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Michaelmas and the Soul-Forces of Man - Rudolf SteinerMichaelmas and the Soul-Forces of Man
4 lectures by Rudolf Steiner

Reflections on the Michael Thought in its True Aspect―the Regeneration of the Michael Festival.

At Michaelmas, 1923 for the last time in his earthly life Rudolf Steiner was able to celebrate fully a Michaelmas festival, and this he did in Vienna, the capital city of his own homeland, where he had spent so many fruitful years in his youth. Much of Germany, including Berlin, was cut off from him in that year of uncontrolled inflation, but here in Vienna he could feel himself truly at home, as he re-founded the Anthroposophical Society in Austria and gave these wonderful lectures on the human Gemüt [mind or soul].

In his Christmas letter to the members that forms part of the Michael Mystery, Rudolf Steiner in 1924 emphasized in a single marvellously compressed paragraph the task of man especially in the middle, period of the age of the consciousness soul in which we are now living:

"In its essential nature the Spiritual Soul (Consciousness Soul) is not cold. It seems to be so only at the commencement of its unfolding, because at that stage it can only reveal the light element in its nature, and not as yet the cosmic warmth in which it has indeed its origin."

This cosmic warmth must now be breathed out by men into their observing of the external world. Not only must we understand the world objectively after the manner of the scientist, but we must enter into this understanding with our life of feeling, and thus wrest the world from Ahriman's clutches, filling it with the Christ forces working from within ourselves. In this short cycle, as also in the two public lectures (Supersensible Knowledge as a Demand of the Age, and Anthroposophy and the Ethical-Religious Conduct of Life) Steiner describes just how it is possible to enter into the external world with love, endowing it with soul-warmth, in the process learning also to celebrate a new kind of autumn festival in which Michael can truly participate. As soon as he returned to Domach from Vienna, Steiner gave the five Archangel lectures (The Four Seasons and the Archangels), to which these four are a soul-warming introduction that he could perhaps never have given elsewhere than in the gemütlich city of Vienna.
                                                                         Stewart C. Easton―from the Introduction

Synopses of the lectures:

September 27 — How shall man, the earth citizen, once more become a citizen of the cosmos? The expansion of life's horizon into cosmic reaches. Philosophic aspects and impulses determining the human being in the picture of Michael's Conflict with the Dragon.

September 28 — Present-day man as a world hermit. The way back to spirit through the Michael force. Enchantment and liberation of the elemental beings. Man's responsibility to the cosmos. What is demanded of us is a profound faith in the spirit that will make us into instruments of the divine-spiritual forces. Experiencing spirit through pure thought leads to inspiration.

September 30 — Prerequisites of the inauguration of an autumn festival: penetrating extra-terrestrial, cosmic contexts; experiencing the course of the seasons. The Druidic and the Mithras Mysteries; the sun circles and cromlechs. Observation of the sun yielded knowledge of the connection between heaven and earth. The language of the heavens was deciphered and the cult gave directions regulating practical and social life, thereby becoming a sort of divine service — the image of the Bull in the Mithras cult, and the schooling of the neophyte's capacity for sensitive perception: the heart as a sense organ was raised to a certain degree of consciousness. Through the heart organization the course of nature was perceived within man, and through the heart science the spirit of the sun's annual passage through the zodiac was studied. In this way men read in the heavens what was to be done on earth — Concerning the cosmic-historical evolution of the planetary system.

October 1 — We need realistic thinking in place of mere methods of calculation. The far-reaching social significance of a Michael Festival. Earth spirit and human spirit. The cosmic breathing process. Nature-consciousness, self-consciousness, and spirit-consciousness.

Anthroposophic Press
4 lectures, Vienna, Sept. 27–Oct. 1, 1923 (GA 223)
69pp; paperback
ISBN: 0-88010-007-9


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