Advice after the death of Anna Wagner

On December 31, 1905, Rudolf Steiner wrote to his esoteric pupil Paula Stryczek, who had turned to him for advice after the death of Anna Wagner (1847-1905):

Dear Miss Stryczek, 

Let me say this to you on the occasion of this unhappy event.
When a person dear to us crosses into the other worlds, it is especially important to send our thoughts and feelings without in any way giving the impression that we want her back, which would make life difficult for her in the new spheres she is entering.  What we would send into her worlds is not our own sorrow, but our love for her. Don’t misunderstand me; I do not mean that we must be hardened or indifferent.  But it should be possible for us to look toward the dead person and think, “May my love accompany you and surround you.”  According to my insights, such feelings give wings to the dead person, whereas the feelings of many mourners (such as, ‘Oh, if you were only still here with us’) become obstacles in her path. This is a general suggestion about how we ought to direct our feelings in such cases.  

In this particular case, let me advise you to take up some thoughts based on ancient occult traditions, although they are not yet fully accessible to me in good German.
In inner stillness, say them to yourself three times a day, one of which should be immediately before you fall asleep, so you take them with you into the spiritual world. Ideally, you should fall asleep with the thoughts:
May the offering of my love envelop you, cooling all heat, warming all cold.
May my gift of light carry you upward on wings of love. 
It is important to have the right feelings when it comes to the words “heat” and “cold”. They do not mean physical heat and cold but rather warmth and coolness of feeling, although it is not easy for someone still embedded in the physical heath to get an idea of what these qualities signify to the disembodied.  A recently deceased person must first become aware that the astral element is still effective even though it cannot make use of physical tools. Many of our earthly aspirations are fulfilled by physical tools, and now those tools are no longer there. The soul experiences not having physical organs as something similar to – but only similar to – a burning thirst. That is the strong sensation of “heat” upon becoming disembodied. The same applies to what our will wants to do: it is accustomed to using physical organs it no longer has. On the soul level, this “deprivation” is comparable to a sensation of cold.
Intervention by the living can be especially helpful with regard to these feelings, which are not exclusively the results of an individual life but are related to the mysteries of incarnation. That is why it is possible for us to come to the aid of a disembodied friend.
There is still one more thing that I would ask of you: precede the above sentences by directing a few thoughts toward Mr. Wagner. Their content should be something like this:
“her true love surrounded you until now and continues to surround you, unchanged.
May she continue to hold you, in strength of spirit, just as she illumined you through her visible presence.”
I wanted to write to you today, but physical work obscures spiritual experience,
and at the moment I have so much work to do on the physical plane that I cannot give you anything more specific than this general advice. Of course you should feel free to share these lines with anyone you see fit. I hope that many hearts will turn towards this personality who is dear to us.
Please give my best regards to our dear Doctor and be assured of the same for yourself.
Yours truly, Dr. Rudolf Steiner.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904 – 1914 (page 101-103)

This translation is from Peter Selg’s book The Path of the Soul After Death, translated by M. Saar

It is in the end of book notes (note 37)


Previously posted on October 24, 2017

How does a seer experience his own death?

If successful, this meeting with the Guardian (see: Guardian of the Tresholdresults in the student’s next physical death being an entirely different event from the death as he knew it formerly. He experiences death consciously by laying aside the physical body as one discards a garment that is worn out or perhaps rendered useless through a sudden rent. Thus his physical death is of special importance only for those living with him, whose perception is still restricted to the world of the senses. For them the student dies; but for himself nothing of importance is changed in his whole environment. The entire supersensible world stood open to him before his death, and it is this same world that now confronts him after death.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment: Chapter IX: The Guardian of the Threshold

Translated by George Metaxa / Revisions by Henry B. Monges

The last moments of Rudolf Steiner’s life

Ita Wegman recalled:

He went as though it were the obvious thing to do. There was no struggle, no attempt to remain upon the earth any longer. He gazed calmly into the space before him for a time, said a couple of tender words to me, consciously closed his eyes and folded his hands. (Nachrichtenblatt, 1925)


Ita Wegman (22 februari 1876 – 4 maart 1943)

Guenther Wachsmuth remembered:

The last moments of Rudolf Steiner’s life upon the earth were free of any struggle with his body, free of any of the uncertainty that often accompanies death; his visage spoke of peacefulness, grace, inner certainty, and spiritual vision. He folded his hands upon his breast, his eyes light-filled and strong, gazed into those words with which he united himself. When his last breath came, he closed his own eyes.


Guenther Wachsmuth (4 oktober 1893 – 2 maart 1963)

From: Rudolf Steiner – A biography by Christoph Lindenberg – page 759

Self-indulgent and unscrupulous people become slaves to evil spirits after death

We see many souls who are condemned for a certain time between death and a new birth to be the slaves of the spirits who send sickness and death into physical life. Thus we see there souls between death and a new birth who are under the dominion of beings whom we call the Ahrimanic spirits, or the spirits of hindrance, of those who work at death in life, and of those who bring obstacles into life. 

And a hard lot it is which the seer observes, in some souls, when they have to submit in this manner to the slave yoke. If one traces back such souls to the life they led before they passed the portals of death, one finds that the souls who for a certain time after death must serve the spirits of resistance have prepared this for themselves by self-indulgence during life. And the slaves of the spirits of sickness and death have prepared this fate for themselves by having been unscrupulous before death. So there we see a certain relation of the souls of men to the evil spirits of sickness and death, and to the evil spirits of resistance.


Drawing F.A. Kaulbach 1913

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Occult Research into Life Between Death and a New Birth: THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MUTUAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE SO-CALLED DEAD – Stuttgart, February 20, 1913

Translated by Ruth Hofrichter

Previously posted on May 22, 2017

Soul peace

Let’s imagine a quiet sea and then the same sea with towering waves, and that we’re on a sinking ship in this wildly surging water so that death is inevitable. Anyone who can feel no fear of death but only the wonderful beauty of the unfettered elements and the grandness of creation at such a moment knows what soul peace is.
We should let such images, such thoughts, live in us in their whole richness and greatness as often as possible. Then we’ll feel that fear and terror about the elements and eruptions disappear, and we’ll draw strength from all hindrances that life puts in our path.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Munich, 8th March 1909

Previously posted on March 31, 2017