Duration of life between death and rebirth

It has often been pointed out that, for a “normal” person, the time spent between death and a new birth is long when compared to the time spent in the physical body, between birth and death. The time spent between death and rebirth is only short for those who had “negative”  earthly lives; those who, so to speak, committed truly criminal acts. Only then is the time spent between death and rebirth short. But for people who go through “normal” earthly lives, without being submerged in egoism, the time spent between death and rebirth is usually relatively long.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 162 – Kunst- und Lebensfragen im Lichte der Geisteswissenschaft – Dornach, May 30, 1915 (page 71)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on March 17, 2016

All we do is guided from elsewhere

As a matter of fact, many of the feelings and impulses that we carry in our soul are there as a result of earlier lives on earth; only we do not observe them as such because we remain in our body. Suppose we meet someone, and the meeting leads to a friendship that alters the whole course of our life. When we look back over the earlier years, we discover with the eye of the spirit what we could never find by the aid of bodily vision alone: namely, that our whole life up to the moment of meeting him was a search for that person.

One who is already a little older and looks back in this way is able to see his life as the working out of a plan; he recognises how, when he was quite a little child, his life took a direction that was to bring about eventually the meeting with this friend. We can go further in this kind of observation of life and discover that all we do, though it may seem to result from the working of earthly physical forces, is in reality guided from elsewhere. We come in fact to recognise that the life we are now living is dependent on earlier lives on earth. And between these have been also lives in a spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE: A WAY OF LIFE – The Hague, November 16, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

About selfishness and early aging

Another interesting karmic relationship is between an habitually selfish attitude and a loving sympathy with others. Some people are hardened egoists — not only in their acquisitiveness — and others are unselfish and sympathetic. Both attitudes depend on the etheric body and may even find expression in the physical body. People who in one life have been habitually selfish will age quickly in their next life; they seem to shrivel up. On the other hand, if in one life you have been ready to make sacrifices and have loved others, you will remain young and hale. In this way you can prepare even the physical body for the next life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VIII: Good and Evil. Individual Karmic Questions – Stuttgart, 29th August 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on July 26, 2014

About the perception of the karma of a person

When one wants to understand the karma of an individual, one must not look at his or her profession, what his or her social conditions are, nor at what such a person can do or cannot do. One must rather look deep into their soul, into the qualities and abilities that may eventually become manifest in any profession.  Because after all, we must see what a person was in a previous life. […] One should begin with looking through all that is outward and come to perceive the inner being, the purely human, that whereby the human being is human, is an individual personality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 346 – Vorträge und Kurse über christlich- religiöses Wirken: V – Dornach, 9 september 1924 (bladzijde 79)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Self-indulgent and unscrupulous people become slaves to evil spirits after death

We see many souls who are condemned for a certain time between death and a new birth to be the slaves of the spirits who send sickness and death into physical life. Thus we see there souls between death and a new birth who are under the dominion of beings whom we call the Ahrimanic spirits, or the spirits of hindrance, of those who work at death in life, and of those who bring obstacles into life.

And a hard lot it is which the seer observes, in some souls, when they have to submit in this manner to the slave yoke. If one traces back such souls to the life they led before they passed the portals of death, one finds that the souls who for a certain time after death must serve the spirits of resistance have prepared this for themselves by self-indulgence during life. And the slaves of the spirits of sickness and death have prepared this fate for themselves by having been unscrupulous before death. So there we see a certain relation of the souls of men to the evil spirits of sickness and death, and to the evil spirits of resistance.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Occult Research into Life Between Death and a New Birth: THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MUTUAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE SO-CALLED DEAD – Stuttgart, February 20, 1913

Translated by Ruth Hofrichter