Women are able to grasp spiritual ideas with greater facility

True humanity lies between man and woman; and it is for this reason that a human being also changes sex in different incarnations. But it is already the case that the woman, as such, because of the different formation of her brain and the different way in which she can use it, is able to grasp spiritual ideas with greater facility. By contrast the man because of his external physical corporeality is much better adapted to think himself into materialism, because, if we wish to express the matter crudely, his brain is harder. The female brain is softer, not so stubborn, that is to say in general — I am not referring to individual personalities. In the case of individual personalities there is no need to flatter oneself, for many truly obstinate heads sit on many a female body — to say nothing of the reverse! But on the whole it is true that it is easier to make use of a female brain if one is to understand something exceptional, as long as the will to do so is also present. It is for this reason that the evangelist after the Mystery of Golgotha allows women to appear first.

And now, as the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, brought spices, so that they could go and anoint him. (Mark 16:1.)

And it was to them that the youth, that is, the cosmic Christ, first appeared; and only afterward to the male disciples. True occultism, true spiritual science is interwoven into the composition and details of the contents of the Gospels, and especially of the concise Mark Gospel.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 139 – The Gospel of St. Mark: Lecture 10 – Basel, September 24, 1912

Translated from the German by Conrad Mainzer and edited by Stewart C. Easton


Painting by Liane Collot d’Herbois


10 Excerpts from the lecture The Origin of Suffering

If the living could not suffer, never could consciousness arise.

When one observes the higher animals they show to those who look more deeply an expression full of suffering. And who would not admit that many an animal physiognomy looks like the manifestation of a deeply hidden pain?



At the beginning of the Biblical story of Creation the knowledge of good and evil and suffering are intimately bound up with one another.

The figure of Job shows us, or is meant to show us, how suffering and unspeakable pain can be connected with a completely guiltless life, how there can be unearned pain and suffering. We see dawning in the consciousness of this unique tragic personality, Job, yet another connection of pain and suffering, a connection with the ennobling of man. Suffering appears to us then as a testing, as the root of a climbing upwards, of a higher development. Suffering in the sense of this Job-tragedy need in no way have its origin in evil, it can itself be first cause, so that what proceeds from it represents a more perfect phase of human life.

When we look up to the Event which divides our chronology into two parts — to the Redemption through Christ Jesus —,then it can strike us that one of the greatest upliftings, one of the greatest upbuildings and hopes of victory which has ever taken root in the heart of man has sprung from the world historic sight of suffering. The greatly significant feelings, cutting deep into the human heart, of the Christian world-conception, these feelings which for so many are the hope and strength of life, give the assurance that there is an eternity, a victory over death. All these supporting and uplifting feelings spring from the sight of a universal suffering, a suffering that befalls innocence, a suffering occasioned through no personal sin.

One understands the life of another through nothing so much as by taking upon one’s own soul the burden of his pain.

When do you feel certain interior organs of your organism? You go through life and do not feel your stomach or liver or lungs. You feel none of your organs as long as they are sound. You feel them only when they give you pain, and you really know that you have this or that organ only when it hurts you, when you feel that something is out of order there and that a destruction-process is beginning.

Take something that expresses suffering on a lower level, the feeling of hunger, for instance, which can destroy life. You meet this with nourishment, and the food taken in becomes enjoyment because it is the means of enhancing, producing life. So you see that higher creation, pleasure, arises on the basis of pain.

Pain makes us aware that we have to take precautions against the destruction of life. Out of pain we create new life. In the notes of a modern natural scientist on the expression of the thinker, we read that on the countenance of the thinker something lies like a repressed pain.

Fabre d’Olivet, made a right comparison when he wished to show how the highest, noblest, purest in human nature arises out of pain. He said that the arising of wisdom and beauty out of suffering is comparable to a process in nature, to the birth of the valuable and beautiful pearl. For the pearl is born from the sickness of the oyster, from the destruction inside the pearl-oyster. As the beauty of the pearl is born out of disease and suffering, so are knowledge, noble human nature and purified human feeling born out of suffering and pain.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – ORIGIN OF SUFFERING, ORIGIN OF EVIL, ILLNESS AND DEATH – I. The Origin of Suffering – Berlin, 8 November 1906

Translated by M. Cotterell and V. E. Watkin

Kamaloka / Devachan

Man passes through the Kamaloka period which lasts roughly a third of the length of his earthly life — in reverse sequence. Assuming that a man dies in his fortieth year, he will pass through all the experiences he has gone through in life in the reverse order, beginning with his thirty-ninth year, then the thirty-eighth, the thirty-seventh, the thirty-sixth, and so on. He really does go through his whole life backwards, right to the moment of birth. 

This is what is behind the beautiful words of Christ, when He was speaking of man’s entry into the spiritual world or the kingdom of Heaven: ‘Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven!’ In other words, man lives backwards as far as his first moments and being absolved of everything, he can then enter Devachan or the kingdom of Heaven, and be in the spiritual world from then onwards. This is difficult to imagine, as we are so very accustomed to time being absolute, like it is on the physical plane. It requires considerable effort to get used to this, but it will come.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution: Lecture 6: Illness and Karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle


Green Tara of the Stars – Art of Carol Herzer

Previously posted on 10 december 2018

Mankind must learn to be at home again in the spiritual world

We must not shrink for want of courage when it is needful to unveil facts of the spiritual world entering deep into the life of man. For the whole future of mankind depends on man’s learning really to live with the spiritual world as naturally as on the Earth he lives with the physical. Mankind must learn to be at home again in the spiritual world as it was in the beginning, in primeval time. Only by doing so shall we be helping mankind’s future. In the true sense we must understand the word of Christ: “My Kingdom is not of this world”. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner- GA 218 – Man’s Life on Earth and in the Spiritual Worlds : LECTURE VI – London, 19th November 1922

Translated from the German by George and Mary Adams


Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted

Steiner about one of the Beatitudes from the sermon on the mount – Matthew 5, verse 4

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” One of the major riddles that we face in this world is that of suffering. To the ancient Greeks, this free, cheerful people, who were as dependant for their existence on sensual enjoyment as the air they breathed, Silenus provided the following answer to the question ‘what would be the best for the people’: “miserable people … the very best is for you would be completely unreachable: not to have been born, not to be, to be nothing. However, the second best for you –  is soon to die.” Aesop though, says that one can draw lessons from suffering. And Job comes through all the suffering imposed on him to the conclusion: Suffering purifies, it brings advancement. – Why do we leave the theatre with a feeling of fulfilment after attending a tragedy? The hero overcomes suffering. Between advancing a step further and living through tragedy there is a link. […]

The soul needs to form an organ so that it can bear suffering. Like the eye was formed by light, the ear by sound, suffering and pain likewise form spiritual organs. […]

The human being progresses to a higher stage through suffering.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – Das christliche Mysterium – Stuttgart, 19 January 1907 (page 95-96)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Previously posted on 3 januari 2016