Opposing forces (1 of 2)

We have evolved to our present condition because beings we call luciferic and ahrimanic have affected us. Through their forces, our essential being became worse than it would have been if only the forces of the spiritual guides of the world, those who want to advance our development in a straight line, had worked on us. Indeed, suffering, disease, and death can be traced to the fact that, in addition to the beings who advance our development in a straight line, luciferic and ahrimanic beings are also at work and continuously thwart our progress.

What we bring with us at birth contains something that is better than anything we can make of it in later life. In early childhood, the luciferic and ahrimanic forces have only a limited influence on our being. Essentially, they are active only in what we make of ourselves through our conscious life. If we retained the best part of ourselves in its full force beyond the first phase of childhood, its influence would be too much for us because the luciferic and ahrimanic forces opposing the part of ourselves that is better than the rest would weaken our whole being. Our constitution as human beings in the physical world is such that, once we are no longer soft and malleable as children, we can no longer stand to have the forces of the spiritual world continue to affect us directly. The forces that underlie our orientation in space and the formation of the larynx and the brain would shatter us if they continued to influence us directly in later life. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity: Lecture One – Copenhagen, June 6, 1911

Previously posted on May 8, 2019


Everything we experience by day we work upon during the night

In the time between your sleeping and waking — quite unconsciously, of course, as regards the normal consciousness — you will work upon much of what you are now in a position to hear. You will work upon it a great deal in your next sleep and perhaps also during the following nights. One sees souls labouring between sleeping and waking in quite a different fashion at what they have absorbed. And even if it occurred that someone had listened very inattentively, and had merely been somewhat receptive, yet through that receptivity he would draw into his soul the spiritual powers and impulse in the lecture. And that would be worked upon during sleep, and transformed into what we require not only for the rest of life up till death, but beyond death. Thus we work over our whole life as it transpires by day between our waking and sleeping.

Everything we experience by day we work upon during the night. Thus as it were, we learn lessons which we need for all the rest of our life here, and beyond death into the next incarnation. When we are asleep, we are our own prophetic transmuters of our life. This sleep-life is full of tremendously deep riddles, for it is much more deeply connected with what we experience, than is the external consciousness, and we work at it all from the standpoint of its fruitfulness for the following life. What we can make of ourselves through what we have experienced, is the object of our labour in the time between sleeping and waking. Whether we become stronger and more powerful in our soul, or perhaps have to reproach ourselves, we labour at all our experiences so that they become life-fruit. You see from this, that the life between sleeping and waking is really enormously significant, and that it goes deeply into the whole riddle of man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 1: SPIRITUAL LIFE IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD AND LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH – Berlin, 16th November, 1915

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on February 27, 2019


Death on a small scale is perpetually taking place

The final death that happens once and for all means that the whole body is destroyed; but what happens all at once in the entire body when a man dies is also taking place throughout the body during life, in a piecemeal process. Man excretes not only through his organs of excretion, the urine, feces, sweat, but in other ways as well. Just think what your head would look like if you never had your hair cut! Something is excreted there, too.


And think of the claws you’d have if you never cut your nails! But not only that: man is all the time sloughing off his skin — he just doesn’t notice it.


Man is casting off substance all the time. In the case of the urine and feces the process is not very significant, because for the most part these simply contain what has been eaten, material that has not gone into the whole body, whereas what is excreted in the nails has gone through the whole body.

Suppose you take your scissors and cut a fingernail. What you now cut away, you took in, you ate seven or eight years ago. What you ate went into the blood and nerves and passed through the whole body. It needed seven or eight years to do that. Now you cut it away. Just think of the body you have today, the body in which you are sitting there. If you had sat there seven or eight years ago, it would have been in quite another body! The body you had then has been cast away, has been sweated away, has been cut away with the nails, cut away with the hair. The entire body as it once was, has gone — with the exception of the bones and the like — and within a period of seven or eight years has been entirely renewed.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 354 –Evolution, Earth, Man: Lecture XIV – Dornach, September 24,1924

Facts may be experienced but they cannot be proved

Sleep has often been celled the younger brother of death. This simile illustrates the path pursued by the human spirit more perfectly than might be supposed, if it is only viewed superficially, for it give an idea of the way in which the various incarnations through which the human spirit passes are connected together.

In my articles on “Reincarnation and Karma from the standpoint of Modern Natural Science” (contained in the magazine “Lucifer Gnosis”, — number 5 and 6) it was shown that when the present natural scientific method of thinking is carefully followed to its conclusion it leads to the ancient teaching of the evolution of the eternal human spirit through many lives. From this knowledge the question necessarily arises: How are these many lives connected one with another? In what sense is the life of a human being the effect of his former lives and how does it become the cause for later embodiments?

In this respect the phenomenon of sleep affords an illustration of the connection existing between cause and effect. It is possible that many who think themselves great scientist will find the following explanations quite “unscientific.” This is comprehensible, for one who has no experience of the super sensible realms, and who at the same time has not be necessary reserve and modesty to admit that he can still learn something, is bound to make this objection. 

He should not say that the things here brought forward are “contrary to reason,” and that they cannot be proved by the intellect. The intellect can do nothing more than combine and systematize facts. Facts may be experienced but they cannot be proved by the intellect. A person cannot prove the existence of a whale by means of the intellect; he must either see one for himself, or accept the description given by those who have seen one. This is the case too with super-sensible facts. If a person is not sufficiently advanced to see them for himself, he must accept the description given by others. I can assure you the super-sensible facts I am about to describe are, to those whose higher senses are opened, just as “real” as a whale.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 60 – The Secrets of Sleep – Berlin, November 24, 1910