The gods of hindrance

Imagine that you have a car to push. You develop your strength by pushing it. If heavy ballast is put into the car it will be heavier to push, but you would develop greater strength. Suppose the Godhead had let the world’s evolution remain as it was, up to the time just after the Jupiter evolution, men could have certainly developed very well; but humanity could have become still stronger if hindrance had been in its way. For the good of humanity, certain Mights or Spirits of Motion had to receive adverse commands. These were not evil at first, one need not consider them as evil Powers, one might even say they sacrificed themselves by putting obstacles into the way of development. Therefore, these Mights may be called the gods of hindrance, of impediment, in the widest sense of the word. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 110 – The Spiritual Hierarchies: Lecture 10 – Düsseldorf, 18th April 1909

Translated by Harry Collison


Fairy – Art of Carol Herzer

Previously posted on 14 December 2018


The significance and justification of obstacles and hindrances

Any action of man that hurts another being or creature or the world in general, hinders the doer in his development. This is what the pilgrimage of life means, that the primary force of the soul, as it goes from incarnation to incarnation, is set for further development. And this development progresses in such a fashion that man as it were is always putting obstacles in his own path. If this primary force were the only thing that were active — it is this very force that is to bring the soul back to the spiritual — man would need only a very short time on earth. But in that case the whole of earth evolution would have taken an entirely different course; it would also have failed to achieve its purpose. 

You must not think that man would be better off if he put no obstacles in his own way. It is only by setting himself these handicaps that he grows strong and acquires experience, for it is the very eradicating and overcoming of these hindrances that will make him the strong being he must become by the end of earth evolution. It is thoroughly in keeping with earth evolution that he puts stones in his own path. If he did not have to muster the strength to remove these obstacles he would not acquire this strength at all. Then the world would be the poorer. 

We must altogether disregard the good and evil connected with these hindrances and look solely at the wisdom of the world that intended, right from the beginning, that man should have the possibility of setting himself hindrances in earthly evolution so that in removing them he could acquire strength for later. We could even say that the wise guidance of the world allowed man to become evil and gave him the possibility of doing harm, so that in repairing the harm and overcoming the evil he can become stronger in the course of karmic development than he would have become had he reached his goal without effort. This is how we should understand the significance and justification of obstacles and hindrances.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution – Illness and karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle


Tara of the flowers – Art of Carol Herzer

Previously posted on 12 december 2018

Ennoblement of the etheric body by beauty

Every combination of matter on the physical plane lacks an etheric body, but all that grows has an etheric body.

If someone works artistically either in a visual or plastic way, this has an effect on the etheric body. An artistically formed piece of sculpture or a painting works directly on the etheric body. A virtue, on the other hand, works on the astral body. 

Many noble human beings who return from Devachan meet an etheric body which is in no way suited to their advanced astral body, because they have done nothing in the way of organised activity in the sphere of beauty. 

It therefore happens that many people who in their last incarnation lived very holy lives, but without concerning themselves with what is noble in the outer world of the senses, when approaching reincarnation experience a fear of re-birth, because they have not ennobled their etheric body through that beauty which is dependent on the senses.

This very frequently brings about an apprehension before incarnation and in an extreme case, rebirth as an idiot. When a person during his life as an idiot experiences all that is detrimental in his etheric body, this is balanced out in the following incarnation. Because the human being at the moment of incarnation, of birth, receives a shock if he has not ennobled his etheric body through allowing beauty which is dependent on the senses to work upon it.

Freemasonry took beauty as its second principle. Wisdom, Beauty and Power or Strength are the three constructive forces; these have to be developed. 

Anyone possessing all three will in his next incarnation become a human being who fits harmoniously into his three bodies.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – THE FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM – Lecture XXI – Berlin, 19th October 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett


Grateful Mandala – By Carol Herzer

Strength by overcoming obstacles

Man has to acquire his strength by overcoming obstacles in the world, one after another. Strictly speaking all our strength was acquired by the overcoming of obstacles in previous incarnations. Our present capacities are the result of our illnesses in earlier lives.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution – Illness and karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle


By David Newbatt

Previously posted on 24 november 2018

Karma / Heredity (2 of 2)

This instrument of our life of concepts and ideas is inherited externally through our line of heredity. Its delicate convolutions are formed in one way or another according to this line of heredity. The soul will always to some extent have the inner strength to overcome what does not suit it and bring its instrument into harmony with its own forces, but only to a certain extent. The stronger the soul is the better it can do this. And if circumstances are such that it becomes impossible for the soul forces to overcome the resistance in the composition of the brain, the brain cannot be used properly. And then there occurs what we call mental defectiveness, mental illness. A melancholic temperament arises too, because the soul forces are not strong enough to overcome certain things in the organism. In the middle of life — it is different at the beginning and at the end — the forces of our soul always encounter a certain unsuitability in their instrument. This is the secret that always lies hidden behind the inner conflict and disharmony in human nature. What men often imagine to be the reason for their discontent is usually just a mask. In reality the reasons for it are as we have described. Thus we see the relationship between what the soul takes with it from incarnation to incarnation and what it receives from the line of heredity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION – VI. Illness and Karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle