What is the Akasha Chronicle?

What is the Akasha Chronicle? We can form the truest conception of it by realising that what comes to pass on our earth makes a lasting impression upon certain delicate essences, an impression which can be discovered by a seer who has attained Initiation. It is not an ordinary but a living Chronicle. Suppose a human being lived in the first century after Christ; what he thought, felt and willed in those days, what passed into deeds — this is not obliterated but preserved in this delicate essence. 

The seer can behold it-not as if it were recorded in a history book, but as it actually happened. How a man moved, what he did, a journey he took – it can all be seen in these spiritual pictures; the impulses of will, the feelings, the thoughts, can also be seen. But we must not imagine that these pictures are images of the physical personalities. That is not the case. 

To take a simple example. — When a man moves his hand, his will pervades the moving hand and it is this force of will that can be seen in the Akasha Chronicle. What is spiritually active in us and has flowed into the Physical, is there seen in the Spiritual. 

Suppose, for example, we look for Caesar. We can follow all his undertakings, but let us be quite clear that it is rather his thoughts that we see in the Akasha Chronicle; when he set out to do something we see the whole sequence of decisions of the will to the point where the deed was actually performed. 

To observe a specific event in the Akasha Chronicle is not easy. We must help ourselves by linking on to external knowledge. If the seer is trying to observe some action of Caesar and takes an historical date as a point of focus, the result will come more easily. Historical dates are, it is true, often unreliable, but they are sometimes of assistance. When the seer directs his gaze to Caesar, he actually sees the person of Caesar in action, phantom-like, as though he were standing before him, speaking with him. But when a man is looking into the past, various things may happen to him if, in spite of possessing some degree of seership, he has not entirely found his bearings in the higher worlds. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian: IV: The Descent to a New Birth – Berlin, 28th May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on April 27, 2016 

We can speak of Karma not only in the case of individual persons

We can speak of Karma not only in the case of individual persons, for man should not consider himself as a single being. If the individual were to rise even a few miles above the earth, the result would be the same as if the finger severed itself from the body.

If we penetrate into spiritual science we are literally forced to admit through this knowledge that we should not delude ourselves to the extent of insisting that we are single beings. This applies to the physical world and even more to the spiritual world. Man belongs to the whole world and his destiny is involved with that of the entire world. Karma touches not only the individual, but also the life of whole nations.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture VII: The Law of Karma – Kassel, 22nd June 1907

Previously posted on April 30, 2017

Habits, Actions and Destiny

A bad habit in itself does not mean that I have done something; but if this bad habit leads to an action, this action changes the external world. In fact, everything which thus exercises an influence upon the physical world returns to us during our next life as our external destiny in the physical world. Thus the deeds of our physical body during this life become our destiny in the next. We learn this through being placed in this or in that life-situation. Whether a person is happy or unhappy in one or other condition of life depends upon his actions during his preceding life. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture VII: The Law of Karma – Kassel, 22nd June 1907

Previously posted on April 26, 2017

A seer can also be mistaken in some details 

No one can describe the spiritual world in its entirety; it is more complex and vaster than our physical world. I admit that the spiritual researcher can be mistaken in some details, just as one can be mistaken in the physical world, if one wants to determine, for example, the height of a mountain. But no more than such a mistake in detail can be a reason to deny the physical world, no more may the reality of the spiritual realm be rejected because of a flaw in some specific detail.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 88 – Über die astrale Welt und das Devachan – Berlin, October 28, 1903 (page 32)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

The dead do not judge

As to the way in which the dead person sees the human beings who are here on earth, there is one thing of outstanding importance. Let us not imagine that the dead has not a keen and living interest in the world of human beings. He has, indeed, for the world of human beings belongs to the whole cosmos. Our own life belongs to the cosmos. And just as we, even in the physical world, interest ourselves in the subordinate kingdoms, so do the dead interest themselves intensely in the human world, and send their active impulses into the human world. For the dead work through the living into this world. We have only just given an example of the way in which they go on working soon after their passage through the Gate of Death.

But the dead sees one thing above all, and that most clearly. Suppose, for example, that he sees a human being here following impulses of hatred — hating this person or that, and with a merely personal intensity or purpose. This the dead sees. At the same time, however, according to the whole manner of his vision and all that he is then able to know, he will observe quite clearly, in such a case, the part which Ahriman is playing. He sees how Ahriman impels the person to hatred. The dead actually sees Ahriman working upon the human being. On the other hand, if a person on earth is vain, he sees Lucifer working at him. That is the essential point. It is in connection with the world of Ahriman and Lucifer that the dead human being sees the human beings who are here on earth. Consequently, what generally colours our judgement of people is quite eliminated for the dead. We see this or that human being, whom in one sense or another we must condemn. Whatever we find blameworthy in him, we put it down to him. The dead does not put it down directly to the human being. He sees how the person is misled by Lucifer or Ahriman. This brings about a toning-down, so to speak, of the sharply differentiated feelings which in our physical and earthly life we generally have towards this or that human being. To a far greater extent, a kind of universal human love arises in the dead. This does not mean that he cannot criticize — that is to say, cannot rightly see what is evil in evil. He sees it well enough, but he is able to refer it to its origin — to its real inner connections.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – On the Connection of the Living and the Dead – Berne, 9 November 1916