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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Instructions
GA 270

Fifth Recapitulation Lesson

15 September 1924, Dornach

My dear brothers and sisters! Again, today, new members have come into the school. It is not possible each time to give the introduction, which concerns itself with the duties and the significance of this Michael School. Therefore, I must ask those members who undertake, in the manner about which I shall speak in conclusion, to give the mantric verses to the members who have newly entered, I must ask them to give to these new members the introduction which, of necessity, must be known to each one who wants to be a member of this school.

So let us once again today begin without further introduction by inscribing the words in our soul which sound forth to human beings open-minded enough to receive them, words which sound forth from everything that surrounds us in the realms of nature and in the hierarchies of the world. In the past these words sounded forth to human beings from all the stones, plants, clouds, and stars, from the sun and the moon, from springs and from solid rock. They sound confronting him in the present, they will resound confronting him 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?

Now, my dear brothers and sisters, in describing the path of knowing we have arrived standing at the abyss of existence before the Guardian. The Guardian of the Threshold has made clear to us how all that surrounds us in the outer world can never reveal to us our own being. All gazing at the realms of nature, at all that appears downward emerging from the earth living and moving, at all that shines and speaks overhead from the realm of the stars, insofar as we can observe with the senses and with understanding, that gazing at all this can give us nothing which can give us clarity about the nature of our intrinsic self. In contrast to this brilliance in the sunshine, to this moving and living in the external world, which is so great and mighty, so beautiful and magnificent, our intrinsic self remains dark and distant for our true self-awareness.

Then is described to us how we approach closer and closer to the Guardian, who forms up for us as if out of cloudy conscious existence, emerging as a spirit-formation, showing our own counterpart, while also showing us what we as human beings must strive for, in order to come to true self-awareness.

We then stepped forth before the Guardian of the Threshold. He has shown us how the true form of our willing, feeling, and thinking reveals itself before the countenance of the gods. He has shown us how what lives within us as lack of courage and fear of knowing, as hate of knowing, as doubt in knowing, how these are indeed within us, because the configuration of the times in which we live has planted them in us. He has shown us the animal forms of our willing, feeling, and thinking. The Guardian of the Threshold worked upon us with shattering force, in order that this crushing, shattering experience might wake, out of the weaving and working of our own soul, might wake the very forces which lead to true self-awareness.

Then the Guardian of the Threshold raised us, showing us initially how our thinking that we have in ordinary life is the corpse of that living thinking which we bore within us before we descended out of spiritual-soul worlds into physical sense-existence. He shows us, the Guardian of the Threshold, how in our bodily being we are coffins for that living thinking that dies as we enter earth life, this thinking which lies as a corpse within the coffin. We use this corpse in ordinary abstract thinking that we carry within us between birth and death, to grasp the things of the physical sense world.

Precisely when we capture in mind how dead this thinking is, then we will proceed to capture in the dead thinking what we can learn about the corpse that lies before us. We look upon this corpse. We say to ourselves, as it lies there before us, as a corpse, it could never have come into existence. It is left over as the remains of a human being who was living in him spiritually, soulfully. The living human being, the ensouled human being, the thoroughly-spirited human being had to precede what lies here as a corpse. We only recognize the reality of the corpse when we are conscious of what went before it. And we approach the reality of our thinking when we become aware of it in its deadness and know that it is the corpse of that living thinking which was within us before we descended into physical-sensory conscious earth existence.

Then the Guardian reminds us how our feeling is only half living, but our willing is fully living, but that all this living comes to our consciousness externally.

In this way the Guardian of the Threshold reminds us that in order gradually to realize the living nature of thinking, we should look upward into the heights of heaven, that in order to realize the nature of feeling, we must look out into the widths of the world, and that we must look to the world depths, to the depths of earth, in order to approach the nature of willing.

But at the same time the Guardian shows us how we are placed with our thinking. As we look up into world-thinking, within which our earthly human thinking is rooted, between light and darkness, he shows how light can become dangerous for us if we give ourselves up to it one-sidedly, how darkness can become dangerous for us if we give ourselves up to it one-sidedly, how we must seek direction and purpose for our thinking between light and darkness. If it would find the truth, then in our feeling we stand midway between warmth and cold, and that if we give ourselves up to warmth, in the lustful glow of feeling, we ourselves can disappear, and on the other hand in the cold we can be hardened. The Guardian of the Threshold points out to us how we should walk the path of Christ between soul warmth and soul coldness.

The Guardian of the Threshold then instructs us that that when we seek willing in earth-depths we find ourselves between life and death, how life would let us vanish in powerlessness, how death would confine us in nothingness, how also for willing we must find the way in between. That, my dear brothers and sisters, since the most ancient mysteries, that is what has been described as the middle way along which the soul of man must walk, if the person would go further into the spiritual along its preordained paths.

We stand before the Guardian of the Threshold, the earnest first representative of Michael (for the actual leader of this our school is Michael) as he gives us further guidance as to how we can emerge from the appearance of thinking, from dead thinking into living thinking fraught with being. But we must become comfortable, we must first of all strictly abide by the laws which are inscribed for each esoteric student in golden letters, the gold which each student must grasp, which the Guardian of the Threshold now recapitulates for us.

He makes us aware how the yawning abyss of being is before us, how we must fly over it, as we cannot step across it with earthly feet, how we then will come into the spiritual world, which before us over there on the other side of the abyss of existence is deep night-bedecked darkness. But we must proceed across the yawning abyss of being into the deep, night-bedecked, cold darkness. Out of it must warmth, must light come into being for us, light which illuminates our own self, which warms our own self. We cannot find the stable support-point in the spirit, if we do not on each side, when we come into existence over there, if we do not remember the pledge that our soul takes on, when it is now in this situation, after having taken up the earlier admonition before the stern Guardian of the Threshold stand, who says to it:

Never forget that as long as you are a person of earth and cross over into the spiritual worlds, when you again return to this side you must submit to the laws of earth. You may not believe, when you enter the spiritual world with your thinking, when you return again and you undertake your work with your thinking in earthly surroundings, that you should fly around like a fantasy-filled dreamer within the earthly environment. You must keep the flying for your thinking when you are in the spiritual world. You must practice deep, inner, intimate modesty, always to want to be once again a human being among human beings, when you cross back over into the ordinary world of everyday consciousness. It is precisely out of such a modest wanting to remain in the world, not applying the laws of spiritual life to the customary world, that you will gain the strength to latch on to thinking in such a manner that it can serve you in ghostly, in spiritual worlds.

In this regard the Guardian of the Threshold instructs us further about thinking.

You stride into earth being’s helm
With deployment of your force of will;
Enter as thinker the earth domain,
And thought-power will show you yourself
As your intrinsic animality;
The fear of yourself
Must change you in courage of soul.

We must undergo this, as we allow the mantric dictum to work on us, we must experience it. We must, if we want to enter into earth being’s helm, which means the spirit of the earth, we must, my dear brothers and sisters, come initially to looking at our thinking as still animalistic. Fear of our intrinsic self that is still animal we must live into. Then the fear will give birth to its opposite courage, which we need. That is now the strong but serious admonition of the Guardian of the Threshold, pressing, cutting deeply into our hearts. He admonishes us to feel this when we enter the element of the earth. In this way we begin to hear from the Guardian of the Threshold about the stepping into the elements.

He admonishes us further, that if we give ourselves over as feeling beings to the fluid element, to the world of water beings, while present there we should be aware, not of fear of our self, but should be aware that we sleep dreaming, that we are sleeping dreaming sleeping in this water element, in this fluid element, which sculpts us, as we have seen. And as soon as we become aware, that in this our human earth-feeling our existence-awareness is plant-like, then this feeling will bring us to awakening. Then it will show us how lame our self is. Then we will awaken, if we seriously have the modesty to look into the lameness of our selves.

The third is to feel ourselves in the air with our willing, first with thinking in the earth element, then with feeling in the water element, then with willing in the air element. In the air element we initially feel that we have only what our ordinary memory gives us, memory picture-formations. As picture-formations they rest in our thoughts, they are passive in our thoughts. Willingly, inwardly we must grasp them, and then grasp the air nature within the pictures. And a particular characteristic of soul will appear to us, when we feel ourselves in this way in the nature of air, as though the soul were frozen solid. Similar to thinking ourselves along the path of the earth, as we breath will and think ourselves along the path of the air into the essence of air, then we will appear to ourselves as if frozen solid. But precisely out of sensing this frigid death, there we go through, to us will come the spirit-fire we need in order in inner reality to grasp our willing.

They are profound dictums that the Guardian of the Threshold places there before the soul. Only if we regard them rightly and face the fear of ourselves, how we become insignificant when we feel ourselves thinking only in regard to the earth, only then will courage of soul for living thinking awaken in us. If we feel how lame we are, when we feel ourselves half-alive, lamed upon the earth, then the strength will grow in us that will let us awaken, so that we are as though awakened into spirited life with the feeling in which we were before we descended into physical earth existence. Then, when we descend into our memory, willing with our memory into air-weaving,1Lüfteweben in that moment we feel ourselves sclerotic and shivering with cold. But precisely when we feel this cold shiver in us, out of the cold the opposite once again will awaken, spirit-fire, which will show us how upon the earth willing is sleeping in us, even though rooted in living willing, in which we were before we descended into earthly consciousness. Remembering we must know ourselves in our existence before we descended into physical earth existence.

In regard to this the Guardian of the Threshold instructs us. In regard to feeling is his word:

You live with water being
Only through feeling’s dream-weaving;
Surge awakening into water existence,
And the soul will reveal itself in you
As plant existence dank and dull;
Then lameness of yourself
Must lead you on to wakefulness.

In regard to willing the Guardian speaks.

You muse in wafting ways of air
Only in memory's picture-forming;
Enfold willingly airy being,
And intrinsic soul will threaten you
As cold observing stone;
Yet your selfhood's frigid death
Must weaken and yield to spirit fire.

[The mantra was now written on the blackboard, including corresponding underlined words.]

The Guardian utterly in earnest:

You stride into earth being’s helm
With deployment of your force of will;
Enter as thinker the earth domain,
And thought-power will show you yourself
As your intrinsic animality;
The fear of yourself
Must change you in courage of soul.

You live with water being
Only through feeling’s dream-weaving;
Surge awakening into water existence,
And the soul will reveal itself in you
As plant existence dank and dull;
Then lameness of yourself
Must lead you on to wakefulness.

You muse in wafting ways of air
Only in memory's picture-forming;
Enfold willingly airy being,
And intrinsic soul will threaten you
As cold observing stone;
Yet your selfhood's frigid death
Must weaken and yield to spirit fire.

We step from thinking into feeling, down into memory, when we allow this verse to work on us. And as we come down into the depths of memory, where otherwise the soul's life vanishes, as the memory pictures again come forth, there is the boundary, as a mirror is a boundary. What from outside comes into us, comes over something like a memory wall, then it returns back again. Just as one does not see behind the mirror, so one does not see behind the memory wall. But here the Guardian of the Threshold admonishes us that we are to break through what is otherwise a boundary in order to enter into the spiritual realm.

After the Guardian of the Threshold has led us further into our inner life with his admonishing dictums, and has allowed us time to process in the soul the content of these dictums, as we use these dictums in meditation, remaining at this stage for a long, long time, so that their inner force takes effect in us and really carries our “I” down through thinking, feeling, and remembering into what lies behind all remembering, then the Guardian directs us as to how we should behave, how we should conduct ourselves in regard to the external world.

He points us once again up to light, which lives in us merely in the apparent life of thoughts. It is the light which thinks in us. Light it is, that thinks in us. When light floods into us, it thinks in us. But in life on earth, light is mere appearance which thinks itself. If we go no further than this, untruthful spirit-being will bring us into self-delusion instead of into the truth of self-awareness. But it is just this we need to penetrate, that otherwise submerging in thinking in thinking we come only into self-delusion. We must infuse ourselves with the realization that when we merely sink down into thinking, we only come upon self-delusion. And precisely through taking stock of ourselves as earthly human beings stuck in self-delusion can we understand, being attentive in thinking, which absolutely is just what is needed to carry us over the abyss of existence, can we understand reflecting on the needs of earth with all its heavy burdens, and we will gradually find supports, in order to experience, to live into existence in thinking.

You hold of light’s radiant might
Thoughts alone fast within;
When light’s radiance thinks by itself in you,
So will untruthful spirit-being
Arise in you as self-delusion;
Reflecting on the needs of earth
Will hold you in humanity.

Let us proceed. The Guardian of the Threshold instructs us how initially in feeling we merely hold onto the wonderful universal fabric of the world chemism.2das Weltgestalten But if we merely hold onto this world forming in feeling, our spirit experience remains powerless. Self-possession is stifled, smothered if we merely stare fixedly in feeling at what has been crafted, has formed in the world. But if we begin to love, to love all that is already of value of the earth around us, then in feeling we find existence, and we save, save our humanity.

You hold of world chemism
Feelings alone fast within;
When world forming feels by itself in you,
So will powerless spirit experience
Smother your self-possession;
Yet loving the value of the earth
Will save your human soul.

Usually, we try to catch a glimpse of the value of the earth in thought, but we only hold fast to the appearance of light, if we don’t contemplate what the earth’s heavy needs are. We hold fast to what forms itself in the world only in vague feelings if we do not experience, if we do not live into this earth fabric in love in its forming and configuring.

And of world life, what can we hold fast through our willing? Our will remains in world life. But if initially we only hold on to it in willing, we once again do not penetrate into existence. If world living fully captures us, so will ruinous spirit rapture slay our self-experiencing. Yielding oneself up to the world's willing engenders spirit rapture, which kills us. Yet when we develop the will, spirit-devoted to higher worlds, if we align our will to just that, to thinking in the physical-sensory world that gods wield authority3walten in us, who inspire, stimulate our willing, if we would be in service to the gods, then God allows his existence to wield authority in us as human beings, and we catch the scent, we sense4spüren in god-infused willing a true existence.

You hold of world life
Will alone fast within;
When world living fully captures you,
So will ruinous spirit rapture
Slay your experience of yourself;
Yet spirit-devoted earth-willing
Will allow the god in man to rule.

These are the three admonitions which in this most earnest moment the Guardian of the Threshold calls out to us. [The mantra was now written on the board.]

The Guardian speaks as if the world word itself was resounding

You hold of light’s radiant might
Thoughts alone fast within;

It is as if the Guardian would make us take note of what we are actually doing. We are, he says, not yet beyond the mere forming of thoughts from light's appearance. [The writing continued:]

When light’s radiance thinks by itself in you,
So will untruthful spirit-being
Arise in you as self-delusion;
Reflecting on the needs of earth
Will hold you in humanity.

You hold of world chemism
Feelings alone fast within;

Once again, the admonition that only in vague blurry feelings do we have what is wonderfully forming the entire world. Into the micro-cosmos comes world-formation initially in the vagueness of feelings.

When world form feels itself in you,

not, therefore, when we in our feelings feel the world's form, but rather when world-form penetrates into us, the macrocosm penetrates into the microcosm –

When world forming feels by itself in you,
So will powerless spirit experience

Through this we become aware of our own powerlessness. [The writing continued.]

When world forming feels by itself in you,
So will powerless spirit experience
Smother your self-possession;
Yet loving the value of the earth
Will save your human soul.

We need this rescue, for we are just about to cross over. If we carry over only the thoughts contained in light’s appearance, if we carry over only the feelings contained in vague world forming, then the true light over there destroys the delusion of selfhood, destroys the powerless feeling, the sleeping, the spirit experience. We need to reflect on the needs of earth, on all that suffers on the earth, in order that we may pass over worthily into the spiritual world and not be destroyed by world thinking. We need love for all that is of worth on earth, in order that we are not ground to dust, if we cross over with our feelings vague and undistinguished.

And on to the third, we need the following for our willing. [The mantra was written on the blackboard.]

You hold of world life
Will alone fast within;
When world living fully captures you,

And it will do so over there.

So will ruinous spirit rapture
Slay your experience of yourself;
Yet spirit-devoted earth-willing
Will allow the god in man to rule.

We may not carry over there what we simply have here on this side. In the spiritual world we must carry over a stronger soul than we have over here. We must prepare the soul [The words set in quotation marks were underlined.]. For over there ,we find “light's radiant might”. It lives in our “thoughts.” But this does not suffice. We need to be “reflecting on the needs of earth.” Compassion toward all the woes of earth will hold us in “humanity”.

We need over there, as we come over into “world forming”, not merely our “feelings”, we need to be “loving the value of the earth”, for all that is already worthy on earth, then will our “human soul” be saved. Here [in the first verse] human existence is upheld. Here [in the second verse] the human soul is saved.

We must enter into full “world life” that in our “willing” has only a weak reflection, which is too thin to be able to cross over. And we must develop “spirit-devoted earth-willing” so that the “God in man” can rule. This is the progression.

Light's radiant might
World-gestalt
World life

Thoughts
Feelings
Will

We need

Reflecting on the needs of earth
Loving the value of the earth
Spirit-devoted earth willing.

Then we need

To hold yourself in humanity
To save your human soul
To allow the god in man to rule.

That, my dear brothers and sisters, is just what the Guardian lays on our soul, in order to develop what specifically is referred to as wings of the soul, in order to cross over.

We now have only one more obligation in the next esoteric lesson to be held on Wednesday, that we receive those mantras for our soul through the Guardian of the Threshold, who in this instance is Michael's representative at the threshold to the spirit land, those mantras which are the first which one speaks when one has arrived over there into the spiritual, which still remains before the human being as in these mantras, as deep, night-bedecked, cold darkness.

Today, however, after this has passed before our soul, we should reflect back on what speaks to from all beings, challenging us to all that the Guardian of the Threshold has set before us with such determination.

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?

And what comes before us in this way with the words of the Guardian of the Threshold, when we take it up in the right attitude, then it is indeed the Michael presentation of this rightfully established Michael School. Then Michael's existence wields in this room, blessing and strengthening all that here comes before our souls. In light of this, what in this way comes before our souls becomes furnished with Michael's Sign and Michael's Seal. This is Michael's Sign [The Michael Sign was drawn on the blackboard.] and Michael's Seal, which he impressed upon what has been the Rosicrucian sentiment of soul for hundreds of years, and what is expressed as the Rosicrucian sentiment in the following dictum.

Ex Deo Nascimur
In Christo Morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

This is so spoken with Michael's Seal, that we accompany the first words with this gesture [The lower seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard.], and we accompany the second words with another gesture [The middle seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard], and the third words we accompany with yet another gesture. [The upper seal gesture was drawn on the blackboard]. The first gesture signifies [upon the lower seal gesture was written]

I honor the Father5Ich bewundere den Vater

the second gesture [upon the middle seal gesture was written]

I love the Son6Iche liebe den Sohn

the third gesture [upon the upper seal gesture was written]

I unite with the Spirit7Ich verbinde mich dem Geiste

In this way we may consider what has been spoken as having been spoken while being confirmed through Michael's sign, while being confirmed and attested through Michael's Seal, that just with this, and this, and this [The three seal gestures overwritten with the phrases above were indicated.], which is impressed on the Rosicrucian-Words.8die Rosenkreuzer-Worte The dictums should be living in this way, through the sign of Michael, and should be sealed for all your souls, that which lives through the Michaelic-Rosicrucian-School. [The Michael sign was made, and accompanying the three seal gestures with overwritten word, the following words were spoken.]

Ex Deo Nascimur
In Christo Morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

My dear brothers and sisters, the mantric dictums which are given in this school may only be possessed by one who is a rightful member of this school, that is, whomever is in possession of a blue membership card. One who is not present at a lesson at which he or she might have been present according to the date of reception into the school, please take note, the verses of those lessons at which the person might have been present according to the date of that person’s admittance, such a one may receive these verses from another member who has received them in the proper way within the school. But, in this regard, it is necessary to obtain permission either from Frau Dr. Wegman or myself.

It is not an administrative regulation, but is fundamental in an occult school, that a real act should precede the handing on of something of this nature. The one, however, who wishes to ask permission from Frau Dr. Wegman or myself, can only be the one who wishes to give the dictums to another, not the one who wishes to receive them. One can, however, ask someone for the dictums. But one cannot then, as the one who wishes to receive them, ask further. One must then let that person who intends to hand them on ask further. It is of no use if the recipient asks.

Whomever writes down anything other than the mantras may keep it eight days, but after this one is in duty bound to burn it, because what should live in this school should live only within the school and should not leave it. All of these procedures have nothing to do with power or control, they are not arbitrary regulations. This is all grounded in occult laws. For if something of this kind gets into unauthorized hands, it ceases to have effectiveness for all those who have received it for effective use. If, therefore, misuse occurs, inasmuch as mantric dictums, or the content of what is given here, are transmitted to unauthorized persons, these mantric dictums and what is given here lose their effectiveness for those who are sitting here. This has to do with facts, not with something which is an arbitrary regulation.

I have still to announce the program for tomorrow. Once again at 9:30 the course on pastoral medicine, at 12 noon the course on speech formation, at 5:30 the theologians' course, and at 8 o'clock the members' lecture.

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

The Guardian, utterly in earnest

You stride into earth being’s helm
With deployment of your force of will;
Enter as thinker the earth domain,
And thought-power will show you yourself
As your intrinsic animality;
The fear of yourself
Must change you in courage of soul.

You live with water being
Only through feeling’s dream-weaving;
water existence,
And the soul will reveal itself in you
As plant existence dank and dull;
Then lameness of yourself
Must lead you on to wakefulness.

You muse in wafting ways of air
Only in memory's picture-forming;
Enfold willingly airy being,
And intrinsic soul will threaten you
As cold observing stone;
Yet your selfhood's frigid death
Must weaken and yield to spirit fire.

The Guardian speaks as if
the World Word itself resounded

You hold of light’s radiant might
Thoughts alone fast within;
When light’s radiance thinks by itself in you,
So will untruthful spirit-being
Arise in you as self-delusion;
Reflecting on the needs of earth
Will hold you in humanity.

You hold of world chemism
Feelings alone fast within;
When world forming feels by itself in you,
So will powerless spirit experience
Smother your self-possession;
Yet loving the value of the earth
Will save your human soul.

You hold of world life
Will alone fast within;
When world living fully captures you,
So will ruinous spirit rapture
Slay your experience of yourself;
Yet spirit-devoted earth-willing
Will allow the god in man to rule.

Ex Deo Nascimur
In Christo Morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

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