hierarchy have breathed in what they have taken up from the sensory world, as what has penetrated through to them through the rainbow that they have transformed, so that it can be taken up into the spiritual world, then it is seen that they go with it, with what they have taken up into themselves in this way, and carry it on in service to the higher spirits, to the spirits of the Second Hierarchy. For the spirits of the Third Hierarchy, the Angels, Archangels, and Archai, are the serving spirits of the spirit-world. From them we hear now, yes we hear what we saw when we turned our soul's vision on the color-flooded world-chalice on the other side of the rainbow.

Angels, Archangels, Archai:
Sense our thoughts
Color breathing living
In the chalice's flood of light;
We carry the sensory-semblance
Into spirit-being-realms
And turn ourselves world-infused
To the service of higher spirits.

[This second stanza was now written on the board.]

Angels, Archangels, Archai:
Sense our thoughts
Color breathing living
In the chalice's flood of light;
We carry the sensory-semblance 3Sinnenschein literally is mind’s apparency, as an allegory is illusory common sense, as a trope is sensory-semblance, and as an anagoge is the sheen of mindfulness. You must speak all four in a proper dialectic.
Into spirit-being-realms
And turn ourselves world-infused
To the service of higher spirits.

My dear brothers and sisters, let us once more firmly place the image before our souls of the vast world-chalice taking up half the heavens, and the flooding of the colors within it, which we otherwise see plainly in the rainbow, but here moving and living in one-another, and the approaching high beings of the Third Hierarchy, the Angels, Archangels, and Archai. They breathe these colors in. But to us the thoughts of the high beings of the higher Hierarchies in this color-inbreathing become visible in soul.

Really, we watch, as inspired with these world-thoughts, these present beings of the Third Hierarchy wend their way to the present beings of the Second Hierarchy, whom they serve; they wend their way to the Exusiai, the Dynamis, the Kyriotetes. And before us we have the mighty image of the appearance of the pure spirit-being, the sun-dweller, that simply appears there, when the physical image vanishes, that sun-designed, that small, in spite of all its vastness in relation to the earth, that small image, for it is only an image, when that small image by the sun vanishes. And majestically the sun will encompass the entirety of all, endlessly far larger than the vast world-image. Appearing then are the present beings of the Second Hierarchy, weaving, living in the pure realm of spirit, now really receiving what the Angels, Archangels, Archai bring to them. These are not dead thoughts, such as we have; there the dead thoughts have been taken in from the sensory-semblance and in the in-breathing by the Angels, Archangels, Archai have become enlivened. As in a mighty opera the Angels, Archangels, Archai carry these enlivened thoughts forth to the present beings of the Second Hierarchy, to the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes. The very thoughts that have lived in earth existence, that in earth existence are semblance, are awakened by the present beings of the Second Hierarchy into actual existence.

And we see how the beings of the Third Hierarchy receive from the beings of the Second Hierarchy the already enlivened thoughts, that now will become a mighty world revival, a new world from the dead sensory-semblance that has been received by Angels, Archangels, Archai, a new world, a revived world will come into being by the action of the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes.

Then we watch as the noteworthy world mystery, the cosmic mystery comes into effect. We watch as the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes give over what they have just received from the beings of the Third Hierarchy to what we in earth-existence call rays of light, rays of light from the sun, rays of light from the stars. In all these rays of light will the enlivened, awakened web of thoughts now be given over to the world.

In truth the rays of light are nothing physical. In truth the spirit shines in the rays of light. But we overlook it, when the radiation presses in so upon us, as we gaze upon it so, we overlook what these rays will have been given in the background from the domain of the beings of the Second Hierarchy. In all this radiance, in the star-radiance, in the sun-radiance, will have been given over what the beings of the Second Hierarchy weave into the fabric of world-thought, but also all that they have allowed to be given over from the enlivened thoughts, in dead sensory-semblance also dead but enlivened through the beings of the Third Hierarchy. And now we hear how they give over to these radiant spirit-forces what takes effect as creative love in the cosmos, what weaves as love on the stars’ and sun’s radiance, as love floods through the cosmos and what is decidedly the constructive formative force of the entire cosmos, how it is entrusted to the star-radiance, entrusted to the sun-radiance. Now we see with eyes of the spirit how the spirit-radiant, love-awakening, love-bearing spirits of the Second Hierarchy incorporate the world.

So now we hear spoken, not to us, we bear witness to a dialogue between the beings of the Second Hierarchy and the beings of the Third Hierarchy. It simply sounds forth. We hear it merely as bystanders. It is the first time that we hear the beings of the upper Hierarchies speaking among themselves in the ongoing situation’s meditation.

What you have taken up
Enlivened from dead sensory-semblance:
We wake 4Wir wecken es is we wake it (waken is not a proper grammatical form). it in existence;
We add it to the rays of light,
So that the emptiness of matter
Will bear spirit nature
And manifest endowed with love.

And while we bear witness to the heavenly conversation, the previously night-bedecked darkness gradually lightens for the eyes of the spirit. It becomes infused with soft, gentle light. [This third stanza was now written on the board.]

Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes:
What you have taken up
Enlivened from dead sensory-semblance:
We wake it in existence;
We add it to the rays of light,
So that the emptiness of matter
Will bear spirit nature
And manifest endowed with love.

Were we to take this up and be suffused with it, we would see a bit further as the eye of the spirit splays over it. Then we would see how the earth-thoughts bearing life, rising through the Second Hierarchy, have been imparted to starlight, to sunshine, and have become augmented with love. Then we would see it all being taken up by the beings of the First Hierarchy, and these First Hierarchy beings making it into the elements out of which new worlds are fashioned. What Angels, Archangels, and Archai breathed into themselves, what Exusiai, Dynamis, and Kyriotetes received from them, took up, and changed into forces of creation, out of these the Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim constitute new worlds.

And what is noteworthy is this, that first we were witness to a heavenly conversation, carried on by the beings of the Second Hierarchy with the beings of the Third Hierarchy. Now we hear more with ears of the spirit. Beginning to speak the words of worlds are the beings of the First Hierarchy, the Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim. And for us initially, it is as though we were merely hearing in turn a heavenly conversation, alongside of which we are listeners, auditors. Quite soon it will become clear to us, that it is not so.

First the Angels, Archangels, and Archai allowed their voices to resound. Then arose the dialogue between the Exusiai, Dynamis, and Kyriotetes, and the Angels, Archangels, and Archai. Then the Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim intermixed themselves into the conversation. A whole chorus from the spheres of spirit resounds. We become aware, while the voices of the nine choirs are sounding forth together, that what rings forth from them in turn is directed at us as human beings. So at the last, the whole spiritual world speaks to us. Then in turn, when spoken within the spiritual world, when taken up in the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones’ world-words, then in turn it rings out also here into our human nature. It sounds forth to us in our humanity:

In your worlds of will
Feel our world-wide impact;
Spirit shines in matter,
When we are thinking working;
Spirit works in matter,
When we are living willing;
World is I-willing spirit-word.

[This fourth stanza was now written on the board.]

Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim: In your worlds of will
Feel our world-wide impact;
Spirit shines in matter,
When we are thinking working;
Spirit works in matter,
When we are willing living;
World is I-willing spirit-word.

The spirit-word that the “I-am” wills, is the world. And while we hear these words pressed into movement within our human nature with the ear of the spirit, it becomes light in the spiritual world. The gentle light that was there previously changes into spirit brilliance. That is the experience with the Guardian as the spiritual sphere comes to light.

See the ethereal iris’s
Light-abundant round.
Through your eyes’
Light-forming force
Let your “I” penetrate through the arc,
And then behold from yonder watch
Color flooding the world’s chalice.

Sense our thoughts
Color breathing living
In the chalice's flood of light;
We carry the sensory-semblance
Into spirit-being-realms
And turn ourselves world-infused
To the service of higher spirits.

What you have taken up
Enlivened from dead sensory-semblance:
We wake it in existence;
We add it to the rays of light,
So that the emptiness of matter
Will bear spirit nature
And manifest endowed with love.

In your worlds of will
Feel our world-wide impact;
Spirit shines in matter,
When we are thinking working;
Spirit works in matter,
When we are willing living;
World is I-willing spirit-word.

And then, it is as if the Guardian of the Threshold touches us gently with his spirit-organs. We feel his being, but it is as if he does not have his spirit-eyes on us, as if for a moment nothing shows, in spite of previously being in bright spiritual space. Then the word mounts up out of our inner nature, the word that today we will not yet count as being among the mantras that we have received, but instead at the close of this lesson it will be put in abeyance, set aside, and deferred till the next time.

For, when we depict with sensory imagery, what really occurs purely in spiritual fashion, the Guardian of the Threshold gently covers our eyes with his hands, so that we see nothing of the spiritual brilliance we find ourselves in all about, for what mounts up within us, is what in remembrance works in the sensory world, which we have left with the acquisition of insight in the spiritual world. It mounts up.

I walked within this world of sense,
Thinking’s heritage guiding me,
A god’s power having ushered me in.
Death, it stands at journey’s end.
I will feel Christ’s presence.
Spirit-birth wakes in matter’s death,
So in spirit I’ll find the world
And in world-becoming know myself.

Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard Text for the Seventeenth Lesson

Der Hüter:
Sieh’ des Äther-Farbenbogens
Lichtgewalt’ges Rund,
Lass’ durch deiner Augen
Lichterschaffene Kraft
Dein Ich den Kreis durchdringen,
Und dann schau von jenseit’ger Warte
Farbenflutend die Weltenschale.

Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai:
Empfind’unsrer Gedanken
Farbenatmend Leben
In der Schale Lichtesfluten;
Wir tragen Sinnenschein
In Geistes-Wesenreiche
Und wenden weltdurchdrungen
Uns höher Geistern dienend zu.

Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes:
Euer Empfangenes
Aus totem Sinnenschein Belebtes:
Wir wecken es im Sein;
Wir schenken es den Strahlen,
Die des Stoffes Nichttigkeit
In des Geistes Wesenheit
Liebewebend offenbaren.

Throne, Cherubine, Seraphine:
In deinen Willenswelten
Fühl’ unser Weltenwirken;
Geist erglänzt im Stoffe,
Wenn wir denkend schaffen;
Geist erschafft im Stoffe,
Wenn wir wollend leben;
Welt ist Ich-wollen Geistes-Wort.

The Guardian:
See the ethereal iris’s
Light-abundant round;
Through your eyes’
Light-forming force
Let your “I” penetrate through the arc,
And then behold from yonder watch
Color flooding the world’s chalice.

Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai:
Sense our thoughts
Color breathing living
In the chalice's flood of light;
We carry the sensory-semblance
Into spirit-being-realms,
And turn ourselves world-infused
To the service of higher spirits.

Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes:
What you have taken up
Enlivened from dead sensory-semblance:
We wake it in existence;
We add it to the rays of light,
So that the emptiness of matter
Will bear spirit nature
And manifest endowed with love.

Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim:
In your worlds of will
Feel our world-wide impact;
Spirit shines in matter,
When we are thinking working;
Spirit works in matter,
When we are willing living;
World is I-willing spirit-word.