An Outline of Esoteric Science ( Occult Science )
Review © (2004) by interesting-books-selector.com
What Rudolf Steiner writes in "An Outline of Esoteric Science" (available free online: "Occult Science") in 1909 matches pretty much the Tibetan Buddhism. After explaining the development of the world and man, Steiner outlines the basics in attainment of the higher world (initiation) which does not require ascetic life nor any other deprivations of natural human life. Even if you believe that the first part of the book (until the main chapter about initiation) is science fiction, the chapter about initiation which comprises 25% of the book is convincingly close to Buddhism. In contrast to Buddhism, Steiner's undogmatic teaching is much more concise by cristalizing the essential and even unifying Buddhism with Christinanism while using a clearly defined vocabulary without resorting to strange Tibetan or Indian words found so often in Buddhist literature. Since Steiner does not hide any detail of the initiation process, critics condemned him for betrayal of mystics. (This alone should be enough motivation to read the "Occult Science".) Nevertheless, it is recommended to read RS's "The Philosophy of Freedom" (1894) before "Occult Science".
"[L]et a person consider again the symbol of the rose cross. If he ponders upon this symbol he has an image before him, the parts of which have been taken from the impressions of the sense world: the black color of the cross, the roses, and so forth. The combining of these parts into a rose cross has not been taken from the physical sense world. If now the student of the spirit attempts to let the black cross and also the red roses as pictures of sense realities disappear entirely from his consciousness and only to retain in his soul the spiritual activity that has combined these parts, then he has a means for meditation that leads him by degrees to inspiration."
"His first encounter with the Rosicrucian stream may have been through Goethe's unfinished tale "Die Geheimnisse" [The secrets] where Goethe poses the question: "Who put the roses onto the cross?"
-- quote from The Mission of Rudolf Steiner by Dr. Ernst Katz, Nov-2004
The Rose Cross meditation
"We contemplate how, according to his feelings and his will, he is able to move about hither and thither, while the plant is chained to the earth. Furthermore we say that the human being is indeed more perfect than the plant, but he also shows peculiarities that are not to be found in the plant. Just because of their nonexistence in the plant the latter may appear to me in a certain sense more perfect than the human being who is filled with desire and passion and follows them in his conduct. I may speak of his being led astray by his desires and passions. I see that the plant follows the pure laws of growth from leaf to leaf, that it opens its blossom passionlessly to the chaste rays of the sun.
Furthermore, I may say to myself that the human being has a greater perfection than the plant, but he has purchased this perfection at the price of permitting instincts, desires, and passions to enter into his nature besides the forces of the plant, which appear pure to us. I now visualize how the green sap flows through the plant and that it is an expression of the pure, passionless laws of growth. I then visualize how the red blood flows through the human veins and how it is the expression of the instincts, desires, and passions. All this I permit to arise in my soul as vivid thought. Then I visualize further how the human being is capable of evolution; how he may purify and cleanse his instincts and passions through his higher soul powers.
I visualize how, as a result of this, something base in these instincts and desires is destroyed and how the latter are reborn upon a higher plane. Then the blood may be conceived of as the expression of the purified and cleansed instincts and passions. In my thoughts I look now, for example, upon the rose and say, In the red rose petal I see the color of the green plant sap transformed into red, and the red rose, like the green leaf, follows the pure, passionless laws of growth. The red of the rose may now become the symbol of a blood that is the expression of purified instincts and passions that have stripped off all that is base, and in their purity resemble the forces active in the red rose. I now seek not merely to imbue my intellect with such thoughts but to bring them to life in my feelings. I may have a feeling of bliss when I think of the purity and passionlessness of the growing plant; I can produce within myself the feeling of how certain higher perfections must be purchased through the acquirement of instincts and desires.
This can then transform the feeling of bliss, which I have felt previously, into a grave feeling; and then a feeling of liberating joy may stir in me when I surrender myself to the thought of the red blood which, like the red sap of the rose, may become the bearer of inwardly pure experiences. It is of importance that we do not without feeling confront the thoughts that serve to construct such a symbolic visualization. After we have pondered on such thoughts and feelings for a time, we are to transform them into the following symbolic visualization. We visualize a black cross. Let this be the symbol of the destroyed base elements of instincts and passions, and at the center, where the arms of the cross intersect, let us visualize seven red, radiant roses arranged in a circle.
Let these roses be the symbol of a blood that is the expression of purified, cleansed passions and instincts. Such a symbolic visualization should be called forth in the soul in the way illustrated above through a visualized memory image. Such a visualization has a soul-awakening power if we surrender ourselves to it in inward meditation.
We must seek to exclude all other thoughts during meditation.
Only the characterized symbol is to hover in spirit before the soul as intensely as possible. - It is not without significance that this symbol is not simply given here as an awakening visualized picture, but that it has first been constructed by means of certain thoughts about plant and man. For the effect of such a symbol depends upon the fact of its having been constructed in the way described before it is employed in inner meditation. If we visualize the symbol without first having fashioned it in our own souls, it remains cold and much less effective than when it has received, through preparation, its soul-illuminating power.
During meditation, however, we should not call forth in the soul all the preparatory thoughts, but merely let the visualized picture hover vividly before our inner eye, at the same time letting the feeling hold sway that has appeared as a result of the preparatory thoughts. Thus the symbol becomes a token alongside the feeling-experience, and its effectiveness lies in the dwelling of the soul in this inner experience. The longer we are able to dwell in it without the intervention of other, disturbing, thoughts, the more effective is the entire process. It is well, nevertheless, for us, outside the period dedicated to the actual meditation itself, to repeat the construction of the symbol by means of thoughts and feelings of the above described kind, so that the experience may not fade away. The more patience we exercise in this renewal, the more significant is the symbol for the soul."
-- quote from Occult Science (without footnote)
All images © (2005) by nilum.com
"The rose cross meditation described in Steiner's "Occult Science" also has 2 stages. In the second (Inspiration) stage the hard won living pictures of the first (Imagination) stage have to be sacrificed and washed away before the new experience sounds through us, when not mental pictures but pure concepts supply the ground above which one builds."