Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

"Swedenborg's Power of Vision"", by Rudolf Steiner

Expand Messages
  • LilOleMissy
    Swedenborg s Power of Vision, by Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, 12 September 1915 [From anthroposophic News Sheet, 7th year, No. 14, 2 April, 1939] Today I wish to
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 11, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Swedenborg's Power of Vision, by Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, 12 September
      1915 [From anthroposophic News Sheet, 7th year, No. 14, 2 April, 1939]

      Today I wish to say a few things on the difficulty of penetrating
      into the spiritual worlds, and in connection with this subject I shall,
      to begin with, take an example as my point of departure. You have all
      heard of the seer, Swedenborg. I myself have frequently drawn attention
      to this seer, Swedenborg, and I have emphasized that, on the one hand,
      it is not possible to deal lightly and superficially with a personality
      such as Swedenborg, while on the other hand, if we really wish to
      penetrate into the nature of the paths leading into the spiritual world,
      we may discern, particularly through the example of this seer, how a
      human being falls a prey to all kinds of illusions, in spite of his
      being in the spiritual world - because, as it were, he does not
      penetrate through the world of illusion.
      Swedenborg, I have said, should not be considered superficially.
      Swedenborg was not a seer who submitted light-heartedly to his power of
      vision, without knowing much about life and the world; but Swedenborg
      was a deep and distinguished scholar, one of the greatest scientists, if
      not the greatest scientist of his time. His knowledge encompassed what
      the science of his time could offer. An important proof of his soundly
      based scientific thoroughness and of his striving after knowledge is the
      fact that a whole commission of scientists has been formed for the
      purpose of bringing out, not the works of Swedenborg, the seer, but his
      purely scientific works, which have not yet been published. In
      Swedenborg we thus have before us a personality who had advanced so far,
      that in his previsionary time, before the spiritual worlds had become
      accessible to him, he had written down the sum total of his knowledge -
      or perhaps not even the sum total, but only a part of his knowledge - in
      a great number of manuscripts; and today not _one_ scientist, but a
      whole commission of scientists, that is to say, of men who are complete
      strangers to everything visionary, is required for the publication of
      this material. Swedenborg's sense of vision awoke and the spiritual
      worlds were opened to him only when he stood, as it were, at the very
      summit of temporal knowledge. Swedenborg thus appears to us as the
      example of a man who does not one day proclaim himself a seer from out
      an ordinary, vulgar life, but who rises to the stage of a seer upon the
      foundation of an earnest and conscientious scientific attitude.
      If, however, we contemplate on the other hand the whole nature of
      Swedenborg, the seer, we shall find that a seer may come to a standstill
      upon a certain stage which does not, after all, lead him to ultimate
      knowledge. Particularly a personality so conspicuous in knowledge and
      power of vision may be used as a good example showing us how deeply and
      conscientiously we should proceed when we speak of entering the
      spiritual worlds and of bringing down from them this or that. It cannot
      be emphasized too strongly that in Swedenborg we have before us, on the
      one hand, a power of vision which developed after this man had not only
      encompassed, but also enriched the sum total of knowledge of his time, a
      fact which has already shown itself and which will undoubtedly be
      evidenced by the publication of his works. Before his visionary period,
      Swedenborg was an altogether first-rate scientific discoverer. As you
      know, he has recounted all manner of things regarding his power of
      vision. It is of particular interest to note that when he used to ascend
      with his soul to the spiritual world in order to look into it, he always
      felt that he was enveloped not only by his own aura, but that a number
      of spiritual beings were embedded in this aura. This is very
      characteristic, very significant. Thus, when the power of vision awoke
      in Swedenborg, he immediately felt, as it were, that he was not alone;
      but with his soul he felt himself expanded to an aura. And out of his
      own organs there rose up, as it were, spiritual, elemental beings, who
      conferred with one another while he was looking on, and who conferred
      with him, with his soul.
      Swedenborg is thus advised from the very outset by spiritual beings
      who dwell within every human being, and these beings rose up within
      Swedenborg's consciousness when his power of vision awoke. In addition
      to these beings, who form part of the inner, constant store of every
      human being, there were others whom he recognised, whom he generally
      recognised through what resulted from his conference with the elemental
      beings arising out of his own self; he recognised these as such. Other
      beings, who flew towards him, as it were, he recognised as beings
      belonging to the remaining world, or as beings who had their home upon
      other planets belonging to the sphere of the Earth.
      On one occasion, after having conferred with his own elemental
      beings, he recognised certain other elemental beings in his environment
      who revealed a peculiar quality. Until that time, Swedenborg had been
      accustomed to understand not only the language spoken by the elemental
      beings who arose out of himself, but up to a certain point he had always
      been accustomed to understand also the other beings who came to him from
      Venus, Mercury, the Sun, and so forth. He had grown accustomed to think
      that spirits have a language in common, which can be understood. This
      language is, indeed, the language of ideas, the language of the inner
      being of an idea which has become alive. During my last lectures, I have
      spoken to you of these ideas which have become alive. Swedenborg was
      accustomed to this language and understood it.
      Indeed, from out of this language we should also cultivate our
      Eurythmy. When the human being speaks in his language of sounds, what
      exists as systems of power concentrates its activity upon the organs
      which form his larynx and upon the appendages of the larnyx, so that
      speech may sound forth. The whole human being is, as it were, relieved
      from cooperating in speech. Our intimate feeling for speech thus becomes
      unconsciously and subconsciously altogether terrestrial; it is the aim
      of Eurythmy to make the whole human being participate once more in
      speech. But I shall speak of this deeper meaning of Eurythmy upon
      another occasion.
      Now I merely wish to point out that Swedenborg felt that he could
      understand the language of the spiritual beings... but he felt this only
      up to a certain moment, when he began to notice that certain spirits
      were approaching him who spoke in manifold gestures, by moving their
      limbs, in the way in which spirits generally speak, or by moving their
      own form. As stated, Swedenborg was accustomed to understand this
      gesture-language of the spirits. One day, however, certain spirits
      approached him, and although he could clearly see that they were making
      certain movements, he could not understand them; no meaning, no
      significance passed over into his soul from these movements. This was a
      surprising phenomenon for him; it was just as if we were to face a
      person whose lips we see moving in speech, without being able to hear a
      single sound. This circumstance led Swedenborg to a very important
      conclusion. He came to this conclusion because he recognised that these
      beings whom he could not understand were certain inhabitants of Mars.
      After having recognised that certain inhabitants of Mars can speak so
      that it is impossible to understand them, whereas in other cases he was
      accustomed to understand the language of the spiritual beings [as
      stated, I am speaking of Swedenborg's experiences] and since he was
      willing to avoid giving an arbitrary interpretation to these things and
      wished instead to study them, he gradually realised why he could not
      understand these Mars-beings, these Mars-souls. he could not understand
      them because they belonged to a category of cosmic beings who had
      acquired the capacity of concealing their feelings and impulses of will,
      thus preventing their feelings from flowing out in words. They were able
      to conceal the whole content of their souls, they could keep this for
      themselves. This enabled Swedenborg to recognise that whenever we
      understand a language, we do not merely hear words or see gestures, but
      something of the soul-content flows into the language, and the
      comprehension of a language is, in reality, based upon this overflowing
      of the soul-content. When beings understand one another through speech,
      a hidden image, or a hidden force, is at work. Swedenborg recognised
      that these Mars-beings had acquired the capacity of concealing their
      feelings, thus betraying nothing of the meaning of their speech,
      although they were speaking.
      Immediately afterwards he made another discovery, he went through
      another experience which became knowledge that these Mars-beings could
      be understood by the beings belonging to the hierarchy of the Angels.
      They could not be understood by him, nor by the spirits rising out of
      his own body, but they could be underestood by the beings belonging to
      the category of the Angels. This is what he noticed, and it was an
      extraorinarily significant experience for him, a deep experience. For
      now he realised that his power of vision was limited in regard to the
      perception of the spiritual world and that he was unable to understand
      something which the beings of the hierarchy of the Angels could understand.
      Things of this kind, related by Swedenborg, should not be
      overlooked, for they belong to those facts which can introduse us in the
      deepest manner into certain mysteries of the spiritual worlds. Now, in
      order to understand the connection here, let us remember a few things
      which I have already explained to you. I have described to you how the
      regular, ordinary power of vision develops: namely, in the case of a
      regular seer, a good seer, the whole way in which he places himself in
      relation with the world must undergo a complete change. I have said:
      When we encounter the beings and objects of the physical plane we are
      conscious that these objects are outside; they are outside our own
      being. We face these objects, and through our perception we take in, as
      it were, into our being something which forms part of these objects. Our
      ego is aware of the objects, our ego faces these objects. The
      fundamental experience of all knowledge and perception upon the physical
      plane is this: that I place the objects of the physical plane before me,
      that I recognise them.
      I have said that this fundamental experience changes as soon as we
      rise up to the spiritual worlds. The characterisation of the physical
      world is then replaced by another one, namely: we ourselves become
      objects. In the same way in which the objects were once related to our
      ego, so the ego is now the object of the beings of the higher worlds. We
      do not perceive any longer; we experience, instead, that we are being
      perceived. The spiritual beings of the higher hierarchies look upon us.
      And we experience this: "I am being perceived; the Archangels, etc. are
      looking down upon me."
      You see, this is a complete reversal of the whole relationship
      towards the world. We acquire consciousness of the following fact: "You
      have extended your being over the sphere of the hierarchies; the
      hierarchies are active within it and look upon you in the same way in
      which you look upon the objects of the physical plane."
      Every relationship towards the spiritual world must be wrong
      without this fundamental experience, in the same way in which every
      relationship towards the physical world would be wrong without the
      fundamental experience: "I place the objects before me." "I
      contemplate", is correct as far as the physical world is concerned. "I
      am being contemplated", is, fundamentally speaking, correct as far as
      the spiritual world is concerned.
      Upon the threshold which we cross when passing over into the
      spiritual world, there is, as it were, a region, a stream, in which we
      maintain the whole configuration, the whole peculiarity of our
      relationship towards the physical world. We do not get rid of the "I
      contemplate"; we cannot rise to the "I am being contemplated". From out
      a deeply rooted habit we expect that the spiritual world should, after
      all, be nothing but a copy, a more refined copy of the physical world.
      Quite a number of men thinks as follows: We may join an assembly of
      spirits in the same way in which we are standing here, in this hall,
      among physical men, and in this assembly of spirits we would be
      assembled in exactly the same way in which human beings are assembled
      upon the physical plane, except that spirits are of a rather thin
      substance, so that it would be possible to stretch out a hand through
      them... Because we bring our habits with us into the spiritual world, we
      have the following fundamental experience in the form of an illusion: "I
      contemplate the world-beings" - and this prevents us from rising to the
      other experience: "I am being contemplated by the world-beings."
      You see, as long as Swedenborg, the seer, lived in the incarnation
      to which we are referring, he remained altogether in these illusions. He
      could never rise to the experience: "I am being contemplated". If you
      read everything that proceeds from Swedenborg in his quality of seer,
      you will find that he actually describes the higher worlds as if they
      were nothing but a finer vapour of the physical world, very much
      resembling the physical world in every other respect.
      Undoubtedly Swedenborg thereby describes the world of imagination
      very much to the point, but he cannot judge it. He cannot judge it,
      because he is unable to judge the spiritual world as a whole, since he
      forms his habits from out the physical world. Consequently, all the
      beings of the spiritual worlds merely show him those things which they
      are able and also willing to clothe in the form of imaginations which
      are derived and brought along from our conceptions of the physical
      world. Undoubtedly, he thereby perceives high spiritual beings,
      significant spiritual beings, but he always sees them in a garment
      which is not their own, a garment which he himself has thrown over them.
      But when he comes to a region where the spirits have the particular
      tendency to conceal their inner being, he is no longer able to
      understand them and they are just as enigmatic as those Mars-inhabitants
      who have learnt to conceal their inner life, so that it does not flow
      out into their manner of speech.
      This lies at the foundation of Swedenborg's so conscientious
      descriptions and this should be recognised in order to understand the
      nature of Swedenborg's world of visions. Thus the essential point to be
      borne in mind by those who really seek to identify themselves with the
      objects in such a way [this has been described in the last part of my
      book, "Theosophy", where all the indications have, after all, been
      given] that they acquire the habit of getting away from their own being
      by contemplating the higher world, and accustom themselves to penetrate
      little by little into something which cannot be acquired, into something
      for which only a power of vision can be acquired... But another thing
      which takes hold of them, as if by an act of grace of the spiritual
      world, another thing which then beomes upon them, is the following
      experience: "You are being contemplated by the spiritual beings of the
      higher hierarchies; they are looking upon you." These beings, however,
      do not merely contemplate them; here, at this point (a drawing is made)
      we have several objects of the physical plane, and here, a human being
      who is grasping an object of the physical world with his thoughts. If I
      draw the whole thing symbolically [in reality it is otherwise, as you
      know], you will find that just as this man now takes in and takes up
      within himself the representations of the physical plane, and just as we
      accustom ourselves to the fact that the beings of the higher hierarchies
      are outside, so we now feel that we live in the representations of these
      beings [also this drawing is symbolical, for these beings naturally
      represent the soul-being], we feel that we become the perception, the
      representation and thought of these beings of the higher hierarchies.
      Had Swedenborg been able to do this, he would have said: "I myself
      do not understand these Mars-inhabitants, but the Angels above me are
      able to understand them." Swedenborg was unable to cognize through the
      perceptive power of the Angels; he could only use his own cognition. We
      should, however, not only be able to form representations, but also to
      become an object of representation; we should not only be able to think,
      but we should also be able to become a thought, a thought conceived by
      the beings of the higher hierarchies. We must learn to relate ourselves
      to the higher hierarchies in the same way in which thoughts are related
      to us. Swedenborg could not do this. Had he been able to do this he
      would have said: "As long as I remain within my own being, I shall not
      understand the Mars-inhabitants. But as soon as I go out of myself and
      become an object, a thought, an idea of the Angels, I shall understand
      the Mars-inhabitants within my being, which - thanks to the Angels - has
      expanded, has grown larger." Had Swedenborg been able to do this, the
      Angels' comprehension of the Mars-inhabitants would have risen up in his
      own consciousness. But he could not ascend to this, because he remained
      within his own consciousness and did not come as far as "being
      contemplated"; that is to say, he did not come as far as being
      contemplated in such a way that the Angels could experience their
      contemplation within him, so that he merely became the Angels' field of
      vision. What the Angels cognized, would in that case have been cognized
      also by him. This is how we grow aware of the fact that the higher
      spirits, the spirits that belong to the higher hierarchies, weave within
      our being, and thus we grow cognizant of the higher hierarchies.
      It is so significant to bear in mind the following fact: During the
      present epoch, the human being can only recognise [for heis organised
      accordingly] the worlds which are accessible to his perceptive organs.
      If he wishes to extend his cognition, [read everything that I have
      written about initiation, and you will find that all this has been
      explained in my writings] if he wishes to progress, he must take up
      within himself the consciousness of the spiritual beings above him, and
      what these spiritual beings experience should become an object within
      his consciousness. He must be able to feel that he is in the midst of a
      choir of spiritual beings. This is essential.
      Particularly in the case of so significant a personality as
      Swedenborg, we may see that the ascent to the spiritual worlds leads to
      illusions if it is not livingly permeated by the experience that the
      consciousness of the physical plane must really and truly be abandoned.
      Otherwise, we merely reach an illusionary world. Take the great majority
      of books which have been written by seers and read their descriptions.
      You will find, as a rule, that they contain illusions of this kind. We
      should not allow ourselves to be led astray by such illusions, for it is
      a far greater evil to fall a prey to illusions upon the threshold of the
      spiritual world, than to fall a prey to the illusions of the physical world.
      It is essential to use the available literature in such a way that
      we gradually accustom ourselves to penetrate in a sound way into the
      whole relationship of the human being to the spiritual world.
      Opportunity to do this has been given to us, I might say, in a twofold
      manner: In the first place, through the fact that books of this kind
      exist, and in the second place, through the fact that these books cannot
      be read without a spiritual effort. Care is taken that this should be
      so. I have frequently been given to understand that my books should be
      written in a more popular style. But I have always been against this,
      because it is an essential characteristic of these books that they have
      not been written in a popular style. If the material which is offered to
      us by our spiritual-scientific literature is poured into a miscellany of
      indistinct forms and if we then pass on these vague forms to the public,
      because, apparently, these vague forms are more popular, we only render,
      on the one hand, a service of slothfulness, and, on the other hand, we
      cause a great deal of harm. For it is always harmful if people pursue
      spiritual things in a superficial, thoughtless manner. The activity
      involved when we try to understand a more difficult description,
      constitutes an inner training; it is something which helps us to develop
      a right connection with the spiritual world. One of the essential
      characteristics of our literature [and it has always formed part of the
      essential characteristics of our literature] is that it should give
      rise, in a most encompassing way, to the following results: Whenever we
      take up such things, our thoughts should grow active, and everything
      which we already possess in the form of knowledge, or through the books
      which we have read, should be connected with what is contained in the
      anthroposophical books. Let me now set forth the following thoughts, as
      an example, showing you how these things may be studied in a thinking
      way, with the aid of anthroposophical writings.
      There is a cycle of lectures which deals with the activity of the
      Elohims. These lectures were delivered in Munich; their subject is the
      story of the world's creation, with special reference to the Bible. This
      is more or less the theme of this cycle of lectures. (See "Genesis" by
      Rudolf Steiner.)
      People read these lectures and many think that they have
      accomplished something special if they have read them, if they have
      grasped them, in their own way. This, however, is not the essential
      point: To begin with, the essential point is, of course, the fact that
      an inner soul-activity should be connected with a series of lectures
      such as these. Well, there may be some people who say, for instance, "In
      these Elohims [who are headed by that Being Who, later on, underwent a
      transformation and became the Christ] we have before us a category of
      beings who had to fulfil a special task during that planetary existence
      which we designate as Sun-existence. The chief representative of the
      evolution of these beings leads us back to the Sun-existence. The
      connection of these beings with the Sun-existence is one of the reasons
      why we should speak of Christ Himself as a Sun-being. We should,
      moreover, reflect a great deal over the fact that the Elohims are
      Sun-related, that they are really related with one another through the
      Sun. The whole trend of the lecture reveals that this Sun-relationship
      of the Elohims is referred to continually. We may, as it were, feel this
      Sun-relationship throughout the lecture.
      Not in the depths of sleep, but after a thorough meditation, let us
      now try to grasp how we should really conceive the character of the
      Elohims. Let us immerse ourselves in the character of the Elohims. If we
      really do this patiently we shall experience, after a while, that a
      thought arises, a thought which comes altogether out of an indefinite
      element, as it were, or penetrates into an indefinite element. A thought
      strikes upon us. It occurs to us, for instance, [I am merely giving you
      an example] that the Bible mentions one of the commandments of Jahve,
      i.e. of one of the Elohims, namely: not to eat of the Tree of Life. It
      is strange that the Elohims should speak of the Tree, of Trees. I have
      frequently mentioned that the language of an ancient record, such as the
      Bible, should not be taken lightly. If it mentions a tree, this
      signifies something; something very essential is meant by it. The
      Elohims speak of the Tree. You see, even Homer is reported to have said
      that ev ery ob ject has two names: one, in the language of the gods, and
      one, in the language of man. If we bear this in mind, we shall be able
      to say: The fact that the gods speak of the Tree may perhaps be
      connected to some extent with the language of the gods. if we now
      penetrate more deeply into the matter we shall say: What do the Elohim
      mean, when they speak of the Tree of Knowledge and of the Tree of
      Life...what do they really mean by this? If you now consult our books
      you will be ab le tos ay: The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life
      must be connected in some way with the human being itself. The
      prohibition to eat of the Tree of Knowledge has, after all, the
      following meaning [you will be able to discover this]: The human soul
      must not seek, through its body, a connection which produces the present
      manner of contemplation through the senses; the soul must not eat of
      the Tree of Knowledge; it must not b ecome connected with the physical
      body in such a way as to give rise to the present form of knowledge,
      which is under Lucifer's influence. [I have recently characterised
      this.] Thus, when the Elohims speak of the _Tree of Knowledge_, they
      allude to something of this kind, which is connected with the human
      being itself.
      When they speak of the _Tree of Life_ they must also mean something
      which is connected with the human being. Indeed, what causes man to see
      in the way in which he now sees? What enables him to perceive a world
      which is permeated by Lucifer? Man's soul-spiritual essence is embedded
      in Lucifer, and owing to this it consumes the physical body. At the very
      outset, however, the human soul was not destined to be embedded within
      the physical body in the way in which it is now embedded within it. The
      physical body is the Tree of Knowledge, and the etheric body is the Tree
      of Life. Since man has succumbed to Lucifer's temptation, he must now
      use his physical body for the purpose of acquiring that kind of
      knowledge to which we are accustomed at the present time, and he is not
      meant to have also that kind of knowledge which comes through the
      etheric body. This is a forbidden knowledge.
      These are the kinds of thoughts which we may reach through real
      thinking. We shall then say to ourselves: Why do the gods, when they
      speak in their own language, call the physical body the Tree of
      Knowledge? Why do they speak of a Tree? And why do they call the etheric
      body the Tree of Life? Why do they speak of Trees? If we seek an
      explanation in the human language, we shall not be able to answer these
      questions. we shall easily be able to understand what the language of
      the gods is meant to convey if we bear in mind that during the Sun
      period the gods have followed a special course of evolution; they have
      taken up something quite essential, particularly from the nature of the
      Sun. Try to reflect over the following facts: The Saturn period has
      reached the standpoint of the mineral; during the Sun period everything
      has reached the standpoint of the vegetable. Thus, if the gods whom we
      call the Elohims, have acquried the character of their speech during the
      Sun period, they will not speak of things which can only be experienced
      upon the Moon or upon the Earth, but when they express themselves they
      will speak of things which the cosmos has evolved up to the point of the
      Sun period, and this is the vegetable nature. Hence, when the gods speak
      in their own language, they speak of Trees, because they speak a cosmic
      language.
      You see, this is a conclusion which may be reached if we really
      think through in the right way the contents of the lecture-cycles and
      books, and do nothing but this. We may reach such a conclusion if we do
      not merely read and read and read, and then connect what we have read in
      an abstract manner, but if we go on thinking, if we bring together the
      things according to the natural way in which they are related to one
      another. Whilst doing this, we are, after all, engaged in an activity,
      for we must make an effort. Inner forcesbecome emancipated from the
      soul, and we use these forces. We are active, we really exert ourselves!
      And this exertion is successful. The success consists therein that the
      soul becomes independent; through an inner effort we really succeed in
      rendering the soul independent. But real work, the right kind of work is
      needed for this. Again and again it should be emphasised t hat we loosen
      the spiritual world from the physical not merely through passive
      self-submission, but through real work, active work from out the forces
      of our soul. This is the essential point: to win the spiritual world
      through our own active work.
      If we really wish to penetrate into the spiritual world we should
      not shrink from working through what lies before us; we should connect
      it with everything which we have learnt from life itself; otherwise it
      may really occur that a person imagines, for instance, that he is the
      reincarnated Homer, and at the same time thinks that it is unnecessary
      for him to do things proving that some of the things seen by Homer also
      dwell within his own being. It may really occur that a person believes:
      "In the past, Homer was wide awake, but now he lives in an incarnation
      in which he is pleasantly resting upon the soft pillows of a mystical
      sleep." If we are active and endeavour to work our way through the
      material which lies before us, we shall not - I might say - be led to
      every kind of mystical nonsense, but we shall be led to a point from
      where we shall gain a true connection with the spiritual world, enabling
      us to understand in a deeper sense what truth really means in the
      spiritual world in regard to the human being. We shall then realise that
      we must really do our utmost in order to avoid mixing up the habits of
      thinking, feeling and sensing of the physical plane with the peculiar
      qualities of the spiritual world.
      This is the attitude which should be adopted, and if we really
      adopt it, it will safeguard us against mistakes and errors when we
      penetrate into the spiritual world. If we eat salt for a whole week, in
      order to "descend to the subterranean worlds", or if we avoid eating
      salt for another week, in order to "ascend to the higher elemental
      worlds", no effort will be needed - is it not so? Indeed, no effort will
      be entailed, but we shall not reach any result, or, at the most, we
      shall reach the most ordinary kind of illusion. In the spiritual world
      we can only reach something through _inner activity_. The very nature of
      an inner activity - if it really exists - is that it does not lead us
      astray into harmful activities in regard to the spiritual world. It
      leads us to the right kinds of thoughts. Otherwise, mystical and
      mistaken things will be the result, and people would then have the right
      to laugh at us.
      A man with sound common sense in this direction, has just written
      to me, for instance, of his visit to one of our study-groups, as a
      member: Although it was very hot and there was no reason for shutting
      all the windows, every window was shut. I have nothing against shutting
      windows, particularly if all kinds of noises may be heard outside; this
      would be a plausible reason for shutting the windows. But this was not
      the reason advanced by the group in question, for the people there told
      this man: "Dr. Steiner has expressly drawn our attention to the fact
      that we should close the windows, in order to prevent demons from
      entering". This man, who was mystically sound and unspoilt, thereupon
      wrote to me: "Cannot demons enter, even if the windows are shut? A
      teacher of spiritual science who tells his pupils to shut the windows in
      order to prevent demons from entering, must be a queer teacher!" You see
      how easily the physical plane can be mixed up with the higher worlds, in
      this thoughtless manner of speaking! Upon the physical plane, the
      demonds are of course unable to penetrate through closed windows, unless
      they break the panes, but it will hardly be possible to keep spirits
      away by shutting the windows! It is really a question of forming
      sufficiently earnest concepts of the spiritual worlds and of the
      physical worlds!
      If we consider such things, this example of a conscientious,
      energetic and, in his way, great seer, such as Swedenborg, can correct
      many mistaken thoughts which we may have
      formed. END
    • soniaeasley2002
      Missy, Thank you so very much for this posting on Swedenborg. Bless your heart for sharing. This lecture has made my day. Cheers, Sonia ... September ...
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 18, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        Missy,

        Thank you so very much for this posting on Swedenborg. Bless your
        heart for sharing. This lecture has made my day.

        Cheers,

        Sonia

        --- In steiner@yahoogroups.com, LilOleMissy <lilolemissy@s...> wrote:
        >
        > Swedenborg's Power of Vision, by Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, 12
        September
        > 1915 [From anthroposophic News Sheet, 7th year, No. 14, 2 April,
        1939]
        >
        > Today I wish to say a few things on the difficulty of
        penetrating
        > into the spiritual worlds, and in connection with this subject I
        shall,
        > to begin with, take an example as my point of departure. You have
        all
        > heard of the seer, Swedenborg. I myself have frequently drawn
        attention
        > to this seer, Swedenborg, and I have emphasized that, on the one
        hand,
        > it is not possible to deal lightly and superficially with a
        personality
        > such as Swedenborg, while on the other hand, if we really wish to
        > penetrate into the nature of the paths leading into the spiritual
        world,
        > we may discern, particularly through the example of this seer, how
        a
        > human being falls a prey to all kinds of illusions, in spite of his
        > being in the spiritual world - because, as it were, he does not
        > penetrate through the world of illusion.
        > Swedenborg, I have said, should not be considered
        superficially.
        > Swedenborg was not a seer who submitted light-heartedly to his
        power of
        > vision, without knowing much about life and the world; but
        Swedenborg
        > was a deep and distinguished scholar, one of the greatest
        scientists, if
        > not the greatest scientist of his time. His knowledge encompassed
        what
        > the science of his time could offer. An important proof of his
        soundly
        > based scientific thoroughness and of his striving after knowledge
        is the
        > fact that a whole commission of scientists has been formed for the
        > purpose of bringing out, not the works of Swedenborg, the seer, but
        his
        > purely scientific works, which have not yet been published. In
        > Swedenborg we thus have before us a personality who had advanced so
        far,
        > that in his previsionary time, before the spiritual worlds had
        become
        > accessible to him, he had written down the sum total of his
        knowledge -
        > or perhaps not even the sum total, but only a part of his
        knowledge - in
        > a great number of manuscripts; and today not _one_ scientist, but a
        > whole commission of scientists, that is to say, of men who are
        complete
        > strangers to everything visionary, is required for the publication
        of
        > this material. Swedenborg's sense of vision awoke and the spiritual
        > worlds were opened to him only when he stood, as it were, at the
        very
        > summit of temporal knowledge. Swedenborg thus appears to us as the
        > example of a man who does not one day proclaim himself a seer from
        out
        > an ordinary, vulgar life, but who rises to the stage of a seer upon
        the
        > foundation of an earnest and conscientious scientific attitude.
        > If, however, we contemplate on the other hand the whole nature
        of
        > Swedenborg, the seer, we shall find that a seer may come to a
        standstill
        > upon a certain stage which does not, after all, lead him to
        ultimate
        > knowledge. Particularly a personality so conspicuous in knowledge
        and
        > power of vision may be used as a good example showing us how deeply
        and
        > conscientiously we should proceed when we speak of entering the
        > spiritual worlds and of bringing down from them this or that. It
        cannot
        > be emphasized too strongly that in Swedenborg we have before us, on
        the
        > one hand, a power of vision which developed after this man had not
        only
        > encompassed, but also enriched the sum total of knowledge of his
        time, a
        > fact which has already shown itself and which will undoubtedly be
        > evidenced by the publication of his works. Before his visionary
        period,
        > Swedenborg was an altogether first-rate scientific discoverer. As
        you
        > know, he has recounted all manner of things regarding his power of
        > vision. It is of particular interest to note that when he used to
        ascend
        > with his soul to the spiritual world in order to look into it, he
        always
        > felt that he was enveloped not only by his own aura, but that a
        number
        > of spiritual beings were embedded in this aura. This is very
        > characteristic, very significant. Thus, when the power of vision
        awoke
        > in Swedenborg, he immediately felt, as it were, that he was not
        alone;
        > but with his soul he felt himself expanded to an aura. And out of
        his
        > own organs there rose up, as it were, spiritual, elemental beings,
        who
        > conferred with one another while he was looking on, and who
        conferred
        > with him, with his soul.
        > Swedenborg is thus advised from the very outset by spiritual
        beings
        > who dwell within every human being, and these beings rose up within
        > Swedenborg's consciousness when his power of vision awoke. In
        addition
        > to these beings, who form part of the inner, constant store of
        every
        > human being, there were others whom he recognised, whom he
        generally
        > recognised through what resulted from his conference with the
        elemental
        > beings arising out of his own self; he recognised these as such.
        Other
        > beings, who flew towards him, as it were, he recognised as beings
        > belonging to the remaining world, or as beings who had their home
        upon
        > other planets belonging to the sphere of the Earth.
        > On one occasion, after having conferred with his own elemental
        > beings, he recognised certain other elemental beings in his
        environment
        > who revealed a peculiar quality. Until that time, Swedenborg had
        been
        > accustomed to understand not only the language spoken by the
        elemental
        > beings who arose out of himself, but up to a certain point he had
        always
        > been accustomed to understand also the other beings who came to him
        from
        > Venus, Mercury, the Sun, and so forth. He had grown accustomed to
        think
        > that spirits have a language in common, which can be understood.
        This
        > language is, indeed, the language of ideas, the language of the
        inner
        > being of an idea which has become alive. During my last lectures, I
        have
        > spoken to you of these ideas which have become alive. Swedenborg
        was
        > accustomed to this language and understood it.
        > Indeed, from out of this language we should also cultivate our
        > Eurythmy. When the human being speaks in his language of sounds,
        what
        > exists as systems of power concentrates its activity upon the
        organs
        > which form his larynx and upon the appendages of the larnyx, so
        that
        > speech may sound forth. The whole human being is, as it were,
        relieved
        > from cooperating in speech. Our intimate feeling for speech thus
        becomes
        > unconsciously and subconsciously altogether terrestrial; it is the
        aim
        > of Eurythmy to make the whole human being participate once more in
        > speech. But I shall speak of this deeper meaning of Eurythmy upon
        > another occasion.
        > Now I merely wish to point out that Swedenborg felt that he
        could
        > understand the language of the spiritual beings... but he felt this
        only
        > up to a certain moment, when he began to notice that certain
        spirits
        > were approaching him who spoke in manifold gestures, by moving
        their
        > limbs, in the way in which spirits generally speak, or by moving
        their
        > own form. As stated, Swedenborg was accustomed to understand this
        > gesture-language of the spirits. One day, however, certain spirits
        > approached him, and although he could clearly see that they were
        making
        > certain movements, he could not understand them; no meaning, no
        > significance passed over into his soul from these movements. This
        was a
        > surprising phenomenon for him; it was just as if we were to face a
        > person whose lips we see moving in speech, without being able to
        hear a
        > single sound. This circumstance led Swedenborg to a very important
        > conclusion. He came to this conclusion because he recognised that
        these
        > beings whom he could not understand were certain inhabitants of
        Mars.
        > After having recognised that certain inhabitants of Mars can speak
        so
        > that it is impossible to understand them, whereas in other cases he
        was
        > accustomed to understand the language of the spiritual beings [as
        > stated, I am speaking of Swedenborg's experiences] and since he was
        > willing to avoid giving an arbitrary interpretation to these things
        and
        > wished instead to study them, he gradually realised why he could
        not
        > understand these Mars-beings, these Mars-souls. he could not
        understand
        > them because they belonged to a category of cosmic beings who had
        > acquired the capacity of concealing their feelings and impulses of
        will,
        > thus preventing their feelings from flowing out in words. They were
        able
        > to conceal the whole content of their souls, they could keep this
        for
        > themselves. This enabled Swedenborg to recognise that whenever we
        > understand a language, we do not merely hear words or see gestures,
        but
        > something of the soul-content flows into the language, and the
        > comprehension of a language is, in reality, based upon this
        overflowing
        > of the soul-content. When beings understand one another through
        speech,
        > a hidden image, or a hidden force, is at work. Swedenborg
        recognised
        > that these Mars-beings had acquired the capacity of concealing
        their
        > feelings, thus betraying nothing of the meaning of their speech,
        > although they were speaking.
        > Immediately afterwards he made another discovery, he went
        through
        > another experience which became knowledge that these Mars-beings
        could
        > be understood by the beings belonging to the hierarchy of the
        Angels.
        > They could not be understood by him, nor by the spirits rising out
        of
        > his own body, but they could be underestood by the beings belonging
        to
        > the category of the Angels. This is what he noticed, and it was an
        > extraorinarily significant experience for him, a deep experience.
        For
        > now he realised that his power of vision was limited in regard to
        the
        > perception of the spiritual world and that he was unable to
        understand
        > something which the beings of the hierarchy of the Angels could
        understand.
        > Things of this kind, related by Swedenborg, should not be
        > overlooked, for they belong to those facts which can introduse us
        in the
        > deepest manner into certain mysteries of the spiritual worlds. Now,
        in
        > order to understand the connection here, let us remember a few
        things
        > which I have already explained to you. I have described to you how
        the
        > regular, ordinary power of vision develops: namely, in the case of
        a
        > regular seer, a good seer, the whole way in which he places himself
        in
        > relation with the world must undergo a complete change. I have
        said:
        > When we encounter the beings and objects of the physical plane we
        are
        > conscious that these objects are outside; they are outside our own
        > being. We face these objects, and through our perception we take
        in, as
        > it were, into our being something which forms part of these
        objects. Our
        > ego is aware of the objects, our ego faces these objects. The
        > fundamental experience of all knowledge and perception upon the
        physical
        > plane is this: that I place the objects of the physical plane
        before me,
        > that I recognise them.
        > I have said that this fundamental experience changes as soon
        as we
        > rise up to the spiritual worlds. The characterisation of the
        physical
        > world is then replaced by another one, namely: we ourselves become
        > objects. In the same way in which the objects were once related to
        our
        > ego, so the ego is now the object of the beings of the higher
        worlds. We
        > do not perceive any longer; we experience, instead, that we are
        being
        > perceived. The spiritual beings of the higher hierarchies look upon
        us.
        > And we experience this: "I am being perceived; the Archangels, etc.
        are
        > looking down upon me."
        > You see, this is a complete reversal of the whole relationship
        > towards the world. We acquire consciousness of the following
        fact: "You
        > have extended your being over the sphere of the hierarchies; the
        > hierarchies are active within it and look upon you in the same way
        in
        > which you look upon the objects of the physical plane."
        > Every relationship towards the spiritual world must be wrong
        > without this fundamental experience, in the same way in which every
        > relationship towards the physical world would be wrong without the
        > fundamental experience: "I place the objects before me." "I
        > contemplate", is correct as far as the physical world is
        concerned. "I
        > am being contemplated", is, fundamentally speaking, correct as far
        as
        > the spiritual world is concerned.
        > Upon the threshold which we cross when passing over into the
        > spiritual world, there is, as it were, a region, a stream, in which
        we
        > maintain the whole configuration, the whole peculiarity of our
        > relationship towards the physical world. We do not get rid of
        the "I
        > contemplate"; we cannot rise to the "I am being contemplated". From
        out
        > a deeply rooted habit we expect that the spiritual world should,
        after
        > all, be nothing but a copy, a more refined copy of the physical
        world.
        > Quite a number of men thinks as follows: We may join an assembly of
        > spirits in the same way in which we are standing here, in this
        hall,
        > among physical men, and in this assembly of spirits we would be
        > assembled in exactly the same way in which human beings are
        assembled
        > upon the physical plane, except that spirits are of a rather thin
        > substance, so that it would be possible to stretch out a hand
        through
        > them... Because we bring our habits with us into the spiritual
        world, we
        > have the following fundamental experience in the form of an
        illusion: "I
        > contemplate the world-beings" - and this prevents us from rising to
        the
        > other experience: "I am being contemplated by the world-beings."
        > You see, as long as Swedenborg, the seer, lived in the
        incarnation
        > to which we are referring, he remained altogether in these
        illusions. He
        > could never rise to the experience: "I am being contemplated". If
        you
        > read everything that proceeds from Swedenborg in his quality of
        seer,
        > you will find that he actually describes the higher worlds as if
        they
        > were nothing but a finer vapour of the physical world, very much
        > resembling the physical world in every other respect.
        > Undoubtedly Swedenborg thereby describes the world of
        imagination
        > very much to the point, but he cannot judge it. He cannot judge it,
        > because he is unable to judge the spiritual world as a whole, since
        he
        > forms his habits from out the physical world. Consequently, all the
        > beings of the spiritual worlds merely show him those things which
        they
        > are able and also willing to clothe in the form of imaginations
        which
        > are derived and brought along from our conceptions of the physical
        > world. Undoubtedly, he thereby perceives high spiritual beings,
        > significant spiritual beings, but he always sees them in a garment
        > which is not their own, a garment which he himself has thrown over
        them.
        > But when he comes to a region where the spirits have the particular
        > tendency to conceal their inner being, he is no longer able to
        > understand them and they are just as enigmatic as those Mars-
        inhabitants
        > who have learnt to conceal their inner life, so that it does not
        flow
        > out into their manner of speech.
        > This lies at the foundation of Swedenborg's so conscientious
        > descriptions and this should be recognised in order to understand
        the
        > nature of Swedenborg's world of visions. Thus the essential point
        to be
        > borne in mind by those who really seek to identify themselves with
        the
        > objects in such a way [this has been described in the last part of
        my
        > book, "Theosophy", where all the indications have, after all, been
        > given] that they acquire the habit of getting away from their own
        being
        > by contemplating the higher world, and accustom themselves to
        penetrate
        > little by little into something which cannot be acquired, into
        something
        > for which only a power of vision can be acquired... But another
        thing
        > which takes hold of them, as if by an act of grace of the spiritual
        > world, another thing which then beomes upon them, is the following
        > experience: "You are being contemplated by the spiritual beings of
        the
        > higher hierarchies; they are looking upon you." These beings,
        however,
        > do not merely contemplate them; here, at this point (a drawing is
        made)
        > we have several objects of the physical plane, and here, a human
        being
        > who is grasping an object of the physical world with his thoughts.
        If I
        > draw the whole thing symbolically [in reality it is otherwise, as
        you
        > know], you will find that just as this man now takes in and takes
        up
        > within himself the representations of the physical plane, and just
        as we
        > accustom ourselves to the fact that the beings of the higher
        hierarchies
        > are outside, so we now feel that we live in the representations of
        these
        > beings [also this drawing is symbolical, for these beings naturally
        > represent the soul-being], we feel that we become the perception,
        the
        > representation and thought of these beings of the higher
        hierarchies.
        > Had Swedenborg been able to do this, he would have said: "I
        myself
        > do not understand these Mars-inhabitants, but the Angels above me
        are
        > able to understand them." Swedenborg was unable to cognize through
        the
        > perceptive power of the Angels; he could only use his own
        cognition. We
        > should, however, not only be able to form representations, but also
        to
        > become an object of representation; we should not only be able to
        think,
        > but we should also be able to become a thought, a thought conceived
        by
        > the beings of the higher hierarchies. We must learn to relate
        ourselves
        > to the higher hierarchies in the same way in which thoughts are
        related
        > to us. Swedenborg could not do this. Had he been able to do this he
        > would have said: "As long as I remain within my own being, I shall
        not
        > understand the Mars-inhabitants. But as soon as I go out of myself
        and
        > become an object, a thought, an idea of the Angels, I shall
        understand
        > the Mars-inhabitants within my being, which - thanks to the Angels -
        has
        > expanded, has grown larger." Had Swedenborg been able to do this,
        the
        > Angels' comprehension of the Mars-inhabitants would have risen up
        in his
        > own consciousness. But he could not ascend to this, because he
        remained
        > within his own consciousness and did not come as far as "being
        > contemplated"; that is to say, he did not come as far as being
        > contemplated in such a way that the Angels could experience their
        > contemplation within him, so that he merely became the Angels'
        field of
        > vision. What the Angels cognized, would in that case have been
        cognized
        > also by him. This is how we grow aware of the fact that the higher
        > spirits, the spirits that belong to the higher hierarchies, weave
        within
        > our being, and thus we grow cognizant of the higher hierarchies.
        > It is so significant to bear in mind the following fact:
        During the
        > present epoch, the human being can only recognise [for heis
        organised
        > accordingly] the worlds which are accessible to his perceptive
        organs.
        > If he wishes to extend his cognition, [read everything that I have
        > written about initiation, and you will find that all this has been
        > explained in my writings] if he wishes to progress, he must take up
        > within himself the consciousness of the spiritual beings above him,
        and
        > what these spiritual beings experience should become an object
        within
        > his consciousness. He must be able to feel that he is in the midst
        of a
        > choir of spiritual beings. This is essential.
        > Particularly in the case of so significant a personality as
        > Swedenborg, we may see that the ascent to the spiritual worlds
        leads to
        > illusions if it is not livingly permeated by the experience that
        the
        > consciousness of the physical plane must really and truly be
        abandoned.
        > Otherwise, we merely reach an illusionary world. Take the great
        majority
        > of books which have been written by seers and read their
        descriptions.
        > You will find, as a rule, that they contain illusions of this kind.
        We
        > should not allow ourselves to be led astray by such illusions, for
        it is
        > a far greater evil to fall a prey to illusions upon the threshold
        of the
        > spiritual world, than to fall a prey to the illusions of the
        physical world.
        > It is essential to use the available literature in such a way
        that
        > we gradually accustom ourselves to penetrate in a sound way into
        the
        > whole relationship of the human being to the spiritual world.
        > Opportunity to do this has been given to us, I might say, in a
        twofold
        > manner: In the first place, through the fact that books of this
        kind
        > exist, and in the second place, through the fact that these books
        cannot
        > be read without a spiritual effort. Care is taken that this should
        be
        > so. I have frequently been given to understand that my books should
        be
        > written in a more popular style. But I have always been against
        this,
        > because it is an essential characteristic of these books that they
        have
        > not been written in a popular style. If the material which is
        offered to
        > us by our spiritual-scientific literature is poured into a
        miscellany of
        > indistinct forms and if we then pass on these vague forms to the
        public,
        > because, apparently, these vague forms are more popular, we only
        render,
        > on the one hand, a service of slothfulness, and, on the other hand,
        we
        > cause a great deal of harm. For it is always harmful if people
        pursue
        > spiritual things in a superficial, thoughtless manner. The activity
        > involved when we try to understand a more difficult description,
        > constitutes an inner training; it is something which helps us to
        develop
        > a right connection with the spiritual world. One of the essential
        > characteristics of our literature [and it has always formed part of
        the
        > essential characteristics of our literature] is that it should give
        > rise, in a most encompassing way, to the following results:
        Whenever we
        > take up such things, our thoughts should grow active, and
        everything
        > which we already possess in the form of knowledge, or through the
        books
        > which we have read, should be connected with what is contained in
        the
        > anthroposophical books. Let me now set forth the following
        thoughts, as
        > an example, showing you how these things may be studied in a
        thinking
        > way, with the aid of anthroposophical writings.
        > There is a cycle of lectures which deals with the activity of
        the
        > Elohims. These lectures were delivered in Munich; their subject is
        the
        > story of the world's creation, with special reference to the Bible.
        This
        > is more or less the theme of this cycle of lectures. (See "Genesis"
        by
        > Rudolf Steiner.)
        > People read these lectures and many think that they have
        > accomplished something special if they have read them, if they have
        > grasped them, in their own way. This, however, is not the essential
        > point: To begin with, the essential point is, of course, the fact
        that
        > an inner soul-activity should be connected with a series of
        lectures
        > such as these. Well, there may be some people who say, for
        instance, "In
        > these Elohims [who are headed by that Being Who, later on,
        underwent a
        > transformation and became the Christ] we have before us a category
        of
        > beings who had to fulfil a special task during that planetary
        existence
        > which we designate as Sun-existence. The chief representative of
        the
        > evolution of these beings leads us back to the Sun-existence. The
        > connection of these beings with the Sun-existence is one of the
        reasons
        > why we should speak of Christ Himself as a Sun-being. We should,
        > moreover, reflect a great deal over the fact that the Elohims are
        > Sun-related, that they are really related with one another through
        the
        > Sun. The whole trend of the lecture reveals that this Sun-
        relationship
        > of the Elohims is referred to continually. We may, as it were, feel
        this
        > Sun-relationship throughout the lecture.
        > Not in the depths of sleep, but after a thorough meditation,
        let us
        > now try to grasp how we should really conceive the character of the
        > Elohims. Let us immerse ourselves in the character of the Elohims.
        If we
        > really do this patiently we shall experience, after a while, that a
        > thought arises, a thought which comes altogether out of an
        indefinite
        > element, as it were, or penetrates into an indefinite element. A
        thought
        > strikes upon us. It occurs to us, for instance, [I am merely giving
        you
        > an example] that the Bible mentions one of the commandments of
        Jahve,
        > i.e. of one of the Elohims, namely: not to eat of the Tree of Life.
        It
        > is strange that the Elohims should speak of the Tree, of Trees. I
        have
        > frequently mentioned that the language of an ancient record, such
        as the
        > Bible, should not be taken lightly. If it mentions a tree, this
        > signifies something; something very essential is meant by it. The
        > Elohims speak of the Tree. You see, even Homer is reported to have
        said
        > that ev ery ob ject has two names: one, in the language of the
        gods, and
        > one, in the language of man. If we bear this in mind, we shall be
        able
        > to say: The fact that the gods speak of the Tree may perhaps be
        > connected to some extent with the language of the gods. if we now
        > penetrate more deeply into the matter we shall say: What do the
        Elohim
        > mean, when they speak of the Tree of Knowledge and of the Tree of
        > Life...what do they really mean by this? If you now consult our
        books
        > you will be ab le tos ay: The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of
        Life
        > must be connected in some way with the human being itself. The
        > prohibition to eat of the Tree of Knowledge has, after all, the
        > following meaning [you will be able to discover this]: The human
        soul
        > must not seek, through its body, a connection which produces the
        present
        > manner of contemplation through the senses; the soul must not eat
        of
        > the Tree of Knowledge; it must not b ecome connected with the
        physical
        > body in such a way as to give rise to the present form of
        knowledge,
        > which is under Lucifer's influence. [I have recently characterised
        > this.] Thus, when the Elohims speak of the _Tree of Knowledge_,
        they
        > allude to something of this kind, which is connected with the human
        > being itself.
        > When they speak of the _Tree of Life_ they must also mean
        something
        > which is connected with the human being. Indeed, what causes man to
        see
        > in the way in which he now sees? What enables him to perceive a
        world
        > which is permeated by Lucifer? Man's soul-spiritual essence is
        embedded
        > in Lucifer, and owing to this it consumes the physical body. At the
        very
        > outset, however, the human soul was not destined to be embedded
        within
        > the physical body in the way in which it is now embedded within it.
        The
        > physical body is the Tree of Knowledge, and the etheric body is the
        Tree
        > of Life. Since man has succumbed to Lucifer's temptation, he must
        now
        > use his physical body for the purpose of acquiring that kind of
        > knowledge to which we are accustomed at the present time, and he is
        not
        > meant to have also that kind of knowledge which comes through the
        > etheric body. This is a forbidden knowledge.
        > These are the kinds of thoughts which we may reach through
        real
        > thinking. We shall then say to ourselves: Why do the gods, when
        they
        > speak in their own language, call the physical body the Tree of
        > Knowledge? Why do they speak of a Tree? And why do they call the
        etheric
        > body the Tree of Life? Why do they speak of Trees? If we seek an
        > explanation in the human language, we shall not be able to answer
        these
        > questions. we shall easily be able to understand what the language
        of
        > the gods is meant to convey if we bear in mind that during the Sun
        > period the gods have followed a special course of evolution; they
        have
        > taken up something quite essential, particularly from the nature of
        the
        > Sun. Try to reflect over the following facts: The Saturn period has
        > reached the standpoint of the mineral; during the Sun period
        everything
        > has reached the standpoint of the vegetable. Thus, if the gods whom
        we
        > call the Elohims, have acquried the character of their speech
        during the
        > Sun period, they will not speak of things which can only be
        experienced
        > upon the Moon or upon the Earth, but when they express themselves
        they
        > will speak of things which the cosmos has evolved up to the point
        of the
        > Sun period, and this is the vegetable nature. Hence, when the gods
        speak
        > in their own language, they speak of Trees, because they speak a
        cosmic
        > language.
        > You see, this is a conclusion which may be reached if we
        really
        > think through in the right way the contents of the lecture-cycles
        and
        > books, and do nothing but this. We may reach such a conclusion if
        we do
        > not merely read and read and read, and then connect what we have
        read in
        > an abstract manner, but if we go on thinking, if we bring together
        the
        > things according to the natural way in which they are related to
        one
        > another. Whilst doing this, we are, after all, engaged in an
        activity,
        > for we must make an effort. Inner forcesbecome emancipated from the
        > soul, and we use these forces. We are active, we really exert
        ourselves!
        > And this exertion is successful. The success consists therein that
        the
        > soul becomes independent; through an inner effort we really succeed
        in
        > rendering the soul independent. But real work, the right kind of
        work is
        > needed for this. Again and again it should be emphasised t hat we
        loosen
        > the spiritual world from the physical not merely through passive
        > self-submission, but through real work, active work from out the
        forces
        > of our soul. This is the essential point: to win the spiritual
        world
        > through our own active work.
        > If we really wish to penetrate into the spiritual world we
        should
        > not shrink from working through what lies before us; we should
        connect
        > it with everything which we have learnt from life itself; otherwise
        it
        > may really occur that a person imagines, for instance, that he is
        the
        > reincarnated Homer, and at the same time thinks that it is
        unnecessary
        > for him to do things proving that some of the things seen by Homer
        also
        > dwell within his own being. It may really occur that a person
        believes:
        > "In the past, Homer was wide awake, but now he lives in an
        incarnation
        > in which he is pleasantly resting upon the soft pillows of a
        mystical
        > sleep." If we are active and endeavour to work our way through the
        > material which lies before us, we shall not - I might say - be led
        to
        > every kind of mystical nonsense, but we shall be led to a point
        from
        > where we shall gain a true connection with the spiritual world,
        enabling
        > us to understand in a deeper sense what truth really means in the
        > spiritual world in regard to the human being. We shall then realise
        that
        > we must really do our utmost in order to avoid mixing up the habits
        of
        > thinking, feeling and sensing of the physical plane with the
        peculiar
        > qualities of the spiritual world.
        > This is the attitude which should be adopted, and if we really
        > adopt it, it will safeguard us against mistakes and errors when we
        > penetrate into the spiritual world. If we eat salt for a whole
        week, in
        > order to "descend to the subterranean worlds", or if we avoid
        eating
        > salt for another week, in order to "ascend to the higher elemental
        > worlds", no effort will be needed - is it not so? Indeed, no effort
        will
        > be entailed, but we shall not reach any result, or, at the most, we
        > shall reach the most ordinary kind of illusion. In the spiritual
        world
        > we can only reach something through _inner activity_. The very
        nature of
        > an inner activity - if it really exists - is that it does not lead
        us
        > astray into harmful activities in regard to the spiritual world. It
        > leads us to the right kinds of thoughts. Otherwise, mystical and
        > mistaken things will be the result, and people would then have the
        right
        > to laugh at us.
        > A man with sound common sense in this direction, has just
        written
        > to me, for instance, of his visit to one of our study-groups, as a
        > member: Although it was very hot and there was no reason for
        shutting
        > all the windows, every window was shut. I have nothing against
        shutting
        > windows, particularly if all kinds of noises may be heard outside;
        this
        > would be a plausible reason for shutting the windows. But this was
        not
        > the reason advanced by the group in question, for the people there
        told
        > this man: "Dr. Steiner has expressly drawn our attention to the
        fact
        > that we should close the windows, in order to prevent demons from
        > entering". This man, who was mystically sound and unspoilt,
        thereupon
        > wrote to me: "Cannot demons enter, even if the windows are shut? A
        > teacher of spiritual science who tells his pupils to shut the
        windows in
        > order to prevent demons from entering, must be a queer teacher!"
        You see
        > how easily the physical plane can be mixed up with the higher
        worlds, in
        > this thoughtless manner of speaking! Upon the physical plane, the
        > demonds are of course unable to penetrate through closed windows,
        unless
        > they break the panes, but it will hardly be possible to keep
        spirits
        > away by shutting the windows! It is really a question of forming
        > sufficiently earnest concepts of the spiritual worlds and of the
        > physical worlds!
        > If we consider such things, this example of a conscientious,
        > energetic and, in his way, great seer, such as Swedenborg, can
        correct
        > many mistaken thoughts which we may have
        > formed. END
      • LilOleMissy
        It s amazing how much I learn for myself just by typing up such wonderful things, Sonia, and I m the one to profit. I m really happy to have made your day - :)
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 18, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          It's amazing how much I learn for myself just by typing up such
          wonderful things, Sonia, and I'm the one to profit. I'm really happy to
          have made your day - :) but I do wish we had something about Loyola
          other than what is found in the Kar. Rel. series and perhaps "somewhere"
          else! I'm beginning to wonder just where to look. Today in response to a
          kind friend, I became immersed in Steiner's November 1917 lectures, five
          entitled [in my 1946 edition!] "Psychoanalysis in the Light of
          Anthroposophy" and even though I'd read it before, I felt ashamed to
          have missed so very much, and in particular in regard to the effects we
          reap in subsequent lives from our current moral standards. So very much
          is explained I should have been using in my work, but to salve my
          bruised ego, I hastily recalled the fact that we don't absorb certain
          matters until we are ripe for them. :)

          I was very glad to see your recent question about the Etheric Christ and
          didn't know just what to say, nor do I now. All of us most definitely
          should wake up, and somehow I have the feeling that perhaps many people
          actually have! I hope that's not a contradiction in terms, since we're
          increasingly seeing ever more vicious attacks against Christianity per
          se - but then the Etheric Christ isn't conventional Christianity as it's
          usually thought of. Somewhere Steiner mentions Anthroposophy is - or may
          be - similar to the early Christians down in their Roman catecombs for
          so very long before being widely enough accepted to see the light of
          day! Regardless, it seems to me that while the Etheric Christ is
          working, perhaps without our recognition, that it is we who lack a
          proper ability to work in a right way with and for Him without a proper
          awareness - we simply must do our best.

          Cheers Indeed!

          Sheila

          soniaeasley2002 wrote:

          >
          > Missy,
          >
          > Thank you so very much for this posting on Swedenborg. Bless your
          > heart for sharing. This lecture has made my day.
          >
          > Cheers,
          >
          > Sonia
          >
          > --- In steiner@yahoogroups.com, LilOleMissy <lilolemissy@s...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Swedenborg's Power of Vision, by Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, 12
          > September
          > > 1915 [From anthroposophic News Sheet, 7th year, No. 14, 2 April,
          > 1939]
          > >
          >
        • sonia easley
          Sheila, I decided to read one of Swedenborg s books. I understood that Heaven and Hell was the most popular. I knew something was missing when I found no
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 19, 2004
          • 0 Attachment

            Sheila,

             

            I decided to read one of Swedenborg's books.  I understood that Heaven and Hell was the most popular.  I knew something was missing when I found no mention at all of reincarnation and karma.  Perhaps these subjects appear in another book by this author. 

             

            Nevertheless, after reading the post by you, Swedenborg�s Power of Vision, I noted the comments by RS regarding Swedenborg not being able to understand the spirits from Mars, and also that we must be able to join the choir of angelic beings in order to truly understand truth without falling into pure imagination.  Steiner's respectful words related to Swedenborg's scientific contributions touched me.  And, RS pointed out that Swedenborg was a product of his time.

             

            In Karmic Relationships, Volume 8, RS stated his surprise that Loyola would pledge allegiance to the Popes' -unconditionally.  It is with this solemn dedication that Loyola stayed on after his earthly death to guide the Jesuit movement, even though, according to RS, the movement was taken over by less than good forces.  Then Loyola experiences his new expression as Emanual Swedenborg.

             

            It seems difficult to pull these two individualities together.  Knowing why they are related and relevant to each other is the intriguing puzzle for me at present

             

            Warmest regards,

             

            Sonia


            LilOleMissy <lilolemissy@...> wrote:
            It's amazing how much I learn for myself just by typing up such
            wonderful things, Sonia, and I'm the one to profit. I'm really happy to
            have made your day - :)  but I do wish we had something about Loyola
            other than what is found in the Kar. Rel. series and perhaps "somewhere"
            else! I'm beginning to wonder just where to look. Today in response to a
            kind friend, I became immersed in Steiner's November 1917 lectures, five
            entitled [in my 1946 edition!] "Psychoanalysis in the Light of
            Anthroposophy" and even though I'd read it before, I felt ashamed to
            have missed so very much, and in particular in regard to the effects we
            reap in subsequent lives from our current moral standards. So very much
            is explained I should have been using in my work, but to salve my
            bruised ego, I hastily recalled the fact that we don't absorb certain
            matters until we are ripe for them. :)

            I was very glad to see your recent question about the Etheric Christ and
            didn't know just what to say, nor do I now. All of us most definitely
            should wake up, and somehow I have the feeling that perhaps many people
            actually have! I hope that's not a contradiction in terms, since we're
            increasingly seeing ever more vicious attacks against Christianity per
            se - but then the Etheric Christ isn't conventional Christianity as it's
            usually thought of. Somewhere Steiner mentions Anthroposophy is - or may
            be - similar to the early Christians down in their Roman catecombs for
            so very long before being widely enough accepted to see the light of
            day! Regardless, it seems to me that while the Etheric Christ is
            working, perhaps without our recognition, that it is we who lack a
            proper ability to work in a right way with and for Him without a proper
            awareness - we simply must do our best.

            Cheers Indeed!

            Sheila

            soniaeasley2002 wrote:

            >
            > Missy,
            >
            > Thank you so very much for this posting on Swedenborg.  Bless your
            > heart for sharing.  This lecture has made my day.
            >
            > Cheers,
            >
            > Sonia
            >
            > --- In steiner@yahoogroups.com, LilOleMissy <lilolemissy@s...> wrote:
            > >
            > > Swedenborg's Power of Vision, by Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, 12
            > September
            > > 1915 [From anthroposophic News Sheet, 7th year, No. 14, 2 April,
            > 1939]
            > >
            >


            Post to steiner@egroups.comSearch the archives of the group at:
            http://www.esotericlinks.com/egroupsearch.html

            Recommended books by Rudolf Steiner at:
            http://www.esotericlinks.com/steinerbooks.html

            ommended books by Rudolf Steiner at:
            http://www.esotericlinks.com/steinerbooks.html





            Do you Yahoo!?
            Read only the mail you want - Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard.

          • LilOleMissy
            Dear Sonia, How great to read Swedenborg! :) It says a lot about your discrimination of thought and contemplation to spot so much in Steiner s words, and it
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 19, 2004
            • 0 Attachment
              Dear Sonia,

              How great to read Swedenborg! :) It says a lot about your discrimination
              of thought and contemplation to spot so much in Steiner's words, and it
              seems to me the impulses at work during the 4th Post Atlantean Epoch
              very often come to us during the 5th P.A. Epoch in a very different
              form, an evolving of consciousness, perhaps, so to say. I think it is in
              "From Jesus to Christ" where Steiner compares so minutely the Jesuit
              Path and a differing Path as well as how they effect the individuality
              and mankind et al in general. I wonder if Loyola might be mentioned
              somewhere in that work?! I don't believe I've thought to look for him
              there. It's interesting also how such a strong scientific impulse was at
              work within Swedenborg. The plot thickens - keep us posted? :)

              Cheers!!!!!

              Sheila

              sonia easley wrote:

              > *Sheila,*
              >
              > * *
              >
              > *I decided to read one of Swedenborg's books. I understood that
              > /Heaven and Hell/ was the most popular. I knew something was missing
              > when I found no mention at all of reincarnation and karma. Perhaps
              > these subjects appear in another book by this author. *
              >
              > **
              >
              > *Nevertheless, after reading the post by you, /Swedenborg’s Power of
              > Vision/, I noted the comments by RS regarding Swedenborg not being
              > able to understand the spirits from Mars, and also that we must be
              > able to join the choir of angelic beings in order to truly understand
              > truth without falling into pure imagination. Steiner's respectful
              > words related to Swedenborg's scientific contributions touched me.
              > And, RS pointed out that Swedenborg was a product of his time.*
              >
              > * *
              >
              > *In Karmic Relationships, Volume 8, RS stated his surprise that Loyola
              > would pledge allegiance to the Popes' -unconditionally. It is with
              > this solemn dedication that Loyola stayed on after his earthly death
              > to guide the Jesuit movement, even though, according to RS, the
              > movement was taken over by less than good forces. Then Loyola
              > experiences his new expression as Emanual Swedenborg.*
              >
              > **
              >
              > *It seems difficult to pull these two individualities together.
              > Knowing why they are related and relevant to each other is the
              > intriguing puzzle for me at present*
              >
              > **
              >
              > *Warmest regards,*
              >
              > **
              >
              > *Sonia*
              >
              >
              > */LilOleMissy <lilolemissy@...>/* wrote:
              >
              > It's amazing how much I learn for myself just by typing up such
              > wonderful things, Sonia, and I'm the one to profit. I'm really
              > happy to
              > have made your day - :) but I do wish we had something about Loyola
              > other than what is found in the Kar. Rel. series and perhaps
              > "somewhere"
              > else! I'm beginning to wonder just where to look. Today in
              > response to a
              > kind friend, I became immersed in Steiner's November 1917
              > lectures, five
              > entitled [in my 1946 edition!] "Psychoanalysis in the Light of
              > Anthroposophy" and even though I'd read it before, I felt ashamed to
              > have missed so very much, and in particular in regard to the
              > effects we
              > reap in subsequent lives from our current moral standards. So very
              > much
              > is explained I should have been using in my work, but to salve my
              > bruised ego, I hastily recalled the fact that we don't absorb certain
              > matters until we are ripe for them. :)
              >
              > I was very glad to see your recent question about the Etheric
              > Christ and
              > didn't know just what to say, nor do I now. All of us most definitely
              > should wake up, and somehow I have the feeling that perhaps many
              > people
              > actually have! I hope that's not a contradiction in terms, since
              > we're
              > increasingly seeing ever more vicious attacks against Christianity
              > per
              > se - but then the Etheric Christ isn't conventional Christianity
              > as it's
              > usually thought of. Somewhere Steiner mentions Anthroposophy is -
              > or may
              > be - similar to the early Christians down in their Roman catecombs
              > for
              > so very long before being widely enough accepted to see the light of
              > day! Regardless, it seems to me that while the Etheric Christ is
              > working, perhaps without our recognition, that it is we who lack a
              > proper ability to work in a right way with and for Him without a
              > proper
              > awareness - we simply must do our best.
              >
              > Cheers Indeed!
              >
              > Sheila
              >
              > soniaeasley2002 wrote:
              >
              >
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.