Knowledge after death

There are many who believe that it is only necessary to have passed through the gate of death in order to experience everything that can be attained only by dint of great effort on the earth, through Spiritual Science. Such people also believe that after death a man will be able to acquire all occult knowledge, because he will then be in the spiritual world. This, however, is not the case.

Just as here on the earth there live beings other than man, who perceive everything that man is able to perceive by means of his senses, whereas — as in the case of the animals — they are unable to form ideas or concepts of it, so it is with souls living in the super-sensible worlds. Although these souls see the beings and facts of the higher spiritual worlds, they can form no concepts or ideas of them if men here on the earth do not inscribe such concepts and ideas into the Akasha Chronicle.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 152 – Occult Science and Occult Development: Lecture 1 – London, 1st May 1913

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

The 24th Mary Magdalene

In speaking of previous lives there is a deplorable and only too widespread tendency to refer back to important historical personages. I have come across all kinds of people who believe that they were incarnated as some historical personage or figure in the Gospels. Quite recently a lady informed me that she had been Mary Magdalene, and I could only reply that she was the twenty-fourth Mary Magdalene I had met in my life. In these matters the greatest care must be taken to prevent fantastic notions arising. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz / intimate workings of karma – Vienna, 9th February 1912

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Falling asleep

When we have been thinking really intensely, we most easily fall asleep; and so if we cannot go to sleep, it is good to pick up a book, or occupy ourselves with something which requires concentrated thinking study a book of mathematics, for instance. This will help us to fall asleep; but not something, on the other hand, in which we are deeply interested, such as a novel containing much that captivates our interest.

Here our emotions become aroused, and the life of the emotions is something that hinders us from falling asleep.

When we go to bed with our feelings vividly stirred, when we know that we have burdened our soul with something or when there is a special joy in our heart which has not yet subsided, it frequently happens that we turn and toss in bed and are unable to fall asleep.

In other words, whereas concepts unaccompanied by emotions weary us, so that we easily fall asleep, precisely what strongly affects our feelings prevents us from falling asleep.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Jeshu ben pandira – Lecture 1 – Leipzig, 4th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on November 18, 2015

How uttering an untruth affects the worth of our ego

Now in our life on earth there is only one member of our being whose development we can work at in the real sense, and that is our ego. What does it mean to work at the development of the “I?” To answer this question we must realize what it is that makes this work necessary. Suppose a man goes to another and says to him, “You are wicked.” If this is not the case the man has told an untruth. What is the consequence of the ego’s having uttered an untruth such as this? The consequence is that from this moment the worth of the ego is less than it was before the utterance was made. That is the objective consequence of the immoral deed. Before uttering an untruth our worth is greater than it is afterwards. For all time to come and in all spheres, for all eternity the worth of our ego is less as the result of such a deed. But during the life between birth and death a certain means is at our disposal. We can always make amends for having lessened the worth of our ego; we can invalidate the untruth. To the one we have called wicked we can confess, “I erred; what I said is not true,” and so on. In doing this we restore worth to our ego and compensate for the harm done.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: III: Man’s Journey Through the Planetary Spheres and the Significance of a Knowledge of Christ – Hanover, November 18, 1912

Translated by Rene Querido

Sustained by other forces

As man is at the present time, he has no influence at all upon his physical body. What man physically is and does is brought about from outside by creative forces. He cannot himself regulate the movement of the molecules of his brain; neither of himself can he control the circulation of the blood. In other words, the physical body is produced independently of man and is also sustained for him by other forces. It is as it were only lent to him. Man is incarnated into a physical body produced for him by other forces.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – Foundations of Esotericism – Lecture II – Berlin, 27th September 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett

Previously posted on November 14, 2015