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Rudolf Steiner Archive 

Calendar of the Soul

Northern Hemisphere
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.

Southern Hemisphere
Week 39

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.

—Translation by Ruth and Hans Pusch

See GA 40 for full calendar and German text.

The Four Seasons and the Archangels
GA 229

4. The St. John Imagination

Dornach, 12 October, 1923

If now we go forward from Easter, the spring festival, we shall need to penetrate much more spiritually into the subject than we had to do in considering the previous seasons of the year. This may sound like a contradiction, but it is not so. In thinking of the Christmas season, we had to start from the way in which earthly mineral limestone is gradually transformed, and we carried this thought over to the time of Easter. In general, we have been turning our eyes on the active working of the spiritual in the material realm. Now in summer, high summer, man is really bound up with the being of Nature. From spring onwards into summer, Nature becomes constantly more active, more satisfied inwardly, and man with his whole being is woven into this mood of Nature. We can indeed say that in high summer man experiences a kind of Nature-consciousness. During spring, if he has the perception and feeling for it, he becomes one with all that is growing and sprouting. He blossoms with the flower, germinates with the plant, fruits with the plant, enters into everything that lives and has its being in the world outside. In this way he spreads out his own being over the being of Nature, and a kind of Nature-consciousness arises in him. Then, since in autumn Nature dies away and thus bears death within itself, man too, if he participates in what autumn — the time of Michaelmas — means for Nature, must experience in himself this dying away; but with his own self he must not take part in it. He must raise himself above it. In place precisely of a Nature-consciousness, a strengthening of his self-consciousness must occur. But in the glow of summer, just because a Nature-consciousness is then at its height in man, it is all the more necessary for the cosmos that — if only man is willing — the cosmos should bring the spiritual to meet him.

Hence we can say: In summer man is bound up with Nature, but, if he has the right feeling and perception for it, objective spirituality comes towards him from out of Nature's interweaving life. And so, to find the essential human being during the St. John's time, at midsummer, we must turn to the objective spirituality in the outer world, and this is present everywhere in Nature. Only in outward appearance is Nature the sprouting, budding — one might say the sleeping — being which calls forth from the powers of sleep the forces of vegetative growth, in which a kind of sleeping Nature-life is given form. But in this sleeping Nature, if only man has the perception for it, the spiritual which animates and weaves through everything in Nature is revealed.

So it is that if we follow Nature in high summer with deepened spiritual insight and with perceptive eyes, we find our gaze directed to the depths of the Earth itself. We find that the minerals down there send their inner crystal-forming process towards us more vividly than at any other time of the year. If we look with Imaginative perception into the depths of the Earth at St. John's-tide, we really have the impression that down there are the crystalline forms in which the hard earth consolidates itself — the very crystalline forms which gain their full beauty at the height of summer. At midsummer everything down below the earth shapes itself into lines, angles and surfaces. If we are to have an impression of it as a whole, we must picture this crystallising process as an interweaving activity, coloured throughout with deep blue.

I will try to show it on the blackboard, though of course I can do so only in a quite sketchy way. So we can say: On looking downwards, we have an impression of line-like forms, suffused with blue, and everywhere the blue is shot through with lines which sparkle like silver, so that everywhere within the silver-sparkling blue the crystallising process (white) can be discerned. It is as though Nature wishes to present her formative power in a wonderful plastic design, but a design that cannot be seen in the way we see with ordinary eyes. It is seen in such a way that one really feels oneself dissolved into the plastic design, and feels every silver-gleaming line down there to be within oneself, part of oneself. One feels that as a human form one has grown out of the blue depths of the earth's crust, and one feels oneself inwardly permeated with force by the silver-gleaming crystal lines. All this one feels as part of one's own being. And if one comes to oneself and asks — How is it that these silver-sparkling crystal lines and waves are working within myself? What is it that lives and works there, silver-gleaming in the blue of the Earth? — then one knows: That is cosmic Will. And one has the feeling of standing upon cosmic Will.

So it is when one looks down into the depths of the Earth. And if one looks up to the heights, how is it then? The impression one has is of out-spreading cosmic Intelligence. Human intelligence — as I have often said — is not of much value at its present stage. But the heavens at midsummer give one the feeling that cosmic Intelligence is alive everywhere — the intelligence not of single beings but of many beings who live together and within one another. Thus we have up there the out-spreading Intelligence woven through with light; the living Intelligence shining forth (yellow) as the polaric opposite of the Will. And while down below we feel — in that blue darkness everything is experienced only as forces, up above we feel — everything is such that in perceiving it we are illumined, permeated, with a feeling of intelligence.

And now within this radiant activity there appears — I cannot put it otherwise — a Form. When we were speaking of autumn, I had to name Michael as the most significant figure who rises before our souls out of the weaving of Nature. As to how Gabriel — to use the old name — enters into the time of Christmas, we shall have more to say. In the last lecture I showed you how at Easter, the season of spring, the figure of Raphael comes before us. He comes in dramatic guise, as the mediator who arouses in us the rightful approach, through reverence and worship, to what the Easter Imagination, the cosmic Easter Imagination, is. And now, for the St. John's time, there comes before us — to describe it in human terms, which are of course bound to be only approximate — an extraordinarily earnest countenance, which arises glowing warmly out of the pervading radiant Intelligence (red head in the yellow). We have the impression that this figure forms its body of light out of the radiant Intelligence. And for this to happen at the height of summer, something I have already described must come in: the elemental spirits of the Earth must soar upwards. As they do so, they weave themselves into the shining Intelligence up above, and the shining Intelligence receives them into itself. And out of that gleaming radiance the figure I have just mentioned takes form.

This form was divined by the old instinctive clairvoyance, and we can give it the same name by which it was known then. We can say: In summer, Uriel appears in the midst of the shining Intelligence.









It is with great earnestness that this representative of the weaving cosmic forces, seeking to embody himself in a vesture of light, appears in the time of summer. There are further things we can observe as the deeds accomplished by Uriel in the radiant light — Uriel, whose own intelligence arises fundamentally from the working together of the planetary forces of our planetary system, supported by the working of the fixed stars of the Zodiac; Uriel, who in his thoughts preserves the thoughts of the cosmos. And so, quite directly, the feeling comes: You clouds of summer, radiant with Intelligence, in which are reflected up above the blue crystal-formations of the earth below, just as these blue crystal-formations mirror in turn the shining Intelligence of the summer clouds — out of your shining there appears in high summer, with earnest countenance, a concentrated Imagination of Cosmic Understanding.

Now the deeds of this embodied cosmic Understanding, this cosmic Intelligence, are woven in light. Through the power of attraction residing in the concentrated cosmic Intelligence of Uriel, the silver forces (white) are drawn upwards, and in the light of this inwardly shining Intelligence, as seen from the Earth, they appear as radiant sunlight, densifying into a glory of gold. One has the immediate feeling that the gleaming silver, streaming up from below, is received by the sunlit radiance above. And the earth-silver — the phrase is quite correct — is changed by cosmic alchemy into the cosmic gold which lives and weaves in the heights.

If we follow these happenings further, on through August, we gain an impression of something that completes the form of Michael, already described. I told you what the sword of Michael is made of, and whence the dragon draws his coiling life. But now, in the radiant beauty which appears spiritually out of the cosmic weaving at the height of summer, we ask ourselves: Whence does Michael, who leads us over to the autumn time of Michaelmas, derive his characteristic raiment — the raiment which first lights up in golden sunshine and then shines forth inwardly as a silver-sparkling radiance within the golden folds? Where does Michael acquire this gold-woven, silver-sparkling raiment? It comes from that which is formed in the heights through the upward-raying silver and the gold that flows to meet it; from the transmutation by the sun's power of the silver sparkling up from the Earth. As autumn approaches we see how the silver given by the Earth to the cosmos returns as gold, and the power of this transmuted silver is the source of that which goes on in the Earth during winter, as I have described. The Sun-gold, formed in the heights, in the dominion of Uriel, during high summer, passes down to weave and flow through the depths of the Earth, where it animates the elements that in the midst of winter are seeking to become the living growth of the following year.

So you see that when we come to the time of sprouting, springing life, we can no longer speak of matter permeated by spirit, as we speak of the Earth in winter. We have to speak of spirit woven through with matter — that is, with silver and gold.

Of course you must not take all this in a crude sense; you must think of the silver and gold as diluted beyond human measure. Then you will come to feel that all this is a kind of background for the cosmic, light-filled deeds of Uriel, and a clear impression of the countenance and gaze of Uriel will come before you.

We feel a deep longing to understand this remarkable gaze, directed downwards, and we have the impression that we must look around to find out what it signifies. Its meaning first dawns upon the mind when as human beings we learn to look with spiritual eyes still more deeply into the blue, silver-gleaming depths of the Earth in summer. And we see that weaving around these silver-gleaming crystalline rays are shapes — disturbing shapes, I might almost call them — which continually gather and dissolve, gather and dissolve again.

Then we come to perceive — the vision will be different for everyone — that these shapes are human errors which stand out against the natural order of regular crystals here below. And it is on this contrast that Uriel directs his earnest gaze. Here during the height of summer the imperfections of mankind, in contrast to the regularity of the growing crystal forms, are searchingly surveyed. Here it is that from the earnest gaze of Uriel we gain the impression of how the moral is interwoven with the natural.

Here the moral world-order does not exist only in ourselves as abstract impulses. For whereas we habitually look at the realms of Nature and do not ask — is there morality in the growth of plants, or in the process of crystallisation? — now we see how at midsummer human errors are woven into the regular crystals which are formed in the normal course of Nature.

On the other hand, all that is in human virtue and human excellence rises up with the silver-gleaming lines and is seen as the clouds that envelop Uriel (red). It enters into the radiant Intelligence, transmuted into cloud-shaped works of art.

It is impossible to look towards the increasingly earnest gaze of Uriel, directed towards the depths of the Earth, without also seeing there something like wing-like arms, or arm-like wings, raised in earnest admonition, and this gesture by Uriel has the effect of imparting to mankind what I might call the historic conscience. Here at high summer appears the historic conscience, which at the present time has become uncommonly feeble. It appears, as it were, in Uriel's warning gesture.

Of course, you must picture all this as an Imagination. These things are quite real, but I cannot speak of them in the way a physicist speaks of positive and negative, of potential energy and so on. I have to speak in pictures that will come to life in your souls. But everything expressed in these living pictures is reality; it is there.

And now if we have gained the impression of the connection of human morality with the crystalline element below and of human virtues with the shining beauty above, and if we take these connections into our inward experience, the real St. John Imagination will come to meet us. For the St. John Imagination is there, just as we have the Michael Imagination, the Christmas Imagination, the Easter Imagination.

So to spiritual observation there appears, as a kind of culmination, this picture: Above, illuminated as it were by the power of Uriel's eyes, the Dove (white). The silver-sparkling blue below, arising from the depths of the Earth and bound up with human weaknesses and error, is gathered into a picture of the Earth-Mother (blue). Whether she is called Demeter or Mary, the picture is of the Earth-Mother. So it is that in directing our gaze downwards, we cannot do otherwise than bring together in Imagination all those secrets of the depths which go to make up the material Mother of all existence; while in all that is concentrated in the flowing form above we feel and experience the Spirit-Father of everything around us. And now we behold the outcome of the working together of Spirit-Father with Earth-Mother, bearing so beautifully within itself the harmony of the earthly silver and the gold of the heights. Between the Father and the Mother we behold the Son. Thus arises this Imagination of the Trinity, which is really the St. John Imagination. The background of it is Uriel, the creative, admonishing Uriel.

That which the Trinity truly represents should not be placed dogmatically before the soul, for then an impression is given that such an idea, or picture, of the Trinity can be separated from the weaving of cosmic life. This is not so. At midsummer the Trinity reveals itself out of the midst of cosmic life, cosmic activity. It stands forth with inwardly convincing power, if — I might say — one has first penetrated into the mysteries of Uriel.

If we were to present St. John's-tide in this way, there would have to be an arched or vaulted background, with the figure of Uriel and his gesture in the manner I have described. And against this background a living picture of the Imagination of the Trinity would have to emerge. Special arrangements would be necessary; the effect would have to be that of painting done instantly, perhaps by making artistic use of vaporous substances or the like. And if the true Imagination of these things is to be called up for people to witness, it must be at St. John's time. At Easter we have the complete picture only when we bring it into dramatic form, with Raphael present as a teacher in the Mystery Play that would have then to be presented; Raphael who leads man into the secrets of healing nature, of the healing cosmos. In a similar way, at St. John's time, all that can then be seen in weaving pictures would have to be transposed into powerful music, so that the cosmic Mystery, as it can be experienced by man at this season of St. John, would speak to our hearts.

We must imagine how all that I have described should find artistic expression, on the one hand, in pictorial and plastic art. But what is experienced in this way must be given life by the musical tones that embody the poetic motif which plays through our souls when we feel our way into great Uriel, active in the light, who calls up in us a powerful impression of the triune, the Trinity. The silver-shining that rays up from below, and is revealed in the form-giving beauty of the light above, must be expressed at St. John's-tide through appropriate musical instruments. Thus we should find, through these musical harmonies, our own inner harmony with the cosmos, for in them the secret of man's living together with the cosmos at St. John's tide would have to sound forth. All this would have to be given voice in the music, so that in looking up to the heights we would be looking at the weaving gold of the cosmos, and would see the glowing form of Uriel emerging from the light-filled gold and directing his gaze and his gesture down to the Earth, as I have described it. All this would have to be not in any fixed form, but in living movement. That would be one motif, a heavenly motif through which a man can feel himself united, on one side, with the shining Cosmic Intelligence.

On the other side, down below, he feels himself united with the tendency to fixed form; with that which is immersed in the bluish darkness from out of which the silvery radiance streams forth. Down there he feels the material foundation of active spiritual being. The Heights become Mysteries, the Depths become Mysteries, and man himself becomes a Mystery within the Mysteries of the Cosmos. Right into his bony system he feels the crystal-forming power. But he feels also how this same power is in cosmic union with the living power of light in the heavens above. He feels how all that comes about through mankind as morality in these Mysteries of the Heights lives and weaves in these Mysteries of the Depths, and in the conjunction between the two. He feels himself no longer sundered from the world around him, but placed within it, united above with the shining Intelligence, in which he experiences, as in the womb of worlds, his own best thoughts. He feels himself united below, right into his bony system, with the cosmic crystallising force — and again the two united with one another. He feels his death united with the spirit-life of the universe; and he feels how this spirit-life craves to awaken the crystal forces and the silver-gleaming life in the midst of earthly death.

All this, too, would have to sound forth in musical tones — tones which carry these motifs on their wings and make them part of human experience. For these motifs are there. They do not have to be sought out; they can be read from the cosmic activity of Uriel. Here it is that Imagination passes over into Inspiration.

Man, however, lives in a certain sense as an embodied Inspiration, as a being brought into existence by Inspiration, in the Mysteries of the heights and depths and in the Mysteries of their conjunction. He lives in the Mysteries to which the Spirit-Father points upward; the Mysteries to which the Spirit-Mother points downwards, the Mysteries which are united by the fact that the Christ, though the working together of the Spirit-Father and the Spirit-Mother, stands directly before the human soul as the sustaining Cosmic Spirit.

That which is woven out of all these cosmic secrets I may put before you somewhat in the following way. It is as though the human being, placed in the midst of all that goes on in high summer, were to feel something like this. The first words endeavour to represent how the gaze of Uriel concentrates itself into Inspiration, united with the Spirit-tones of the whole choir:

The Heights:

Schaue unser Weben
Das leuchtende Erregen
Das warmende Leben

The Depths

Lebe irdisch Erhaltendes
Und atmend Gestaltetes —
Als wesenhaft Waltendes

The Midst — The inner being of Man.

Fühle dein Menschengebeine
Mit himmlischen Scheine
Im waltenden Weltenvereine

Here in these nine lines are the Mysteries of the Heights, the Mysteries of the Depths, and the Mysteries of the Midst, which are also those of the inner being of man. And then we have the whole gathered up as a cosmic statement of these Mysteries of the Heights, the Depths and the Midst, sounding out as though with organ and trumpet tones:

Es werden Stoffe verdichtet
Es werden Fehler gerichtet
Es werden Herzen gesichtet. 1Behold our weaving, the kindling radiance, the warming life.
Live in the earth's sustaining, and in the form-giving breathing,
with the power of true being.
Feel the limbs of man, from the heavens illuminated,
in the strength of worlds united.
Substances are densified, errors are judged and rectified,
hearts are sifted.

Here you have that which can permeate the human being at midsummer, supporting him, exalting him, confirming him — the St. John Imagination filled with Inspiration, the St. John Inspiration filled with Imagination — in these words:

Schaue unser Weben
Das leuchtende Erregen
Das warmende Leben
Lebe irdisch Erhaltendes
Und atmend Gestaltetes —
Als wesenhaft Waltendes
Fühle dein Menschengebeine
Mit himmlischen Scheine
Im waltenden Weltenvereine

Es werden Stoffe verdichtet
Es werden Fehler gerichtet
Es werden Herzen gesichtet.

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