In the astral world everything exists as a picture reflected in a mirror

In the astral world everything exists, as it were, in the form of a picture reflected in a mirror, and a pupil of spiritual science must therefore get accustomed little by little to see things in the RIGHT way. For instance, you may see the number 365, but this really corresponds to 563. This applies to everything which we see in the astral world. There, everything that goes out of our own being appears as if it were coming towards us. It is most important to consider this fact.

When astral images arise, for instance, in pathological conditions, we must know how to deal with them. They often appear when people are delirious; a delirious person often sees all kinds of faces and forms rushing towards him, for the astral world becomes accessible to him in this pathological condition. Although these astral pictures seem to be rushing towards him, they are in reality streaming out of him. […]  

The subject of a painting such, as for instance, the well known “Temptation of Saint Anthony” is based on such astral experiences.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture IV: Man’s Further Destinies in the Spiritual Worlds – Kassel, 19th June, 1907

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor temptation of saint anthony bosch


Antipathy and karma (1 of 4)

Now let us assume that a man does positive harm to another, out of hatred or antipathy. We can imagine every conceivable degree. A man may harm his fellows out of a positively criminal sense of hatred. Or — to omit the intermediate stages — he may merely be a critic. To be a critic, you must always hate a little — unless you are one who praises; and such critics are few nowadays. It is uninteresting to show recognition of other people’s work; it only becomes interesting when you can be witty at their expense.

Now there are all manner of intermediate stages. But it is a matter here of all those human deeds which proceed from a cold antipathy — antipathy of which people are often not at all clearly aware — or, at the other extreme, from positive hatred. All that is thus brought about by men against their fellows, or against sub-human creatures — all this finds vent in conditions of soul which in their turn are mirrored in the life between death and a new birth.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I: Lecture IV – Dornach, 24th February 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on November 9, 2014

Why do old people become mentally weak, even if the soul cannot change?

The soul, indeed, does not change. It never descends from the stage once reached. But its instrument has become weak, like a great pianist who can no longer play as he played formerly, if he has a bad instrument. You will say the soul no longer knows its own stage. Yes, the soul does not see itself as long as it is in a physical body. There is only to be found the reflection of the soul, the mirror image. Now the mirror becomes clouded or broken. Then it can no longer reflect.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – The Christian Mystery: The Animal Soul – Leipzig, 16th March 1907

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on December 29, 2013

Our True Being is Unknown to us

Self-knowledge is really comparable with the extreme case I quoted of the university professor who himself tells the story of how, in his youth, he crossed the street and suddenly saw coming towards him a young man with a dreadfully unsympathetic face; he tells of the shock he received when he realised that he was seeing himself through two mirrors that were revealing his own physiognomy, as if it were coming towards him. This shows that he had no inkling of his external appearance, which was exceedingly unsympathetic to him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 161 – The Problem of Death – I – Dornach, 5th February 1915


It is absolutely possible for an individual to exhibit qualities which compel us to treat him as mentally inferior, feeble-minded: nevertheless the same person may utter things — which are full of life and wit to the point of genius. That is quite possible. And why? Because of the extreme suggestibility associated with certain types of mental inferiority; a suggestibility open to all the mysterious influences of the environment and reflecting them as a mirror.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 312 – Spiritual Science and Medicine: Lecture XIII – Dornach, 2nd April 1920

Previously posted on April 23, 2014