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The Mission of the Individual Folk Souls
GA 121


The purpose of the following synopses is to facilitate reference to the particular themes and subjects dealt with in the different lectures.

Lecture One

“Homelessness”—stage in spiritual development. The reality of Beings who cannot be apprehended through sense perception, e.g. Folk Souls or the Spirits of Nations. These invisible Beings work through visible beings. The Spirit of the Swiss people. The anthroposophical view of man: physical body, etheric body, astral body and ego. In future time man will transmute these three members into Spirit Self (Manas), Life Spirit (Buddhi) and Spirit Man (Atma). The ego works through the three bodily members and develops in them the threefold soul: Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul (Mind-Soul) and the Spiritual Soul (Consciousness-Soul). The task of certain epochs or nations is to develop one of these soul-members. The three former cosmic stages of man: Old Saturn (creation of rudiment of physical body), Old Sun (etheric body), Old Moon (astral body). The higher Beings—Angels, Archangels, Archai. Archai are guiding Spirits of civilization epochs, also called Time Spirits: they influence national character and temperament. Angels mediate between the Archangels and the single human being. In future man will be able to direct his body from outside. In order to know what a nation is we must understand the missions of these Beings.

Lecture Two

Climate, nature of the soil, plant-cover, etc. are the physical expression of a spiritual reality. A geographical region has not only a physical, but also a psychic and spiritual topography or aura. This aura is the sphere of activity of the Folk Spirit. Every people or nation has its particular etheric aura which is dependent upon the etheric emanations of the soil and the people domiciled in the particular area. This aura changes with the migrations of peoples.

Archangels cannot intervene where physical laws are operative. The Archangel sometimes withdraws: then the nation perishes. The etheric aura works into the etheric body of an individual and creates national temperament. It affects only the sanguine, choleric and phlegmatic temperaments, but not the melancholic.

The sequence of the Hierarchies above man. Beings who can remain behind as a deed of sacrifice are called abnormal Beings. Abnormal Archangels responsible for the language of nations. Normal Archangels, abnormal Time Spirit and abnormal Archangel working in concert are responsible for the Old Indian temperament, sacred (holy) Sanscrit language and spiritual philosophy of ancient India. Spirits of Form create the present physical body of man which becomes the vehicle for the conscious ego. Backward Beings responsible for the present form of the brain. Normal Archai work in the thought life, give impulse to creative thought of the age, e.g. Galileo.

Emphasis upon Christ's relationship with the Beings of normal evolution. Before the coming of Christ men worshipped the Jehovah Being.

Lecture Three

Characterization of the inner life and consciousness of the Archangels, e.g. Folk Spirits. Archangels have three modifications of their etheric body which correspond to the three members of the human soul. Archangels do not share in the Sentient Soul and lower part of the Intellectual Soul, but in the realm of pure thought and moral feeling, i.e. in the Spiritual Soul and higher part of the Intellectual Soul. Influences of art and religion. The Archangel perceives rise and fall of peoples; incarnates in the springtime of a people and withdraws in its decline. Relation of Archai (Time Spirits,) Archangels (Folk Spirits) and Angels (guardians of the destiny of the individual). Sometimes normal Time Spirit intervenes in the field of the Archangel; a part of the nation is suddenly detached and forms a new nation, e.g. the Dutch detached from the Teutonic people, the Portuguese from the Spanish.

Interplay of abnormal Spirits of Movement with normal Spirits of Form creates the races of mankind. Difference between the concept of nation and that of race. Differentiation of mankind into races is the work of the abnormal Spirits of Form (or Movement). Racial differentiations enter more deeply into the physical.

Lecture Four

Important to understand how nations and folk communities arise out of races. Earth passed through three states or conditions before the present Earth condition. Ego-consciousness made possible by the Spirits of Form or Exusiai. The seven-year periods of man's development. Spirits of Form only interested in ego-development, i.e. man at age of twenty to twenty-one. Reason for man's dependence on Earth during the third of the seven-year periods.

Races began to be formed in early Atlantis. Racial types determined by locality of birth and transmitted by heredity. Diverse regions of Earth diversely receptive to cosmic influences. Importance of migrations. Centres of cosmic influence (diagram). Africa (here work forces which influence childhood), Asia (forces which influence adolescence), Europe (forces which influence maturity), North America (forces of decline). Today race is less predominant.

The civilization-epochs of post-Atlantis: India, Persia, Egypt-Chaldea, Greece, Rome and Europe of today. Westward movement brings decline of creative powers—an aging process. The geographical areas narrowed from continents to islands and peninsulas. Need for rejuvenation from forces of the East, but man must find his spiritual resources within himself. Rosicrucianism implies evolution of all mankind. Evolution of races by evolution of nations. Plato's ancestry and race. Nation occupies an intermediate position between race and the individual.

Lecture Five

The lecture first enumerates the spiritual Hierarchies. Their working is manifested in the material surface of the Earth, e.g. the rocks of Norway. This is (outer) Maya. Two kinds of spiritual forces meet here—the forces of the Spirits of Will raying outward from within the Earth and the forces of the Spirits of Movement streaming in from the Universe. Formerly the Earth was in a semi-fluid state. The Alps and eminences of the Bohemian plateau resemble dammed up waves which have solidified. Spirits of Form brought the fluctuating forms to rest. The elements in which these Beings work: the Thrones in the Water-element, the Cherubim in the Air-element and the Seraphim in Fire. The Beings of the second Hierarchy work in the three Ethers; the third Hierarchy (Angels, Archangels and Archai) in the intermediate realm.

Each of the planetary epochs of the Earth has its special mission. Man owes his physical body and life of Will to Old Saturn, his etheric body and life of Feeling to Old Sun, astral body and life of Thought to Old Moon. The mission of the Earth epoch is to bring about the harmony of the three from within. The element of Love is added. Spirits of Form, creators of the Ego, are called Spirits of Love. The contributions of the different Spirits to Earth evolution. The need for man to raise his consciousness to higher planes.

The attendant Nature-spirits of the normal Beings of the highest Hierarchy: Undines, Sylphs and Salamanders.

Lecture Six

For a full understanding of cosmic evolution it is necessary to correlate the contents of the different lectures. The creation of races described in detail. The different races are the product of the co-operation between the seven Elohim and the abnormal Spirits of Movement. The abnormal Spirits are centred in the five planets and create the five root races: Mercury, the Negro race; Venus, the Malayan race; Mars, the Mongolian race; Jupiter, the Caucasian race; Saturn, the Red Indians. This took place in Atlantis.

The planetary forces also work in man's organic system. Mars works in the blood. The abnormal Spirits of Movement in conjunction with the Elohim on the Sun and Jahve on the Moon create the Semitic race. Where they work in opposition to the Sun and Moon forces the Mongolian race is the outcome.

Venus and Jupiter work in the nervous system via the breathing and senses, producing respectively the Malayan racial type and the Caucasian or European racial type. The Greeks under the Jupiter influence; their idealization of the external world. Mercury and Saturn work in the glandular system. Mercury is connected with the growth forces of the body, hence Mercury creates the Negro racial type. Saturn ossifies the glandular system and creates the Red Indian; hence his bony features. Dialogue between a Red Indian chieftain and a European colonist.

Red Indians preserved a clairvoyant memory of Atlantis before the separation of the races.

Lecture Seven

In post-Atlantean times the Archangels advance to the rank of Time Spirits or Archai. They are concerned with the events of late Atlantis and the transition to post-Atlantis. Distribution of races took place in early Atlantis; in late Atlantis a second migration took place. Nuclei of future peoples left behind in Asia, Africa, Europe. Archangels became their guiding Spirits. Culture-epochs named after those peoples whose Archangels became the leading Time Spirits. Time Spirit of the first post-Atlantean epoch was the ancient Indian Archangel. In the second epoch the Persian Archangel became the Time Spirit who inspired the original Zarathustra. In the Egypto-Chaldean epoch the Archangel of the Egyptian people became the ruling Time Spirit. In the third epoch an Archangel acted on behalf of Jehovah who had chosen the Semitic people as his own.

The two currents—pluralism and monism. Semitic race represent monotheism in religion and monism in philosophy, cf. Rabbinism. Other peoples represented polytheism and pluralism, cf. trinity of ancient India. Both aspects are necessary.

Two acts of renunciation on the part of Beings of the Hierarchies. The Greek Archangel remained as Time Spirit and becomes guiding Spirit of exoteric Christianity. Celtic Archangel remained as Archangel working among peoples of Western Europe, Southern Germany, Hungary and the Alpine countries. He was leader of esoteric Christianity. Mysteries of the Holy Grail, Rosicrucianism. Leading Time Spirit of fifth epoch chosen from among Archangels of the Germanic peoples. In Europe many Folk Souls acting independently: need to individualize peoples, hence late appearance of Time Spirit of Europe. Time Spirit of present epoch subject to impulses of ancient Egypt—hence materialism.

In remote past there existed, before the Celtic Archangel had established a new centre in the Castle of the Grail, above the Earth a spiritual centre in the region of Detmold and Paderborn. According to legend ‘Asgard’ once situated here. From this centre the different Archangels of Europe were sent on their different missions. In later years its spiritual mission taken over by the Castle of the Grail. No other mythology gives a clearer picture of evolution than Northern mythology. Germanic mythology in its pictures is close to anthroposophical conception of future evolution.

Lecture Eight

The characteristics of Teutonic mythology; contrast with Greek mythology. Superficiality of analogies of comparative religion. Relation between mythology and successive civilization-epochs. In India high spiritual level allied to dim ego-consciousness, cf. Vedas. Peoples of old India closely associated with Spirits of movement and Spirits of wisdom. Unable to apprehend Christ Impulse. Western peoples, especially the Teutonic, awakened to the ego at elementary level of psychic development. Need to overcome old clairvoyance. Effect of migrations. Persians looked to Spirits of Form, Chaldeans to Archai or Time Spirits, Greeks and Romans to Archangels and Angels, normal and abnormal. Teutonic peoples experienced transition from old vision to new, perceived Divine Beings working directly upon their souls.

The two races of gods in Teutonic mythology; the Vanir and the Aesir. Odin: resigned his evolution to give the gift of speech. His Initiation and the magic draught at the fountain of Mimir. Hönir gives power of thought; Lödur: blood and pigmentation. Vili and Ve, abnormal Archangels. Thor, son of Odin. Remained behind as an Angel; transmits to the ‘I’ spiritual powers of the Archangel. Speech lives in our breathing; ego incarnates in the blood: this is the hammer of Thor. In macrocosm, winds and clouds related to breathing; in microcosm, thunder and lightning to pulse-beat. Nordic man recognized Odin and Thor in powers of nature. Niflheim and the twelve cranial nerves Muspelheim and the forces issuing from the human heart.

From Ginnungagap, the primeval abyss, a new Earth emerges after the three Earth incarnations of Saturn, Sun and Moon. Imaginative pictures of Teutonic mythology replaced by concepts in Anthroposophy.

Lecture Nine

Cognition of ego different from other forms of cognition. When the ego knows itself subject and object of cognition are the same. Importance of objective ego to Western peoples. Relation between ego and spiritual Beings—Lucifer and Ahriman. Old Testament knows only Lucifer, the serpent. Gospel writer (cf. St. Matthew) spoke of Satan, i.e. Ahriman. Old Indians looked up to the Devas; eschewed Asuras, beings of darkness. Persians fear Luciferic powers within man.

Loki and his three offspring: the Midgard Snake, Fenris Wolf and Hel.

Loki is Lucifer. Consequences of Lucifer influence: selfishness in astral body (the Midgard Snake), falsehood in the etheric body (the Fenris Wolf), in physical body sickness and death (Hel).

Death of Baldur at hands of blind Hodur, an Ahrimanic figure. Extinction of old clairvoyance. Man now subject to Ahriman. Among Teutonic peoples clairvoyant experience did not perish completely, but unable to accept Christianity. Initiates taught them that attachment to physical plane and loss of vision only an intermediate time. Perception of spiritual world would return, but spiritual world would be changed. Lucifer would be overcome. This is the vision of Ragnarok. Connection between innate talents of Teutonic peoples and the vision of the future.

Lecture Ten

Subject of this lecture is the history of the European Folk Souls. Spiritual life of Europe a unity. Mission of Europe before and after Christ, to educate and develop the ego. Every single nation has its special contribution to make to this task. For development of the ego a mingling of races and nations necessary. Tacitus describes Germanic tribes as still immersed in Group-Soul. Celtic Folk Spirit helped to awaken ego out of group-soul life. The Druid priests and the Mysteries. Man had to become more self-sufficient; hence Mysteries gradually withdrew. The successive stages of post-Atlantean civilizations. Relation of culture-epochs to members of man's being summarized. Indians saw with forces of etheric body; in Persians, organ of perception was the astral body; in Egyptians and Chaldeans the Sentient Soul; in Greeks and Romans the Intellectual Soul. In the fifth epoch the forces of the ego are directed to the physical plane. Romans were founders of civil law and jurisprudence; Italy and Southern Spain subject to Sentient Soul, France to Intellectual Soul, Great Britain to Spiritual (or Consciousness) Soul. In Britain union of ego and Spiritual Soul led to foundation of constitutional rights and Parliamentary Government. Outward orientation. Task of South Germanic peoples to prepare Spiritual Soul more inwardly. Hegel and Fichte: sublimation of clairvoyant insight of old Germanic peoples.

Polarity of India and China. Chinese civilization a static continuation of Atlantean wisdom. The Great Wall of China. Oceanus. The Gulf Stream encircling the old Atlantean continent. In the sixth culture-epoch Spirit Self will irradiate the Spiritual Soul. This civilization is being prepared by Slavonic peoples. Future potentialities of Russian soul in Solovieff. Solovieff perceives dual nature of Christ. His conception of a Christian Social State contrasted with Divine State of St. Augustine. To Russian people is given the seed of the sixth culture-epoch, but had to be nurtured by the Christian Time Spirit (who had been the Time Spirit of ancient Greece).

Lecture Eleven

Pictures or symbols of Teutonic mythology contain occult truths. Reference to Occult Science—an Outline which describes the descent of human souls from the planetary spheres in late Lemurian and Atlantean times and their incarnation in human bodies. This event perceived clairvoyantly by those on Earth. The memory of this event survived amongst Southern Germanic peoples and was described by Tacitus in his Germania. Worship of Goddess Nerthus. Evolution on physical plane inspired by earlier stages of clairvoyance. Freyr, continuer of old clairvoyance. Riesenheim. Marriage of Freyr and Gerda. Symbols of Freyr's horse Bluthof and his magic ship. End of Kali Yuga in 1899 and the second coming of Christ. This will not be a physical manifestation, but will be etherically perceived—at first by a select few, then by increasing numbers of people. Need for objectivity: occult teaching accepts neither dogmas nor authorities. All teachings to be verified. Dangers of new materialism which looks for Christ's return in a physical body. False Messiahs, e.g. Sabbatai Zevi in the seventeenth century.

Ragnarok again. Picture of relics of old clairvoyance in Fenris Wolf. Forces of old Gods no longer avail. Danger of survival of old clairvoyance in future. Old clairvoyance must be transformed. The Christ in etheric form will drive out old, dark clairvoyant powers, i.e. Vidar will overcome the Fenris Wolf. Future mission of Teutonic Archangel. Importance of Slavonic peoples for spiritual development of all mankind. All nations to contribute to united progress of mankind. Christ Impulse overcomes separation: Christianity leads to ideal of the brotherhood of man.