By Rudolf Steiner

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Additional resources for Ancient Myths: Their Meaning and Connection with Evolution

Sample text

Professors of philosophy manufacture it in vast quantities, but this is not what the Alchemists understood by it. They understood an imaginative consciousness, an atavistic Imagining, which was connected with the use of this active sulphur in man. Human beings, so said the Greeks, and their priests of the Mysteries also said so, for the mysteries of Salt, Mercury and Sulphur are ancient; human beings, through their evolution have overcome atavism, making use of sulphur atavistically. But Zeus and his circle have withdrawn into the supersensible and avail themselves of the Sulphur processes: hence Zeus can hurl his lightning.

And it was the same in the case of the other Greek Gods. Why did the Greek form this conception — that there was once a ruler who was possessed, so to say, by Zeus, but that now there is no longer a ruler who can be possessed by Zeus, but that Zeus only rules as a supersensible being — why did the Greek form this concept? Because the Greek knew that human evolution had progressed, that it had changed. In other words, the Greek knew that there were ancient times when human beings could have Imaginations in a particularly outstanding degree.

Chronos was overthrown. What has been left? Well, just as from UranusGaea the dead salt has been left, so from ChronosRhea, the fluid, Mercury, has been left; the fluid in man that can take a drop formation; that has remained behind. But neither can man make conscious use of this; it has sunk into unconscious depths. Today, of course, that is long past and in the time of the Greeks it was already gone by, for the Greeks said to themselves: the time of Zeus upon earth was in hoary primeval ages, but at that time man could make use of the Sulphur to be found in him.

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