The gift of clairvoyance is not always a desirable gift

The first thing man gets to know when he enters the astral space, what he sees when his astral eye is opened, is that he finds himself enveloped in the astral body. It is in this astral body that all desires, passions, sensations and so on surge. Here we see clearly what otherwise lies hidden in human nature. Everything hidden becomes visible when we look at this human aura. What I have called the astral, man’s entire sentient nature flows out of it in wavy movements with a certain luminosity. 

I would like to mention a few details that will show you how some things that we otherwise find incomprehensible immediately become understandable. One can often see that certain people, when they are standing at an abyss, show an insuperable desire to throw themselves into it, although they fight against it with all their might. Or one can see what thoughts pass through a man’s soul when he has a knife in his hand. All these things have their deep basis in the human astral body. They are based on the fact that in the astral we have a completely different being than we encounter in the human outside. But they are subject to fate, to karma. If you have certain desires in life, you have had experiences in a previous life that can be pushed into the background by the present mind. But they slumber in the astral body. 

Suppose someone took part in a cruel war in a previous life; there you will see in his aura how through his karma all these atrocities were built into his astral body, with which he now has to wage hard struggles in his present physical life has. Just as threads are spun between a past life and the present, so are threads spun from the present to later lives. The seer sees all this. He sees how a person’s karma works out, and he also sees how for example, a person tries to suppress a tendency out of prudence or how he suppresses feelings. The seer sees to the bottom of the soul. 

Those who have the gift of sight do not consider it a desirable gift that brings joy in all cases, especially when people have feelings they shouldn’t have. And for the beginner, the chela, it is often disastrous because he is easily attracted by everything he now sees.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 88 – Über die astrale Welt und das Devachan – Berlin, 18 November 1903 (page 60,61)

Translated by Google with a few adjustments of my own

PS  This makes me think of a cousin of mine. It’s been about 30 years now. He was 33 years old at the time. He had a good job as a lab technician. Had a good girlfriend whom he was to marry. They had also already bought a house. But one Wednesday morning he drove in his car to the highest flat in Sneek and jumped off. Sad, terribly sad.

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Art of Nesta Carsten-Krüger 


One who attains really spiritual perception does not become a dreamer

I have often emphasised that one who attains really spiritual perception does not become a dreamer or enthusiast, living only in the higher worlds and not seeing external reality. People who are ever dreaming in higher worlds, or about them, and do not see external reality, are not initiates; they should be considered from a pathological point of view, at least in the psychological sense of the term. The real knowledge of initiation does not estrange one from ordinary, physical life and its various relationships. On the contrary, it makes one a more painstaking, conscientious observer than without the faculty of seership. Indeed we may say: if a man has no sense of ordinary realities, no interest in ordinary realities, no interest in the details of others’ lives, if he is so ‘superior’ that he sails through life without troubling about its details, he shows he is not a genuine seer.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 234 – Anthroposophy, An Introduction: Lecture VIII – Dornach, 9th February 1924

Translated by Vera Compton-Burnett

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Art of Nesta Carsten-Krüger 

Previously posted on 30 december 2018

All night long the astral body and ego work at repairing the disorganized and exhausted forces of our bodies

During the day man is continually making use of his physical and etheric bodies. The life we lead from morning till evening exhausts these bodies, and what we feel as fatigue is nothing more than the expression of the fact that indirectly through the astral body all kinds of perceptions have been taking place in us as well as impulses of joy, of sorrow, and of pain; all these have been playing through us. This wears out our physical and etheric bodies, and in the evening we are tired because all day long we have been destroying them.

When at night we leave these bodies on the bed the astral body and ego are not inactive; all night long they send their forces into the physical and etheric bodies; they work at repairing the disorganized and exhausted forces of these bodies; this they could not do if, on their withdrawal, they were not taken up into a higher kingdom. Above the human kingdom a spiritual kingdom is outspread, the kingdom of the Angels, Archangels, and other beings. It is as if ozone streamed from the Spiritual Beings that then surround us, and from whom we are separated during the day, because with our perceptions we are enclosed within the shell of our bodies. At night we plunge into this spiritual ozone; from it our astral body absorbs forces which it then pours into the physical and etheric bodies to repair them. Today man is unconscious of this, but at the time when he still possessed dim clairvoyant consciousness he saw how his astral body and ego left the other members and was absorbed into the divine spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 105 – UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN – Lecture IX – Stuttgart, 13 August 1908


Art of Hans Georg Leiendecker

Clairvoyance without understanding and logic has no value

However much a clairvoyant may be able to investigate and see in the spiritual world, what he sees is of no value to him and to others so long as he is unable to bring it down into the ordinary sphere of men, and to express it in thought that can be grasped by sound logic and a natural feeling for truth. The clairvoyant must in fact first understand the matter himself if it is to be of any use to him. Its value begins where the possibility of logical proof begins. […]

Picture to yourselves a man who has perhaps made quite exceptional discoveries in the spiritual world through purely clairvoyant observation, but who has neglected to clothe these observations in language suited to the ordinary sense of truth of any age. Do you know what would happen to him? All his discoveries would be wiped out after death! Just as much of value would remain as it was possible for him to translate or formulate into any language that corresponded to a sound sense for truth.

It is certainly of the greatest importance that there should be clairvoyants capable of bringing over communications from the spiritual world and handing them on to others. This brings blessing to our day, for our age has need of wisdom and cannot advance unless it gets it. Such communications are necessary to the culture of the present time. If not recognised to-day, in fifty or a hundred years it will be the universal conviction of all mankind that culture cannot advance but must perish unless convinced of spiritual wisdom.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 124 – Excursus on the Gospel According to St. Mark I. On the Investigation and Communication of Spiritual Truths – Berlin, 17th October 1910

Translated by E. H. Goddard and D. S. Osmond


Liane Collot d’Herbois Tobias. Year 1970. Watercolor on paper

Previously posted on 20 December 2018

I had always examined myself carefully

My knowledge of things of the spirit is a direct result of my own perception, and I am fully conscious of this fact. In all details and in the larger surveys I had always examined myself carefully as to whether every step I took in the progress of my perception was accompanied by a fully awake consciousness. Just as the mathematician advances from thought to thought without the unconscious or autosuggestion playing a role, so – I told myself – spiritual perception must advance from objective imagination to objective imagination without anything living in the soul but the spiritual content of clear, discerning consciousness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – Preface: Sixteenth to Twentieth Edition

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.


Painting by Arild Rosenkrantz

Previously posted on December 12, 2013