The Spiritland – The person with spiritual vision is as familiar with spirit beings as he is with his dog or his cat

It must above all things be emphasized that this world is woven out of the substance of which human thought consists. The word “substance,” too is here used in a far from strict or accurate sense. Thought, however, as it lives in man, is only a shadow picture, a phantom of its true nature. Just as the shadow of an object on the wall is related to the real object that throws this shadow, so is the thought that makes its appearance through a human brain related to the being in the spiritland that corresponds to this thought.

When his spiritual sense is awakened, man really perceives this thought being, just as the eye of the senses perceives a table or a chair. He goes about in a region of thought beings. The corporeal eye perceives the lion, and the thinking directed to the sensibly perceptible thinks merely the thought, “lion” as a shadow, a shadowy picture. The spiritual eye sees in spiritland the thought “lion” as really and actually as the corporeal eye sees the physical lion.

Here we may again refer to the analogy already used regarding the land of the soul. Just as the surroundings of a man born blind operated upon appear suddenly with the new qualities of color and light, so do the surroundings of the person who learns to use his spiritual eye appear as a new world, the world of living thoughts or spirit beings. In this world there are to be seen, first, the spiritual archetypes of all things and beings that are present in the physical and soul worlds. Imagine a painter’s picture existing in his mind before it is painted. This gives an analogy to what is meant by the expression archetype. It does not concern us here that the painter has perhaps not had such an archetype in his mind before he paints and that it only gradually develops and becomes complete during the execution of the picture.

In the real world of spirit there exist such archetypes for all things, and the physical things and beings are copies of these archetypes. It is quite understandable when anyone who only trusts his outer senses denies this archetypal world and holds that archetypes are merely abstractions gained by an intellectual comparison of sense objects. Such a person simply cannot see in this higher world. He knows the thought world only in its shadowy abstraction. He does not know that the person with spiritual vision is as familiar with spirit beings as he himself is with his dog or his cat, and that the archetypal world has a far more intense reality than the world of the physical senses.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy -Chapter III: The Three Worlds: 3. The Spiritland

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D.

Previously posted on June 25, 2016

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The Gospel of St. John is a seer’s book

The Gospel of St. John is a book of life, and whoever lives it through will awaken within himself the power to see spiritually. It is a seer’s book, and was written for the training of spiritual vision. Whoever lives it through, sentence by sentence, will experience the great and mighty result, that he meets Christ spiritually face to face. It is not so easy to convince people; they must themselves work up to the stage at which the knowledge dawns upon them that the Christ is a reality.

St. John’s Gospel is the way that leads to Christ, and the writer desired to give everyone the opportunity to understand it. Whoever develops the Spirit Self will experience within himself the dawning of that wisdom through which he can understand what Christ is.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – The Gospel of St. John – Lecture VIII – Basle, 25 November, 1907

Previously posted on February 14, 2020

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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

Why comprehension for the spiritual world was to be darkened?

How did it come about that man has now lost the understanding for the spiritual life which lies at the foundation of all physical existence? Why had this to occur?

Let us turn our gaze to our immediate surroundings. Were you able to compare man’s present environment with that which once surrounded him at every step, you would find that at that time (Steiner is referring to the culture period from about 3000 to 500 BC) man only possessed the most necessary means of subsistence; but he had, on the other hand, more comprehension for spiritual things. This comprehension for the spiritual world had to withdraw in order to give man the possibility to acquire his present dominion over the earth. Every technical and industrial progress of the present time could only be achieved through a world-conception which had become materialistic, through the fact that the spirit, the super-sensible world, withdrew. At the cost of spiritual contemplation man gained, in the course of the last centuries, his rule over the physical world. It is a primordial, eternal law of humanity that capacities acquired in one sphere, can only be gained by the withdrawal of others upon another sphere. For instance, man could never have called into life the possibilities of travel and communication had other capacities not withdrawn. The sense for spiritual things had to withdraw, in order that everything which now surrounds us might arise. All that once filled the human soul had to withdraw, to render possible the conquest of the physical world.

Thus we see that around the 16th century men lost the vision of the spiritual world, and we see how the materialistic conception took hold of humanity. Those who believe that they themselves do not live in the very midst of such materialism are greatly mistaken.

It is not the task of spiritual science to deny or renounce things; it does not intend to criticise the bad world of to-day; but it wishes to indicate the necessity of man’s descent into matter. The great horizon of spiritual life had to withdraw from humanity while this descent took place, and this explains why man lost the old way of comprehending spiritual things. The truths exist in their old, earlier forms. Spiritual science can show how those truths can be rendered accessible to modern men. This is its chief aim. Consequently anthroposophy is merely the instrument whereby the deepest truths can be rendered accessible to the modern human spirit, in order that they may be grasped in their full depth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture I: Theosophy and Rosicrucianism – Kassel, 16th June 1907

Previously posted on October 24, 2014

Americans/Spiritual vision/Self-control/Self-discipline/Self-education

We do indeed find that a good deal of what the Americans have developed represents a primitive form of the exercises by which a spiritual vision is attained. Thus, we find Americans repeatedly commending self-control, self-discipline, self-education as all-important: what matters is not having learned something, but implanting it in your will by the constant repetition of a given exercise.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 83 – The Tension Between East and West/Prospects of its Solution (Europe-America) – Vienna, 10th June 1922

Translated by B.A. Rowley

Previously posted on 26 december 2013

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