Astral experiences

When astral images arise, for instance, in pathological conditions, we must know how to deal with them. They often appear when people are delirious; a delirious person often sees all kinds of faces and forms rushing towards him, for the astral world becomes accessible to him in this pathological condition. Although these astral pictures seem to be rushing towards him, they are in reality streaming out of him. Progressive doctors should bear this in mind, for in future such symptoms will be more and more frequent, arising out of a concealed religious longing. The subject of a painting such, as for instance, the well known “Temptation of Saint Anthony” is based on such astral experiences.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: IV – Kassel, 19th June 1907

Previously posted on September 26, 2019

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The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Matthias Grünewald

Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony a.k.a Anthony the Great (c. 251 – 356) was a Christian monk and visionary

Who became, first an ascetic, and then rejected social life altogether by going to live in the Egyptian desert,

to fast and pray by himself, relying only on gifts of food from pilgrims and local villagers.

Sense-organs/Astral organs

We are conscious of the world round about us, because we have certain capacities and organs which enable us to perceive it. If we had other organs, this world would present an entirely different aspect. For example, if a man had no eyes enabling him to see the light, but an organ enabling him instead to perceive electricity, then he would not see this room flooded with light, but he would perceive electricity in every wire, flashing, streaming through it. — The world round about us, what we call our world, is therefore dependent upon our sense-organs.

The astral world, too, is nothing but a sum of phenomena, which the human being experiences in his environment , when he has severed himself from his physical body and from his etheric body, so that he can use forces enabling him to see what he cannot otherwise see. This is the case, when he has discarded his physical body and his etheric body. The perceptive organs for the astral world are the organs of the astral body, analogous to the sense-organs of the physical body.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism – IV – Kassel, 19th June, 1907 

Previously posted on September 23, 2019

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Destructive powers

It is the devil who will and must be the bearer of our future civilization. This is a harsh truth, but it is important. It is intimately bound up with the fact that destructive powers will have to enter into the future progress of civilization. Above all — and I will speak of this tomorrow — destructive powers will have to enter into the whole field of education, and especially the education of children, unless the matter is taken in hand with wisdom. Because of the general trend of civilization, and the customary practices and emotions of people, destructive powers will also enter more and more into the whole social sphere. They will above all bring more and more destruction into the actual relationships between people.

Humanity should seek to bring Christ’s words to realization: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ Technological and commercial progress will not bring this to realization, but rather: Where two or more want to fight and assault each other in my name, there am I in the midst of them. This will happen more and more in the social life and because of this there is a general difficulty today in presenting truths which will bring people together.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness: Lecture 4: The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death – Dornach, 6th October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on September 21, 2019

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Portrait by Alberto Mancini

In the dead we have our best and most important helpers

Our attitude towards those who passed through the threshold of death must be the same as towards those who still live here on earth. Indeed, we should not hesitate, to say: Those who still live in the physical body are handicapped in many ways, so that they cannot live a full spiritual life, they cannot live it to the full. How many handicaps can be observed in people during their physical life on earth, when it is a question of recognising the truly great tasks of evolution — and still more, when it is a question of fullfilling them! We may rely far more on the dead. […] 

In the dead we have our best and most important helpers and you will not misunderstand me when I say: In our spiritual work we may rely far more upon the dead than upon the living.

But in order to be able to say this, we should stand in a living way within that which our spiritual movement can give us. I rely on the fact that those who crossed the threshold of death are — particularly in the external field — our most important helpers in the spiritualization of human civilisation in the future, for they look back upon death, and death will be their great teacher. Many people to-day need stronger teachers than those whom life can give them. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Subconscious Forces – Vienna, 9th May 1915

Previously posted on Seotember 20, 2019

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New senses / New phenomena

Nobody has true knowledge of the visible world unless he knows something also of two other worlds.

The three worlds are:

The physical world, the scene of human life.

The astral world or the world of soul.

The devachanic world or world of spirit.

These three worlds are not spatially separate. We are surrounded by the things of the physical world which we perceive with our ordinary senses: but the astral world is in this same space; we live in the other two worlds, the astral and devachanic worlds, at the same time as we live in the physical world. The three worlds are wherever we ourselves are, only we do not yet see the two higher worlds — just as a blind man does not see the physical world. But when the “senses of the soul” are opened, the new world, with its new characteristics and new beings, emerges. In proportion as a man acquires new senses, so are new phenomena revealed to him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE TWO: THE THREE WORLDS – Stuttgart, 23rd August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on August 19, 2019

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