A Sound Outlook for To-day and a Genuine Hope for the Future
IV. History and Repeated Earth-Lives
16 July 1918, Berlin
I want to continue the observations I have begun concerning the progress of the human soul through its various earth lives, and to continue them in such a way as to make the experiences referred to useful as regards our judgment of the immediate present. To-day I would like to dwell more on the external side of things, and in the next lecture more on the inner side.
We have traced the path of the human soul in its repeated earth-lives through the three epochs most vitally concerning us — the Egypto-Chaldean, the Graeco-Latin, and our own, during which the human soul — looked upon as a self, as an individuality — experiences sonething different in each incarnation. Now we need only call up before our minds what will happen to those souls who go through earthly incarnation in our own time, to return after a more or less normal period, as will happen with most people, though not with everyone. It has often been pointed out, and last time it was repeated, that souls incarnated at thn present time will come back knowing with certainty, in some form or other — and (this I described more closely last time) through their own inward exerience — the fact of repeated earth-lives. This momentous step will be accomplished in the next age; souls will advance from their present ignorance to knowledge of reincarnation; but something else needs emphasis.
Remember that I laid stress on an important epoch which began with the seventh or eighth century before the Mstery of Golotha. In the earlier centuries of this epoch many souls were able, in the old clairvoyant fashion, to look back on their earlier earth-lives; but because they looked into a time when the sentient soul was specially developed, what they saw was the connection of human beings with the outer world. They gained a clear picture of man's proceedings in the outer world, and what happened to him there. To be sure, this will not be so in the next epoch to ours, when the retrospect will be more directed towards aspects of the soul. It will be less concerned with actions and experiences in space, less like a realistic picture, and more of a looking back into the life of the soul.
I mention this again so that you may see what very, very different experiences souls have in their successive earth lives. And of course the question must press upon each one of you — how has the outside world come to believe that during the course of history, human beings have not greatly changed? Taking the current presentations of history (some of which, but not all, are well-intentioned), we find over and over again that each goes back to a certain point of time, to which the historical accounts and documents extend, but they take for granted that the structure of the human soul has been the same all along. They grant a certain development, but they do not think of it in nearly as radical a way as we must do, in the light of the conclusions of spiritual science. The question forces itself on every one of us: — How is it that there is no proper awareness of “the metamorphosis of the human soul”?
If now we consider historical events from the point of view of spiritual science, we see that for a long time man has really been held back from knowledge of himself, rather than led towards it. To discover how the human soul changes from one incarnation to another is possible only when self- knowledge, real self-knowledge, takes root; but this has been driven back through events which we still have to appraise. Significant examples of this forcing-back process could be found in recent history. A certain fraternity, known to you all, that of the Freemasons, believes — honestly in the case of many of the brethren — that they can lead members of their circle to self-knowledge. They have various symbols of which it is evident, when they are approached with spiritual scientific knowledge, that they are profound, fraught with meaning; all really designed to lead to self-knowledge; but they do not do so. If one reads the official records of Freemasonry, it is remarkable to find the “enlightened” supposing that to understand their craft it is necessary to go back only to the eighteenth or seventeenth century. Yet what is contained in their symbols has been entirely concealed since the seventeenth century, changed into something to be looked at and shared — but which it is not felt necessary to understand. To approach these Masonic symbols with a capacity for understanding them would provide a path to self-knowledge, for they are all designed to that end. The real development of Freemasonry, however, has taken another path, — that of concealing self-knowledge, and by admitting only an outward explanation of the symbolism, to make self-knowledge impossible. Hence we can really say, from the standpoint of truth, that the development of modern Freemasonry is fundamentally that of a fraternity for making incomprehensible the symbols to be found within it. It is as though the unconscious purpose was precisely to make the symbols incomprehensible, for the very time over which the new Freemasonry has extended, (as regards the “enlightened”, not the mystical side), coincides with the greatest dread of self-knowledge in men's minds. There is much talk about it; man must seek “the divine within him”, “his higher self”, etc.; but that is all mere talk. It all tends to block up, not to open, the way to real self-knowledge; and we must ask: Whence comes this aversion, this terror? We will consider this from its outer side to-day.
It is apparent in a very remarkable way, not only in the limited realm of Freemasonry, but over the whole range of modern culture. We see how modern culture — notably in the spreading of Christianity — really takes the line of concealing and suppressing self-knowledge; a line of extraordinary interest and significance. Few people to-day take the trouble to compare the best available accounts of widely separated centuries, and fewer still reflect on the real character of what is described.
You can make an experiment, not very revealing but interesting all the same, by taking such a work as “The Life of Michelangelo” by Herman Grimm, which deals in fact mainly with Michael Angelo's period, the environment from which he emerged. Try to realise what the world would be like if one lived in the time which Grimm describes, and try to compare it with the world of to-day. The difference is tremendous! Yet that will not mean much, for the centuries in question are not very far apart. Something else emerges if one gives real thought to studying the epoch — including its preparatory stages and its after-effects — in which the great transition to modern times was accomplished. Looking back at the three great epochs which Spiritual Science shows us in our Present earth-cycle, we find that the third ends about the seventh or eighth century B.C., and the fourth with the beginning of the fifteenth century A.D. At this point there lies, not far behind us, an important, significant transition in the soul-life of civilised humanity. Usually it is hardly touched upon in history — and why? There, too, is the dread of self-knowledge, and also of knowledge of the human soul. An interesting example of the time antecedent to the change can be found in accounts of a personality such as St. Bernard Of Clairvaux. St. Bernard, perhaps the most outstanding personality of the twelfth century, and indeed of the age with which the fourth Post-Atlantean epoch of civilisation came to an end, manifested a structure of soul which after the fifteenth century was no longer possible in Europe. Nowadays it is very hard to describe this, because the preconditions for forming the right conceptions are altogether lacking; but I advise you to read accounts of the life of St. Bernard so as to see the impression he made on other people. Reading these accounts, one says to oneself: By the side of these, what are the Gospel stories of Miracles? The few sick folk healed by Christ Jesus himself — according to the Gospels — are a trifle compared with the astonishing wonder-working activities of St. Bernard! The number of people of whom it is said that he made the blind to see and lame to walk, is beyond all comparison with the number of similar cases reported in the Gospels. The accounts of the impression made by his preaching gives one the feeling that what he said acted as a widespread, intensely active spiritual aura. In the words of this man there lived a reality of which we can have no conception at the present day. If one tried to describe all the effects produced by his personality, people would simply not believe it for there is no possibility nowadays of giving an adequate idea of how he was then regarded. To penetrate to the inner structure of his soul, is, as I have said, difficult to-day, because, even in our own circle, the conditions for it are wanting. However, I might hint at one thing: —
In this personality there was an amazing devotion to the spiritual world, an absolute absorption in it. If anyone to-day undertakes something and it fails, he naturally begins to doubt whether he was right to embark on it. A personality such as St. Bernard was never doubtful, because he had always taken counsel with his God in the spiritual worlds before he undertook or advised anything. Through all the failures he experienced in the Crusades, when everything he had advised went wrong, he never doubted for a moment that his thoughts were absolutely correct, and that the discrepancy between what really happened in the outer world and what he had conceived under the influence of the spiritual world would in some way be cleared up and accounted for.
In choosing out such a personality, one is speaking of a single, outstanding figure; but what I have been saying is not restricted to him. It is the signature of the whole age — in no way confined to him. It is the signature of the epoch which began in Europe about the third or fourth century A.D., and lasted until the thirteenth, fourteenth or fifteenth. Of course within this age something further was being prepared, but this came to expression, as a deep influence, stamping itself on its time, only after the fourteenth or fifteenth century. The third to the fifteenth centuries was the time of an even more concentrated power of Faith, the age in which the events of the time came to pass under its impress.
In this connection I must beg you to recollect what I always request in these lectures — it is particularly important in passages such as these. I choose my words in such a way that other words cannot be substituted for them. If these carefully chosen words are replaced by others, from that moment your description is no longer historically accurate. I said, “It was the age when the power of Faith-was established”: If that be changed into “It was the age when Piety was established”, that would represent something entirely untrue, not my meaning at all. It was the Power of Faith I referred to in describing Bernard. He was also without doubt a pious nan, but that may belong to a man's personal character. What in those days worked and lived in outer events was the influence of Faith. The power of Faith is indeed to be found in every age, but it is not always decisive in the making of history. Our present age will be superseded by one in which Faith will again play a significant though sporadic part, but it has not yet come to that. Superstitious belief in medicine for instance, take grotesque forms in the future, and Faith will have a great part to play in that, but things have not yet gone so far. In humanity to-day, a hazy somnolence as regards historical events plays the chief part. Now we can put the question: How did it happen that this power of Faith became such an important historical impulse in Europe — the very impulse which significantly ushered in what arose in the fifteenth century as the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, in which we are now living?
First of all it was something apparently quite external which laid the foundation for the advent of the power of Faith: I mean, the circunstances which brought about the fall of the Roman Empire. The dominant historical-impulses from the third or fourth century up to the fifteenth, took the place of the impulses of the Roman Empire. Of course there were very many impulses which contributed to the fall of the Empire but one very substantial one was that during the course of Roman history money gradually flowed away towards the East. With the extension of the Roman Empire the Legions had to be moved further and further to the borders of the huge Empire; the men's wages had to be paid in money — not in kind, as was possible while the Empire was smaller. Therefore, with the extending Empire, money-wealth was gradually diverted to the East; and an essential characteristic of Europe from the early part of the third and fourth centuries onward, was its shortage of money — of coinage, that is. Many other things are, involved in this, and it is important to look at them with a sound eye for reality, not with mystical enthusiasm.
The art of making gold, alchemy, was partly conditioned in Europe by the outflow of gold to the East; men believed that if gold could be made, crated, they could once again be rich. A frequent reason for alchemy, as it was cultivated in the first centuries of the Middle Ages, was the shortage of coinage due to the extension of the Roman Empire. Linked up with this was the eruption into the impoverished Roman Empire, at that period, of the peoples from the north. With their pagan ideas, pagan culture and pagan experiences, they understood little of the Roman social structure, which had gradually become more and more powerful under the influence of money. The Romans had found things very uncomfortable after the diversion of money to the East, but these conditions suited the invading German races very well.
The spread of Christianity coincided with this condition of the Roman Empire. It is a fact, though one no longer recognised, that a profound spiritual perception lived in the spreading waves of Christianity throughout those early times. There is an incurable fear to-day, especially in theological circles, of the sc-called “Gnosis”. Many a time on asking why people in such circles dislike, and even fear, Spiritual Science, one receives the answer that “it lead to a revival of the Gnosis”; that is quite a sufficient reason for rejection! the Gnosis (though of course in our age it would have to make its appearance in a different guise from what it was in the early centuries of Christianity) is nothing else than a positive knowledge of the spiritual world, the human capacity to attain to vision of spiritual realms, as sight in the physical world is gained by the senses. One can meet people to-day who make fun of the disputes there used to be as to whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Son, or is connected in some other way with the Father and the Son. Nowadays people unite no conceptions with these ideas, but they did in those times. Anyone who writes the history of the first Christian centuries out of true knowledce, will see that in these origins of dogmas the spirit was active, although men can no longer find it now. A deeply significant spiritual outlook was carried on the advancing waves of Christianity, and it lasted on into the ninth century. A study of the details of this spreading Christianity shows that the later opinion, according to which the religious outlook should be concerned only with the strengthening of faith and should meddle as little as possible with tie particulars of the spiritual world, arose from a certain way, a right way, of regarding the nations from whom the new Europe was to arise. They were pagan peoples — peoples moreover, who had not come far in connected thinking or in the forming of ideas which lead into the spiritual world; they were strong, forceful, primitively sound men, but not exactly men of a disposition to form very defined conceptions of anything spiritual.
So, in order that Christianity might spread, it was made suitable for these peoples. Because they were not great thinkers, more was made of the “heart”, of the power of faith. So we find that in the tenth century all spiritual vision had more or less disappeared from Christianity; everything was centred in faith — and what was then regarded as faith, what was meant by the term, had gradually become the soul-content of man. Souls then lived in a different atmosphere from that of to-day. One needs to realise what was then experienced through legends. I will relate one simple legend, a thoughtful one, which in those days was known everywhere. It runs thus:
Saint Bernard occasionally rode on an ass. He had a monk with him. This monk suffered from what we call epilepsy. He was constantly falling. St. Bernard saw this when the monk accompanied him to lead his ass; so he besought his God that in future the monk might never have an attack of epilepsy without knowing of it beforehand. The legend goes on to say that the monk lived for twenty years, but every time he had an attack, he knew it was coming so he could stay in bed, and not bruise his limbs by falling.
This is a simple, unpretentious tale, but it worked deeply and was told everywhere. Men felt strong in soul in experiencing the supporting power of true faith, and they lived in the aura of such an experience.
Now it would not have been possible for this power of faith to establish itself in this way if Europe had not been to some extent isolated during the centuries I have described. Money had flowed Eastwards; and for this reason, trade had gradually ceased. Europe was for a time limited to agriculture. The fact that a third of the soil of Europe should have passed over in the course of these centuries to the upholders of the power of faith — that is, into the possession of the Church — is highly symptomatic. It is as though the whole content of the fourth post-Atlantean period (interrupted only by the Roman element) had been condensed into this power of Faith. But in the course of this strengthening of faith one thing was lost — progress in a genuine Christ-consciousness. We must not forget that Christ was known in the highest sense during the first Christian centuries by those who knew how the Christ-Figure, the Christ-Being, stood in relation to all the forces of the Spiritual world. For those who were first affected by the Christ-Figure, the ground of their emotion was that they gazed up into a spiritual world, and in a sense perceived as it were the approach of the Christ-Figure to the Earth through the aeons, and could connect the Event of Golgotha with all that happened in the Cosmos. This was the grasp of the Event of Golgotha which led those who first interpreted it to explain what had happened on earth as the outcome of event in the worlds of great cosmic happenings.
I know very well that this is otherwise represented now, but when it is said, “We must go back to the plain, simple conceptions of Christ Jesus prevailing in the early centuries”, that is to speak accords to personal fancies, from a wish to conceal the greatness of the Christ-idea and the profound insight of those early centuries into the Mystery of Golgotha. That is why the favourite idea was brought out: everything was made simple, designed to show that Christ Jesus was no more than “the simple man of Nazareth”. It is less surprising to find this view among young people. Older people, at any rate, ought to know that in these matters a significant change has taken place in our time. I have often heard that it is said “These things as presented in Spiritual science we simply cannot understand; they are so very difficult! If only there were not these hindrances!” Thirty years ago the simple country people would have understood such subjects well, but in course-of the last few decades a great change has come about. Older people may still know something of how certain writings, such as those of Böhme and Eckartshausen, which most strenuously endeavoured to open a way into the concrete realities of the spiritual world, were then accepted by the souls of simple peasants. Our spiritual life, unfortunately, has become superficial, under the influence of the bourgeois mind and the increasing repetition of its favourite idea — that truth must be “simple”, meaning that truth must be easy for everyone to grasp in a comfortable way without much reflection. Certainly, there are not many traces left nowadays — even in simple minds — of the fact that in the early centuries of Christianity it was possible to bring lofty spiritual truths before quite simple people when Christ Jesus was spoken of. this implies that what occurred in the subsequent centuries was, in a sense, directed primarily to concealing the knowledge of Christ from Man, to keeping, it at a distance from him.
In these matters we must not look at what we imagine, but at the reality. One of the deepest demands of our age is that we should learn to face reality. Here is an example. I once gave a lecture in Colmar on the subject of “Christianity and Wisdom”; two Catholic ecclesiastics were present. Naturally, they had never heard anything like it before, and on that account they came to me after the lecture, for what I had said did not seem to them so very wicked. It might have seemed so only if some of their superiors had previously spoken about it, and then they would probably have heard nonsense. They only made one objection. They said: “What you say is all very well; it is excellent to talk in this way about the spiritual world, but people understand none of it. We talk in such a way that people can understand it.” I said: “You know, reverend sirs, that neither you nor I ought to lay down the law as to how we should speak to people. Our favourite theories are of no consequence; for of course, according to them, the way in which you speak will please you and the way in which I speak will please me, but that is not the point. What matters is the duty laid upon us by the time we live in: — - not to answer such questions as you have just raised according to our favourite theories, but to let reality itself give the answer. And this is not far to seek. I ask you, since you believe that you speak to everybody, does everybody go to church to hear you?" As truthful men they could only answer: “Many stay away.” Then I could say: “That is the answer of reality! I speak for those who remain outside, who have also the right to find the way to Christ Jesus.” Let the question be asked of reality, of the age, not of man's own self, because the answer one can get from oneself is clearly known to one It seems very simple; but to learn to grasp the obligation laid on us by our age is not a simple matter. Only after deep counsel with himself can a man recognise what really lies behind this.
Mankind's real need to-day is just this: to become objective, to learn to live with the facts of the world. If we understand how to grasp the impulse which is meant by this, we shall come to terms with the truth that gradually, under the influence of the course of events through the centuries, the higher knowledge, the upward gaze into the connection between the Mystery of Golgotha and cosmic events, has been quite lost in Europe. Christ has been put at a distance — from the European soul; He has been reduced to what men were willing to grasp and imagine. The important thing, however, is that men should grasp reality, not merely what they would like to grasp. We often hear it said: “Man should seek his God and he will find Him within. He must unite himself with his inner divine self, then he will find Him”. People are particularly shocked when Spiritual Science is impelled to declare: “If we rise into the spirit from the world in which we live, we find the “Hierarchies”, a richly-membered hierarchical spiritual world, even as here below we find a richly-membered physical world. It is certainly easier and more comfortable to say, “Let each draw near directly to the one Christ: everyone can find Him.” But it does not matter what men imagine; the point is that they should recognise what is really to be found in the spiritual. What do those find who so often say, “I have found an inner connection with my God?” What they call “God,” when they speak like this is in fact often the nearest Spiritual Being belonging to the hierarchy of the Angels, the Guardian Angel, who is thus revered as the “highest being.” To say we “believe” we have found God, means nothin; what is necessary is to understand the reality of this inner experience. When anyone believes himself to be permeated inwardly by a divine being, he is generally permeated only by a member of the Hierarchy of Angels, or else by his own Ego, as it was between the last death and the present birth, as it lived in the spiritual world before uniting with his physical body.
Is it not interesting, that there is one word of which the origin is unknown? Search dictionaries, and you will discover fine explanations of all sorts of words. Yet for this one word the most learned dictionary-makers can find no origin; they do not know what it means even philologically — and this is the word, “God.” It is the word whose meaning is unknown. Very significant and very suggestive! For what people are often really talking about, when they speak so constantly about their “God,” is their own Angel, or simply their own Ego in the time between the last death and present birth. What is thus actually experienced — (I am thinking only of genuine, honest experiences) — is real enough. The point is not to succumb to the illusion that people are praying to “one God.” People have only one word for the experience of their Angel, or indeed for their own ego, whether embodied or not.
It is not uncommon for someone to have a vague foreboding that through Spiritual Science he will get behind the veil of what is constantly referred to as an “experience of God,” and this hinders the spread of Spiritual Science, for Spiritual Science is inherently inclined to reveal the truth behind the immensely significant fact to which I have just referred. The whole historical trend from the third to the tenth — indeed to the fifteenth — century, tends more to the concealment of the mysteries of Christ Jesus than to their becoming manifest. This is not a criticism, but simply a characteristisation; and if people are not in a position to take it in objectively, they will never understand the powers ruling the age that begins with the fifteenth century, the age of the “Consciousness-Soul.” This age, I might say, “thunders in,” and everything in the spiritual world tends to bring out the Consciousness Soul, with its two poles, the material and the spiritual. It is from this point of view that the course of historical development must be scrutinised. Let us picture, for example, how the frame of mind which appears at a higher stage in St Bernard, as the fruit of a strengthened, consolidated faith, produced the European tendency to put Jerusalem in the place of Rome, to found an anti-Roman Christianity with its centre in Jerusalem. For this impulse lay at the root of the Crusades. Godfrey de Bouillon was no emissary of the Roman Pope; on the contrary, he seized on the Crusades in order to build in Jerusalem a bulwark against Rome, to make Christianity independent of Rome. It was an idea which held sway for several centuries. Henry the Second, the Saintly, gave it out in the form of “a Church Catholic but not Roman”.
We see how the faith of Europe sends its aura into the regions where the Romans had sent their gold! In the East the Crusaders came into contact with money and its results; with Roman gold on the one hand, with Oriental Gnosis on the other. This aura under which the Crusades arose must be taken into consideration. It is entirely the aura of European faith — that is the one tone, the one colouring the picture. Let us set against this colouring — if it were to be painted, it would have to be in this one colour — another picture of the dawn of the Consciousness Soul. How should this be represented?
Consider Dandolo, Doge of Venice (1120–1205), formerly in Constantinople and blinded there by the Turks, who was the incarnation of the Ahriman-spirit, and, in spite of his blindness, was the ruler Venice — that Venice which imported the Ahrimanic element into the spirit, as I have described. It was a moment of great significance in the history of the world when this Doge conquered Constantinople, and led over the original spirit of the Crusades into the later ones. How did it happen? In this way.
The Crusaders originally went to the East in quest of the holy places and relics, wishing to bring them under the mantle of their faith. That was their aim they wanted to bring the relics back reverently to Europe. They wished to establish a real link between their faith and the events of he Mystery of Golgotha. When Venice intervened, what became of the relics? They were all collected, but in reality everything was made a business transaction! Under the influence of Venice, the relics were gradually treated as stocks and shares; they rose and rose in value. The capitalist aura spread through Dandolo, the incarnation of the Ahriman-spirit!
We ask ourselves — how did Venice succeed in reversing the earlier trend of events? Venice led trade back from the East to Europe; she rekindled commercial life, which had been impossible before. The question must arise: How could Venice become so powerful in the realm of commerce, while Europe was fundamentally so poor?
Commerce was carried on by barter. During the first part of the period of which I have been speaking, Europe was cut off from the East, to which, to begin with, she had given her coinage. In the absence of money, barter was substituted. Over and over again the historical fact of the way in which Venice came into this field must be insisted upon. We can prove that Venice drove a great bargain for the possession of Alexandria and Damieta, in order to barter her goods for the Oriental wares she coveted. What was it that Venice sold? One thing can easily be proved by documentary evidence, and many others could be added to it: investigation in this direction could be carried far. The Venetian wares were men! Thousands of men! The new trade with the East was begun with human beings — men were sold to the East; and anyone who follows up what became of them arrives at a remarkable result, of which outer history as yet knows but little. From these bartered men sprang the strongest of the warriors with whom the great military expeditions from Asia into Europe were successfully undertaken. The choicest troops of the Asiatic tribes which later fell upon Europe consisted of the descendants of the men sold into slavery to the East by Venice and other Italian States.
It is really necessary to look behind the scenes of world-history, and not to cling to the legends so often retailed to mankind as the “history of the world.” These legends must ultimately suffer the fate of being dismissed as school-girl tales, even though written by Ranke. The times we live in are much too serious for us to refrain from emphasizing what must be learnt; and the most important thing gained from these maters will be the acquirement of a judnment which will awaken man's consciousness — so that he will no longer remain asleep to current tendencies. A monstrous thing happens in our present time, but men do not, and will not, see it; they prefer to look at everything in a disguised and confused way. If here or there a note is struck, sounding from the depths of human development, it is repulsed with phrases drawn from superficial journalism or newspaper articles, which are as far as possible from profitable truth.
To-day I wished to draw your attention from an external point of view, to something belonging to the period in which, during the fifteenth century, the transition was accomplished from the Mind-Soul to the Consciousness-Soul It is most desirable that such ideas should sink into men's souls; they are needed — needed in all domains of life. People talk a great deal nowadays about the ways in which the structure of the community will develop in the future. This very morning I read an article by a man who esteems himself exceptionally clever, who believes he has really grasped the truths of political economy from their foundations. The profound fact he gives out in his argument is that the community, the communal life, must be comprehended as an “organism.” Something really significant is supposed to have been advanced when it is said that the life of the community must be looked upon as an organism, not as a machine. Thus is the most dreadful Wilsonism rife amongst us! I have often said that the very essence of “Wilsonism” is its inability to conceive of the life of the community except as an “organism.” Men must eventually learn to employ higher concepts than this, in contemplating the social structure. It can never be understood as an “organism:” it is an affair of the soul, of the spirit. The Spirit works in every human social community. Our age has become poverty-stricken in conceptions. We can found no social policy unless we steep our minds in spiritual knowledge for only there can we find the “meta-organism!” which transcends the mere “organism.”
Everywhere we find unwillingness to penetrate directly into the spirit; but it must be done, or incalculable effects will follow. On this subject, if you remember, I pointed out how, in the seventeenth century, Johann Valentine Andreae wrote the story of the “Chemical Marriage” of Christian Rosenkreuz, which contains much that springs from impulses connected with the transition in the fifteenth century. The story is told as having occurred in that century.
It is very interesting to notice that Johann Valentine Andreae wrote it as a youth of seventeen, when he was still unripe in external intelligence, and repudiated it in his later yenrs. Andreae, the pious theologian of later years, wrote everything possible in opposition to it. The interesting fact is that Andreae's life shows no glimmer of understanding the meaning of what he wrote in the “Chemical Marriage”. The Spiritual worlds desired to reveal to mankind something connected with the entire experience of that age.
Recently I visited, a castle in Central Europe, where there is a chapel in which the ideas of the transition-period of the new age are symbolised. Primitive paintings adorn the well of the staircase, and what do they represent? The “Chemical Marriage” of Christian Rosenkeuz! The way leads through the Chemical Marriage to a Chapel of the Grail. Then began the Thirty Years' War, after which the “Chemical Marriage” was written down, but its meaning was lost in the waves of conflict.
The lesson to be learnt from this is that the same thing never happens twice. The spiritual development which has been required of humanity since the fifteenth century must make its appearance little by little. In the next lecture we will speak of this from a deeper aspect.