Nerthus, Freyja and Gerda. Twilight of the Gods.
In beginning this our last lecture I can assure you that much still remains to be discussed and that in this course of lectures we have touched only the fringe of this subject which covers a wide field. I can only hope that it will not be the last time that we shall speak together here on kindred subjects, and it must suffice if I have introduced this subject with only the briefest indications, since detailed discussion at this present moment would otherwise create further complications.
Like a golden thread running through the last few lectures was the idea that Teutonic mythology contains something which, in imaginative form, is connected in a remarkable way with the knowledge derived from the spiritual research of our time. Now this is also one of the reasons why we may hope that the Folk Spirit, the Archangel, who directs and guides this country (Norway) will imbue modern philosophy and modern spiritual research with the capacities he has developed over the centuries and that henceforth modern spiritual research will be fertilized by uniting with the life-forces of the entire people.
The further we penetrate into the details of Teutonic mythology, the more we shall realize - and this applies to no other mythology - how wonderfully the deepest occult truths are expressed in the symbols of this mythology. Perhaps some of you who have read my Occult Science - an Outline. or have heard other lectures which I was able to give here will recall that once upon a time in the course of Earth-evolution an event occurred which we may describe as the descent of those human souls who, in primeval times before the old Lemurian epoch, for very special reasons rose to other planets, to Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury, and that these souls in the late Lemurian epoch and throughout the Atlantean epoch, after the hardening forces of the Moon had left the Earth, endeavoured to incarnate in human bodies whose capacities had gradually been developed and perfected under Earth conditions.
These Saturn-, Jupiter-, Mars-, Venus-, and Mercury-souls then descended upon Earth and this descent can still be verified today in the Akashic Records. During the Atlantean epoch the air of Atlantis was permeated with watery mists and through these mists those on Earth beheld with the old Atlantean clairvoyance the descent of these souls out of the Cosmos. Whenever new beings descended from spiritual heights into the still soft, plastic and pliant bodies of that time, this was understood to be the external manifestation of souls descending out of the Cosmos, out of the atmosphere, out of planetary spheres, in order to incarnate in earthly bodies. .
These earthly bodies were fructified by that which poured down from spiritual heights. The memory of this event has survived in the imaginative conceptions of Teutonic mythology and has persisted so long that it was still extant amongst the Southern Germanic peoples at the time when Tacitus wrote his "Germania". No-one will understand the account Tacitus gives of the Goddess Nerthus unless he realizes that this event actually took place. (Chapter 40 of Germania. See also the lecture given by Rudolf Steiner in Basle, 12 Dec 1916, entitled Christmas at a Time of Grievous Destiny. Lecture IV in The Festivals and their Meaning. Vol. I. Christmas. (Rudolf Steiner Press).)
He relates that the chariot of the Goddess Nerthus was driven over the waters. Later on this survived as a solemn ritual; formerly it had been a matter of actual vision. This Goddess offered the human bodies that were suitable to the human souls descending from the planetary spheres. That is the mystery underlying the Nerthus myth and it has survived in all that has come down to us in the older sagas and legends which give intimations of the birth of physical man. Njordr who is intimately related to the Goddess Nerthus is her masculine counterpart. He is said to represent the primeval memory of the descent of the psycho-spiritual beings who in olden time had risen to planetary heights and who, during the Atlantean epoch, had come back and incarnated in human bodies.
In my pamphlet, The Occult Significance of Blood, you can read how miscegenation and contact between different peoples have played a significant role at certain periods. Now not only the mixture of peoples and their interrelationships which led to the introduction of foreign blood, but also the psychic and spiritual development of the Folk Spirits have played a decisive part.
The vision of that descent has been preserved in the greatest purity in those sagas which arose in former times in these Northern regions. Hence in the Sagas of the Vanir you can still find one of the oldest recollections of this descent. Especially here in the North, the Finnish tradition still preserves a living memory of this union of the soul-and-spirit which descended from planetary spheres with that which springs out of the body of the Earth and which Northern tradition knows as Riesenheim (Home of the Giants). That which developed out of the body of the Earth belongs to Riesenheim.
We realize, therefore, that Nordic man was always aware of spiritual impulses, that he felt within his gradually evolving soul the workings of this old vision of the Gods which was still natural to man here when, in those ancient times, the watery mists of Atlantis still covered the region. Nordic man felt within him some spark of a God who was directly descended from those divine-spiritual Beings, those Archangels who directed the union of soul-and-spirit with the terrestrial and physical.
People believed and felt that the God Freyr and his sister Freyja who were once upon a time specially favoured Gods of the North, had originally been those angelic Beings who had poured into the human soul all that this soul required in order to develop further upon the physical plane those old forces which they (the people) had received through their clairvoyant capacities. Within the physical world, the world limited to the external senses, Freyr was the continuer of all that had hitherto been received in a clairvoyant form. He was the living continuation of forces clairvoyantly received. He had therefore to unite with the physical-corporeal instruments existing in the human body itself for the use of these soul forces, which then transmit to the physical plane what had been perceived in primeval clairvoyance. This is reflected in the marriage of Freyr with Gerda, the Giant's daughter. She is born out of the physical forces of earthly evolution itself. The descent of the divine spiritual into the physical is still mirrored in these mythological symbols.
The figure of Freyr portrays in a remarkable way how Freyr makes use of that which enables man to manifest on the physical plane that for which he has been prepared through his earlier clairvoyance. The name of his horse is Bluthuf, indicating that the blood is an essential factor in the development of the 'I'. A remarkable magic ship is placed at his disposal. It could span the sky or be folded up to fit into a tiny box. What is this magic ship? If Freyr is the power which transmits clairvoyant forces to the physical plane, then this magic ship is something peculiarly his own: it symbolizes the alternation of the soul in day and night. just as the human soul during sleep and until the moment of waking spreads out over the Macrocosm, so too the magic ship spreads its sails and is then folded up again into the cerebral folds to be stowed away in that tiny box - the human skull. You will find all this portrayed in a wonderful way in the mythological figures of Teutonic mythology.
Those of you who probe more deeply into these matters will be gradually convinced that what has been implanted, 'injected' into the mind and soul of this Northern people by means of these symbols or pictures is no flight of fancy, but actually stems from the Mystery Schools. Thus in the guiding Archangel or Folk Spirit of the North, much of the old education through clairvoyant perception has survived, much of that which may unfold in a soul which, in the course of its development on the physical plane, is associated with clairvoyant development.
Although not apparent from the external point of view today, the Archangel of the Germanic North had within 'him this tendency, and thanks to this tendency he is particularly fitted to understand modern Spiritual Science and to transform it in the appropriate manner to satisfy the inherent potentialities of the people. You will therefore appreciate why I have said that the soul of the Germanic peoples in particular is best fitted to understand what I could only indicate briefly in the public lecture which I gave here on the Second Coming of Christ.
Spiritual research today shows us that after Kali Yuga has run its course (which lasted for 5,000 years, approximately from 3, 100 B.C. to A.D. 1,899) new capacities will appear in the isolated few who are specially fitted to receive them. A time will come when individuals will be able, through the natural development of the new clairvoyance, to perceive something of what is announced only by Spiritual Science or spiritual research. We are told that in the course of the next centuries, increasing numbers of people will be found in whom the organs of the etheric body are so far developed that they will attain to clairvoyance, which today can only be acquired through training.
How are we to account for this? What will be the nature of the etheric body in those few who develop clairvoyance? There will be some who will receive clairvoyant impressions, and I should like to describe to you a typical example. A man performs some act and at the same time feels himself impelled to observe something. A sort of dream vision arises in him which at first he does not understand. But if he has heard of Karma, of how world events conform to law, he will then realize, little by little, that what he has seen is the karmic counterpart of his present deeds made visible in the etheric world. Thus the first elements of future capacities are gradually developed.
Those who are open to the stimulus of Spiritual Science will, from the middle of the twentieth century on, gradually experience a renewal of that which St. Paul saw in etheric clairvoyance as a mystery to come, the 'Mystery of the Living Christ'. There will be a new manifestation of Christ, a manifestation which must come when human capacities develop naturally to the point when the Christ can be seen in the world in which He has always been present since the Mystery of Golgotha and in which He can also be experienced by the Initiate. Mankind is gradually growing into that world in order to be able to perceive from the physical plane that which formerly could be perceived only in the Mystery Schools from the perspective of the higher planes.
Nevertheless, occult training is still a necessity. It always presents things in a different light to those who have not undergone occult training. But occult training will, by the transformation of the physical body, show the Mystery of the Living Christ in a new way - as it will be able to be seen etherically from the perspective of the physical plane by a few isolated individuals at first, and later by increasing numbers of people in the course of the next three thousand years. The Living Christ perceived by St. Paul, the Christ who is to be found in the etheric world since the Mystery of Golgotha, will be seen by an ever-increasing number of people.
The manifestations of the Christ will be experienced by man at ever higher levels. That is the mystery of the evolution of Christ. At the time of the Mystery of Golgotha it was intended that man should comprehend everything from the perspective of the physical plane. It was therefore necessary that he should be able to see Christ on the physical plane, to receive tidings of Him and to bear witness to His dominion on that plane. But mankind is designed to progress and to develop higher powers. He who believes that the manifestation of Christ will be repeated in the form which was valid nineteen hundred years ago can have little understanding of the development of mankind. The manifestation of Christ took place on the physical plane because, at that time, the forces of man were adapted to the physical plane. But those forces will evolve, and in the course of the next three thousand years Christ will be increasingly understood by the more highly developed souls on Earth.
What I have just said is a truth which has long been communicated to a select few from within the esoteric schools and it is a truth that today must pervade the teachings of Spiritual Science in particular, because Spiritual Science is intended to be a preparation for that which is to come. Mankind is now ready for freedom and self-knowledge and it is highly probable that those who proclaim themselves to be the pioneers of the Christ-vision will be denounced as fools on account of their message to mankind. It is possible for mankind to sink still deeper into materialism and to spurn that which could become a most valuable revelation for mankind. Everything that may happen in the future is to a certain extent subject to man's volition; consequently he may miss what is intended for his salvation.
It is extremely important to realize that Spiritual Science is a preparation for the new Christ-revelation.
Materialism holds a twofold danger. The one which probably stems from the traditions of the West, is that everything that the first pioneers of the new Christ-revelation will announce in the twentieth century from out of their own vision will be dismissed as a figment of the imagination, as the height of folly.
Today materialism has invaded all spheres. It is not only ingrained in the West, but has also invaded the East. There, however, it assumes another form. One consequence of oriental materialism might well be that mankind will fail to recognize the higher aspects of the Christ-revelation. And then will follow what I have often spoken of here, and which I must repeat again and again, namely, that materialistic thinking will have a purely materialistic conception of the manifestation of Christ. It might well be that, under the influence of spiritual-scientific truths, people might venture to speak of a future manifestation of Christ and yet believe that He will appear in a physical body. The result would simply be another form of materialism, a continuation of what has already existed for centuries.
People have always exploited this false materialism. Indeed certain individuals declared themselves to be the new Messiah. The last well known case occurred in the seventeenth century, when a man called Sabbatai Zevi of Smyrna announced that he was the new Messiah. He made a great stir. Not only those who lived in his immediate environment made pilgrimages to visit him, but also people from Hungary, Poland, Germany, France, Italy and North Africa. Everywhere Sabbatai Zevi was regarded as the physical incarnation of a Messiah. I do not propose to relate the human tragedy that befell the personality of Sabbatai.
In the seventeenth century no great harm was done. At that time man was not really a free agent, although he could recognize intuitively - which was a kind of spiritual feeling - what was the truth. But in the twentieth century it would be a great misfortune if, under the pressure of materialism, the manifestation of Christ were to be taken in a materialistic sense, implying that one must look for His return in a physical body. This would only prove that mankind had not acquired any perception of, or insight into the real progress of human evolution towards a higher spirituality.
False Messiahs will inevitably appear and, thanks to the materialism of our time, they will find popular favour like Sabbatai in the seventeenth century. It will be a severe test for those who have been prepared by Spiritual Science to recognize where the truth lies, to know whether the spiritual theories are really permeated by a living, spiritual feeling or whether they are only a disguised form of materialism. It will be a test of the further development of Spiritual Science whether Spiritual Science will develop a sufficient number of people who are able to understand that they must perceive the spirit in the spirit, that they must seek the new manifestation of Christ in the etheric world, or whether they will refuse to look beyond the physical plane and expect to see a manifestation of Christ in the physical body. Spiritual Science has yet to undergo this test. There is no doubt that nowhere has the ground been better prepared to recognize the truth on this very subject than in Scandinavia where the Northern mythology flourished.
The twilight of the Gods embraces a significant vision of the future, and I now come to a theme which I have already touched upon. I have already told you that in a folk community which has so recently left its clairvoyant past behind it, a clairvoyant sense is also developed in its guiding Folk Spirit in order that the new-found clairvoyance can again be understood. Now if a people experiences the new epoch with new human capacities in the region where Teutonic mythology flourished, then this people must realize that the old clairvoyance must assume a different form after man has undergone development on the physical plane. The old clairvoyance was temporarily silenced; man lost for a while the vision of the world of Odin and Thor, of Baldur and Hödur, of Freyr and Freyja. But this world will return again in an epoch when other forces meanwhile have been at work upon the human soul.
When man gazes out into the new world with the new etheric clairvoyance he will realize that the forces of the old Gods no longer avail. If the old forces were to persist, then the counter-forces would range themselves against that force whose function in olden times was to develop man's capacities to a certain level. Odin and Thor will be visible again, but now in a new form. All the forces opposed to Odin and Thor, everything which has developed as a counter-force will once again be visible in a mighty tableau. But the human soul would not progress, it would not be able to resist injurious influences if it were subject solely to the forces known to the old clairvoyance.
Once upon a time Thor endowed man with an ego. This ego has been developed on the physical plane, has evolved out of the Midgard Snake which Loki, the Luciferic power, has left behind in the astral body. That which Thor was once able to give and which the human soul transcends, is in conflict with that which proceeds from the Midgard Snake. This is depicted in Nordic mythology as the conflict between Thor and the Midgard Snake. They are evenly matched, neither can prevail.
In the same way Odin wrestles with the Fenris Wolf and does not prevail. [On the day of Ragnarok (the Twilight of the Gods) Odin is swallowed up by the Fenris Wolf. Translator] Freyr, who for a time moulded the human soul-forces, had to succumb to that which had been given from out of the Earth forces themselves to the 'I', which meanwhile had been developed on the physical plane. Freyr was overcome by the flaming sword of Earth-born Surtur.
All these details which are set down in the Twilight of the Gods will find their counterpart in a new etheric vision which in reality points to the future. But the Fenris Wolf, symbol of the relics of the old clairvoyance, will live on in the future. There is a very deep truth concealed in the fact that the struggle between the Fenris Wolf and Odin still persists. There will be no greater danger than the tendency to cling to the old clairvoyance which has not been permeated with the new forces, a danger which might tempt man to remain content with the manifestations of the old astral clairvoyance of primeval times, such as the soul pictures of the Fenris Wolf.
It would again be a severe trial for the future prospects of Spiritual Science, if, perhaps in the domain of Spiritual Science itself, there should arise a tendency to all sorts of confused, chaotic clairvoyance, an inclination to value clairvoyance illuminated by reason and spiritual knowledge less highly than the old, chaotic clairvoyance which is denied this prerogative. These dark and confusing relics of the old clairvoyance would wreck a terrible vengeance. Such clairvoyance cannot be challenged by that which itself stemmed from the old clairvoyant gift, but only by that which, during the period of Kali Yuga, has matured in a healthy way in order to give birth to a new clairvoyance.
The power given by the old Archangel Odin, the old clairvoyant powers, cannot save man; something very different must supplant them. These future powers however, are known to Teutonic mythology; it is fully aware of their existence. It knows that the etheric form exists in which shall be embodied what we are now to see again - Christ in etheric form. He alone will succeed in banishing the dark and impure clairvoyant powers which would confuse mankind if Odin should not succeed in overcoming the Fenris Wolf which symbolizes the atavistic clairvoyance. Vidar who has been silent until now will overcome the Fenris Wolf. We learn of this too in the Twilight of the Gods.
Whoever recognizes the significance of Vidar and feels him in his soul, will find that in the twentieth century the power to see the Christ can be given to man again. Vidar who is part of the heritage of Northern and Central Europe will again be visible to man. He was held secret in the Mysteries and occult schools - the God who should await his future mission. Only vague intimations of his image have been given. This may be seen from the fact that a picture has been found in the vicinity of Cologne and no-one knows whom it represents. But it is clearly a likeness of Vidar.
Throughout the period of Kali Yuga were acquired the powers which shall enable the new men to see the new manifestations of Christ. Those who are called upon to interpret from the signs of the times what is to come are aware that the new spiritual investigation will re-establish the power of Vidar who will banish from the hearts and minds of men all the dark and confusing relics of the old clairvoyance and will awaken in the human soul the new clairvoyance that is gradually unfolding.
When the wondrous figure of Vidar shines forth to us out of the Twilight of the Gods we realize that Teutonic mythology gives promise of future hope. We feel ourselves to be inwardly related to the figure of Vidar, the deeper aspects of whose being we are now striving to understand. We hope that those forces which the Archangel of the Teutonic world can contribute to the evolution of modern times will be able to provide the core and living essence of Spiritual Science.
One part only of the development of mankind and the spirit - one part of a greater whole has been realized for the fifth post-Atlantean epoch; another part has yet to be accomplished. Those members of the Nordic peoples who feel within them the elemental and vital energies of a young people will best be able to contribute to this development. This will to some extent be implanted in the souls of men; but they themselves must be prepared to make a conscious effort. In the twentieth century one may fall by the wayside because man must to a certain extent have free choice in determining his goal which must not be pre-determined. It is therefore a question of having a proper understanding of the goal ahead. If, then, Spiritual Science reflects the knowledge of the Christ Being, and if we start from a true understanding of this Being whom we look for in the very core of the European peoples themselves, if we set our future hopes on this understanding, then we shall not be motivated by any kind of personal predilection or temperamental predisposition.
It has sometimes been said that the name we give to the greatest Being in the evolution of mankind is of no consequence. He who recognizes the Christ Being will not insist on retaining the name of Christ. If we understand the Christ Impulse in the right way we would never say: a Being plays a part in the evolution of mankind, in the life of the peoples of the West and the East and this Being must conform to man's predilections for a particular truth. Such an attitude is not compatible with the teachings of occultism. What is compatible with occult teachings is that the moment one recognizes that this Being should be given the name of Buddha, we should unhesitatingly abide by our decision irrespective of whether we agree with it or not. Fundamentally it is not a question of sympathy or antipathy, but of the factual truth.
The moment the facts are open to other interpretations we should be prepared to act differently. Facts and facts alone must decide. We have no wish to introduce Orientalism and Occidentalism, into what we look upon as the life-blood of Spiritual Science; if we should discover in the realm of the Nordic and Germanic Archangels a source of potential nourishment for true Spiritual Science, then this will not be the prerogative of a particular people or tribe in the Germanic countries, but of the whole of humanity. What is given to all mankind must be given; it may, it is true, originate in a particular region, but it must be given to the whole of humanity. We do not differentiate between East and West. We accept with deep gratitude the surpassing grandeur of the primeval culture of the holy Rishis in its true form. We accept with gratitude the Persian culture, the Egypto-Chaldean and Graeco-Latin cultures, and with the same objectivity we also accept the cultural heritage of Europe. We are compelled by the needs of the situation to present the facts as they really are.
If we incorporate the total contributions which each religion has made to the civilizing process of mankind into what we recognize to be the common property of mankind, then the more we do this, the more we are acting in accordance with the Christ principle. Since this principle is capable of further development we must abandon the dogmatic interpretation of the early centuries and millennia when the initial stages of the Christ principle were only imperfectly understood. We do not look to the past for future guidance. We do not seek to perpetuate the Christ of the past; we are chiefly concerned with what can be investigated by means of spiritual perception.
To us the essential element in the Christ-principle does not belong to the past - however much tradition may insist upon this - but to the future. We endeavour to ascertain what is to come. We do not rely so much on historical tradition which was fundamental to the Christ Impulse at the beginning of the Christian era; we do not attach much importance to the external and historical approach. After Christianity has passed through its growing pains, it will develop further. It has gone forth into foreign lands and sought to convert the people to the particular Christian dogmas of the age. But we profess a Christianity which proclaims that Christ was active in all ages and that we shall find Him wheresoever we go, that the Christ-principle is the highest expression of Anthroposophy. And if Buddhism acknowledges as Buddhists only those who swear by Buddha, then Christianity will be the faith that swears by no prophet because it is not subject to a religious Founder attached to a particular people, but recognizes the God of all mankind.
Every Christian knows that the focal point of Christianity is a Mystery which became manifest on the physical plane at Golgotha. It is the perception of this Mystery which leads to the new vision I have described. We may also be aware that the spiritual life at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha was such that the Mystery could only be experienced in the form it was experienced at that time. We refuse to submit to dogmas, even those of a Christian past. If a dogma should be imposed upon us, irrespective of its source, we would reject it in the name of the true Christ-principle.
However many may try to force the historical Christ into the Procrustean bed of a confessional creed, however many may declare that our vision of the future Christ is mistaken, we shall not allow ourselves to be led astray when they declare that He must be after this or that fashion, even when it comes from the lips of those who ought to know who Christ is. Equally, the idea of the Christ Being should not be limited or circumscribed by Eastern traditions, nor be coloured by the dogmas of Oriental dogmatism. What is taught out of the true sources of occultism concerning the evolution of the future must be free and independent of all tradition and authority.
It is a source of wonder to me how much agreement there is amongst the people assembled here. Those, not of Norse extraction, who have come here, have repeatedly said to me in the last few days how free they feel in their relations with the people of the Scandinavian North. It is proof, if proof were needed, that we are able, though some may not be conscious of it, to understand each other at the deepest levels of spiritual knowledge and that we shall understand each other, especially in those matters I emphasized at the last Theosophical Congress in Budapest and which I repeated during our own General Meeting in Berlin when we had the great pleasure of seeing friends from Norway amongst us.
It would be disastrous for Spiritual Science if he who cannot yet see into the spiritual world were obliged to accept in blind faith what he is told. I beg of you now, as I begged of you in Berlin, never to accept on authority or on faith anything I have said or shall say. Even before one has reached the stage of clairvoyance it is possible to test the results of clairvoyant vision. I beg of you not to accept as an article of faith whatever I have said about Zarathustra and Jesus of Nazareth, about Hermes and Moses, Odin and Thor, and about Christ Jesus Himself, nor to accept my statements as authoritative. I beseech you to abjure the principle of authority, for that principle would be deleterious to our Movement.
I am sure, however, that when you begin to reflect objectively, when you say, "We have been told so and so; let us investigate the records accessible to us, the religious and mythological documents, let us check the statements of the natural scientists you will realize how right I am. Avail yourselves of every means at your disposal, the more the better. I have no qualms. All that is given out of Rosicrucian sources can be tested in every way. Armed with the most materialistic criticism of the Gospels, verify what I have said about Christ Jesus, verify it as thoroughly as possible by all the means at your command on the physical plane. I am convinced that the more thoroughly you test it, the more you will find that what has been given out of the sources of the Rosicrucian Mystery will correspond to the truth.
I take it for granted that the communications given out from Rosicrucian sources will be tested rather than believed, tested not superficially by the superficial methods of modern science, but ever more conscientiously. Take the latest achievements of natural science with its most recent techniques, take the results of historical and religious research, it is all one to me. The more you test them, the more you will find them confirmed from this source. You must accept nothing on authority.
The best students of Spiritual Science are those who take what is said as a stimulus in the first place and test it by the facts of life itself. For in life too, at every stage of life, you can test what is given out from the sources of Rosicrucianism. It is far from my intention in these lectures to lay down dogmas and claim that the facts are such and such and must be believed. Verify them by an exchange of views with people of able and active mind and you will find confirmation of what has been said as a prophetic indication of the future manifestation of Christ. You need only open your eyes and verify it objectively; we make no appeal to belief in authority. This need to test everything received from Spiritual Science should become a kind of basic attitude permeating our whole approach.
I should like to impress upon you, therefore, that it is not anthroposophical to accept a statement as dogma on the authority of this or that person; but it is truly anthroposophical to allow oneself to be stimulated by Spiritual Science and to verify what is communicated by life itself. Then, whatever might colour in any way a truly anthroposophical view will cease to exist. Neither Eastern nor Western predilections must be allowed to colour our view. He who speaks from the point of view of Rosicrucianism accepts neither Orientalism nor Occidentalism; both appeal to him equally. The inner nature of the facts alone determine their truth. He must bear this in mind, especially at such an important moment as this when we have indicated the Folk Spirit who rules over the Northern lands. Here dwells the Teutonic mythological Spirit; even though his presence is not felt, his influence is more widely diffused in Europe than one imagines.
If a conflict were to arise between the peoples of the North it could not arise because one people disputed the contributions to the common weal. Each people must practise self-knowledge and ask itself: how can I best contribute to the common weal? Then, that which leads to the collective progress of all, to the common welfare of mankind, will be harvested. The sources of what we are able to contribute lie in our individual characteristics.
The Teutonic Archangel will bring to the whole field of culture in the future what he is most fitted for in accordance with the capacities he has acquired which we have already outlined. By virtue of this inherent power he is able to ensure that what could not yet be presented in the first half of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch may play its part In the second half, namely, that spiritual element which we were able to recognize in a germinal, prophetic form in the Slav philosophy and in the national sentiment of the Slavonic peoples.
This preparatory stage lasted for the first half of the fifth post-Atlantean age. At first, all that could be achieved by way of philosophy was a highly sublimated spiritual perception. This must then be grasped and permeated by the vital energies of the people so that it may become the common property of all mankind and may be realized in all aspects of our earthly life. Let us try to come to an understanding on this subject, for then this somewhat dangerous theme will have caused no great harm if all who are assembled here from the North, South, East, West and Centre of Europe feel that this theme is really important for the whole of humanity, that the larger nations no less than the smaller isolated groups have each their appointed mission and have to contribute their share to the whole.
Often the smallest national fragments have most important contributions to make because it is given to them to preserve and nurture old and new motifs in the soul-life. Thus, even though we have made this dangerous topic the subject of our lectures, it will serve to foster the basic sentiment of a community of soul amongst all those who are united under the banner of Anthroposophical thought and feeling and of Anthroposophical ideals.
Only if we should still react out of sympathy and antipathy, if we have no clear understanding of the essence of our Anthroposophical Movement, could misunderstandings arise from what has been said. But if we have grasped the underlying spirit of these lectures, then the ideas presented may also help us to make the firm resolution to harbour the high ideal - each from his own standpoint and from his own background - to contribute to the common goal that which is inherent in our mission. We can best achieve this through our individual initiative and our natural predisposition.
We can best serve mankind if we develop our particular talents so as to offer them to the whole of humanity as a sacrifice which we bring to the progressive development of culture. We must learn to understand this. We must learn to understand that it would not redound to the credit of Spiritual Science, if it did not contribute to the evolution of man, Angel and Archangel, but were to support the convictions of one people at the expense of another.
It is no part of Spiritual Science to assist in imposing the confessional beliefs of one continent upon another continent. If the religious teachings of the East were to prevail in the West, or vice versa, that would be a complete denial of Anthroposophical teaching. What alone accords with Anthroposophical teaching is that we should unselfishly dedicate the best that is in us, our sympathy and compassion, to the well-being of all mankind. And if we are self-contained, and live, not for ourselves but for all men, then that is true Anthroposophical tolerance. I had to add these words by way of explanation, for this somewhat delicate subject might otherwise offend national susceptibilities.
Spiritual Science, as we shall realize more and more clearly, will bring an end to the divisions of mankind. Therefore now is the right moment to learn to know the Folk Souls, because the province of Spiritual Science is not to promote antagonism between them, but to call upon them to work in harmonious cooperation. The better we understand this, the better students of Spiritual Science we shall be. On this note we shall end for the time being the course of lectures given here. For the knowledge we gather must ultimately find an echo in our feelings and our thinking and in the Anthroposophical goal we set before us. The more we practise this in our lives, the better Anthroposophists we are.
I have found that many of those who have accompanied us to Oslo have received a most favourable impression which they hasten to express in the words, "how much at home we feel here in the North!" And if higher spiritual forces are to be awakened in mankind, which we shall certainly see realized in the future, then to use the words of Vidar, the Aesier who has been silent until now, he will become the active friend of cooperative work, of cooperative endeavour, for which purpose we have all assembled here.
With this object in view let us take leave of one another after having been together for a few days, and let us always remain together in spirit with this intention. Irrespective of where we students of Spiritual Science come from, whether from near or far, may we always meet together in harmony, even when we discuss amongst ourselves the particular characteristics of the peoples inhabiting the various countries of the Earth. We know that these are only the several tongues of flame which will mount together into the mighty flame upon the altar the united progress of mankind - through the Anthroposophical view of life which lies so close to our hearts and is so deeply rooted in our souls.
(For some comments on how the series of lecture, of which the one above constitutes the final one, is discussed by a Peter Staudenmaier in a demagogical campaign hs is pursuing alleging Steiner to be a racist and anti-Semite, see here. For some comments in general about the allegations by Staudenmaier, see here.)