Advice after the death of Anna Wagner

On December 31, 1905, Rudolf Steiner wrote to his esoteric pupil Paula Stryczek, who had turned to him for advice after the death of Anna Wagner (1847-1905):

Dear Miss Stryczek, 

Let me say this to you on the occasion of this unhappy event.
When a person dear to us crosses into the other worlds, it is especially important to send our thoughts and feelings without in any way giving the impression that we want her back, which would make life difficult for her in the new spheres she is entering.  What we would send into her worlds is not our own sorrow, but our love for her. Don’t misunderstand me; I do not mean that we must be hardened or indifferent.  But it should be possible for us to look toward the dead person and think, “May my love accompany you and surround you.”  According to my insights, such feelings give wings to the dead person, whereas the feelings of many mourners (such as, ‘Oh, if you were only still here with us’) become obstacles in her path. This is a general suggestion about how we ought to direct our feelings in such cases.  

In this particular case, let me advise you to take up some thoughts based on ancient occult traditions, although they are not yet fully accessible to me in good German.
In inner stillness, say them to yourself three times a day, one of which should be immediately before you fall asleep, so you take them with you into the spiritual world. Ideally, you should fall asleep with the thoughts:
May the offering of my love envelop you, cooling all heat, warming all cold.
May my gift of light carry you upward on wings of love. 
It is important to have the right feelings when it comes to the words “heat” and “cold”. They do not mean physical heat and cold but rather warmth and coolness of feeling, although it is not easy for someone still embedded in the physical heath to get an idea of what these qualities signify to the disembodied.  A recently deceased person must first become aware that the astral element is still effective even though it cannot make use of physical tools. Many of our earthly aspirations are fulfilled by physical tools, and now those tools are no longer there. The soul experiences not having physical organs as something similar to – but only similar to – a burning thirst. That is the strong sensation of “heat” upon becoming disembodied. The same applies to what our will wants to do: it is accustomed to using physical organs it no longer has. On the soul level, this “deprivation” is comparable to a sensation of cold.
Intervention by the living can be especially helpful with regard to these feelings, which are not exclusively the results of an individual life but are related to the mysteries of incarnation. That is why it is possible for us to come to the aid of a disembodied friend.
There is still one more thing that I would ask of you: precede the above sentences by directing a few thoughts toward Mr. Wagner. Their content should be something like this:
“her true love surrounded you until now and continues to surround you, unchanged.
May she continue to hold you, in strength of spirit, just as she illumined you through her visible presence.”
I wanted to write to you today, but physical work obscures spiritual experience,
and at the moment I have so much work to do on the physical plane that I cannot give you anything more specific than this general advice. Of course you should feel free to share these lines with anyone you see fit. I hope that many hearts will turn towards this personality who is dear to us.
Please give my best regards to our dear Doctor and be assured of the same for yourself.
Yours truly, Dr. Rudolf Steiner.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904 – 1914 (page 101-103)

This translation is from Peter Selg’s book The Path of the Soul After Death, translated by M. Saar

It is in the end of book notes (note 37)


Previously posted on October 24, 2017


As regards what we experience as pain and sorrow, it is seen on the spiritual plane that the pain and sorrow we have borne on the physical plane work on and permeate our soul with such force on the spiritual plane that this force becomes will-power. Our soul thereby becomes stronger, and we are able to transform this strength into moral power which we are able to bring back with us again to the physical plane, in order that we may not only have certain capacities, through which we are able to produce something of value to the world around us, but that we may also have the moral power to develop these capacities into character.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 153 – The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth: Lecture 6 – Vienna, 14th April 1914

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on December 14, 2016

Suppose you experience something that affects you very deeply (1 of 3)

Suppose you experience something that affects you very deeply, some event that moves you to joy or sorrow. Now you know that the whole of life runs its course in such a way that we can separate it into periods of about seven years in length. Roughly speaking, the first is from birth to the change of teeth, the second to the age of puberty, the third to the beginning of the twenty-first year, and so on. All these boundary lines are of course only approximate. Here then we have one division that shows itself in the course of human life.

The turning-points in the development of the human being which we arrive at by this method are clearly marked in the earlier part of life — change of teeth, and puberty — but later are more or less concealed, although they can be distinctly noted by one who knows what to look for. That which takes place in the soul and spirit of the human being about the twenty-first year of life is, for one who can observe it, just as clearly perceptible as the change at puberty is for external physiology. The division into seven-year periods holds true, in fact, for the whole course of human life.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – ELEMENTAL BEINGS AND HUMAN DESTINIES – Dornach, December 6, 1919

Translation revised by Charles Davy

The six basic exercises – 3. Calmness in joy and sorrow

In regard to the world of feeling the soul should attain for spiritual training a certain degree of calmness. It is necessary for that purpose that the soul become ruler over expressions of joy and sorrow, of pleasure and pain. It is just in regard to the acquiring of this ability that much prejudice may result. One might imagine that one would become dull and without sympathy in regard to one’s fellowmen if one should not feel joy with the joyful and with the painful, pain. Yet this is not the point in question. With the joyful the soul should rejoice, with sadness it should feel pain. But it should acquire the ability to control the expression of joy and sorrow, of pleasure and pain. If one endeavors to do this, one will soon notice that one does not become less sensitive, but on the contrary more receptive to all that is joyous and sorrowful in one’s environment than one was previously. To be sure, if one wishes to acquire the ability with which we are concerned here, one must strictly observe oneself for a long period of time. One must see to it that one is able fully to sympathize with joy and sorrow without losing one’s self-control so that one gives way to an involuntary expression of one’s feelings. It is not the justified pain that one should suppress, but involuntary weeping; not the horror of an evil action, but the blind rage of anger; not attention to danger, but fruitless fear, and so forth. — Only through such practice does the student of the spiritual attain the tranquility of mind that is necessary to prevent the soul at the birth of the higher ego, and, above all, during its activity, from leading a second, abnormal life like a sort of Doppelganger — soul double — along side this higher ego. It is just in regard to these things that one should not surrender oneself to any sort of self-deception. It may appear to many a one that he already possesses a certain equanimity in ordinary life and therefore does not need this exercise. It is just such a person who doubly needs it. It may be quite possible to be calm when confronting the things of ordinary life, but when one ascends into a higher world, the lack of equilibrium that heretofore was only suppressed may assert itself all the more. It must be grasped that for spiritual training what one already appeared to possess previously is of less importance than the need to practice, according to exact rules, what one lacks. Although this sentence appears contradictory, it is, nevertheless, correct. Even though life has taught us this or that, the abilities we have acquired by ourselves serve the cause of spiritual training. If life has brought us excitability, we should break ourselves of the habit; if life has brought us complacency, then we should through self-education arouse ourselves to such a degree that the expression of the soul corresponds to the impression received. Anyone who never laughs about anything has just as little control of his life as someone who, without any control whatever, is continually given to laughter.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – V: Cognition of the higher worlds. Initiation. (Part 2)

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges

Previously posted on June 17, 2017