How long is the time in the devachan?

The time in devachan (spirit-land) is not of equal length for all human beings. The uneducated savage who has experienced a little of this world only who has applied his mind and sense only a little has a short stay in the devachan. The devachan is basically supposed to elaborate what the human being has learnt in the physical, to unfold it freely, to make it suitable to a new life. The human being, who is on a higher level of existence who has collected rich experiences, has to process a lot and, hence, has a long stay in the devachan. Only later, when he is able to look into these states, the stays become again shorter up to the point where the human being can immediately walk after death again to a new incarnation because he has already experienced what is to be experienced in devachan.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 53 – Origin and Goal of the Human Being: Lecture VII: The Spirit-land – Berlin, 17th November 1904

The link to this lecture is currently unavailable.


Previously posted on May 30, 2016


Life in Devachan

Life in Devachan, if viewed in its reality, loses every element of comfortlessness; that the human being, when he ceases to regard it from his earthly, egotistical standpoint, can experience it as a condition of infinite blessedness — even apart from the fact that all freedom from the physical body, freedom from the lower nature in which he is enclosed here, brings with it a feeling of intense relief. The fact that these encasements have fallen away — this in itself brings a feeling of beatitude. Devachan is thus a time of expansion and expression in all directions; there is a richness and an absence of restriction that are never experienced on the earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – V :Mans Communal Life Between Death and a New Birth. Birth into the Physical World – Munich, 29th May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on 21 februari 2018


Animal group-souls

You will have gathered from the lectures given here recently that when we ascend with clairvoyance into the higher worlds we there meet with beings who, it is true, do not belong to our physical world, but who are in themselves so independent that we can describe them as ‘persons’ for those worlds, just as we call men here on the physical plane ‘persons.’ 

You have seen that groups of animals of the same species together belong to a group-soul or group-ego and that on the astral plane we come upon the lion-soul, the tiger-soul, and so on, as independent personalities whom we can meet there as we meet the human being on the physical plane. 

In the same way we find in still higher regions, on the devachanic plane, the egos of quite large plant groups, and in the highest parts of Devachan we find the egos of the minerals, personalities as distinct as men are here on the physical plane. We saw in this way that in these higher worlds we meet with certain beings who, so to speak, extend part of their organism, their separate members, down into the physical plane. 

If a man were to extend his fingers through openings in a curtain or partition we should only see the ten fingers, the man himself would be behind the partition. So it is with the group-egos of the animals. Here with the physical eye we see what is extended down below as members by higher beings of the astral world, and the actual ego is behind the partition, behind that wall which separates the physical world from the astral world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture I – Berlin, 6th January 1908

Previously posted on September 27, 2019


Friendships in Devachan

It is incorrect to say that man is asleep in Devachan; incorrect that he is concerned only with himself, or that relationships begun on Earth are not continued there. On the contrary, a friendship truly founded on spiritual affinity continues with great intensity. The circumstances of physical life on Earth bring about real experiences there. The inwardness of friendship brings nourishment to the communion of spirits in Devachan and enriches it with new patterns; it is precisely this which feeds the soul there. Again, an elevated aesthetic enjoyment of nature is nourishment for the life of the soul in Devachan.

All this is what human beings live on in Devachan. Friendships are as it were the environment with which a man surrounds himself there. Physical conditions all too often cut across these relationships on Earth. In Devachan the way in which two friends are together depends only on the intensity of their friendship. To form such relationships on Earth provides experiences for life in Devachan.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE FOUR: DEVACHAN – Stuttgart, 25th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on August 9, 2018


Bliss of Devachan

Now we have to ask how the bliss of Devachan comes about. Most of the activity there is creative, and though it is difficult to give an idea of the bliss that goes with it, a comparison with something that occurs on Earth will perhaps bring us nearer to it.

Let us observe the feeling that pervades the activity of a being engaged in the creation of another being: for instance, a hen sitting on her eggs. This is really a very appropriate comparison, grotesque though it may sound, for the brooding hen experiences an immense and blissful sense of well-being. Transfer this feeling to the spiritual level and you will have some conception of Devachan.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE FIVE: HUMAN TASKS IN THE HIGHER WORLDS – Stuttgart, 26 augustus 1906

Revised translation by E.H. Goddard and Charles Davy