Esoteric Lessons

~ Rudolf Steiner
"At the start of an esoteric lesson, it is always good to become clear about what an esoteric lesson actually signifies. What we speak of in such a lesson does not actually differ in content from what we hear in an exoteric lesson. Everything that is explained in an exoteric lesson also stands under the influence of those high beings that we call the Masters of Wisdom and Harmony of Feelings { and Sensations }.
However, what we experience in an esoteric lesson stands under the very direct influence of the lofty Masters and is conveyed only with their mediated influence and with complete responsibility to them. For this reason, it is not so important what we are given to listen to in an esoteric lesson as it is important that our souls experience something. What is important is how the soul relates to what flows toward it in terms of spiritual currents. The soul mood before and after an esoteric lesson must be very different. And it is not at all essential whether a soul has present in his or her mind what was experienced in an esoteric lesson, but he or she must have the feeling that something was experienced, something was taken away from the lesson. It must be like an electrostatic machine that is sometimes charged with electricity and sometimes not. The same way one knows one's own name, one must carry in one's soul what one has received in an esoteric lesson. Is it not so that one knows one's name as soon as one is asked, even when one does not always repeat it to oneself? So too the stream of esoteric life must always rest in the soul. Esoteric life will then always deepen our soul more and more, and this is necessary for the times that are approaching us.
ll of our culture has its origin in the spiritual world. There the plans are formulated according to which our lives then unfold on the physical plane. Here below we see only how one event follows after another according to physical laws, but the great spiritual causes remain hidden from us to begin with. Events on the higher planes of our existence are what first bring about physical events. Let us be very clear about this and take an example.
A particularly important event occurred in the year 1879 on the astral plane and, indeed, in November.
From this point in time onward, the esoteric life took an entirely different direction, very different from previous ages. The esoteric stream that lived in humankind since the fourteenth century was then replicated by a new esoteric stream. The esoteric life from the fourteenth century until November of the year 1879 unfolded very differently from that in our time. At that time all esoteric life took place in complete silence and seclusion from the external world and matured in isolation toward the year 1879 under the guidance of a lofty spiritual being, the Archangel Gabriel.
Gabriel signifies annunciation, prophecy, For this reason, the Archangel Gabriel also has the role of the messenger of the Gospels. Under his leadership the spiritual life matured quietly, well protected and hidden as a child in the womb. And in November of the year 1879 there occurred on the astral plane something very similar to a birth. What had slowly matured since the fourteenth century could now be carried forth into the world in an unrestrained way, if only for a minority of human beings.

The rulership of Gabriel was replaced by another archangel, the Archangel Michael. He is the radiant sun that esoteric wisdom lets shine forth in a small band of people. Under the rulership of Gabriel it remained hidden, and materialism developed in external life. However, we must not look upon materialism as something evil, for it is a part of the divine plan of creation and has a purpose and destiny in the universe. But now the time has come, under Michael's radiant leadership, in which the esoteric sun should shine brightly. For the dark powers of materialism are getting the upper hand.

The radiant leadership of Michael will again be replaced by a dark, horrible age that will begin around the year 2400. Already today simultaneously with Michael a dark god has entered into his rulership: the god Mammon.

For esotericism, Mammon is not only the god of money. He is much more the leader of all vile black powers. And his hordes attack not only human souls, but also the physical bodies of humans in order to gnaw away at them and to ruin them. People speak of bacteria a lot more today not because they know more about them, but because bacteria have taken on a very special form today. And in the future, they will get the upper hand in a terrifying way. When that black age approaches, then fraternal war will rage in a gruesome way, and poor human bodies will waste away, terribly afflicted by diseases and plagues. The stigma of sin will be impressed on human bodies visible to everyone. Then another angel will have the rulership: Oriphiel. He must come in order to shake people up, through gruesome tortures to their true destiny. And in order for this to take place in the proper way a small band of people must be prepared today so that then, in four to six hundred years in the black age, they can spread esoteric life and lead humankind.

Those today who, under Michael's regency, feel the impulse within themselves to take part in spiritual life, are called to serve the Archangel Michael and to learn under him so that they will one day be mature enough to serve also the formidable Oriphiel in the proper way. A sacrifice is required of those who wish to consecrate themselves to a higher life. We should receive the spiritual life and want to experience an awakening only with the understanding that, in exchange for it, we later will apply ourselves, our will, everything, only in the service of humankind.
In four to six hundred years that little band of people that is being prepared today will serve the god Oriphiel so that humankind is saved. If in that age such people want to take over the spiritual leadership who had not been prepared to stand firmly in all storms and defy the hordes of Mammon, then they will not be able to serve the Archangel Oriphiel in the right way, and humankind would not be raised up out of its misery. However, so that this happens we must work today with all earnestness in order to fulfill our tasks at the time in the right way.
However, when the dark powers are raging most horribly then the brightest light is also shining. Oriphiel has already occupied the regency once. That was at the time when Christ appeared on the Earth. At that time all over the Earth evil powers of ruin and decadence ruled. And only with gruesome means was it possible to shake the human race awake. Oriphiel is called the angel of anger who purifies humankind with a strong hand.
The Bible story of Christ swinging the lash to purify the Temple of money changers has a profound meaning. At that time, when it was darkest on the Earth, the Christ appeared as the savior of humankind. A hundred and nine years after Christ appeared, the regency of Oriphiel was at an end and was replaced by Anael. Then Zachariel followed, then Raphael. During the time of the Renaissance Samuel ruled, then Gabriel from the sixteenth century until November 1879. Then Michael assumes the regency, and around 2400 Oriphiel, the terrible angel of anger, will again assume the leadership. And then, as once before, the spiritual light will also shine brightly and radiantly in the darkness: Christ will again appear on the Earth although in a form different from the past. We are called to receive Him, to serve Him.
In you, my brothers and sisters, let live within you what thus streams into your souls in terms of spiritual life, so that it echoes in your meditations, then you will have the proper fruit. You should let what you have received continue to work, to echo in your meditations. While you are doing that, the spiritual powers of the world are streaming into you. Spiritual currents are always flowing through the world. They come from the great Masters of Wisdom and Harmony of Feeling. The Masters are constantly pouring forth streams of love and wisdom over humankind, but human souls are not always prepared and open to receive.
However, the words of meditation are words of magic that open the gates of the soul so that divine life can pour in. For this reason, one should not merely speculate about these words with the intellect, but rather open the soul for powers that are higher than merely intellectual powers. If one speculates with the intellect, then only those forces become active that are already present within one. But higher powers are supposed to awaken. With one's meditations, one should not want to solve riddles but rather let riddles be solved by them. For they are far wiser than the intellect ever can be. For this reason one should let them completely work on one and receive what they cause to flow into the soul: one should let them live entirely within the soul.
The words of meditation are not thought up through speculation but are born out of the laws of the spiritual world. Something very special lives in every vowel. The vowels have a specific sound - value, and not everyone has the same value. And just as the soul feels the effects of the sounds, so too it should also devote itself to the pictures conveyed by the words. When meditating one should be as far away as possible from abstract thoughts; one should strive to think as consciously as possible....
In pure rays of light
Shines the God of the world.
In pure love to all beings
Rays the divinity of my soul.
I rest in the divinity of the world.
I will find myself
In the divinity of the world.
Munich, December 5, 1907
{ Manuscript from Anna Weissmann - Edited by Eugene Passofaro }
1723 words
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