Obstacles for the good endeavours of the dead

The laws of the spiritual world, perceived in this way by clairvoyant vision, hold good unconditionally. That this is so is shown by an example which it has often been possible to observe. It is instructive to see how thoughts of hatred, or at least antipathy, take effect even if they are not conceived in full consciousness. 

There are school-teachers of the type usually known as ‘strict’, who are unable to gain the affection of their pupils; in such cases of course, the thoughts of antipathy and hatred are formed half innocently. But when such a teacher dies it can be seen how these thoughts too — for they persist — are obstacles in the way of his good endeavours in the spiritual world. 

After the teacher’s death it is not often that a child or young person realizes that his hatred ought to cease, but he nevertheless preserves the feeling of how the teacher tormented him. From such insights a great deal can be learnt about the mutual relationships between the living and the dead.

Source:Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – 1. LINKS BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE DEAD – Bergen, October 10,1913


I took pains to refrain from applying any criticism

The task for my observation took this form: to take in quite objectively and purely by way of perception that which lives in a human being. I took pains to refrain from applying any criticism to what men did, not to give way to either sympathy or antipathy in my relation to them; I desired simply to allow “man as he is to work upon me.”

I soon learned that such an observation of the world leads truly into the world of spirit. In observing the physical world one goes quite outside oneself; and just by reason of this one comes again, with an intensified capacity for spiritual observation, into the spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter XXII



Humanity is unaware of the influence of its emotions on the environment

It is not for nothing, not futile that the anthroposophical movement has reminded people of the invisible worlds, of which they are a part, on which they always exert influence. A person can’t utter one single word, can’t have a thought, without their feelings influencing the environment. In the same manner that our actions cause an effect in space, so do our emotions; they travel through space and influence people and the entire astral world.

Under ordinary circumstances, the human being is not aware that a stream of action goes out from him, that he is a cause whose effects can influence the environment. He is not aware that this can also cause harm, that he sends streams of sympathy and antipathy, of passions and desires into the world, which can work on other people in a very harmful way. He is unaware of what he is bringing about with his emotional life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 88 – Über die astrale Welt und das Devachan – Berlin, October 28, 1903 (bladzijde 27)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on April 17, 2020

Lower Devachan / Higher Devachan

Everything connected with sympathy or antipathy points to the realm we call Lower Devachan. Processes in the Heavenly World, or Devachan, are projected, mainly into our breast, as feelings of sympathy or antipathy for what is beautiful or ugly, for what is good or evil. So that in our feelings for the moral-aesthetic element, we bear within our souls shadow-reflections of the Heavenly World or Lower Devachan.

There is still a third province in the life of the human soul which must be strictly distinguished from the mere preference for good deeds. There is a difference between standing by and taking pleasure in witnessing some kindly deed and setting the will in action and actually performing some such deed. I will call pleasure in good deeds or displeasure in evil deeds the aesthetic element as against the moral element that impels a man to perform some good deed. The moral element is at a higher level than the purely aesthetic; mere pleasure or displeasure is at a lower level than the will to do something good or bad. In so far as our soul feels constrained to give expression to moral impulses, these impulses are the shadow-images of Higher Devachan, of the Higher Heavenly World.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – The Etherisation of the Blood – Basle, October 1, 1911

Translated by Arnold Freeman & D.S. Osmond

Enjoyment in school

From the change of teeth up to the time of adolescence the child really lives continually in the present, and is interested in what is going on in the world around him. When educating we must constantly keep in mind that children of primary school age want always to live in the present. How does one live in the present? One lives in the present when one enjoys the world around one, not in an animal way, but in a human way. And indeed the child of this age wants also to enjoy the world in the lessons he receives. Therefore from the outset we must make our teaching a thing of enjoyment for the children — not animal enjoyment, but enjoyment of a higher, human kind — not something that calls forth in them antipathy and repulsion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man: Lecture IX – Stuttgart, August 30, 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously posted on July 25, 2015