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Rudolf Steiner - Between Death and Rebirth

Rudolf Steiner - Between Death and Rebirth


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Lecture One, Berlin, 5th November, 1912

All the forces of the soul must be activated if the
essence of Anthroposophy is to be grasped.
Subjects must be studied from constantly new
sides. Since the last third of the nineteenth century
the soul need only be duly prepared and
revelations will flow from the spiritual world.
Activity in the physical world, quietude in the
spiritual world. Since 1899, spiritual influences
must take effect inwardly instead of being
occasioned by outer events. These lectures will
deal chiefly with the life after death when the
Kamaloka period is over. After death relationships
between individuals continue as they were during
life on Earth. Homer's seership. Michelangelo and
the Medici tombs in Florence. Our attitude to
spiritual knowledge can establish the seeds of a

true morality. Companionship or isolation in the
planetary spheres after death depend upon moral
and religious attitudes of soul in earthly life. For
karmic adjustments, return into the physical body
is essential.

Lecture Two, Berlin, 20th November, 1912

Consciousness of the ‘I’ acquired as the result of
contacts and collisions with the external world and
with the body when waking from sleep. Between
birth and death a human being may reduce the
value of his ‘I’ as the result of causing suffering to
others. Effects of the destruction thus caused
remain in his astral, etheric and physical bodies;
the forces able to repair the damage to these
sheaths cannot be drawn from the Earth but only
from the planetary spheres after death. Particular
qualities acquired on Earth determine whether
companionship or isolation will be experienced by
the soul after death when passing through the
spheres of Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn. Experiences during Initiation closely akin
to those undergone during the life after death.
Understanding of every human soul without

distinction of creed necessary for Initiation as it is
in the Sun sphere. The meeting between Abraham
and Melchizedek contains a deep secret of the
evolution of humanity. The distinction between
Christianity and other faiths. The Mystery of
Golgotha was fulfilled for all men, not only for
those who call themselves Christians. “Ye shall be
as Gods” — difference in implications of these
words if uttered by Lucifer or Christ. Forces
needed for renewal of the etheric body in the next
incarnation must be drawn from the Sun sphere,
for renewal of the astral body from the other
planetary spheres.

Lecture Three, Berlin, 3rd December, 1912

Relationships established during existence on
Earth cannot, to begin with, be changed during the
life after death. From the possible suffering caused
by this realisation the power is acquired to change
conditions in later karma. Those living on Earth
are able to have a great influence on those who
have died. Reading to the dead. Opposition to
Anthroposophy in the upper consciousness may
take the form of longing for it in the

subconsciousness. Necessity of mediation between
the physical world and the spiritual world.
Possibilities which do not become reality on the
physical plane exist as forces and effects in the
spiritual world. Actual experiences are only a
fractional part of the possibilities. The purpose of
Anthroposophy is fulfilled in the creation of an
actual link between the physical and spiritual
worlds. The relation of the soul to the body.
Analogy of the plant and its connection with the
Sun. Man belongs to the Universe, not only to the
Earth. Only during the last four centuries has
consciousness of this connection been lost. The
Christ Impulse imparts feeling of kinship with the
Macrocosm. A twelfth century allegory.

Lecture Four, Berlin, 10th December, 1912

After death the human being draws forces from the
stellar world to the extent to which he developed
moral and religious qualities during life on Earth.
Man is not meant to witness what happens to him
during sleep, i.e. the restoration of forces used up
during waking life. Processes of cognition lie
within the field of man's consciousness but the

life-giving process does not. The expulsion from
Paradise. The purpose of life between death and
rebirth is that forces may be drawn from the stellar
world for shaping the following incarnation.
Difference between the life after death and the
condition of sleep is fundamentally one of
consciousness only. Direct astronomical vision in
ancient Egypt but no logical thinking. In the
Graeco-Latin epoch there was only remembrance
of what had formerly been direct vision. By the
time of Copernicus men had eyes only for physical
globes in space. Kepler's spiritual insight into the
connection of certain events with heavenly
constellations. Anthroposophy is a torch by which
the spiritual world is illumined for us from a
certain time onwards during life after death.
Forces once drawn from the stellar worlds must
now be drawn from men's own souls. This is the
mission of the Earth.

Lecture Five, Berlin, 22nd December, 1912

This was a special lecture given “as a kind of
Christmas gift” on the subject of Christian
Rosenkreutz and Gautama Buddha: their missions

and achievements in the spiritual history of

Lecture Six, Berlin, 7th January, 1913

In our fifth post-Atlantean epoch the sixth is
prepared in the souls of men by increasing
understanding of the Christ Impulse and of the
Mystery of the Holy Grail. The latter is connected
with the mission of Buddha in the Mars sphere
referred to in the preceding lecture. Of the
members of man's being it is the ‘I’ or Ego which,
basically speaking, passes through all the periods
of existence between birth and death and death and
rebirth. But this ‘I’ must not be confused with the
‘I’ recognised in earthly life. The true ‘I’ is the
actor in the processes of learning to walk, to speak
and to think. There is a natural correspondence
between the true form of man and those faculties.
The human form stems from the Spirits of Form.
These Spirits are opposed by backward Luciferic
Spirits who suppress the consciousness proper to
the Ego. The bodily organs are pervaded by the
Spirits of Form quite differently in each case.
Contrast between the head and the rest of the

physical body. At a certain stage of development,
physical mobility can be held still while complete
mobility of the corresponding etheric organs is
maintained. Between death and rebirth man
experiences the higher ‘I’ of which he is
unconscious during earthly life between birth and

Lecture Seven, Berlin, 14th January, 1913

Cyclic seven-year periods in life. Coming of the
second teeth marks the culmination of the
formative process which works from within the
human being. Growth, however, continues until
checked by forces working from outside (see
diagram). The work of the ‘regular’ Hierarchies
and of the Luciferic Beings belonging to those
Hierarchies. Essential changes take place in the
course of time both in life on Earth and after
death. ‘Public Opinion’ and its influence. St. Paul's
profound esoteric knowledge exemplified in his
teaching of the ‘first Adam’ and the ‘second
Adam’. Progressive dimness of man's life of soul
after death until the Mystery of Golgotha when the
new impulse was given to spiritual life. The

Baptism by John the Baptist and its effects. In the
life of soul men were under the leadership of the
Third Hierarchy to a far greater extent than was
the case after the Mystery of Golgotha. The power
and influence of the Luciferic beings have no
significance in man's life after death. The effect of
the Buddha's influence in the Mars sphere (see
Lecture Five). In the future it will be characteristic
of those who are to become spiritual leaders on
Earth that a fundamental change takes place in
their whole character when they have reached a
certain age. This is the result of the Buddha's
influence in the Mars sphere during their life
between death and rebirth. Rosicrucianism has
always recognised this.

Lecture Eight, Berlin, 11th February, 1913

The greatest mysteries of existence are within man
himself. The thoughts conceived by divine-
spiritual Beings in the past live on in the present
mineral, plant and animal kingdoms, just as our
memory-pictures continue into our present life.
With our memory we grasp a tiny corner of world-
creation, namely what has passed over from

creation into existence. From the viewpoint of
sleep we behold what is hidden from waking life.
Results of destructive processes during waking life
are repaired during sleep. Processes of destruction
in the organism are the precondition of the life of
soul. Experiences during the life between death
and the new birth. At a certain point there is a
reversal of vision. Everything that was outside us
in life on Earth becomes our inner world.
Preparation of the body of the future earthly
existence. When the soul encounters in the
spiritual world that which bears a new life
germinally within it, this is an experience of the
moment of the last death in reverse. Vision of
spiritual realities gradually lost by human souls in
the course of evolution. Men are now beginning to
be interested only in what is sub-sensory, e.g.
vibrations, wave lengths, the working of forces.
The mission of Anthroposophy is to counter the
withering of man's inner spirituality.

Lecture Nine, Berlin, 4th March, 1913

Spiritual investigation discloses that the
supersensible forces needed by man in order to

mould his body and also his destiny are received
by him from the Beings of the Hierarchies whom
he contacts between death and rebirth. Rejection
of spiritual ideas in earthly life means loneliness
and darkness in the spiritual world after death, also
inability to mould the physical organs efficiently
for the next incarnation. Individuals after death are
approached by Luciferic or Ahrimanic beings
according to their attitude to spiritual knowledge
while on Earth. The power exercised by Ahrimanic
beings during a soul's life after death can be
recognised in characteristics of three successive
incarnations. An example: egotistic mysticism in
one life, hypochondria in the next, defective
thinking in the third. Acting out of love rather than
merely out of a sense of duty enables contact to be
made after death with spiritual beings who send
down to the physical world forces that promote
health. Life in the spiritual world depends upon
the mode of our life in the physical body on Earth.
Relationship with the Buddha can be established
during the life between death and rebirth even if
there had been no contact in earthly life, but this
remains an exceptional case. Nothing can replace

the significance of our connection with the Earth.
Words of Leonardo da Vinci. Anthroposophy can
bridge the gulf between the living and the dead.

Lecture Ten, Berlin, 1st April, 1913

Reference to the book Theosophy, Chapter III on
the Soul World, the Soul in the Soul World after
Death, the Spiritland, the Spirit in the Spiritland
after Death. These descriptions are more closely
related to inner conditions of the soul, whereas in
the present lecture-course the descriptions are of
great cosmic conditions and the functions of the
planetary spheres. Experiences of the soul after
death in Kamaloka and final discarding of
longings connected with earthly life. Passage
through the planetary spheres. Quotation from the
book Theosophy with special reference to
experiences in the Mars region and the mission of
Buddha (Lecture Five). At the beginning of the
seventeenth century Brahmanism was absorbed
into Buddhism in the cultural life of India. Events
on Earth are reflected images of happenings in the
Heavens. The fruits of the soul's experiences
beyond the Saturn sphere between death and

rebirth make progress of culture on Earth possible.
The stream of spirituality which has its centre of
gravity in the Mystery of Golgotha comes from
Old Sun. The death on Golgotha was only
seemingly a death; in reality it was the birth of the

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