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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Instructions
GA 270

Third Recapitulation Lesson

11 September 1924, Dornach

My dear brothers and sisters! It is not possible to repeat once again the introduction and the obligations of membership for those who have just joined the class. Therefore, I enjoin those class members who will give the newly accepted members the verses, in accordance with the procedures that I shall review at the close of this session, I enjoin them to also communicate the conditions of membership to those who have only just become members of the class.

Now, my dear brothers and sisters, we shall begin as previously by letting the specific words meander through our souls, words that a person who can sense them can hear from all actuality of the encompassing world, words that could be heard in the past, that can be heard in the present, that will be heard in the future, that presently call out to him, that urge him insistently from the whole world-all to self-awareness, to self-knowledge, that truly bridge to what a person needs for his thinking, for his feeling, for his work in the world, if a person wishes to become a human being in the full sense of the word.

O Man, know yourself!
So sounds the word of worlds.
You hear it soul-forcefully,
You feel it spirit-powerfully.

Who speaks so world-mightily?
Who speaks so heart-inwardly?

Does it work streaming through space
Into your sense’s self-experiencing?
Does it sound weaving through time
Into your life's evolving stream?

Are you the one, who yourself
In sensing space, in experiencing time
Creates the word, feeling yourself
Estranged in space’s soul-emptiness,
As you lose the power of thinking
In time’s destroying stream?

My dear brothers and sisters, the description of the path of awareness has led us to the Guardian of the Threshold. After the Guardian of the Threshold, hard at the abyss of existence, has shown us the specific forces, the forces of our inner being of willing, feeling, and thinking, how they appear eviscerated to the eyes of the beings of the spiritual world, after he has shown us, how in truth a person of the present time’s awareness, not having awakened into full humanity, in regard to these forces observed inwardly, instead before the spiritual godly powers appear as the three beasts, that presently will be placed before the person and indicated by the Guardian of the Threshold, after the Guardian of the Threshold has placed this shattering appearance before our souls, he then shows us the further path that through lifting oneself up leads in turn to true self-awareness, the path that must be walked, if the demand O Man know yourself1O Mensch is to be fulfilled.

After showing us how initially we should regard our thinking, feeling and willing, he shows us, in the specific mantric verses that were presented here in this Michael School at the end of the last session, how we first of all have to immerse ourselves, have to steep ourselves in our thinking and come to recognize that our thinking is illusory appearance, that cannot be carried by our true individuality, and how by diving down below mere appearance we become interwoven into the world ether and come somewhat to honor the guiding beings who lead us from earthly life to earthly life.

Then he shows us how we can clamber down into our feelings, where appearance mingles with reality, how there with half strength emerges our being, our self-nature (our selfhood in the best sense of the word), how there we should consider well what already streams inwardly, for within the powers of life lies not merely our transient apparent existence, but rather the powers of life of the world, of the cosmos.

Just when we descend into willing do we feel existence streaming into our autonomous existence.2Selbsteigenheit Apparent-being transforms itself in existence. Our being descends into willing and we feel world-maker-might streaming through our willing.

These were the words of the Guardian of the Threshold hard on the abyss of being, where there before us stands the yawning darkness, the night-bedecked darkness, which should lighten, in order that we find the light that can illuminate our intrinsic self. Behind us lies the shining sunlit-gleaming physical reality, that now becomes dark, as we cannot find within it our own intrinsic being. There the Guardian of the Threshold speaks the mantric words:

Look upon your web of thoughts:
World of semblance you experience,
Self-awareness hides from you;
Plunge beneath appearance:
Ether being whirls in you;
Self-awareness, it should honor
Your own spirit’s guiding beings.

Embrace your stream of feelings:
Where semblance and substance mingle,
Aware-self leans toward semblance;
So plunge beneath appearance:
And world soul forces are in you;
Aware-self should consider well
Inherent in soul the powers of life.

Let reign in you the thrust of will:
It climbs from all apparent being
With autonomous existence well-equipped;3Erschaffened auf: The will is well-equipped, constituted, fashioned with Eigensein, autonomous existence that is inherent.
Turn to this throughout your life:
Filled it is with world-spirit-might;
Your autonomous existence,4Eigensein (a derivative of Dasein, existence-awareness) is willing that exists in and of its own self, naturally inherent autonomous existence. This follows the usage of Kant in section 3 of his 1785 Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, “Clarity is gained, from most basic to most esoteric usage, by this principle: autonomous existence of willing is the nature of willing, a quality it is equipped with in and of itself, independent of the nature of the objects of willing.” (Es könnte sich um einen Satz aus der Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitte handeln: Autonomie des Willens ist die Beschaffenheit des Willens, dadurch derselbe ihm selbst (unabhängig von aller Beschaffenheit der Gegenstände des Wollens) ein Gesetz ist.) it should grasp
World-maker-might5Weltschöpfermacht into spirit-I.

[The mantra was now written on the board:]

Look upon your web of thoughts:
World of semblance you experience,
Self-awareness hides from you;
Plunge beneath appearance:
Ether being whirls in you;
Self-awareness, it should honor
Your own spirit’s guiding beings.

Embrace your stream of feelings:
Where semblance and substance mingle,
Aware-self leans toward semblance;
So plunge beneath appearance:
And world soul forces are in you;
Aware-self should consider well
Inherent in soul the powers of life.

Let reign in you the thrust of will:
It climbs from all apparent being
With autonomous existence well-equipped;
Turn to this throughout your life:
Filled it is with world-spirit-might;
Your autonomous existence, it should grasp
World-maker-might into spirit-I.

The Guardian of the Threshold has spoken a mantric verse for us, regarding which it not merely matters to arrive at the content, but with our entire strength of feeling to transpose ourselves into the movement and life6weben und leben: Luther translated Acts 17:28, “Denn in ihm leben, weben und sind wir,” but Tyndale at the same time translated it, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” Weave in this sense is somewhat archaic in English except for the idiom “to weave a web of lies”. of the spiritual world. It is for this reason that this verse is formed just so, in the first part appearing rhythmically as a downward movement out of the spiritual world. Each line begins with a stressed, higher syllable, followed by an unstressed, lower one. In the first verse we have: [The reading emphasized the trochaic meter, which was indicated with a macron and a breve above the first two syllables of each line.]

Lōok ŭpon your web of thoughts:
Wōrld ŏf semblance you experience,
Sēlf-ăwareness hides from you;
Plūnge bĕneath appearance:
Ēthĕr being whirls in you;
Sēlf-ăwareness, it should honor
Yōur ŏwn spirit’s guiding beings.

The downward movement toward us on the part of the spiritual world is to be felt in this trochaic rhythm. We only take this verse rightly into our soul when we speak it with the inner feeling that this descent of the spiritual world, the speaking downward to us by spirit-beings, is at work in this rhythmic cadence:

Lōok ŭpon your web of thoughts:
Wōrld ŏf semblance you experience,
Sēlf-ăwareness hides from you;
Plūnge bĕneath appearance:
Ēthĕr being whirls in you;
Sēlf-ăwareness, it should honor
Yōur ŏwn spirit’s guiding beings.

The next verse is just the opposite. Here we are supposed to ascend in feeling to real existence. Here [in the first syllable] we are below; here [in the second syllable] we strive upward toward reality. The lower, unstressed syllable precedes the higher, stressed one: [The reading emphasized the iambic meter, which was indicated with a breve and a macron above the first two syllables of each line.]

Ĕmbrāce your stream of feelings:
Ĭt mīngles semblance and substance for you,
Ăwāre-self leans toward semblance;
Sŏ plūnge beneath appearance:
Ănd wōrld soul forces are in you;
Ăwāre-self should consider well
Ĭnhērent in soul the powers of life.

We must live in these words that are united in this mantric rhythm. We must feel them like this:

Ĕmbrāce your feelings streaming:
Whĕre sēmblance and substance mingle,
Ăwāre-self leans toward semblance;
Sŏ plūnge beneath appearance:
Ănd wōrld soul forces are in you;
Ăwāre-self should consider well
Ĭnhērent in soul the powers of life.

That we are entering more fully into reality is expressed in the progression, that initially we honor [the word was underlined on the blackboard], an activity that is an inner soul-activity, that we then ascend to consider well [the word was underlined on the blackboard]. We gradually approach the matter beginning with guiding beings [the word was underlined], who guide us, who are busy with us, then with powers of life [the words were underlined], which dwell, move, and live throughout the world. In a mantric verse everything is placed in the right place, and all is joined together in the right way in the organization of the entirety.

The third verse tells us how we take up existence directly in willing. We stand right beside existence. Two stressed syllables begin the line: [The reading emphasized the spondaic meter, which is indicated with two macrons above the first two syllables of each line:]

Lēt reīgn in you the thrust of will:
Īt clīmbs from all apparent being
Wīth aūtonomous existence well-equipped;
Tūrn tō this throughout your life:
Fīlled īt īs with world-spirit-might;
Yoūr aūtonomous existence, it should grasp
Wōrld-māker-might into spirit-I.

Here we have progressed. It’s no longer a matter for us to consider, but rather to grasp [the words were underlined], which is an action. World-maker-might [the words were underlined] comes at the beginning of the line, whereas powers of life is at the end of the corresponding line, in order to indicate the complete turn-about that we undergo when we rise from appearance through semblance to existence. The third verse must therefore be experienced in such a way that the beginning of each line is felt in this spondaic meter. In the first verse we have the trochaic meter [“trochaic” was written beside the first verse], in the second the iambic meter [“iambic” was written beside the second verse], in the third the spondaic meter [“spondaic” was written beside the third verse].

Lēt reīgn in you the thrust of will:
Īt clīmbs from all apparent being
Wīth aūtonomous existence well-equipped;
Tūrn tō this throughout your life:
Fīlled īt īs with world-spirit-might;
Yoūr aūtonomous existence, it should grasp
Wōrld-māker-might into spirit-I.

After the Guardian of the Threshold has placed this before our soul, he makes us aware of how we must be incorporated, if we want to progress in spiritual knowledge, into the cosmos, into the world, into the cosmos, into the world with all their forces. Their place in us is not initially delineated, but in the cosmos, it is visibly arrayed. In the cosmos we can point out the places. In us all is interwoven. But we do not proceed to a real inner acquaintanceship if we do not go out into world-forces and world-powers, if we remain within ourselves subjectively, if we remain enclosed within our skin, if we do not go out and beyond, our body becoming the whole world. Then our soul of our narrow human nature will feel itself as a member of the world. Spirit will incorporate our narrow human nature into the whole cosmos, into the whole world.

This we must fully consummate, as the Guardian of the Threshold advises. He points out to us how massive forces from the depths of the earth pull on all beings. Forces go out that draw us down, that bind our willing to the earth, if we do not make it free through inner striving. Our gaze goes toward earth, our gaze reaches down, if we want to localize our willing. We must feel ourselves at one with the mass of the earth, we must feel pulled on by the earth, we must have the impulse within us to free ourselves from the mass of the earth, if we would allow our willing to become one with the cosmos, which we must do.

Feel how the depths of earth
Sends its forces to your being,
Surging in through body parts.
You'll lose yourself in them,
If powerless you entrust
Your willing to their striving;
They’ll overshadow in you the I.

So speaks the Guardian of the Threshold to our willing at the yawning abyss of existence, in service to Michael. And he instructs us, for he would integrate our feeling into the cosmos, now not to the depths, he instructs us about the horizontal reaches of the world, where from West to East, from East to West, forces swing like a pendulum and permeate us. These are the forces that seize our feeling. Godlike powers we must feel, which send their spirit clarity7Geisteshelle into this horizontal wash of waves,8Wellenschläge if we would integrate our feeling correctly into the world’s expanse. Just as we would integrate our willing into the vertical, feeling it bound below and wanting to free it above, just so must we be able to place our feeling into the world’s expanse. Then will our feeling be light, bright, clear.9licht Then something goes through and through our feeling, just as the Sun with its light passes through us as it shines through the Earth’s air on its path from east to west.

But in all that streams through us we must find the loving. The force of love alone, which moves and lives in a person, love alone can do what there will be demanded of us. Then wisdom will be woven into us, and we will feel ourselves within the expanse of the circling movement of the Sun, as a feeling human being, an individual strong in virtuous spirit works. That is said to us at the yawning abyss of existence as feeling human beings, that is said to us by the Guardian of the Threshold.

Feel how from world’s expanse
The powers of gods their spirit clarity
Sets your inner soul aglow.
Find yourself in them with love,
And they’ll make, wisdom weaving,
You as someone in their midst,
Strong in virtuous spirit works.

And when the Guardian of the Threshold presently would speak to our thinking, that it should be integrated into the cosmos, then he instructs not as he does in willing directed under, that should get into motion above, then he instructs not as he does with feeling in the wide circling, in which a person moves with the sun, then he instructs in the heights, in the heights of heaven, where alone the self can live selflessly, if it would catch hold of the powers of thought in what comes from overhead in grace. We must inwardly be stalwart10tapfer in order to take up the word, for only if we hold ourselves in fortitude in striving for wisdom and inner knowing, only then the Word of Worlds resounds from on high in grace, only then it speaks of mankind’s true enduring being.11des Menschen wahre Wesenheit Just that the Guardian of the Threshold states to us at the yawning abyss of existence.

Feel how in heaven's heights
Selfhood selflessly can live,
If spirit-imbued power of thought
With highest striving will align
And in fortitude takes up the word,
That from on high resounds in grace
In mankind’s true enduring being.

[The mantra was now written on the blackboard.]

The Guardian teaches about willing, feeling, thinking:

Feel how the depths of earth
Sends its forces to your being,
Surging in through body parts.
You'll lose yourself in them,
If powerless you entrust
Your willing to their striving;
They’ll overshadow in you the I.

Feel how from world’s expanse
The powers of gods their spirit clarity
Sets your inner soul aglow.
Find yourself in them with love,
And they’ll make, wisdom weaving,
You as someone in their midst,
Strong in virtuous spirit works.

Feel how in heaven's heights
Selfhood selflessly can live,
If spirit-imbued power of thought
With highest striving will align
And in fortitude takes up the word,
That from on high resounds in grace
In mankind’s true enduring being.

There above is the place we must look to if our thinking would be in unity with the forces of the cosmos. In the world’s circling expanse is the region that we must feel into, if our feeling would be in unity with cosmic forces. We must look down to the region of our earth-bound willing, which we should free toward the heights, to incorporate it properly into cosmic activity. Everywhere, above, in the periphery, and below, everywhere there is particular existence. We must feel it inwardly. The Guardian of the Threshold also instructs us there, in service to Michael and speaks to us about what we find above, in the middle, and below.

He teaches us additionally about the heights, the widths, and the depths, as he teaches us about thinking, feeling and willing. So he speaks:

There battles light with powers dark
In that realm, where your thinking
In spirit-presence would like to be.
You’ll find, striving toward the light,
Your self by spirit-being taken from you;
You can, if darkness lures you,
In matter lose the self.

We are placed in the world between light and darkness. Light wants to seize our essential conscious existence,12unser Selbst our self; darkness wants to seize our essential conscious existence. We have to find the path between light and darkness in order to retain the self. This lies in the admonition of the Guardian of the Threshold.

And the Guardian speaks concerning our feeling:

There battles warmth with cold
In that realm, where your feeling
In spirit-weave would like to live.
You’ll find, loving the warmth,
Your self in spirit-bliss blowing away;
You can, if coldness hardens you,
In sorrow waste the self.

In turn we stand with feeling between polar opposites, between loving warmth, between warm love and cold hardness, hardening coldness. We must find our way between these two if our essential conscious self is to find itself.

And the Guardian of the Threshold instructs us admonishingly about the third realm, where the will primordially emerges and stands:13Urständet: a variant of entstandet, meaning primordially emerges and stands.

There battles life with death
In that realm, where your willing
In spirit-work would like to rule.
You’ll find, holding on to life,
Your self in spirit-power to vanish;
You can, if death-power binds you,
In nothingness confine the self.

Life and death, we can lose our willing to life, we can lose it to death. We feel it vanishing in life, or feel it confined in death. We must seek the path. The Guardian demands this of us. It is from this point that the work will begin in the next lesson. The Guardian draws our attention once more to the way we must seek our path in order to come to our human self. There he speaks earnest words, for it is not easy to find the inner strength that holds and carries and guides the self, strength the self should itself find, which it does not have in ordinary life on earth. How the Guardian gives us the means we will delve into more deeply. Next Saturday, these mantric verses will be written on the board, and we will hear the Guardian speak further, as he teaches about straying in error, which we must know about to find the correct path. He would direct us along the right path by showing us where we might get lost.

Now however, let us think once again, looking back on life on earth, which we must do every time we enter into the esoteric, now let us think again of the admonition that has been spoken to man in the past by all beings and processes, that speaks to man in the present, that will speak to man always in the future.

O Man, know yourself!
So sounds the word of worlds.
You hear it soul-forcefully,
You feel it spirit-powerfully.

Who speaks so world-mightily?
Who speaks so heart-inwardly?

Does it work streaming through space
Into your sense’s self-experiencing?
Does it sound weaving through time
Into your life's evolving stream?

Are you the one, who yourself
In sensing space, in experiencing time
Creates the word, feeling yourself
Estranged in space’s soul-emptiness,
As you lose the power of thinking
In time’s destroying stream?

When all that streams through the Guardian in Michael's name through this Michael School, when here instruction permeates our soul in this rightful Michael School, then we may be certain, if we are honest and open-minded, that the power of Michael streams through this room, which may be brought to witness by the Sign of Michael [The Michael sign was drawn on the blackboard.] and by the seal-gestures, by means of which Michael allows the Rosicrucian Stream, the Rosicrucian Temple, to stream in the force that the man of today needs for his esoteric life, that takes effect out of the three-sided wellspring of the world, out of the godlike Father principle, out of the Christ principle, out of the Spirit principle, so that the Rosicrucian Maxim, the Rosicrucian Proverb combines with the Michael-Gesture-Sign.

Ex Deo Nascimur [The lower seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard.]

In Christo Morimur [The middle seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard.]

Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus [The upper seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard.]

which must be felt in such a way that the gesture is understood as:

I honor the Father14Literally from God I am born, but put in the modern form Ich bewundere den Vater. The prefix be- makes it an inner wondering, an honoring. The word revere is not quite right as it comes from Latin and means “to be in fear of,” which is the Old Testament way of relating to God. The word “awe” for bewundere is also not quite right as it also comes from an old English-German word meaning “to fear.” [This was written beside the lower seal gesture.]

I love the Son15Literally in Christ I die, but put in the modern form Ich liebe den Sohn. [This was written beside the middle seal gesture.]

I unite with the Spirit16NoteText [This was written beside the upper seal gesture.]

Once again: [The Michael sign was made, and then the three seal gestures, accompanied by the spoken words:]

Ex Deo Nascimur
In Christo Morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.

It has to be added that the mantric verses given here in this school may only be possessed by those who are legitimate members of the school. If any member of this school was prevented from being present at a session at which he might have been present, but does not have the mantras of the hour, he may receive them from another member who was able to have them. For this it is necessary to ask either Frau Dr Wegman or myself. So if somebody wishes to receive the mantras because he could not receive them here, there must be a request to Frau Dr Wegman or myself, but not by the one who would receive the mantras, only by the one who would pass them on. This must be stated at the very outset.

Furthermore, it has to be emphasized that this is not an administrative measure, it has to take place in every single case for every individual to whom one wishes to give the mantras, for it is the beginning of that occult act through which one receives the mantras.

Those members who have only joined recently and have advanced to today's lesson may only receive those mantras which have been offered up to their participation in today's lesson. Only in particular cases, which must be judged individually, may the request be made as to whether the later mantras may be given. The mantras may be transmitted from one member to another only by word of mouth, in no other way. They may not be sent by mail.

If somebody has made notes, other than the mantras, it is his duty to keep these notes only for a week, and thereafter to burn them. What is communicated here in the rightfully existing School of Michael has significance only in verbal communication, which is an inner occult law, with the exception of the mantric verses. To forestall the assumption that these things are being handled in a childish, secretive manner, it has to be stated that if these occult mantras were to be passed on illegitimately to others, they would lose their effectiveness, for the act of transmitting is part of the efficacy of the school. It is for the sake of this occult fact that the handling of the mantras is required to be so strict.

In the program for tomorrow the course on pastoral medicine will take place at 9:30 and the course for theologians at 3:30. Tomorrow evening there will be a lecture for members, and at 5 o'clock in the afternoon a performance of eurythmy. The speech formation course will be at 12 noon as usual.

Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard Text for the Third Recapitulation Lesson

The Guardian speaks

Lōok ŭpon your thinking weaving:
Wōrld ŏf appearance you experience,
Sēlf-ăwareness hides from you;
Plūnge bĕneath appearance:
Ēthĕr being whirls in you;
Sēlf-ăwareness, it should honor
Yōur ŏwn spirit’s guiding beings.

Ĕmbrāce your feelings streaming:
Ĭt mīngles semblance and substance for you,
Ăwāre-self leans toward semblance;
Sŏ plūnge beneath appearance:
Ănd wōrld soul forces are in you;
Ăwāre-self should consider well
Ĭnhērent in soul the powers of life.

Lēt reīgn in you the thrust of will:
Īt clīmbs from all apparent being
Wīth aūtonomous existence well-equipped;
Tūrn tō this throughout your life:
Fīlled īt īs with world-spirit-might;
Yoūr aūtonomous existence should grasp
Wōrld-māker-might into spirit-I.

The Guarding teaches willing, feeling, thinking

There battles light with powers dark
In that realm, where your thinking
In spirit-presence would like to be.
You’ll find, striving toward the light,
Your self by spirit-being taken from you;
You can, if darkness lures you,
In matter lose the self.

There battles warmth with cold
In that realm, where your feeling
In spirit-weave would like to live.
You’ll find, loving the warmth,
Your self in spirit-bliss blowing away;
You can, if coldness hardens you,
In sorrow waste the self.

There battles life with death
In that realm, where your willing
In spirit-work would like to rule.
You’ll find, holding on to life,
Your self in spirit-power to vanish;
You can, if death-power binds you,
In nothingness confine the self.

Ex Deo Nascimur
In Christo Morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

I honor the Father
I love the Son
I unite with the Spirit