Powerful inspirations by Initiates

Those whom the world recognises as the great men of history were not really the greatest; the greatest, the Initiates, kept in the background.

In the course of the eighteenth century, on a quite unnoticed occasion, an Initiate made brief acquaintance with a writer, and spoke words to which the writer paid no special attention at the time. But they worked on in him and later gave rise to potent ideas, the fruits of which are in countless hands today. The writer was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He was not an Initiate, but his knowledge derived from one.

Here is another example. Jacob Boehme, a shoemaker’s apprentice, was sitting alone one day in the shop, where he was not allowed to sell anything himself. A person came in, made a deep impression upon him, spoke a few words, and went away. Immediately afterwards, Boehme heard his name being called: “Jacob, Jacob, today you are small, but one day you will be great. Take heed of what you have seen today!” A secret attraction remained between Boehme and his visitor, who was a great Initiate, and the source of Boehme’s powerful inspirations.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture One: The Being of Man – Stuttgart, 22nd August, 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on October 31, 2016

Apparent and real motives

It may happen in life that two people live together for a long time and that through the strange forces playing out of the unknown regions of the astral body and Ego of the one person into the astral body and Ego of the other (these forces remain in the hidden regions), the one has in relation to the other a real desire for torment, a kind of need for cruelty.

It may be that the one person who has this desire for torment, this need for cruelty, has no inkling whatever of the existence of these emotions in the astral body and Ego; he may build up about the things he does out of this urge to cruelty, a whole number of ideas which explain the actions on quite other grounds. Such a person may tell us that he has done this or that to the other person for one reason or another; these reasons may be very clever and yet they do not express the truth at all.

For in ordinary life, what we all-too-often picture as the motives of our own actions, indeed of our own feelings, frequently stands, as I say, in a very, very distant connection with what is really living and weaving in our inner being.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 161 – The Problem of Death: I – Dornach, February 5, 1915

Previously posted on October 27, 2016

Pre-Incarnation Preview

Immediately before incarnation a very important event occurs, parallel to the event which follows the moment of death. Just as immediately after death the whole memory of a man’s past life appears like a tableau before his soul, so is a kind of preview of the coming life given to the soul immediately before it incarnates. Not all the details are seen, but the circumstances of the coming life are made evident in broad outline. 

This is of the utmost importance. It may happen that a person who went through a great deal of suffering and hardship in his previous life receives a shock from the glimpse of the new circumstances and destiny now in prospect, and holds back the soul from complete incarnation. Only a part of the soul then enters the body, and this will result in the birth of an epileptic or an idiot.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture five: Human tasks in the higher worlds – Stuttgart, 26th August 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on October 24, 2016

Continuity of consciousness

The condition experienced by the pupils (of occult development) is called “continuity of consciousness”. When an ordinary person is completely withdrawn from the sense-world in sleep, he is unconscious. This is no longer so with a pupil who has reached the stage just mentioned. By day and by night, with no interruption, he lives in a state of fully clear consciousness, even when his physical body is at rest.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture Twelve: Occult Development – Stuttgart, 2nd September 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on October 19, 2016

It is what has been understood that is of value after death, whether it has been seen or not

One could easily imagine that visionary sight would be a better preparation for death than merely to hear of the facts of the spiritual world. And yet the truth is that after death, what a man has simply seen in a visionary way is of very little use to him, while on the other hand an actual reality is immediately present, as soon as he becomes conscious of what he has received in spiritual communications, if he has grasped these with his understanding. It is what has been understood that is of value after death, whether it has been seen or not.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – THE TASKS AND AIMS OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE – Stuttgart, 13th November, 1909

Translated by D.S. Osmond

See also: Power of judgment / Memory

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