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

Knowledge / Humility

To attain a correct point of view as regards the knowledge possessed by the human being, we must really fill our thoughts with all the wisdom-filled arrangements which exist in the world, and which are quite beyond the capacity of man. If a man thinks only of what he can achieve himself, then he really blocks all paths to knowledge. The path to knowledge really begins at the point where we realise, in all humility, all that we are incapable of doing, but which must nevertheless come to pass in cosmic existence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume II: Lecture VII – Dornach, 9th May 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond


Previously posted on 23 November 2018

Buddha and Christ

The powers and forces which draw man upwards again to the spiritual world fall into two categories: those which draw him upwards on the path of Wisdom, and those which draw him upwards on the path of Morality. The forces to which intellectual progress is mainly due all proceed from the impulse given by a great Individuality of the fourth post-Atlantean epoch who is known to you all, namely Gautama Buddha. It is a remarkable discovery of spiritual investigation that the most penetrating, most significant, thoughts conceived in our present epoch have proceeded from Gautama Buddha.

The second impulse which, in addition to that of Buddha, continues to work in the evolution of humanity is the Christ Impulse and is connected with the future ascent of humanity to Morality. Although Buddha’s teaching is in a particular sense moral teaching, the Christ Impulse is not teaching but actual power which works as such and to an increasing degree imbues mankind with moral strength.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Buddha and Christ – The Sphere of the Bodhisattvas – Milan, 21st September 1911

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond 1_Z1CaguE4yXe_dABfoX0qLA

Previously  posted on 26 August, 2018

It would be sheer boundless arrogance for man to suppose that he has attained in the slightest degree to the wisdom inherent in the formation of the external physical body

Consider our physical body; we look on it as having been formed out of the spiritual world in the primordial past as a dwelling for the human soul. Only a materialistic mind could believe that this human body had not been born originally from the spirit. Seen merely from an external point of view, the physical body must appear a miracle of perfection. What do all our intellectual ability and technical skill amount to, compared with the wisdom manifest in the structure of the human heart? Or take the engineering technique that goes into the building of bridges, and so forth — what is it compared with the construction of the human thigh-bone, with its wonderful crisscross of support members, as seen through the microscope. 

It would be sheer boundless arrogance for man to suppose that he has attained in the slightest degree to the wisdom inherent in the formation of the external physical body. And consider our soul-life, taking into account only our instincts, desires and passions — how do they function? Are we not doing all we can to undermine inwardly the wisdom-filled organisation of our body? Indeed, if we consider without prejudice the marvel of our physical organisation, we have to admit that our bodily structure is far wiser than anything we can show in our inner life, although we may hope that our inner life will advance from its present imperfection towards increasing perfection. We can hardly come to any other conclusion, even without clairvoyance, if we simply look impartially at the observable facts.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 59 – Metamorphoses of the Soul – Vol. 2: Lecture 8: Human Conscience – Berlin, 5th May 1910

Translated by Charles Davy and Christian von Arnim


Previously posted on March 4, 2015


When man needs wisdom in order to understand things, that is, when he extracts wisdom from them, it shows that wisdom exists in the things themselves. For however much the human being might try to understand the things by means of ideas filled with wisdom, he would be unable to extract any wisdom from them were it not already embodied in the things themselves. Anyone who wishes by means of wisdom to comprehend things that, as he thinks, have not first received wisdom, may also imagine that he can take water out of a glass into which none has previously been poured.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – IV. The Evolution of the Cosmos and Man

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.