rudolf steiner

Rudolf Steiner and the Masters of Esoteric Christianity

ANNOUNCING

AN EXTRAORDINARY AND INSPIRING NEW BOOK

BY SERGEI O. PROKOFIEFF

Rudolf Steiner and the Masters of Esoteric Christianity is a fitting and revelatory capstone to a life of extraordinary dedication to the beating heart—the very life—of Anthroposophy. It is also valedictory. Written in Sergei Prokofieff’s final years, it is clear, straightforward, luminous; it unfolds naturally, without haste, with magisterial clarity, and in perfect control of its material.

Prokofieff’s first book, Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of the New Mysteries, the first of more than forty books, in a sense already contains the seed of the last. For the New Mysteries brought into the world by Rudolf Steiner are in fact the Mysteries of Esoteric Christianity. Without this compass, Anthroposophy as Rudolf Steiner brought it into the world cannot be understood. To comprehend Rudolf Steiner as a Master of Esoteric Christianity, and Esoteric Christianity as the heart and life-blood of Anthroposophy, this is the essential book.

For those who may not know his name, Sergei Prokofieff, who died on July 26, 2014, was a true servant and, one might say, a Master of Anthroposophy, dedicated to revealing the true, esoteric Christianity by which, as he might put it, Anthroposophy lives. Russian born, but from the 1980s living in the West, in Dornach, Prokofieff brought to the research, study, practice, and interpretation of Rudolf Steiner’s teachings a deep, unwavering commitment to the task of unveiling the esoteric, living Christianity that is at the very foundation of Anthroposophy.

The story of the Masters begins in Berlin, at the turn of the twentieth century, when Rudolf Steiner is asked to give a lecture to the Theosophical Society on Nietzsche and then to follow it with two lectures of his own choosing. These two lectures already broached themes of esoteric Christianity and were, in fact, Christian and Rosicrucian in essence. They subsequently became the first properly anthroposophical/theosophical books, namely, Mystics at the Dawn of the Modern Age and Christianity as Mystical Fact.

All three lectures were very well received. Moreover, Rudolf Steiner, who was already familiar from his Vienna days with Theosophy, felt at home, perhaps unexpectedly, with the theosophists he met. The upshot was that he was asked to become the general secretary of the German Section.

Right away, he was faced with the reality that Theosophy, having first been Western (founded in New York) and Rosicrucian (Blavatsky’s first book, Isis Unveiled, was Rosicrucian in inspiration), was now explicitly Eastern (non-Christian) and showing signs of becoming anti-Christian. These signs, within a few years, would manifest in the proclamation of Krishnamurti as at once Christ and the Maitreya Bodhisattva.

It should not be forgotten that Rudolf Steiner was esoteric Christian and Rosicrucian from the beginning—from his days as an altar boy to his encounter with the Rosicrucian herb-gatherer Felix Kogutsky (who led him to M [the Master]), his Goethean studies, and his apprenticeship with the philosophies of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, as well as with those whom they had studied, namely, Meister Eckhart, Paracelsus, Jakob Boehme, and other Rosicrucians. More important perhaps, Rudolf Steiner had already undergone the initiatory Christ experience he describes in his Autobiography:

The Christianity that I had to find was not in any of the existing confessions. After the severe, inner struggles during that time of testing, I found it necessary to immerse myself in Christianity and, indeed, in the world where spirit itself speaks of it.

My relationship to Christianity should make it clear that my spiritual science cannot be attained through the kind of research ascribed to me by many people. They suggest that I have assembled a theory of spirit based on ancient traditions. They suppose that I have elaborated Gnosticism and other such teachings. The spiritual insight attained in Christianity as Mystical Fact is brought directly from the world of spirit itself. I examined the records of history and incorporated them into that work only because I wanted to demonstrate, both to the lecture audience and to the book’s readers, the harmony between history and what is perceived spiritually. But I took nothing from historical documents for the book’s content unless I had first experienced it in spirit.

During the period when my statements about Christianity seemed to contradict my later comments, a conscious knowledge of real Christianity began to dawn within me. Around the turn of the century, this seed of knowledge continued to develop. The soul test described here occurred shortly before the beginning of the twentieth century. It was decisive for my soul’s development that I stood spiritually before the Mystery of Golgotha in a deep and solemn celebration of knowledge.

Against this background, Rudolf Steiner’s task in becoming the general secretary of the German Section was to ween it gradually from its Eastern sources, while at the same time infusing it with Western and Rosicrucian esoteric Christianity. From the beginning, he was led to understand from higher sources that Theosophy was the natural and appropriate spiritual vehicle for our age, but to fulfil this task its universal origins had to be recovered; a task esoteric Christianity could accomplish. Indeed, there were not two esotericisms, but only one; for, as Rudolf Steiner said in a lecture on April 12,1909: “There is no wisdom of the East that has not streamed into Western occultism; and in Rosicrucianism you will find absolutely everything that the great sages of the East have preserved…. The wisdom of the West must embrace all the teachings of the East … and—without allowing any of it to be lost—illuminate it with the light kindled within humanity by the Christ impulse.”

The great pivot in this task of returning Theosophy to its universal origins through the infusion of esoteric Christianity came with the Theosophical Congress of 1907 at which Rudolf Steiner was given permission to create his own “Western” Esoteric Section and teaching. And so, at the very first meeting of the Esoteric Section following the Congress, Rudolf Steiner announced: “At the head of our Western School there are two Masters: The Master Jesus and the Master Christian Rosenkreutz.…What is given through me on behalf of the Masters of the West goes independently alongside what Mrs. Besant teaches on behalf of the Masters of the East.”

The nature and mission of the five additional Masters—Mani, Scythianos, Gautama Buddha, the Maitreya bodhisattva, and Novalis—emerge in Prokofieff’s narrative in concert with his exposition of the great fruits of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual research, including: Christ’s return in the etheric, the reality of and consequence of the two Jesus children, and the spiritual unveiling of the esoteric significance of the different Gospels. These are woven together with the other Christian Mysteries that open to us in our time, namely, the Michael Mysteries (Archangel Michael), the Sophia Mysteries (Divine Feminine Wisdom), and the Mysteries specific to Christ Jesus and the Mystery of Golgotha. These Mysteries, in some sense specific to Rudolf Steiner’s special mission, lead finally to a profound consideration of the spiritual individuality of Rudolf Steiner himself—to Rudolf Steiner as a true Master of Esoteric Christianity.

From this point of view, Prokofieff describes the “archetypal phenomenon” of Rudolf Steiner’s initiation as consisting of four aspects: First, “Not I, but the Christ in me,” exemplifying the highest stage of intuition, the receiving into himself the impression of the ‘I’ of Christ Jesus, which Prokofieff calls “the most important result of modern initiation.” Second, being overlighted by the Holy Spirit, whereby he was able to form a new connection to the cosmic sphere of the bodhisattvas. Third, the conscious experience of Sophia in her contemporary presence, enabling the spiritualization of the present Michaelic intelligence—the intelligence awakened in our time by the Archangel Michael that makes possible the entry into the spiritual world and the working with the etheric Christ. Fourth, the full spiritualization of the Michael intelligence through the path outlined in his Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. In Steiner’s words, “Michael wants a human being to become a free being who through the path of his concepts and ideas also finds an understanding of what comes to him from the spiritual world by way of revelation.” In this sense, the archetypal phenomenon of Rudolf Steiner’s initiation is available to anyone willing to undertake this path.

There is, of course, much more. What I have given here are only glimpses of what Prokofieff presents. Though this rich book is remarkably accessible, it requires deep reading and meditation to grasp its full significance. Every deep and life-changing book makes that demand of its readers. Reading this book with an open mind and an inner need to understand more deeply the significance of Anthroposophy as an esoteric Christian path and also—between the lines—Rudolf Steiner himself as a Master of Esoteric Christianity, the teacher of an esoteric Christianity of the present and the future, this book could be a life-changer.

Christopher Bamford

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Being Present in the In-Between

“Create moments of inner peace for yourself, and in these moments learn to distinguish the essential from the nonessential.” - Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds


How do we navigate the in-between? The time between winter and spring, when we wait to watch nature burst to life again through the budding of trees and songs of birds. The time we wait for the farewell to the beautiful soundless space of winter.

It is in these quiet essential moments watching the snowfall or raindrops as they slide down a window pane that we allow the universe to speak to us in all of its glory and wisdom.

It is no accident that the great thinkers, writers, and artists of the world would retreat to a cabin in the woods for periods of dormancy and rebirth of their creative stream just as nature provides us every season.

If we view our lives as seasons, we soon realize that there are times to grow and times to rest. As we come to the end of our winter season here in the US, take time to reflect, watch the budding of the trees, and listen for songbirds, but enjoy this time of in-between. It requires that we dig deep, and slowly unfurl our gifts for another season of growth. It will soon be time to grow again, but there is no need to rush. Spring will be here in living color before we know it.

This week, we bring you a gift of a free eBook download: Bees (CW 351) to celebrate the in-between.


In 1923 Rudolf Steiner predicted the dire state of today's honeybee. He stated that, within fifty to eighty years, we would see the consequences of mechanizing the forces that had previously operated organically in the beehive. Such practices include breeding queen bees artificially.

The fact that over sixty percent of the American honeybee population has died during the past ten years, and that this trend is continuing around the world, should make us aware of the importance of the issues discussed in these lectures. Steiner began this series of lectures on bees in response to a question from an audience of workers at the Goetheanum.

Click on image above and enter coupon code: bee100

Click on image above and enter coupon code: bee100

From physical depictions of the daily activities of bees to the most elevated esoteric insights, these lectures describe the unconscious wisdom of the beehive and its connection to our experience of health, culture, and the cosmos.

Bees is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the true nature of the honeybee, as well as those who wish to heal the contemporary crisis of the beehive.

Bees includes an essay by David Adams, "From Queen Bee to Social Sculpture: The Artistic Alchemy of Joseph Beuys." The art and social philosophy of Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) is among the most influential of the twentieth century. He was strongly influenced by Rudolf Steiner's lectures on bees. The elemental imagery and its relationship to human society played an important role in Beuys's sculptures, drawings, installations, and performance art. Adams' essay on Beuys adds a whole new dimension to these lectures, generally considered to be directed more specifically to biodynamic methods and beekeeping.

Shakespeare and the New Ideals - Rudolf Steiner

Receiving Shakespeare into our minds and souls might therefore be the very stimulus to give us men and women of today the power, the inner impulse to follow ideals, to follow real, spiritual ideals. We shall see our true ideals aright if we bear in mind how transitory many modern ideals have been and are, and how magnificently firm are many old ideals that still hold their own in the world by their effectiveness.
— Rudolf Steiner, APRIL 23, 1922

The Power of Sleep to Unite Nature, Art, and the Senses

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
— William Shakespeare

Several years ago, I enrolled in a course in Eco-Art Therapy. This transformational counseling and self-discovery tool takes the participants through a nature-based discovery practice with the senses as a guide. The activities and the reflection take place over two days, so that the participant can sleep before reflecting on the experience in their journal.

What I discovered transformed the way I experience nature in a way that is difficult to explain. This method of connecting with the wordlessness of nature through self-expression creates a connection between your inner and outer life.

On a heart level, Eco-Art Therapy is a window into one’s soul that allows you to build a map to your most natural knowing self. Every lesson takes on new meaning as nature provides the answers you seek.

Rudolf Steiner understood the power of nature, art, and healing well. He realized the potential of sleep to unite us with the spiritual world through the digestion of the day's experiences when combined with the spiritual world. The idea of being aware of your senses can be hard to describe, which is why artistic expression can be a better window into a sensory experience. It can quiet the thinking mind and awaken the spiritual self.

This week, we bring you ways to experience the soul nourishment of the arts, through some of our favorite books and invite you to get out into nature and listen to her call.

To arrive at a truth or to create beauty that reflects the order and harmony of the Creator, we must always begin humbly, in ignorance and ugliness. By striving out of ignorance and ugliness toward the true and beautiful, both scientists and artists can bring new, creative forces into the world. Neither memorizing data nor copying a beautiful drawing engages the true imagination of students as does drawing a flower from life. It is precisely this lack of an active, striving inner creativity that can result in the frequently overwhelming feelings of anxiety and alienation experienced by so many people today. As a counterbalance, education must—in all areas of knowledge—increasingly focus on the personal creation of what, through its beauty, speaks truth and through its truth radiates beauty. 

Drawing from the Book of Nature is about both drawing and the natural world of plants and animals. It is a valuable resource for teachers, students, and anyone who wants to develop a capacity for artistic observation of natural phenomena.

Dennis Klocek provides a refreshing combination of depth and clarity, offering a wealth of insight into the lives that constitute living nature. The text is supported by easy-to-follow lessons that help the reader bring the kingdoms of nature to life on paper. This book is a resource through which teachers, students, and others can find their own way toward reuniting with beauty and truth. 


Fellowship and Community Building

It is certainly clear to anybody who keeps up with the way civilization and culture are presently developing that the times themselves demand the deepening of knowledge, the ethical practice, the inner religious life that anthroposophy has to offer. On the other hand, however, a society such as ours has to act as a vanguard in an ever wider disseminating of those elements that are so needed under the conditions that prevail today. - Rudolf Steiner, Awakening to Community, SteinerBooks / Anthroposophic Press

I visited a special place this week, The Fellowship Community, An Inter-Generational Care Community, settled on 80 acres of farm and forest, 90 minutes north of New York City. The Fellowship Community serves the needs of elder members through the phases of aging. A place like no other I have experienced. The warmth of the community cuts through the winter temperatures and leaves you with a sense that this experience has changed you in some way.

The members of this community, including our dear friends at Mercury Press, are there to support their fellow community members in an aging process that is not only dignified but energized by the spirit of everyone you meet. My only wish is that all Americans could experience their final days on this earth in a place that celebrates this transformation and the journey ahead.

Today, I am sharing Rudolf Steiner’s lecture, Awakening to Community, in the hopes that you all can find ways to bring care and celebration to those in your community who need your fellowship. - Kathy Donchak

If this anthroposophical life is to develop in a practical direction, everything it undertakes must be born of fearless knowledge and a really strong will. This presupposes learning to live with the world in a truly anthroposophical way. People used to learn to live anthroposophically by fleeing the world. But they will have to learn to live anthroposophically with the world and to carry the anthroposophical impulse into everyday life and practice.
— Rudolf Steiner

The Task of Education is Connected with the Development of Humanity

Now that I am at the beginning of what I actually want to dis-

cuss about education, you can see that I do not wish to begin

with some theoretical discussion, but rather with a feeling. We

cannot begin with a pedagogy of rules, but with a feeling. We

must feel that the content of the human soul has been given to

those who are to teach and educate young people. It is healthy to

feel within ourselves the future of humanity. That is the proper

starting point, not whether we know one thing or another, but

when we feel that the entire task of education is connected with

the development of humanity. - Rudolf Steiner


The beauty of the educational ideals espoused by Rudolf Steiner can be seen in his reverence for human development. He crafted his lectures and shared his indications for an educational model that is responsive to the needs of children and the world in which they live.

As I read Steiner’s lectures, I am encouraged to read and then think about how those words can change the way I feel about the children I am guiding as a parent. It must begin with the sense of feeling if we are to support the development of future generations. I encourage you as teachers, parents, grandparents, and community members to read Steiner’s words on education and then allow them to transform your individual gifts as a guiding force in your communities.

Kathy Donchak


THE TEACHER AS SCULPTOR OF THE HUMAN SOUL

Rudolf Steiner

Basel, April 23, 1920

Everything depends upon your working inwardly with what such books or lectures offer as a thread. - Rudolf Steiner

Up to now I have tried to show how we can approach the human being from the outside. Today I would like to approach our task from the other side, from the side of inner experience. Through this way of considering things—the way of science in the future—the human being becomes transparent from the outside. In a sense, this kind of consideration of the human being, of the activities of the organs and all of human nature, can lead us to discover a person’s inner experiences, what he or she experiences as thinking, feeling, and willing. The commonly held perspective confronts us with a dark, impenetrable, incomprehensible being.

At the same time, we are concerned with more or less abstract inner experiences of thinking, feeling, and willing that we cannot perceive or feel concretely. We have seen that the human being has three aspects: thinking, feeling, and willing. Let us look at these three aspects from within. We will soon see how the inner and outer paths of consideration are connected. The content of thoughts is essentially very abstract. As teachers, we cannot approach the developing human being through these thoughts. In a certain sense, there is an impenetrable wall between us. That wall exists in social life and brings us many social problems. It also exists in areas such as teaching and education.

Through the scientific materialism that has taken over all our thinking and, to an extent, our feeling, everything we have to say about the soul or spirit has slowly become empty words. We cannot work out of empty words. We can find no relationship to other adults through empty words, nor can we find a relationship to children through them. We need to move forward to reality. We cannot encounter reality if we have only the abstract intellectual reasoning that modern science has implanted in us. We do, however, come to the spirit through this reasoning. The entire content of reasoning within our intellectually oriented education is spirit, but it is a filtered spirit. It is a spirit that in a way cannot break out of its own confines, which cannot experience itself as real content, and thus remains brutal. This spirit controls our lives. This spirit penetrates nothing; it is a spirit that in art creates only the external form instead of developing the form out of the material itself. It is a spirit that wants to force itself upon the external social relationships connected with the shape of human society instead of developing those relationships directly from living human beings. We can arrive at a very different position in regard to the spirit if we hold to what spiritual science can give us. The way spiritual science approaches things is much more important than its actual content. If you stay with what is knowledge today, you will find that it simply reflects what already exists. That is how we have arrived at a kind of naturalism that only recreates the external world in art, because our understanding does not penetrate beyond the external world; it has no independent content. We move about in a mere copy of the external world. We do not understand how living content can germinate from the human being, since this living content cannot arise from anything other than the spirit. Let us contrast spiritual science and conventional science. When they first hear what spiritual science has to say, many modern people understand it as something silly, a fantasy. Why? Simply because people are not accustomed to hearing in the way that spiritual science speaks. People are accustomed to speaking about the world so that it is possible to compare what is said with what we see, with what the eyes perceive or we perceive in other ways.

Spiritual science presents things to which we cannot find any correspondence in the external world, things we cannot find when we observe only with our senses. It presents things we can understand only when we work out of our own spirit. Of course, what we create comes from a deeper aspect of the world, but we must actually produce that out of the spirit. This creation out of the spirit is important. When we study spiritual science, we do not wait until we encounter a tree or an animal that we can then conceptualize. Instead we form the concept in our inner life. In a moment, we will see some examples of how we create concepts inwardly through spiritual science and how they can become alive in the human being. We can therefore say that our intellectual reasoning has slowly lost all meaning, and that spiritual science gives our reasoning something through which it can regain some content. If you take my book An Outline of Esoteric Science and read it like any other book, you may not understand it. Today, even with art, we ask ourselves where in the world we would find something like it. In dramas and novels, that is, in products of our imagination, we demand that their content can be found in exactly, or nearly exactly, the same way as in the world. You cannot do that with the content of Esoteric Science. You have to do something else, which is why there is so much opposition to spiritual science: people must do something quite different than in modern conventional science or art. You need to carry out an inner activity for each step described by the writer of such a spiritual scientific book. You will gain nothing from reading such a book if you do not produce something from yourself according to the directions in the book. In this way spiritual science runs quite counter to our modern way of thinking. Today people love to attend lectures that present what they are to learn through slides or other perceptible means. People go to movies because they can see something there. They do not value the fact that there are also some words. People want to remain passive; they just want to be people who watch. You will gain nothing from a spiritual-scientific book or lecture if you allow these modern habits to predominate, as spiritual scientific lectures or books contain nothing of that sort. Everything depends upon your working inwardly with what such books or lectures offer as a thread.







Rethinking Economics: Lectures and Seminars on World Economics (CW 340-341)

Today I intend a kind of introduction. In tomorrow’s lecture, we shall begin to try to give a more or less complete picture of the questions of social and political economy that humanity today must set before itself.

The subject of economics, as we speak of it today, is in reality a very recent creation. It did not arise until the time when the economic life of modern peoples had become extraordinarily complicated in comparison with earlier conditions. As this course is intended primarily for students of political economy,† it is necessary by way of introduction to point out this peculiarity of the economic thinking of today.

After all, we need not go very far back in history to see how much economic life has changed, even during the nineteenth century. We need only consider this one fact: England, for example, already had during the first half of the century what was, practically speaking, the modern form of economic life. There was comparatively little radical change in the economic structure of England in the course of the nineteenth century. The great social questions that arise out of economic questions in modern times were being asked in England as early as the first half of the nineteenth century; and those who wanted to think about social and economic questions in the modern sense could pursue their studies in England at a time when in Germany, for instance, such studies would have remained unfruitful. In England, Lecture 1 From Industrialism to World Economy Dornach, July 24, 1922 2 rethinking economics above all, the conditions of trade and commerce on a large scale had already come into being by the first third of the nineteenth century. Through the great development of trade and commerce in the economic life of England, a foundation was already there in the form of trade capital. In England, there was no need to seek for any other starting point for modern economic life. They simply had to go on with the trade capital resulting from the consolidation of trade and commerce, even as early as the first third of the nineteenth century. Starting from this time, everything took place in England with a certain logical consistency; we must not forget that the whole of this English economic life was possible only on the basis originally given by England’s relation to her colonies, especially to India. The whole of the English economic system is unthinkable without the relationship of England to India. In other words, English economic life, with all its facility for evolving large sums of capital, is founded on the fact that there lies in the background a country that is, as it were, virgin economic soil. We must not overlook this fact, especially when we pass from England to Germany.

If you consider the economic life of Germany, you will see that in the first third of the nineteenth century it still essentially corresponded to economic customs that had arisen out of the Middle Ages. The economic customs and relationships within Germany in the first third of the nineteenth century were absolutely old: consequently the whole pace of economic life was different in Germany from what it was in England during the first third, or even the first half, of the nineteenth century. In England, during the first half of the century, there was already what we may call a reckoning with quickly changing habits of life. The main character of economic life remained essentially the same, but it was already adaptable to quickly changing habits. In Germany, on the other hand, habits of life were still conservative: economic development could afford to advance at a snail’s pace, for it had to adapt itself only to technical conditions that had remained more or less the same over long periods, and to human needs that were not rapidly changing. But in this respect a great transformation took place in the second third of the nineteenth century. Then there rapidly took place an The Transition from Industrialism to World Economy approximation to English conditions: a development of the industrial system. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Germany had been in all essentials an agrarian country—now it was rapidly transformed into an industrial country, far more rapidly than any other region of the earth. But there is an important fact in this connection. We might describe it thus: In England the transition to industrial life took place instinctively; nobody knew exactly how it happened. It came as a natural event. In Germany, it is true, the medieval character still existed in the first third of the nineteenth century. Germany was an agrarian country. But while the outer economic conditions were taking their accustomed course in a way that might almost be called medieval, human thinking was undergoing a fundamental change. It came into the consciousness of human beings that something altogether different must now arise, that the existing conditions were no longer appropriate for the time. Thus the transformation of economic conditions that arose in Germany in the second third of the nineteenth century took place far more consciously than in England. In Germany, people were far more aware of how they entered into modern capitalism; in England, people were not aware of it at all. If you read today all the writings and discussions in Germany during that period concerning the transition to industrialism, you will get a remarkable impression, a strange impression, of how the people in Germany were thinking. They actually looked upon it as a real liberation of humanity; they called it liberalism, democracy. Moreover, they regarded it as the very salvation of humanity to get right out of the old connections, the old binding links, the old kind of corporation, and pass over to the fully free position (for so they called it) of the individual within the economic life. Hence in England you will never meet with a theory of economics such as was developed by the people who received their education in Germany at the height of the period that I have just characterized. Schmoller, Roscher† and others derived their views from the ideal of this “liberalism” in economics. What they built up was altogether in accord with this ideal, and they built it with full consciousness. The English would have thought such theories of economics stale rethinking economics and boring; they would have thought that one should not trouble to think about such things. Look at the radical difference between the way in which people in England talked about these things (to mention even a man like Beaconsfield, who was theoretical enough in all conscience) from the way in which Richter or Lasker or even Brentano† were speaking in Germany. In Germany, therefore, this second period was entered into with full consciousness. Then came the third period, the period essentially of “the state.” It is true that as the last third of the nineteenth century drew near, the German state was consolidated purely by means of external power. What was consolidated was not what the idealists of 1848, or even of the 1830s and on, had desired; no, it was the state that was consolidated, and moreover by sheer force or power. And this state gradually laid claim to the economic life for its own purposes, with full consciousness. Thus, in the last third of the nineteenth century, the structure of the economic life was permeated through and through by the very opposite principle as had been in the previous period. In the second third of the century, economic evolution had been subject to the ideas of liberalism. Now its evolution became altogether subject to the idea of the state. This was what gave the economic life in Germany, as a whole, its stamp. It is true that there were elements of consciousness in the whole process, and yet in another sense the whole thing was quite unconscious.

Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature (CW 136)

Rudolf Steiner, Lecture 6 Helsinki, April 8, 1912

In the last lecture we tried to consider how a planetary system depends on the various spiritual beings of the three hierarchies, layered, as it were, one above the other. We gained an idea of all that is involved in a planet, and we saw how a planet receives its enclosed form as a result of the activity of the spirits of form. We also saw that the inner life, the inner mobility of the planet, is the result of the activity of the spirits of motion. What we may call the lowest consciousness of a planet, which can be compared with the consciousness present in the human astral body, we assign to the spirits of wisdom. And the impulse by which a planet changes its place in space we allot to the spirits of will, the thrones. The regulation of the individual movements of a planet—so that instead of taking an isolated course in space, it moves in harmony with the whole system—is an activity of the cherubim. Finally, we ascribed to the seraphim what we may call the inner soul life of a planet, whereby the planet comes into connection with the other heavenly bodies, like a human being enters into relation with other people by means of speech. Thus we must see a sort of coherence in the planet; and in this, what comes from the spirits of form is but a kind of kernel. On the other hand, every planet has something like a spiritual atmosphere—we might even say something like an aura—in which the spirits who belong to both of the higher hierarchies that are above the spirits of form do their work. Now, however, if we want to understand all this rightly, Lecture 6 helsinki, April 8, 1912 66 j spiritual beings in the heavenly bodies we must make ourselves acquainted with yet other ideas than those I have just recapped for you in a couple of sentences. These are ideas that we shall attain most easily if we begin with the beings of the hierarchy that stands, so to speak, nearest to humanity in the spiritual world: namely, the beings of the third hierarchy.

We have said that the characteristic of the beings of the third hierarchy is that what is perception in human beings is manifestation in them; and what is inner life in human beings is being filled with spirit in them. We already find this characteristic in the beings who are immediately above the human being in the cosmic order, in the angels or angeloi: namely, that they actually perceive what they manifest from out of themselves. When they return to their inner being, they have nothing independent, nothing self-enclosed like the inner life of human beings. Rather, they then feel the forces and beings of the higher hierarchies above them shining and springing forth in their inner being. In short, they feel themselves filled and inspired by the spirit, by the beings above them. Thus, what we call our independent inner life really does not exist in them. If they wish to develop their own being and if they wish, so to speak, to feel, think, and will what they are, as a human being does, it is all immediately manifested externally. These beings are not like human beings, who can shut up their thoughts and feelings within themselves and can allow their will impulses to remain unfulfilled. What lives as thought in these beings, insofar as they themselves bring forth these thoughts, is also simultaneously revealed externally. If they do not wish to manifest externally, they have no other means of returning into their inner being than by once again filling themselves with the world above them. Thus, the world above them dwells in the inner life of these beings, and when they live a life of their own, they project themselves externally, objectively.