To do or not to do (1 of 3)

What I shall now say may sound paradoxical to you, yet it is true. In reality, a man who has no Initiation Science practically always knows, by a kind of inner urge or impulse, what he is to do. Yes, people always know what they must do; they are always feeling impelled to this thing or that. For one who really begins to tread the path of Initiation Science it becomes very different. With regard to the various experiences of life as they confront him, strange questions will arise in him. When he feels impelled to do this or that, immediately again he feels impelled not to do it. There is no more of that dim urge which drives most human beings to this or that line of action. Indeed, at a certain stage of Initiate-insight, if nothing else came instead, a man might easily say to himself: Now that I have reached this insight — being 40 years old, let us say, I had best spend the rest of my life quite indifferently. What do I care? I’ll sit down and do nothing, for I have no definite impulses to do anything particular.

You must not suppose, my dear friends, that Initiation is not a reality. It is remarkable how people sometimes think of these things. Of a roast chicken, every one who eats it, well believes that it is a reality. Of Initiation Science, most people believe that its effects are merely theoretical. No, its effects are realities in life, and among them is the one I have just indicated.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I: Lecture III – Dornach, 23rd February 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on August 9, 2017


Temperament and Karma

The melancholic temperament is karmically determined if a man in his previous life was compelled to lead a narrow, restricted existence and to be much alone; if he was always preoccupied only with himself and unable to make much interest in anything else. If, however, a man has learnt a great deal from experience but has also had something of a hard struggle, if he has encountered many things and has not merely looked on at them, he will become a choleric. If, again, he has had a pleasant life without much struggle or toil, or if he saw and passed by many things, but only as an onlooker, all this will work karmically into the etheric body of his next life: he will become a phlegmatic or a sanguine type.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture VII – Stuttgart, 28th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on June 13, 2015

The four temperaments

The choleric man has a strong will, is bold, courageous, with an urge to action. Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, for example, were cholerics. This type of character shows itself even in childhood, and a child with this temperament will take the lead in childhood games.

The melancholic man is very much occupied with himself and hence is apt to keep himself to himself. He does a lot of thinking, particularly about the way in which his environment affects him. He withdraws into himself, tends to be suspicious. This temperament, too, is apparent in childhood: a child of this type does not like to display his toys; he is afraid something will be taken away from him and would like to keep everything under lock and key.

The phlegmatic man has no real interest in anything; he is dreamy, inactive, lazy, and seeks sensuous enjoyment.

The sanguine man, on the other hand, gets easily interested in anything but he does not stick to it; his interest quickly fades; he is continually changing his hobbies.

These are the four basic types. Generally a man is a mixture of all four, but we can usually discover the fundamental one.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture VII – Stuttgart, 28th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on June 12, 2015

Discouraged/Power Development

The atmosphere we live in when we make spiritual science a personal concern, requires that we strongly develop our powers and sense of self-preservation. And those are the deeper reasons why we are often discouraged and feeling lonely – why one or another of those who strive for spiritual science, may find it hard to come to terms with life. But if we have clear insight into its great contribution to mankind, and how it only seems small now because we are still at the very beginning, we can also find this power, can really find it then.  All major impulses in the development of humanity must, to begin with, be small.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – Die Verbindung zwischen Lebenden und Toten – St. Gallen, 26 October 1916 (page 166)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on August 4, 2017


What comes about in the economic life through brotherliness or unbrotherliness, through what people do for each other, in economic relations, does not, strange as it sounds, only have significance for this life between birth and death, but it actually has a huge meaning for the life after death as well.

It is, for example, important whether I spend my life in jealousy and behave in such a way that my outlook is one of envy, or whether I act out of love for humanity. Actions, in so far as they belong to public life, in so far as bringing people together, do not only have importance here on earth, but the results are carried through the gate of death and has implications for the whole life between death, which affects us after the present earthly life, and the next earthly life.

So we can say: what takes place here in the economic life, will affect how people will live between death and a new birth. For example, if an economic order is built only on selfishness, then it will mean that people will to a high degree be lonely between death and a new birth, that they will have the greatest difficulty to find other human beings. In short, it is of huge significance for life between death and the following birth, how people here are behaving in economic relations.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner  – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, January 31, 1920 (page 127-128)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 3, 2017