An ascetic fleeing from the world does not serve clairvoyance

Spiritual science teaches of the existence of certain highly evolved men, the initiates, and it has been taught in the Mystery Schools of all times how man can bring himself to such a stage of evolution. Definite exercises were prescribed there which develop man in quite a natural way. They are exercises of meditation and concentration which are to give man another kind of sight which cannot be attained with the intellect and the five senses. Meditation in the first place leads away from the grasp of the senses. Through inner soul-work man becomes free of the senses. Something then takes place similar to the operation on a man born blind.

There is a kind of operation which opens man’s spiritual eyes and ears. It will be attained in the development of the whole human race in the course of a long period of time. But one must not disclaim the world when one wishes to rise higher; an ascetic fleeing from the world does not serve clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is the fruit of what the soul collects in the sense-world. Greek philosophy beautifully compared the human soul with a bee. The world of colour and light offers the soul honey which it brings with it into the higher world. The soul must spiritualise sense experience and carry it up into higher worlds.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – The Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness and Death – Berlin, 22nd November 1906

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on May 16, 2016


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 -1 – A Retrospect – Berlin, 17th October 1910

Previously posted on 11 april 2016

Terror-inspiring astral world

For the inexperienced, the astral world is a big jumble. He can experience all kinds of animal figures coming towards him, as well as frightening human figures and the like. There are people who tell of such experiences. They are really in a very deplorable state. Through illness the astral world becomes visible in an irregular manner. If one begins to meditate and seriously train oneself clairvoyance, develops in the right way and then one knows what to expect in the astral world.

When people enter the astral world because of a diseased brain or something similarly unusual terrible figures are seen to be coming towards them and throwing themselves upon them. These figures are in reality their own passions emanating from themselves and showing their own mirror images in the astral world. Because in the astral world everything is reversed and they cannot read the astral images everything rushes toward them. Everything appears in images in the astral world. Erupting anger for example may appear as a picture of a tiger, attacking them. So it is with all these wild figures. Because every desire, every passion becomes a demon. However, the untrained man does not know how to interpret this and assumes the perception to be fantasized imaginations which it certainly isn’t. It is an image, a mirror.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – Kosmogonie – Leipzig, June 29, 1906 (page 135)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 10, 2016


No psychical trouble arises in true initiation, but the premature and sudden flashing-up of the astral world may give rise to insanity. In clairvoyance, man is liberated from his physical body. Hence the dangers that may threaten the mind and brain of one who attempts this kind of training without being absolutely balanced.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – An Esoteric Cosmology – Lecture IX: The Astral World – Paris, 2nd June 1906

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on March 21, 2015

We look back to a past when man was clairvoyant, and to a future when this will again be the case

The cognitive faculty of mankind has developed gradually. Attention has repeatedly been drawn to the fact that in the Atlantean epoch a large proportion of humanity was clairvoyant and able to gaze into the spiritual worlds, and that certain remnants of this old clairvoyance were still present in post-Atlantean times. After the Atlantean epoch, in the periods of the civilizations of ancient India, Persia, Egypt and Chaldea — even as late as the Graeco-Latin age — there were numbers of human beings, many more than modern man would ever imagine, who possessed the heritage of this old clairvoyance; the astral plane was open to them and they could see into the hidden depths of existence.

But humanity was to advance to a form of knowledge acquired through the outer senses and through the spiritual faculties connected with the senses. Man was gradually to emerge altogether from the spiritual world and to engage in pure sense-observation, in intellectual, logical thinking. By degrees he was to make his way to non-clairvoyant cognition, because he must pass through this stage in order to regain clairvoyant knowledge in the future. But such knowledge will then be united with the fruits of cognition based upon the senses and the intellect.

At the present time we are living in an intermediate period. We look back to a past when man was clairvoyant, and to a future when this will again be the case. In our present age the majority of human beings are dependent upon what they perceive with their senses and grasp with their intellect.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 114 – The Gospel of St. Luke – Lecture Two – Basel, September 16, 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield

Previously posted on January 14, 2015