Notes from the Second Lesson in London
27 August 1924, London
As in the previous lesson, we will first hear resounding towards us the words that are spoken to human beings like an eternal admonition, like an admonition of eternity resounding in the past, in the present, and in the future, calling out to a human being that he should become self-aware, in order to find his proper relationship to the world and to himself.
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 space’s soul-emptiness,
As you lose the power of thinking
In time’s destroying stream?
My dear brothers and sisters! A harrowing admonition was spoken by the Guardian of the Threshold to the human being in the first Lesson. This first admonition shows a person how willing, feeling, and thinking, as they live in a human being in this materialistic age, continue to live in him when endeavoring to rise above materialism. It shows how willing, feeling, and thinking appear in the imaginations of the three beasts, which can be very harrowing indeed if felt deeply enough. They show us how little of all that is at work near the surface of one’s soul life really accords with the actual intentions buried deep within the soul.
This is how it is with all esoteric life, as described last time, that wants to speak to us directly out of the spiritual world. There we are shown on one side all the depths, the moral depths in our soul through which we shall have to pass in order to find our way to the true being of the world and to ourselves. On the other side, we are shown the heights to which a person should ascend.
There is no true esoteric pathway to self-awareness if the person will not be carried both down and under into the depths, and also will not be carried out and into the heights. Only if we develop the courage to go to the depths as well as to the heights, only then will the stark strong impulse come into our souls, the impulse which is necessary for esoteric development.
For the sake of our esoteric development, a person has to stop feeling cut off from our cosmic environment. Let us ask about the relationship of our day life to our surrounding cosmic world. Around us a person perceives the mineral, plant, and animal world. Yet he feels separate from this world in his body. This isolated existence in body was good for his own development. But today there is a tendency to separate oneself too much from the world, really, not merely in thoughts. Every night we enter the realm of sleep from which only chaotic dreams well up to the surface. Instead of being among animals and plants there, we are surrounded at best by shadow images of them. We are infinitely alone with ourselves there. Our dream life is filled with infinite loneliness and this continues to work on in our daytime consciousness. We continue to dream on in our illusions, and out of this arise all the things that are rooted in our egoism. On our way to the godlike spiritual we have to overcome this egoism. This proper feeling, this attitude of mind must give rise to the beginning of an esoteric path. Whomever is not willing in a certain way to break with all that has formed itself in his ordinary self will not get far along an esoteric path, for we are concerned here with a genuine turning point in development. For the world, much depends on how many human beings will find their way on to a truly esoteric path.
We must begin by trying to experience the elements that surround us. After having shattered us with the appearance of the three beasts, the Guardian in turn instructs us to look into the world of the elements, for on the path to the spirit we have to grow into the different elements. There is the earth below… There is fluidity. We must feel how they are united with us, how they are united inwardly and externally. So it is also with air, which is within us, which is again external to us. So it is with warmth, so it is with all the elements. The issue is for us to summon up the necessary attentiveness through an intimate melding into the advice, the teachings that we here receive and sustain.
Think, my dear friends, imagine touching something, imagine feeling something. It is just the same, however, when you observe, when you hear… Imagine, you are a single great sense organ, you remain on the floor of the earth, while the earth below bears you up. It is just the same as touching something with your finger, just so you touch the earth with your entire body as you stand and walk. It is only because it has become so habitual that a person doesn’t say it this way. What is customary, habitual a person must in turn emerge from in esoteric development. A person must learn to find himself to be a sort of finger touching, tasting the earth. The entire person himself becomes a sensory organ.
O Man, touch inwardly in your body’s whole existence,
How earth forces for you in existence-awareness 1Dasein are pillars.
As a whole human being you must feel like a finger feeling and touching something. You will then feel how earthly forces are your supports within existence so that you don't sink down into the heaviness. With these words the Guardian is telling us that we should feel as the godhead tasting on the earth with this finger, this finger which we are as whole human being.
Now we come to a second aspect. As we continue, we no longer only feel the earth supporting us with our feet, but we also feel how the blood … in this finger of the godhood that we are… how the blood lives and moves. One feels for instance blood living in a finger, that for example is sick or injured in some way. In this way a person becomes aware of the watery element. This is how we feel the watery element within ourselves.
O Man, live inwardly in your touching’s whole sphere,
How water ways for you in existence-awareness are sculptors.
Water beings … in our own blood, in our blood vessels … a sculpting. Outside, in the cosmos, the water, the fluid element, it tosses waves and wavelets on its surface which a person finds beautiful. But in occult development a person must experience how this same water element also lives in us, molding and sculpting us. Earth for us is merely like supporting pillars. Water sculpts us inwardly. Whereas earlier it was unknown, a person should become aware of inner touching: O Man, live inwardly in your touching’s whole sphere. …
My dear friends, please note in all these mantras the exact choice and position of each word. We must take the words as god-given, inspired, inspired out of the spiritual world. It is just this way for every single word, from the progression of pillars to sculptors, of something lower to something higher, to what not merely supports us outwardly, but rather chisels, plastically molds us inwardly.
Now we come to the third stage. The Guardian instructs us to look up to the air element. A person breathes in and out. The movement is initially automatic, unconscious, but it moves in him nevertheless. When there is something wrong with his breathing, he notices that in it is something that is moralistic, soulful. If a person breathes wrongly while asleep, for example, fear and anxiety live in the dream. Here the person is not merely sculpted. He becomes built by water going out into all organs. All that is fully formed first built itself out of fluidity. Blood contains the formative forces. … In seven years, the material parts of the organs are offloaded and newly formed out of the blood. All the material substance you have in your body now was not there eight years ago. All of you sitting here have been essentially rebuilt out of your blood stream during the course of the last seven or eight years. Whereas the fluid element is our sculptor, air is something we sense in our soul, so that fear arises if we breathe too much carbon dioxide and faintness occurs if we have too much oxygen, which is like being dissolved into the cosmos.
O Man, feel inwardly in your living’s whole weave,
How air powers for you in existence-awareness are nurturers.
In this way we proceed upwards into a realm where a moral aspect begins to appear. We have progressed from support to etheric sculptor and then on to nurturer.
In the fourth stage we ascend to fire, the element of warmth. The earth is scarcely felt by us. The formative, sculpting process is perhaps felt in childhood, if at all. As regards the air, the nurturers take care not to let us feel them. But warmth, whether it is cold or hot, a person feels the warmth element of the cosmos as belonging to himself. Yes, he would totally feel, by means of the admonition of the Guardian, passing by the three beasts and coming up into the cosmos altruistically not egoistically, that he will be carried out and beyond into the realm of the living moving warmth. …
Viewed occultly it is as follows: When a person thinks, he inwardly grasps the fire element of the cosmos. He does not think only in his head. The thinking ability goes far, far out into the cosmos. In the summer he feels the Fire Spirits, the Dynamis, Archai, and Seraphim. In the winter he lives into the cold element with thinking, his thoughts rise up in ice and snow, into the sun-resplendent air. … The fire element is smoothy intimately bound together with the human being. And the human being then says to himself, “If you climb high up a mountain, then it gets colder and colder, and just so you come upon the Exusiai, the Kyriotetes, the Archangels, and the Cherubim, on such a world in which wisdom rules. If you descend from the mountain, or if you come into warm, summer-like times, you come out of the realm of the Cherubim with their wisdom into the realm of the Seraphim’s love, out of the realm of the light-filled wisdom of the Kyriotetes and the Exusiai, into the realm of the fire wielding Dynamis, … who forge in fire … out of the realm of the Archangels, who transform in the water weaving wisdom world into the realm of the Archai and Angeloi. …
O Man, think inwardly in your feeling’s whole stream,
How fire-mights for you in existence-awareness are helpers.
Here it rises up into morality. The nurturers, … they nurture still from the outside. The fire-mights are not merely nurturers, they help us, they help us inwardly.
After a person takes up this admonition, he once again fastens the whole together with the words, as a summary of the previous:
O Man, look within yourself into the elemental realm.
And so, after we were shattered down, we now receive from the Guardian's earnest countenance the instruction to enter, thinking, into the elemental world, to take up within us the existence of the elements...
So, the Guardian admonishes us to live ourselves into earth, water, air and fire. We do that with our physical and etheric body. But the soul cannot simply penetrate the realm of the elements, it must expand into the realm of the planets. The wandering stars, depending on how they face the Earth, they express in their mutual relationships what rules in our souls. Our physical and etheric body ... familiarize themselves ... in the realm of the elements. Our souls expand into the circling of the wandering stars,... of fast-moving Mercury, of nearby Moon, of Venus as she carries cosmic love out into the world’s far reaches, of the forceful craft of Mars, of the wisdom spewing forth from Jupiter, of the maturity of Saturn as he drives all that bears essence with fire-nature. ... It is our soul that therefore expands out into the cosmos. The Guardian says:
O Man, just so let rule in the depths of your soul
The wandering stars' world-guiding might.
And he fastens this once more together, as the many circles of the planets become fastened together as a single circling:
O Man, bring yourself into being, into motion through world’s circling.
So far, we have only accounted for the physical and etheric body, and for the soul, but not yet for the spirit. Out to the spirit moving and weaving within the “I” we must gush, not merely to the planets, but rather out to the fixed stars. The “I”, that forever and ever wields authority, we must carry out to the realm of the fixed stars.
O Man, hold inwardly in the work of your spirit
The resting stars’ heaven-heralding words.
And once again, the Guardian fastens these two lines together. ...with might surging and seething in us... in the words:
O Man, fashion yourself through heavens’ wisdom.
When we feel such a word, sounding together as a whole through earth, water, air, fire, planets, and fixed stars, when we feel it in its entirety, while we hearken to the words, which come to us from the Guardian, then the might of Michael wields authority in this present time through the school. And we may feel this might of Michael in his sign, and feel how Michael, who since the year 1879 and beyond to our time has marshalled his leadership, has accepted all that was grounded since the fifteenth century in the emblem of the Rosae et Crucis. And we may feel the demeanor of the Rose Cross in the three-part word I honor the Father, I love the Son, I unite with the Spirit. This will not be spoken, but accompanies in gesture the threefold word Ex Deo nascimur, In Christo morimur, Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.
We must now understand as three-sided what the Guardian gives to us as he accompanies us across the abyss of existence, not with earth-feet but with soul-wings.
We think in customary life. In our thoughts live simply the felt shadow in reality of the embrace of essential being. We ask, what are our thoughts? They are a corpse. Just as soul and spirit depart from a physical corpse, and the body is given over to the earth, that is what god-like spiritual beings make of the body of our thoughts. Between death and rebirth living thoughts were fully alive. Then it descended into the physical body where it lives as if in a coffin. The human physical body is the coffin of living thoughts. We should feel this as the truth, with which we are guided by the spiritual world. So, the Guardian says to us: Your thoughts are mere semblance, but you can dive into this illusory appearance and then behind it feel true selfhood … as a godliness. … In the interweaving etheric, there within feel the spirit-beings, that weave, move throughout …
The Guardian speaks to the human being:
Look upon your web of thoughts:
World of semblance you experience,
Self-awareness hides from you;
Plunge beneath appearance:
Ether being whirls in you;
Self-awareness, it should honor
Your own spirit’s guiding beings.
There is a rhythm in this, as though we were climbing down a mountain … In the trochaic rhythm of macron then breve, stressed then unstressed, we connect in meditation with the pulse of living world thoughts in which we were before descending down to earth.
But not only thinking, we also bear feeling within us. This is not only semblance but also substance. Thoughts are semblance. In feelings semblance and substance mingle ... The powers of the world rule in us. We are expected not only to honor but also to consider that objective world forces wield and weave authority in us:
Embrace your stream of feelings:
Where semblance and substance mingle,
Aware-self leans toward semblance;
So plunge beneath appearance:
And world soul forces are in you;
Aware-self should consider well
Inherent in soul the powers of life.
In this verse we swing up in turn to existence. The rhythm of breve then macron, unstressed then stressed, is quite different. We should live in this cosmic rhythm, in which the soul rises up to existence, after it has lost existence in thoughts. Here it progresses from honoring to considering. It becomes more intimate. We honor, indicating that the beings guide us more from the outside. We consider how the powers of life rule in our own inner being.
Then we go down to greater depths. The Guardian points out how the cosmos lives and weaves in our will. The power of existence rises up in us. We are to lay hold of the power within us, the might of world creating:
Let reign in you the thrust of will:
It climbs from all apparent being
With autonomous existence well-equipped;
Turn to this throughout your life:
Filled it is with world-spirit-might;
Your autonomous existence, it should grasp
World-maker-might into spirit-I.
Here we become aware how existence, newly made, rises up out of all that is semblance-being. It needs another rhythm, the spondaic, macron, macron, stressed, stressed. The two stressed syllables express how the mighty beat of existence thrusts into soul and spirit.
Note the intensification from honor, to the more intimate consider, and then to the going-entirely-into-the-thing grasp. Similarly guiding beings outside us in the cosmos), powers of life within us, world-maker-might in the cosmos as well as within us. Here, in the last line of the third verse, the corresponding word world-maker- might comes at the beginning of the line, not at the end. This is also important. The rhythm is therefore spondaic, stressed, stressed, stressed, and stressed.
When this threefold mantra resounds from the Guardian of the Threshold to the human soul, waiting to fly over the abyss, then may the soul feel how the magic might of Michael surges and seethes through the room. … And how, since the beginning of the new age, Michael is coalesced, is amalgamated, is confederated 2vereinigt with the stream of Rosae et Crucis... In Michael’s Sign we receive what comes to us here in this way with the three-sided countenance of the Rose Cross...
Both the mantras and also anything about the content of the Lessons may only be passed on to members of the esoteric School, that is, those who possess the blue membership card. Those who have been unable to attend may receive the mantras from those who were here. But in every case, it is the one who wishes to pass on the mantras who must ask either Dr. Wegman or myself. It is part of the esoteric guidance that in every single case there must be a concrete request. Taking notes is not authorized. If notes were taken, one is duty bound to burn them within a week.