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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Instructions
GA 270

Sixth Recapitulation Lesson

17 September 1924, Dornach

My dear friends, brothers and sisters! For those who are here today for the first time it must be said once again that it is not possible in every instance, when new members enter the school, to give the introduction which deals with the nature of obligation inherent in the school, and that I must require of those members who have been here before, and who will give the mantric verses to those who have newly entered, that they will convey what is the essential content of this introduction.

And so, we begin again today in this Michael School with those words which contain the basic demand, the fundamental demand to the human being, which resound to him from all realms of nature and from all the hierarchies of the spirit, if he has a sense and a receptivity for them, and which demand that he seeks his own being, but which also demand of him to come to know the world in its spirit-sustained form and structure by penetrating through his own being. They resound out of all that lives and moves in the depths of earth, in water and air, in warmth and light, in all that lives in mountains and springs, in rocks, in all that lives in plants, in animals, in physical human form, in human souls, in human spirits, in all that lives in the dwellers in the stars, in the hierarchies of the spirit. They sound as follows.

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! The description of the spiritual path that should lead out of our sun-drenched world, in which we live on earth, which is bright in comparison to what initially appears to us on the other side of the yawning abyss of existence as gloomy night-bedecked darkness, on this path leading us forth when we seek our intrinsic being we become aware that in all that upon the earth lives in the depths, moves in the air, that creeps and flies, but also in all that our senses perceive in the majestic shining of the stars, in the mighty depths of world spaces, in the immeasurable reaches of time moving on, that all this does not contain our existence, the actual source of our human essence. This all becomes dark when we look about us in search of our human essence. The description of this path has led us to the point where it shows us that we must find the way over to the Guardian of the Threshold, who has said so much to us about the significance of the spiritual path, over into what is still night-bedecked, black darkness, in order that it becomes bright and that within this brightness light appears to us that illuminates our own existence, and thereby illuminates existence and being and interweaving of the world, illuminating it for the eyes of our soul.

Yet we must be clear that in the moment, and please note we are still in the description, in the moment in which we are to cross over the abyss of existence, over to the Guardian of the Threshold, that in this moment with the person, therefore with our self, a significant change is taking place.

Let us look, my dear brothers and sisters, at our human existence as it is between birth and death in physical earth-life. We measure the world by thinking, we grasp the world by feeling, we affect the world by willing. But thinking, feeling and willing are profoundly interwoven together in our human existence. When we wish to carry out an action momentarily, first we think it, and whatever we carry out is already present as a seed in our thought. We see it shoot out into impulses of will. We feel that something has value for us. We feel love for this or that being springing up within us. Therefore, in that we are feeling, we make a thought of the being for ourselves. Or else we go about bringing love of this being to fruition. we let love inspire us, stimulate us, which then passes over into willing. But all this, thinking, feeling, willing hangs closely connected in our human nature, in so far as this human being progresses between birth and death here in the physical world. We are a unity in thinking, feeling, and willing.

And it is true, that we are only really awake in our thoughts. They are bright and clear, despite the fact that the Guardian of the Threshold has revealed them as appearance only. They are bright and clear; we are awake in them.

Feeling lives in us darker and less clear. We are nearer to existence in feeling, but the content we feel is like a dream, so that we can only speak from bright awake thinking and therefore only while awake can we speak of dreaming feeling.

Willing, however, as it liberates itself from the nature of our humanity, initially for ordinary consciousness remains fully unclear. The human being has the thought that he wants to do this or that, the thought shoots down and lays hold on the organism, the organism bestirs itself, carries out the thought, and the person sees again with a thought what he has done. But willing itself rests in its own nature as that aspect of our soul that between falling asleep and waking is in deep sleep.

But he who beholds these things as an initiate, sees thoughts in their aliveness, as they were before the human being descended from supersensible worlds into the sensory. He beholds radiant essential being in thoughts. This radiant essential being, however, does not rest in him as do the sheen of thoughts that he has in customary thinking.

We stand beside the Guardian of the Threshold. The abyss of being is there before us. Beyond the abyss, beyond the threshold lies black, night-bedecked darkness, but brightening and gathering itself out of the darkness a formation stirs, a living formation. We say, in that we are catching the scent of, sensing our thoughts, as they were in us as physical human beings, which we have left behind, we say to ourselves that that is our moving, living thinking, that belongs now not to us, that belongs to the world. Light on light the thought casts itself loose from the black darkness. We know that the thought, the thought of all our thinking, is there in the black darkness as the first clarity we come upon.

And then we gaze somewhat further down. We have the feeling, and the Guardian of the Threshold shows us with his admonishing gesture as we look yet further down, how the glow of firelight appears under the darkness. Fire, dark fire, yet fire that we can sense, that we feel with clair-sentience spreads out below us. Across the abyss of being there comes toward us what we know to be our willing. For the initiate gradually learns to recognize how it actually is when thinking passes over into willing. When thinking passes over into willing there the thought becomes willed, is gathered up, but then this thought streams over into the bodily organism, in clair-sentience one observes this, streaming in as beneficent fire. It is warmth that the will brings there into conscious existence. It is warmth, fire as which our intrinsic will encounters us out of the darkness.

And in between this warmth that our will streams out, confronting us – for our will that goes forth from us as man is only the reflex of our intrinsic will as cosmic man that confronts us now streaming beyond the abyss of existence – in between this warm dark minimally bluish-violet out-stream below and the bright gathering thought-lights above, in between the two undulates and weaves warmth rising up and light descending. Light-drenched warmth rising up, warmth-entrenched light streaming down, that is our feeling.

This is a mighty picture which the Guardian of the Threshold shows us. And now we know, that if we pass over from the world of the senses, from the world of physical reality, in which we are between birth and death, into the world of spirit, then in thinking, feeling, and willing we no longer have the unity which we have here. There we are three. In the world-all we are three. Our thinking goes to the light as we cross the threshold, our willing goes to fire, and our feeling goes to light-borne light-interwoven fire.

And we must have the courage to expand, to intensify this self, this “I,” so that it holds the three together when we cross over. We can do this if we correctly infuse ourselves with what otherwise could be for us merely picture-substantiality, if we correctly infuse ourselves with the notion that our head is the wellspring of all our sensory life, of all our life of thought, that although all sense-life and thought-life most certainly spreads throughout the body, but is particularly expressed in the head, that our head in its roundness with its downward opening is formed in accordance with the world-gestalt. If we could say to ourselves earnestly, with inner intensity that our head, within and without, emulates the world-gestalt, we could then feel, by being willing to look at the head to a certain extent as within, how this perspective broadens itself to the world-all, which is infused all-together in our head only for our earthly perspective.

If we could feel then with full intensity how our heart, the physical expression of our soul, does not merely beat through what is in our body, in the skin-confined human being. We breathe in the air, which is the motivator of heart-beating. We breathe it out again. The world in its greatness, in its majesty participates in our heart beating. It is the world beating which will be felt in our heart, not merely what we carry within us.

When we think how our limbs work, running freely in the will, then what gives us this force in willing is not simply what resides in us personally. Just think how the forces of heredity are built into us when we are born, how the forces of karma which we have acquired through many, many lives on earth, how these live in our willing. Think about all that, and feel how we may think, that in our limbs, if we will, world forces live, not merely human forces.

Now think, my dear brothers and sisters, still on this side, hard beside the Guardian of the Threshold, who points across to light gleaming, world living, world weaving thoughts, to what surges up as warmth, light bearing, to what surges down as light, warmth imprinted, warmth permeated, streams down like warm wind over us on this side from over yonder streams toward us, spiritedly streaming as fire of the world-all, that is the primal force of willing.

So, as we stand here, there comes to us, resounding, what the Guardian of the Threshold has to say to us in this situation.

O show the three

— thinking, feeling, willing; the human being is split, has become a trinity —

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

Experience the head’s world-gestalt

The Guardian makes this sign △ so that we halt, so that we feel the head’s world-gestalt in this upwardly-directed triangle. Concentrate on this. [It was drawn on the blackboard.]

Feel the heart’s world-beat

The Guardian makes this sign, ⧖ that we feel in this sign the undulating beat of the world, which crosses itself in the heart.[It was drawn on the blackboard.]

Think the limb’s world-strength

The Guardian of the Threshold makes another sign, ▽ [It was drawn on the blackboard.]

on which we should concentrate along with this line of the mantra, so that we feel the force of the line, the whole mantric force of the whole speech. Then the Guardian of the Threshold reinforces this once again.

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

This is the verse through which the Guardian announces how we should prepare ourselves, through strong courage, through enthusiastic striving for awareness, to feel over there how one becomes three. We are a unity in the physical. The three step forth in the imaginative picture, for in the spiritual world we are three. [The mantra and heading were now written on the blackboard.]

The Guardian admonishes:

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

[Next to the first sign on the board was written:]

Experience the head’s world-gestalt

The world-gestalt can be experienced in the head. [Next to the second sign on the board was written:]

Feel the heart’s world-beat

The world's beat can be felt in the heart. [Next to the third sign on the board was written:]

Think the limb’s world-strength

The world's force can be thought inwardly in the movement of the limbs. The intensification is: [The following six words were underlined:] experience, feel, think, gestalt, beat, force. The three lines must be strengthened by concentrating on these figures. [Writing continued:]

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

My dear friends, when we stand there in earth consciousness, and we are certainly still standing there, we are only in preparation for crossing over into the spiritual world. When we stand there in earth consciousness, then we ascribe to our head, inasmuch as it contains the thoughts, we ascribe our spirit to it. We certainly have this spirit initially as mere appearance. The thought, however, the thoughts are just the appearance of the spirit. We ascribe thoughts to our head, which means to the spirit, as the spirit lives just in the form of thoughts in earth consciousness.

But we can also do something else, and this we must do, due to the admonition of the Guardian of the Threshold in this situation, where we are preparing to cross over the abyss of existence, we must make the effort, concerning the force we otherwise bring forth when we move one of our limbs, when we walk or stand, when we send the will through our person, we must make the effort to concentrate so fully on this willing that we actually will each individual thought, as if we were pounding it out. We must feel that the thought is pounded out much as we would stretch out our arm. Reality goes through the will into the thought. Then all that lives in our senses, while it previously sent us merely colorful images and tones, for us the entire multi-formed sensory sheen will be presently-streaming cosmic willing.

My dear brothers and sisters, learn to stretch thoughts out into the world just as you learn to stick your hands out by means of the will. Just as you come up against fixed things of the world when you exert your will, and have resistance, so also the spirits resist when you stretch out thoughts, if you send the will through them. If we do this, then we really move in wisdom. Accordingly, the Guardian exhorts us to do it. The ultimate admonition of the Guardian infuses into us. [The first verse was written on the board; the title as well as the words “head” and “will”, were underlined.]

The Guardian's final admonition:

The head’s spirit
You can will it;

Otherwise, we only think it, but now we will it, and if we do this, then willing becomes something else.

And willing

the willing of the thoughts

becomes for you
Sensing’s many-formed heavenly weaving:
You weave in wisdom.

The next instruction of the Guardian of the Threshold concerns our heart, our heart in which is concentrated all that we are as rhythmic human beings. Into the heart we can carry nothing other than feeling, feeling as it is here in the sense world between birth and death. But we must also meet feeling and its content with the heart when we are in the spiritual world.

If we could merely feel the heart with empathy, as if the world is felt in our heart, for we are certainly in the world, then our feeling becomes something else. Just as willing becomes the sensing’s multi-varied heavenly weaving, so will feeling be¬come for us something which yet must be grappled, so we may say see that thinking, therefore the head’s spirit turned to willing, but that feeling remains feeling, but it rays out on one hand toward thinking and on the other hand toward willing, for it is both at once. Therefore, we must accustom ourselves at this point to think a line in which we interweave one into the other, radiating upward and downward.

This line must so sound, “And feeling becomes for you thinking's willing, willing's thinking, seed-awakening world living.” Then one lives in the brilliance. This is no longer an apparent radiance which fades away, but rather the revelation of the world in beauty, which one can therefore call radiance, which can be stated as glory. For brilliance here has the meaning of glory.

The second, therefore, about which the Guardian admonishes, is

The heart’s soul
You can feel it;
And willing becomes for you
Thinking’s willing, willing's thinking germinal waking world living:
You live in glory.

[This second verse was now written on the blackboard, and “heart” and “feel” were underlined.]

The heart’s soul
You can feel it;
And feeling becomes for you

Thinking's seed-awakening world living
Willing's seed-awakening world living:

You live in glory.

You must try, my dear brothers and sisters, as you practice this, to be able to think simultaneously that it interweaves thinking's willing, willing's thinking together, that it passes one-into-another into one, just as it stands there before the world.

The third, about which the Guardian of the Threshold admonishes us, is the force of our limbs. In this we want something else. The Guardian of the Threshold now wishes for us, if we would step out of ourselves and rest peacefully, that we should think our limb’s force, that we should think the spirit of our limbs, by what we do now not feeling the exertion of our force, but rather by looking at it from afar, as if we were standing next to ourselves. Then thinking of willing, the thinking that we deploy here, becomes willing's goal-directed human striving. And we now recognize virtue, in the sense of the human capacity, as what humankind can will in world evolution. The Guardian of the Threshold so admonishes us. [The third verse was now written on the board and “limbs” was underlined.]

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

The progression is [The following three words were underlined.] weaving, living, striving. The other progression is wisdom, glory, virtue. Now I shall read the lines as they first appear to us, as the Guardian speaks them to us:

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

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

of think-willing.

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

This is the final admonition of the Guardian of the Threshold.

That is the decisive point, which may be indicated by the word, the word most certainly expressed here as the word that Michael himself speaks, as this esoteric school is founded and sustained by Michael and his force. Now the instruction stands at that important point where we have taken everything into ourselves, which, if it will be thoroughly practiced gives us the wings to cross over the yawning deep abyss of existence.

Everything which has been spoken in this Michael School should once again be accompanied by Michael’s Sign and Seal. For everything will be given in such a way that Michael is present while it resounds through the room of this school, which may be confirmed by his sign, [The Michael sign was drawn on the blackboard.] and which may be confirmed by his seal, that he has impressed on the threefold Rosicrucian maxim, Ex Deo Nascimur, In Christo Morimur, Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.

The seal is such, that we feel the first part of the maxim in this gesture, [The lower seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard], the second part of the maxim in this gesture, [The middle seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard.], the third part of the maxim in this gesture, [The upper seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard.], and know that the first gesture implies [beside the lower seal gesture was written]

I honor the Father,

which we feel as we say Ex Deo Nascimur, and confirm it with the gesture that is Michael’s Seal.

The second gesture implies [beside the middle seal gesture was written]

I love the Son,

which we feel it as we say In Christo Morimur, impressing the feeling by what lies in Michael’s Seal.

The third gesture implies, [beside the upper seal gesture was written]

I unite with the Spirit,

which accompanies as a feeling Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus. It is the gesture which is Michael's Seal upon the third part of the Rosicrucian maxim.

In this way Michael's Sign and Seal may marshal the broader way, which here in this school for spiritual development will be undergone. [The Michael sign was made and the three seal gestures were made as the Rosea et Crucis was spoken.] Ex Deo Nascimur, In Christo Morimur Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.

Then the moment is present in which the word of the Guardian of the Threshold sounds decisively, the word of the Guardian of the Threshold, sounding as if it came from Michael himself, as if it came from world's far reaches. After the Guardian has told us how we have to prepare ourselves, and we should feel that such preparation must occur, then will his word resound, as if from Michael, as if from world’s reaches.

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

We must interweave ourselves in the feeling that we do not speak it ourselves, but rather, as we speak it, it should become objective, so that we hear it as if it were spoken from another place. [The following is written on the blackboard in red diagonally to the mantra “O show the three”:]

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

What will subsequently take place in the following lessons, the next which will as usual be on Saturday at half past eight, what will take place in the following lessons shall reflect what resounds over there on the other side of the Threshold.

But now let us consider once again, for all true development leads ever again back to its starting point, how from all beings of the world the challenge sounds to us, which we currently have to experience from the mouth of the Guardian:

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?

Once more – confirming all this, confirming Michael's presence – the sign and seal of Michael: [the Michael sign was made and with the three seal gestures was spoken:]

Ex Deo Nascimur
In Christo Morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.

The mantric maxims which are given here to be practiced, and which carry the force to experience in oneself what is here described, may only be possessed by the rightful members of this class, by no one else. He who belongs to this school and cannot be present at a lesson, when he could have received the corresponding verse, can receive it from another member who was present. But for each such handing on of a verse special permission must be obtained either from Frau Dr. Wegman or from me personally. He who wishes to receive the verse, however, may not request permission, but only the one who is to pass on the verse.

When once one has received permission to give the verse to someone, this continues to hold good for that particular person. For every other person the same permission must be obtained either from Frau Dr. Wegman or from me. It is useless to ask permission if one wishes the verses for oneself, for one may ask only in order to hand them on. One must turn therefore, if one wishes to receive the verses, to someone who rightfully possesses them. The rightful possessor must then ask permission, for each person to whom they are to be given.

Also, if someone writes something down as we go along, he or she only has the right to keep it for eight days. Then it must be burned. Except for the maxims, anything else which has been written down here must be burned. For we must, for once, keep to the occult rules. There is an occult rule in everything which I have now said and to which I hold. We must adhere to the occult rule. So, it is not a matter of an arbitrary administrative procedure; rather, if something esoteric comes into the wrong hands, then, my dear brothers and sisters, for those who possess it rightfully, the mantra concerned loses its effective power. This is simply a matter which is founded in occult law.


Tomorrow at 12 noon, the speech-formation course will be given, at 10:45 the course for theologians, at 5 o'clock, the pastoral medicine course, and at 8 o'clock the members' cycle.

Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard Text for the Sixth Recapitulation Lesson

The Guardian admonishes:

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

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

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

The Guardian's final admonition:

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

The soul of the heart
You can feel it;
And feeling becomes for you
seed-awakening 1for one's thinking and willing world living:
You live in glory.

The strength of the limbs
You can think it;
And thinking becomes for you
Willing's goal-directed human striving:
You strive in virtue.

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

Ex Deo Nascimur
In Christo Morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus
I honor the Father
I love the Son
I unite with the Spirit