Leonardo da Vinci’s saying is true: “Great love is the daughter of great understanding.”

My wish is that your souls will feel more deeply that life is enriched, becomes fuller and more spiritual when everything is influenced by Anthroposophy. Only those who feel this have the right attitude to Anthroposophy. What is of prime importance is not the knowledge that man consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body and Ego, that he passes through many incarnations, that the Earth too has passed through the several incarnations of Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon, and so forth. 

The most important and essential need is to allow Anthroposophy to transform our lives in a way commensurate with the Earth’s future. This feeling can never be experienced too deeply, nor can we bestir ourselves too often in this connection. The feelings we bear with us from these meetings and then move through life under the stimulus of the knowledge of the super-sensible worlds acquired here — these feelings are the really important element in anthroposophical life. Merely to have knowledge of Anthroposophy is not enough; knowledge and feeling must be combined. 

We must realise, however, how false it is to believe that without any understanding of the world we can do it justice. Leonardo da Vinci’s saying is true: “Great love is the daughter of great understanding.” He who is not prepared to understand will not learn how to love.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 141 – Between Death and Rebirth: Lecture 9 – Berlin, 4th March 1913 

Translated by E. H. Goddard & D. S. Osmond


Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)

Previously posted on July 18, 2017


All we do is guided from elsewhere

As a matter of fact, many of the feelings and impulses that we carry in our soul are there as a result of earlier lives on earth; only we do not observe them as such because we remain in our body. Suppose we meet someone, and the meeting leads to a friendship that alters the whole course of our life. When we look back over the earlier years, we discover with the eye of the spirit what we could never find by the aid of bodily vision alone: namely, that our whole life up to the moment of meeting him was a search for that person. 

One who is already a little older and looks back in this way is able to see his life as the working out of a plan; he recognises how, when he was quite a little child, his life took a direction that was to bring about eventually the meeting with this friend. We can go further in this kind of observation of life and discover that all we do, though it may seem to result from the working of earthly physical forces, is in reality guided from elsewhere. We come in fact to recognise that the life we are now living is dependent on earlier lives on earth. And between these have been also lives in a spiritual world.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE: A WAY OF LIFE – The Hague, November 16, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on May 25, 2017

Through our thoughts, feelings and perceptions, we stand in a continual relation to higher worlds

We live in our soul-life in the most manifold feelings, perceptions, ideas, concepts, and impulses of will. These all take their course in our soul-life from morning to evening. If we observe man superficially, this soul-life appears to us to be something self-contained, enclosed in itself, and this view is justifiable. Observe how your life flows along with the first thoughts formed in the morning, the first feelings moving through you, the first will-impulses arising. Observe how feeling is linked to feeling, will-impulse to will-impulse, until the evening when the consciousness sinks in sleep. That all looks like a progressing stream. 

Observed in a deeper sense, however, it is by no means just a progressing stream, for through our thoughts, feelings and perceptions, we stand in a continual relation — to most people quite unconsciously — to higher worlds. Today let us consider this relation as regards the astral world.

When we have some kind of feeling, when joy or terror flashes through our soul, that, to begin with, is an event in our soul-life, but it is not merely that. If someone can test that clairvoyantly, it will be seen that something goes out of the soul like a current, like a shining current, which goes into the astral world. It does not go in casually, however, and without direction, but it takes its way to a being of the astral world. 

Let us suppose a thought arises in our soul; let us say we ponder on the nature of a table. Inasmuch as the thought shimmers through our soul, the clairvoyant can observe how a current proceeds from this thought to a being of the astral world. And so it is for every thought, every concept, every feeling. From the whole stream that flows away before the soul, currents continually go towards the most diverse beings of the astral world. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Astral World: Lecture I – Berlin, October 19, 1908

Previously posted on November 12, 2016

Highest feelings do not come of themselves

There is no feeling and no enthusiasm to be compared with the sentiments of warmth, beauty and exaltation that are enkindled through the pure, crystal-clear thoughts that refer to the higher worlds. The highest feelings are, as a matter of fact, not those that come of themselves, but those that are achieved by energetic and persevering thinking.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy – Chapter I: The Essential Nature of Man – 4: Body, Soul and Spirit

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D. 

Previously posted on May 13, 2016

Suppose you experience something that affects you very deeply (3 of 3)

Yes, my dear friends, we continually undergo experiences which strike in upon our feeling life and are the reaction of the world to an experience we had in the sphere of feeling during the previous seven-year period. An event that stirs and moves our feelings resounds again into our life of soul during the next stage of life. People do not usually remark such things, but anyone who takes a little trouble can learn to observe them, even externally.

Who of you has not at one time had the experience that someone you know well suddenly becomes dejected and out of humour? You have no idea why, but a change has come over him “out of the blue”, as we say. If you follow up the matter and have the eyes of your soul open to observe the particular way in which such a man conducts himself in life, if you can feel what is in between the words he says — or rather, what is within the words — then you will be able to go back to some earlier event that affected him deeply. And during the whole of the interval something has been going on in the world which would not have been going on if the man had not had that moving experience. The whole thing is a process which, besides being experienced by the man himself, takes place also as an absolutely objective experience outside him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – ELEMENTAL BEINGS AND HUMAN DESTINIES – Dornach, December 6, 1919

Translation revised by Charles Davy