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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Calendar of the Soul
GA 40

The course of the year has its own life. With this life the human soul can unfold a feeling-unison. If the soul opens itself to the influences that speak so variously to it week by week, it will find the right perception of itself. Thereby the soul will feel forces growing within that will strengthen it. It will observe that such inward forces want to be awakened—awakened by the soul's ability to partake in the meaningful course of the world as it comes to life in the rhythms of time. Thereby the soul becomes fully aware of the delicate, yet vital threads that exist between itself and the world into which it has been born.

In this calendar a verse is inscribed for each week. This will enable the soul to participate actively in the progressing life of the year as it unfolds from week to week. Each verse should resound in the soul as it unites with the life of the year. A healthy feeling of “at one-ness” with the course of Nature, and from this a vigorous “finding of oneself” is here intended, in the belief that, for the soul, a feeling-unison with the world's course as unfolded in these verses is something for which the soul longs when it rightly understands itself.

—Rudolf Steiner
Foreword to the Second Edition


On the Corresponding Verses by Hans Pusch

It is apparent that the Calendar of the Soul is composed of corresponding verses which divide the year into two halves, from Easter to Michaelmas, and back again to Easter. For the translator, the most important task is to bring the corresponding verses into harmony with each other. By printing them side by side, each verse can be experienced with its ‘octave’ of the corresponding one.

But something else comes to expression in letting them speak side by side. Their relationship follows a certain law of evolution. Out of the whole evolve the parts, and this is the meaning of subtraction. We number the verses from 1 to 52 according to the weeks of the year, Easter to Easter. And now a double subtraction has to take place. We have one verse, say Number 5 for the fifth week; to find its correspondence, we must subtract 1 from our 5, which leads to 4 ... and then subtract the 4 from 52, resulting in 48, the verse we are looking for. It is necessary each time to subtract from the verse number and then from the whole.

This tracing of the related weeks is a gesture akin to the process of evolution. Out of the majestic un-folding of macrocosmic forces, the microcosmic worlds came into being. We ourselves followed this same process of subtraction by evolving by degrees the consciousness of self. It was a process of diminution by which we slowly exchanged our ancient clairvoyant vision, embracing totality, for our present earth-bound sight and mind, geographically conditioned by the existence in a physical body.

Subtracting means, therefore, on the one hand a diminishing, but on the other it creates a new principle of evolution, that of polarity. Not only are the parts a contrast to the whole, but also the parts themselves form opposites. There is no better description of the process than the one Emerson gave in his essay “Compensation:”

“Polarity, or action and reaction, we meet in every part of nature; in darkness and light; in heat and cold; in the ebb and flow of waters; in male and female; in the inspiration and expiration of plants and animals; in the systole and diastole of the heart; in the centrifugal and centripetal gravity ... If the south attracts, the north repels. To empty here, you must condense there. The value of the universe contrives to throw itself into every point. If the good is there, so is the evil; if the affinity, so the repulsion; if the force, so the limitation ... Thus is the universe alive. All things are moral. That soul which within us is a sentiment, outside of us is a law.” What lived in Emerson's mind underlies the style and composition of these weekly verses. And it is the human being who must reach a stage of compensation, of balance between the opposites, enhancing the polarities to forces of inner growth and maturity. It is a most invigorating development when it is practiced year after year in faithful succession. By combining the two corresponding verses in the mind, we gain a new insight into the workings of that which is outside and that which lives within.


Week 1 (Spring)

When out of world-wide spaces
The sun speaks to the human mind,
And gladness from the depths of soul
Becomes, in seeing, one with light,
Then rising from the sheath of self,
Thoughts soar to distances of space
And dimly bind
The human being to the spirit's life.

Week 52 (Autumn)

When from the depths of soul
The spirit turns to the life of worlds
And beauty wells from wide expanses,
Then out of heaven's distances
Streams life-strength into human bodies,
Uniting by its mighty energy
The spirit's being with our human life.

Week 2

Out in the sense-world's glory
The power of thought gives up
its separate being,
And spirit worlds discover
Again their human offspring,
Who germinates in them
But in itself must find
The fruit of soul.

Week 51

Into our inner being
The riches of the senses pour.
The Cosmic Spirit finds itself
Reflected in the human eye,
Which ever must renew its strength
From out that spirit source.

Week 3

Thus to the World-All speaks,
In self-forgetfulness
And mindful of its primal state,
The growing human I:
In you, if I can free myself
From fetters of my selfhood,
I fathom my essential being.

Week 50

Thus to the human ego speaks
In mighty revelation,
Unfolding its inherent powers,
The joy of growth throughout the world:
I carry into you my life
From its enchanted bondage
And so attain my truest goal.

Week 4

I sense a kindred nature to my own:
Thus speaks perceptive feeling
As in the sun-illuminated world
It merges with the floods of light;
To thinking's clarity
My feeling would give warmth
And firmly bind as one
The human being and the world.

Week 49

I feel the force of cosmic life:
Thus speaks my clarity of thought,
Recalling its own spirit growth
Through nights of cosmic darkness,
And to the new approach of cosmic day
It turns its inward rays of hope.

Week 5

Within the light that out of spirit depths
Weaves germinating power into space
And manifests the gods' creative work:
Within its shine, the soul's true being
Is widened into worldwide life
And resurrected
From narrow selfhood's inner power.

Week 48

Within the light that out of world-wide heights
Would stream with power toward the soul,
May certainty of cosmic thinking
Arise to solve the soul's enigmas —
And focusing its mighty rays,
Awaken love in human hearts.

Week 6

There has arisen from its narrow limits
My self and finds itself
As revelation of all worlds
Within the sway of time and space;
The world, as archetype divine,
Displays to me at every turn
The truth of my own likeness.

Week 47

There will arise out of the world's great womb,
Quickening the senses' life, the joy of growth.
Now may it find my strength of thought
Well armed by powers divine
Which strongly live within my being.

Week 7

My self is threatening to fly forth,
Lured strongly by the world's enticing light.
Come forth, prophetic feeling,
Take up with strength your rightful task:
Replace in me the power of thought
Which in the senses' glory
Would gladly lose itself.

Week 46

The world is threatening to stun
The inborn forces of my soul;
Now, memory, come forth
From spirit depths, enkindling light;
Invigorate my inward sight
Which only by the strength of will
Is able to sustain itself.

Week 8

The senses' might grows strong
United with the gods' creative work;
It presses down my power of thinking
Into a dreamlike dullness.
When godly being
Desires union with my soul,
Must human thinking
In quiet dream-life rest content.

Week 45

My power of thought grows firm
United with the spirit's birth.
It lifts the senses' dull attractions
To bright-lit clarity.
When soul-abundance
Desires union with the world's becoming,
Must senses' revelation
Receive the light of thinking.

Week 9

When I forget the narrow will of self,
The cosmic warmth that heralds summer's glory
Fills all my soul and spirit;
To lose myself in light
Is the command of spirit vision
And intuition tells me strongly:
O lose yourself to find yourself.

Week 44

In reaching for new sense attractions,
Soul-clarity would fill,
Mindful of spirit-birth attained,
The world's bewildering, sprouting growth
With the creative will of my own thinking.

Week 10

To summer's radiant heights
The sun in shining majesty ascends;
It takes my human feeling
Into its own wide realms of space.
Within my inner being stirs
Presentiment which heralds dimly,
You shall in future know:
A godly being now has touched you.

Week 43

In winter's depths is kindled
True spirit life with glowing warmth;
It gives to world appearance,
Through forces of the heart, the power to be.
Grown strong, the human soul defies
With inner fire the coldness of the world.

Week 11

In this the sun's high hour it rests
With you to understand these words of wisdom:
Surrender to the beauty of the world,
Be stirred with new-enlivened feeling;
The human I can lose itself
And find itself within the cosmic I.

Week 42

In this the shrouding gloom of winter
The soul feels ardently impelled
To manifest its innate strength,
To guide itself to realms of darkness,
Anticipating thus
Through warmth of heart the sense-world's
revelation.

Week 12

The radiant beauty of the world
Compels my inmost soul to free
God-given powers of my nature
That they may soar into the cosmos,
To take wing from myself
And trustingly to seek myself
In cosmic light and cosmic warmth.

Week 41

The soul's creative might
Strives outward from the heart's own core
To kindle and inflame god-given powers
In human life to right activity;
The soul thus shapes itself
In human loving and in human working.

Week 13

And when I live in senses' heights,
There flames up deep within my soul
Out of the spirit's fiery worlds
The gods' own word of truth:
In spirit sources seek expectantly
To find your spirit kinship.

Week 40

And when I live in spirit depths
And dwell within my soul's foundations,
There streams from love-worlds of the heart,
To fill the vain delusion of the self,
The fiery power of the cosmic Word.

Week 14 Summer

Surrendering to senses' revelation
I lost the drive of my own being,
And dreamlike thinking seemed
To daze and rob me of myself.
Yet quickening there draws near
In sense appearance cosmic thinking.

Week 39 Winter

Surrendering to spirit revelation
I gain the light of cosmic being;
The power of thinking, growing clearer,
Gains strength to give myself to me,
And quickening there frees itself
From thinker's energy my sense of self.

Week 15

I feel enchanted weaving
Of spirit within outer glory.
In dullness of the senses
It has enwrapt my being
In order to bestow the strength
Which in its narrow bounds my I
Is powerless to give itself.

Week 38

The spirit child within my soul
I feel freed of enchantment.
In heart-high gladness has
The holy cosmic Word engendered
The heavenly fruit of hope,
Which grows rejoicing into worlds afar
Out of my being's godly roots.

Week 16

To bear in inward keeping spirit bounty
Is stern command of my prophetic feeling,
That ripened gifts divine
Maturing in the depths of soul
To selfhood bring their fruits.

Week 37

To carry spirit light into world-winter-night
My heart is ardently impelled,
That shining seeds of soul
Take root in grounds of worlds
And Word Divine through senses' darkness
Resounds, transfiguring all life.

Week 17

Thus speaks the cosmic Word
That I by grace through senses' portals
Have led into my innermost soul:
Imbue your spirit depths
With my wide world horizons
To find in future time myself in you.

Week 36

Within my being's depths there speaks,
Intent on revelation,
The cosmic Word mysteriously:
Imbue your labor's aims
With my bright spirit light
To sacrifice yourself through me.

Week 18

Can I expand my soul
That it unites itself
With cosmic Word received as seed?
I sense that I must find the strength
To fashion worthily my soul
As fitting raiment for the spirit.

Week 35

Can I know life's reality
So that it's found again
Within my soul's creative urge?
I feel that I am granted power
To make my self, as humble part,
At home within the cosmic self.

Week 19

In secret to encompass now
With memory what I've newly got
Shall be my striving's further aim:
Thus, ever strengthening, selfhood's forces
Shall be awakened from within
And growing, give me to myself.

Week 34

In secret inwardly to feel
How all that I've preserved of old
Is quickened by new-risen sense of self:
This shall, awakening, pour forth cosmic forces
Into the outer actions of my life
And growing, mould me into true existence.

Week 20

I feel at last my life's reality
Which, severed from the world's existence,
Would in itself obliterate itself,
And building only on its own foundation,
Would in itself bring death upon itself.

Week 33

I feel at last the world's reality
Which, lacking the communion of my soul,
Would in itself be frosty, empty life,
And showing itself powerless
To recreate itself in souls,
Would in itself find only death.

Week 21

I feel strange power, bearing fruit
And gaining strength to give myself to me.
I sense the seed maturing
And expectation, light-filled, weaving
Within me on my selfhood's power.

Week 32

I feel my own force, bearing fruit
And gaining strength to give me to the world.
My inmost being I feel charged with power
To turn with clearer insight
Toward the weaving of life's destiny.

Week 22

The light from world-wide spaces
Works on within with living power;
Transformed to light of soul
It shines into the spirit depths
To bring to birth the fruits
Whereby out of the self of worlds
The human self in course of time shall ripen

Week 31

The light from spirit depths
Strives to ray outwards, sun-imbued;
Transformed to forceful will of life
It shines into the senses' dullness
To bring to birth the powers
Whereby creative forces, soul-impelled,
Shall ripen into human deeds.

Week 23

There dims in damp autumnal air
The senses' luring magic;
The light's revealing radiance
Is dulled by hazy veils of mist.
In distances around me I can see
The autumn's winter sleep;
The summer's life has yielded
Itself into my keeping.

Week 30

There flourish in the sunlight of my soul
The ripened fruits of thinking;
To conscious self-assurance
The flow of feeling is transformed.
I can perceive now joyfully
The autumn's spirit-waking:
The winter will arouse in me
The summer of the soul.

Week 24

Unceasingly itself creating
Soul life becomes aware of self;
The cosmic spirit, striving on,
Renews itself by self-cognition,
And from the darkness of the soul
Creates the fruit of self-engendered will.

Week 29

To fan the spark of thinking into flame
By my own strong endeavor,
To read life's inner meaning
Out of the cosmic spirit's fount of strength:
This is my summer heritage,
My autumn solace, and my winter hope.

Week 25

I can belong now to myself
And shining spread my inner light
Into the dark of space and time.
Toward sleep is urging all creation,
But inmost soul must stay awake
And carry wakefully sun's glowing
Into the winter's icy flowing.

Week 28

I can, in newly quickened inner life,
Sense wide horizons in myself.
The force and radiance of my thought —
Coming from soul's sun power —
Can solve the mysteries of life,
And grant fulfillment now to wishes
Whose wings have long been lamed by hope.

Week 26

O Nature, your maternal life
I bear within the essence of my will.
And my will's fiery energy
Shall steel my spirit striving,
That sense of self springs forth from it
To hold me in myself.

Week 27

When to my being's depths I penetrate,
There stirs expectant longing
That self-observing, I may find myself
As gift of summer sun, a seed
That warming lives in autumn mood
As germinating force of soul.