The modern materialistic world-conception is a product of fear and anxiety

The age of intellectualism dulled the sight of what lay in man’s inner being, but it was unable to do away with the fear. Thus it came about that man was and still is influenced by this unconscious fear to the degree of saying, “There is nothing at all in the human being that transcends birth and death.” He is afraid of penetrating deeper than this life of memory, this ordinary life of thought which maintains its course, after all, only between birth and death. He is afraid to look down into that which is eternal in the human soul, and from out of this fear he postulates the doctrine that there is nothing at all outside this life between birth and death. Modern materialism has arisen out of fear, without men having the slightest idea of this. The modern materialistic world-conception is a product of fear and anxiety.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 207 – COSMOSOPHY I – Lecture 1 – Dornach, 23rd September 1921

Revised translation by Alice Wulsin

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Painting by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted February 19, 2017


In Devachan do we see again those who were dear to us?

In Devachan do we see again those who were dear to us? Yes, we see them again, freed moreover from all the obstacles of space and time that here on earth lie like veils over these relationships of the soul. In Devachan, souls confront each other directly. The relationship of soul to soul is far more intimate and inward than it is in the physical world. There can never be any doubt in Devachan about one soul recognizing the other again, even when one of them passes into Devachan before the other. Recognition of loved ones is not particularly difficult there, for each soul bears his inner, spiritual reality inscribed as it were upon his spiritual countenence. He himself proclaims his name, indeed, in a much truer form than is possible here, as the basic tone, which, as it is said in occultism, he represents in the spiritual world. An absolutely undisturbed communion is actually possible only when both souls are in Devachan. 

Nevertheless, the disembodied soul does not lose all consciousness of the one who is still on earth; he can actually follow the latter’s actions. The soul who is first in Devachan is naturally unable to see physical colors and forms belonging to the earth because in that spiritual realm he has no physical organs. But everything in the physical world has its spiritual counterpart in Devachan and that is what is perceived by the soul already there. Every movement of the hand in the physical world, because it is preceded by an impulse of will that is either conscious or unconscious, every change in the physical human being, has a spiritual counterpart that can be perceived in Devachan by the soul whose death preceded that of the other human being concerned.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 109 – Rosicrucian Esotericism – Lecture V: The Physical World as an Expression of Spiritual Forces and Beings – Budapest, 7th June 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond


Art of Carol Herzer

Previously posted on 4 December 2018

Thoughts after death

In the physical body we experience thoughts by drawing them up from within us. After death, we experience thoughts by looking at them as we look at the stars, or as we look out at the world and the mountains, and they make an impression upon us; we take up this impression and experience it in our astral body and our Ego. Thus we see that just the opposite thing takes place: Whereas here on Earth we look upon thoughts as something within us, we must consider them as being something external, after death. Our life then dissolves in the world, flows out in the world.

It is important for us to bear this in mind and not to adopt the idea that the world after death is like a fine, thin repetition of the physical world here — an idea which is often accepted in spiritist circles. It is in fact something entirely different. And it is different, for the reason that our thoughts are Beings outside of us.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE DEAD – Hamburg, 16 February 1916

Translator unknown


After our death we must once more live through everything that other people, outside, have experienced through us

Here on earth we can only experience one half at the most of everything through which we pass. We really experience only half of what takes place in every one of our experiences. Let us take an example. Imagine — this applies both to good and to evil thoughts and actions — but let us take as an example an evil action. Imagine that you say something bad to another person and that your words hurt him. When we say something unkind we only experience that part which concerns us personally; we only experience the feelings that prompted us to say those evil words. This is the soul-impression which we gather when we say bad and unkind things. But the other person to whom we addressed our unkind words has an entirely different impression; he has, as it were, the other half of the impression and feels hurt. The second half of the impression lives in him. What we ourselves experience during our physical life on earth is one thing, and what the other person experiences is another thing.

Now imagine the following. After our death, when we pass backwards through our life, we must once more live through everything that other people, outside, have experienced through us. As we go backwards through our life, we experience the effects of our thoughts and actions. Between death and a new birth we therefore pass through our life by going through it backwards. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – THE MOMENT OF DEATH AND THE PERIOD THEREAFTER – Leipzig, 22 February 1916

Translator Unknown


In Devachan the laws of Nature and the moral and intellectual laws coincide

The chief characteristic of Devachan is that moral facts can no longer be distinguished from physical facts, or physical laws; moral laws and physical laws coincide. What is meant by this? In the ordinary physical world the sun shines over the just and the unjust; one who has committed a crime may perhaps be put in prison, but the physical sun will not be darker because of this fact. This signifies that the world of sense-reality has both a moral order of laws and physical one; but they follow two entirely different directions. In Devachan it is otherwise — there, this difference does not exist at all. In Devachan everything that arises out of something moral, or intellectually wise, or esthetically beautiful, etc., leads to a creation, is creative — whereas everything that arises out of something immoral, intellectually untrue, or esthetically ugly, leads to destruction, is destructive. 

The laws of Nature in Devachan are indeed of such kind that the sun does not shine equally brightly over the just and the unjust. Speaking figuratively, we may say that the sun actually is darkened in the case of an unrighteous man, whereas the righteous man who passes through Devachan really finds in it the spiritual sunshine, that is, the influence of the life-spending forces which help him forward in life. A liar or an ugly-minded man will pass through Devachan in such a way that the spiritual forces withdraw from him. In Devachan an order of laws is possible, which is not possible here or earth. When two people, a righteous and an unrighteous one, walk side by side here on the earth, it is not possible for the sun to shine upon one and not to shine upon the other. But in the spiritual world the influence of the spiritual forces undoubtedly depends upon the quality of a human being. In Devachan this signifies that the laws of Nature and the spiritual laws do not follow separate directions, but the same direction. This is the essential thing which must be borne in mind — in Devachan the laws of Nature and the moral and intellectual laws coincide.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – THE THREE PATHS OF THE SOUL TO CHRIST – Reflections of Consciousness, Super-consciousness and Sub-consciousness – Munich, 25 February 1912

Translator Unknown


Previously posted on 29 november 2018