Physiognomy after death

I have spoken of the life between death and a new birth on many occasions and from many different points of view, for only so is it possible to develop an adequate idea of it. Today I propose to speak from still another point of view. By bringing together what is given at different times, you will be able gradually to build up a complete picture.
This spirit-form of the human being is involved, as we said, in a constant process of change. More and more it approaches what can only be described by saying: The spirit-form becomes one great “physiognomy.” To the Imaginative sight possessed by the Initiate and also by one who has passed through the gate of death, a kind of physiognomy makes its appearance. 

But this physiognomy is the whole human being, not merely part of him. The whole human being, in his spirit-form, presents a physiognomy that is the expression of his being in its moral and spiritual inwardness. After death a bad man will not have the same appearance as a good man. A man who has made strenuous efforts during his life on Earth will not look the same as one who has lived thoughtlessly or wantonly.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Supersensible Man: Lecture II – The Hague, 14th November, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on 16 November 2016 


Without spiritual insight earthly culture will die

The time now comes, where considering the human being as a spiritual being, going through a development between death and a new birth, must become a lively feeling. It must become a lively imagination, one must become able to live into perceiving the supernatural reality of human souls. Because without this understanding earthly culture will die. Practical activity will not be possible in the future, when there is no spiritual insight into the fact that every human being is a spiritual being. And one must add, as paradoxical as this still sounds to contemporary humanity, that one will have to learn not only to say: We are happy as parents that a child will be born for us, we welcome this expansion to our family, but the parents will also have to say: no, we are just the instruments. We provide the opportunity for a spiritual individuality, waiting to continue its existence on the earth.

Bron (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, February 6, 1920 (page 162)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on March 2, 2018


An inner connection exists between man’s activity and his organs. He needs his organs both for the lowest and the highest impulses. He also needs them in art. When someone has once and for all absorbed everything from the world, he has no further use for his organs. Between birth and death man accustoms himself to perceive the world through his organs. After death what he is thus accustomed to must slowly be put aside. 

If he still wishes to make use of his organs to perceive the world, then he finds himself in the condition which is called Kamaloka. It is a condition in which there is still desire to perceive through the organs, which however are no longer there. If after death a person could say that he had no further desire to use his organs, Kamaloka would no longer exist for him. In Devachan everything which man formerly perceived around him with his organs, is there perceived from within — without organs. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – Foundations of Esotericism – Lecture II – Berlin, 27th September 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett

Previously posted on February 8, 2017

A much more magnificent work than all earthly cultural activity

It is doubtless justified to sing the praises of all that human beings are doing for civilization, for culture, on earth. Far from condemning this singing of praises, I declare myself, once and for all, in favor of it when it is done in a reasonable way. But a much more encompassing, a much more exalted, a much more magnificent work than all earthly cultural activity is performed by heavenly civilization, as it might be called, between death and a new birth: the spiritual preparation, the spiritual weaving of the human body. For nothing more exalted exists in the world order than the weaving of the human being out of the world’s ingredients. With the help of the gods, the human being is woven during the important period between death and a new birth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 226 – Man’s Being, His Destiny and World-Evolution: Lecture II – Kristiana, 17th May 1923

Translated by Erna McArthur

Previously posted on June 21, 2016

Those who eat in order to live/Those who live in order to eat

There are men … how shall I speak of them? Let us say they are ready eaters; they are fond of eating. Others are not so fond of eating. I do not want to say gluttonous people and non-gluttonous people for this would hardly be in place in a serious study. But I will say: there are people who are fond of eating and there are others who are less fond of it. This too is connected in a certain sense with what the human being experiences in his passage between death and a new birth, before and after the midnight summit of existence. The middle point here is the midnight summit of existence.

There are human beings who, as I will put it, ascend very high into the spiritual, and there are others who do not rise so high. Those who ascend very high will eat in order to live. Those who do not rise so high will live in order to eat.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume II – Lecture VIII – Dornach, 10th May 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D.S. Osmond