On December 31, 1905, Rudolf Steiner wrote to his esoteric pupil Paula Stryczek, who had turned to him for advice after the death of Anna Wagner (1847-1905):
Dear Miss Stryczek,
Let me say this to you on the occasion of this unhappy event.
When a person dear to us crosses into the other worlds, it is especially important to send our thoughts and feelings without in any way giving the impression that we want her back, which would make life difficult for her in the new spheres she is entering. What we would send into her worlds is not our own sorrow, but our love for her. Don’t misunderstand me; I do not mean that we must be hardened or indifferent. But it should be possible for us to look toward the dead person and think, “May my love accompany you and surround you.” According to my insights, such feelings give wings to the dead person, whereas the feelings of many mourners (such as, ‘Oh, if you were only still here with us’) become obstacles in her path. This is a general suggestion about how we ought to direct our feelings in such cases.
In this particular case, let me advise you to take up some thoughts based on ancient occult traditions, although they are not yet fully accessible to me in good German.
In inner stillness, say them to yourself three times a day, one of which should be immediately before you fall asleep, so you take them with you into the spiritual world. Ideally, you should fall asleep with the thoughts:
May the offering of my love envelop you, cooling all heat, warming all cold.
May my gift of light carry you upward on wings of love.
It is important to have the right feelings when it comes to the words “heat” and “cold”. They do not mean physical heat and cold but rather warmth and coolness of feeling, although it is not easy for someone still embedded in the physical heath to get an idea of what these qualities signify to the disembodied. A recently deceased person must first become aware that the astral element is still effective even though it cannot make use of physical tools. Many of our earthly aspirations are fulfilled by physical tools, and now those tools are no longer there. The soul experiences not having physical organs as something similar to – but only similar to – a burning thirst. That is the strong sensation of “heat” upon becoming disembodied. The same applies to what our will wants to do: it is accustomed to using physical organs it no longer has. On the soul level, this “deprivation” is comparable to a sensation of cold.
Intervention by the living can be especially helpful with regard to these feelings, which are not exclusively the results of an individual life but are related to the mysteries of incarnation. That is why it is possible for us to come to the aid of a disembodied friend.
There is still one more thing that I would ask of you: precede the above sentences by directing a few thoughts toward Mr. Wagner. Their content should be something like this:
“her true love surrounded you until now and continues to surround you, unchanged.
May she continue to hold you, in strength of spirit, just as she illumined you through her visible presence.”
I wanted to write to you today, but physical work obscures spiritual experience,
and at the moment I have so much work to do on the physical plane that I cannot give you anything more specific than this general advice. Of course you should feel free to share these lines with anyone you see fit. I hope that many hearts will turn towards this personality who is dear to us.
Please give my best regards to our dear Doctor and be assured of the same for yourself.
Yours truly, Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904 – 1914 (page 101-103)
This translation is from Peter Selg’s book The Path of the Soul After Death, translated by M. Saar
It is in the end of book notes (note 37)
Previously posted on October 24, 2017