Dangers of Occult Development

When a pupil becomes clairvoyant, the passions that emanate from people, look to him like a tableau, from which centre they radiate. Mirrored passions appear as animals assaulting him. Man sees the lower passions around him as all kinds of wild animals, such as mice, rats and the like. If the student, not having learned this, experiences for the first time his own passions as mice and rats rushing at him, then pathological conditions such as paranoia might easily occur.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 101 – Mythen und Sagen Okkulte Zeichen und Symbole – Cologne, December 27, 1907 (page 224)

Anonymous translator

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Previously posted on 6 November 2018

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Kamaloka

Kamaloka is a time of renunciation for man because he must relinquish his desires to immerse himself in the spiritual world. This kamaloka period lasts longer or shorter depending on whether the human soul is ready to renounce his yearnings. What matters here is how man has already learned to regulate his passions and enjoy life despite refraining from such cravings. (German: zu verzichten). 

However, there are pleasures and desires of a lower and higher nature. Enjoyments and desires for the satisfaction of which the physical body is not the actual instrument of gratification, we call higher pleasures and aspirations. These do not belong to that which man has to get rid of after death. If a man still has something that draws him to physical existence – lower enjoyment – he remains in the astral region of kamaloka. Then, when nothing more draws him to these excesses, he becomes capable of living in the spiritual world. The soul’s sojourn in kamaloka lasts about a third of its past life.

It, therefore, depends on how old the person was when he died, i.e., how long he lived on earth. Yet the time in kamaloka is by no means just terrible and unpleasant. In any case, it makes the soul more independent of physical desires. The more he has already made himself independent in his life and taken an interest in contemplating spiritual things, the easier this kamaloka time will be for him. He thereby becomes freer and thus becomes grateful for this time. The feeling of deprivation in earthly life transforms into a sense of bliss in kamaloka. Paradoxical feelings arise for everything a person has learnt to love to do without during his lifetime in that it grows into enjoyment in kamaloka.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 108 – Die Beantwortung von Welt- und Lebensfragen durch Anthroposophie – Breslau, 2 December 1908 – (page 56,57)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger 

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Terror-inspiring astral world

For the inexperienced, the astral world is a confusing jumble. A person can experience all kinds of animal figures coming towards him, frightening human figures and the like. Some people tell of such experiences. They are really in a very deplorable state. Because they are ill, the astral world becomes visible in an irregular manner. If one begins to meditate and seriously train oneself, clairvoyance develops in the right way and then one knows what to expect in the astral world. However, when people enter the astral world with a diseased brain or something similar, terrible figures are seen coming towards them and throwing themselves upon them. These figures are, in reality, passions emanating from themselves, mirrored images from the astral world. In the astral world, everything is reversed, but they are unable to read the astral images and experience everything as if rushing toward them. Everything appears in images in the astral world. Erupting anger, for example, may appear as a picture of an attacking tiger. So it is with all these wild figures, because every desire and every passion becomes a demon. However, the untrained person does not know how to interpret these images and assumes them to be fantasised imaginations which they certainly are not. They are mirrored images.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – Kosmogonie – Leipzig, June 29, 1906 (page 135)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on 7 October 2018

 

Passionless thinking

There is usually only one area where we have pure thoughts, that is in mathematics. When people calculate, their passions are usually very little involved. Because the majority of people everywhere wish to exercise their feeling and critical faculty they have no love for mathematics. Here one cannot vote in parliamentary fashion. Mathematical truth is recognised by man through truth itself; a problem can only have one solution. Whether one or a million people hold their own view about it, the problem must find the same solution. Nowhere should we need majority decisions, if it were possible in all spheres to make decisions in a way as free from emotion, as objectively, as in mathematics. In Europe one can only point to this as to an ideal, in the hope that one day, in other spheres of life, judgements will be, reached equally objectively and free from emotion.

Thinkers would not disagree so violently if they would take all the factors into consideration completely objectively, for truth cannot approach man in different ways. People hold different opinions because with their instincts and passions they are involved in their ideas in different ways. […..] No philosophy dealing with human matters was expressed so objectively, with such pure mathematical thinking, as the Vedanta philosophy which is truly philosophical in the highest sense of the word. Whoever imbues himself with this, knows what the following means: ‘I need no other person in order to know whether something is true.’ Whoever actually raises himself to this clear, passionless thinking, needs no other opinion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – THE FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM: Lecture XXI – Berlin, 19th October 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett

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It would be sheer boundless arrogance for man to suppose that he has attained in the slightest degree to the wisdom inherent in the formation of the external physical body

Consider our physical body; we look on it as having been formed out of the spiritual world in the primordial past as a dwelling for the human soul. Only a materialistic mind could believe that this human body had not been born originally from the spirit. Seen merely from an external point of view, the physical body must appear a miracle of perfection. What do all our intellectual ability and technical skill amount to, compared with the wisdom manifest in the structure of the human heart? Or take the engineering technique that goes into the building of bridges, and so forth — what is it compared with the construction of the human thigh-bone, with its wonderful crisscross of support members, as seen through the microscope. 

It would be sheer boundless arrogance for man to suppose that he has attained in the slightest degree to the wisdom inherent in the formation of the external physical body. And consider our soul-life, taking into account only our instincts, desires and passions — how do they function? Are we not doing all we can to undermine inwardly the wisdom-filled organisation of our body? Indeed, if we consider without prejudice the marvel of our physical organisation, we have to admit that our bodily structure is far wiser than anything we can show in our inner life, although we may hope that our inner life will advance from its present imperfection towards increasing perfection. We can hardly come to any other conclusion, even without clairvoyance, if we simply look impartially at the observable facts.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 59 – Metamorphoses of the Soul – Vol. 2: Lecture 8: Human Conscience – Berlin, 5th May 1910

Translated by Charles Davy and Christian von Arnim

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Previously posted on March 4, 2015