The Rosicrucian Path
- *******I thought people here might find interesting a discussion we just had on the 'Anthroposophy' list (which usually has very little Anthroposophy on it, mostly politics or a person's alleged "channeling"). It started when someone asked if there was an anthroposophical angle on Christianity, and, incredibly, got no real answer. So I answered:
*******We know from Anthroposophy that there are three paths to the spirit--- the old yogic one, the Christian devotional one, and the modern "Rosicrucian" one. The Christian devotional one was a path of feeling, a path of initiation with the thinking left out. It is no longer appropriate for most modern-day humans. The modern one has to do with science, objective knowledge, and the will. It involves thinking exercises, CONSCIOUS feeling exercises and exercising the will.
Now, a person following this path eventually has an encounter with a being which, if he has a Christian upbringing, he will quickly recognize as the Christ. (If he does not, he may call it by another name.) See, for instance, Steiner's lecture " The Death of a God And Its Fruits in Humanity" of May 5th 1912.
So the "anthroposophic angle" on the Christ Being is that it is an objective reality which a spiritual scientist contacts, and which contact can be induced by a specific path of training rather than left to luck. When following this training, we also learn to distinguish the true spiritual reality from false copies, and we also find that there are "false Christs" or in other words phantom images of the real one, which certain erroneous spiritual paths induce, as can be seen in many 'Christian' churches today. One can distinguish these from the real one with training as easily as the eye distinguishes red from blue.
Our "anthroposophical angle" is thus rather like ours could be said to be on painting--- in that, while many people just jump into painting and do it by pure irrational feeling with no thinking involved, doing nothing consciously, a painter pursuing painting as a spiritual path through Anthroposophy accompanies his Will and feeling with clear thinking about darkness in front of light, light in front of darkness, warm and cool colors, etc. What is produced is the result of training and conscious action.
Similarly, what a spiritual scientist says about Buddha or Christ does not come from the realm of blind faith, but of knowledge, arrived at by specific exercises as part of a comprehensive training. Once this is achieved, insight may be gained into old religious traditions, which merely passing on the traditions without this knowledge does not include.
The questioner on the list then responded:
Thanks for this clear explanation. What is the Rosicrucian path by the way? and are there any Anthroposophists now or passed who accomplished what Steiner did; and if not, why hasn't this path produced more initiates and seers that can continue his visionary work?
*******The "Rosicrucian" path is what Steiner outlines in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, using definite experimental exercises with plants, crystals, sound etc. Few do more than read this book, that's the reason. Doing the exercises is the only thing that can cause changes in the astral and etheric bodies, not merely reading about them.
Nowadays many people say they are studying spiritual science but they have never done any of these, whereas Steiner's direct pupils would be told to perform these to acheive specific results they wanted, and so they did. If spiritual science was just Rudolf Steiner, it would never have survived him, but actually he initiated a large group of pupils---Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Eugen Kolisko, Carl Unger, Elizabeth Vreede, Walter Johannes Stein, and many others. They did not get as far as Steiner, but each made achievements in his or her own right.
Unfortunately, Anthroposophy does not work in inducing higher knowledge so long as one only takes it in with the speculative intellect, and too many people do only that. It's something that needs to be taken up as a way of life, with the whole being, including, for instance, using the very personal forces we move our bodies with. Many people also confuse it with other half-conscious or subconscious paths, like Eastern or pagan ones, because they want to abandon reason. This path is not one like that: it's constantly directed by your conscious rational mind. Not taking it up enough, or taking up in a wrong way, is the reason for the poor results often exhibited.
That led to the following questions:
>>Could you explain more what you mean in the above statement ("something that needs to be taken up as a way of life, with the whole being, including, for instance, using the very personal forces we move our bodies with") ??
*******Sure, just as priests dedicate their entire bodies to performing a ritual, or athletes will adopt an 'ascetic' way of life to prepare for a competition, or a dancer will dedicate her entire being to her art, so the pursuit of spiritual science involves not only the head, but must go into the whole of life--- all your deeds, one by one. You can't take it up only with the intellect and leave aside how you speak, the things you do in daily life, etc. It has to work into and transform all the layers of your being. Your every word and gesture has to be thought through and performed from out of your study, as in performing a ritual. Steiner said that in the future, a scientist working at his laboratory table would come to regard it as it his altar. for instance.
>>Since I have some experience with Yoga and Zen, I am not quite clear about what you mean here ("half-conscious or subconscious paths, like Eastern or pagan ones"). The wakefulness "exercises" in Zen and Vapassina meditation demand a high degree of conscious attention and not falling asleep. It is an active/passive observing process. It is certainly not semi conscious. In fact, during these practices, psychic experiences are common with lights being seen, color phenomena, etc. but its rarely talked about. Buddhism is highly reasonable and logical in its own way. The question I have then- why is reason so often considered the enemy of consciousness and spiritual work by virtually every other path?
*******There are what I meant by 'Eastern' paths and then there are some that have combined their older elements with more modern, Western consciousness. I meant the ones that negate the use of the intellect and instead focus on breathing and other subconscious processes of the body,
The reason was often stated by Steiner, that these ancient Asian paths worship the life forces-- which we once had the use of before the modern intellect came into being. Their traditions recall a time when we had the use of these forces, and then what they perceived as 'lower' intellectual knowledge arose-- and therefore they teach that this has to be put aside in order to get the other back.
But the path of spiritual science involves changing the abstract intellect into a LIVING thinking, one which will not block the life forces, but rather lets them through. Some paths have this understanding that one's awareness must be increased, as anthroposophy does, while others go around consciousness and use subconscious stuff. We know that this opens you up to the influence of lower beings.
>>The conventional reasoning process does not do well with experiences that "defy"
reason at times ( like having a clear sense of separation of the "self" from the physical body.This form of spiritual discrimination is part of all paths, it seems.
******But actually pure thinking, reasoning about whatever you observe, IS carried over into the body-free state. It's a falsehood that our thinking is only good for sense-perceptible objects: it is good for anything observed, through any senses, including those of the soul and the spirit. When the self is separated from the physical body, it does indeed use reason--- only pure reason, pure thinking, as in mathematics and geometry, not the mere 'having of thought-images' that most people use in daily life, which is dependent on the body.
And the questioner then responded:>>That was great ( about the Rosicrucian Path and the blending of East and West in some "eastern approaches" now in use. But I have a question about this below.Can you or Steiner or someone else describe exactly how pure thinking and reason are actually experienced in the the out of body condition. Do we think and form words like here on earth? Descriptions I have run across state that as "travelers" think, it instantly manifests around them. Telepathy is natural and seeing the reading the minds of others equally so.
What is your knowledge here? How do we learn to "think" and reason in this new state?
*******Pure thinking is the same. Even most mathematicians here are on earth are able to stay in such a state of pure thinking for only brief periods of time, unfortunately; but it IS thinking with the human spirit you are doing then, and this is the same as your consciousness when the spirit is outside of the body. What it's conscious OF is what changes, and it changes depending on the plane of consciousness you go to. It's not experienced in words, but in pure thinking, which is "behind" words, so to speak.
Mathematical thinking is self-regulating, that is, nothing outside of my self forces me to recognize the truth of straight lines or triangles: I have this desire for truth, and recognition that I must think truthfully in order to attain it, as my inner guide. Similarly, when you have an inner need for truthfulness in your thinking--- as opposed to an egotistic need to have whatever you have to say paid attention to, regardless of whether it's correct or not (as most human beings in the present manifest before they start on the path of initiation)---this habit of checking your thinking and making sure it is correct is carried into your soul and spirit organism. Since it's an inner habit, it applies to your thinking regardless of the OBJECT.
On the first plane you enter when you become free of the body, this is all-important, because there you find what you describe, namely that, whatever you think immediately appears to take form all around you. It's been called the Plane of Illusion; I call it the plane of wishful thinking. Fantasy has its origin here. In order to pass through it you have to be conscious that you are creating the fantasies, have to see through them to the part of you that is creating them. This is one of the reasons why art is so important on the spiritual path. Where most artists will simply picture whatever archetypes live in their consciousness, however, instead you must learn to see the archetypes themselves, and you see them as beings which are, so to speak, THINKING IN YOU. This is why objectivity, being able to stand apart from your own thinking, is required. You see what can be called the "thought beings" that ordinarily manifest through your thinking. You experience thinking as something happening in you, not something you do personally. You could say that you find out that you have never been a single unitary being, but rather the intersection of many planes, that other beings live within you.
This is how other beings are experienced once you are able to pass through this plane of illusion, not as beings outside of you, but that they are within you and you are within them--- if you have done the exercises to strengthen the ego and your feeling of sympathy with others to the point where you can allow your self to experience them without losing yourself. Communication with other beings is experienced as coming from within, not from without. Naturally, once again, the resisting of illusions is all-important, because it's always possible to make fantasy images appear to speak (as in the case of so-called 'mystics' with their 'visions' which, strangely, always just happen to confirm the person's religious dogmas!). It's difficult to put into words what experiences are like on the second and third planes, where the dead can be contacted, for instance, but it's what Steiner is hinting at when he says that a person in his life was supposed to write something, but he didn't and now Steiner is "writing it for him". You contact the creative essence of a person, not just their outer personality. It involves deep levels of yourself and is a very intimate matter, which is why I seldom speak of it, but I recognize what Steiner meant because I have passed through my own experience of it. Remember, we are not only intellects, but powerful will-drives, so communication with other beings is not just like 'hearing their thoughts'.
In fact, thoughts themselves are experienced completely differently when out of the body. One way I could express it is that instead of, "I'm thinking this thought", you experience "This thought being wants to think in me." And rather as you recognize someone else is also an American or an English-speaking person, you will recognize that this or that thought being also is speaking in another person. Persons are seen to be the channels for thought beings, to be, so to speak, "possessed" by them. This is all to be found in Dr. Steiner's lectures, but you need to walk the path in order to recognize what he was experiencing. When he spoke, it was these very creative thought beings speaking through him. They are a source that you contact, with your whole being. See, for example, the lectures on "Occult Reading and Occult Hearing" and the ones on "Human and Cosmic Thought."
For people just beginning, what I recommend are the thinking exercises, like the 'Ruckschau' or daily review of your actions, along with simply recording your dreams. Don't speculate on their meanings, but simply start be able to remember "I experienced this, I remember observing that." I have found that materialism is progressing so far that many people cannot even remember their dream experiences (which are your first, undisciplined experiences of the astral plane). As you take up esoteric training, your self-consciousness which is having your dreams will begin to change their character, and until that happens, their content is not worth very much in itself (see the chapter on "Transformation of Dream Life" in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds)--- but I meet so many people that have no recall whatsoever of even the tiniest fraction of their "nightly journey" on the astral plane these days that I have to emphasize the importance of doing so. Modern man has been cut off from his intuitive mind, the mind of the soul, but all of us still have that as a starting point every night, among others.
Hoping we may have some similar discussions here on the Steiner list.
- Dr. Starman,
Thank you for re-posting this here. I believe I had skimmed it when
it appeared in a digest from the Anthroposophy group along with some
other stuff. Having it here on its own made it easier to give it more
> Our "anthroposophical angle" is thus rather like ours could besaid to be
> on painting--- in that, while many people just jump into paintingand do it
> by pure irrational feeling with no thinking involved, doing nothingthrough
> consciously, a painter pursuing painting as a spiritual path
> Anthroposophy accompanies his Will and feeling with clear thinkingabout
> darkness in front of light, light in front of darkness, warm andcool colors,
> etc. What is produced is the result of training and consciousaction.
This passage brought up several thoughts. One thought is that, when
it comes to "spiritual" pursuits, all thoughts of artistic quality
and intelligent perceptions seem to go out the window. One is either
okay with the naive and mediocre or one is not with the program. This
is something that has kept me at some distance from newer movements
in favor of more "classical" spiritual paradigms, and has also led me
to keep my artistic and intellectual interests separate from my
What I feel is being asked of me now is a deeper integration between
these aspects so that, hopefully, my teaching (as a university music
professor) can become a more organic expression of myself rather than
something stressful and disappointing from which I need to escape in
mostly solitary intellectual, artistic, and spiritual pursuits. In my
previous location there was a beautiful spiritual group with which I
had frequent contact. This did become a refuge from the insanity of
modern academia. But since relocating and not having such easy
opportunities for contact with a suitable spiritual group, I feel
that I really need to integrate the abovementioned aspects more
thoroughly since I don't have the comfort of such a group to rely
The remarks above on painting seem to reinforce my idea that the
pursuit of artistic quality involves spiritual discernment and
refinement. Evaluations of artistic viability are not "merely
subjective" (as many of my students like to claim when they're not
willing to reach out beyond their lowest selves) but there is a
quality of being focused that contributes positively to the
satisfaction of the artist and which communicates in a subtle way to
the observer or audience.
> For people just beginning, what I recommend are the thinkingexercises,
> like the 'Ruckschau' or daily review of your actions, along withsimply
> recording your dreams. Don't speculate on their meanings, butsimply start be
> able to remember "I experienced this, I remember observing that."Are the Ruckschau exercises related to the daily themes that are
posted on the Steiner e.Lib site? Is there a written source that
contains all of those exercises?
- --- In email@example.com, "ronaldsquibbs" <ronsquibbs@s...>
> Are the Ruckschau exercises related to the daily themes that areHere is one aspect on Rückschau (imaging things backwards)from GA
> posted on the Steiner e.Lib site? Is there a written source that
> contains all of those exercises?
170, Ron! Greetings, Lutz.
"In 'Knowledge of the Higher Worlds' you are advised to imagine
things backwards from time to time, to review things backwards. A
backwards review involves picturing events as if they proceeded in
the opposite direction from that in which they proceed in our normal
world. Among other things, this picturing backwards gradually builds
the spiritual forces that make one capable of entering a world that
is the wrong way round when compared with the physical world. That
is how the spiritual world is.
"It reverses many aspects of the physical world. I have often
pointed out to you that it is not simply a matter of abstractly
turning around what is in the physical world; among the powers that
one needs to develop are the powers connected with the ability to
imagine backwards. What is the consequence of this? Those people who
do not want to see human culture dry up and who are trying to
achieve a spiritually illumined view of the world are eventually
forced to imagine a world in reverse.
"For spiritual consciousness only begins when the life processes or
the sense processes are reversed and run backwards. Therefore people
need to prepare for the future by getting accustomed to thinking
backwards. Then they will begin to take hold of the spiritual world
through this thinking backwards, just as they take hold of the
physical world by means of thinking forwards. Our ability to imagine
the physical world is a result of the direction of our thinking.
- In a message dated 5/7/2003 9:18:12 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ronsquibbs@... writes:
> For people just beginning, what I recommend are the thinking
>like the 'Ruckschau' or daily review of your actions, along with
>recording your dreams. Don't speculate on their meanings, but
simply start be
>able to remember "I experienced this, I remember observing that."
Are the Ruckschau exercises related to the daily themes that are
posted on the Steiner e.Lib site? Is there a written source that
contains all of those exercises?
*******The "ruckschau" ("look-back") is an exercise you do at the end of each day, where you review the actions of your day in reverse order. It's easy to see how reviewing your actions each day would help with being more mindful of what you do; but you do it in reverse order for two reasons. First, it requires more inner strength to recall events in the OPPOSITE sequence from the way the world gave them to you, and, second, time flows 'backwards' on the astral plane, relative to the physical plane. This is why this exercise improves your dream recall, because you experience dreams on the astral plane.