Death as Metamorphosis of Life
Including “What Does the Angel Do in Our Astral Body?” & “How Do I Find Christ?” (CW 182)
7 Lectures, various cities, Nov. 29, 1917–Oct. 16, 1918 (CW 182)
“In our reflections on spiritual science, we come across much that we apparently cannot apply directly in our daily life, much that seems far removed from our everyday life. In reality, however, what we learn about the mysteries of the spiritual world is always, in every hour and every moment, deeply significant for our soul. What seems to us far removed from our personal concerns is at times very close to what our soul in its innermost core needs. As far as the physical-sensory world in concerned, it is important that we become familiar with it and know what it contains. Where the spiritual world is concerned, what matters primarily is to think through carefully for ourselves all the thoughts and imaginations that world offers us. When we do this, these thoughts work in our soul, often without our being conscious of this. What our soul is working on in this process may seem irrelevant for us, but in reality, it can be very important and exactly what is needed for the higher spheres of our soul.” —Rudolf Steiner
The lectures in Death as Metamorphosis of Life address us in our soul life and speak to our hearts. They make clear the bond that must unite our inner, spiritual work and the outer work of manifesting spirit in life. For, if spiritual wisdom does not live and grow as a reality in the souls of those who practice it, then the practical wisdom of service called for by the spirit of the times will come to nothing.
The particular realities that Rudolf Steiner focuses on are twofold: working with the dead (and the spiritual hierarchies) and coming to know the Christ. What these two have in common is that they are both Earth-centered. They teach us the fundamental importance of everyday human destiny and earthly life—not just for humanity, but also for divinity and the cosmos. We learn not only what the dead can teach us about the spiritual world and the working of the hierarchies, but also what it means to be human in a spiritual sense. We learn of the importance of working with the dead and the angelic worlds, both for our own and for their development, as well as for the future evolution of the Earth.
The Mystery of Golgotha is equally important; we must understand it spiritually. As Steiner says, “It is the will of the gods that the most important event on Earth must compel us to spirituality.” The Christ must be experienced inwardly, not historically. At the same time, he must be found on Earth—for instance, in human destiny. The more we become aware of what is secretly, invisibly, and unconsciously working in our lives, the closer we will come to working with the dead and to the kingdom of Christ.
How can we find the Christ? Steiner quotes the seventeenth-century mystic, Angelus Silesius: “The Cross on Golgotha cannot save you from evil if it is not also raised within you.”
Death as Metamorphosis of Life is translated for the first time in its entirety from the German of Der Tod als Lebenswandlung (GA 182). Individual lectures have appeared in Angels: Selected Lectures; Evil: Selected Lectures; and Staying Connected.