Karmic Relationships 2: Esoteric Studies by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Steiner studies lives like Goethe studied plants. He sees the Ur-person:
"In these investigations it may be more important to observe a man's gestures or some habitual mannerism than to consider what he has achieved perhaps as a figure of renown. The mannerisms of a person, or the way he will invariably answer you — not so much what he answers but how he answers — whether, for example, his first tendency is always to be negative and only when he has no other alternative, to agree, or whether again in quite a good-humoured way he is rather boastful ... these are the kind of traits that are important and if we pay special attention to them they become the centre of our observations and disclose a great deal. One observes, for instance, how a man stretches out his hand to take hold of things; one makes an objective picture of it and then works upon it in the manner of an artist; and at length one finds that it is no longer the mere gesture that one is contemplating, but around the gesture the figure of another human being takes shape. The following may happen. — There are men who have a habit, let us say, of making a certain movement of the arms. I have known men who simply could not begin to do anything without first folding their arms. If one visualises such a gesture quite objectively, but with inner, artistic feeling, so that it stands before one as a plastic, pliable form, then one's attention is directed away from the man who is actually making the gesture. But the gesture does not remain as it is; it grows into another figure which is an indication, at least, of something in the previous incarnation or in the one before that. It may well be that the gesture is now used in connection with something that was not present at all in the previous incarnation — let us say it is a gesture used in picking up a book, or some similar action. Nevertheless, it is for gestures and habits of this kind that we must have an eye if we are to keep on the right track."
Some other cool insights:
- If you ponder a lot, you'll be thin and delicately built in the next life. If you think a lot, you'll have great skin.
- Spotted skin, freckles, or some other kind of skin impurity means that there was not very much thinking in the past life.
- If a person's upper trunk is longer than the lower trunk both passed through the spiritual world before life quickly and need little sleep (which are parallel). On the contrary, a long lower trunk and a short upper trunk means that you passed through the last life slowly and need more sleep.
- Those who ascend very high in the spiritual world after death will "eat to live" in the next life. Those who don't go do high will "live to eat."
- Those who laugh at everything, even serious things, he went through their past life without paying attention, half-asleep, as it were. Those who are more serious led their lives to good purpose.
These parallel Swedenborgian correspondences very strongly: skin corresponds to everyday thought (memory-knowledges), the stomach to the purgatory-like world of spirits, and laughter corresponds to permeability in thought. You can imagine Swedenborg describing those in the spiritual world receiving the kinds of bodies there that Steiner says they will receive in their next life. This is not insignificant, especially considering that everything trickles down.
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