To continue our discussion of fairy tales, today we’ll work with the theme of the gemut as a kind of central motif in the problem of initiation. This theme centers on the relationship between day-waking consciousness and dreaming consciousness. There is a threshold between these two states of consciousness that is permeable and fluctuating, but it has to be approached consciously by a person who wishes to have a second birth. If one does not wish to have a second birth, then one is in the threshold unconsciously. And when one is in that space unconsciously, one is like an animal in that an animal in its instincts and urges is living a dream of the creative beings. This is what we would call instinct or social patterns, such as the social life of bees or ants.
The social life of ants or bees is very wise because it is still in the hands of the hierarchies that have created it. A bee or an ant cannot violate instinct because it still is being dreamt, so to speak, by the hierarchies. And the creatures living in the dreaming are simply images of that dream.
The part of a human being that is caught up in urges and instinctual patterns is the gemut. That part of the human is still caught in the dreaming of the hierarchies, and we would call that nature. But there is another part of the human that is not designated as part of the dreaming of the hierarchies, and that is the free part. And what the human is free to do is to awaken in the dream and realize that it is a dream. We are free to awaken in our dreaming and when we do that, we are giving rise to the spirit embryo.
If you watch a dog eat, you know all about gemut: “I love it; I love my food.” Go to the lion house and watch the zoo keeper throw the steak in. At the lowest level, that is gemut. The lion does not ponder the moral relationships of the horse that had to die so the meat could be there. The lion has no gratitude because it is just doing what it was designed to do; it cannot separate from that. It is simply satisfying an urge that the hierarchies built into it.
But a human has the potential to look at his own instinctual patterns and drives and to observe his own dreaming. And when a human observes him or herself dreaming, there is an awakening in a place where there would normally be dreaming. And the gemut starts to express gratitude for the creation because there is a seed of freedom in us as humans. This is what in the ancient world was called “the pearl of great price”. In the fairy tale, we have the pearls of the princess. But are they just jewelry? And why are they pearls?
Audience: Pearls have layers and start with a grain of sand that is irritating
Yes, irritation. So what you just saw in the puppet show is what I would call a mood motif of the dream. This underlies the work of using fairytales in a therapeutic or pedagogical way to correct your students’ difficulties. You must have the capacity to find the appropriate mood motif and apply it to what we could call the life gesture.
Audience: And the pearl is also under water.
That’s right, and here is where we come to science in the kindergarten. You should know why there is a duck in this fairy tale. There is a duck because something in the life of a duck is similar to the life of an oyster, and that is the ‘squeeze.’ Every living thing has a squeeze. And a living thing responds to the squeeze with its whole being. The squeeze for the oyster is that it has a lining in its shell, and that lining is actually a lung. And when the oyster “eats,” the lung secretes mucus just as our lung does. (Our respiratory tract has little hairs in it that move the mucus around. When you get a tickle, it means the hairs have mucus on them, and the nerves sense that the mucus is pulling the hairs, and you cought.)
Well, the hairs in the oyster are moving the mucus so that the mucus is pushed through the lung and into the stomach. For an oyster, breathing and eating are one and the same. But every once in a while, a particle that is not supposed to get in becomes stuck in the mucus of the lung. And the oyster cannot cough it out, so it surrounds it with a little layer of mucus, and the mucus is touched by the sea water and solidifies. These stuck particles have carbon in them from the respiration of the oyster. That carbon meets the calcium in the sea water, and that forms calcium carbonate, which traps a little bit of water. Then another layer of mucus solidifies and traps another layer of water, and those layers of water, trapped and then solidified, begin to give it a beautiful shine. And we call that a pearl.
So the oyster is overcoming an irritant. It does so in what we could call a moon-like way: it simply repeats tides of secretion and non-secretion. We can also see this in the shell of the oyster which reflects the breathing rhythms of this organism.
So the oyster is trapped in its own drama, its own breath- just as a human is trapped in his own belief structures. If a human secretes in reaction to an irritation, we call it a mood. So there is a mood, and hopefully over time, the irritation becomes a source of understanding, a pearl of wisdom. We have in us these pearls of wisdom from our own suffering and irritation that we have overcome.
The princess has many of these. And when the princess, the expectant part of the soul, has pearls that become unstrung and lost in the forest, it means that the thinking process surrounding these irritations has not been gestalted into understanding. The thoughts are just random bits of irritation. There is one over here and one over there, thousands of them strewn about on the forest floor. What we need is a hero to come and collect them and say, “Princess, here they are”. But if the hero does not collect them, the hero is turned to stone. And stone is a code word for what we would call a “fixed belief” or “my truth”.
My truth is carved in stone. End of conversation. And the little grey man, who is an agent of the hierarchies says, “I am going to put you in contact with this soul to always remind it that everything it thinks is wrong.” When the soul finally matures, it will be able to integrate the message of the little grey man who lives in the castle. The castle is the physical body. The physical body is a beautiful castle, but in it are all of these stones. And in the realm of metanoia, in the realm of thinking, the irritation consists of all the beliefs that we have not fully thought through. These are usually based on emotional responses that we are not in contact with.
And those forces come to visit us in dreams. You dream about something because you need to work it out; that is what you are working on. Those are usually your fixed ideas. So if you want to go into the realm where you have to deal with the “pearls of the princess”, the hero has to go and find them and put them into some context. The finding of pearls is a mood motif. So if we go back to the mood motif of the oyster, it is: “I am in the water, and I am dealing with this and something is irritating me, so I am going to cover it with mucus.” And the temperament of that is sanguine.
Rudolf Steiner connects the temperaments with different organs, and that is really what is behind the fairytales. Joseph Campbell said, “A myth is two organs of the body having an argument.” That is a beautiful description. And a fairytale is the same. So when you are working with a fairytale, you always want to ask yourself, “What is the mood motif of each character?”
And a good way to do that is to form what is known as a character arc. It sounds a bit analytical, but when you are trying to learn a new fairytale, it helps a great deal to do a character arc for each person. A character arc goes something like this:
In the narrative, a character is at a certain point, and then the squeeze comes, and the character goes here or there, and then the crisis happens and the character moves. How the character moves is called the arc. In a good story, the hero goes through an arc, so that in the end we know that the character has had transcendence.
Now I want to try to weave into this work some parallel relationship exercises. In teaching, the children are the cream; the parents are the work; and the colleagues are hell. And how we speak and listen to each other is a fairytale, a drama. So we are going to write in a journal. I am going to ask you to draw a character arc for the princess, the simpleton and the two brothers (who will become one character because they parallel one another). A character arc is like a melody. So you would draw these three character arcs, and then share them with a partner.
Then your partner will form two questions about your character arc. And when your partner asks you those questions, I want you to monitor your gemut. You would do that by asking yourself what mood arises in you when the questions are asked. A good way to do this is to find something in nature that reminds you of this mood. Write that down; don’t share it with anyone. This journal is just for you. When you draw the character arc that you will share, that’s on one sheet of paper that you will share. And then when the questions begin, on another piece of paper you are going to journal images that seem to have a mood, an image from nature: a thunder storm, a sunny day, a fog, or an animal.
If you learn to do this, then fairytales begin to speak to you at another level. You can identify in yourself a feeling and then find an image in the natural world that feels that way. Then the fairytale is healing you. And then when you bring that to your students, it is based on experience, rather than dogma. That’s what we want.
So if you can find in your own inner experience the feeling of this image, and then you recognize this in the child, then the child’s angel will understand that because you are not reading it in abstract and trying to apply it. You are bringing it out of the genius of your own gemut. That is what I am trying to bring to you. If your teaching comes out of your own inner life, it is much more potent. It will be guided by your angel to the destiny of the child because there is karma between you and the child.
So the task is to draw a character arc for the youngest daughter (the princess), the simpleton and the two brothers (combined). Draw three character arcs. Then I’ll ask you to share those with a partner. Then your partner will ask you two questions about the character arcs. Then listen and in your journal find a symbolic picture for the mood that arises. Are there any questions about this exercise?
Audience: Can you explain the character arc? I’m not sure that I’ve got it.
My arc for a character may be different from your character arc because I am asking you to use your own biography to determine what process a character went through. What process did the two brothers go through? What emotional process did the princess go through? My character arc may be very different from yours, and therein hangs the tale. You are going to draw an arc for simpleton, and your partner is going to look at it and say, “Hmm.” And your mood will be, “What do you mean, ‘Hmm’”? And there you have faculty meetings.
So the issue is that my character arc for simpleton may be in another universe from your character arc for simpleton. That is fine when we have metanoia. In that case, if the character arcs are different, we have initiation. The difference between drama and initiation is self awareness. A person whose life is difficult and who is being initiated is willing to stay in the kitchen even when the heat is bad because they understand that it is going somewhere. Another person who has the same difficulty is asking, “Why is god giving me this”? The difference lies in how many times they have crossed the threshold. If you have crossed the threshold a lot, the problem looks different. If you haven’t ever crossed, you are still a virgin soul. If you have crossed, and its seven years later and the honeymoon is over, you can handle it because you have different motives. That’s initiation.
Audience: But you can go across the threshold and be asleep!
You always have to be asleep on the other side of the threshold. The question is, can you be awake when you are asleep? That’s when the little bells start ringing, telling you to pay attention because there is a shift in consciousness. Yesterday, when we played the bells during the puppet show, the timing was perfect because that was when there was a shift in consciousness for simpleton. If only God had given us a little bell that would say, “Be conscious now.” And we could say, “Oh, thank you.” But this time, you have to make the bell.
So we are asleep, but the question is, can we be awake when we are asleep? That is initiation. That is the work on the gemut. We are totally asleep in the gemut until we awaken in it, and then it becomes compassion. When I am awake in my dreams, I am compassionate in the suffering. When I am not awake in my dreams, the suffering is distasteful. The difference is how many times I have been awake in the dream. The fairytale gives me an opportunity to explore the dream, while awake. I just have to understand the mood motif. So the character arc is a sketch of how I think the mood of the character has changed in this story. And my arc may be very different from yours.
We could also name these “the blame level” and “the mature level.” Anytime you are at the “blame and shame level,” you lose. At the mature level, you can still eat the duck, but you then bless it and thank it. What is the difference? To the spiritual duck being, the difference is huge.
Audience: How does the transcendence of simpleton restore the humanness of the stone brothers, and where is the gratitude?
That is a good question and that is part of your character arc for simpleton.
Audience: But I mean for the brothers?
These characters all represent one person. It is not male or female. It is an archetype. Each character represents a different mood. So I want to understand the mood motif of this particular story. The mood motif is about a gesture of becoming. The gesture of becoming an oyster has one mood to it. The gestures of becoming a stone or a duck or a bee all have different moods. What are the ants and what is their mood motif? That is the question.
Here is an example of the exercise: I show you my character arc for simpleton. And you say, “Huh”? And I ask, “Why are you saying, ‘Huh’?” And that is what flows between people in meetings. We need to heal that, because if you don’t heal it, we are not going anywhere. Kindergarten teachers are the funnel, the threshold. Your relationship to parents decides whether or not they are going to sign up for eight years. You can have capital campaigns to build a new high school, but if you don’t take care of the kindergarten, you’re just wasting your time.
The Waldorf movement is at a maturation point where this is how the energy is flowing. That is why I am bringing this work. I live it every day because my dear wife is a kindergarten teacher, and I am a fly on the wall. Many schools are going through this. In my estimation, the kindergarten teachers are put in the most difficult position of all the teachers because they are the door into the Waldorf movement.
Audience: I have just sat through forty hours of meetings, and that is exactly what happens.
So to heal that, I have to be able to track my own moods as you ask me questions about what I believe. I have to be grateful to you for helping me to change my thinking. When I am grateful, I can listen to your question in silence. I don’t have to agree with it, but I have to listen in silence.
Audience: Please define silence.
Silence means I’m not loading my cannon with my favorite answer. It means I may have an answer. It’s not saying yes to whatever you say, because that’s against freedom. It is saying, “This is my answer; there is your answer.”
In the fairytale, the ants, the bees and the ducks – what do they exhibit towards the third son? It is the great healing. That is what the tale is about. I am trying to make a bridge between the social work we need to do with each other and within our own selves. You cannot control the other person’s reaction; the only thing you can control is your own response to the reaction.
The only way you can control that is to see it. That is the function of the little grey man. It is to knock on the door, and there is Michael. He does not say anything; he is just pointing the way. Then you have to decide whether to do it.
So the character arc that you draw is a sketch of how you think these characters have grown from blame to maturity- or not. So share that with a partner who will form two questions about your character arc, asking about things they don’t understand. I know that is difficult in the kindergarten, where everything is supposed to be hunky dory, but sometimes it is has to be done. So now we practice learning how to ask questions without blaming. The way to ask questions without blaming is to say, “I don’t understand this part.”
Audience: Hunky dory for whom?
An example: I’m finding it difficult to come to school in the morning because my colleague is always twenty minutes late. I think we should be there together for the verse without bringing the parking lot into the circle. But my colleague doesn’t want to do that or cannot do that. So I form questions around that. So I might say, “I have this need to understand this, but I’m not okay with it, and if it is not okay, then I am bad.”
So there should be a way for people to cooperate and work with each other to form a question without going into blame. So we could share mood motifs. My inner feeling reminds me of a train wreck, or a Ben and Jerry’s sundae. What is that mood? If we can speak the symbolic language: “I’m feeling like the second son this morning,” that symbolic language can be very useful because it is so archetypal. It is the deeper reality in which we can penetrate into the dream.
And if the language can meet that, you might even be subtle enough to choose a pedagogical story for a colleague. But it would mean that you would have to be in touch with much deeper levels of feelings in yourself. That is what is behind the idea of drawing a character arc. It is the beginning of understanding how this moves you. How do you perceive this movement? You give those arcs to a partner, and the partner will ask you two questions. And the right language for the question is, “I don’t understand this, can you help me?” That invites your partner into the mature response instead of the blaming response.
So, make a character arc for the third daughter, the third son and the first two brothers…
(Lecture continues after the audience does this exercise.)
If you read a lot of the spiritual work that is being done today, there is very little distinction between soul and the spirit; spirit and soul are synonymous. But in Rudolf Steiner’s work they are not synonymous. As I get older, I am invited to larger venues with people outside the anthroposophical movement, and there is great confusion between the soul and the spirit. So I’d like to bring this diagram as a picture of how to understand the difference because it is very critical if you wish to make sense of nursery rhymes, stories, and fairy tales.
According to Rudolf Steiner, we are all crossing the threshold now, en masse, whether we want to or not. And that makes a difference in whether you consider yourself mostly physical with a bit of soul fabric, a soul with some spirit sort of added in, or an actual soul with a spirit in definite relationship to the soul. I’d like to go over this briefly so that we can understand what this threshold is and what the little grey man has to do with it and why the new man, the third son, has such a daunting task.
In the movie, The Matrix, this is Neo, the new one. And Neo, in the beginning of the movie, is sort of falling asleep. He’s a hacker at his computer, and he is sort of clueless about what is happening. He wakes up in these funky train stations and he’s a simpleton.
Audience: Last night, our 12th grade class did a eurythmy piece based on The Matrix. My 7th grader was explaining it to me because I did not get it.
It’s a fairytale for today. These stories are universal; they are coming back. But you have to be careful about the difference between soul and spirit. You can’t work on the soul in the soul. It’s like trying to fix your car engine while sitting in your car. It just does not work. So the rule is you can only work on the lower parts from a higher part. Rudolf Steiner gave this pedagogical law, and he said that the only place from which we can work on the soul is from the spirit.
And in the human being, the spirit is the Ego with a capital E, not the “little e” ego. The “little e” ego is also here, and that’s why in ancient traditions the teaching is to get rid of yourself. They are referring to the little ego. When Rudolf Steiner refers to the Ego, it is what Karl Jung called the true self. I prefer that term because it avoids confusion.
There are different aspects of the true self. One of those aspects is the witness. The purpose of the witness is to be there when you cross the threshold and to ask, “Do you know about the laws here”? That is the purpose of the witness in consciousness.
The witness is not the true self, but it is the representative of the true self. The true self is much larger because the true self includes who the human will become when he finally completes his work. So we could say that the witness is the leading edge of the true self.
The true self can also be seen from the perspective of living in the castle. From the castle, I can look out and see the land, the people working the land, the ants, the ducks, even the stone horses. But unfortunately, in the castle where the true self is living, there has been an enchantment. The enchantment is that the activity and the beings have been turned to stone. That means they are living in a universe where truth lives, but there is not yet goodness.
In the ancient language, stone was a code word. When they said the stone, or the alchemical stone, it always meant the truth. But a Truth with a capital “T” has now become truth with a small “t,” a newspaper or a blog. That is truth with a small “t” because it is the pearl of the princess.
And if you are following the story of Neo, the new human, he comes down and says, “I don’t know, what do you mean pearl”? Everything is really slow for him. The reason is that he has already worked to be at the point where pearls and irritations are not part of the blame and shame tapes. When he comes back here, and his task is to find the pearl, he can’t see it. So all he can do is cry for vision. And what comes to him is gratitude for a different kind of thinking. The work he has already done comes back to him when he finally surrenders to the fact that he can’t do it. Neo throughout the whole movie is saying “I don’t think I can do this.” That is the very mark of the one who is destined to do it. It’s to the one who says, “I can’t do it,” that everyone else says, “You the man!”
Audience: They are giving him directions from afar aren’t they?
Yes, but they cannot give him directions any more. That’s the problem. They used to be able to give directions…”Take the 10 commandments and carve them in a rock and go down from the mountain.” But what are the people doing down there with the golden calf? What did Moses do when he came down? He broke the tablets.
Did anyone see the movie, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? What happened? The lion broke the stone. The stone had to break. This language is not random. It is esoterically precise. He broke the stone, and when he broke the stone, it meant, “I go past truth to goodness.” And the truth was that the witch did not understand that the lion was innocent when she killed him. He had made himself innocent through metanoia, gratitude and silence.
And so Neo, instead of looking for the pearls and panicking, now knows how to live in the ever present help of the spirit. He cried for vision and then the spirit moved through nature to provide for him what he could not provide for himself. This is the new human. This is how we have to learn that “unless you become as little children, you can never enter the kingdom of heaven.” That is the message. Be like a little child – but as an adult. There is a difference.
In the ancient world, you were like a little child. The gods told you what to do. Athena told Ulysses to kill all the suitors. So when he went to court he said, “Athena made me do it.” And they said “Oh, okay.” That probably wouldn’t fly today.
The difference is that humanity has evolved. The birth of the ego faculty has happened. The presence of the ego within each human being was created, according to Rudolf Steiner, by Christ’s death, by his conscious dieing as a God in a human body. This made it possible for humans to understand their motives. This was the significance of that event, according to Rudolf Steiner’s research.
So, we have a physical body and a life body, and the wisdom of the hierarchies rules those. But the hierarchies give over some control of that because a human has the potential to control certain life forces, such as procreation. And when we do, the doorway to that is what Steiner calls the sentient body. And between the life body and the sentient body is the gemut. The gemut is the force in us that senses our life forces and gives rise to inner pictures.
When you taste, hear or see things, inner pictures arise spontaneously from that experience. That pattern is what Steiner called gemut. It means that I look at my food, and I salivate. I don’t consciously control that. All I have to do is take a handful of chips and move them toward my mouth. I don’t consciously think about it.
But we have the potential to lift that sentient sensitivity into our minds. We can think about it rather than just experience it. That’s what the two brothers in the fairytale have to learn. They see a duck, and they think “sandwich”. And the simpleton has to say “no.” The simpleton doesn’t know why, but he has a feeling. That feeling is the gemut starting to lift up into the mind.
When I come into contact with the fact that I have certain feelings that keep repeating in me, this is adolescence. When I try to find a meaning for them, this is post-adolescence. And when I try to find other people who share those feelings, this is the period that Steiner calls earth ripeness. It is my mind trying to grasp the automatic part of my life, and to make sense of it, so that it doesn’t always get the same response from me. I have to penetrate it and understand it.
When I do that, when I can lift my gemut through the sentient part of myself (the senses) and pay attention, my mind can engage and begin to think about who I could be if I weren’t attracted to so many things. I dream about getting rid of coffee; it’s an experiment that’s going on. And what that means is that my mind is getting hold of my desires.
Sentient Soul/Mind Soul/Conscious Soul – the will in those three souls is desire. I usually desire the things that are not good for me, and if I could begin to see that maybe I can have some control over my desires, then it would be better for me. If I keep doing that, I can become aware of the fact that there is a part of me that has lived beyond my impulses. It is a kind of counselor, telling me to remember the 14th time this happened, so if I want to wake up under a bush in the parking lot again, well it’s happening now. That is seeing the desire pattern in my mind. I still cannot do anything about it. But I see it.
Audience: Like ground-hog day.
Yes, as he goes through it, he starts to have a sort of sixth sense about what is going to happen, because he has lived through it before – that’s called old age. You know, Mark Twain said, “In old age, virtue is merely fatigue.” Then the desire is not simply to fulfill the desire, but to see why you have the desire. Eventually the desire becomes a desire to do the good. And Steiner calls that consciousness: to become aware that beyond my mind there is a consciousness soul.
My consciousness is what I have in common with rocks and trees and angels. And as a human, I have the capacity to focus my consciousness from this side of the threshold through the little pane in the window of the door of the grey man. That door is locked with three keys: my fixed thinking, my self-feeling and my self-centered will. Those are the locks. The little hole is the work I do to try to understand them, that’s the hut, it’s like a little tunnel through the fog of the threshold that allows me to call to the little man, the witness.
And does the witness immediately respond? No, the witness is busy and says, “Right now you are calling me.” But you have to keep calling through the hole until we come in contact with the fact that the witness is us! We think it is somebody else. So I need to attract the attention of the witness by simply continuing to call. That’s meditation.
So in meditation, you just keep repeating the same thing again and again and again. Every time you repeat a fairy tale, you are calling again through the porthole to the little grey man. It’s meditating on an initiation process. If you are engaged in trying to understand it, it is consciousness. If it is simply something you are doing because you memorized it, and now it is on automatic pilot, then you are down here somewhere. The difference is: how interested are you in your intent? What is the mood you are carrying to the threshold?
Because the response you get from the little grey man is dependant not upon what you know, but upon who you are, what mood you bring to the task of calling through the little hole in the door. What is the intent? What are you doing here? Why are you here? Why did you come to this threshold? Don’t you understand that this is an enchanted castle?
We are all in the enchanted castle. The enchanted castle is the belief that my body is My Body, when basically it’s the earth’s body that I am borrowing, and I will have to give it back. That’s the enchantment. I’m alone, and the castle is filled with stone horses and strange sleeping beings that I have never encountered before. So when I get on the other side it’s not like here. There are different rules.
But there is a part of me that is living on the other side. That’s the little grey man, and that’s the part of me that is everything on both sides, or at least can understand everything on both sides, can understand the consciousness of everything on both sides. And my gift is that the part of my soul that is devoted to trying to understand the consciousness is intimately linked to my spirit. And another part of my soul is intimately linked to my physical and life bodies.
So I need to practice designating consciousness, so that I become a little more adept at telling what the mood is that I am now in. I can begin watching my feelings when someone asks me a question. That’s the role of Parsifal. It is what Parsifal has learned – to ask the question. He listened to the early teachers who said, “Don’t ask a question; you look stupid when you ask a question.” So Parsifal said, “Okay, I won’t ask a question.” So I’ll kill guys and get ladies in trouble with their husbands and run amok and be a maniac, but I’m not going to ask a question- which is exactly what he had to do in order to relieve the enchantment. And so that is also here [indicates diagram on board].
So the question is, “What consciousness am I dealing with, and can I tune my consciousness to that consciousness”? What consciousness is the king of the ants? What consciousness is the duck? I tune to that. What consciousness is the bee? I tune to that. What consciousness is the little grey man through the door? I tune to that. And that part of my soul is here [indicates on board], and that is the part of the soul that I have control over. I don’t have control over my salivary glands. But I do have some control over the intent of my consciousness if I develop the gemut through my practice of taking into the sleep world something I have gathered from this world that represents the sleep world.
So I have to find something in this world that resembles the sleep world [indicates board]. So I have to find something here that I can use to project through the window, because when it goes through the window, it is all upside down and backwards. And the only thing that can do that is a symbol. A symbol lives on both sides because a symbol can be turned upside down and still has the same meaning. It can be turned inside out because the symbol is universal. That is the alchemy that I do with my consciousness, when I practice taking a symbol, or taking a fairy tale and working with it to try to find the metaphors and the images for my own inner life. I find something in a fairy tale, a legend or a myth that seems to be speaking to me. I form pictures of it in the way it occurs in the fairy tale, and I move them forward and backward in my mind as a meditative practice.
If you wish to really understand a fairy tale, form the picture sequences backwards. Then you render them into the language of the spiritual world. You move them through the hole in the door. Because you are transforming your own will, you are not expecting anything. You are rendering the fairytale backwards, and your feelings are not self-feelings because you are embedding your feelings in the feeling gestalt of the archetype that stands behind the tale. It is not your own personal hurt and blame, and so it is much more resolved. You find that what you are thinking is not just cause and effect, because you are thinking of it backwards which is useless for the bottom line. But that is exactly what the witness is waiting for you to do, so that you can have metanoia, gratitude and silence.
And the witness sees that there is a human who is sending things over the threshold that can match to what is living over there. And so when we wake up in the morning, the witness says, “I want you to go back down and do this for me.” If my consciousness is based on what’s happening with the first two brothers, then I turn into stone, because the only kind of thinking I can do is a kind of “pearls of the princess” thinking where a stone is just what it is, and I will not surrender to the thinking of the spirit.
I will think I am supposed to know the answer. It is this pearl, and I’d better find it. That’s a big problem: this pearl belongs to the princess, and she is over there. But I have to find it over here: that’s a paradox. How did it get here, when she is over there? So when we get to that type of thinking, all we can do is what the third son did, cry, “I don’t know.” And this is an admission of, “I don’t know,” after I have exhausted my knowing. It’s something else to say, “I don’t know; I don’t care.” That’s not effort. The black Madonna won’t acknowledge you if you are just bailing out all the time.
Audience: This is the admission site that lets you in.
That’s right. So we have to exhaust this and work ourselves up to a condition that says, “I have really tried to understand this, but I just don’t get it.” And that is meditation also. It’s the inner silence in which I have taken the images of the fairy tale into sleep. And if my work with a fairytale seems to be speaking to me, I am actually contacting a spiritual being on the other side who has a relationship to my attentive interest. I am lining up my will and my feelings and my thinking with that spiritual being’s teaching. The only one who can do that is me, because I’m the only one who knows the quality of interest I have in the fairytale, and I am the one who feels the character arc.
Does the third son have a character arc that looks like this [draws on board]? The answer is yes, because it is about who you are, and how you perceive what comes through to this side. That is the only answer there can be – how is this for you? You will pick out pieces of the fairy tale that will be speaking to your drama. The agent that does this is your ego because your ego, your true self, knows the motives for your desire. The ego is a kind of a center between the worlds. The ego lives in that threshold knowing when the door is opening one way or another.
Unfortunately, when you are in your true self as an ego, your day waking state is not available to you. That is a protection provided by the high spiritual beings who want to protect you from realizing how small you are, because if you did, you wouldn’t want to keep living over here. You would just collapse into a small pool of guilt. You are protected from that by having this division between your day-waking state and your transcendent state. Because fundamentally, when the two come together and the threshold opens, that’s death. That’s the greatest enlightenment there is.
So your ego knows the motives for your desire. And over time, if you keep working with a series of images forward and backward, and take them into sleep and in the morning create a condition of silent listening, then during the day, aspects of the fairytale will start to awaken in your perception with a new life. They will stand out in relief in the most miraculous ways. The fairytale will start to become your life.
The little hole in the door will get wider as things start to come through, because you have protected it by reaching through and shaking hands with the witness, acknowledging each other, and then deciding to keep the door open a bit. That is what Rudolf Steiner calls the hut. When that happens, you can go back and solve the puzzles written on the stone because you know how to surrender. You know how to allow the world to move, to help you. You know how to get out of the way. And when you have to make a decision, you have the feeling that your intuition will be such that what you need to know, you will know. You don’t know how that will happen, but you know an agent will come to allow you to understand.
It couldn’t be clearer than in this fairy tale. That is why I love this story. This is the perfect stance of a spiritually realized person who understands motive in his life. When you understand motive, the intent changes. Instead of what you will, it becomes what needs to happen. You will have a lot more tolerance when you are in weird places by simply allowing, without going into blame. It does not mean that problems are solved. But it does mean that after you encounter craziness, you have a place where you can take the anxiety. A place where you can put it so that a higher part of you can take it into sleep and then come back and lead you to the laws that are behind it. You have faith that if you do that, somewhere along the line it will be revealed to you what to do and how to do it.
So when that happens, you know which one to kiss. And then you find that your true self marries your soul – the princess. And desire moves from getting things to giving things. Your consciousness moves from truth and fact to goodness. Steiner said there is no right or wrong in the spiritual world; there is only health or goodness. There is only, “Is this good or not”? Goodness is the next level that we are striving for, but we don’t have a language for it because our knowledge is based on digital and binary consciousness. Is it true if it is 49.9% versus 50.1%? We have seen examples of that, when the whole world goes in the direction of the 50.1%.
The mandate of the world is, “Sorry you don’t count; you stay out because of the number.” This is a symptom of the shadow of truth, which is fact. Fact is a shadow of truth. We have the myth of facts. And that causes us to get stuck in a crazy place. But beyond that is the goodness of the soul. You are teaching little ones who will have that as part of the fragrance of their development. That is the possibility of goodness. It may not happen in their lifetimes; it may not happen in your lifetime; it certainly won’t happen in my lifetime. But it is possible. In fact it is inevitable.
It is just that we have to get past the belief that it is what the facts are telling us. We can’t get past that belief with more facts. We can only get past it by picking up our beds and walking. That means doing the inner work, to take these mystery drama stories and work with them as a meditative task imaginatively. That means to find things in the world or in these tales that stimulate our interest, to find out about the life of ants if that is the part of the tale that is interesting. Or to find out why the stone broke under Aslan. That story has deep connections to anthroposophical thinking; it’s not just a Hollywood movie.
So fairytale, legend and myth…these three are what I want to bring to you in this work. The work we do with these fairy tales is really the highest work of initiation. It is carrying the initiation mystery wisdom into the souls of future world leaders. Even if they just end up having a duck ranch in Sonoma, that’s fine if they are doing it as a necessary part of their life. It’s not just about being in politics. All of that is over. That’s all in the realm of image now. It’s all about the guy behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. The real work is person to person, healing each other by listening and opening the heart to stories that have meaning beyond just the content of the story. The symbolic language has to be held by people to enable the mysteries to keep incarnating.
So, if there is a fairytale that interests you, draw a character arc to begin with, and find out how it moves. If you do that as a practice, and if you find even a part of the story that begins to speak to you, then go into the little golden book of science, the life of ants or whatever it is, and read about it. What will happen is that your interest in that topic within the context of the fairytale will inform your research into the reality of that topic as a manifestation on the earth. Then when you tell the tale, that will make the experience that much richer. What you are saying to the archetype on the other side is, “I’m going to spend some time in my will looking at this particular thing, can you help me”? You are saying, “Don’t kill the ants or the bees. I want to study them; I want to understand them.”
As you do that, take what you learn from that into sleep by thinking the images in sequence, forward and backward and forward and backward, before you go to sleep. And then the little grey man, when you come back in the morning, beckons you and points to the rules on the tablet and sends you back into the world. Then you go back into the world with the impression of the rules that are written on the tablet, and you have to find something in the world and do things that are impossible.
That seed that you are putting into your will and your thinking is coming back through the threshold as grace, as inspiration, as intuition for what story to tell and how to handle the child. You are creating a condition for things to come back to you. But they won’t come back to you unless you do this. If you just tell the story and move on because its time to make the oatmeal, you are loosing a great gift for yourself.
It takes just five minutes a day. Form the picture of the fairytale; read something about ants; move the pictures; and take them into your sleep. It’s not rocket science; it’s just imagination, which is the key to your work. Your work must become highly imaginative because you’re dealing with children who are highly imaginative. That’s where they live, and you have to meet them there. If you meet them there with your own forces that are coming through the spirit, they will understand it, and they will tell you what fairytale to tell them. My wife told me a beautiful story about this. She was sitting at the lunch table, and a little boy said, “I know where babies come from.” And a little girl said, “Oh yeah, where do they come from”? And the boy said, “Waiting.” And the girl said, “Oh no, that’s not where they come from. They come from prayer.” So they live here, but they cannot live here consciously. They live here in a dreaming way because they are still enchanted; they’re living in an enchanted dream. But you live here, and you can visit there and come back. And when you do, the children will benefit, and you will benefit. And God bless the work that you are doing. Thank you.
Dennis Klocek, MFA, is Co-founder of the Coros Institute and founder of Consciousness Studies at Rudolf Steiner College. He is the author of many books including the newly released, Esoteric Physiology and also Sacred Agriculture: The Alchemy of Biodynamics. Dennis is known as an international lecturer.