Why do the spiritual powers not intervene in the affairs on the physical plane?

One should not ask a question such as: Why do the spiritual powers not intervene in the affairs on the physical plane and bring order about? That ought not to be asked because what human beings do is often in direct revolt against the spiritual powers. Very often those in revolt are the very people who are forever talking about spirit, spirit, spirit. I recently read on the cover of a magazine an advertisement of some kind in which the word spirit was repeated ad nauseam. These days spirit dominates everything, it is enough to make one despair! Spirit is supposed to manufacture the germs and gas masks and what not. Everything is called spirit. The question is: do people realize what spirit this is? 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 176 – The Karma of Materialism: Lecture 9– Berlin, September 25, 1917



Everything we experience by day we work upon during the night

Just consider, you are now hearing this lecture, which lasts perhaps one hour. Really, without wishing to offend any of the dear friends sitting here, I may say: it would be possible to hear infinitely more in the words of this lecture than the different friends sitting here, are hearing. Indeed, it would be possible to gather much more from all I am saying, than I know myself. 

But what I mean is this — and I am only saying this in illustration of the above — you will go home presently, go to bed and sleep, and wake up to-morrow morning. And in the time between your sleeping and waking — quite unconsciously, of course, as regards the normal consciousness — you will work upon much of what you are now in a position to hear. You will work upon it a great deal in your next sleep and perhaps also during the following nights. One sees souls labouring between sleeping and waking in quite a different fashion at what they have absorbed. 

And even if it occurred that someone had listened very inattentively, and had merely been somewhat receptive, yet through that receptivity he would draw into his soul the spiritual powers and impulse in the lecture. And that would be worked upon during sleep, and transformed into what we require not only for the rest of life up till death, but beyond death. Thus we work over our whole life as it transpires by day between our waking and sleeping. 

Everything we experience by day we work upon during the night. Thus as it were, we learn lessons which we need for all the rest of our life here, and beyond death into the next incarnation. When we are asleep, we are our own prophetic transmuters of our life. This sleep-life is full of tremendously deep riddles, for it is much more deeply connected with what we experience, than is the external consciousness, and we work at it all from the standpoint of its fruitfulness for the following life. What we can make of ourselves through what we have experienced, is the object of our labour in the time between sleeping and waking. Whether we become stronger and more powerful in our soul, or perhaps have to reproach ourselves, we labour at all our experiences so that they become life-fruit. You see from this, that the life between sleeping and waking is really enormously significant, and that it goes deeply into the whole riddle of man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – LECTURE 1 – SPIRITUAL LIFE IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD AND LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH – Berlin, 16th November, 1915

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted in February 27, 2019

Superficial critics may say, “You are a fool”.

I know that superficial critics may say, “You are a fool; you believe that spiritual powers come to you from without, whereas they simply rise from your own inner being.” Let them think me a fool; I regard them as belonging to the clever men who cannot distinguish hunger from a piece of bread. I know how spiritual powers from without flow into human beings.

The idea that hunger creates the bread that satisfies it — believed only by a crazy man — is as false as that the power of our own soul can create the forces needed for our spiritual activities. These forces must flow into us. Just as we know clearly that our hunger is within us, and that bread comes from without, does one who lives in spiritual worlds know what is within himself and what comes to him from without.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 152 – The Four Sacrifices of Christ – Basel, June 1, 1914

Translated by May Laird-Brown, and edited for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D.

Rudolf Steiner about Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

One thing that can be said of the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is this: Only someone who does not understand them can underestimate them. But someone who finds the key to what is great in these works will come to admire her more and more. That is what is significant about these works — the more one penetrates them the more one admires them. It is not the case that there are no mistakes to be found in them. But those who really take hold of life know, if they strive to evermore penetrate these works, that what is therein expressed could only have come from the great spiritual beings who are now guiding world evolution. This is how we must read Isis Unveiled, a book containing truths which, although sometimes caricatured like a beautiful face seen in a distorting mirror, are truly great.

A person who would merely like to speak out of a critical spirit might perhaps say: It would have been better not to give any such distortion. But anyone seeing matters in the proper light will say: If someone places their weak spiritual forces at the disposal of spiritual powers who wish to reveal themselves, and knows that these forces will produce only a distorted picture but that there is no one else who could do it any better, then that person, through their devotion, is making a great sacrifice for the world. All renderings of the great truths are distortions. If someone wanted to wait until the whole truth could be manifested, then they would have a long wait.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104a – Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse: Part 1: Lecture Three – Munich, May 8, 1907

Translated by James H. Hindes


Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891)

Previously posted on November 6, 2014