Usually people do not know a lot or nothing at all about their former incarnations

The human being living on earth knows nothing of his former incarnations with the usual external consciousness. Indeed, we know that there are people among the theosophists who after a relatively short time know a lot of their former incarnations. Once I got to know a group of people in a European city where Seneca [Seneca (~1–65 A. D.), Roman philosopher], Frederic II of Prussia [Frederic II of Prussia (1712–1786)], the German Emperor Joseph II [German Emperor Joseph II (1741–1790)], the Duke of Reichstadt [Duke of Reichstadt (1811–1831), Napoleon Franz Bonaparte von Reichstadt, son of Napoleon I.], Madame Pompadour [Madame Pompadour (Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson) (1721–1764)], Marie-Antoinette [Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France (1755–1793)] and still some other people were sitting together at a coffee table.

But apart from those who know so much about their former incarnation, after they have learnt a little theosophy, people do not know a lot, as everybody knows, or nothing at all about their former incarnations with their everyday external knowledge. Since, as true as it is that the human being knows nothing of his previous incarnations by that which just the present human cycle gives him, it is true that he has everything for his will development after death that remained to him from previous lives. There it is different between death and a new birth. Whereas people know nothing about their previous incarnations between birth and death here, they have all the forces of their previous incarnations in themselves in the life between death and a new birth, but also that which has always been experienced between death and a new birth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Mystery of Death – Cologne, 19th June 1915

Previously posted on June 6, 2018



Obstacles for the good endeavours of the dead

The laws of the spiritual world, perceived in this way by clairvoyant vision, hold good unconditionally. That this is so is shown by an example which it has often been possible to observe. It is instructive to see how thoughts of hatred, or at least antipathy, take effect even if they are not conceived in full consciousness. 

There are school-teachers of the type usually known as ‘strict’, who are unable to gain the affection of their pupils; in such cases of course, the thoughts of antipathy and hatred are formed half innocently. But when such a teacher dies it can be seen how these thoughts too — for they persist — are obstacles in the way of his good endeavours in the spiritual world. 

After the teacher’s death it is not often that a child or young person realizes that his hatred ought to cease, but he nevertheless preserves the feeling of how the teacher tormented him. From such insights a great deal can be learnt about the mutual relationships between the living and the dead.

Source:Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – 1. LINKS BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE DEAD – Bergen, October 10,1913


Simply an illusion

Although to physical vision the Earth appears as it presents itself to the Geologists, in such a way that they regard it simply as a stony mass surrounded by an atmosphere, that fundamentally is simply an external illusion. What appears thus as this stony mass is simply the body for certain Spiritual beings.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 203 – Social Life – Dornach. 29th, January 1921

Previously posted on May 30, 2018


The quieter we are, the more can happen through us in the spiritual world

On Earth, we have to be active, move from place to place, be on the go. It is an important characteristic of daily life that what is presented to our perception comes to us without our activity. However grotesque it may appear, the opposite is true in the spiritual world. There one cannot be active, one cannot draw anything towards one by moving from one place to another. Nor can one bring anything to one simply by moving a limb — by the movement of a hand, for example. Above all, for something to happen in the spiritual world it is essential that there be absolute calmness of soul. 

The quieter we are, the more can happen through us in the spiritual world. We simply cannot say that anything happens in the spiritual world as a result of hurry and excitement. We need to develop loving participation in a mood of soul calmness for what is to happen, and then wait patiently to see how things come to pass.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: IV: Recent Results of Occult Investigation Into Life – Vienna, November 3, 1912

Translated by Rene M. Querido

Previously posted on May 24, 2018


Urgent necessity of gaining knowledge about the spiritual world

Man on Earth can gain more and more knowledge of what the nature of his life will be when he passes through the gate of death. There are people who say: ‘Why do I need to know all this? I shall surely see it all after death!’ — That attitude is just as if a man were to doubt the value of eyesight. For as the Earth’s evolution takes its course, man enters more and more into a life in which he must acquire the power to partake in these after-death experiences by grasping them, to begin with in thought, here on the Earth.

To shut out knowledge of the spiritual worlds while we are on the Earth is to blind ourselves in soul and spirit after death. A man will enter the spiritual world as a cripple when he passes through the gate of death, if here, in this world, he disdains to learn about the world of spirit, for humanity is evolving towards freedom — towards free spiritual activity. This fact should become clearer and clearer to mankind and should make men realize the urgent necessity of gaining knowledge about the spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 219 – Man and the World of Stars: II: Moral Qualities and the Life After Death. Windows of the Earth. – Dornach, December 1, 1922

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on May 22, 2018