Spiritual Scientific Notes on Goethe's Faust, Vol. II
8. Spiritual Science Considered with the Classical Walpurgis-Night
28 September 1918, Dornach
What yesterday I particularly wanted to make clear in connection with Goethe's is “Faust” was that more goes to the making of man's being than can be known or fathomed either by the understanding or by other forces of the human soul. Goethe himself felt deeply that the spiritual forces,that can be developed today in man's conscious life, cannot go so far as man by nature reaches. Those who believe that what is today called science needs only to be extended in order to know, to a certain measure, the possible and the impossible, simply say: It is true that, with what science offers today, one gains only a very limited knowledge of man. But this science will be widened, it will press on over further and further, and then we shall come increasingly near to the knowledge of man.
This is a very short-sighted outlook and is untrue. Knowledge of man does not depend upon whether the scientific outlook accepted today extends more and more widely, but to our having recourse to forces and faculties for knowledge different from any of those applied by modern science. However far modern science may advance on its own lines, what Goethe felt to be unknowable within the being of man can, in no case, ever be penetrated by it.
All science, my dear friends, all officially accepted science that deals with the spiritual, in reality relates only to earthly being — what has being on the earth-planet. What is called science today can never pronounce judgment on anything beyond the processes of the earth-planet. But man is not earthly man alone. As earth-man he has behind him the evolutions of Saturn, Sun and Moon, and within him is the germinal basis of the Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan evolutions. Science can know nothing of the different planetary life-forms beyond the earthly; for the laws of science apply only to what is earthly. Man in his entirety, therefore, cannot be known by these laws; he can only be know if knowledge, be extended beyond what is earthly.
Now yesterday I pointed out how man exists in states of consciousness lying, as it were, both below and above the threshold of ordinary consciousness. Below the threshold of ordinary consciousness lies much from the regions of which dream experiences spring. But beneath this threshold of consciousness there also lies a very great deal of what a men experiences in waking, life, between waking and falling asleep. For even a little reflection will show you that men would know far more about their dreams if they exerted themselves to know a little more about waking. If they would make an effort to know something about being awake, they would find that, during this waking time, they do a great more dreaming then they suppose. The fixed and solid boundary between waking and sleeping is really only apparent. We might say that not only do men dream during their waking hours, they sleep too — sleep as regards a very great many things. As we all know, we are in a genuinely waking condition only as regards our ideas and part of our feelings, while the greater part of our life of feeling, and above all of our life of will, is wrapped in dreams and sleep. Sleep-life projects itself into waking life. We could be far clearer about dream-life, if we tried to perceive the distinction between those ideas that surge to and fro, evoking all kinds of images as they come and go, ideas that might easily be mistaken for dreams, and those other ideas, in which man is active with his whole will. Only in a small part of the whole world of human ideas does a man find that he uses his will to connect one idea with another; whereas, in his waking life, very often there are moments when he abandons himself to the flow and the caprice of his ideas. Consider how, when you give yourself up in this way to the flow of your ideas, one idea calls up another, how you recall things long forgotten. You begin with an idea which has to do with the present, and this evokes long-forgotten experiences. That is a process often not very distinct from dreaming. Because men have so little inner, technical thinking power, with which rightly to follow their daily waking life, few are able to set the right value on sleep-life and the dream-life arising from it. Nevertheless, my dear friends, we know there are scientifically conceived theories about dreams that maintain something like the following. Freud's school and others, mostly, though not all disciples of the psycho-analysts, say of dreams that they are images evoked in man by certain wishes in his life not having been fulfilled. A man goes throughout life wishing all kinds of things, but — say these people — it is undeniable that many of our wishes are not fulfilled. Then, when consciousness is dimmed, these wishes appear before the soul, and because they cannot be fulfilled in reality, they are fulfilled in idea. So that in the opinion of many people today dreams are wishes fulfilled in phantasy. I should like the people who maintain this just to consider how they manage to dream they have been beheaded. All such things, so often today forming the content of theories, are terribly one-sided. And men's heads are bound to be full of this one-sidedness unless they turn to the investigations of Spiritual Science — investigations into worlds unknown both to the external world of the senses and to external intellectual thinking, and yielding conclusions beyond the grasp of human senses or human intellect.
From what was said yesterday, however, you can gather one thing concerning dreams with the utmost surety, namely, that in them something is living and weaving which is connected with our human past, with the past when we had an existence still associated with earth-fire and water-air. While unconscious in sleep, to a certain extent we call back our past. Today with our brain consciousness and our ordinary free-will, we are not in the position consciously to transport ourselves into that world. While passing through the earlier stages of our evolution we were indeed unconscious or subconscious. Yet relatively it is not particularly difficult to have this experience. If you follow up your dream life, you will certainly find it extraordinarily difficult to give a clear interpretation of your dream pictures. The way they follow one after another is generally completely chaotic. But this chaotic character is only superficial; below the surface man is living in an element that is by no means chaotic, it is merely different, totally different, from the experiences of waking life. We shall immediately see the profound difference if we are clear in just one case as to how far dream-life differs from waking life. It would be very unpleasant if our relations with other people were the same in waking life as they are in dreams. For in dreams we are aware of a bond uniting us with almost all those karmically connected with us; we experience a link with all the human beings with whom we have any karmic connection. From the moment you begin to fall asleep till you wake, a force goes forth from you to innumerable people, and from innumerable people forces come to you. I cannot say that you speak, for speaking is only learnt in waking day life, but if you will not misunderstand me, if you will apply what I am going to say to the communications we have in sleep, then you will know what I mean by saying: In sleep you speak to innumerable people and they speak to you. And what you experience in your soul during your sleep is imparted to you by innumerable people; and what you do during your sleep is to send thoughts to innumerable people. The union between men in sleep is very intimate. It would be highly distressing if this were continued into waking life. You see, it is the beneficent act of the Guardian of the Threshold that he hides from man what is beneath the level of human consciousness. In sleep, as a rule, you know if anyone is lying, you know as a rule if anyone has evil thoughts about you. On the whole, men know one another in sleep comparatively well, but with dimmed consciousness. That is all covered up in waking consciousness, and it must be so, for the simple reason that man would never attain the ego-conscious thinking he is to learn during his earth-mission, nor be able to manage the free will he is to acquire, if he were to continue to live as he lived during the periods of Saturn, Sun, and especially the Moon period. Then, in his external life, he lived as he now lives from falling asleep to waking.
But now we come to something else significant. Out of the unconscious life between falling asleep and waking, dreams emerge. Why then are they not a true picture of life below the threshold of consciousness? Ah! were these dreams direct and true reflections, they would be every possible thing. In the first place they would impart significant knowledge concerning our relation to the world and to men; they would also be stern monitors. They would speak dreadfully severely to our conscience about the various things in life about which we are so willing to give ourselves up to illusion. I might almost say that we are protected from the effect these dreams might have upon us if they were true reflections of life below the threshold of consciousness — we are protected by our waking life permeating us with forces so strongly that a shadow is cast over the whole life of dreams. Thus, we carry the ideas, the images, of waking life into our dream-life, into the life of sleep, and through this dreams arise. Suppose, for instance, you were to dream of some personality who took it upon himself to impress upon you that you had done something really tactless — unfitting. That happens sometimes. Others, too, might admonish us during sleep, and might speak to our conscience. The experiences and customs of waking life have given you the wish — I might even say the strong desire — not to listen to this; during sleep you don't want to hear anything this person says to you. Well then, the wish is transformed into a darkening of experience. But if at the same time, there is such intense activity of the soul that the picture surges up, then something else from waking life is superimposed upon what you were to have experienced as a picture, something said by a kind friend to whom you would rather listen than to the admonisher — What a splendid fellow you are, always ready to will and do what is best and most pleasant! — Sometimes, from waking life and its reminiscences, the very opposite can be hung over what is being experienced. Actually, waking life is the cause of all the illusions and deceptions arising during the life of dreams.
Furthermore it is possible for a man today, in the present cycle of evolution, to come to a knowledge of Spiritual Science. There are, I know, many who do so and say: I have been studying Spiritual Science for many years, and yet am no whit advanced. I am told that I can achieve this or that through Spiritual Science, but it does not help me forward. — I have often emphasized that this thought is not the right one. Spiritual Science brings progress to everyone, even when it does not develop an esoteric life. The thoughts of Spiritual Science on themselves bring progress. But we must be careful about subjective experiences that take place really in the soul, for it is strange that what springs up as new, in the path of anyone beginning to study Spiritual Science, in its picture character is, at first, no different from the world of dreams. What we experience, my dear friends, when we become anthroposophists, appears to differ very little from the world of dreams. But a more subtle differentiation shows a most important distinction between ordinary dreams and those perceptions that flow through spiritual life, when consciously admitted into thought.
Much that is chaotic may also appear in the dream-pictures experienced in the soul of a spiritual scientist. But if these pictures are analysed according to the guidance Spiritual Science can give, they will be found to become, especially as they progress ever truer reflections of man's inner experience. And we must pay heed to this layer of experience, hidden as it is from ordinary understanding and from the ordinary life of the senses. This experience runs its course like a meditation, a meditative dream, yet is full of meaning and, rightly regarded, throws much light on spiritual secrets. We must mark how it gradually creeps into the life of ordinary ideas — this layer of life that closely resembles dreams, but that can lead us into the spiritual world. But we must not merely look at its single pictures, we must look at the meaningful course these pictures take. If we pay attention to such things, we come to the differentiation of the three layers of consciousness which I showed you yesterday. Goethe divined it in a beautiful way. One of these layers of consciousness appears, without any help of ours, when we dream in the ordinary way; if we are not interpreters of dreams, if we are not superstitious but try honestly to find what lies behind the dream-pictures, then this dream-world will be able to reveal that, before these earth-lives, as men we passed through earlier stages of evolution.
And then we have the ordinary waking day consciousness we know, or at least think we know. We know the fact of its existence, we do not always venture to explain it fully but we know it exists.
The third layer is where supersensible knowledge enters in. For the reasons already mentioned, supersensible knowledge is of course something for which man has to strive, both now and into the future.
I pointed out to you yesterday how, in the first half of the scene in the scene in the second part of Faust, which we are now to consider, Goethe embodies the characteristic features of dream-life. And the moment the Oread begins to speak to Mephistopheles, and the philosophers appear, we have to do with the world of ordinary daytime reality. The moment the Dryads point out the Phorkyads to Mephistopheles, we are dealing with a reference to conscious supersensible knowledge. Goethe is directing his thoughts and ideas to the three layers of consciousness when he asks himself the question: How will Homunculus, to whom human knowledge is accessible, become a Homo? — Not through the ordinary knowledge of the understanding of the senses, but only by having recourse to other layers of consciousness. For man in his being is wider than the earth, and intelligence and the senses are adapted only to earthly things. But we explained yesterday how the equilibrium of the Sphinx fails when man plunges into the world of antiquity, how man really feels insecure in it, how Homunculus feels himself insecure. For man knows little more about himself — forgive me but this is true — he knows little more about himself than he does about a Homunculus; and about a Homo he knows nothing. And Homunculus, as Goethe pictures him, does not enter into all the whirl of the Sirens, the Seismos, and so on, because he is afraid of the stormy, surging element into which man dives when he forsakes the world of the senses to enter the world from which dreams arise. Homunculus does not dare to enter there, but wants to find an easier way to become Homo. He is on the track of two philosophers, Anaxagoras and Thales, from whom he hopes to learn how it is possible to put more into his human nature that can't be given him in a laboratoryby a Wagner. This is what he wants. We already know that Goethe had little hope of what could be experienced through the new philosophers, and had no wish at all to test people's patience by, perhaps, taking Homunculus to Königsberg to get information from Kant on how to become a complete human being, how to widen human nature. But Goethe sought to live himself into the world of the Greeks, believing that by so living in their more pliable and flexible ideas, he could grasp human life out of another layer of consciousness better than through what the more recent philosophers could produce out of understanding and the consciousness of the senses. Thus, he does not introduce Homunculus into the society of Kant, or of Leibnitz, Hume or Locke, but brings him into the company of those philosophers who came nearer the older outlook, the outlook of the ancient Mysteries, where something of man's nature could be known, if not with such clearly experienced consciousness as today, yet with a more all-embracing consciousness. But, at heart, Anaxagoras and Thales our only imitators of the old Mystery wisdom. Everything said by Anaxagoras in this scene, however, goes to show that it is he who has the more knowledge of ancient Mystery wisdom. Thales is really the inaugurator, the initiator, the beginner, of the new tendency in science, and knows but little of the old secrets. Naturally he knows more than his later philistine followers because he lived nearer the time of the ancient Mysteries, but he knows less than Anaxagoras. From what he says we can gather that Thales can only give information about what occurs in the world of the senses around him, how mountain ranges and such physical features were formed by slow and gradual processes. You might think it was Lyell, the modern geologist, speaking. Anaxagoras would explain the present out of the past, explain the earthly from what went before, when earth was not yet earth. He wants to find his explanation in those times to which, in their nature, the ants, the comets, and also the Pigmies belonged. I referred to this yesterday. Anaxagoras lives entirely in that world which today is a supersensible, or if you like, subsensible world, without knowledge of which, however, we cannot understand what has to do with the senses. Anaxagoras here reflects one of Goethe's deep convictions. For Goethe has put this point beautifully into one of his aphorisms, where he says: “What no longer arises, we cannot think of as arising. What has already arisen, we cannot understand”. And in another place: “Reason as applied to what is becoming, understanding to what has become”.
What Thales sees around him is what has become. Anaxagoras enters into all that has gone before the becoming — the actual arising. Hence Goethe distinguishes strictly between understanding that is directed to what is nowadays regarded as the object of science, and reason that extends beyond the obvious and intellectual, to the supersensible, even the supersensible that held sway before the existing conditions of the earth. In Anaxagoras, Goethe sees the representative of a knowledge, a science, that devotes itself to what is still coming into being, and is at home and all that is done by Pigmies, that is to say, at home in all that such beings do that certainly today develop a physical existence, but like the emmets, for example, really belonged by nature to a previous age.
So when Anaxagoras meets with Homunculus' request, he would like to give him the opportunity to enrich human nature through his own (Anaxagoras') knowledge; he wants to take Homunculus into the world of the Pigmies, the emmets, and so forth, and even wants to make him king there. It is already clear to Anaxagoras that the world of which Thales speaks, the world of present conditions, cannot be much help in changing Homunculus into Homo. Could entrance be made into the world of becoming, however, into the world preceding ours, something might be achieved towards that end. But Homunculus is undecided: “What says my Thales?” He still thinks he will not venture into that world. When he encountered it as a dream-world, he dared not enter it, and now it confronts him as the thought of Anaxagoras he still does not summon up sufficient courage, or at least he would first have Thales' advice. And Thales deters him from plunging into the world of Anaxagoras' thought. What kind of world is this? Fundamentally, it is the world of the ancient Mysteries, but flattened, levelled down, for human understanding. It is the shadow form of the concepts of the ancient Mysteries. That is why they cannot hold their own against the world. If we have real, living concepts of becoming, we can arrive at an understanding of this world — grow into it. But Anaxagoras' shadow concepts are no match for Thales' objections, for these come from the present sense-world. And just as fleeting dreams, that are reflections of higher spiritual worlds, fade away from man when a cock crows or a door slams, so everything in the thought-world of Anaxagoras fades when it meets other thoughts drawn from the present world of the senses. Thales has only to draw attention to the presence of the sense-world, and he does this very forcibly. As the present world kills the preceding world that arises before us in dreams, so do the cranes strike dead the Pigmies and the emmets. This is merely an image. Anaxagoras first turns to the world that re-appears in the vague experience of dreams. When he is obliged to realise that this world will be of no advantage to Homunculus, he then turns to the higher world. To begin with, in wonderful words, he invokes among heavenly phenomena, all that has remained of a previous period of he earth — he invokes the Moon. After he has widened his thoughts and ideas concerning what is left over from the Moon period — emmets, pigmies, creatures of a lower kind, and all this has proved useless to Homunculus, he looks upward to where the Moon has still remained from the old Moon period.
Think how clearly in this scene Goethe actually points to all these secrets lying at the basis of earthly evolution. He even makes Anaxagoras address an invocation to the Moon, out of the ancient Mystery-wisdom. It is a wonderful passage in which Anaxagoras turns toward the Moon. It shows most distinctly how, in Anaxagoras, Goethe was wishing to portray a personality standing within the spiritual world but only with his understanding, the understanding that only studying the present can never reach the spiritual at all, but, in Anaxagoras, still preserves the spiritual out of the old Mysteries. Anaxagoras says:
“The powers subterene erstwhile adoring,
This crisis in, I turn above, imploring,
O Thou, that agest not eternally,
Three-named, three-formed, enthroned supernally,
Thee in my people's woe I call on Thee!
Diana, Luna, Hecate!
Thou bosom-lightener [or bosom-widener], deeply pensive one!
Thou tranquil brightener, mighty intensive one!
Open thy shadows' awful gulf alone!
Thine ancient might without a spell make known.”
But he has still only shadows; instead of achieving anything for Homunculus, he perceives how from the Moon desolation falls upon the earth, and how all the life still left there is destroyed by a phenomenon of the elements. As being characteristic of Anaxagoras it is significant that he addresses the Moon, this remnant of a previous period of the earth, as “Luna, Diana, Hecate ...”
For Anaxagoras, therefore, the Moon is not a unity but a trinity. In so far as it fulfils its course above in the heavens, it is Luna. In so far as it is active in the earth itself, it is Diana. The forces working cosmically through the Moon as it circles the heavens, have — one might say — for brothers and sisters the earthly forces; the Moon is not only present cosmically, it exists also in an earthly way. The same forces that are cosmically associated with the circling Moon in the heavens, also live and weave through what is earthly, and belong to significant subconscious forces in man. They work in man's nature and belong to forces in him that are subconscious but important. What works within the earth through man having a certain relation to Nature out of his subconscious, that never comes to complete consciousness, was called by the Greeks Diana. Diana is generally said to be the goddess of the chase. Certainly she is that too, because this subconscious holds sway in the pleasures of the chase; it does so, however, in countless other human feelings and will-impulses. Diana is not only goddess of the chase, she is the working, creating goddess of all half unconscious, half subconscious striving, such as is gratified in hunting. Man does much of this kind in life, and this is one of the ways.
Then there dwells in man, but also especially in the earth, a third figure, the figure of Hecate, the sub-earthly state of the Moon. It is from within the earth, from what is sub-earthly in it, that those forces work upwards, which — so far as the Moon is a heavenly body, work in her from above downwards. All that the man of today knows of this Moon is the abstract mineral ball he believes to revolve out there, round the earth in four weeks. The Greeks knew a threefold Moon — Luna, Diana, Hecate. And being a microcosm is an image of every trinity, and image of Luna, Diana, Hecate, as the threefold Moon. And we have learnt to know the threefold man. We know the man of the head; this man of the head, since he is the product of the periods of Saturn, Sun, and Moon, the product of all previous ages, can be brought into relation with the heavenly survival, with Luna. So that the head in man would, as a microcosm, correspond to the macrocosm Luna. The man of the centre, the breast, would correspond to Diana; it is in the heart that those subconscious impulses arise of which Diana is the goddess. And all that plays out of the extremity-man and is continued into the sex-man, all the dark, purely organic, bodily feelings and impulses, prevailing in the human being, come from the sub-earthly power of Hecate. And Goethe lets all this sound forth, making it all quite clear for those who wish to hear. To the realm of Hecate belongs, for instance, Empusa who appears in this scene among the Lamiae around Mephistopheles. The Lamiae express rather what belongs to Diana, whereas, in Empusa, all that belongs to the sub-earthly is working, all that dwells microcosmically in the lower nature of man, and is to be awakened in Mephistopheles. This is what Goethe makes ring out for us.
Anaxagoras wishes to show his science to better advantage than he did when alluding to the earthly, to earthly survivals, to the emmets, his myrmidons as he calls them. He turns to the threefold Moon that as macrocosm is the same as man as microcosm. And we ask: Had Goethe a presentiment that, in the threefold Moon, the head-man, chest-man, and limb-man were microcosmically present? Well, my dear friends, read the following lines:
“Thou bosom-widener, (Diana)
Profoundly pensive one, (Luna)
Thou tranquil brightener, mighty, intensive one!” (Hecate)
Here you have, fully expressed by Goethe and made obvious by his description of the middle one as “breast-widener”, the three qualities of Luna, Diana, and Hecate, in so far as these three also apply to threefold man.
You see, my dear friends, there are good grounds for maintaining that Goethe's foreseeing knowledge penetrated deeply in the truths on Spiritual Science. What, however, is written in a work like Goethe's Faust has to be taken in its true character. It when you consider Goethe's characteristic attitude with its foreseeing perception of the truths of Spiritual Science, that you can understand how in a certain sense he repeatedly felt the spiritual, the supersensible — but never the less as something uncanny. As I said yesterday, he lived within his northern world, and felt in sympathy with what this environment offered him in the way on ideas and concepts. However great a genius a man may be, he con only have the same concepts as his fellows; he can combine them differently but he cannot have different concepts. The two layers of consciousness, the subconscious and the superconscious, cannot be approached in this way. The ordinary philistine, my dear friends, can make nothing of all this, and is glad if he is not obliged to deal with the other layers of consciousness. But Goethe, who strove with every fibre of his soul, to penetrate the being of man, often felt it a grievous human limitation that he should have no ideas, no concepts, with which he could see into the would whence man arises, into which, however, no one can look with his understanding or his ordinary knowledge. And then, from all he had felt through his natural ability, or that he had experienced in other ways, and through what he had particularly noticed in Grecian art in Italy, there arose in Goethe the thought that, were man to steep himself in the ideas and life of Greece, he would come nearer to the supersensible than with modern ideas. This was so deeply rooted in Goethe that, from the year 1780 onwards he continually strove to make his ideas as supple as were those of the Greeks. He hoped in this way to reach the supersensible world. But what arose out of this? There arose his strenuous endeavour to come to knowledge of the supersensible world not from the outlook of Greek life, but by gaining ideas through which he would be able to grasp the supersensible world in the life of soul. It is interesting how, while he was writing this scene, Goethe was steeping himself in everything possible to bring Greek life vividly before his soul. Today we are no nearer to Greek life than men were in Goethe's days. And yet such a work as Schlosser's Universal Survey of the History of the Ancient World and its Culture, published in 1826, and immediately read by Goethe among many other works transplanting him into the life of Greece, enabled him, by his sympathetic attitude towards Greek life, to bring it vividly before his soul. But what idea had he in all this? Just think! he writes: We are called upon to look back on what is most universal, but utterly past, in ancient history — what cannot be brought back; and from there to let the different peoples gradually surge up beneath out gaze.
In the last twenty years of the eighteenth century during which these scenes of Faust were being created, Goethe occupied himself intensively with studies that should bring vividly before his spirit the far distant past and show him how it flows into the present. Goethe is not one of those who make poems by a turn of the hand; he plunges deeply into the world leading to the supersensible, so that as a poet he can give tidings of it. And his belief in the Greek world changed to a certain extent his way of representation. Because in his very soul he sought Greek life, the concept of truth, the concept of good, drew near the concept of beauty. And the concept of evil approached the concept of ugliness. That is difficult for present-day man to understand. In Greek thought it was different. Cosmos is a word meaning beautiful world-order, as well as true world-order. Today men no longer think, as did the Greeks, that beauty is so closely allied to truth, and ugliness to evil. For the Greeks, beauty melted into truth, ugliness into error and evil. Through his attitude to the Greek world Goethe acquired the feeling that anyone organised like the Greeks, who stood in such close relation to the supersensible world, would experience the untrue and evil as ugly, and would turn away from this because of his experience of beauty, while he would feel truth to be beautiful. This feeling was developed by Goethe. And he believed he might perhaps draw nearer the supersensible by saturating himself with feeling for the beauty of the world. But just as one can only know light by its shadow, one must also be saturated with feeling for the ugliness of the world. And that too Goethe sought.
For this reason he sets Mephistopheles, who is of course only another side of Faust's life, among the prototypes of gliness, the Phorkyads, who are in very truth the prototypes of what is hideous. And in so doing, my dear friends, Goethe touches on a great mystery of existence. You will have realised, from the lectures I have given here from time to time, that even today there are people in possession of certain secrets. Particularly the leaders of Roman Catholicism, for example, the leaders, are in possession of certain secrets. What matters is how these secrets are used. But certain initiates of the English-speaking peoples are also acquainted with mysteries. Out of a profound misunderstanding, does not only the Roman Church — that is, its leaders — keep these secrets from its adherents, but certain esoteric initiates of the English-speaking peoples do the same. They have various reasons for this, and of one of these I will now speak.
You see, my dear friends, the earth has a past, the periods of Saturn, Sun and Moon; it has a present, the earth-period; it has a future, the periods of Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan. In evolution there is both good and evil. Out of the cosmos, out of cosmic evolution, good can only be recognised from the past, from the periods of Saturn, Sun and Moon, and half the earth-period. Wisdom and goodness are associated, in this looking back into the past. Wisdom and goodness were implanted into human nature by those members of the higher hierarchies who belong to man, at a time when this human nature was not yet awakened to full consciousness, as it is on the earth. For the coming time, the Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan periods, and at present on the earth, for the coming half of the earth-period — it is already beginning — man must preserve goodness if he wishes to attain it; he must develop the impulse for goodness out of his own nature. For in his environment,in what is new that approaches him, the forces of evil are revealed. Were these forces for evil not revealed, man could not arrive at free-will. And those initiates to whom I refer know this important secret, my dear friends, and will not impart it because they do not wish to help mankind to maturity. They know this secret. If what arose as human nature on ancient Saturn, Sun and Moon, and still continues further — if what was evolved for us men on Saturn, and possesses a past, were to arise now out of earth-conditions, it would be fundamentally evil, it would only be able to absorb evil. It is only possible to receive evil from external conditions. That man can acquire freedom of will is due to this exposure to evil and his being able to choose between the evil that approaches him, and the good he can develop out of his own nature. This is if he has confidence in what was planted there in previous ages. Hence these initiates say to those wishing to be initiated: There are three layers of consciousness, (that is the formula always used in these English-speaking schools os initiation) three layers of consciousness. When a man plunges into the subconscious, from which dreams spring up, he experiences an intimate relation with other beings (I have described this to you before) also with other men; these beings do not appear in the present world. When, as is the case today, man is living in his day-consciousness in the perceptible, rational world, he is in the world where he goes through birth and death. And when he raises himself to the world — that he will enter as physical man in the future — to which he attains through supersensible knowledge, then that is the world where he first experiences evil. For it is then that a man must find strength to be a match for evil, to hold his own against it. He must learn to know evil.
The natural consequence of this is the necessity for men of the present to shed light on the past, so that they may be prepared for the inevitable encounter with evil; and this can be done only through Spiritual Science. To these three layers of consciousness, the initiates of the English-speaking peoples continually draw attention. This will be the basis of that conflict that is of the utmost importance, though the present age has little external knowledge of it. This conflict will be between those who want what is a necessity to take place, and secrets of this kind to be imparted, and those who wish to keep mankind in immaturity. So far the latter have had the upper hand. It is most important that these things should be known. You can see from this, my dear friends, what mischief will be set on foot if the truths of Spiritual Science are withheld. For man will be exposed to the forces of evil, and he will only be protected from it by giving himself up to the spiritual life of the good. To withhold the spiritual life of goodness from men is to be no friend to humanity. Whoever does this, be he Freemason or Jesuit, is no friend to humanity. For it means handing men over to the forces of evil. And there may be a purpose in doing so. This purpose may be to confine goodness to a small circle, in order by the help of this goodness to dominate the helpless humanity who are thus led by evil into the follies of life.
You can imagine, my dear friends, that anyone like Goethe, who has a presentiment of all these things, will have some hesitation in approaching them. From many things I have said in your presence about Goethe's particular kind of spirituality, you will be able to form a concept of how he would approach these subtle, but world-shattering matters with only really relevant ideas. Hence, in conceiving his Faust, he did not wish to be thought that man, wanting to make progress in culture, must fearlessly expose himself to the forces of evil; instead, he clothes this too, in Greek ideas, by confronting Mephistopheles with primeval ugliness, with the trinity of Phorkyads, the three prototypes of ugliness. Instead of pointing men unreservedly to the reality of evil, as Spiritual Science must do, Goethe points to the reality of ugliness as contrasted with beauty. Hence the characteristic behaviour of Mephistopheles towards the Phorkyads. Had Mephistopheles remained in his northern home, that is to say in a world that has certainly advanced beyond that of the Greeks in the world-order, he would have been obliged to meet with the bitter, but essential world, from which future evil flows. Instead of this, Goethe makes him meet in the world of antiquity the prototypes of ugliness, the Phorkyads. So that he places him, as it were, in prehistoric times before the history of evil. By employing Greek concepts, he places most solemn truth before men in a way that could still arouse their sympathy. And here too Goethe shows his deep knowledge of the matter. We know — you may read this in my Occult Science — that the future is in a sense the reproduction of the past on a higher level. Jupiter is a kind of repetition of the Moon; Venus of the Sun; and Vulcan of Saturn. On a higher level, the earlier appears in the later. It is the same as regards evil. Evil appears in order that man may develop goodness out of his own nature with all possible strength. But this evil will show distorted pictures, caricatures, of the forms of the primeval age.
You see, what we now are is largely because we are constructed symmetrically, the left-man and the right-man working together. Physicists and physiologists wonder why it is we have two eyes, what use we have for two eyes. If they knew why we have two hands, and of what use they are to us, they would also know why we have two eyes and of what use these are. If, for instance, we could not touch the left hand with the right, we could never arrive at ego-consciousness. By being able to grasp the right-man with the left, by gaining knowledge of the right-man by means of the left, we arrive at consciousness of ourselves, at consciousness of the presence of the ego. To look at an object a man must have more than one eye. If, by birth or accident, he has only one eye, that does not matter: it is not the external apparatus but the faculty, the forces, that are of importance. When we look at a man the axes of the eyes are crossed. In this way the ego is associated with sight; through the crossing the left direction is associated with the right. And the farther we go back the closer is the relation, in common with the consciousness. This is why Goethe gives the three Phorkyads one eye and one tooth between them, a representation that shows his deep knowledge. Thus the three have but one eye and one tooth. This implies that the senses are not meant to be working together, they are still isolated from one another. On the one hand relationship is expressed, on the other we are told that the elements are not yet working in collaboration, that what arises through the right-man and the left-man cannot yet appear. Thus accurately does Goethe express what he wishes to say, and he suggests infinitely much.
Now, if you think over what you know from Occult Science namely, that the present bi-sexual-sexual human being has sprung from the uni-sexual being, and that male and female have only been developed in the course of evolution, you will see that a retrograde evolution takes place when Mephistopheles meets with evil in the form of ugliness, joins with it in going with the Phorkyads: “Done! here stand I” (after he has thrown in his lot with the Phorkyads) ...
“Here stand I, Chaos' well-beloved son!”
Phorkyads: “And Chaos' true-born daughters, we, undoubted.”
To which Mephistopheles replies:
“O fie! Hermaphrodite must I be flouted?”
He becomes ‘hermaphrodite’ when it is intended to show the condition preceding the bi-sexual, the condition to which I have just referred. Truly Goethe gives his descriptions from inside knowledge! In this scene we may recognise how deeply he had divined and entered into the truths of Spiritual Science.
Now, remember now not long ago I said that no one can ever arrive at a satisfying conception of the world who, misled by what man is now, what he has of necessity to be, comes on the one hand to abstract ideals, ideals having no forces. (Forces such as those in nature that cannot fit into the physical world-order, but have to disperse like mist when the earth reaches her goal, that is, her grave). No one can find a satisfying world-outlook who is either an abstract idealist of this kind, or a materialist. As I said, man must be both. He must be able to rise to ideas in conformity with the age in which he lives, and also look at material things in a material way and form materialistic ideas about them. Thus, he must be able to form both a materialistic and an idealistic conception of the world, and not set up a unity with abstract concepts. Having on the one hand scientific concepts, on the other idealistic concepts, we must then let them interpenetrate each other just as spirit and matter do. As I have told you, in processes of cognition the ideal must permeate and illumine the material, the material must permeate and illumine the ideal.
And Goethe found this out. It occurred to him how one-sided it is when, in abstract concepts, men seek a world-outlook inclining more to matter or more to spirit. Hence he was drawn to seek his world-conception not in abstract ideas but in a different way. And this he describes as follows:
“Since so much of our experience does not admit of being openly expressed and directly imparted, long ago I chose this method, namely, to reveal the hidden meaning to the observant by dint of contrasted images playing into one another.”
Now, can anyone express more clearly that he is neither idealist nor realist, but both idealist and realist, letting the two world-outlooks play into one another. Goethe seeks to approach the world from the most diverse directions, and to come to truth by means of mutually reflected concepts. Thus, in Goethe's impulses there is already concealed the way that must be taken by Spiritual Science in order to lead mankind towards the future — the health-giving future.
One would like, my dear friends, what Goethe began to be continued; but then it would be essential for such works as Faust to be really read. Man has, however, more or less lost the habit of reading. At best, men would say when they read:
“Diana, Luna, Hecate!
Thou bosom widener, profoundly pensive one!”
Oh! poetry. Then there is no need to go deeper into it, no need to meditate over every word! Thus men console themselves today when offered anything they are not actually bound to believe; for they like to take things superficially. But the universe does not permit that. When you consider the deep truth I have just shown in connection with the meeting of Mephistopheles with the Phorkyads — a truth that has been preserved in many occult schools of the present day — then you have the opportunity of understanding, together with much else that enables you to realise it, the intense seriousness of our striving after Spiritual Science, the seriousness that must underlie our endeavours. It may be said that there sometimes escapes, half consciously, from those who have come into contact with what is essential for man in the future, an pious ejaculation, like Nietzsche's, in his Midnight Song: “The world is deep, Yea, deeper than the day e'er dreamed”.
We must indeed say that the day gives man day-consciousness; but, so long as he clings only to what the day brings, man of himself becomes simply Homunculus, not Homo. For “the world is deep, yea, deeper than the day e'er dreamed”. And since Goethe does not wish to lead Faust into merely what the day brings, but into all that conceals the eternal, he has to let him take his way in the company of Homunculus, and of Mephistopheles who confronts the supersensible. Goethe thought he could do this by steeping himself in Greek ideas, and by bringing them to life within himself.