Still not becoming clairvoyant

Many people object they have tried to meditate in all kinds of ways but are still not becoming clairvoyant. This lack of clairvoyance simply shows they do not really want the activity and strength I have just described. They consider themselves fortunate because they do not need them. They do not want to develop any active strength of soul, but want to become clairvoyant without having to acquire this strength first. They want the tableau that arises before them through clairvoyance to appear by itself. But that would be nothing but hallucinating or dreaming. 

To put it bluntly, a dream is a piece of the etheric world that we can take with our etheric feelers and move from one place to another. This has nothing to do with true clairvoyance. In experiencing true second sight we are as active as we are in the physical world in writing on paper. The only difference is that when we want to write in the physical world, we need first to know what it is we want to write down — at least it usually helps if we do. By contrast, in spiritual perception we allow the beings of the spiritual hierarchies to write, and only then, while we are writing, do the things appear that we are to perceive. Real clairvoyance cannot come about without our active involvement in every single aspect of our perception.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (PART ONE) – Berlin, April 18, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim and edited by Joachim Reuter


The fourfold human being

We have often brought to mind that man as we know him in his present form is, to begin with, a fourfold being; that he consists of the physical, etheric and astral bodies and the “I.” To spiritual vision these four principles appear in their external form as if the human physical body is enclosed in the centre like a kind of kernel. During the day this physical body is permeated by the so-called etheric or life-body which projects very slightly round about the head as a luminous halo, but which also completely permeates the head; further down it becomes more cloudy and indistinct and the more it approaches the lower parts of man the less definitely does it show the form of the physical body.

Now these two principles of the human being are during the day enveloped by what we call the astral body, which projects on all sides like an ellipse, in the shape of an egg, and in its fundamental form it has luminous rays which look as if their direction really were from outside inward, as if they would penetrate from outside to the inner part of the man. Within this astral body are outlined a great number of different figures, every possible kind of lines and rays, many like flashes of lightning, many in curious twists; all this surrounds the human being in the most varied manifestations of light. The astral body is the expression of his passions, instincts, impulses and desires, as also of all his thoughts and ideas. The clairvoyant consciousness sees portrayed in this astral body all that one calls soul-experiences, from the lowest impulses to the highest ethical ideals.

Then we have the fourth principle of the human being, which one might sketch as if something were sending in rays to a point lying about one centimetre (3/8 inch) behind the forehead. That would be the diagrammatic representation of the fourfold man. In the course of these lectures we shall see how the several parts are distinguished in the whole.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of St. John: Lecture II – Nuremberg, 19th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on October 19, 2019



In the Middle Ages no one would have ever dreamt of destroying life in order to understand it, and in ancient times any doctor would have looked on this as the height of madness. In the Middle Ages a number of people were still clairvoyant; doctors could see into a man and could discern any injury or defect in his physical body. So it was with Paracelsus, for example. 

But the material culture of modern times had to come, and with it a loss of clairvoyance. We see this particularly in our scientists and doctors; and vivisection is a result of it. In this way we can come to understand it, but we should never excuse or justify it. 

The consequences of a life which has been the cause of pain to others are bound to follow, and after death the vivisectionist has to endure exactly the same pains that he inflicted on animals. His soul is drawn into every pain he caused. It is no use saying that to inflict pain was not his intention, or that he did it for the sake of science or that his purpose was good. The law of spiritual life is inflexible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE THREE: LIFE OF THE SOUL IN KAMALOKA – Stuttgart, 24th August, 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on februari 25, 2019


About Kamaloca

The fact that we live through every detail of our past life in reverse order, brings with it that we can only now have a true knowledge of our own actions, for we experience their effects on ourselves. In the case of every action we now experience the soul-condition of the person against whom the action turned. We experience the pains and joys which we caused to other people, we experience them from within. In Kamaloca there is nothing which we did to others which does not become our own experience. Here we must apply this sentence: you will reap what you sowed.

Take one example which applies to this retrogressive experience: vivisection. This is closely connected with the materialistic direction of modern science. The position of the Middle Ages would have thought it stupid to study life by cutting of a living body and destroy in life. At that time many people, and physicians in particular, were still clairvoyant and they could therefore see through the physical body. But this power of vision was lost and because we can no longer look into the inner depths of the human organism, people began to cut it up and to dissect it. But vivisectors cut into living life. After death Karma, the law of cause and effect, becomes active. The intention that leads to vivisection comes less into consideration. The vivisector must experience in himself the results of his deeds. In kamaloka he must now endure and live through every pain which he inflicted an animal. Later on the scientific intention which prompted him to vivisect will be interwoven with his Karma.

Source Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – Popular Occultism: Lecture 5: LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND A NEW BIRTH – Leipzig, 3 July, 1906



The grasp of life given by Anthroposophy is in the highest sense practical. The light it throws on questions of education will be deeply useful to humanity long before people are clairvoyant, and long before a person attains to direct vision he can convince himself that in Anthroposophy the truth about life is to be found.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual ScienceVI: THE UPBRINGING OF CHILDREN. KARMA. – Stuttgart, August 27, 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

public rs 3