Sheaths of Virtue

Greetings Friends – To cap off our recent work with the Inner realities of Evolution, which you can explore in these essays: BestowingRenunciationBetter than Sci-FiCain’s SacrificeHomesickBildungsromanBeyond Death – I thought to offer up some thoughts gleaned from Steiner’s Lectures on FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE – GA 130, given 100 years ago today 2 December 1911, recommended by RR blog commentator Steve Hale.

To contemplate the virtues of Faith, Love & Hope during Advent is especially powerful. A time when we honor the Mineral (physical/Hope), Plant (Etheric/Love), Animal (Astral/Faith) thru the lens of our human/Angel being, in preparation for the rebirth of the Light,

These lectures were among the first attended by Dr. Friedrich Rittelmeyer – proof of the indications in these lectures that point to the great mysteries of destiny working in these encounters, which in this case led to the foundation of the Christian Community, 11 years later in 1922. One of the things that Steiner describes here is the connection between the altar & the tomb, which dovetails nicely with yesterday’s essay Beyond Death.

For me, making the mysteries of Karma conscious is an important part of the ‘Great Work’ calling to us today. If we treat this practical research as a Spiritual Science, we can gradually achieve, thru our own efforts, in freedom, the faculty for perceiving & putting into play the karmic adjustments – the compensating deeds, needed in our personal & social spheres. –

For the time is coming when new faculties will awaken in the human being – IF, as part of our inner development we take up what John the Baptist says by the Jordan: Change your state of soul.

The other important thing is that when we do this work, karmic perception births in us new insight, a new way of seeing, so that it becomes possible to engage with the etheric Christ as counselor & protector when we need guidance, or solace. To deveolp this new perception we need Faith, Love & Hope…

So besides all the wonderful exoteric qualities of Faith, which can seem to harken back to a more ancient, more simple morality, what are the more esoteric attributes?

What would it be like to live into the idea that Faith brings life-giving forces to the soul..?

Steiner gives us the picture that if we are incapable of faith – we become ‘withered – dried-up as the desert’. “Were people to lose all faith, they would soon see what it means for evolution. By losing the forces of faith they would be incapacitated, their very existence would be undermined by fear, worry, and anxiety.

To put it simply, it is through the forces of faith alone that we can receive the life which should well up to invigorate the soul…There lies in the hidden depths of our being something in which our true ego is embedded where the forces of faith are active. We may term it the ‘faith-soul’, or — as I prefer — the ‘faith-body’. It has also been given the more abstract name of ‘astral body’.

The most important forces of the astral body are those of faith, so the term astral body, and the term faith-body are equally justified.”

A 2nd force found in the hidden depths of our being – is the force expressed by the word ‘Love’.

Love is not only something wedding people together; it is also a force that is needed by us as individuals in order to be whole. “Love is a living force that stimulates something deep in our being, keeping it awake and alive — an even deeper force than faith. And just as we are cradled in a body of faith, which from another aspect can be called the astral body, so are we cradled also in a body of love, or, as in Spiritual Science we called it, the ‘etheric body’, the ‘body of life-forces’…the person, empty of love, would actually perish; they would meet with physical death.”

Interesting to think of the ‘etheric body’ as being the same as ‘the body of love’ & not as a force acting in the astral, which would have been my 1st guess.

“Duty becomes Love when we love the commands we give oneselves.” ~ Goethe.

When we do our duty with love, forces waken in our souls that will be especially needed in the 6th culture-epoch – when our etheric body is to be transformed into Life-Spirit.

Love provides a living foundation, which gives us confidence for the future – This is Hope. The forces of hope are connected with our last sheath – our physical body. It is in our physical existence that we need hope; without it our will is lamed.

Steiner mentions that a person who is unable to hope, will always be depressed about the future, & will go thru life with deadening forces clearly etched like deep wrinkles in their physical countenance.

So we see how this picture of the 3 virtues must come together in the human being: The ‘inmost kernel of our being’, our “I”, is sheathed in our ‘Faith-body’ or astral body, in our ‘body of Love’ or etheric sheath, & in our ‘Hope-body’ or physical body.  

In the next essay we will explore the connections of these virtues with our Karma.

Until soon


2 December 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”: Fresh off its conjunction with Jupiter on Thursday December 1st, today Bella Luna shines left of the bright planet in early evening, then upper left of it by 10 pm CST.

 Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day 

Holiday Market at the Rudolf Steiner Branch 
4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago
10 December 2022 – from 11 am – 4 pm

Handcrafted gifts, décor & toys
Featuring Live Music, Puppetry & Candle Dipping!!!

If you would like to be a vendor contact Elizabeth Kelly

Resurrection of the Temple (The first Goetheanum) by Rita de Cassia Perez, Adriana’s mother

The ‘Envy of the Gods’ – The ‘Envy of Human Beings’

Presented by Adriana Koulias*

A Winter Solstice offering preparing us for the Centennial commemoration of the burning of the first Goetheanum.

21 December 2022, at 5 pm PT, 6 pm MT, 7 pm CT, 8 pm ET

Here is a link to the World Clock for your time zone

Online & in-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago

Dear Friends – This special presentation is supported by your generous donations. $10-$50 or pay what you will (credit card or PayPal)

Please type ‘Adriana’ in the memo for your payment

To register & receive the Zoom code email your receipt of payment to the Cultural Events & Festivals Coordinator Hazel Archer-Ginsberg

For those attending in-person doors open at 5:30 pm for our Potluck meal. Please bring food & drink to share.

 Work on building the First Goetheanum, which was designed and supervised by Rudolf Steiner, began after the laying of the double dodecahedron foundation stone on the 20th of September 1913. Construction proceeded for a decade under enormous difficulties in the political, economic and cultural realms, brought on by the advent of the First World War. After the war when the building was near completion, the First Goetheanum was destroyed by an arsonist on New Year’s Eve 1922/1923.

This NYE 2022-23 will be the 100th anniversary of this event and the world is again facing many difficulties, political, economic and social.  Adriana’s lecture will explore what Rudolf Steiner meant by the ‘Envy of the Gods and the Envy of Human beings’ and how a consciousness of this during the coming 12 Holy Nights can provide the necessary strengthening for the coming twelve months.

During this presentation Adriana will speak about the three gifts given by Rudolf Steiner in 1913: The naming of Anthroposophy, The Fifth Gospel, and The Laying of the Foundation Stone of the First Goetheanum. She will explore with us how we can link our hearts to the old Goetheanum during the coming 12 Holy Nights to prepare ourselves for the coming 12 months in 2023, so we can work towards a Cosmic New Year.

In this way we will celebrate the Jubilee of the Christmas Conference and the resurrection of the living impulse of the First Goetheanum in the most auspicious way.

For Rudolf Steiner tells us: ‘My dear friends, may this link our hearts to the old Goetheanum which we had to consign to the elements. May it link our hearts also to the Spirit, to the Soul of this Goetheanum. With this vow before whatever is best within our being we want to live on not only into the new year. In strength of deed, bearing the spirit, leading the soul we want to live on into the new cosmic year.’ ~Rudolf Steiner, ‘The Envy of the Gods and the Envy of Human Beings.’

Adriana Koulias was born in 1960 in Brazil. Adriana moved to Australia when she was 9 years old where she lives today. She has studied art, operatic singing and nursing.  She has been studying Anthroposophy (awareness of our humanity) as given by Rudolf Steiner for 33 years and has since 2002-3 integrated this knowledge into several novels and a number of books, international lectures and articles online and in magazines.

18 thoughts on “Sheaths of Virtue

  1. Hazel, you wrote:

    “For me, making the mysteries of Karma conscious is an important part of the ‘Great Work’ calling to us today. If we treat this practical research as a Spiritual Science, we can gradually achieve, thru our own efforts, in freedom, the faculty for perceiving & putting into play the karmic adjustments – the compensating deeds, needed in our personal & social spheres. –”

    These words are so true, and this process is really a Virtue in itself. For we can make contact with the Dead as long as they are still in Kama loca. Thus, every 10:10 thought seed serves to be a communication with those still in the Moon sphere after death going through their biography review. Only when the Astral Body dissolves after completing Kama loca do we lose contact as they enter the spheres where new Karma is formed, beginning with Mercury. Steiner gives an introduction to the Karmic Relationships here in a lecture concerning what it means to meet the so-called “Moon Dwellers” who play such an important part in both unloading our karmic baggage, and then later, upon return, how best to prepare to carry out our new Karma through the mother and father that conceive our next life on Earth.

    Also, here, in The Dead Are With Us, one can learn to speak effectively in a way that is almost like a school. As Socrates is known for saying, “Virtue can be taught”.

      1. I do believe they appreciate the goodwill, sincerity, fire, and enthusiasm that wants to help and be helped. Anthroposophical Virtues.

          1. Those dear departed souls going through Kama loca. They are in a position to listen and respond just as we do when we sleep.

    1. I do wonder why, in regards to Karma, is it an occult rule to not know or disclose past lives. Where did that come from, or originate? Does that kind of seem odd, given someone as Pythagoras (for instance) revealed who he was in past lives, but now it is a different situation? Is this part of the ’caused harm’ reason? Or is this simply a case that there are many people who claim to be the same person? Or more importantly, not disclosing anything or being hung up on ‘past’ incarnations, for it would detrimental for the individual to live ‘their’ full purpose here in this life?

      I just wonder why this is an occult rule, given that Anthroposophy has much emphasis on redeeming karma, remembering our origins (past lives), yet, this is a highly delicate manner.

      1. Hi Kyle – All the reasons you state are important, & show that understanding karma takes a certain soul mood that is morally motivated.

        But in truth that occult law does not apply to our present age.
        Everything changed when the veil to the spiritual world lifted at the end of the Kali Yuga & with the advent of the New Michael Age.

        Steiner knew this, that was his core mission, but it was hard for many of the older Anthro’s to get past the admonition that they had lived with for so long.
        This also got Steiner into trouble with the old guard who wanted to hold the mysteries to themselves out of controling selfish reasons.

        So yes, it is a highly delicate matter that must be soberly approached so that healing & a true karmic compensation can occur.

        1. What Steiner conducted as his “core mission” was no less than the beginning of the Saturn Oracle. As such, a kind of cosmic memory link with what actually began on Ancient Saturn. Thus, Steiner was compelled to reveal past lives in a specifically concentrated set of lectures which were designed to open up the whole concept for our personal participation. Yet, even so, we must maintain our integrity. This is all related to the future faculty for self-remembering, which is owing to Michael, and revealed here:

          “In the present epoch of human life a delicate organ is being developed in man. It is not perceptible to anatomists and physiologists, yet it exists as an anatomical structure. This rudimentary organ is situated in the brain, near the organ of speech.

          The development of this organ in the convolutions of the brain is not the result of the karma of individual souls but of human evolution as a whole on the earth; and in the future all men will possess it, no matter what the development of the souls incarnating in the bodies may be, and irrespective of the karma connected with these souls.

          In a future incarnation this organ will be possessed by human beings who at the present time may be opposed to Anthroposophy as well as by those who are now in sympathy with it. This organ will in future time be the physical means, the physical instrument, for the application of certain powers of the soul; just as, for example, Broca’s organ in the third convolution of the brain is the organ of the human faculty of speech.

          When this new organ has developed it may either be used rightly by mankind, or it may not. Those people will be able to use it rightly who are now preparing the possibility of having in their next incarnation a true remembrance of the present one. For this physical organ will be the physical means for remembering an earlier incarnation — which in the case of by far the greater majority of people is possible now only through higher development, through Initiation. But a faculty which in the present epoch it would be possible to acquire only through Initiation will later on become the common property of mankind. Our modern knowledge was formerly the special knowledge possessed by the Atlantean Initiates only; everyone can now possess it. In the same way, remembrance of former lives on earth is possible at present only for Initiates but in times to come it will be possible for every human soul.

          The Initiate is able to attain certain knowledge without the use of a physical organ, but this knowledge can become the common property of mankind only when a physical organ through which it can be acquired is developed in mankind as a whole in the course of evolution.

          The reincarnated souls must, however, be able to use this organ in the right way and only those who in the present incarnation have inscribed occult thoughts and ideas in the Akasha-substance will be capable of this.

          One often hears it asked: What is the use of believing in former lives when mankind in general can remember nothing about them? But from what is known of life, how much more surprising it would be if men in general were even now able to remember their former lives. If we ask ourselves what is necessary to enable us to remember anything, we shall have to reply: We can remember only that about which we have previously thought.

          Everyday life can teach us that this is so. Suppose someone on getting up in the morning cannot find his cuff-links, no matter where he looks. Why is he not able to find them? Because while he was putting them away he was not thinking of what he was doing. Let him, however, try every evening while putting his links away to think quite consciously: I am putting my cuff-links away in this place. Then he will never be uncertain but will go straight to the place where he has put them; the thought brings the process back into his memory.

          When we are living in a future incarnation we shall only be able to remember those that are past if we can grasp the true nature of the soul which continues from one incarnation to another. A man who does not study occult science in the present life can acquire no knowledge of the constitution and nature of the soul, and if he has no such knowledge, how should he, when he is again incarnated, remember that to which he never gave a thought in the earlier incarnation?

          Through the study of Spiritual Science, which includes, among other things, the study of the intrinsic nature of the soul, we prepare in ourselves that which will enable us in a future incarnation to remember what happened in the present one. There are, however, many people nowadays who are not willing to devote themselves to the study of this knowledge. These human beings will be reborn, perhaps in their next incarnation, with the above-mentioned organ for the remembrance of former lives physically developed; but they have not prepared themselves in such a way as to be able to remember the past”.

          1. I am interested to know more about the past lives of Pythagoras. I did not know that he made them known, as Kyle has indicated. I have studied Pythagoras some, and he is a very important figure for the Greek epoch. He was inspired, and thus compelled to go to the east in much the same way that Gilgamesh was compelled to go to the west. Thus, the difference in timeframes is about 2160 years between the earlier Gilgamesh and Pythagoras, who went east to the town just south of Uruk, which is Ur of Chaldea. Therein, he met Zarathas, who was the Mystery teacher in the Book of Daniel, and was himself taught and initiated along with several famous Sons of Israel. Then, he returned home, and on the way back to Samos, stopped off at Ephesus, where a Mystery existed that we have often discussed, whose leader was Heraclitus. In the literature on Heraclitus, he was well informed about Pythagoras. Steiner spoke about these things but never revealed any past lives that I know of. He would eventually go to Croton, which is a town in southern Italy, and developed his Pythagorean doctrines, which were passed on to Philolaus, his successor. At least two massacres occurred in the attempt to wipe out the ideas of Pythagoras; ideas that are fully accepted today and have helped shape our world perspective. You see, before the faculty of deductive reasoning was established, people lived in their Sentient Souls, and thus theories about numbers, and octaves, and geometric relationships was considered evil. So, the Sentients tried to wipe out Pythagoras, and then Philolaus.

            The past lives I would like to hear about. I am old, but young and enthusiastic in hearing about the stuff of past lives.

          2. So the moral of the story here is: be conscious of where you put your cuff-links when you set them down!

            Well, I do remember this conversation happening not long ago. Where part of the goal to ‘remember’ our past lives in a future incarnation is to plant that seed now. Joking aside, it is an elaborate form of remembering where you put your cuff-links. Having such ‘thought’ put into our present incarnation, surely one will be able to pick up on that eventually in a later incarnation when we have the ‘organ’ to do so, and to do so with less effort as now – which is more reserved to an Initiation, I gather. As you put Steve, maintaining that integrity is important. If one is too speculative and is under the illusion they are someone who they actually are not, then it would have consequences on their own unique individual purpose in their present incarnation.

            It does make sense that Pythagoras ‘would’ remember his previous lives. I don’t think it is a matter of speculation that he was an Initiate during his incarnation as Pythagoras.

              1. This future faculty for self remembering that is already in development is definitely a factor in the sense that some people have of leading a double life; the dual nature of Goethe, for example, which Steiner often referred to. Others who displayed similar angst of a past life, or lives, encroaching on the present incarnation were Nietzsche, Strindberg, and Soloviev. With regard to Pythagoras and Philolaus, it is the future that matters. They did not live at the same time, but would in a later incarnation when they were side by side for the sake of destiny. The destiny of the Russian Folk Soul.

      2. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26.

        There’s no limit to the “all things” that Spirit can bring to our remembrance; only the limit we ourselves place on what’s brought to remembrance. As far as the occult rule you mention, I wonder if it isn’t for our benefit? What I mean is that we have enough of a challenge mastering our egos without telling everyone our past lives — because you know we’d be telling everyone about our good lives and not the bad ones.

        Here’s why I’m saying this — our past lives on Earth produce our deepest emotions; not talking about our feelings, our sympathies and antipathies, but talking here about our emotions, emotions which reside in our subconscious minds. Steiner tells us that our solar plexus is the seat of our emotions, and also that it’s the nerves in the solar plexus that keep our ego in confinement; he says that were we to lose that mastery, even if it’s through an injury to that area of our body, our ego could be released from its confinement, and play havoc in our lives. I can think of a few people, and I’m sure you can too, who’ve lost that mastery, and whose lives are being destroyed by the freedom from confinement their egos have achieved. So it’s probably best that we are only given a few of our past lives, just the ones that are helpful for us to know of in order to make the most of our present experience.

        1. Of course, we need to maintain integrity of past life indications, and Steiner is a good example of refraining from doing so, although there are many hints given in an early lecture-course wherein he forecasts the need to rebuild the Temple of Solomon on the modern lines indicated by Spiritual Science. This is why he refers to Hiram Abiff so often in GA 93, “The Temple Legend”. Nowhere else does he do so. As well, he indicates his awareness of the first identifiable naming of an incarnation of Christian Rosenkreutz. This is Saint Germain of the 18th century, who died on February 27, 1784, exactly 77 years before the birth of Rudolf Steiner. Thus, Steiner felt more free to reveal hints of his past lives while he was still largely unknown. Later, as his fame grew, he had to defer more to the issues of karma and reincarnation as evolutionary facts. Yet, we know he designed and built the Johannesbau, which got renamed as the Goetheanum in 1917 for the sake of its intended protection. This was meant to be the Temple Rebuilt.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful message, and thanks Steve for suggesting it. And I do so appreciate that Goethe quote on the relationship between Love and the commandments we give ourselves; so much Truth in this statement, Truth that I need to assimilate.

  3. Many thanks for your wise reflections, I have been reading them for a long time and they always inspire me to look deeper.
    For today’s entry I would like to suggest a tweek of the translation
    “… their very existence would be undermined by fear, worry (not care), and anxiety. “Sorge” can indeed mean both, in this case ‘care’ seems to be misleading. Thanks for reading and continued right progress to us all. Warmly,Margarete

    1. Greetings Margarete – Thanks for being on this journey.
      I appreciate your help with the translation; it’s always tricky trying to find the right words for these things. Blessings of the Season

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