In the astral world all things appear reversed

Anyone whose senses are opened to the astral world will at first be bewildered, because there is really nothing in the physical world with which he can compare it. The astral world has a whole range of characteristics of its own and he has to learn many new things. One of the most perplexing aspects of this world is that all things appear reversed, in a sort of mirror-reflection, and he has to get used to seeing everything in a new way. For instance, he has to learn to read numbers backwards. We are accustomed to read the figures 3, 4, 5, as 345 but in the astral world we have to read them backwards as 543. Everything appears as its mirror-reflection, and it is essential to be aware of this.

The same law applies also to higher things — in the field of morality, for instance. People do not at first understand this. It may happen that they see themselves surrounded by black, malignant forms which threaten and terrify them — this happens with very many people and they mostly have no idea what it signifies. The fact is that these figures are their own impulses, desires and passions, which live in what we call the astral body. Ordinary people do not see their own passions, but these may sometimes become visible as a result of processes active in the brain and soul, and then they appear as mirror-images. You see the mirror-images of your desires in the same way as when looking into a mirror you see reflected images of the objects around you. Everything that comes out of you seems to be going into you. Further, time and events move backwards. In the physical world you see first the hen and then the egg. In the astral world you see the egg and then the hen that laid it. Time in the astral moves backwards: you see first the effect and then the cause. This explains how prophecy is possible — if it were not for this reversal of the time-sequence it would be impossible to foresee events.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE TWO: THE THREE WORLDS – Stuttgart, 23rd August 1906 

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on March 19, 2019

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Kamaloka – The positive develops out of the negative (2 of 3)

If you have lived here between birth and death with many hundreds of men, these men have experienced something through you. But here in physical life you cannot feel that which those others felt and experienced through you, you only experience what they make you go through. After death this is reversed, and it is essential that we should experience everything in this review which others have suffered through us. Thus we undergo the effects of the last earth existence, and the task of these years really lies in our experiencing them. 

Now, while we are undergoing these effects, the experience is transformed in us into forces, and it happens in the following manner: Suppose I have offended a man, who has thereby suffered bitterly. During Kamaloka I now experience this bitterness myself. I go through it as my own experience. And while I now experience it, it makes good in me the force which must work as opposition; that is, while I undergo this bitterness, I create in myself the force to wipe away from the world this bitterness. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 2: ON THE FORMING OF DESTINY – Berlin, 18th November, 1915

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on May 3, 2018 

About children who display bad behaviour

There are of course not only exemplary children but also children that have, under certain circumstances, as it sometimes is evaluated, bad character traits. About this I would like to say the following. […] Remember, that the so-called bad disposition of a child, that has shaped itself, say in the years up to the seventh year, will not always in absolute terms, lead such a child to develop a bad nature later on in life. Many qualities, some even reaching to up to geniality in later life, can be traced back organically to so-called bad behaviour, which the person displayed at the age of two-, three-, four years of age.

A character trait such as – I mention one of the worst features –  the cruelty that a child may display, this cruelty can indeed be overcome between the seventh and fourteenth year, in one or the other direction, if one is competent enough to provide the right pedagogical approach. The impulses of a person towards cruelty, can under certain circumstances be reversed, so that they become impulses toward some of the highest goals.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 307 – Gegenwärtiges Geistesleben und Erziehung – Ilkley (Yorkshire), August 7, 1923 (page 260)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on March 1, 2014