Life Between Death and Rebirth
- Thank you, Giselle, for taking the trouble to write your messages
before dashing off to work! I had no difficulty reading your Word
document with Wordpad.
There is, in fact a book by Steiner by the above title. It is a
collection of 13 lectures given by Steiner in 1912-1913, and is
available from Amazon.com and from Blackwell's in the U.K. You would
agree that some of Steiner's books are quite difficult to read. I
find some of the lectures easier to understand, but they are said to
be not that authentic because they were written up by Steiner's
students and often not checked by him. So I tend to rely quite
heavily on this book by A.E.Shepherd - " A Scientist of the
According to Shepherd's interpretation of Steiner, the sequence
of events after the death of an individual are as follows:
The individual ego (the "soul"), clothed in the astral and etheric
bodies becomes aware of the etheric time-tableau of his entire
previous earth-life. This tableau is transformed from a mere sequence
of events into a vivid picture of the personal relationships of the
individual, the moral implications of which are apparent to the ego -
a judgement in which it feels the concurrence
of the spiritual world. This is of course the equivalent of the
Judgement of classical Christian eschatology, but the difference is
that here the individual is judging himelf.
The ego has now reached the astral world, which is described as
consisting only of personal relationships, and there he sees that
similar conditions existed, unperceived, in his earth-life. The ego
is now not concerned with tracing the time-sequence of his earthly
life, but is absorbed in unravelling the pattern of moral
relationships in which his being is implicated. He is in other words
experiencing the phenomenon of Karma as a living reality. In such a
retrospect the essential validity of moral values becomes self-
evident, and the main purpose of this exercise is to integrate man's
earthly experience into his eternal spirit-being. In Christian
thought, the astral world is probably what is referred to
In the third stage, the individual leaves behind its astral body of
subjective soul-experience and enteres as pure spirit into the spirit-
world. In the spirit-world the personal relationships experienced on
earth in time and space are metamorphosed into the spirit's actual
being, and time and space pass away. It is in this vast pattern of
related being that there is to be found that eternal, indestructible
picture of all that has ever happened, which is called the Akashic
Record. This is another instance of the difference between the
Western esoteric tradition and the Eastern, which would regard
earthly deeds as Maya (illusion), lacking in eternal significance.
When the human spirit has reached the summit of his experience in the
world of pure spirit, there awakens in it a desire to perfect further
the evolution of its own being and that of the earth, and to remedy
the wrong relationships into which it has brought itself. It begins
to experience a longing to return to the earth, and this leads, with
the assistance of the highest creator spirits, to the next human
birth of the individual.
Does this account match up with your understanding of Steiner's
views? I would be most interested in your comments, and those of any
other members of the group.
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