Nature and Spirit Beings
Their Effects in Our Visible World
VIII. The Influence of Other Worlds on the Earth II
11 February 1908, Stuttgart
Last Saturday, we’ve looked into remote worlds. Today, we would also like to immerse ourselves a little into spiritual worlds, yet in a slightly different way. When I call lectures, like the ones I am giving today and gave last week, suitable for those who have progressed, what I mean is not so much progress in intellectual comprehension. I refer to a different kind of understanding that we gain by immersing ourselves more and more into the spiritual worlds, and developing habitual feelings and emotions that will enable us to believe that things, like those we shall talk about today, exist in the world around us.
The occupation with Theosophy brings the human being to a point where he will gain a feeling for the spiritual world. Spiritual worlds and spiritual facts are around us, as was often emphasized. By following our path through the world, we are not only walking through physical air, but we are constantly also walking through spiritual beings and facts. The first things that someone ascends to in whom the gift of clairvoyance slowly dawns, are those spiritual worlds that are somehow connected to tangible things—to what a human being is able to perceive with his ordinary senses. Everything that the senses perceive is related to the spiritual worlds. We know that underlying our whole animal world, as it physically exists, is an array of animal group-souls. These live on the astral plane, and one who obtains clairvoyance on the astral plane, will meet these group-souls there as self-contained personalities, just like the human being here on the physical plane meets physical personalities. They really are distinct personalities. Simply said, one can meet group-souls on the astral plane, just like people here. However, in some ways, those group-souls are different from human beings. As strange as it may sound, they are wiser than human beings; their deeds are the wise arrangements of animal burrows and also include everything related to the necessities of animal life.
A further type of being the clairvoyant meets on the Devachan plane is connected to plants. The plant-Egos are on the Devachan plane. And in the higher areas of Devachan, that we call Arupa, 1The Arupa mental plane: the upper or higher spiritual world. are the group-Egos of the minerals. For all these entities there are connections, as it were, on the physical plane. The astral and Devachan plane are all around us, as are all the group-Egos, who have tangible revelations and manifestations in the physical world also.
Someone who, as a seer, gets to know these worlds—the Devachan and the Arupa—also gets to know other quite different entities whose physicality is not so openly expressed in the physical world, but they also intervene in fate in a certain way, even if not as tangibly as the others. On the astral plane we find very strange-seeming beings. They reveal themselves initially only through their influences—we only perceive their effects. Many such beings are teeming around where, for example, somnambulism occurs in mediumistic personalities, in all states of diminished consciousness, and especially during quite ordinary full-moon nights. But we only perceive their effects. It is a strange feeling to observe such beings clairvoyantly. To use a rough comparison, it seems as if they would stretch out their hands from far away to here, as if you were in Cannstatt 2Bad Cannstatt - nowadays a municipal district of Stuttgart. and had such long hands that you could work with them in Stuttgart. Then you would see those hands here in Stuttgart. You would see the effect of their work, but if you wanted to see the people themselves, you would have to go to Cannstatt.
Of course, no such physical beings exist, but there are astral beings like that. We discover their effects here on Earth. But if we wish to get to know them as self-contained personalities, then we have to visit them in their proper home which is the Moon. There on the Moon, these beings even possess a corporeality, albeit such a very fine one that would not be visible even under a microscope. They do not become very tall, but they are well known to the clairvoyant. They will not get taller than, say, a 7-year-old child. A peculiarity of them is that they possess a terribly roaring voice. Their roars are not individual ones, but an expression of the climatic conditions on the Moon. Depending on whether it is a full Moon or a new Moon, the Moon-beings either roar or keep silent as they extend their activities into the Earth. As said, it is precisely the human being who is dependent on these beings. Especially for human life, these beings are of great importance. One learns to know their effects by practising a little of what is called occult anatomy. 3Refer to An Occult Physiology, (Prague) 1911, GA 128. We have often looked at the human being—today we want to examine him by probing into his juices.
There are three juices that we wish to focus on today. The first one is the chyle, or nutritive juice. Food gets from the stomach into the digestive tract and then is absorbed through the intestinal walls by the human organism.
A second juice flows through the lymphatic vessels, that criss-cross the whole body. This juice has a similarity to the white blood corpuscles in the blood. In a way, the lymphatic vessels accompany the blood vessels; they are partly destined to pick up the chyme and lead it to where it can enter into the blood. The protein substances and fats are prepared in the lymph vessels for passing into the blood. Substances that are being absorbed directly by the blood do not pass through the lymph vessels first. Therefore we have a transitional juice, in between the chyle and the blood, flowing through our body.
The third juice is the blood itself, which streams through the blood vessels and is consistently renewed by the breathing process, by provision of oxygen, and so on. These juices represent three states of liquids that a human being contains. Chyle is sort of the rawest liquid, the lymph is finer, and the blood is the most refined human liquid.
Now you are aware that the blood is the outer material expression of the Ego, that the Ego, so to speak, lives and pulsates in the blood. When the blood runs through the body, it is not only the material matter, but also the Ego that runs through all parts of the body. Of the three juices, the blood is the only one that is so intimately connected with one’s own spiritual nature. Man is most likely to become master of his blood. Today, only very few are so far advanced that their Ego has become master of their blood, but man will gain more and more influence over it.
The Ego has less influence over the lymph. Spirit also pulsates through the lymph. Precisely with the lymph, you have a juice in which the beings, described earlier as Moon-beings, exert their influences. The lymph is pulsating up and down within you, and within it the effect of the Moon-beings is pulsating within your body. There you can see what you have locked in your body.
Another type of being, that also exerts an influence on the lymph, has its home on Mars. The Mars beings, as they can be perceived by clairvoyance, are very peculiar beings as well. They have a certain type of speech, very soft speech, that easily and supplely expresses what these beings wish to express. When you come across such Martian beings, they appear to have an expression of their inner being, of their soul, on their face. A malicious Mars being will have a mean facial expression. But when the Mars being is a good one, it will carry the expression of that goodness as beauty on its face. Their soul being is visible at the surface of their corporeality.
These are beings a clairvoyant meets when advancing to Moon and Mars. He will learn to know their deeds by way of assessing the composition of the lymph and by gauging whether the speed of its flow is faster or slower. This is because underneath each soul experience, the lymph has a different kind of its own nature. This temperament, or character, is associated with the composition of the lymph. Only someone who gets acquainted with these Mars- and Moon-beings will be able to realise, through the spiritual foundation of the lymph, what really is happening within a human being.
In the same region where the group-souls of plants reside, in Devachan, other beings are found by the clairvoyant, beings that also exert influence on the Earth and on whom the fate of mankind depends. Their real home is on Venus, where they can be found in the Devachan area. Their effects and deeds are expressed by deeply affecting the chyle. Whether you eat one thing or another determines whether good or bad entities from Venus will gain influence on you. There are beings that are good, gentle and mild who have developed to a high degree a religiousness like that which appears in Christianity here on Earth. But there are also beings of bad character, predatory beings who destroy everything. Between those two radical extremes, beings at all possible stages are present on Venus, expressing their activities in the human digestive juice.
Now you can imagine how another heavenly body and its beings play into the human body and into the whole human existence. Remember how humanity is distributed all over the Earth. People live in a region where certain foods are grown, elsewhere completely different foods are grown. Depending on what food a person consumes, certain beings will assert themselves in that person. This is the reason for the diversity of human character. A clairvoyant sees quite different influences from these beings in people who eat different things than others do. Now you can comprehend why, from a spiritual viewpoint that pays attention to human nature, value is placed on eating certain foods. Any recommendation made by occultists, in regard to food products, has been researched in relation to those beings. That which occultism is able to offer in regard to practical life depends upon such complicated issues.
There are further beings that also exert their strange effects on our Earth, however, they are not as hands-on as the group-souls. These are entities that the clairvoyant sees when ascending to the Saturn existence. Their workings can be found in the higher Devachan and have a deeply intervening influence on human beings. With this we enter a chapter where we are no longer concerned with the juices, but with much more subtle things. To a clairvoyant investigating them, those beings will appear to be very strange in themselves, because they are endowed with a magnificent power of invention. They really are in every moment of their lives, inventors. However, they do not need to think about their inventions. They look, and by looking at things the thoughts appear to them that things should be different, and they immediately remodel them. Thus, they are beings that are engaged in continuous revolutionary activity. Everything they see will be changed by them at once in the most inspired way. Their sensory perception and spiritual invention are instantaneous. They do not want to have anything to do with thinking, logic, and such things. They are reformers and revolutionaries as far as the sense-impression is concerned, where they change everything immediately.
These beings also exert their influence on our Earth. They creep into our inner being through our sensory perceptions. The spiritual effects of those Saturn entities creep into a human being with everything he perceives through his senses—with colour, sound, smell, taste, and feelings of warmth. They walk through the world and exert their influence in abundance on whatever you perceive with your senses. How dry and sober, indeed, how ridiculous seems what an ordinary anatomist examines materialistically! Because with a flash of lightning, the effects of those beings are penetrating the eye. It is not unimportant to know such things for practical life. Actually, a person who doesn’t know this, doesn’t know the most important thing about life. The worst—and under certain circumstances also the best because they are the strongest—are the influences of the Saturn beings in so far as they make themselves known through the sense of smell.
Through the smells, their influences are continuously penetrating us. There are smells through which downright infernal effects of these beings penetrate into us. If a human being knows such things, he gains an understanding of what he is doing to his fellow human beings when he forces them to breathe in all sorts of horrible perfumes. For example, through Patchouli, he gives the saturnalian spirits of the worst kind access to humans. Influencing his fellow beings through smells belongs to the worst kinds of black magic.
I could tell you about long periods of history where intrigues were played at certain Courts by people, knowledgeable about the effects, who used scents for the purposes of gaining influence and power. For long periods of time, intriguers existed who more or less consciously ruled in this way. Such magic tools have often played an important role in history. An example from more recent history might be of interest: A Minister at a small European Court wrote his memoirs about his time there. 4Presented in more detail in The Influence of Spiritual Beings upon Man, GA 102, Lecture 1. He did not know anything about all these things, but in his naive way, he tells very nicely how such things played out at a certain small Court, at which at the time a sensational catastrophe had happened. There was a female personality, who understood all the arts of influencing people through scents. When the minister appeared before the Queen 5Draga Maschin, Queen of Serbia, was killed together with her husband, Alexander I, in 1903. in question, all sorts of perfumes would waft towards him, and so he knew he had to leave because she understood something about the use of scents. Through this experience, he realised that a game was being played. He didn’t know about occultism. Whoever reads such chapters as an occultist looks deeply into this and sees how human beings are influenced.
You may now want to think a bit about how occultism is related to true knowledge of reality. People will have to shine a light more and more often from an occult perspective onto the immediate human life. It would be bad for humanity if such a pseudoscience continued to be practised, which attempts to find the truth by way of cutting and slicing. Only the most distorted truth can be found through anatomy. Precisely such knowledge will never be of practical value and, unless it is arrested by spiritual insights, will bring disaster to mankind. Currently, we are standing in a high tide of materialism. In legislation, it sneaks in everywhere and has enormous effects. Church and religion are intolerant like never before. How intolerant is the materialistic medicine today! They are not going to burn their opponents, but they will do something different. They want to save themselves from the bad reputation that burning would bring. Therefore, they make sure that people are unable to do things for which they would have been burned in the past. Today, the adversaries are not even able to sin. Burning was certainly something terrible, but before that at least people were able to do what they were burned for!
People don’t understand this because they do not have the attention span to follow one train of thought to the next. It is important for people to once again obtain healthy thinking through spiritual knowledge. Here is another example: I told you that fat and proteins go through the lymph vessels and that sugar goes directly into the blood. The ego, as it lives in our time, is the carrier of the pure power of deduction, of egoism, because in our European culture it focuses primarily solely on utility. Whoever can observe life will be able to derive from this the large role that sugar plays in the life of a human being. Precisely where egoism is most active, namely in its sophisticated forms—where it appears as scientific criticism that occurs purely rationally—you will also see, everywhere, in a mysterious relationship, diabetes! But you should not think that the individual who gets diabetes should be looked at from this perspective. The individual doesn’t really live as an individual. And you should understand that you cannot simply help an individual. Imagine a person who lives in a marshy area; he can only become healthy once he leaves the marshy area. One must take into account that the human being lives within his environment.
This is why, above all, we must realise that we have to become selfless because Theosophy is there for all humanity. It is very important to understand this thoroughly. Only when more and more people decide to devote their efforts to the whole of humanity, will there be an atmosphere in which the individual will be set free. If an individual innocently becomes diabetic, this is not an instance of the general knowledge that has been correctly presented by Theosophy. Diabetes is connected with the increased prevalence of egoism.
You can cast a probing glance across two different regions of Europe. Look towards Russia and the farmers, where the Ego-feeling exists only in germinal form—and look to England, where a strong Ego-feeling holds sway. This is not meant to be a criticism. It is only meant to establish facts. And now have a look at the sugar consumption; how much more sugar is consumed in England than in Russia. Now, one or another can say, “So, what should we do? Do we have to recommend to someone to eat less sugar, because it is the right thing to do, and so that he becomes selfless?” The truth is not that convenient. Man would like it best to have firm rules for every situation—a kind of fixed marching route. There are people who, due to their psychic and spiritual constitution, tend to lose themselves easily in a pious form of devotion. This is something good. It helps them reach the highest bliss of knowledge. But this must have a counter pole—such people need to eat a lot of sugar. So that they stand firm on Earth, one has to give them lots of sugar. In contrast, there are others who are always out to assert themselves; they are the opposite of a devotional nature. To those, one could recommend to practise asceticism when it comes to sugar consumption. Thus we can see that we have to gain from Theosophy the ability to take all sides into consideration, and not rashly judge something based on an abstraction.
From today’s explanations, once again you have learned about other kinds of beings who are intimately connected with our lives. You may feel a bit timid about all these worlds we have discussed today. Perhaps you think it would be better not to know anything about them. But consider how not knowing would be like the ostrich hiding his head in the sand, because these things exist! And because you will never be able to free yourself by closing your eyes, but only through getting to know things. If you arrange your life in such a way that, starting from the I, you gain more and more control of your bodies, then you will drive all these beings out of your lives. Realisation and truth are the means to becoming free, and it is true, what is stated in a religious scripture: “You will realise the truth 6The Gospel of John, 8:32. and the truth will set you free.”