Interest / Health / Karma (3 of 3)

These things go even farther. There are human beings (and so there were in former epochs of the earth) who never look up to the stars their whole life long, who do not know where Leo is, or Aries or Taurus; they have no interest in anything in this connection. Such people are born, in a next life on earth, with a body that is somehow limp and flabby. Or if, by the vigour of their parents, they get a model that carries them over this, they become limp, lacking in energy and vigour, through the body which they then build for themselves.

And so it is with the entire constitution which a man bears with him in a given life on earth. In every detail we might refer it to the interests he had in the visible world — in an all-embracing sense — in his preceding life on earth.

People, for instance, who in our time take absolutely no interest in music — people to whom music is a matter of indifference — will certainly be born again in a next life on earth either with asthmatic trouble, or with some disease of the lung. At any rate, they will be born with a tendency to asthma or lung disease. And so it is in all respects; the quality of soul which develops in our earthly life through the interest we take in the visible world, comes to expression in our next life in the general tone of our bodilyhealth or illness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships, Volume I: Lecture V – March 1, 1924



The active forces of the starry world push us into physical incarnation. Clairvoyant perception allows us to see in a person’s organization that he or she is indeed the result of the working together of such cosmic forces. I want to illustrate this in a hypothetical form that nevertheless corresponds fully to clairvoyant perceptions.

If we examined the structure of a person’s brain clairvoyantly and could see that certain functions are located in certain places and give rise to certain processes, we would find that each person’s brain is different. No two people have the same brain. If we could take a picture of the entire brain with all of its details visible, we would get a different picture for each person. If we photographed a person’s brain at the moment of birth and took a picture of the sky directly above his or her birthplace, the two pictures would be alike. The stars in the photograph of the sky would be arranged in the same way as certain parts of the brain in the other picture. Thus, our brain is really a picture of the heavens, and we each have a different picture depending on where and when we were born. This indicates that we are born out of the entire universe.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity: Lecture Three – Copenhagen, June 8, 1911

What could be more uplifting?

What could be more uplifting than to know that we can discover the fount of our life between death and rebirth. We can discover our kinship with the whole universe! What could give us greater strength for our duties in life than the knowledge that we bear within us the forces pouring in from the universe and must so prepare ourselves in life that these forces can become active in us when, between death and rebirth, we pass into the spheres of the planets and of the Sun.

One who truly grasps what occultism can reveal to him about man’s relation to the world of the stars can say with sincerity and understanding the prayer that might be worded somewhat as follows, “The more conscious I become that I am born out of the universe, the more deeply I feel the responsibility to develop in myself the forces given to me by a whole universe, the better human being I can become.”

One who knows how to say this prayer from the depths of the soul may also hope that it will become in him a fulfilled ideal. He may hope that through the power of such a prayer he will indeed become a better and more perfect man. Thus what we receive through true spiritual science works into the most intimate depths of our being.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: III – Hanover, November 18, 1912

Translated by Rene Querido

The world of the spirit is all around us, just as air and water, the stars, the sun and the moon

If anthroposophy is to fulfil its purpose, its prime task must be to rouse people and make them really wake up. Merely knowing what is going on in the physical world, and knowing the laws that human minds are able to perceive as operative in this world, is no more than being asleep in a higher sense. Humanity is only fully awake when people are able to develop notions and ideas of the world of the spirit. This is all around us, just as air and water, the stars, the sun and the moon are all around us. When we are physically asleep we are wholly given up to the internal processes that go on in the body during the night and have no idea of anything in the physical world around us. We are asleep in exactly the same way when we are wholly given up to the physical environment, and to the world and the laws of the intellect, and have no idea of the world of the spirit that is all around us.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – LECTURE 1: The Driving Force Behind Europe’s War – Dornach, 29 September 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on September 12, 2014

Why did this widespread disaster overcome the world?

We can ask: Why did this widespread disaster overcome the world? (Steiner refers to the first world war.) Indeed, the ultimate reason is that the interests of people have become so superficial that it scarcely reaches beyond the most mundane. Of course, if people cease to be interested in the stars, they start to be interested in chatting in cafés; when the human being stops pondering his relationship to the higher hierarchies, the longing to waste his time with commonplace play awakens. One only needs to look at the interests which satisfy the leading circles of humanity, see what these people do from morning till evening! And if one looks at this with understanding, then one will not be surprised that such a debacle as has happened, overcame humanity. After all, people are happy these days when they can define one thing or another with ease, characterise a concept in just a few words! They are pleased when something or other is easy to understand.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 190 – Vergangenheits- und Zukunftsimpulse im sozialen Geschehen – Dornach, March 30, 1919 (page 103)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on November 28, 2016