The dead do not really die, but merely move to another place

We gradually come to know that the dead do not really die, but merely move to another place. They still participate in what we do. This insight will be more than a vague feeling for us; we will gradually learn to point to the areas where they are active. We will learn to feel them with us when we need forces we cannot find on the physical plane, when we need support from higher regions. For the souls who have passed through death possess forces different from those on the physical plane, because they take the material for their development at that stage from another world. We can feel the true inner deepening we can gain by taking up spiritual science, not just in the form of abstract theories, but in lively understanding of concrete particulars.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (PART TWO) – Berlin, May 12, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim and edited by Joachim Reuter

The dead do not judge

As to the way in which the dead person sees the human beings who are here on earth, there is one thing of outstanding importance. Let us not imagine that the dead has not a keen and living interest in the world of human beings. He has, indeed, for the world of human beings belongs to the whole cosmos. Our own life belongs to the cosmos. And just as we, even in the physical world, interest ourselves in the subordinate kingdoms, so do the dead interest themselves intensely in the human world, and send their active impulses into the human world. For the dead work through the living into this world. We have only just given an example of the way in which they go on working soon after their passage through the Gate of Death.

But the dead sees one thing above all, and that most clearly. Suppose, for example, that he sees a human being here following impulses of hatred — hating this person or that, and with a merely personal intensity or purpose. This the dead sees. At the same time, however, according to the whole manner of his vision and all that he is then able to know, he will observe quite clearly, in such a case, the part which Ahriman is playing. He sees how Ahriman impels the person to hatred. The dead actually sees Ahriman working upon the human being. On the other hand, if a person on earth is vain, he sees Lucifer working at him. That is the essential point. It is in connection with the world of Ahriman and Lucifer that the dead human being sees the human beings who are here on earth. Consequently, what generally colours our judgement of people is quite eliminated for the dead. We see this or that human being, whom in one sense or another we must condemn. Whatever we find blameworthy in him, we put it down to him. The dead does not put it down directly to the human being. He sees how the person is misled by Lucifer or Ahriman. This brings about a toning-down, so to speak, of the sharply differentiated feelings which in our physical and earthly life we generally have towards this or that human being. To a far greater extent, a kind of universal human love arises in the dead. This does not mean that he cannot criticize — that is to say, cannot rightly see what is evil in evil. He sees it well enough, but he is able to refer it to its origin — to its real inner connections.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – On the Connection of the Living and the Dead – Berne, 9 November 1916

Previously posted on April 26, 2020

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Spiritualist seances: Torturing the dead

One way of torturing the dead, one way of failing to show them love, is to participate in spiritualist seances. For this forces them to manifest in a particular language. The dead person is expected to speak a particular language, for even with table-rapping the signs have to refer to a particular language.

What is done to the dead by forcing them to express themselves in a particular language might very well be compared with pinching someone living in the flesh with red-hot tongs. So painful for the dead are spiritualist seances which expect them to express themselves in a particular language. For in their normal life the dead are striving to free themselves from the differentiations between languages.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 174 – The Karma of Untruthfulness – Volume Two: LECTURE TWENTY-THREE – Dornach, 22 January 1917

Translated by Johanna Collis

This lecture is not available at rsarchive.org. This book  is still being sold and marketed by the publisher, Rudolf Steiner Press.

Previously posted on February 29, 2020

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In the dead we have our best and most important helpers

Our attitude towards those who passed through the threshold of death must be the same as towards those who still live here on earth. Indeed, we should not hesitate, to say: Those who still live in the physical body are handicapped in many ways, so that they cannot live a full spiritual life, they cannot live it to the full. How many handicaps can be observed in people during their physical life on earth, when it is a question of recognising the truly great tasks of evolution — and still more, when it is a question of fullfilling them! We may rely far more on the dead. […] 

In the dead we have our best and most important helpers and you will not misunderstand me when I say: In our spiritual work we may rely far more upon the dead than upon the living.

But in order to be able to say this, we should stand in a living way within that which our spiritual movement can give us. I rely on the fact that those who crossed the threshold of death are — particularly in the external field — our most important helpers in the spiritualization of human civilisation in the future, for they look back upon death, and death will be their great teacher. Many people to-day need stronger teachers than those whom life can give them. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Subconscious Forces – Vienna, 9th May 1915

Previously posted on Seotember 20, 2019

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