Animal group-souls

You will have gathered from the lectures given here recently that when we ascend with clairvoyance into the higher worlds we there meet with beings who, it is true, do not belong to our physical world, but who are in themselves so independent that we can describe them as ‘persons’ for those worlds, just as we call men here on the physical plane ‘persons.’ 

You have seen that groups of animals of the same species together belong to a group-soul or group-ego and that on the astral plane we come upon the lion-soul, the tiger-soul, and so on, as independent personalities whom we can meet there as we meet the human being on the physical plane. 

In the same way we find in still higher regions, on the devachanic plane, the egos of quite large plant groups, and in the highest parts of Devachan we find the egos of the minerals, personalities as distinct as men are here on the physical plane. We saw in this way that in these higher worlds we meet with certain beings who, so to speak, extend part of their organism, their separate members, down into the physical plane. 

If a man were to extend his fingers through openings in a curtain or partition we should only see the ten fingers, the man himself would be behind the partition. So it is with the group-egos of the animals. Here with the physical eye we see what is extended down below as members by higher beings of the astral world, and the actual ego is behind the partition, behind that wall which separates the physical world from the astral world.

meerdere-dieren-maan

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture I – Berlin, 6th January 1908

 

Beings of higher worlds

The astral plane and devachanic plane are in fact densely populated worlds. We find many kinds of beings there whose effects are manifested here on the physical plane though not obviously, and who have much to do with the physical plane, with our whole modern human life. One does not understand this life if one does not know that beings who live above in higher worlds are active within it. In the human body itself much goes on over which man is not master, which is not the expression of the human ego but the deed, effect, manifestation, of beings of higher worlds.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture I – Berlin, 6th January 1908

Time Becomes Space

In the spiritual sense, what is ‘past’ has not really passed away but is still there. In physical life men have this conception in regard to Space only. If you stand in front of a tree, then go away and look back at it later on, the tree has not disappeared; it is still there. In the spiritual world it is so in regard to Time. If you experience something at one moment, it has passed away the next so far as physical consciousness is concerned; spiritually conceived, it has not passed away. You can look back at it just as you looked back at the tree. Richard Wagner showed that he had knowledge of this, in the remarkable words: “ Time here becomes Space ”. It is an occult fact that in the spiritual world there are distances which do not come to expression on the physical plane. That an event is past means simply that it is farther away from us. I want you to bear this in mind.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – The Dead Are With Us – Nuremburg, February 10, 1918

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on December 8, 2015

I don’t like that nonsense

When we speak on the physical plane and tell our thoughts to someone, we have the feeling that our thoughts come from our soul, that we have to remember them at this particular moment. Speaking as a true occultist and not someone who just tells his experiences from memory, we will feel that our thoughts arise as living beings. We must be glad if we are blessed at the right moment with the approach of a thought as a real being.

When you express your thoughts in the physical world, for example, as a lecturer, you will find it easier to give a talk for the thirtieth time than you did the first time. If, however, you speak as an occultist, thoughts always have to approach you and then depart again. Just as someone paying you the thirtieth visit had to make his way to you thirty times, the living thought we express for the thirtieth time has to come to us thirty times as it did the first time; our memory is of absolutely no use here.

If you express an idea on the physical level and someone is sitting in a corner thinking, “I don’t like that nonsense, I hate it,” you will not be particularly bothered by it. You have prepared your ideas and present them regardless of the positive or negative thoughts of someone in the audience. But if as an esotericist you let thoughts approach you, they could be delayed and kept away by someone who hates them or who hates the speaker. And the forces blocking that thought must be overcome because we are dealing with living beings and not merely with abstract ideas.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path – Lecture Four: The Presence of the Dead in our Life – Paris, May 25, 1914

Previously posted on January 1, 2014

Logic is the same on all three planes

Parallel with the occult training, there is a definite development of thinking, without which no occult training can be carried through. This is because there is something about thinking which does not apply to anything else. When we are on the physical plane, we perceive with the physical senses only what is to be found on that plane. Astral perceptions are valid for the astral plane; devachanic hearing is valid only in Devachan. Thus each plane has its own specific form of perception. But one activity — logical thinking — goes through all worlds. Logic is the same on all three planes. Thus on the physical plane you can learn something which is valid also for the higher planes.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture XII: Occult Development – Stuttgart, 2nd September 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on july 20, 2014