The Epoch of Consciousness

The fundamental principle in this, the Consciousness Soul Epoch, is the emergence in the Man of conscious, individualized, independent thinking. Concurrent with the emergence of this soul-force (as a by-product, as it were) are wider possibilities for the workings of the forces of Death and Evil. But these workings are (as is characteristic of Ahriman) so falsified that, for example, the cultural institutions that are generally regarded as most beneficial -- education and medicine -- are in fact among the worst carriers of evil.


(Not to imply that these institutions should be shunned of destroyed, but purified and renewed -- in part by their liberation from money and politics.)


When this epoch has run its course (if it will have fulfilled its potentials), human culture will be vastly changed. For example, the distinction between "civilized" and "primitive" peoples will have been erased, and a kind of moral "socialism" will have become instinctive.

Our specific task for the Consciousness Soul Epoch is to acquire three great truths, the same truths that Sorat wished to foist upon mankind in the Seventh Century, with his own slant. We might presume that Ahriman-in-the-flesh will likewise try to insert them into our culture and distort them to his own ends. It is the task of an alert and conscious mankind, schooled in spiritual science and led by the Christ, to gain these three truths through our own striving and to use them for the good development of the earthly creation.

The first truth concerns the Mystery of Birth and Death: that the human soul in the physical world has but the semblance of the true soul-life that it had before conception and will have again after death. The life in the sense-world interrupts the supersensible soul-life in the world-between-death-and-rebirth, so that we can gain, for the spirit, that which can be gained only in the sense-world.


To see this truth, we must "look Lucifer in the eye", and thus see through the distortions and illusions he spreads over the human soul. The destiny of the "East" (meaning the Slavic regions and eastwards) is to give rise to an "eugenic occultism": the knowledge of how, through astrological regulation of conception, to bring the right human entities to birth at the right time and place for forward evolution, or conversely, to bring in the wrong entities, for the hindrance of right evolution. Thus, this eugenic occultism can cause great good or great harm, depending on how it is used.

The second truth concerns the Mystery of the Body: that the human body is not a lump of matter, but a form, which is spiritual in origin, and through which interchanging substances are constantly in flux. This knowledge will lead to a true medical art, the essence of which is to keep intact the natural healing forces of the body. The destiny of the "Middle" (meaning Central Europe) is to give rise to this "hygienic occultism" -- which, of course, can lead to great good, but can also cause great harm if it is used without strict conscientiousness.

The third truth concerns the Mystery of Matter: that the reality behind "material substance" is not "atoms", "molecules", or "ultimate particles", but is spirit -- to be exact: Ahrimanic spirits, in rhythmic inter-relations. The true picture of "solid matter" is not a machine, but a rainbow: a ghostly appearance, an outcome of spiritual processes.


Modern physics, in some advanced theorizing, may have made some halting moves toward this truth, but the dead, mechanistic world-conception still holds sway over the scientism which dominates world-culture. This scientism is the Ahrimanic lie, the descendant of the Jundi Sabur influence, which, even though weakened, banished soul and spirit from the scientific world-view.

To see through this lie, we must "look Ahriman in the eye" -- a dangerous undertaking if we are not prepared by spiritual science. The destiny of the West (meaning primarily the English-speaking world) is to give rise to a "mechanistic occultism", which will bring about fantastic machine forces, based on rhythm and resonance. (The lost, fabled "Keely motor" was a start in this direction.)


But the introduction of such machine forces would cause harm to society if the political, cultural, and economic spheres are not made mutually independent, and if egotism is not banished from the economy. (Steiner laid down the basis for this healthy social re-ordering, in his concept of the "threefold commonwealth".)

Ahriman seeks to divert and pervert these three destined developments of the Consciousness Soul Epoch, through the activity of angels who rejected the Christ influence during the Egypto-Chaldean Epoch. In the present times, the "Christian" angels pour pictures of spirit-realities into the deep regions of the human soul-organism. If the Man does not take up these pictures consciously, they sink down into the ethereal body and act as unconscious instincts through the influence of the Ahrimanic angels.


These unconscious instincts work against the three progressive evolutionary trends in the following ways:

  • Perverting the Eugenic Occultism, destructive sex impulses affect the whole social life, working against the development of conscious human brotherhood, and making a mankind entirely egotistical and entirely controlled by instinctive urges carried in the blood.

  • Perverting the Hygienic Occultism, medicine becomes materialistic and can be used to heal or harm, according to egotistic purposes.

  • Perverting the Mechanistic Occultism, powerful, Keely-like machine forces are employed, controlled not by the "vibrations" of good people (seeking the liberation of the workers), but by egotistic people for the evil purpose of attaining power and control over the masses.

The first two perversions are readily apparent in modern society; the third has yet to emerge in public. -- Again, the direction that these three trends of the present epoch will take depends upon human consciousness and will.

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Some Occult Politics

Some powerful, Ahrimanic secret societies, linked to the Lodges, in Britain and the USA strive to keep their version of this third truth (of the spirituality of matter) as their own secret and to ensure that the wider public knows only a crude atheistic-mechanistic scientism, in which spirit and soul have no place. (In more recent times, one can notice that the "crude materialism" given to the public is beginning to be replaced by a more quasi-esoteric materialism.)


These societies also strive to guide political and economic trends over the world so that the budding potentialities of the Middle and Eastern peoples come under their domination. The history of modern times has very largely been the story of the outworkings of this struggle.


(The crimes of the secret Anglo-American power groups include the instigation of the First World War and the consequent establishment of the Bolshevik regime in the East. These power groups believe that the English-speaking peoples are destined to justifiedly dominate the East-Slavs in this, the fifth cultural epoch, for the purpose of guiding their nascent potentialities, which should blossom to lead the world-culture in the sixth epoch -- just as the Romans, during the fourth epoch, dominated and educated Britain for her future leadership in the fifth epoch.


Some truth does lie behind this concept: this is the epoch of the consciousness soul, and the English-speaking peoples are gifted to develop the consciousness soul in an instinctive way, and it is true that the Slavs are destined to lead world-culture in the sixth epoch. But these power groups seek, through illegitimate means, to guide toward illegitimate, Ahrimanic ends these inherent potentialities, which are loosely "written into" destiny.)


Many historians and "paranoid right-wing conspiracy nuts" have, solely through common sense and open-eyed observation of external events, discerned some of the outworkings of the influence of these secret societies through their semi-secret instruments: the Council on Foreign Relation, the Order of Skull and Bones (whose members included George Bush, Averell Harriman, and an amazing number of powerful Americans), the Rhodes Scholarships, the Round Table, etc.


But these observers, lacking occult knowledge, can only guess at the true aims of the secret power groups. The "Anglophile" societies may disagree among themselves about means and details, but essentially they aim to gain world-domination for themselves (though certainly not for the good of the masses of the English-speaking peoples) and to influence all cultural trends in an Ahrimanic direction.

Now, in "post-Cold War" Europe, the Anglo-Americans and the Jesuit-Catholic power groups apparently are working together to make the basic arrangements of this part of the "New World Order": Central Europe, from France to Poland, is to be dominated by the Jesuit interests, while the "East" (meaning roughly the regions historically Orthodox Christian) is to dominated by the Anglo-American "West".


This arrangement furthers the aims of the Anglo-Americans by preventing cultural collaboration between Central Europe and the Eastern Slavs, thus preventing the rise of a strong, healthy, and independent Central European culture that could mediate and balance the East and the West. Thus, the present push toward the "New World Order" in Europe is a continuation of the long-standing Anglo-American policy of obliterating Central Europe (especially Germany) as a political/cultural force and of controlling the future-seeds being prepared in East-Europe -- the same policy that led to First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution.

The deeper, Ahrimanic aim of the Anglo-Americans is to defeat the Gods' plan for Earth-evolution, by turning the earth into a heap of dark, frozen, cosmic slag, haunted by an earth-bound mankind of ghostly homunculi -- and to secure for themselves a privileged place in this Ahrimanic world-order: an Ahrimanic immortality, with earthly consciousness and with power over the uninitiated.

(The late Professor Carroll Quigley, mentor of the young Wm. Jefferson Clinton, wrote the fairly well-known tome Tragedy and Hope, and the lesser-known work The Anglo-American Establishment, in which he described, from a sympathetic point of view, some of the machinations of semi-secret "Anglophile" [his word] power groups.


Prominent among these "Anglophile" groups was the secret society organized by Cecil Rhodes around 1891. Its members included Wm. T. Stead [a spiritualist known to Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society], Lord Esher [an advisor to Queen Victoria], the Earl of Rosebury, Nathan Rothschild, Alfred Milner [whose posts included Colonial Secretary, and War Minister during the First World War], H.A.L. Fisher [sometime Education Minister], and A.J. Balfour.


I do not imply that Quigley, or Clinton [or all those working for the goals of these power groups] were, or are, fully aware of the deeper aims behind the "Anglophiles", but that they are more or less knowingly, or unknowingly, under the influence of the occultists and will usually act in the way desired by these occultists. Altogether, of those who work in accordance with the aims of what may be loosely called the "Anglo-American power groups" [e.g. the Freemasons (or at least some factions of them), C.F.R., Round Table, Rhodes Scholarships, Skull and Bones, and their associated political and economic instruments] -- or of the Jesuits -- very few are aware of the true, occult aims.


This is true even of most of the "initiated", for the ceremonial magic of the initiation-rituals works on the ethereal bodies of the acolytes so as to make those lower initiates into receptive, unsuspecting instruments for the wishes of the few who are more aware. This process might loosely be likened to a sophisticated kind of "post-hypnotic suggestion". In general, we should hold suspect any secret society that practices ceremonial magic and is administered by higher "grades".


Nor do I wish to imply that one super-secret power group on earth "controls everything"; various occult power groups, arrayed in various and shifting alliances and antagonisms, vie for their various aims. The centers of the conspiracies do not lie on the physical plane, and no matter how great their power, they are not omnipotent. Again, the primal force behind present-day turmoil is the Coming of the Ethereal Christ. As an old saying goes: "Where there is bright light, there are deep shadows.")

But much depends on us, on mankind. We need to become conscious of these power groups, as well as their deeper aims and the aims of Ahriman himself. If we do not acquire this alert consciousness, Ahriman might have his way, and the future of the earth, and of mankind, will be dark and bleak.


The earth's future, as well as our own, is our responsibility. -- Any real progress toward a healthy social order depends on mankind's development of a new kind of thinking. The present, Ahrimanic, brain-bound pseudo-thinking is inherently anti-social; it (subconsciously) tries to dominate other people and put them to sleep. Most present anti-social aspects of society proceed from anti-social consciousness; the brain-bound pseudo-thinking is determined by subjective, unconscious instincts, not by concurrence with the objective truth, not by the meaning-process of the thinking itself.


An anti-social society is a physical picture of the anti-social human consciousness. If human consciousness becomes harmonious with objective reality, then a truly social society will be possible. Again, it all depends on human consciousness -- and will.


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The "Emergence" of "Maitreya"


The "Maitreya"

The foregoing discussion can help us understand a presently unfolding event: the "emergence" of the so-called "Maitreya", now being promoted by Benjamin Creme and others. Allegedly this "Maitreya" is not only the Christ but also the Messiah, Krishna, and the Imam Mahdi.


The story goes like this:

In 1977 "Maitreya" left his "ancient retreat in the Himalayas" to reside incognito in London. Allegedly he has created his own physical body -- a "mayavirupa" -- which can appear in many places at once, according to his intention. Nevertheless, he supposedly rode an airliner from Pakistan to London, "coming in the clouds".


He also appears in dreams to many people around the world. The "Maitreya" is a highly advanced Man, not a god. He has been working behind the scenes to inspire many recent events, such as the "environmental" movement, the end of Communism in the Soviet Union, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the end of the East-West confrontation. Since 1988 he has "miraculously" appeared to speak before religious groups worldwide, causing miraculous healings and "charging" water with healing power.


Other miraculous phenomena around the world are said to emanate from him: Marian appearances and weeping Madonna statues, "crop circles", holographic "crosses of light", and mysterious hitchhikers who announce the Return of Christ and then vanish. These phenomena are leading to a fast-approaching "Day of Declaration" when "Maitreya" will announce his "true identity" over world-wide radio and television, and listeners (and even those not listening) will hear him telepathically in their own languages -- and, simultaneously, spontaneous healings will occur around the world.


Thereafter, "Masters" (advanced initiates who have reached the stage that they no longer need to incarnate, but return to earth voluntarily) of "Maitreya's" "Vanguard" will reveal themselves to support his efforts. One of these "Masters" will be the "Jesus" whom the supposed Christ-Maitreya "overshadowed" from the Baptism to the Crucifixion.


The social teachings of "Maitreya" oppose unfettered market forces and support the easing of the vast disparity between the rich and the poor by "the principle of sharing". Governments will be forced to institute sharing after the coming collapse of the stock markets (beginning in Japan) and the resulting upheavals.


Under the leading of "Maitreya" and the "Masters" a new world-wide civilization will emerge, based on the principles of: lessened regulation, liberty, freedom, environmental equilibrium, solar energy -- and the guarantee to all of enough food, clothing, housing, health care, and education.

"What's wrong with all that?"


It is true enough that runaway "market forces", aided by their agents in government, are grievously oppressing mankind; the gap between rich and poor is cruel and dangerous; the natural environment is being degraded; and so on and on. We can begin to see "what's wrong" when we consider, as explained above, that Christ appears once and only once in the flesh, and that His Second Coming is now taking place in the supra-physical, ethereal earth.


Clearly this is inconsistent with the supposed Christ-Maitreya coming down from the Himalayas to live in London and appear around the world to the physical senses. Furthermore, the "Maitreya's" supporters teach that the "anti-Christ energy" will not be manifested through individuals on earth, until 3000 years will have passed since the defeat of Hitler.


Again, this is the reverse of the truth, as explained above: this is the time of climaxing activity of the Antichrist, through Ahrimanic influence, leading to the physical incarnation of Ahriman. Evidently, this supposed Maitreya-Christ is an impostor who tries to falsify the tremendous events breaking upon us.

We get a strong clue to the true nature of the "Maitreya" from this statement of his supporters:

"For the last 100 years, the Ageless Wisdom teachings have been released through individuals such as Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, and later by Alice A. Bailey and Helena Roerich. In 1948, the imminent return of Christ was revealed in Alice Bailey's book, The Reappearance of the Christ."

[Emergence Quarterly, No. 9]

Steiner and, following his researches, Sergei O. Prokofieff (grandson of the composer) have uncovered the occult influences behind Blavatsky, Bailey, and Roerich. This story, much abridged, goes as follows: Around 1875 Blavatsky gave voice to some true Western (Rosicrucian) wisdom, much garbled, in her Isis Unveiled. She later came under the influence of a particular group of Eastern, Tibeto-Indian occultists, who inspired her Secret Doctrine, with its strongly anti-Christian bent.


These inspirers were the "mahatmas", the supposed "Morya" and "Kut Humi". (The true identity of these "mahatmas" is problematic.) Under her influence, and that of A. P. Sinnet (whose Esoteric Buddhism was inspired by the same "mahatmas"), the Theosophical Society took a decidedly Eastern turn, even moving its headquarters from New York to Madras. The teachings of the "mahatmas" derived from a pre-Christian occult wisdom and held Lucifer higher than Christ, but also had a strongly materialistic and atheistic tinge.


This "occult materialism" did not deny the existence of higher beings (up to a point), or the human afterlife and reincarnation under the law of karma (indeed, the concept of karma entered Western culture mostly through the Theosophical Society), but it did deny the existence of a theistic God and held that the higher realms consist only of refined, subtle matter. Blavatsky traveled to India and a secret location in Tibet to be initiated into these teachings.


The "mahatmas" aimed to get a kind of revenge on the Western world for having overwhelmed the East and suppressed Eastern occultism. We have Blavatsky's (hearsay) testimony that at least one of her "mahatmas" even hated and despised the white race. On a deeper level, the aim was to work with Lucifer and Ahriman to draw mankind into the illegitimate realm known to occultism as the "Eighth Sphere".


This realm lies outside the normal seven great ages of the Saturn-Vulcan series. It arose through Lucifer's introduction, into the Earth Age, of the supersensible Old Moon forces, containing reflected images of higher worlds. Ahriman tries to take earthly, dense matter and join it to these images to create "densified imaginations" or "spectres". Materialistic thoughts in human brains, especially the "occult materialism" taught by the "mahatmas", greatly furthers this process. If human evolution could be diverted into this Eighth Sphere, the Gods' plan for earthly and human evolution would be defeated.

Later, after Madame Blavatsky's death, the Theosophical Society, under Annie Besant, tried to put forth the young Krishnamurti as the Christ, or Maitreya, or both. Krishnamurti was prepared over a number of years, going through some "initiations", but later lost faith in his putative mission, at least in part because his ailing brother died despite the assurances of the "Masters" that he would recover.


As is well known, Krishnamurti later disavowed his nomination, and the whole undertaking collapsed. (This affair also led to the departure of Steiner from the Theosophical Society -- wherein he had been the Secretary of the German Section -- and subsequently to the founding of the Anthroposophical Society.) Helena Roerich (and her husband, the painter Nicholas Roerich) came into the picture in the 1920's. Helena Roerich started receiving telepathic dictations from a "mahatma", and she began to write these inspirations in her multi-volume work Agni Yoga.


Then began a series of journeys, the most amazing of which (1925-28) was an expedition which, under the American flag, crossed India, Tibet, Mongolia, and the new Soviet Union. Incredibly, they traveled to Moscow -- with aid of the OGPU (later called the "KGB") -- to meet with high Bolshevik commissars, and to deliver a letter from the "mahatmas", along with some Tibetan soil for the grave of "our brother Mahatma Lenin". For the "mahatmas" were indeed cooperating with Anglo-American secret societies in promoting the "socialist experiment" in Russia.


Emissaries of the "mahatmas" had even met with Marx in London and with Lenin in Switzerland. Though the Anglo-Americans and Indo-Tibetans oppose each other in some ways (the Indo-Tibetans opposed British rule in India), they were united, for somewhat differing motives, in supporting the Bolshevist war against the Russian people and culture. For the destiny of the Slavic East is to create an humane, Christ-inspired society in the Sixth Cultural Epoch; both these occult groups wish to divert this destiny into other paths -- even by the destruction of human civilization, which would have been the result of Bolshevism, had it succeeded.


(Today, after the "fall of communism", Russia, and much of Eastern Europe, lie prostrate, both physically and morally. Russia is grievously wounded, but not yet dead; she might yet rise to her destiny, if "free market reforms" and other destructive Western influences don't kill her first.)


It even turns out that the Indo-Tibetans were behind the depredations of the "Mongol Hordes" of Genghis Khan and his successors, who devastated and enslaved almost all of Russia. -- And even today the supporters of "Agni Yoga" are active in Russia; Mikhail Gorbachev is among them. The hidden Tibetan "mahatmas'" headquarters visited by the Roerich expedition was the same as was visited by H. Blavatsky.


This is the "earthly Shamballa", whose high ruler, according to H. Roerich, is the "Maitreya". (In its true meaning "Shamballa" is an Eastern term for the soul-spirit world which was lost to ordinary human perception with the decline of atavistic clairvoyance. The "return of Shamballa" refers to the coming recovery of this perception with the new, higher clairvoyance.)

And it is this same "earthly Shamballa" and these same "mahatmas" who inspired Alice Bailey, and her organizations, the "Servants of the World" and the "Secret School" (Schola Arcana). Creme's group uses the same prayer, now called the "Transmission Meditation", given in Bailey's The Reappearance of Christ. And, of course, Bailey's "Christ" who will "reappear" is none other that this so-called "Maitreya".

The truth, as given by Steiner, about the real Maitreya is roughly this: There are twelve exalted beings, called "Bodhisattvas", who serve the Christ Spirit in the guidance of mankind. One of these Bodhisattvas was incarnated in the Sixth Century BC as Gautama, who rose to rank of "Buddha".


The excarnate Gautama Buddha closely cooperated with the mission of Christ-Jesus in Palestine, and later took on a mission of redemption on Mars. His successor was "appointed", so to speak, to take his place in the Lodge of Bodhisattvas, and this Bodhisattva is destined to become the Maitreya Buddha, "the Bringer of the Good", approximately two and a half millennia from now. Meanwhile, he repeatedly incarnates, at least partially, on earth, in the service of the Christ.


One of these incarnations (or "incorporations" -- not quite incarnations in the usual sense) was as Jeshu ben Pandira, the Essene teacher and martyr (circa 105 BC). Today this Maitreya-Bodhisattva works to proclaim and further the coming of the Ethereal Christ. When this Bodhisattva becomes the Maitreya Buddha the earth and the human organism will be constituted very differently than now: thinking, speaking, and doing will be morally consistent.

Thus it is evident that the so-called "Maitreya" presently "emerging" is not only a false Christ, but also a false Maitreya. The "mahatmas" of "Shamballa" have deep knowledge and far-reaching influence and abilities, but they are severely limited and falsified by their blindness, or opposition, to the Christ. Their occult vision extends only to this "solar system", and backwards only to the Old Moon.


They do not comprehend the Cosmic Christ, Who descended from the starry realms to the sun, and thence to the earth. They are basically Luciferic, with strong Ahrimanic tendencies. It is not clear (to this writer) exactly what role the pseudo-Maitreya will play in the incarnation of Ahriman: perhaps he will be the bodily vehicle for Ahriman; perhaps he will work in that uneasy, problematic of alliance that sometimes holds between Lucifer and Ahriman.


But this much is clear: if mankind accepts him as he presents himself to be, much evil will follow. Again: The consciousness of Men is essential. If the stated aims of the pseudo-Maitreya seem benign, remember that, not very long ago, many otherwise intelligent people believed Bolshevism to be the inauguration of a just civilization.


The "mahatmas" of "Shamballa" inspired Genghis Khan, Marx, and Lenin; they are not to be taken lightly.


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Epistemological Considerations

Now, some might say:

"Your occultist Steiner says one thing; these Indo-Tibetans say something else; still others say yet other things. What's to choose between them, or among them; it's all incomprehensible anyway."

Again, the aim in this short essay is not to prove things conclusively, but to get some important information to a wider public.


Those who absorb these concepts will at least be forewarned, so that they need not be caught wholly unprepared, and unaware, by onrushing events. It is hoped that those thus forewarned will not easily take at face value the phenomena surrounding the putative "Maitreya" or "Christ", and that they will not be wholly oblivious to the real, Ethereal Christ.


And further: it is hoped that people will take the information given here, and begin their own investigations, and even set out on the "Path of Knowledge". There is no need to be dismayed and defeated by the complexity and abstruseness of this subject-matter: truth does live in the human heart, and it speaks to us through a "sense of reality", if we truly will to listen to it.


Those who have a real, persistent will-for-the-truth will eventually find truth, even though most may stray temporally into byways. The Law is: "Seek, and ye shall find".

Many modern people, especially those trained in the sciences, regard such concepts as spiritual beings, spiritual worlds, divine Providence, etc., to be preposterous, impossible, or at least unknowable. The prevailing epistemology (usually unconsciously assumed) of scientific-technical culture holds that whatever "knowledge" we can gain, whether considered certain or hypothetical, we can gain only through the physical senses, mathematizing, and inductive reasoning.


But, as we are taught primarily by Steiner in modern times, we can find other approaches toward gaining experiential knowledge. Sense-bound, mechanistic-mathematical scientism is peculiar to a particular mode of human consciousness, which mode is prevalent in our time but is not the only kind of consciousness available to mankind. (We might regard the "psychedelic revolution" as a muddled attempt to open up these other kinds of consciousness.)


In ancient times mankind had a dream-like consciousness of "supersensible" realities. (This consciousness is often and somewhat confusedly called primitive animism).


In the course of evolution we lost this faculty in order to enter deeply into the sense-world, losing our experiential membership in the spiritual cosmos, thus to gain the possibility of individuality and freedom. We have now reached the evolutionary stage at which we are poised to regain this supersensible experience ("clairvoyance") at a higher level; that is, with the ability of independent, self-willed thinking.


And the practice of this consciously self-willed thinking, as opposed to the Ahrimanic thinking discussed above, is the gateway to true clairvoyance. For thinking itself, when consciously self-willed and freed from dependence on the subconscious human organism, is itself the first stage of clairvoyance -- a "waking-up" to a higher state of consciousness, which is just as experientially distinct as is ordinary waking day-consciousness from dream-consciousness. Still higher development of clairvoyance leads to experiences which can be metaphorically described as spiritual "seeing", "hearing", and "touching".


Steiner has given detailed instructions for the orderly, healthy development of these higher faculties of experience. To entertain another figure of speech, we might consider the developing of these faculties as the refining of the human organism itself into an instrument for scientific investigation -- just as the mineral substances of the earth can be refined and developed into, say, a telescope -- only, the human organism consists of body, life, soul and spirit, and its refining is to make us conscious of supersensible realities.


Rudolf Steiner accomplished this self-development to a higher degree than anyone else who has made himself publicly known in our times, and his teachings on "spiritual science" flow from his supersensible experience. (There are other, dubious -- or downright evil -- ways of gaining some kind of supersensible experience, but these can lead to delusion and/or moral and spiritual ruin.)

But this knowledge is not altogether closed to those who do not yet have this clairvoyance. Steiner time and again emphasized that those of us without spiritual vision can, because true thinking itself is a kind of living-into spirit realities, understand and justifiably believe true information given by the spiritual seer:

"It would be would wrong for anyone to say: `I cannot accept the teachings of spiritual science until I myself become a seer,' for without inward application to the results of spiritual research there is no chance whatever of attaining genuine higher knowledge. It would be as though child, during gestation, were to refuse the forces coming to it through its mother, and proposed to wait until it could procure them for itself.


Just as the embryonic child in its incipient feeling for life learns to appreciate what is offered to it, so can the non-seer appreciate the truths of spiritual science. An insight into these teachings based on a deeply-rooted feeling for truth, and a clear, sound, all-round critical and reasoning faculty are possible even before spiritual things are actually perceived. The esoteric knowledge must first be studied, so that this study becomes a preparation for clairvoyance."

[Knowledge of Higher Worlds; p.189 f.]



"For in thought itself an inner entity is present that is connected with the supersensible world."

[Occult Science; p.294]


", by really thinking, finds oneself in the region of a living supersensible world."

[Occult Science; p.295]



"...if we read communications about supersensible facts in the right way, we are living into the stream of spiritual existence."

[Occult Science; p.18]

"Certain powers are required to discover the things referred to, but if after having been discovered they are made known, every person can understand them who is willing to bring to them unprejudiced logic and a healthy sense of truth."

[Theosophy; p.xx]

"...all knowledge of the worlds of soul and spirit slumbers in the profoundest depths of the human soul. We can grasp, however, not only what we ourselves have brought to light, but also what someone else has brought up from the depths of soul. This is so even when we have ourselves not yet made any preparations for the treading of the Path of Knowledge.


Correct spiritual insight awakens the powers of comprehension in anyone whose inner nature is not beclouded by preconceptions and prejudices. Unconscious knowledge flashes up to meet the spiritual fact discovered by another, and this `flashing up' is not blind faith but the right working of healthy human understanding."

[Theosophy; p.156]

"The thoughts [presented by the seer] are, indeed, already present when one [the non-clairvoyant reader] surrenders to them; but one cannot think them if one does not, in every case, recreate them anew within the soul. What is important is the fact that the spiritual researcher calls up thoughts in listeners and readers that they must first draw forth out of themselves...."

[Occult Science; p.296]

We can find our way toward the truth about soul and spirit through our healthy human feeling for reality:

"The feeling for truth and the power of understanding it are inherent in everyone....This feeling, which perhaps at first perceives nothing at all of what it is told [about higher worlds], is itself the magician that opens the `eye of the spirit'. In darkness this feeling stirs, the soul sees nothing, but through this feeling it is seized by the power of truth. The truth then gradually draws nearer to the soul and opens the higher sense in it."

[Theosophy; p.xviii-xix]

Of course, we must learn what is so hard for most of us: to distinguish between a healthy feeling for truth and the feeling of satisfaction of our egotistic prejudices. The key here is unsparing self-examination and a sincere preference for objective reality over our short-sighted, selfish interests and subconscious impulses.


We must have a firm grasp of the fact that the truth is still true regardless of our ignorance or resistance, and have an energetic Will-to-Reality. Again, the Law is: "Seek, and ye shall find." If we really love the objective truth above all else, we will come to feel healthy and happy in the presence of truth, and to feel sick and pained in the presence of falsehood.


These pure feelings, and pure, objective thinking are our touchstones of reality and of guidance, and, if fostered, will eventually develop into personal, firsthand, higher cognition -- perhaps not in the present incarnation, but the Will-to-Reality is itself an indestructible reality which carries into future lives and into eternity. -- Of course, treading the "Path of Knowledge" does not immediately confer infallibility. In occultism the possibilities for illusion and deception are vast. One might yet stray into error; however, the essential thing is the seeker's purity of striving for truth.


In Steiner's words:

"...the truth is what leads to the highest and noblest impulses for human evolution; the truth should be dearer to us than we are to ourselves. If our relationship to truth is guided by these words and we still make a mistake in this life, the truth will be strong enough to draw us to itself in the next incarnation. Honest mistakes we make in this incarnation will be compensated and redeemed in the next. It is better to make an honest mistake than to adhere to dogmas dishonestly. After all, our path will be lit by the promise that truth will ultimately prevail, not by our own will, but by its own inherent divine power."

[Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity; pp. 88-9]



(Note: One of the questions which occasion much illusion and confusion is that of reincarnation. Even many of those who readily accept the reality of the supersensible worlds can easily fall into error here, if they do not appreciate the complexities and possibilities for illusion. According to Steiner, not only does the individual human spirit undergo reincarnation on earth, but so also might, in a way, the ethereal bodies, astral bodies (i.e. the soul-organisms), and even "copies" of the individual Ego.


All these latter are not at all necessarily unique and individualized; they might be shared by many incarnated individual Men. [See the lectures published in English as The Principle of Spiritual Economy.] It is possible that one with insufficiently developed clairvoyance might misperceive these other kinds of reappearance of supersensible entities, taking them to be the true reincarnation of human individualities.


To see how and why, we need some understanding of the stages of higher knowledge metaphorically called "spiritual seeing, hearing, and touching". Steiner calls these stages (in his special, restricted meanings) "Imagination", "Inspiration", and "Intuition".

"To have knowledge of a sense-being means to stand outside it and to judge it according to the external impression. To have knowledge of a spiritual being through intuition means to have become completely one with it, to have become united with its inner nature.


Step by step the student of the spiritual ascends to such knowledge. Imagination leads him to sense the perceptions no longer as outer characteristics of beings, but to recognize in them the outpouring of something psycho-spiritual; inspiration leads him further into the inner nature of beings. He learns through it to understand what these beings are to each other; with intuition he penetrates into the beings themselves."

[Occult Science, p. 310]

And further:

"What is released after death from the human bodily nature goes through various states in the subsequent period. The states directly after death might be described in some measure through imaginative cognition. What, however, takes place when man advances further into the period between death and rebirth would have to remain quite unintelligible to imaginative cognition, if inspiration did not come to the rescue.


Only inspiration is able to discover what may be said about the life of man in the land of spirits after purification....Whoever wished to fathom the nature of man by imagination and inspiration alone, would miss the innermost processes of his being that take place from incarnation to incarnation. Only intuitive cognition, therefore, makes possible an adequate research into repeated earth lives and into karma."

[Occult Science, pp. 310-1]

In general, those of us who have not attained to "intuitive cognition" should use great caution in forming judgments on our own about the identities of particular individuals in cases of reincarnation. We might be misled by an incomplete perception of the reappearance of unindividualized parts of the human entity.


To judge these as being "reincarnation" might be partially true, in that some supersensible human "energies" are indeed reappearing in the physical world, but such judgments could be seriously misleading if one were to read uncritically from them deep meanings concerning an individual's destiny through repeated earthly incarnations.)

We might first set foot on the Path of Knowledge as skeptics, but if we are true, consistent skeptics, we must admit that we cannot claim to know of the impossibility of higher knowledge. This realization should make us unprejudiced and open-minded about that possibility. With this attitude, and with a Will-to-Reality, we then can assimilate the concepts of higher knowledge (without "blind faith"), and their truth will call forth inchoate recognition in our souls, because the truth is already in our souls.


We might find that this "knowledge" is much more alive and paradoxical than we conceived it to be in our skepticism. Says Steiner:

"When you look at reality you do not arrive at concepts which can be fitted into systems, for one thing is always at the same time and in a certain way the other thing."

[Ideas for a New Europe ]

Even our skepticism can carry truth, if we are imbued with a sincere desire for reality. Steiner again:

"And our high goal is this: that we may know more exactly how much we still need to know. Then we shall be more and more permeated with the truth of the old Socratic saying:

'The more a man learns, the more he knows how little he knows.'

But this conviction is good only when it is not a confession of passive, easy-going resignation, but testifies to living effort and will towards an ever-extending knowledge....The right result is to be more and more inspired to further striving: to regard every new thing learnt as a step towards the attainment of yet higher stages."

[From Jesus to Christ]

We can, further, work upon ourselves, through the proper training, to begin to develop our own higher perception.

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