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Rudolf Steiner: Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy - 10 lecturesMan in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy
and Philosophy

10 lectures by Rudolf Steiner

In these lectures, given in Christiania (Oslo), Norway in 1912, Rudolf Steiner traverses a wide range of subject matter yet he does so following a consistent theme. He traces the broad historical development of human consciousness through progressive changes which have occurred over millennia and which have given rise to the period of cultural religions, the age of philosophy (which continues), and the development of spiritual knowledge or theosophy which is now just budding.

The primary source and foundation of all of these is occultism, by which is meant the direct conscious experience of the divine or spiritual realms from which human and all life derives. Occult knowledge and power has always been restricted to a few, the initiates, who through their own merit and under the auspices of the guiding higher Powers are able to use it benevolently and in service of the World process. Because humanity at large is driven by egocentric motives, this knowledge had to be held back from them until a level of maturity could develop which would ensure intelligent and moral use of it.

Yet without some experience of the divine, the human soul, and with it all human joy, would wither. To ensure that life and society could continue to grow and develop, the initiates conveyed their revelations and the inherent guiding wisdom to their communities through the founding of  cultural religions. Through these and their various cults, rituals, practices and beliefs, humanity could still experience the divine through Imaginations which could then still be experienced. These religions were the theosophy of these earlier cultures.

Later, as human consciousness became more sense-bound and individualised, conceptualization began and the earlier Imaginative consciousness paled into our ordinary sense of fantasy or daydream, no longer to be relied on as a source of inspiration. With this came alienation and the individualised questioning outlook of the Greek philosopher, seeking, like the religious impulses before it and the occultist’s upward gaze, the source of its own being and raison d'être.

Steiner also describes how religion, in the modern time has become guarded over by theology which has proscribed two paths from adherents of the faith: theosophy and mysticism. In religions of faith, God or the spiritual must remain outside personal experience and is only related to through faith in this ‘wholly other’. 

He then examines different kinds of mystical experience as exemplified in historical personalities such as Meister Eckhart, St Francis of Assisi, St Theresa and Mechthild of Magdeburg.

In contrast to the mystical path, Steiner then describes one involving contemplation of the human form in a manner wholly different than we are accustomed to, one which is a ‘theosophy’ of the human form. He examines the threefold human form in relation to the underlying dynamics of the zodiac so that we can see how the human being is a threefolded extract of cosmos. The body is first seen as a twelvefold organism in relation to the 12 signs of the zodiac. It is then re-examined as 3 sevenfold organisms which comprise the head man (Sagittarius to Gemini), rhythmic middle man (Gemini to Sagittarius) and the digestive and lower limb man (Virgo to Pisces). Each of the 12 zodiac signs and corresponding bodily forms and characteristics is described.

Having related the 12 zodiacal signs to the human form, Steiner then relates 7 types of human movement to the 7 planets. This he describes as the next phase of occult development following the experience of the threefold human form.

In the later lectures of this series, Steiner describes the different states of consciousness that the occultist comes to know and special role played by the Christ Being in securing the human ‘I’ in these higher states, the historical development of Buddha and his current activities, the influences of Lucifer and Ahriman, and also those of Jehovah and Judaism.

Something not dealt with much in other lectures, is the pre-history of the Christ and Lucifer in Old Moon and Old Sun evolutions and their activities in these earlier Worlds.

10 lectures, Christiania (Oslo), Norway, June 1912, GA137
Garber Communications
214pp; hardback
ISBN: 0 89345 257 2



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