Esoteric Lessons III
Verse for Thursday. My dear sisters and brothers! To protect ourselves against the raids of Lucifer and Ahriman we must know them and learn to distinguish between them. Lucifer is in mystical esoterics such as we find in Meister Eckhart, Ruysbroek, Tauler and Suso. Lucifer is in this pure devotion to the divine, in this pure, noble striving towards the spiritual in a good way, and one can say that he was pious in the souls of these mystics.
But as soon as a personal note flows into this pure striving and this devotion, as soon as a mystic would enjoy this, it would amount to a luciferic infringement. We must watch that nothing like this comes into our striving. It's relatively easy to be wakeful in mystical immersion, but more difficult in visionary perception. Lucifer is in this too. He puts all kinds of illusions before a mystic that are hard to distinguish from real visions. Something subjective gets mixed into all vision, for instance, someone sees certain apparitions, deceptive figures or the like repeatedly. One has to direct one's attention to this. One must be wakeful here also. If one sees eyes or faces or if one imagines them one isn't exposed to error as easily; one thereby gets the strength to ward off Lucifer. It's no reproach to say that bad qualities live in man's subconsciousness; they must be there, it's something that goes with earth life. A man may already have attained a certain degree of holiness, and yet drives are slumbering in his subconsciousness that would horrify him if he saw them. The greatest watchfulness and wakefulness must hold sway here also.
Lucifer is at work in all emotional and visionary things, in mystical immersion, also in all enthusiasm and in artistic activity, in what an artist creates and in what creates in the artist.
Some materialists may only express themselves in material things outwardly. Then if one has the good fortune to look into their souls one finds a deep religious striving, a longing for the divine. Lucifer is the instigator here also.
Ahriman works in everything that has to do with the will. He approaches us in everything that becomes manifest as gesture in words or writing, in everything that appears as mediumistic writing, whether it's acquired or natural, or if one feels compelled to write something. Whereas Lucifer brings about appearances of figures, heads of light, etc., that are created by a medium. If one feels that one is forced to write something one can counteract this by stopping and by not giving in to the inspirations that one thinks that one is feeling or perceiving; one opposes these whisperings with the firm will not to follow them. One acquires undreamed of forces in occult life through this effort of the will.
Ahriman is in what we say, in words that we form and transmit to other men. As soon as the ear hears sounds, the larynx emits sounds and words are put into writing Ahriman comes and hardens the sound, word or writing. That's why it's important to strengthen the soul and to check one's thoughts in the most subtle way.
Swedenborg's visions, dreams and world view are permeated with Ahriman and so is what Kant took from Swedenborg's writings.
People keep on asking: Should I think that what I see, hear or feel there is of importance? Is it true? Certainly one should attach importance to it, certainly it's true, every little thing in occult life is important and is true. The main thing is to know what's behind it. We should pay great attention to everything and watch and be awake. And we should acquire a certain tact so that we don't chatter about such experiences. One should try to find out whether Lucifer or Ahriman is at work in them. Something that can often happen to us is that as we're walking down the street we see someone in a vision and then a few minutes later we actually run into him. When we have this premonition of his coming we may have something to tell him, so we speed up our steps in order not to miss him. But this isn't permissible; we shouldn't use occult abilities for our own advantage in physical life.
If spiritists conjure up Goethe's spirit and thereby want to prove the soul's immortality, since they think that it's the soul as it's living now, then this might not be the case. It could be Goethe's soul as it was in say 1819 and that Lucifer is creating an illusion here. One has to press forward to Goethe's real soul, which has progressed, and then one has a real proof of immortality.
People often approach esoteric exercises with much frivolity. Some start to do them but soon stop due to laziness, half-heartedness, etc. But what breathing is for the body, meditations are for the soul. If one would stop breathing Ahriman would immediately intervene as the master of death. A soul must get to the point where it doesn't have to force itself to do meditations; it shouldn't want to live without them. One shouldn't wish and yearn to press into spiritual worlds before the soul is sufficiently strengthened. Quiet and peacefulness in the soul is the main condition. That's the only way that the soul can become strong enough to find the middle path between Lucifer and Ahriman.
That's very difficult, my dear sisters and brothers. But then we must remember what's said at the beginning of John's Gospel and later in chapter 8:12-14. When we stand in the tumult and chaos of the spiritual world and visions and figures come from all sides and we don't know how to get in or out and are torn this way and that, then we should place
In the beginning was the word
before our souls, or
I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.
Then everything will dissipate and we'll be able to see what's right and true. We should repeatedly place the rosicrucian formula
before us in this sense. And also we will be increasingly able to find the right thing on this difficult path if we think of the simple but profound verse with which our esoteric lessons are closed: In the spirit lay the germ of my body ...