Giovanni Santi / Raphael / John the Baptist

The more we work with spiritual science, the more we notice that the dead also work back upon the living. For example, in educating children who have lost their fathers at a very early age, we must take this into account. Often one can feel the father sending an influence from the spiritual world. I once had to tutor children whose father had died early. I tried to train them in my own way, but it would not work, simply would not work. But when it occurred to me to allow for the influence of the father from the spiritual world, then it went very well …

If you work out something about incarnations in a clever theoretical way, it will usually be wrong. It must seem strange that Raphael was the same person as a thorny character like John the Baptist.

How could it happen that this thorny man, who had to pave the way for the Mystery of Golgotha in such a violent way, reappeared as the gentle, pliable, charming Raphael? But look at this. Raphael’s father, Giovanni Santi, died when Raphael was eleven. He was a painter. He was not a great painter so far as external achievements go, but he had great ideas in his head, although he could not put them on camas because he had no technical skill. He was also a poet. There was a great deal of fantasy in him, but the physical capacities simply were not there. He went early through the portal of death, and then his forces worked into his son. In Raphael’s hands and imagination worked all that his father could send into the physical world. One can say that the old Giovanni Santi was a painter without hands in the supersensible world, for in a wonderful karmic relationship he supplied, in combination with the Christ-filled individuality of the Baptist, what came to expression in Raphael. The supersensible world had to work with the physical world to achieve this result. It shows how the so-called dead are able to influence those who have been left behind…

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA number unknown – On the Relationship with the Dead – From a Branch Lecture in Essen on 23 April 1913

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Not the words, but the spirit behind them

In our present materialistic age, one can be a downright materialist, another a downright spiritualist. People belonging to either current can present their beliefs in a similarly convincing manner. The question, however, is not so much about the words one uses to declare his conviction. The question is: what is the spirit that really lies behind the words? What matters is not the literal content of words, but the spirit at their origin. Words alone are only good for those who are satisfied with concepts, not reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, 1 February 1920 (page 139)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on March 8, 2016

Spiritual experiences without healthy reason are worthless (3 – End)

The moment untruthfulness asserts itself, the super-sensible experiences fade away without being understood. People are never willing to believe this, but it is a fact.

The first requirement for understanding the super-sensible world is the most scrupulous veracity in regard to the experiences of the senses. Those who are not strictly accurate about these experiences can have no true understanding of the super-sensible world. However much may be heard about the super-sensible world, it remains so much empty verbiage if the strictest conscientiousness is not present in formulating what happens here in the physical world.

Anyone who observes how humanity is handling palpable truth today will have a sorrowful picture! For most people are not in the least concerned to formulate something they have experienced in such a way that the experience is presented faithfully; their concern is to formulate things as they want them to be, in the way that suits themselves. They know nothing about the impulses that are at work to beguile them in one direction or another away from a faithful presentation of the physical experience.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, 18th January 1920

Previously posted on March 4, 2016

Spiritual experiences without healthy reason are worthless (2 of 3)

Even if people were able to have many super-sensible experiences, but disdained to apply healthy reason to them, these experiences would be of no use whatever to humanity in the future. On the contrary, they would do serious harm, for a super-sensible experience is of use only when it is translated into the language that human reason can understand. 

The real evil of our time is not that men have no super-sensible experiences; they could have plenty if they so wished. Such experiences are accessible, but healthy reason is not applied in order to reach them. What is lacking to-day is the application of this healthy human reason.

It is of course unpleasant to have to say this to a generation that prides itself particularly on the exercise of this very reason. But at the present time it is not super-sensible experience that is in the worst plight; it is healthy logic, really sound thinking, and above all, too, the force of truthfulness that are worst off. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, 18th January 1920

Previously posted on March 3, 2016

Spiritual experiences without healthy reason are worthless (1 of 3)

Most people today still persist in believing that the essential way to acquire knowledge of the science of Initiation is to amass all kinds of spiritual experiences, but not by the path that is proper for us in the physical body. Even the experiences gained by spiritualistic methods are apt to be valued more highly today than those which can be understood by the healthy human reason. 

Everything that is discovered by an Initiate, and can be communicated, is intelligible by the normal, rightly applied, human reason if only the necessary efforts are made. It is a primary task for the Initiate, also, to translate what he is able to proclaim out of the spiritual world into a language intelligible to human reason. Much more depends upon such translation being correct than upon the fact of having experiences in the spiritual world.

Naturally, if one has no such experiences, there is nothing to communicate. But crude experiences which arise without healthy reason being applied to their interpretation are really worthless, and have not the right significance for human life.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, 18th January 1920

Previously posted on March 2, 2016