The Interior of the Earth
As Based upon the Investigations of Rudolf Steiner
by Adolf Arenson
From a lecture given in 1914, London
In our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount 1Lecture by Adolph Arenson (published by The Anthroposophical Society) we attempted to approach the New Testament Scriptures in thought without detracting from their sanctity by our examination; and we may, perhaps, have gained the impression that, precisely when we approach our subject in this way, we are able to arrive at a true appreciation of the treasures of wisdom and beauty lying dormant in those sacred books.
Let me today turn to a subject taken from an absolutely different realm of thought. In our present reflections we shall occupy ourselves with the description given us by the spiritual investigator, of the forces holding sway in the interior of the Earth, and we shall endeavour to bring his account more within our comprehension. What we know of these forces is that their activity is malignant in its effect, and that they carry destruction and devastation into every domain of life; 2Reference is made here and in the following pages, with kind permission of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, to lectures delivered by him, in some cases in private circles. we know further that, even though we are unconscious of the fact in ordinary life, they influence our own nature to a remarkable degree. We are therefore justified in attempting to improve our acquaintance with these forces in a manner impossible to us when we merely listen to the communications of occult research.
Since the day on which a totally new understanding of the spiritual worlds and our relationship to them was opened up to us by the announcements of the occultist, our relationship to the objects surrounding us and perceptible to the senses has also changed. The idea may already have been familiar to us, that everything earthly is the mere expression of something spiritual; but that idea was, in fact, a pure abstraction. It could not become a living reality to us till the growth and evolution of man and of the Earth had been disclosed to us in those graphic descriptions to be found in the numerous writings and lectures of Dr. Steiner, which have appeared during the last ten years. From a general vague conception of spirit we rise to an understanding of the living beings behind all the events of the world of sense-perception. Anyone who can free himself, even to a small degree, from the prejudices with which people in our day are unknowingly dominated, will readily agree how little the present superficial thought of mankind is in accordance with facts. The wonders of the world which meet us at every step are ascribed to the working of natural forces. As if an abstract term like this could give us even a gleam of knowledge! The occultist gives us instances of the inadequacy of such abstractions. What should we say in ordinary life if some one were to explain the mechanism of a watch by saying that it had been constructed by nature forces, and that these forces were active in it. Small indeed would be our satisfaction from such an explanation; we should set it down as nonsense. We know that a product of civilisation comes into existence because a human being has invented and constructed it, and that every such object can be traced, in its final cause, to an intelligence or conscious being.
What we have learned in these years is boldly to follow up this sound logic to its consequences. We have learned, when we are confronted by objects and events, the manifestation of which displays the “pursuance of an aim,” to recognise that we can trace their final cause to intelligences or conscious beings; and, having convinced ourselves of this, we have grasped the fact that nothing but a knowledge of those beings and their deeds could make it possible for us to understand aright the world in which we live, and to bring our own actions into harmony with the goal of evolution. For this purpose ample materials have been provided in the course of a decade. From the most varied realms of spiritual and terrestrial happenings we have received communications serving to establish the relationship of the higher worlds to facts accessible to the senses.
Certainly these communications are often of such a nature that they may perhaps appear at first sight to be without visible connection with one another; sometimes they even offer direct contradictions — open contradictions. But we have often had occasion to learn that the apparently missing links are in reality there, and that all contradictions blend together to a higher harmony. We have found that our work must consist in the tracing of these links and in the solving of these contradictions by our own efforts.
In pursuance of this plan of study we had the following remarkable experience. When we had succeeded in duly collecting and arranging the material supplied to us, these connecting links started up before us as if of themselves, and the contradictions were solved without effort. Hand in hand with this experience went a new conviction, namely, that the manner in which these communications are made to us is in itself a powerful educative factor, and that by following up the traces of these connections ourselves and by solving for ourselves the contradictions, we transform the announcements of the occultist into knowledge of our own. Without such knowledge, acquired by individual work, all the wisdom proclaimed to us would be of little value; we should remain theorists without the power to exercise a health-giving influence on our lives. With that self-won knowledge we fit ourselves to undertake the mission allotted to us in universal evolution, for the fulfilment of which we are being prepared and educated by the occultist.
This is the point of view from which I would ask you to consider the following exposition. Its intention is that of helping us to bring within our reach a subject which, perhaps more than any other, presents difficulties to our understanding.
In the year 1906 a course of lectures was given by Dr. Steiner in Stuttgart, in which, for the first time, a picture of the evolution of our planet and of the human race was unrolled before us. These lectures are a classical example of the manner in which an introduction to the theosophical conceptions of the world should be given; and in fact all the so-called introductory courses delivered since then by students of theosophy are founded on this course. Now, while everything in that course, almost to its close, describes a gradual process of evolution, from the nature of the human being on to the different methods of initiation, the last lecture contains something quite new and unexpected — a description of the interior of the Earth. In that lecture we are told that the Earth is not as modern natural science assumes, a huge, lifeless sphere, the same inside and outside, the only difference being that the substances in the interior are in a fluid state; but that our Earth is composed, right to its centre, of a series of strata, differing from one another, but all of a nature impossible to compare with any substance on the surface of the Earth. These strata were then briefly, but characteristically described. We did not understand this description at the time, and we could only wait patiently in the hope that other lectures might follow later, which would help us to arrive at an understanding of the subject A few lectures were actually delivered on earthquakes and volcanic outbursts, in which mention was made of the strata of the Earth. Some details were even added, — but the explanation for which we had hoped was not given.
Now, however, that seven years have elapsed since that first communication, and that we are in possession of material which renders possible a more thorough study of the subject, I may be permitted to draw upon this material, and, by a judicious arrangement of it, to shed light on the description originally given us. For this purpose it will be necessary to recall to memory what is said regarding those strata in the interior of the Earth. We cannot, of course, do so in detail, but we can bring out, in a few pregnant words, what is characteristic of each stratum. It is said: The uppermost stratum, which, in proportion to the interior, is like the shell compared with the egg, is called the “Mineral Earth.” Below it is so-called “Fluidic Earth.” But this stratum is not fluid in a physical sense; for its substance begins here to have spiritual qualities, evident from the circumstance that, when brought into contact with anything living, this substance as such would at once expel and annihilate the life. The third stratum is the “Vapour Earth.” This substance turns a sensation into its opposite. The sensation, in its existing form, is extinguished, as life is extinguished by the second stratum. The fourth stratum, the “Water or Form Earth,” consists of a substance which materialises everything that happens spiritually in Devachan. There we find the negative pictures for physical objects; here a cube of salt, for instance, would be destroyed, but its negative would arise. This stratum is the fount of all that exists in matter on the Earth. The fifth stratum, the “Seed or Growing Earth,” teems with exuberant growing force. It is the servant of the forms of the preceding fourth stratum as the life that is behind them. The next stratum is the “Fire Earth;” it has sensation and will; it consists entirely of passions, as we might say. It is the vehicle of everything in the nature of desire, the fount of all animal pleasure and of all animal suffering. The seventh stratum is the “Earth Reflector.” Its substance transforms all qualities into their opposites; everything that can be imagined as morality in human nature is here changed into its opposite. Then follows the “Explosive Earth,” that stratum which splits up everything, including the moral qualities. Through the force which this stratum radiates over the surface of the Earth arises strife. The primal cause of all disharmony is here; all destruction of form is prepared here in substance. Lastly, the “Core of the Earth.” Substantially, it is that by the influence of which black magic arises in the world. From this part of the earth goes forth the force of spiritual wickedness.
This description, taken from various lectures, gives the characteristic of each of these strata. It now remains for us to shed light on these data regarding the interior of the Earth, so that these new facts may find their place in all that we already know of the Cosmos and of our planet. With this aim let us endeavour to group together the materials available to us.
It is important — we have already laid stress on this fact — that we should call to mind at the right moment the words of the occultist in connection with the subject under discussion. The saying which may serve here as a key is somewhat as follows: “When any force begins to work in the Universe, another force, opposed to the first, arises at the same moment; everything that is accomplished in the world is subject to the law of polarity.” This is a saying which we can well understand, for even in ordinary thought we observe something of this kind. For instance, we could never form the conception “good” if the opposite conception “evil” were not known to us. The same may be said of “large” and “small,” “long” and “short.” In every case the one conception conditions the other opposed to it. The existence of forces of polarity is everywhere to be found, even in our thoughts. On this basis we might make the following reflections: Though we cannot understand the forces active in the interior of the Earth, we can nevertheless try to find those other forces in the Universe which are opposed to those unknown to us, but of which we know with certainty that, in accordance with the law of polarity, they must exist somewhere. Perhaps we understand these forces of polarity or counteraction better — they are possibly already well known to us, — so that by their help we may learn to understand the unknown forces.
An intellectual task like this cannot be recounted in all its phases; the web of thought here is not simply woven straightforward. But if we would describe the result of following the line of study actually pursued in its essentials, it might be presented to you in the following manner. We recall the description given in the Dusseldorf course of 1909 3The Spiritual Hierarchies and their Reflection in the Physical World. of the genesis of a solar system. From that picture we see in the Trinity the primal, forces stirring; the plan is brought forth. Exalted beings receive it and carry it out in wisdom; new forces begin to work. The “Thrones” or “Spirits of Will” offer up the substance which becomes the outer manifestation of the plan of the Universe. And ever new beings cast their forces into the world-process, the Earth evolves into ever new conditions, till at last we reach that epoch at which the human being shuts himself away within his skin and achieves his “I”-consciousness (ego consciousness).
These were the good, the progressive forces which endowed man with all that he needed for the fulfilment of his earthly mission. Now we know that simultaneously with the first stirring of the progressive forces the activity of the forces opposed to them also began. When we try to understand those beings who have conducted the human being in a progressive sense in his earthly destiny, it becomes our duty also to inquire into the nature of those other beings, their antagonists, who send out destructive forces of annihilation and obstruct the normal evolution of the human race.
Where are those beings, those forces, to be found? Where must we seek them? They work outwards from the interior of the Earth. Figuratively we might say: “As the Earth cooled and solidified, these forces fled into the Earth; they were, so to say, banished within the Earth.” This is a figure of speech, but as such it is quite legitimate when we compare the activity of the forces in the interior of the Earth with the benefits lavished upon us by the progressive beings from the higher worlds. Let us place side by side this double activity on the one hand and on the other.
Let us consider the so-called first stratum, the Mineral Earth, which is the scene of human evolution at the present epoch. 4The Spiritual Hierarchies and their Reflection in the Physical World. (footnote p 1) Which are the helping forces most closely connected with this stratum Which influence it most directly? The vital forces, those which work in our etheric or vital body. The formless, lifeless mineral becomes a being endowed with form and life when the vital forces are associated with it. Wherever these vital forces unite with lifeless substance, life arises. What must be the nature of the forces which work against these? Their nature must be such that, whenever they come together with anything living, they drive out and destroy the life. Let us look again how the second stratum, the Fluidic Earth, that nearest the mineral covering, is described. We find the words: “The substance of the Fluidic Earth, brought into contact with anything living, would immediately drive out and destroy the life.” Let us continue. The forces which, in the first place, exert an influence on the living, are those of sensation: they render sensation possible. The plant is without sensation, because these forces are not present in it; but it is otherwise with the animal, for it is endowed with a body of sensation. These forces we might describe by saying that they permit of the flashing up of sensation. What are we told of the third stratum or Vapour-Earth, which corresponds to the forces of sensation, as their opposite pole? “It is a substance which turns sensation into its opposite; we might say that sensation is extinguished here in whatever form it exists, as life is extinguished by the second stratum.”
These two examples already show us that we are on the right track. Let us now proceed to the next higher forces.
So far we have only considered our Mineral Earth and the two regions of force which lend it life and sensation. But just as the mineral is penetrated with life, and life with sensation, sensation is in its turn penetrated by thought. We know from the findings of occult research that every manifestation on the surface of the Earth corresponds to something spiritual. The prototypes are that spiritual counterpart, and they are found in the “land of spirit.” In the book Theosophy, 5Theosophy: Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destiny of Man. By Dr. Rudolf Steiner. See advertisement on cover. we are told that this land of the Spirit is itself woven out of the same substance as human thoughts, and that we find various “regions” in this Spirit-land; first, the three regions of “lower Devachan”: — the continental region, with the prototypes of all that is purely physical; the oceanic region, with the prototypes of life; and the atmospheric region, with the prototypes of sensation.
If we now advance in our study to the regions from which the spiritual prototypes send out their forces, it will be our task once more to examine whether the forces active in those regions correspond to the others which develop their pernicious activity from the interior of the earth. We will begin with the first region of the Spirit-Land, the prototypes of everything physical, but we must remember that these prototypes are “spiritual,” for the empty spaces seen by the clairvoyant there, in place of the objects and beings, are filled, when they manifest, physically, to a certain extent with physical substance.
To understand what this means we must make a short digression. In the private course of lectures by Dr. Steiner, entitled From Jesus to Christ, we are told that the physical body in itself is invisible, because it is a kind of body of force; that that which we perceive by the senses are the physical substances with which this invisible body is filled out. We see the mineral substance filling this body; the body itself is invisible. This amounts to saying that the present physical body of man, as it has been changed by the influence of Lucifer, really consists of two different elements; it is composed of that of which the spiritual prototype is in the first region of the Spirit-Land and of the lower “filling” which is incorporated into it. And now we understand what is meant when are told that the fourth stratum, the Form-Earth, which corresponds to the first region in Spirit-Land, is the fount of all of the nature of “matter” or “substance” on the Earth. Here we have the two poles; in the land of spirit the spiritual prototypes of the physical body; in Form-Earth the astral primal forces of the lower physical element, “densified,” as it were, “to physical substance on the first stratum, the surface of the Earth,” as it is described in the lecture in question.
In the second region of the land of Spirit we find the prototypes of life streaming through the world of Spirit as a liquid element, forming an unity, — the creative primal forces for all beings endowed with life that appear in the physical world. What do we find in the fifth stratum of the interior of the Earth, in the Seed, or Growing Earth? Here, too, we find life, but life of a kind which gives to the inferior substance of the fourth stratum its characteristic of rank growth. “The Seed Earth abounds in exuberant growing energy; it serves as the life underlying the forms of the fourth stratum.”
In a similar relationship to each other are the forces which work downwards on the Earth from the third region of Spirit-Land and those which have their origin in the sixth stratum, the Fire-Earth. There the prototypes of everything pertaining to the soul, of all that exists as sensation, is found, in its spiritual aspect, in the Spirit-Land. Here in the interior of the Earth, in the sixth stratum, is found all passion of a low nature; this region is the vehicle of all impulses of desire; here is the source of animal pleasure and of animal suffering.
Then comes the fourth region of the world of Spirit, that which contains the models of all purely creative works. The spiritual prototype of all that is specifically human is met with here. Now what can we designate as specifically human? What is its highest form of expression? What, we may ask, is peculiar to the human being, and only to the human being, in contradistinction to the other kingdoms of Nature? His moral feelings, his moral thoughts. Morality is a quality which is possessed only by the human being. We now see what is said of the corresponding stratum of the interior of the Earth — the Earth Reflector! “Its substance changes everything into its opposite; everything that we can imagine as morality in human nature is here transformed into its opposite.”
Still higher in the loftiest regions of the Spirit-Land, forces are active which do not manifest in form. Hence this region is called Arupa — formless, without shape. These are the creative forces of the prototypes themselves; living germs which take form in the lower regions of the Spirit-Land as thought-entities. We find in the interior of the Earth, in the eighth stratum, the forces of the opposite pole, the powers working against the former. The source of all strife, all discord on Earth, is found here. There, in the land of spirit, are the impulses towards the prototypes, “ready to assume the most manifold forms of thought-entities” here, “all form-destroying elements are prepared in substance.”
And finally, the last, the highest to which our thoughts can rise, which is still sealed to our understanding, and to which we therefore give the vague names of “First Cause,” “Primeval Womb,” and “Godhead.” When we are told that the germinal thought-entities in the highest regions of Spirit-Land envelop the actual seed of life, but that the seed comes from still higher worlds, we faintly divine that from those higher worlds the first stimulus is given of all that directs growth and watches beneficently over evolution. We have a name for this: we call it “white magic,” The lofty spiritual force which rules protecting over the evolution of the Earth has its origin here The “Core of the Earth” forms the counterforce to this. “It is, in substance, that by the influence of which black magic arises; from this region proceeds the force of spiritual wickedness.”
In the above we have pointed out the connections which exist between the forces in the interior of the Earth and the ruling powers in the Cosmos. Not that we have gained by it an understanding of those forces according to their nature, but we have assigned to that which formerly seemed to us isolated and disconnected, its place in the organism of the world. And we have done something else. What we have recognised as the truth remains our own as knowledge; we can never forget it. Even should our memory lose the names of the different strata; even should it not retain the details; one thing, and that the essential, can never be extinguished from our knowledge. When we are struck by the activity of the progressive deities in any connection whatever, there starts up within us of itself the representation of the powers of hindrance, sending out their forces from the various strata in the interior of the Earth. And in proportion as the understanding of the governance of the good powers dawns upon us, so do we understand more and more the work of those beings who obstruct the normal course of evolution, who seemingly destroy and annihilate it, but who, precisely because of their antagonistic energy, call forth as if by enchantment the most hidden capacities and forces of the human soul.
Something else, too, may become clear to us — namely, what lies at the foundation of the activity of the beings in the interior of the Earth, and here an understanding of them opens out to us gradually. It is no new foreign element as compared with the activities of the good gods. Though it forms a contrast to the latter, it yet lies on the same line of advance; but it oversteps the limit; it is turned into a low force — dragged into the abyss. While good gods lead us with protecting care into the world of matter in order that the human form may be built up, the activity of the obstructive beings is an overstraining of these forces — these beings drag matter down to a withering parched state of obduracy, parched callosity. While life is showered upon us from spiritual worlds, the forces in the interior of the Earth degenerate into rank growth. While we are endowed by the good spirits with the capacity for sensation and feeling, this capacity is exaggerated in its opposite into one for lust and animal desire. And, lastly, while the possibility of freedom has been bestowed on man, while he is privileged to experience the isolation of the “I,” the ego, the downward-tending powers strive to tempt the selfhood beyond the limits its own nature, into the conflict, into the war of each against all.
We find another association when we consider singly the strata of the interior of the Earth with regard to the activity peculiar to each. We come to the following conclusions: the Mineral Earth represents the lower substantiality; the Fluidic Earth represents the life-extinguishing stratum — it has to do wit life; the Atmospheric Earth, which extinguishes all sensation in its existing form, has to do with feeling. This is a trinity. It corresponds to the trinity of the human body, to which the substance of the Earth-strata, which have been named, show themselves hostile: physical body, etheric body, body of sensation.
Then follow the Form-Earth, the primal source of all substantiality; the Seed-Earth, the primal source of all lower life; the Fire-Earth, entirely composed of the lower passions. Again a trinity of substance, life, and feeling, Its correspondence in man is the sentient soul 6For the explanation see Dr. Steiner's Occult Science, p. 43 the intellectual soul, the self-conscious soul which, according to the explanation and the diagram in the second lecture of the course, entitled Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, are the transformation of physical body, etheric body, and body of sensation.
In conclusion, we have the Earth Reflector, the Explosive Earth, and the Core of the Earth, and these do not direct their energy only against matter, life, and feeling, but also wage war against the spiritual element in life, morality, harmony, white magic. Corresponding to are the principles of man’s higher nature: Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, and Spirit-Man.
It is evident, without further discussion, that we are here in presence of associations which might lead us into profound mysteries of human nature were we to pursue them further. But in a lecture we must restrict ourselves to an outline, and therefore we can only hint at all this to-day. For yet another question forces itself upon us when we observe the workings of the law of polarity in the world-process — a question which may fill us with apprehension, but which we cannot repel, because it affects the central point of all evolution.
If every progressive force conditions the opposing force, and if obstructive forces place themselves immediately in opposition to all beneficial activities, where is the end? where is the goal? where the redemption? In order that we may approach this question more closely, let us once more call before us what this world-process really signifies in its deepest sense.
We see spiritual beings and forces at work, showering upon man as gifts the most various objects and capacities, that he may be equal to the task allotted to him. They have endowed him with the principles of his nature, enable him to live in the physical world; they have bestowed upon him the capacity of thought, and, lastly, that of self-consciousness; so that he is now in a position to become an independent being in the further course of evolution. (The occultist endeavours to bring those beings more within our human understanding by describing to us their characteristic qualities.) On the other hand, we see other beings at work; these, however, are antagonistic to the former, and are depicted to us in a characteristic manner. And as we have seen, every group of higher beings is opposed by a corresponding group in the interior of the Earth.
In the middle, so to speak — for a picture of this kind requires that we should make use of an expression belonging to space — is the surface of the Earth, the mineral plane, that region in which the collision takes place between these different opposing forces. For here, on Earth’s surface, a being has gradually developed whom we may regard as the product of this polarity. Man is appointed by the good gods to turn to account the experiences of Earth for the benefit of the spiritual worlds. Had nothing encountered the forces of these gods, man would have become a being without volition, only able to fulfil the commands of the good gods. But in opposition to the manifestations of the progressively-active gods are those of the destructive beings. Both groups direct their activities towards the human soul, and it is there that the encounter takes place.
Here we arrive at an important truth: It is through the human soul that the forces of polarity work, the lowest as well as the highest forces. Christ Himself works through the human soul when He brings to fulfilment the mission of the human race. He would spiritualise and redeem the world of physical substance; the human soul must take into itself the Christ-Force that the work of redemption may be accomplished. The soul can fill itself with the Christ-Force, or it can turn away from that force therefore, being the scene of the encounter between the forces from above and from below everything depends on the manner in which the soul itself has developed. For from the shock of the two opposing forces in the human soul, that spark may leap forth which changes the man into a free divine being, into a being who consciously absorbs into himself the highest force in order to accomplish the work of redemption.
Again, from another point of view we begin to understand the task allotted to the human being in the plan of the Universe the Earth began, forces have been working from above and from below conditioning one another in their polarity. With every new force arises also its counter-force — the struggle seems endless. There, in the middle between the two a being is developing, a being who absorbs the forces that assail him on both sides. On the one hand and on the other the two opposing powers; in the middle, man. And as man, with the help of Christ, raises himself in freedom from step to step as he penetrates himself with the forces of the higher regions, he conquers and redeems the regions below him. In man must be reconciled the polarity by which he himself has been created. With this the meaning of evolution is placed before us in a picture accessible to human thought and human understanding: in man the polarity is equalised in order that new, creative, cosmic activity may arise.
But how — we may ask in conclusion can this be achieved? We have expressly stated that only of Christ can it be done, and this is still more strongly confirmed by the words of the occultist, when he tells us that every single step in the Christian initiation, the Washing of Feet, the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, etc. leads to conquest of a corresponding stratum in the interior of the Earth; this means that the experiences of the Christian initiation signify the penetration into the interior of the Earth. This may point the way to us.
If Christ by His strength gives us the ability to redeem the powers in the interior of the Earth, we must seek out the words in which He shows us the way; in which He tells us how we can follow that way. Let us try, building on all that we have heard from the occult teacher, to find it.
In a lecture on the planetary evolution, the occultist presents to us a picture of the future. Man will then master the vital forces which now, without his agency awaken in the lifeless mineral the power to take form, to display living activity. As man has begun to master the mineral substance; as he is already able to construct a work of art or a machine out of lifeless matter by his own creative power so, in the distant future the capacity will be his to cause life to arise at will. It will not be by planting a seed in the earth, for he will then himself be the creator of the living.
But to this end he must pass through an evolution which leads him away from the physical towards the spiritual plane. To become lord of the mineral kingdom, and to bring into subjection the substances of the Earth, he was forced to turn his affections towards that Earth. He was forced to cut himself away from the spiritual and to direct his thoughts and interests to the Earth, grow attached to the physical plane. Now, of his own free choice he must leave it and turn again towards the spiritual realms. For there it is that the life-giving forces hold sway, the forces with which he must unite in order to redeem those beings who extinguish life. The yearning for the spiritual life, corresponding to the true core of his being, must be so strong within him that he is ready to renounce everything that the Earth has to give. This yearning is the key which opens to him the spiritual realms, the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore — and here we see the linking together of spiritual research with the words of Christ: “Blessed are they that beg for the spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
And then there will arise in him the force to unite himself with the beings who have bestowed sensation upon us. In the Vapour-Earth the beings linger who send up their forces to extinguish sensation. To conquer these beings man must learn to absorb and to master forces of every kind. The most powerful feelings, sorrow in its greatest intensity, he must learn to bear, if he would hold his own in the struggle with those beings. This is a tremendous task. Man will not be able to fulfil it, unless he is supported by the spiritual comfort which he derives from the knowledge that at every step upon this path he is fitting himself more and more to become the liberator of the powers striving downwards: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
But he who would vanquish the lower substantiality, the source of which is in the next stratum, the Form or Water-Earth, must unite himself with the forces ruling the first region of the spirit world. We know that the entrance into this land of the Spirit demands a mighty exertion of the human will. From the descriptions given us by the occult teacher of the life after death, when the individual is led compulsorily and in accordance with law into the world of the Spirit that everything that binds him to the Earth, all the unconquered, desires that still hold him, must first fall away. Would he advance to the conquest, of this fourth stratum, he must, transform, by the exercise of his own free will, his lower passions into equanimity of soul. Only thus can he succeed in wresting from Ahriman that which is now his possession, for Ahriman is the ruler in the domain of the lower substantiality. Thus, if man desire to make himself master of the lower substantial kingdom of the Earth in order that it may be spiritualised, he must attain gentleness, equanimity: “Blessed are the meek, or the equable, for they shall inherit the earth.”
And so man strides forward of set purpose to the second region of the spirit-world, the Oceanic, where he experiences of the unity of all life. He must steep himself in the forces of this region if he would engage in conflict with those beings who serve as life to the lower substantiality. Here he acquires a new and higher understanding of the laws that work out in karma. Now he knows that the law of Destiny does not signify reward and punishment, but the uplifting again of humanity to unity of life; he recognises the regulating, equalising force which provides a way out of the chaos of separate life, and he longs with all the forces of his soul for this unity among men. Of this ardent longing new forces will be born to him, which he can then victoriously oppose to the dark powers of Earth. His yearning, his desire, will be to him a force of conquest: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
The human being then reaches the third region of the Spirit world, the Atmospheric, at which he can take his stand against the beings of Fire-Earth. The Fire-Earth is the vehicle of all of the nature of desire; it consists entirely of low passions. For deliverance he must draw forces from the spiritual prototypes of the soul-nature, which enable him to lose himself in the joys and sorrows of every creature. He who would overcome the primal source of lower passions must outgrow his own sensations; he must be able to share the feelings of others; he must pour out his love into the soul of his fellow-men: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Thus, at every stage man must conquer new forces in order to achieve his work of deliverance. In the seventh stratum he is met by those beings whose endeavour it is to destroy all that represents the flower of human evolution in the souls of men; the feeling for divine purity, the after moral perfection. From the beings inhabiting the fourth region of Spirit-land he can derive the strength to enable him to conquer here, too. With the help of those forces, his heart, the expression of his “I,” his ego, can steep itself in the forces of moral perfection, so that beholding God, it can live and act in purity: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
In such hearts the peace of God will war against the Explosive Earth, the First Cause of all strife, the human being must have harmonised the discord in his own soul: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
These have fitted themselves to make the last sacrifice. From the Core of the Earth issues the force of spiritual evil, and through its influence black magic arises. Man redeems the heart of the Earth when, offering himself up, he becomes one with God. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for My name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
In the lecture on the “Sermon on the Mount,” we see that there are spiritual associations running between the Gospel of St. Matthew and that of St. John. Here, in our consideration of the interior of the Earth, a new agreement comes to light: The announcement of the spiritual investigator accord with the words which the Redeemer spoke two thousand years ago.
These associations were not the fruit of a laboured search; they seemed to grow out of the words themselves. Whoever reads in solitary meditation the words of The Sermon on the Mount in conjunction with the announcements of the occultist, will find from his own experience that connections like these meet him at every turn; for they are indeed present, only they evade the superficial glance.
This was the object of my lecture. It was intended to call attention once more to the manner of study based on the words of the occult teacher. In the book Theosophy, by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, you will find words of strength for such work: The thought is a living force; it is a direct expression of that which is beheld in spirit.
He who truly understands these words also grasps the truth, that the announcement of the spiritual teacher may be to us what outer nature is to the natural man; it created him; it sustains him. The spiritual spring flowing down into our souls must create and sustain in us the true man. But to this end our thought must be transformed. It has been kindled in the world of the lower passions; it is itself low, while it continues to serve desire. It must purify itself; it must offer itself as a sacrifice. This is the way which thought must follow; we stand upon its threshold when we succeed, after tireless striving, in purifying ourselves; when that is changed into an offering, a flame, it will also, like the earthly flame, annihilate the lower element at which it is kindled, and to which it owes its origin, and will soar aloft to spiritual heights.
—From a lecture given in 1914
THE ANTHROPOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
74 Grosvenor Street, London W.