Whatever meets our sense-perception is but a kind of illusory picture

We must not imagine that the reflection of the Universe which we see when we speak so the starry world from the earthly point of view, is also the view presented to our super-sensible perception between death and rebirth. That which appears simply externally to us here on Earth as the starry world, then reveals itself in its nature, in its Spiritual being. We have then to do with the inner aspect of what, while we are on Earth, simply reveals its external aspect. Indeed we must admit that both when we look down on to the Earth as will as when we look up to the Cosmos, in so far as we are dealing with a sense impression we always have a sort of illusion before us; and we only come to the truth when we can penetrate to those Beings who lie at the bottom of this illusion, with their various degrees of Cosmic self-consciousness.

Whether man looks up or down, I must therefore call it illusion; the truth, the Being , lies behind this illusion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 203 – The Responsibility of Man for World Evolution/ The Real Being of Man/The Balance between Lucifer and Ahriman – Dornach, 29th January 1921

Previously posted on March 23, 2019

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Spiritual beings live and are active in man’s speech

If we go back to the time that preceded the last four centuries, man not only had a different relationship to his environment than he has today, but he had, above all, an entirely different relationship to something that comes to expression in himself, really comes to expression in himself; he had a different connection with his speech, to the way he spoke. Speech does not only contain what modern materialistic science believes it does; there is something in speech which in many ways is connected with man’s not fully-conscious experiences, which often occur in the subconscious realms of his being, and which are therefore interpenetrated by spiritual beings. Spiritual beings live and are active in man’s speech, and when man forms words, elemental spiritual beings pour into these words. During human conversations spiritual beings fly about the room on the wings of the words. This is why it is so important that we pay attention to certain subtleties of speech, and do not simply let uncontrolled feelings get the better of us when we speak.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 275 – Art as Seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom: Lecture One: TECHNOLOGY AND ART – Dornach, 28th December 1914

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on march 20, 2019

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Simply an illusion

Although to physical vision the Earth appears as it presents itself to the Geologists, in such a way that they regard it simply as a stony mass surrounded by an atmosphere, that fundamentally is simply an external illusion. What appears thus as this stony mass is simply the body for certain Spiritual beings.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 203 – Social Life – Dornach. 29th, January 1921

Previously posted on May 30, 2018

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Today we refer to the physical body as our own — with no notion of how unjustified this is 

While a man is going about on Earth, he regards his physical body and his etheric body — of which he knows little, but at least he feels it in his powers of growth, and so on — as his own body, but he has no right to do so. Only his Ego and his astral body are his. Everything present in his physical body and etheric body — even while he is on Earth — is the property of the divine-spiritual Beings who live and weave within them, and continue their work while the man is absent in sleep. 

It would go badly with anyone if he had to care for his own etheric and physical bodies in continual wakefulness between birth and death. Time and time again he is obliged to hand over his physical and etheric bodies to the Gods — especially during childhood, for then sleep is the most important thing of all. Later in life sleep works only as a corrective; the really fructifying sleep is the sleep that comes to a child in the first years of its life. Thus the human being has continually to be yielding up both physical and etheric bodies to the care of the Gods.

In past ages of human evolution this was so clearly perceived that the body was called the temple of the Gods, for so was its wonderful structure experienced. And in all architectural work — this can best be seen in oriental buildings, but also in those of Egypt and of Greece — the laws of the physical body and the etheric body were followed. In the very way the Cherubim are set on the temples of the East, in the attitude of a sphinx, or in the placing of pillars — in all this the work of divine-spiritual Beings in the human physical and etheric bodies has been made to live again. In the course of evolution, consciousness of this has been lost; and to-day we refer to the physical body as our own — with no notion of how unjustified this is — whereas as an earthly creation it belongs in reality to the Gods. 

Hence, when anyone to-day talks of “my body”, when he speaks of the healthy functioning of his body as due to himself, it is just an instance of the prodigious arrogance of modern man — a subconscious pride, certainly, expressed with no awareness of it, but none the less deplorable. It shows how in speaking of their bodies as their own, people are really laying claim to the property of the Gods, and this pride is embodied in their very speech.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 227 – The Evolution of Consciousness: Lecture X: Man’s Life after Death in the Spiritual Cosmos – Penmaenmawr, 28th August 1923

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Translated by Violet E. Watkin & Charles Davy

Previously posted on March 18, 2018

What is it that occurs when a wrong is done?

What is it then that occurs when a wrong is done? Something is brought about by ourselves in the spiritual world. It is a purely materialistic belief that a wrong can take place without anything taking place in the spiritual world; it produces quite definite processes therein, — effects radiate from us which, though invisible to sense perception can be clearly seen by spiritual sight. 

These spiritual processes, radiating from one who has done wrong, provide nourishment for certain Spiritual beings who are actually present in the spiritual world. Such beings cannot approach man at all times; they can only do so when the radiations resulting from evil actions emanate from him. 

It is just the same as with a room — if it is quite clean no flies will enter it; there are no flies in a perfectly clean room; but if food is left about or dirt of any kind, the flies come immediately — so, the moment a man radiates certain spiritual emanations as a result of his evil action, he is surrounded by beings who feed on them.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 116 – The Christ Impulse and the Development of the Ego-Consciousness: LECTURE 6. THE BIRTH OF CONSCIENCE – Berlin, 2nd May, 1910

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on November 20, 2017