Rudolf Steiner's weekly meditations
soul-calendar-20

Artistic Response

Here is my artistic response to this week's Soul-Calendar-20 meditation verse by Rudolf Steiner. For a brief introduction to this project, please see the blog post for week 49, which is when I started this..

Soul-Calendar-20 meditation

Rudolf Steiner's original soul-calendar-20 meditation
August 18-24

So fühl ich erst mein Sein,
Das fern vom Welten-Dasein
In sich, sich selbst erlöschen
Und bauend nur auf eignem Grunde
In sich, sich selbst ertöten müsste.

My translation
Thus feel I initially my being
Which far from world-being
In itself, itself dissolving
And building only on own ground
In itself, itself destroying should

*As I don't want to infringe any copyright, I am offering my own, literal, translations here. There are many excellent translations available at calendarofthesoul.net but keep in mind that most translations lose at least some of the various possible meanings that lie within the original German. Starman's translation tends to be the most literal

My interpretation of the soul-calendar-20 meditation

This verse always comes as a bit of a shock to me. It is as if I am suddenly thrown way back onto myself, when I thought I was kind of hatching a gift from the spiritual worlds. To me it seems this verse may be speaking of the idea that I must die onto myself in order to be then reborn as a higher being. And perhaps the verse describes the experience I have when I am indeed initially thrown back entirely upon my earthly self and causes me to realise that this earthly self, by itself, is nothing. That this earthy self must dissolve and destroy itself if it were to seek its essence within its own realm, within the realm of earth. Only when I discover that I cannot actually make any sense of myself as long as my gaze is directed only at the manifested world, is there any chance that I actually start looking in the right place, so to speak. This perhaps is at least one asepct of dying to myself. And this verse does not bring a solution yet. It plunges me into the obscurity of my own nothingness and leaves me there. But not really. After all, the verse makes me conscious of what is going on, so the light actually lies within the verse as a signpost, rather than just in its content. So I become aware that initially I feel that I am a separate being from the world, disconnected from the cosmos. Especially now that summer is more or less done and I am no longer soaring on its wings, my consciousness of being separate is once more making itself known. And I feel that if this is so, then there is nowhere to go, so to speak, nowhere to go search for my true being, my true origin. Searching for myself within my separated self is like trying to find natural light in a room without windows. But the way Rudolf Steiner gave the verse, especially in the last line, suggests that there are other possibilities, that I can search and find myself elsewhere (the word 'müsste' could be translated with 'ought to have' or 'should have' suggesting a possibility, not a certainty?). So I then finally arrive at a sense of feeling reassured. It's not that I will not find myself, it's just that if my search were to remain within the manifested world of the earthly self, that I won't find myself. But of course, implicitly and in the context of the other verses, I know that there is a realm where it is indeed possible to find myself. Surely, knowing where not to look is then suddenly a revelation and a comfort. I can simply go into another room, where there are windows! Phew. I hope some of this makes sense.

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