Re: [steiner] Life Between Death and Rebirth
- <<From A.E.Shepherd's " A Scientist of the Invisible ".
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 as
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
*******I'd say it matches up very well and is beautifully put.
I'll just add that the way we verify this is that what can be thought of as a
series of places we visit in a time-sequence after death, is also a series of
levels that can be experienced in initiation during life. The level of
becoming aware of how we are connected by moral relationships with others and
where we see that moral values are, as you put it, self-evident, is one which
can be experienced as soon as one ascends beyond the physical body, which is
why so many people are so changed by near-death experiences, since they are
made to feel for the first time that there is more than the amoral physical
world (the Ahrimanic deception that we can do whatever we wish and there are
no moral laws); this is also why the spiritual paths of all religions involve
moral purification and not just mental exercises, and why people who undergo
a conversion experience suddenly see the moral & immoral everywhere.
It is a further level to pass through to the timeless world within, in
meditation, where the Akasha can be read. One can force one's way to this
level, but if it's without the dealing with what the Doctor called developing
'moral imagination' first, all that one sees is one's own ego, magnified.
Instead of wanting to return to the body with use the insight into one's life
gained to meet karma, the desire to remain in the spiritual world is used by
the being we call 'Lucifer' to keep a person there and run away from it.
So the astral world and the ego world can be known within life, too, by a
sort of dying while still alive. That's how, if you carefully observe, you
can tell things about what will happen when you leave the body for good.