Tuesday, October 30, 2007

T.L.Harris & Swedenborg

Laurence Oliphant
Thomas Lake Harris
Thomas Harris studied Swedenborg - from a young age. In turn, Harris was the one-time teacher of Laurence Oliphant.

Oliphant appears in Dr. Steiner's Karmic Relationships lectures as a reincarnation of Ovid, and you'll find that Swedenborg is discussed just prior to this, as a reincarnation
Ignatius of Loyola.
 While incarnated as Ignatius of Loyola, he (Swedenborg) was under the influence of a "Mars Genius". As a balance to this it appears he was more under the inspiration of a Venusian influence during his stint as Swedenborg. Swedenborg, says Steiner, had a deeply intense love for knowledge, his clairvoyance however was not attained by means of exercises as recommended in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds.

Swedenborg attained his higher knowledge by means of what Steiner calls "erotic forces". Of course we don't have to take Steiner's word on this because Swedenborg tells us this himself:
Why Mrs. Blake Cried

The above article reveals how
also William Blake was a follower of Swedenborg.

"Also attending the Fetter Lane services was Emanuel Swedenborg, who periodically lived in London while working as a secret intelligence agent for the pro-French, pro-Jacobite party in Sweden (called the "Hats"). Since his student days, Swedenborg had access to rare instruction in heterodox Jewish mysticism, which included the more erotic and visionary theories of the Sabbatians, secret disiciples of the seventeenth-century "false messiah," Sabbatai Zevi. In his diaries, Swedenborg recorded many of the lurid sexual ceremonies of the Moravians, which initially attracted but later repelled him. Like Zinzendorf, Swedenborg sought out Jewish
Kabbalists in the East End, and he soon came under the spell of Dr. Samuel Jacob Falk, known as the "Baal Shem" of London (master of the magical names of God)."

Dr. Steiner spoke of the highly influential Sabbatai Zevi as a "False Christ".

From the above webpage:
"through the sublimation of his sexual energy into visionary energy. By meditating on the male and female potencies concealed in the vessels of Hebrew letters, by visualizing these letters in the forms of human bodies, by regulating the inhalation and exhalation of breath,"
Swedenborg progressed along the above lines.

"Journal of Dreams (1744-45)

...the will [male sephira] influences the understanding [female sephira] most in inspiration [breathing in]. The thoughts then fly out of the body inward, and in expiration are as it were driven out, or carried straight forth; showing that the very thoughts have their alternate play like the respiration... therefore when evil thoughts entered, the only thing to do was to draw to oneself the breath; so the evil thoughts vanished.

Hence one may also see the reason that during strong thought the lungs are held in equilibrium...and at this time the inspirations go quicker than the expirations... Also, of the fact that in ecstasy or trance, the man holds his breath "
Thomas Lake Harris was able to develop extraordinary abilities in respiration, so much so that a doctor declared that he had never encountered the like of before.
An appreciation of D.N. Dunlop by W. J. Stein:

He also told me about Mr. Thomas Lake Harris, whom he met first in Ireland. He said: “Harris once met Laurence Oliphant in Piccadilly. Harris touched him on the shoulder and said ‘I want to change your life. Try to become the correspondent of The Times in Paris. Go to Paris, but one day a stone will be thrown through your window. Understand this as the sign that you must go immediately to California.’ All this happened. Oliphant found an excellent successor for his work for The Times and left, Paris.” All this Mr. Dunlop told me himself. Mr. Lake Harris was the head of a Spiritual Community, the Brotherhood of a New Life. In connection with this community there was a vegetarian restaurant in Dublin, where a special non-alcoholic wine was sold. Mr. Dunlop and his wife ran this restaurant for six months, but it came to an end when the cook had to leave. In this way Mr. Dunlop had a connection with Harris. After his return from America he had in his possession all the books by Harris, but up to that time he had not read them.

He felt that he should write to Madame Blavatsky, and he told her that he was in possession of all Harriss unpublished manuscripts, but had not started to read them. H. P. Blavatsky answered that he should send all these books back without reading them and after an important decision in which he had to choose between Harris and Blavatsky he decided in a way which was illustrated in a vision. Mr. Dunlop told the content of this vision to me, but I found a description of it written down by George Russell, his friend, under the title, “The Secret of Power” in the journal “The Path” which appeared as a publication of the Blavatsky Institute in Hale, Cheshire, and was edited by Dunlop and Lazenby. Mr. Dunlop told me that this vision appeared not only to him but also to his friend, George Russell, who was present in the same house in the moment of the vision. A.E. (George Russell) writes in Volume I of “The Path,” February, 1911:
“My friend was strangely disturbed, not only were his material affairs unsettled, but he was also passing through a crisis in his spiritual life. Two paths were open before him. On one side lay the dazzling mystery of passion; on the other ‘the small old path’ held out its secret and spiritual allurements. I had hoped that he would choose the latter, and as I was keenly interested in his decision, I invested the struggle going on in his mind with something of universal significance, seeing in it a symbol of the strife between ‘light and darkness which are the worlds eternal ways.’ He came in late one evening. I saw at once by the dim light that there was something strange in his manner. I spoke to him in enquiry; he answered me in a harsh dry voice, quite foreign to his usual manner: ‘Oh, I am not going to trouble myself any more. I will let things take their course.’ This seemed the one idea in his mind, the one thing he understood clearly was, that things were to take their own course; he failed to grasp the significance of any other idea or its relative importance. He answered: ‘Aye, indeed,’ with every appearance of interest and eagerness to some ‘trivial’ remark about the weather, and was quite unconcerned about another and most important matter which should have interested him deeply. I soon saw what had happened; his mind, in which forces so evenly balanced had fought so strenuously, had become, utterly wearied out and could work no longer. A flash of old intuition illuminated at last – it was not wise to strive with such bitterness over life – therefore he said to me in memory of this institution, ‘I am going to let things take their course.’ A larger tribunal would decide. He had appealed unto Caesar. I sent him up to his room and tried to quiet his fever by magnetization with some success. He fell asleep and as I was rather weary myself I retired soon after.

This was the vision of the night. It was surely in the room. I was lying on my bed and yet space opened on every side with pale, clear light. A slight wavering figure caught my eye, a figure that swayed to and fro; I was struck with its utter feebleness, yet I understood it was its own will or some quality of its nature which determined that palpitating movement towards the poles between which it swung. What were they? I became silent as night and thought no more. Two figures awful in their power opposed each other; the frail being wavering between them could, by putting out its arms, have touched them both. I alone wavered, for they were silent, resolute and knit in the conflict of will; they stirred not a hand nor a foot; there was only a still quivering now and then as of intense effort, but they made no other movement. Their heads were bent forward slightly, their arms folded, their bodies straight, rigid and inclined slightly backwards from each other like two spokes of a gigantic wheel. What were they, these figures? I knew not and yet gazing upon them, thought which took no words to clothe itself mutely read their meaning. Here were the culminations of the human, towering images of the good and evil men may aspire to. I looked at the face of the evil adept. His bright red-brown eyes burned with a strange radiance of power; I felt an answering emotion of pride, of personal intoxication, of physic richness rise up within me gazing upon him. His face was archetypal; the abstract passion which eluded me in the features of many people, I knew was here declared, exultant, defiant, gigantesque; it seemed to leap like fire, to be free. In this face I was close to the legendary past, to the hopeless worlds where men were martyred by stony Kings, where prayer was hopeless, where pity was none. I traced a resemblance to many of the great destroyers in history whose features have been preserved, Napoleon, Rameses, and a hundred others, named and nameless, the long line of those who were crowned and sceptred in cruelty. His strength was in human weakness. I saw this, for space and the hearts of men were bare before me. Out of space there flowed to him a stream, half invisible, of red; it nourished that rich radiant energy of passion. It flowed from men as they walked and brooded in loneliness, or as they tossed in sleep. I withdrew my gaze from this face which awoke in me a lurid sense of accompaniment, and turned it on the other.

An aura, pale soft blue was around this figure through which gleamed an underlight as of universal gold. The vision was already dim and departing, but I caught a glimpse of a face god-like in its calm, terrible in the beauty of a life we know only in dreams, with strength which is the end of the heros toil, which belongs to the many times martyred soul; yet not far away nor in the past was its power, it was the might of life which lives externally. I understood how easy it would have been for this one to have ended the conflict, to have gained a material victory by its power, but this would not have touched on or furthered its spiritual ends. Only its real being had force to attract that real being, which was shrouded in the wavering figure... This figure, wavering between the two, moved forward and touched with its hand the Son of Light. All at once the scene and actors vanished, and the eye that saw them was closed. I was alone with darkness and a hurricane of thoughts... For the rest the vision of that night was prophetic and the feet of my friend are now set on that way which was the innermost impulse of his soul.”

This is the story as given by George Russell. Mr. Dunlop described this vision to me and even many years afterwards, speaking about it, I could see how intensely alive both these figures had been. He described two beings, the red one in red clothing and red light: and the blue one in blue clothes and blue light, both very beautiful and impressive, and the voice sounded and asked him to choose between them, and he said, “I decided for the blue, and it was a great decision, as I felt. The red disappeared at first, and only afterwards the blue, and then an old wise man appeared and began to teach me.”

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Consciousness (or Spiritual) Soul

I am what I am firstly because I am the soul, not because of the faculty which does recognize such, without which I would still be and still are - in slumber, in wakefulness, I, my soul, endures.
The sense of I, id - individuality in relation to the worlds - becomes distinct because I have a soul; without which I should not come to know that I know, but should gravitate to and around that which I am most sympathetic to.

And it is to the ego that we attribute experience and also that which follows experience - and it is the egg-shaped ego which encloses the soul, with essences of: fiery activity (cognition), fiery ethers (form and the plans thereof), divine impulses (characterizing streams of being, planetary rays etc.), vitality fluids (of which there are many), memory (akashic recall), sympathy ('bonded to' influences, signature keys etc.), substance (particles of quality, that which is of elements known or to be known - e.g. copper and its corresponding planet etc.), metabolism (related to sympathy, access to Pneu of Man at present), Desire (subtle body which makes sense of sense, sensitive to fiery activity also), Greater Desire (sensitive to the impulse of greater cognition, motivation, and exclamation) and last but not least, Joy, Love, Laughter, Compassion and Happiness: which are natural to the soul and the ego, and characteristic to the expression of being, as being.

What does living "in the consciousness soul" mean?
We could start by reading chapter one of Rudolf Steiner's, Theosophy part four - although that is very basic.

An aspect of the Consciousness (or Spiritual) soul, is the importance of individuals making free decisions, being "true to oneself".
Steiner was careful when giving advice to present facts and let people decide for themselves. This is a theme in Steiner's "Philosophy of Spiritual Activity", but really a theme for the whole of anthroposophy.

We are capable of making our own good decisions out of the Consciousness Soul, because through it we attain to the Eternal Spirit, the True and the Good - see "Theosophy". That gives us the power to make our own "moral imaginations".

This ability is a fairly new one bestowed upon Man, and still, as they used to say on a lot of websites, "under construction".

Another aspect is the direct spiritual intuitions a student may have, which are not just a result of intellectualizing or study. Here one must talk of Manas or Spirit Self as well as Consciousness Soul:

"The "I" lives in the soul. Although the highest manifestation of the "I" belongs to the Consciousness Soul, one must, nevertheless, say that this "I" raying out from it fills the whole soul, and through it exerts its action upon the body."

(Quotes from "Theosophy")
The highest expression of our holiest of holies, the 'I', is the Consciousness Soul- it could be called an "over-ego". (BTW my old copy of "Theosophy" refers to the Intellectual Soul as "Kama Manas".)

"The spirit forming and living as "I" will be called spirit self because it manifests as the "I," or ego, or self of man. The difference between the spirit self and the consciousness soul can be made clear in the following way. The consciousness soul is in touch with the self-existent truth that is independent of all antipathy and sympathy. The spirit self bears within it the same truth, but taken up into and enclosed by the "I," individualized by it, and absorbed into the independent being of the individual. It is through the eternal truth becoming thus individualized and bound up into one being with the "I" that the "I" itself attains to the eternal."

"The spirit self is a revelation of the spiritual world within the "I", just as from the other side sensations are a revelation of the physical world within the "I". In what is red, green, light, dark, hard, soft, warm, cold one recognizes the revelations of the corporeal world. In what is true and good are to be found the revelations of the spiritual world. In the same sense in which the revelation of the corporeal world is called sensation, let the revelation of the spiritual be called intuition."
In order to understand anything of an esoteric character it is essential to be adept in both intellect and imagination. Reasoning alone, will not bring to life the spiritual realities in the soul. Not everyone is so gifted as to be able to imagine and reason well at the same time, but the numbers will grow in time.

Thinking & the Human Being

Folk pull apart the butterfly to see how it works. Divisions of the human being are made for the purposes of scientific study. There are always flaws in this approach to study, in that each part works in with the other as an organic whole.
When do we ever purely think, purely feel or purely will? It is always a matter of cooperation between faculties.

Viewing the human being as a lot of fragmented parts is fundamentally wrong to begin with- an unhealthy soul conception. We are (or should be) after all, a functioning whole.

Rudolf Steiner uses the word "thinking" in a specific way. What is spoken of colloquially as "thinking" is not thinking but a parade of ideas.

The statement by Dr. Steiner that animals don't think is considered controversial by some. Steiner did admit that animals deliberate. A wasp deliberates, or a beetle which really doesn't have much that you could call a brain, deliberates. The great wisdom that a beaver displays in constructing dams, lodges and canals to transport logs, is something that the beast "sucks in" from outside of itself- from the Cosmos according to Steiner. But still this must also require some deliberation by the animal itself.

The difference between the animal and the human being is that the human reasons in full waking consciousness.
The conditions of driving a manual car and "automatically" changing gears, or "automatically" touch typing as you read a text don't really come under the heading of "thinking". In fact if you become conscious of your fingers moving to each key one by one you slow right down- so thinking about the process doesn't help. The human being is not stuck in one area of reasoned thought that goes around and around- like a beaver building dams season after season. Of course, some are stuck on this merry-go-round. 

Yes there are other ways of knowing besides thinking. In fact human beings in the ancient past had an instinctual knowing that enabled them to build civilizations that rivaled our own in technological marvels.

In the realm of thinking we can become conscious
(that is why we have the capacity for freedom in thinking), in the feeling life we live in a dream and in willing we are in a deep sleep. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Soul Life & the Worthlessness of Mere Thinking

In 1911 and 1912, Dr. Steiner gave the lecture series "World of the Senses and World of the Spirit". There,  he says the basis of good thinking is grounded in :
(a) Wonder
(b) Veneration/reverence
(c) Feeling oneself in wisdom-filled harmony with the laws of the world
(d) Devotion/self-surrender

"As long ago as in ancient Greece it was known what the healthy human mind must take for its starting point if it hopes one day to reach reality. And the same statement that was uttered in ancient Greece still holds good. It was said: All human enquiry must proceed from wonder! That statement must be received in a perfectly positive way, my dear friends.

 In actual fact, in the soul that wants to penetrate to truth, this condition must first be present: the soul must stand before the universe in a mood of wonder and marveling. And anyone who is able to comprehend the whole force of this expression of the Greeks comes to perceive that when a man, irrespective of all the other conditions by which he arrives at the study and investigation of truth, takes his start from this mood of wonder, from nothing else than a feeling of wonder in face of the facts of the world, then it is in very truth as when you drop a seed in the ground and a plant grows up out of it. In a sense we may say that all knowledge must have wonder for its seed......

  For all real knowledge, that hopes to have a chance of coming to grips with the riddles of the world, must grow out of the seed of wonder. A man may be ever so clever a thinker, he may even suffer from a superabundance of intelligence; if he has never passed through the stage of wonder nothing will come of it. He will give you a cleverly thought-out concatenation of ideas, containing nothing that is not correct — but correctness does not necessarily lead to reality. It is absolutely essential that before we begin to think, before we so much as begin to set our thinking in motion, we experience the condition of wonder. A thinking which is set in motion without the condition of wonder remains nothing but a mere play of thought. All true thinking must originate in the mood of wonder.

Nor is that enough. We must go a step further. Even when thinking originates in the mood of wonder, then if a man is predisposed by his karma to grow sharp-witted and clever, and quickly begins to be proud and take pleasure in his cleverness and then perhaps gives all his energy to developing that alone, the wonder he felt in the beginning will no longer help him at all. For if, after wonder has taken hold in the soul, then in the further course of his thinking a man does no more than merely “think,” he cannot penetrate to reality.

 Please let me emphasize here that I am not saying a man ought to become thoughtless and that thinking is harmful. This opinion is often widespread in our circles. Just because it has been said that one must proceed from wonder, people are apt to regard thinking as wrong and harmful.....

 After the mood of wonder must follow the mood of veneration, of reverence. And any thinking that is divorced from reverence, that does not behold in a reverent manner what is proffered to its view, will not be able to penetrate to reality. Thinking must never, so to say, go dancing through the world in a careless, light-footed way. It must, when it has passed the moment of wonder, take firm root in the feeling of reverence for the universe.....

 You are bound to appear foolish in the eyes of present-day scientists if you venture to say that research into the nature of objects, and even thought about objects, ought never to be divorced from reverence, and that one ought not to take a step forward in thought without being filled with the feeling of reverence for the object of one's enquiry. Reverence is, however, the second requisite on the path of knowledge.

But now a man who had attained to a certain feeling of reverence, and then, having experienced this feeling of reverence, wanted to press forward with mere thought — such a man would again come to a nothingness, he would not be able to get any farther. He would, it is true, make some discoveries that were quite correct, and because he had gone through these first two stages, he would with his correct knowledge have also acquired many clearly and firmly established points of view. But he would inevitably, for all that, soon fall into uncertainty. For a third condition must take hold in the soul after we have experienced wonder and reverence, and this third mood we may describe as feeling oneself in wisdom-filled harmony with the laws of the world. And this feeling can be attained in no other way than by having insight into the worthlessness of mere thinking.

These things are explained in "Knowledge of the Higher Worlds":
"It is not easy, at first, to believe that feelings like reverence and respect have anything to do with cognition. This is due to the fact that we are inclined to set cognition aside as a faculty by itself — one that stands in no relation to what otherwise occurs in the soul. In so thinking we do not bear in mind that it is the soul which exercises the faculty of cognition; and feelings are for the soul what food is for the body. If we give the body stones in place of bread, its activity will cease. It is the same with the soul."

Living thinking is dependent on a living soul firstly. Thinking is not cognition but a tool of cognition.

The Mission of Reverence

More still:

Conscience and Wonder as Indications of Spiritual Vision in the Past and in the Future

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Appearance of the Anti-Christ

A tale we shouldn't forget:

From "Three Conversations"

by Vladimir Soloviev

Pan-Mongolism! The name is wild,
Yet it pleases my ear greatly,
As if it were full of forebodings
Of the glorious providence of God.

Europe in the twenty-first century represented an alliance of more or less democratic nations—the United States of Europe. The progress of material culture, somewhat interrupted by the Mongolian yoke and the war of liberation, now burst forth with a greater force. The problems of inner consciousness, however, such as the questions of life and death, the ultimate destiny of the world and mankind, made more complicated and involved by the latest researches and discoveries in the fields of psychology and physiology—these as before remained unsolved.

Only one important, though negative, result made itself apparent: it was the final bankruptcy of the materialistic theory. The notion of the universe as a system of dancing atoms, and of life as the result of mechanical accumulation of the slightest changes in materia, no longer satisfied a single reasoning intellect. Mankind had outgrown that stage of philosophical infancy. On the other side, it became equally evident that it had also outgrown the infantile capacity for a naive, unconscious faith. Such ideas as God, creating the universe out of nothing, were no longer taught even at elementary schools. A certain high level of ideas concerning such subjects had been evolved, and no dogmatism could risk a descent below it. And though the majority of thinking people had remained faithless, the few believers had of necessity become thinking, thus fulfilling the commandment of the Apostle: “Be infants in your hearts, but not in your reason.”.......

At that time, there was among the few believing spiritualists a remarkable person - many called him a superman - who was equally far from both, intellect and childlike heart. He was still young, but owing to his great genius, by the age of thirty-three he had already become famous as a great thinker, writer, and public figure.

Conscious of the great power of spirit in himself, he was always a confirmed spiritualist, and his clear intellect always showed him the truth of what one should believe in: the good, God, and the Messiah.

In these he believed, but he loved only himself. He believed in God, but in the depths of his soul he involuntarily and unconsciously preferred himself. He believed in Good, but the All Seeing Eye of the Eternal knew that this man would bow down before the power of Evil as soon as it would offer him a bribe - not by deception of the senses and the lower passions, not even by the superior bait of power, but only by his own immeasurable self-love.

Thinking thus, the superman of the twenty-first century applied to himself everything that was said in the Gospels about the second coming, explaining the latter not as a return of the same Christ, but as a replacing of the preliminary Christ by the final one - that is, by himself.

At this stage, the coming man presented few original characteristics or features. His attitude toward Christ resembled, for instance, that of Mohammed, a truthful man, against whom no charge of harboring evil designs can be brought.

This man justified his selfish preference of himself before Christ in yet another way. 'Christ,' he said, 'who preached and practiced moral good in life, was a reformer of humanity, whereas I am called to be the benefactor of that same humanity, partly reformed and partly incapable of being reformed. I will give everyone what they require........

Thus this just but proud man waited for the sanction of the Most High to begin his saving of mankind, but he could see no signs of it. He had passed the age of thirty. Three more years passed. A thought suddenly flickers into his mind and a heated trembling pierces him to the core. “What,” thought he, “what if it is not I, but that other … the Galilean. If He is not my forerunner but the true one, the First and the Last? But then indeed He must be living….Where is He? What if He suddenly comes to me … here, now? What will I tell Him? I would have to kneel down before Him like the basest foolish Christian, like some Russian peasant who mutters without understanding, ‘Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ or grovel like a Polish countrywoman! I, the shining genius, the superman! Never!”

And then, instead of his former rational and cold reverence to God and Christ, a sudden terror was born and grew in his heart, followed by a burning envy consuming all his being, and by a burning, breath-taking hatred. “I, I, and not He! He is not among the living, and never will be! He did not rise, not rise, not rise! He rotted, rotted in the tomb, He rotted like the lowest….” And, his mouth foaming, he rushed in convulsive movements out of the house, through the garden, and ran along a rocky path covered by the dark gloomy night.

His rage calmed down and gave place to a despair, dry and heavy as the rocks, gloomy as the night. He stopped in front of a sharp precipice, from the bottom of which he could hear the faint sounds of a stream running over the stones far below. An unbearable anguish pressed upon his heart. Suddenly something stirred within him. “Shall I call Him? Ask Him what I am to do?” And in the midst of the darkness a pale and grief-stricken image appeared to him. “He pities me! No, never! He did not rise, not rise!” And he leapt from the precipice. But something firm like a column of water held him up in the air. He felt a shock as if of electricity, and some unknown force hurled him back. For a moment he lost consciousness and came to kneeling a few paces from the edge of the precipice. Before him was a being outlined with a misty phosphorescent light, and its two eyes pierced his soul with their unbearably sharp brightness.

He saw these two piercing eyes and heard some unfamiliar voice coming from inside or outside him—he could not tell which—a toneless, constrained voice, yet distinct, metallic and completely heartless as from a gramophone. And the voice said to him: “You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased! Why did you not seek me? Why did you revere that bad one, and his father? I am your god and father. But that other, the beggar, the crucified one—he is a stranger both to me and to you. I have no other son but you. You are the only one, the only begotten, the equal of myself. I love you, and ask nothing from you. You are already beautiful, great, and mighty. Do your work in your own name, not mine. I harbour no envy of you. I love you. I require nothing of you. He whom you regarded as God demanded from His son the ultimate obedience—even to death on a cross—and He did not help Him there. I demand from you nothing, and I will help you. I will help you for your own sake, for the sake of your own dignity and excellency, and for the sake of my own disinterested love of you! Receive my spirit! Just as my spirit gave birth to you in beauty, so now it gives birth to you in power.”

With these words of the stranger, the mouth of the superman involuntarily opened, the two piercing eyes came very close to his face, and he felt a sharp, icy stream enter into him and fill the whole of his being. At the same time he felt in himself unprecedented strength, vigour, lightness, and joy. At the same instant the luminous image and the two eyes suddenly disappeared, something lifted him up in the air, and brought him down in his own garden, before the doors of his own house.

The next day not only the visitors of the great man but even his servants were startled by his strange, inspired appearance. They would have been even more startled could they have seen with what supernatural speed and ease he was writing, locked up in his study, his famous work entitled, The Open Way to Universal Peace and Prosperity.

The previous books and the public activity of the superman had always met with severe criticisms, though these came chiefly from men of exceptionally deep religious convictions, who for that very reason possessed no authority, and were hardly listened to when they tried to point out in everything that the Coming Man wrote or said the signs of quite an exceptional and excessive pride and conceit, and a complete absence of true simplicity, frankness, and sincerity.

But now with his new book he brought over to his side even some of his former critics and adversaries. This book, composed after the incident at the precipice, evinced a greater power of genius than he had ever shown before. It was a work that embraced everything and solved every problem. Here were combined a noble respect of the ancient traditions and symbols with a bold and thorough radicalism in the sphere of social and political problems, an unlimited freedom of thought with the most profound appreciation of everything mystical, an absolute individualism with an ardent fidelity to the common good, the most lofty idealism of guiding principles with a perfect definiteness in practical necessities of life. And all this was blended and cemented with such artistic genius that every thinker and every man of action, however one-sided he may have been, could easily view and accept the whole from his particular individual standpoint without sacrificing anything to the truth itself, without actually rising above his ego, without in reality renouncing his one-sidedness, without correcting the inadequacy of his views and wishes, and without making up their deficiencies. 

This wonderful book was immediately translated into the languages of all the civilised nations, and many of the uncivilised ones as well. During the whole year thousands of papers in all parts of the world were filled with the publishers’ advertisements and the delight of the critics. Inexpensive editions with portraits of the author were sold in the millions of copies, and all the civilized world—which by now meant nearly all the globe—resounded with the glory of the incomparable, the great, the only one! Not only did nobody raise his voice against the book, but on every side it was accepted as the revelation of the entirely complete truth. In it all the past was given its full and due justice, all the present was appraised so impartially and thoroughly, and the happiest future was brought near in such a convincing and practical manner that everybody could not help saying: ” Here at last we have what we need. Here is the ideal which is not an Utopia. Here is a scheme which is not a chimera.” And the wonderful author not only impressed all, but he was agreeable to everybody, so that the word of Christ was fulfilled: “I have come in the name of the Father, and you accept me not. Another will come in his own name—him you will accept.” For it is necessary to be agreeable to be accepted.

True, some pious men, warmly praising the book, had been asking why the name of Christ was never mentioned in it. But other Christians had rejoined: “Glory to God! In the past ages everything sacred has already been tainted enough by uncalled zealots so as now to make a deeply religious author extremely careful in these matters. Since the book is imbued with the true Christian spirit of active love and all-embracing goodwill, what more do you want?” And everybody agreed with this.

What is an Anthroposophist?

One thing's for sure, it's not a person who says "I believe everything Rudolf Steiner said". That is the kind of Guru-worshiping complex he wanted to avoid. His desire would be that students think for themselves. 

To define an anthroposophist you'd have to define anthroposophy- it's not the kind of word a marketer would choose is it? 

There are many definitions of anthroposophy I've seen over the years- things like "Christian yoga after the coming of Michael", "the Wisdom in Man" or as it was termed during Steiner's theosophical days, "Rosicrucian Spiritual Science". But perhaps the best one is to be found in the Awakening to Community lectures.
In Dr. Steiner's own words:
The term "Anthroposophy" is really to be understood as synonymous with "Sophia", meaning the content of consciousness, the soul-attitude and experience that makes a man a fully fledged human being. The right interpretation of "Anthroposophy" is not "the wisdom of man" but rather "the consciousness of one's humanity". In other words, the reversing of the will, the experiencing of knowledge, and one's participation in the time's destiny, should all aim at giving the soul a certain direction of consciousness, a "Sophia".
Anthroposophy is a path of cognition from the spiritual in man to the Spiritual in the Cosmos:
Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge which would lead the spiritual in man to the spiritual in the Universe. It appears in men as a need of the heart and feeling. It must find its justification in that it can afford satisfaction to this need. Only he can acknowledge Anthroposophy who finds in it what he must seek out of his Gemut [a mind warmed by the heart].

Hence only those men can be called Anthroposophists who feel certain questions as to the nature of man and the world as life necessities in the same way as one feels hunger and thirst.
- Alfred Meebold's translation of Dr. Steiner's Leading Thoughts

Anthroposophy could only appear in the Consciousness or Spiritual Soul Age:

But such a coming together of human beings could take place only in our age, the age of the consciousness soul, and those who do not as yet rightly conceive the nature of the consciousness soul cannot understand this development..... It corresponds exactly to the developmental level of the consciousness soul period.

-Rudolf Steiner, Awakening to Community

A Universal Single Occultism

"A theosophist has always before him the ideal of a universal single occultism, free of all religious prejudice."

Here Rudolf Steiner explains the ideals of theosophy, not as Eastern or Western but as a universal movement.

God is no respecter of personalities and neither is occultism.
"Occultism strips itself entirely of the personal element. Systems of philosophy arise directly out of the personal in man; occultism arises out of the impersonal and is on this account capable of general comprehension. And when it is a question of expressing occultism in terms of theosophy, the endeavor is always made to speak to every human heart and every human soul, and in large measure this can be done...."
Occultism- the same for all mankind:

"Occultism is in its results one and the same for all mankind. In reality there is no such thing as a difference of standpoint in occultism, — any more than there are different mathematics. It is only necessary in regard to any particular question to have the means actually at hand to acquire knowledge on on that question, and the knowledge will be the same as is reached by everyone who has the right means at his disposal.

"Thus, speaking in the ideal sense, we can just as little admit the existence of different standpoints in occultism as we can imagine there might be different standpoints in mathematics. Consequently occultism, wherever it has made its appearance, has always been recognised as single and universal. It is true that in the various theosophies that have existed from time to time and have supplied the outer cloak, so to speak, of occult truths, differences show themselves; but that is because the truths have had to be clothed differently for one folk or one epoch, than for another folk or another epoch. In other words, the differences between the theosophies that exist on the Earth lie in the manner of thought used to clothe the occult truths. The foundations of occultism are always and everywhere one and the same...."

"Occultism knows no such differentiations, it knows nothing that might stir up opposition between man and man. No cause for opposition exists, since occultism is the single undivided property of all mankind. And inasmuch as theosophy should in our time concern itself with the provision of a right and proper expression for occultism, it too must take care to absorb as little as possible of the differentiations that have manifested themselves in mankind. It must set itself the aim of being a faithful expression of occult truth and occult connections in so doing, it will inevitably also work for the overthrow of all specialised world-conceptions and help to break down religious differentiations."
There is no Eastern, Western, Christian, Buddhist Theosophy:
"We must learn completely to overcome the inclination to a theosophy of a definite stamp and coloring. It has gradually come about in the history of evolution that theosophies have tended to receive a certain nuance and coloring in accordance — I will not say with religious prejudices, but with religious preconceived feelings and opinions. Theosophy needs to keep constantly in view its ideal, — to be a reflection of occultism. There can therefore be no such thing as a Buddhist theosophy or a Hindu theosophy, or a Zoroastrian or a Christian. Naturally, regard must be had to the characteristic ideas and thoughts with which particular people will approach theosophy.

"Nevertheless it must never let go its ideal of being a pure expression for occult truth. It was, for example, a repudiation of the fundamental principle of occultists all the world over, when a theosophy made its appearance among certain societies in Central Europe, calling itself a "Christian" theosophy. As a matter of fact, you can just as little have a Christian theosophy as a Buddhist theosophy or a Zoroastrian."

"The relation theosophy has to assume to religion is that of an expounder of its truths. For theosophy is in a position to understand the truths of religion....."

"A great work for peace on earth would be accomplished if unity and harmony could be established in regard to the higher realms of occult knowledge. Let that stand before us as an ideal. It is hard of attainment. When one reflects how intimately men are bound up with their religious prejudices and with the whole way in which they have been educated, one will readily perceive the difficulty of presenting them with something that is not colored with any religious prejudice but is as faithful a picture as possible of occult knowledge.

"Within certain limits we must be prepared to recognise that as long as the Buddhist takes the standpoint of the Buddhist faith, he rejects the standpoint of the Christian. And if theosophy takes on a Buddhist coloring, then that Buddhist theosophy will quite naturally show itself inimical, or at any rate unsympathetic, to occultism. We shall also understand how difficult it is, in a realm where Christian forms prevail, to come to an objective knowledge, let us say, of those aspects of occultism which find expression in Buddhism. Our ideal, however, must always be to meet the one point of view with just as much understanding as the other and to establish over the whole earth a harmonious and peaceful relationship based on mutual comprehension.

"The Buddhist and the Christian who have become theosophists will understand one another, they will be sure to discover a standpoint where they are in harmonious agreement. A theosophist has always before him the ideal of a universal single occultism, free of all religious prejudice. The Christian who has become a theosophist will understand the Buddhist when he says: "It is not possible that a Bodhisattva who has passed from incarnation to incarnation and has at length become Buddha (as happened in the particular case with the death of Suddhodana) should afterwards return again into a human body.

"For in becoming Buddha he has attained to such a lofty stage of human evolution that he does not need ever to pass again into a human body." The Christian will reply to the Buddhist: "Christianity has not up to the present given me any revelation concerning Beings like Bodhisattvas, but as I strive after theosophy I learn to recognise not only that you know this truth out of your knowledge, but that I too must receive it as truth." For as theosophist, the Christian will say to himself: "I understand what a Bodhisattva is, I know that the Buddhist speaks absolute truth about these Beings, he utters a truth which could be spoken in lands where Buddhism prevailed. I understand it when the Buddhist says that a Buddha does not return again into a fleshly organism."

"The Christian who has become a theosophist understands the Buddhist who has become a theosophist. And if the Christian were now in his turn to address the Buddhist, he could say: "When one studies the Christian faith in its true occult content, as it is studied in occult schools, then one finds that the Being who is designated by the name of Christ" — the name of Christ may be quite unknown to the other — "is a Being who was never on earth before the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. He is a Being who can never come again in a physical body; for that would contradict the whole nature of the Christ."

"When the Buddhist who has become a theosophist hears this from the Christian, he will answer him in the following way: "Just as you understand how impossible it is for me to admit that a Buddha, after he has once become Buddha, can come again in a fleshly body, — just as you understand me, recognizing what has been imparted to me as truth, so am I ready to recognize the share of truth that has been communicated to you. I try to recognize what you receive from your faith, namely, that at the beginning of Christianity stands, not so much a Teacher, but a Deed, an Act." For the occultist places at the beginning of Christianity not Jesus of Nazareth, but the Christ, and he sets the actual moment of its beginning in the Mystery of Golgotha.

"Buddhism differs from Christianity in that it has a personal teacher as its starting-point, whereas Christianity has a deed, the deed of salvation and release, the deed accomplished by the death on the Cross on Golgotha. Not a doctrine but a deed stands at the foundation of Christian evolution. This the Buddhist theosophist understands, and he receives what is given as the occult foundation of Christianity and in doing so helps to establish harmony among mankind. He would be breaking the harmony if he were to apply to Christianity his Buddhist ideas.

"It is the part of the Christian, when he becomes theosophist, to understand Buddhism out of Buddhism itself, not to re-mould in some way of his own the ideas about Bodhisattva and Buddha, but rather to understand them as they are contained in Buddhism. Similarly it is the part of the Buddhist to receive the Christian ideas as they are, for they form the occult foundations of Christianity. Just as it is impossible to bring together the Being Who is named with the name of Christ with Beings of a lower kind, namely with Bodhisattvas, so also is it impossible, if we would remain loyal to the ideal of theosophy, to allow theosophy to be anything else than a faithful reflection of the single undivided occultism....."

"Occultism has always had the character of universality and is independent of every Buddhist as well as of every Christian shade of colouring. Hence it can understand objectively the Mussulman or the Zoroastrian or the Buddhist, even as it can also the Christian. What I have said will help you to see how it is that occultism, which is universal, has come to assume in theosophy so many different forms in the course of human evolution. And you will be able also to see why in our time it is so important to hold up as the ideal, not that one form of religion should gain the victory over the rest, but that all the different forms of expression of religion should mutually
understand one another. The first condition for this, however, is that men should come to an understanding of the occult foundations that are the same for all religions."


The Theosophists

Who are the theosophists?
The word means "Divine Wisdom" or the "Wisdom of God". It is not specifically Eastern, Western, Northern or Southern. Some of the famous theosophists of history are Paracelsus, Oetinger and Jacob Boehme; all of whom were Western or Christian theosophists - or you could be a Buddhist, Muslim or Jew; it doesn't matter.

The original impulse behind the modern Theosophical Society was a Rosicrucian one, according to Dr. Steiner- who was himself a member of that said society (along with his wife Marie). The word "theosophical" was picked out of a dictionary at the time- other suggestions were: "The Miracle Club" and " The Egyptological Society". During the long period in which he was a member, he was also the leader of the German section from 1902 until 1912 (which included Austria and Switzerland).

 "Theosophy" is a book by Rudolf Steiner. Now the question is, if the Theosophical society taught Eastern doctrines why was Dr. Steiner allowed to teach his Western Rosicrucian teachings and be a leader of the section? He titled his teachings "Rosicrucian Spiritual Science" and began lectures with "My Dear Rosicrucian Friends". Why was this allowed to happen?
The reason is that the stated aim of the Theosophical Society was to avoid dogma. It was a truly open forum with members making up their own minds on whether they wanted follow Eastern or Western paths.

Theosophy is not a religion. In London during the time when H.P. Blavatsky was alive (1883), Dr. Anna Kingsford was the leader of the London Lodge and she taught her own brand of Hermetic Christian teachings.


G.R.S Mead became Blavatsky's private secretary and also joint-secretary of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society. He made many contributions to the Theosophical Society's Lucifer as joint editor, and eventually became the sole editor of The Theosophical Review in 1907 (as Lucifer was renamed in 1897).

He was attracted to western esotericism, religion and philosophy, but had to leave the TS in 1909 over the Leadbeater affair. "As of February 1909, Mead and some seven-hundred members of the Theosophical Society's British Section resigned in protest at Annie Besant's reinstating of Charles Leadbeater to membership in the society."

HPB moved away from the Rosicrucian to a more Eastern approach- first Indian Hindu and then Tibetan Buddhist. But her teachings were never meant to be dogma.

These are the aims of one of the Theosophical Societies:
"To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and Science.
To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in Man."

There is nothing there about it being a path, setting up a new religion or having dogmas (Eastern or otherwise) and forcing people to believe one thing or another. You often find folk with a wide variety of views speaking at theosophical societies around the world. 

As I said, theosophy is not a path.  If someone wants to talk about anthroposophy or any other form of occultism, at the Theosophical Society they can- this goes for the Adyar society.

If Annie Besant had accepted Steiner instead of Leadbeater as her guide, there may never have been an anthroposophical society. Dr. Steiner was in no hurry to leave - as mentioned above, some seven hundred had already left the British Section over the Leadbeater affair in 1909. But things became unbearable with the Krishnamurti issue - also the establishment of a religion was against the statutes.
In 1929 Krishnamurti himself repudiated the great claims made for himself.

As Rudolf Steiner said, the TS was not an occult movement but a place where occultism was discussed. It was, as he saw it, a place for discussion, where each and every member was as important as another.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Personal Ego Eclipsed

In the twelfth lecture of St. John Dr. Steiner says that when a person is illuminated with the Holy Spirit according to esoteric Christianity, "he speaks forthwith in a different manner."
"How does he speak? When he speaks about Saturn, Sun and Moon, about the different members of the human being, about the processes of cosmic evolution, HE IS NOT EXPRESSING HIS OWN OPINION. His views do not at all come into consideration. When such a person speaks about Saturn, it is Saturn which is speaking through him. When he speaks of the Sun, the Spiritual Being of the Sun speaks through him."

[All these beings speak through him.]
"HE IS THE INSTRUMENT. His personal ego has become eclipsed, which means that at such moments it has become impersonal and it is the Cosmic Universal Ego that is using his ego as its instrument through which to speak."
-Gospel of John lectures- Rudolf Steiner

So isn't Dr. Steiner speaking of himself here?
His personal ego had "become eclipsed". This is not to be confused with a surrendering of the ego as in trance mediumism.


Spiritual beings who are the direct followers of the Archangels wanted to spread uniformity over the whole of mankind. If this were given free rein mankind would have been one "indistinguishable species". Other beings had the task of spreading differentiation among mankind so that this wouldn't occur. With the coming of Michael in the nineteenth century, this period of differentiation came to an end.
"These spiritual beings who had to be fought by the Archangel Michael being a time spirit, have always affected the life and evolution of mankind; during the past millenia, prior to the middle of the nineteenth century, their task in the spiritual world was to create differentiation among human beings. ...."

"These spiritual beings, however, against whom the Michaelic principle had to fight, had the task of spreading differentiation among mankind, to split humanity into races and peoples; to bring about all those differences that are connected with the blood and with the nerve temperament. This had to happen. They may be called Ahrimanic beings, and we must realize that the Ahrimanic principle was a necessity in the course of mankind's evolution.

"Now a time of great significance arrived in the evolution of mankind beginning with the forties of the nineteenth century. The time arrived WHEN THE DIVIDED HUMAN RACE HAD TO BE FORMED INTO A UNITY.

"You see, the cosmopolitan views which, to be sure, sometimes turned into cosmopolitan slogans in the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century, are simply a reflection of what occurred in the spiritual world. The tendency exists in mankind to wipe out the various differences which were fostered by the blood and nerve temperament. It is not a tendency of the spiritual worlds to create further differences among mankind, but it is a tendency of the spiritual worlds to pour a cosmopolitan element over mankind."
Signs of the times, Michael's Battle and its Reflection on Earth, Lecture 2, Rudolf Steiner.

Rudolf Steiner GA 180, 1918 Jan 5:
"...chauvinism is the remnant of an impulse that once was lived in a very different way......what does the national feeling full of passion show, from which powers does it spring? - From sexuality, only in a different form".

'But always when an age of Michael dawns, a longing begins to arise in mankind to overcome racial distinctions and to spread through all the peoples living on the Earth the highest and most spiritual form of culture produced by that particular age. Michael's rulership is always characterised by the growth of cosmopolitanism, by the spread of a spiritual impulse among peoples who are ready to receive it, no matter what language they speak. Of the seven Archangels who send their impulses into the evolution of humanity, Michael is always the one who gives the cosmopolitan impulse — and at the same time the impulse for the spreading of whatever is of most intrinsic value in a particular epoch.'

- Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships, VI: Lecture VIII
Arnhem, 19th July, 1924