Why do we occupy ourselves with Spiritual Science?

Why do we occupy ourselves with Spiritual Science? It is as though we were learning the vocabulary of the language through which we approach the Christ. If we take the trouble to learn to think the thoughts of Spiritual Science, and make the mental effort necessary for an understanding of the Cosmic secrets taught by Spiritual Science, then, out of the dim, dark foundations of the Cosmic mysteries, will come forth the figure of Christ Jesus, which will draw near to us and give us the strength and force in which we shall then live. The Christ will guide us, standing beside us as a brother, so that our hearts and souls may be strong enough to grow up to the necessary level of the tasks awaiting humanity in its further development.

Let us then try to acquire Spiritual Science, not as a mere doctrine but as a language, and then wait till we can find in that language, the questions which we may venture to put to the Christ. He will answer, yes, indeed, He will answer! Plentiful indeed will be the soul-forces, the soul-strengthening, the soul-impulses, which the student will carry away with him from the grey spiritual depths through which humanity in its evolution is now passing, if he is able to receive instructions from Christ Himself; for, in the near future He will give them to those who seek.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – COSMIC AND HUMAN METAMORPHOSES – I. Materialism and Spirituality – Berlin, 6 February 1917

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Spiritualist seances: Torturing the dead

One way of torturing the dead, one way of failing to show them love, is to participate in spiritualist seances. For this forces them to manifest in a particular language. The dead person is expected to speak a particular language, for even with table-rapping the signs have to refer to a particular language.

What is done to the dead by forcing them to express themselves in a particular language might very well be compared with pinching someone living in the flesh with red-hot tongs. So painful for the dead are spiritualist seances which expect them to express themselves in a particular language. For in their normal life the dead are striving to free themselves from the differentiations between languages.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 174 – The Karma of Untruthfulness – Volume Two: LECTURE TWENTY-THREE – Dornach, 22 January 1917

Translated by Johanna Collis

This lecture is not available at rsarchive.org. This book  is still being sold and marketed by the publisher, Rudolf Steiner Press.

Previously posted on February 29, 2020

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Transformation / Talents / Forces

An external consideration of similarities is generally deceptive in reference to the characteristics of successive incarnations; and just as we must reflect upon whatever did not please us and conceive of ourselves as having had an intense desire for it, so we must also reflect upon those things for which we have the least talent, and about which we are stupid. If we discover the dullest sides of our nature, they may very probably point to those fields in which we were most brilliant in our previous incarnation. Thus we see how easy it is in these matters to begin at the wrong end. A little reflection will show us that it is the soul-kernel of our being which works over from one incarnation to another; this can be illustrated by the fact that it is no easier for a man to learn a language even if in his preceding incarnation he lived in the country associated with this particular language; otherwise our school-boys would not find it so difficult to learn Greek and Latin, for many of them in former incarnations will have lived in the regions where these were the languages of ordinary intercourse.

You see, the outer capacities we acquire are so closely connected with earthly circumstances that we cannot speak of them reappearing in the same form in the next incarnation; they are transformed into forces and in that way pass over to a subsequent incarnation. For instance, people who have a special faculty for learning languages in one incarnation will not have this in the next; instead, they will have the faculty which enables them to form more unbiassed judgments than those who had less talent for languages; these latter will tend to form one-sided judgments.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – Reincarnation and Karma – Berlin, 23rd January 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Charles Davy

Previously posted on June 28, 2016

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Deeply painful

It is deeply painful to me to see how our original intentions and aims are now presented in the newspapers. The articles and clichés are passed on from one paper to the next and are translated into every language, and in each language another distortion and more stupidity are added. Of course, it is not hard to understand what happens when the aims of our serious and sincere spiritual science clash with what the outer world can understand. But I want to show you how solemnly and reverently we must approach our cause. It is important that we be aware how deep our understanding for the tasks of spiritual science in the world must be.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path – Lecture Two: Understanding the spiritual world (Part Two) – Berlin, May 12, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on November 25, 2016

On reading to the dead

If the souls that have remained behind make a clear mental image of the dead person and, at the same time, bring to mind an anthroposophical train of thought
or open an anthroposophical book and in thought, not aloud, read to the dead whose spiritual image stands before them, the dead will become aware of it. […]

It is a grave error to think that a human being need only to die in order, so to speak, to come into contact with the whole spiritual world. […] It is deep prejudice that believes the souls become quite wise as soon as they have passed through the portals of death.

[…] During the time immediately following death, the departed is also more connected with the language he has last spoken, if he has exclusively spoken only one language. We should really consider the fact that during the time immediately following death we have to send our thoughts to the dead, — we must send our thoughts to them — in the language they were accustomed to.

Source: Rudolf steiner – GA 140 – Occult Research into Life Between Death and a New Birth: THE COSMIC ASPECT OF LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND NEW BIRTH, THE WAY THROUGH THE PLANETARY SPHERES – Stuttgart, February 17, 1913

Translated by Ruth Hofrichter