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Esoteric Instructions
GA 270

Lesson XVIII

12 July 1924, Dornach

My dear friends! The call to self-knowledge, which the soul of man can take up, when it listens impartially to all the beings and events of life, in nature and in the life of the spirit, we will once again, at the beginning of our lesson, allow to pass before our souls.

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?

We are in the midst, my dear brothers and sisters, of our souls finding the answer to this question, having gone quite far in its contemplation, along the way to the Guardian of the Threshold, to the abyss of existence. We were infused with the instruction of the Guardian of the Threshold along the way. What had stood there previously dark and dull, a person knowing that it nevertheless held his being, that it held the source of his existence, what had been before him dark and dull started to lighten, and then became bright, quite bright. Then in the brightness we heard the Guardian’s call.

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.

And the Angels, Archangels, and Archai allow their voices to resound upon this word of the Guardian of the Threshold, as they focus on human souls.

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.

And so we see how there, through the flooding light of the world chalice, with which we became acquainted in the last lesson, the beings of the Third Hierarchy become irradiated and illuminated. We see droves of these high beings of Angels, Archangels, and Archai going forth in service to the higher spirits, to the Exusiai, Dynamis, and Kryriotetes. And we become witness to the Exusiai, Dynamis, and Kyriotetes speaking to the beings serving them, implementing what these serving beings require for humanity.

And so the Exusiai, Dynamis, and Kyriotetes speak:

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.

And then, urged on by what is within us, we then must turn our gaze to the highest spirits, to the First Hierarchy, turning to them as they turn themselves in blessing to human beings. From there we hear:

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.

We bear witness to what beings of the higher worlds discuss among themselves, to what the highest beings pour into human souls as world-words, to what inundates human hearts, and so we must feel ourselves within this dominion-over-all, moving-through-all world light, within which we ourselves live and move.

And now we come upon a truth, perceived there where disembodied spirit-beings live their lives, where spirits think their truths, where spirits are adorned in their beauty, where the work of spirits takes spirited effect. And we come upon the grand, the all-encompassing, the spirit-world-interwoven truth: that spirit is all that is. For we appear, we live, we move in spirit. We embrace spiritual existence.

And now we think about how spirit, within which we now live, is all that is. And now we know that there also where we otherwise are in life, there also in the world of sensory show is simply spirit. Spirit is alone, is all that is. This stands now before our souls as unwavering, almighty truth: that spirit is all. And it is good for us to envision this truth in imagery before the soul. [It was drawn in red.] That, illustrated in the image, is spirit. It is only spirit. [While speaking the word “is” was written within the red drawing in various places.]

That which appears here, is. It is spirit. And what is outside this red area, is nothing. That stands before our souls. And the spirit-world says to us, here it is, here it is, here it is, here it is. Everywhere the spirit is, is something.

Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (left side)

[Presently while speaking on, the word “nothing” was written at various places between the areas drawn in red, and further away the words “minerals”, “plants”, and “animals.”]

And where there is no spirit, is nothing. And we are duly impressed, that that is the truth. Everywhere spirit is, is something, and where spirit is not, is nothing. And yet we ask ourselves, how does it appear to us, all that seems to show itself in the world of sensory appearance, out of which we have gone forth over the Threshold here into the spiritual world, where we find the truth of existence, the spirit, emplaced before our souls? Back over there we saw what here is drawn in red as nothing. We are too weak over there, concerning what is drawn in red, to see. What remains over there residually? Nothingness! What we see over there is nothingness, whether it is called minerals, it is a sort of nothingness, whether called plants, a second sort of nothingness, whether called animals, a third sort of nothingness, and so forth.

We perceive nothingness because we are too weak to see what is something. And this nothingness we talk about as the realm of nature. That is the grand beguilement, or as we say, the grand illusion. There are only various sorts of nothingness around us, before our eyes, as we gaze about embodied in corporeality. And we have the deeply felt impression that we are living there, and giving names to what fundamentally is nothing, to what is a grand illusion. And what appears to us presently, what lives over there as nothing and to what we give names, it appears to us as a summation of names, names that we give to the state of nothingness. For in their true state all beings are simply in existence, here where we have entered, here in the spiritual world. Names assigned to nothingness over there are wasted on what is bereft of being. And beings not from the realms of gods, to which we belong, and to which we rightfully belong, such beings can take possession of the names we have wasted on the nothingness. And henceforth they bear these names.

When we are not clear about this, that here upon the earth we give names to what has no real existence, we lapse with our names into a stark, strong illusion. We must know that we are giving names to what is intrinsically nothing. That stands out presently before our souls, while we are living and moving here within the light, so that it can be felt deep, deep, deeply by the spirit-craft of our hearts, which has remained with us in crossing over. Now we know that we have drawn out of the realm of illusion into the realm of truth. Earnest solemnity, sacred earnest solemnity in regard to truth begins to have dominion in our souls.

And now we look back at the trustworthy Guardian of the Threshold, who stands at the abyss of existence. He is not speaking just now. He spoke out of the darkness. He spoke as we were just feeling the luminosity. He spoke while the luminosity grew into brilliance. Now as we stand in the brilliance astounded by the grand truth that there is only spirit, he presently does not speak, he now silently indicates how on high the beings of the higher hierarchies are speaking among themselves. And we think for a moment in regarding the spirit, that down there in life on earth we have been struck with the impression minerals, plants, animals, and physical human beings have made on us, at what the clouds have to say, at what the mountains say, at what the gushing springs are doing, at the power of lightning, at the rolling thunder, at the stars whispering world mysteries. That was what we met with along the way down there. That was our experience. Now all is silent on this side of the abyss of existence. Presently we are witnesses as the gods speak with one another, as the whole choir of angels begins to speak.

Still looking upward, we see this choir turning to the higher spirits, turning to the spirits of the Second Hierarchy in service. We gaze at the loving, serving behavior of the Angels, Archangels, and Archai as they turn to the Exusiai, Dynamis, and Kyriotetes. We have the impression of the gathering of the Third Hierarchy in service.

We have the impression of the gathering of the Second Hierarchy in world-creating, in world-dominion, in world-illumination, and we hear what these beings, inwardly spirit illuminated, godlike in willing, and willing all that is godlike, what these beings are saying one to another.

We hear the Angels, as they allow their word to resound. Out of their care in guiding human souls they allow their word to resound.

Human beings are thinking!

That is carried by the Angels. That is what they are concerned with, in how they should be guiding human souls, for they note that there is thinking going on among human beings. They turn in supplication to the Dynamis, in order to obtain the force by means of which they can properly guide human beings in thinking.

Angels:
Human Beings are thinking!
We need the light from on high,
That we may shine in thinking.

The Dynamis from the realm of illumination, dominion, and action answer full of love, full of benevolence:

Receive 1empfanget the light from on high,
That you may shine in thinking,
When human beings think.

And the flooding light, the force of illumination in thinking, streams forth from the Dynamis to the Angels. What the Angels receive, without human beings knowing it, illuminates within human thinking. Now we are aware of what works and moves within human thinking: the illumination of Angels! But the force of light belonging to this illumination, they have received it from the Dynamis. [The first part of the mantra was now written on the board.]

I) Angels:

There is thinking going on among human beings! That is their concern. That is what they put forth as their words of concern.

Human Beings are thinking!

Now they turn in their concern to the Dynamis:

We need the light from on high,
That we may shine in thinking.

The Dynamis answer:

Dynamis: Receive the light from on high,
That you may shine in thinking,
When human beings think.

Our spiritual gaze goes further. We see the gathering of Archangels turning in service to the spirits of the Second Hierarchy. Now they turn to the Exusiai and Kyriotetes, to these two categories of spirits of the Second Hierarchy. Angels have turned to the Dynamis, and Archangels have turned to the Exusiai and Kyriotetes. And their concern is that there is feeling among human beings. They appeal to the Exusiai and Kyriotetes for what they need for the feeling-life of human beings, in order to guide them.

Archangels:
Human beings are feeling!
We need the warmth of soul,
That we may live in feelings.

They must breathe life into feelings. And with mighty voice, since two choirs are answering, the answer from the Kyriotetes and Exusiai resounds in the spiritual world-all.

Receive the warmth of soul,
That you may live in feelings,
When human beings feel.

[The second part of the mantra was now written on the board.]

II) Archangels:
Human beings are feeling!
We need the warmth of soul,
That we may live in feelings.

It is answered.

Kyriotetes and Exusiai:
Receive the warmth of soul,
That you may live in feelings,
When human beings feel.

And we turn to the third gathering of the Third Hierarchy, to the gathering of the Archai. Their concern is that there is willing among human beings, the third concern of the Third Hierarchy.

We feel the Angels turning to the Dynamis, then we felt the Dynamis in action, far up in the heights, so that the light from on high is garnered and given to the Angels in their concern for human thinking. And we felt all that is encompassed by world-warmth is garnered by Exusiai and Kyriotetes, and is handed over to the Archangels, so that they can lead in feelings in human beings. And deep below, where the spirits and gods of the deep rule, from the abysses in which rules much that is evil, from there deep forces of goodness must be obtained. There all the gods of the Second Hierarchy pull together, for in their concern for human beings willing the Archai need the strength of the depths. And so they speak:

Human beings are willing!
We need the strength of the depths,
That we may work in willing.

And in answer to this, in mighty formidable cosmic voice, the mighty voices of the mighty spirits of the Second Hierarchy ring forth together, all three together, three choirs gathering into one choir, Kyriotetes, Dynamis, and Exusiai, three choirs in one:

Receive the strength of the depths,
That you may work in willing,
When human beings will.

[The third part of the mantra was now written on the board.]

III.) Archai
Human beings are willing!
We need the strength of the depths,
That we may work in willing.

It is answered by Kyriotetes, Dynamis, and Exusiai together:

Kyriotetes, Dynamis, and Exusiai:
Receive the strength of the depths,
That you may work in willing,
When human beings will.

That is the world, the world present in the sacred creator-words, the resounding of which we become witness to in spiritual worlds, as we are witness to what goes on in mineral and plant-like realms here on the earth.

And we take it in, as it comes to us on our way, as it becomes our experience.

Human Beings are thinking!
We need the light from on high,
That we may shine in thinking.

Receive the light from on high,
That you may shine in thinking,
When human beings think.

Human beings are feeling!
We need the warmth of soul,
That we may live in feelings.

Receive the warmth of soul,
That you may live in feelings,
When human beings feel.

Human beings are willing!
We need the strength of the depths
That we may work in willing.

Receive the strength of the depths,
That you may work in willing,
When human beings will.

We grow into the spiritual world. Instead of what surrounds us here on this sensation-laden earth, surrounding us there are the choirs of the spiritual world. And we become witnesses to what the gods are saying, to what the gods are saying in their concern for the human world, in their caring works concerning the human world.

Only when our meditation undergoes this full disengagement from what we are here on the earth, and we feel engaged with a world the gods there in their divine speech allow to exist, only then do we experience true reality. And just when we have this reality, we also have what is really around us here between birth and death. For behind all that lives here between birth and death in apparency, is what comprises the true reality we live in between death and a new birth.

People of earlier times lived upon the earth, but in a dull, dream-laden clairvoyant state of existence. Their souls were filled with a sort of dream-laden pictures that spoke of the spiritual world. Imagine before us such a man of olden times. Then, when not working, even though the sun still stood in the heavens, when putting his work aside to rest awhile, then he might have paused for reflection, to bring up the pictures he was able to experience in his soul, which reminded him of what he had experienced in pre-earthly existence in the spiritual world. But he did not understand the connection of his earth existence with the other existence, the one that glowed there within in his clairvoyant dreams. But the teachings of the adepts, the initiates, were there to make it clear. They brought clarity at first to their students, and through their students to all people, about what the connection is. And so one lived in the earth-world by means of memories of pre-earthly existence.

In life on earth today, the memory of the pre-earthly existence has been lost. Initiates can no longer bring clarity about the connection of life on earth with pre-earthly existence, for people have forgotten what they experienced in pre-earthly existence. Such a clarification is simply not possible. Cosmic memory does not need to be brought into clarity, for today it is simply not there.

But what must be heard through initiation science, is what the gods are saying there behind sensory existence. Then people must experience it. And increasingly the time will come in which people, having gone through the portal of death, will only be able to understand the spiritual world, into which they have entered, when they can say the following:

When the person has stepped through the portal of death into supra-earthly existence and then finds himself in the reality of the spiritual world, within the world of Angles, Archangels, Archai, Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes, Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones, when he experiences all this, then what he experiences there after death should not remain incomprehensible and dark for him, for then he must remember the things that he went through by means of initiation knowledge.

And it will be important, immeasurably important to the understanding of what can be experienced there in the life between death and a new birth, to have already heard it as such, for otherwise it cannot be understood, other than through a memory of having heard, back on earth, such as what resounds over there.

Human Beings are thinking!
Receive the light from on high.

Human beings are feeling!
Receive the warmth of soul.

Human beings are willing!
Receive the strength of the depths.

Those are the words, my brothers and sisters, that properly belong in the esoteric school today. They should ring forth there, by means of the instruction through which the power of the Age of Michael is channeled through the esoteric school. It can then be as follows. In the esoteric school the first to be heard within life on earth will be the voice of the Angels:

Human beings are thinking!

The answer of the Dynamis:

Receive the light from on high.

The voice of the Archangels is heard.

Human beings are feeling!

The answer of the Kyriotetes and Exusiai:

Receive the warmth of soul.

The words of the Archai:

Human beings are willing!

All three ranks of the Second Hierarchy answer, the Exusiai, Dynamis, and Kyriotetes:

Receive the strength of the depths.

Having heard this in esoteric schools, and on hearing them ringing forth again after having gone through the portal of death, people will hear both together, the esoteric school here and the life between death and a new birth there. They will understand what there resounds.

Or people may remain dull and unwilling to hear what the esoteric schools have to say about preparedness through Anthroposophy in general. They may not take up what can be gently heard through initiation knowledge from the higher realms. Then they go through the portal of death. There they hear what they should have heard earlier. They will not understand the incomprehensible ringing, the simple reverberation, the noise of worlds resounding in the words of power of the gods speaking among themselves.

The gospels speak of this. Paul speaks of it, that people should attend to the guiding wisdom of Christ before death brings them into the land of the spirit. For death in spirit-land comes also, at the same time, when we go through the portal of death and do not understand what resounds there, when instead we are only able to hear incomprehensible noise, instead of the understandable words of the gods. This is because what has befallen us, instead of life of the soul, is death of the soul. That the soul might live, for this reason there is initiation knowledge. That the soul remains alive when it passes through the portal of death, for this reason there are esoteric schools. This should permeate us thoroughly

And now let us recall the path we have been walking along in the spirit. Let us recall how we approached the Guardian in order to become acquainted with how someone might cross over the abyss of existence. And let us look just now upon the impressions that from over there have worked on our souls, let us take up into our souls what can parade before our souls as the inner drama of self-awareness.

We have gone down the path. Standing there in a certain way are three tablets. Presently we stand before the third, after we have taken up into our souls all the depths of the divine call. From the first tablet, a short time after having come to the abyss of existence, there it would peal forth:

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?

Now the Guardian of the Threshold approaches us. The second tablet looms. On it is written:

First come to know the earnest Guardian,
Who stands before the gates of spirit-land,
Denying entry to your sensory force
And to your intellect’s might,
For in weaving of sense
And in forming of thought
Out of space’s absence of being,
Out of time’s illusory powers
The truth of your own self
You must first forcefully master.

Then when we have arrived on the other side, passing by the earnest Guardian, standing there, we would hear a dialogue such as this:

Human Beings are thinking!
Receive the light from on high.

Human beings are feeling!
Receive the warmth of soul.

Human beings are willing!

Receive the strength of the depths.

From there we gaze back over here on the sensory world. From there we feel the words concerning this sensory world:

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.
In matter’s death spirit-birth wakes,
So in spirit I’ll find the world
And in world-becoming know myself.

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

I) Angeloi:
Es denken die Menschenwesen!
Wir brauchen das Licht der Höhen,
Daß wir im Denken leuchten können.

Dynamis:
Empfanget das Licht der Höhen,
Daß ihr im Denken leuchten könnt,
Wenn Menschenwesen denken.

II) Archangeloi:
Es fühlen die Menschenwesen!
We brauchen die Seelenwärme,
Daß wir im Fühlen leben können.

Kyriotetes und Exusiai:
Empfanget die Seelenwärme,
Daß ihr im Fühlen leben könnt,
Wenn Menschenwesen fühlen.

III) Archai:
Es wollen die Menschenwesen!
Wir brauchen die Tiefenkraft,
Daß wir im Wollen wirken konnen.

Kyriotetes, Dynamis und Exusiai:
Empfanget die Tiefenkraft,
Daß ihr im Wollen wirken könnt,
Wenn Menschenwesen wollen.

I) Angeloi: Human Beings are thinking!
We need the light from on high,
That we may shine in thinking.

Dynamis:
Receive the light from on high,
That you may shine in thinking,
When human beings think.

II) Archangeloi:
Human beings are feeling!
We need the warmth of soul,
That we may live in feelings.

Kyriotetes and Exusiai:
Receive the warmth of soul,
That you may live in feelings,
When human beings feel.

III) Archai:
Human beings are willing!
We need the strength of the depths
That we may work in willing.

Kyriotetes, Dynamis, and Exusiai:
Receive the strength of the depths,
That you may work in willing,
When human beings will.