Together again

In the present age we are not thrown together by chance with other people. That the path of life brings us into contact with certain people and not with others depends upon the working out of individual karma. For we have entered upon a period of human evolution which brings man’s preceding karmic developments to a culminating point. 

Think how much less karma had been accumulated in the earlier periods of earth evolution! With every incarnation fresh karma is made. At first, people had to meet under totally new conditions, with the possibility of forming fresh connections. But through repeated earth-lives we have gradually reached a point at which, as a general rule, we do not meet anyone with whom in former incarnations we have not shared this or that experience. 

And these experiences bring us into contact again with those who shared them. We meet other people as it would appear by chance but in reality because in former incarnations we had already met, and on the strength of this are brought together again.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – How Can the Destitution of Soul in Modern Times Be Overcome? / Social Understanding – Liberty of Thought – Knowledge of the Spirit – Zurich, October 10th, 1916

Previously posted on January 12, 2020

Usually people do not know a lot or nothing at all about their former incarnations

The human being living on earth knows nothing of his former incarnations with the usual external consciousness. Indeed, we know that there are people among the theosophists who after a relatively short time know a lot of their former incarnations. Once I got to know a group of people in a European city where Seneca [Seneca (~1–65 A. D.), Roman philosopher], Frederic II of Prussia [Frederic II of Prussia (1712–1786)], the German Emperor Joseph II [German Emperor Joseph II (1741–1790)], the Duke of Reichstadt [Duke of Reichstadt (1811–1831), Napoleon Franz Bonaparte von Reichstadt, son of Napoleon I.], Madame Pompadour [Madame Pompadour (Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson) (1721–1764)], Marie-Antoinette [Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France (1755–1793)] and still some other people were sitting together at a coffee table.

But apart from those who know so much about their former incarnation, after they have learnt a little theosophy, people do not know a lot, as everybody knows, or nothing at all about their former incarnations with their everyday external knowledge. Since, as true as it is that the human being knows nothing of his previous incarnations by that which just the present human cycle gives him, it is true that he has everything for his will development after death that remained to him from previous lives. There it is different between death and a new birth. Whereas people know nothing about their previous incarnations between birth and death here, they have all the forces of their previous incarnations in themselves in the life between death and a new birth, but also that which has always been experienced between death and a new birth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Mystery of Death – Cologne, 19th June 1915

Previously posted on June 6, 2018

occultists-rudolf-steiner-drawing-based-on-a-photograph-taken-in-1923-MC6F7R

Why we do not remember our former incarnations?

People often ask why we do not remember our former incarnations. I have often answered this question, which is like saying that because a four-year-old child cannot do arithmetic, human beings cannot do arithmetic. When the child reaches ten, he or she will be able to multiply with ease. It is the same with the soul. If it cannot remember our former incarnations today, the time will come when it will be able to do so. Then it will possess the same capacity initiates have.

This new development is happening today. There are numerous souls nowadays who are so far advanced that they are close to the moment of remembering their former incarnations, or at least the last one. A number of people are at the threshold of comprehensive memory, embracing life between birth and death as well as previous incarnations. Many people will remember their present incarnation when they are reborn in their next life. It is simply a question of how they remember. The anthroposophical movement is to help and guide people to remember in the right way.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The ego – Lecture 1 – Munich, December 4, 1909

Translated by Gilbert Church

Previously posted on Eebruary 16, 2018

Why does the human being not remember his former incarnations?

Why does the human being not remember his former incarnations? Put like this, this question makes little sense. You will understand in a moment why I say this. It is as if someone says: ‘human beings call themselves human beings; in front of us stands a four-year-old child that can’t count’. Then he continues to say: ‘this child cannot count, however if it is a human being so that means humans cannot count.’ It is, however, a matter of development. At some stage in life every person will come to a point which advanced students have already reached, namely the ability to recall past lives; If he cannot remember anything, then he has to acquire this skill first just like the child acquires the skill of reading, doing arithmetic and writing. The person must not unconsciously let destiny pass him by if he intends to let his experiences lead him towards the point where he can remember earlier lives on earth.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 054 – Berlijn, Die Welträtsel und die Anthroposophie – February 15,  1906 (page 300)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 5, 2016

Usually people do not know a lot or nothing at all about their former incarnations

The human being living on earth knows nothing of his former incarnations with the usual external consciousness. Indeed, we know that there are people among the theosophists who after a relatively short time know a lot of their former incarnations. Once I got to know a group of people in a European city where Seneca [Seneca (~1–65 A. D.), Roman philosopher], Frederic II of Prussia [Frederic II of Prussia (1712–1786)], the German Emperor Joseph II [German Emperor Joseph II (1741–1790)], the Duke of Reichstadt [Duke of Reichstadt (1811–1831), Napoleon Franz Bonaparte von Reichstadt, son of Napoleon I.], Madame Pompadour [Madame Pompadour (Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson) (1721–1764)], Marie-Antoinette [Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France (1755–1793)] and still some other people were sitting together at a coffee table. But apart from those who know so much about their former incarnation, after they have learnt a little theosophy, people do not know a lot, as everybody knows, or nothing at all about their former incarnations with their everyday external knowledge. Since, as true as it is that the human being knows nothing of his previous incarnations by that which just the present human cycle gives him, it is true that he has everything for his will development after death that remained to him from previous lives. There it is different between death and a new birth. Whereas people know nothing about their previous incarnations between birth and death here, they have all the forces of their previous incarnations in themselves in the life between death and a new birth, but also that which has always been experienced between death and a new birth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Mystery of Death – Cologne, 19th June 1915