Friday, March 31, 2017

Table Graces

Earth who gave to us this food
Sun who made it ripe and good
Dear Earth, dear Sun
By you we live
To you our loving thanks we give.

-Christian Morgenstern


The plant seeds are quickened in the night of the Earth,
The green herbs are sprouting through the might of the Air,
And all fruits are ripened by the power of the Sun.

So quickens the soul in the shrine of the Heart,
So blossoms Spirit-power in the light of the World,
So ripens Man's strength in the glory of God.

-Rudolf Steiner


The bread alone is not our food.
What feeds us in the bread
Is God's eternal Word,
Is Spirit and is Life.
Another version:

Bread does not nourish thee,
What feedeth thee in bread
Is God's eternal Word,
His Spirit and His life.

-Angelus Silesius


That which we do take for ourselves, unto ourselves,
That which does sustain us:
Be it filled with the fire from the Twelve,
And so divinely imbued,
That we may tolerate life, and life shall tolerate us.



Some Camphill prayers:

Sun, Earth and air,
Have wrought by God's care
That the plants may live and bear.
Praising God for this food
In Truth live we would,
Bearing Beauty and Good.

The bread from corn,
The corn from light,
The light from the countenance of God.
From the glory of God
May the fruits of the earth
Bring light into being
Within our hearts.


For the food we have, we give thanks,
And ask for those who have not
The Grace of Your Love
And the favour of Your Bounty


Earth who has given all this to us,
Sun who has ripened all this for us,
O earth so dear, O Sun so dear,
We never shall forget you here.

The Peace of Christ - Be upon each thing
Our eye takes in -
Upon each thing
Our mouth takes in
Upon our body which is of earth
Upon our Spirit which is of God.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Goethe's "Nature Table"

If you are setting up a house altar there are many examples, from many cultures today and in the past. Try representatives from the Elements: the Earth, the Air, Fire and Water (plants are of the Earth).
"When he [Goethe] was seven he built himself an altar to nature, taking his father's music stand and placing on it plants from his father's herbarium and also minerals and crowning it all with a little incense candle that he lit by focusing the beams of the morning sun with a burning-glass; an offering to the great god of nature, a rebellion against everything imposed on him by education."

-Rudolf Steiner, Practical Advice to Teachers, Stuttgart,  21st August to 5th September 1919

"We see the seven year old boy — Goethe — who could have absorbed quite ordinary ideas from his environment as any other boy would be able to do; but that did not satisfy him. He himself tells us so in his “Poetry and Truth”. There we see this boy begin something quite extraordinary in order to express his longing for the Divine. He takes a music stand from his father's effects and transforms it into an altar by placing upon it all kinds of minerals and plants and other products of nature from which the spirit of nature speaks.

"With a certain premonition this boy-soul builds an altar, places a candle upon it, takes a burning-glass, which for the first rays of the rising Sun, gathers these with his glass and focuses them upon the candle till the smoke rises. And in advanced age he remembers how he, as a boy, sends his pious feelings to the great God of nature Who speaks through plants and mineral and sends us His fire through the rays of the Sun. All this develops further in Goethe.

"We see how it comes to expression, at a more mature age, after he arrives in Weimar and is called as advisor to the grand Duke — in the beautiful prosahymn, in which he says: Nature, we are surrounded and embraced by thee. Unwarned and unmasked she takes us into the cycles of her dance, hurrying along with us until we fall exhausted from her arms." -Rudolf Steiner

Goethe's words from his Poetry & Truth:
The boy had chiefly concentrated his attention upon the first article of the creed. The God who stands in immediate connection with nature, and recognizes and loves it as His handiwork, seemed to him the real God, who might enter into closer relationship with man, as with everything else, and who would make him His care, as well as the motion of the stars, times and seasons, plants and animals. There were passages in the Gospels which explicitly stated this.

The boy could ascribe no form to this Being; he therefore sought Him in His works, and desired to build Him an altar in true Old Testament fashion. Natural productions were to represent the world symbolically; above these a flame was to burn, signifying the aspiration of man's heart towards his Maker. From his natural history museum, gradually stocked as opportunity occurred, the boy brought out his best samples of ore and other specimens; but now came the difficulty how to arrange them and build them up into a pile. His father possessed a beautiful red lacquered music-stand, ornamented with gilt flowers, in the form of a four-sided pyramid with ledges at various heights, which had proved convenient for quartets, but had been little used latterly.

The boy possessed himself of this stand, and built up his representatives of Nature one above the other in tiers, so that the result was pleasing, and at the same time impressive. The first act of worship was to take place at early sunrise, but the young priest had not yet made up his mind how to produce a flame which should at the same time emit an agreeable odour. A method of attaining these two ends at last occurred to him, for he possessed a few fumigating tapers, which if they did not make a flame, yet diffused a pleasant fragrance as they smouldered. Indeed, this gentle burning and exhalation seemed a more fitting symbol of what passes in the soul than an actual flame. The sun had risen long before, but the neighbouring houses shut out the east. At last it rose above the roofs; forthwith a burning glass was applied and kindled the tapers, which were placed at the top of his erection in a beautiful china saucer.

Everything succeeded according to his heart's desire, and his religious service was complete. The altar was left standing as a special ornament in the room which had been assigned him in the new house. Every one regarded it as merely an ornamental collection of natural curiosities. The boy knew better, but concealed his knowledge. He longed for a repetition of the ceremony. But unfortunately, just as the sun rose most favourably, the porcelain saucer was not at hand; he placed the tapers directly on the upper surface of the stand; they were kindled, and so great was the devotion of the priest, that he did not observe, until it was too late, the mischief his sacrifice was doing.

The tapers had burned mercilessly into the red lacquer and beautiful gold flowers, as if some evil spirit had been there, and left black, ineffaceable footprints. This disaster caused the young priest extreme embarrassment. The damage could be concealed, it was true, by the larger specimens, but he had lost heart for new offerings, and the accident might almost be considered an indication and warning as to the danger which subsists in attempting to approach the Deity in such a way.

Freedom of Thought

Already, unconsciously or subconsciously, we all carry Christ within us. But through ourselves alone we must find the way to understand Him anew. This will not come from the imposing of fixed dogmas, only from doing all we can to further what will make Christ universally comprehensible, to further the spread of universal religious knowledge in general, and to search out everything which can work to this end.

Hence in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch the need for more and more tolerance, particularly where thought in connection with religious experience is concerned. And whereas in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch those who worked to spread religious truths did so by imposing certain dogmas and fixed principles, in the fifth period this must all completely change. It is a question of something entirely different.

Because men are becoming more and more individual an attempt should be made for anyone to describe his inner experiences completely freed from dogma to another, in such a way that the latter might also be able to develop his own free life of religious thought as an individual.

It is a fact that dogmatic religion, the fixed dogmas of the religious confessions, will kill the religious life of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. So that a fresh start from this age must consist in making it clear that in the first centuries of the Christian era this or that may have been adapted to man's development at the time, and that in the following centuries something different is needed. Also that there are different religions. We must try to make the essential nature of the different religions intelligible, to make clear different aspects of the Christ-conception. In this way we bring to every soul what it requires for its particular deepening. But we do not ourselves intervene in the moulding of the soul; we leave the soul, especially in the sphere of religion, its own liberty of thinking and scope to unfold this liberty.

Just as social understanding is necessary for the fifth post-Atlantean period at the point I have described, so is liberty of thought on religious grounds a fundamental condition for the development of the consciousness soul.


In this very age of the Consciousness Soul, the ahrimanic powers are most fiercely renewing their attack upon liberty of thought — the nerve and sinew in the stream of the spiritual scientific conception of life

And in the age which prompted by modern life feels the first stirrings of a need to think freely, we find the opposing power at work in the so-called Jesuitism of the different religions — although much comes under this heading which would have to be described in detail. It is actually brought to life in order that the strongest possible resistance may be offered to liberty of thought, so vital a necessity for the fifth post-Atlantean period.

It will become more and more necessary to exterminate Jesuitism, the enemy in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch of free thinking, because from religion outwards liberty of thought must spread over every sphere of life. But as it must be striven for independently, mankind is put, as it were, to the proof, and difficulties spring up everywhere. These difficulties will increase as men of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch advance towards clear consciousness, yet feeling this at first to be a disadvantage, and in many respects stupefying themselves.

So we find the clash of sharp conflict between germinating liberty of thought and the principle of authority which works into our times like a hang-over from the past. And there is a passion for dulling the consciousness and for self-deception where belief in authority is concerned. In our time putting faith in authority has become so great and so intensified that under its influence people are losing their power of judgment. In the fourth post-Atlantean epoch they were endowed by nature with sound understanding; now they must acquire it, develop it, and their belief in authority holds them back from doing so.

We are becoming bound hand and foot to our belief in authority. Only think how helpless human beings appear when compared to the unreasoning animal creation! How completely the animal is guided by instincts which lead it in a sound way even from sickness back to health; whereas modern man fights against sound judgment in this respect and submits himself entirely to authority. He has very little wish to acquire discernment for healthy conditions of living, although it is true that praiseworthy efforts are made in this direction by various societies and institutions. But these efforts need to be very much intensified; above all we must realize that we have increasingly to contend with our own trust in authority, and that whole theories are being built up which in their turn will become the basis of convictions only serving to uphold belief in authority.

But under the pressure of authority we shall become more and more helpless. And systematically to build up this force of authority, this habit of authority, is actually the principle of Jesuitism. And Jesuitism in the Catholic religion is only a special instance of other less noticeable performances in other directions. It begins in the sphere of ecclesiastical dogma with the tendency to uphold papal authority projected over from the fourth post-Atlantean period into the fifth where it can do no good. But the same Jesuitical principle will gradually transfer itself to other spheres of life.

In a form hardly differing from the Jesuitism of dogmatic religion, we already find it in medical circles where a certain dogmatism strives after more power for the medical profession. This is typical of Jesuitical aspiration everywhere; and it will grow stronger and stronger. People will find themselves more and more tied down by what authority imposes upon them. And in face of this ahrimanic opposition — for such it is — salvation for the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch will be found in asserting the rights of the Consciousness Soul which is wishing to develop. But as the gift of reason is no longer bestowed upon us like our two arms by Nature, as was still to some extent the case in the Fourth Post-Atlantean Epoch, this can only come about through our good will to develop the faculties of understanding and sound judgment. The development of the Consciousness Soul demands liberty of thought; and this can flourish only in a particular aura, in a certain atmosphere.

It stands to reason that to what has been said the following objections would be justified: “Yes, indeed — but we are not qualified to pronounce an opinion upon what experts nowadays officially give out. Only consider” — it might be objected — “what the medical student has to learn! That he should learn it is right and proper, but we could not; and then add to this what the lawyer must know, and the art student, and so on.” — It is certainly out of the question that we should learn these things; but we are not called upon to be creative, we need only be capable of judging. We must allow the expert to create, but we must be able to criticise the expert. And this faculty of judgment we shall not acquire by specialising, but only by cultivating in an all-round way our powers of understanding and our faculty of judgment. This, however, can never come about through expert knowledge in some particular branch of science, but only through the all-embracing knowledge of the Spirit.

Emphasis must be laid upon the fact that spiritual science not only teaches us but in this connection develops our faculty of judgment — that is to say, it makes possible and fosters the freedom and independence of our thinking. 

It is not merely the things we learn, the knowledge we acquire, it is the beings of the higher Hierarchies themselves who help us when we know about them. And if in future, as the Fifth  Post-Atlantean Epoch proceeds, we face the authority of the expert, it will be good to have behind us not only our own human understanding but also what the spiritual beings are able to weave into it through our knowing about them. They qualify us to confront authority with sound judgment. The spiritual world helps us. We have need of it, we must know about it, and unite ourselves with it through conscious understanding. This is the third thing which must come to pass in the fifth post-Atlantean period.

The first is:

The second:

The third:

These three things must be the great true ideals of the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch. We must have reciprocal understanding in the social sphere, liberty of thought in religion and in the other branches of community life; and in the sphere of knowledge we must have knowledge of the spiritual worlds.

-Rudolf Steiner, How Can the Destitution of Soul in Modern Times Be Overcome?, October 10, 1916

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Rehearsed Reverse Ritual

Firstly an unhealthy ego activity is reflected in the ego-veneer which becomes as sticky or tacky, and is visibly thin in patches, but murky also. One would imagine perhaps that less ego activity would amount in a greater veneer to encase it, however it requires an inner maintenance of sorts and condenses unreasonably when there is a deficit of inner warmth and activity.

Contrary to this comes true humility. Here we may witness the very real differentiation which proves that humility enhances the self with egohood. For it is that this protective veneer may at suitable times, be shared by individuals who are responsive to each other and remitting of their selves. Not only do the aureoles stretch out and contain in combination the two or the many (who for that time are in true humility towards each other) but also the aureole intensity becomes magnificently illumined and is truly colorful with hues of blue, sprinkled with stars. The heavens become literally mirrored as the ego begins to fully function in 'open' activity.

One must realize that our self-consciousness is supported by:-

  1. That we are what we are: Beingness.
  2. That we know it: the gift of the ego.
  3. That Christ knows it: our higher astrality.
  4. That we know Christ: our Christ-Soul - not ego, but heart.
  5. That we are separate - our greater ego - to all other beings: the ego-veneer.
  6. That we may combine with all other beings: our Christ-soul combined with ego in possibility through empathy shared and in consciousness experienced.
  7. And last but not least, our Father God, our Spirit permits us to be, and furthermore is the very Life which does sustain us.
So the conductivity of the active ego is relative to its exterior shawl: our greater ego as is borrowed from Christ. Our true individuality is not compromised by that humility which leads us to 'combine proximities' (yes that is the very real meaning) and envelop ourselves within that which we adore.

Loving Christ, as with the love of another individual, expands the greater ego, and when rehearsed it may become sufficiently healthy and coherent, and this does reflect back into the consciousness of the man thereby. In this he shall be ever stronger in the World - by this we mean to say that he shall not be or feel buffeted this way and that by the thoughts and opinions of those men to whom he comes in contact with. For many such offerings are remarkably unhealthy to accommodate or wear and there are many who do know instinctively that they are burdened thereby.


Inverted Pentagram

Eliphas Levi
stated that the inverted pentagram was satanic:

"The Pentagram with two points in the ascendant represents Satan as the goat of the Sabbath; when one point is in the ascendant, it is the sign of the Saviour."

-Ritual of High Magic, ch. 5

"A reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards, is a symbol of evil and attracts sinister forces because it overturns the proper order of things and demonstrates the triumph of matter over spirit. It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns, a sign execrated by initiates."

"The flaming star, which, when turned upside down, is the hierolgyphic [sic] sign of the goat of Black Magic, whose head may be drawn in the star, the two horns at the top, the ears to the right and left, the beard at the bottom. It is the sign of antagonism and fatality. It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns."

"Let us keep the figure of the Five-pointed Star always upright, with the topmost triangle pointing to heaven, for it is the seat of wisdom, and if the figure is reversed, perversion and evil will be the result."
- Eliphas Levi

What he said is correct, we don't approach the spiritual by means of the "earth pole"- "triumph of matter".

Rudolf Steiner on the pentagram:

"We're always surrounded by five ether streams in the world around us on earth. They're called earth, water, fire, air and thought ethers. These etheric streams are also active in man: earth ether from the head to the right foot, from there water ether to the left hand, from there fire ether to the right hand, from there air ether to the left foot, and then thought ether back to the head.

"This is the occultist's sacred pentagram, the symbol of man. Its point is directed upwards, which indicates that the spirit streams to man from the heights. The pentagram is present in many flowers and other things in nature. The sign of black magic is a pentagram with one point at the bottom, through which magicians attract bad forces from the earth and send them out of the two top horns into the environment by means of their bad will in order to use soul and nature forces for their own egotistical, evil purposes."
This links in with another process used in Black Magic- drawing up forces through the feet.

Rudolf Steiner:

Streams of ether are always circulating out of the cosmos through the human body. One such stream enters through the head, passes from there into the right foot, then into the left hand, then into the right hand, then into the left foot, and from there back to the head. If we think of a man standing in the position just described, with outstretched arms, then the streaming has the form of a pentagram.

 It would be bad for man if the stream did not enter into him through the head but through the feet. All evil influences enter the human body through the feet. The black magicians make use of this.
-Guidance in Esoteric Training, Talks & writings 1903-1913, GA#245