The diagram of the Biography of Man as tripartition of the Rosicrucian motto Ex Deo Nascimur, In Christo Morimur, Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus according to George O’Neil, Gisela O’Neil and further elaborated by Florin Lowndes and published in “The Human Life” (Mercury Press).
“Man, know yourself and become what you are!”
When a spirit dies, it becomes a human being; a dying human being becomes a spirit. A free death of the spirit, a free death of the human being. – Novalis
We are spirits having a human experience. Only the spirit finds the meaning of things, of people, the meaning of his own life on Earth. If you want to know yourself, seek in the world; if you want to know the world, seek in yourself. Only when body, soul and spirit are in perfect harmony with Nature and the Cosmos, does man find his I. All this is possible through the division of biography into seven years and the recognition of the archetypes and the forces that act there.
The Science of the Spirit helps us to understand our potential, to make conscious choices, to guide us on the path of spiritual evolution.
From the encounter between the understanding of the biography of Anthroposophy and Counseling comes the Anthroposophical Counseling, which is part of Psychosophy. Counseling is born from the individual’s need to make choices, supported by an understanding person who can give him/her support as well as show him/her other possible points of view. Anthroposophy helps us to understand our potential, to make conscious choices, to guide us on the path of spiritual evolution. When we combine Anthroposophy with Counseling, we obtain a broad approach able to understand the whole panorama of the individual’s life in all its dimensions: physical, animic (psychic) and spiritual. This is why Psychosophy stands as a personal as well as transpersonal, material and spiritual understanding of man’s life journey, recognizing both its individual and universal value. Through Anthroposophical Counseling you can discover your individual answer to the fundamental questions of man.
Where am I from?
Who am I?
Where am I going?
These are the fundamental questions man asks himself with respect to the cosmos. These are all separation questions. Indeed, in the ordinary waking consciousness in which man lives, he poses himself in relation to Nature and the Cosmos, and yet we know that man is the only being who lives halfway, having both a body that belongs to Nature and a spirit that belongs to the Cosmos. Man with his I feels alone in the inner space of his soul. In truth man is never alone! He must be able to find the key to see reality as it is and not as he believes it to be at the mercy of doubt, separation and fear. It is love that moves us in the metamorphosis: love for ourselves and for our neighbour, for events and things, for man and Nature.
Love has many forms, most of them linked to individual destiny (karma). But when love is conjugated to freedom, that is, to the consciousness of the archetype within action, it succeeds in overcoming the bond of destiny, fulfilling it fully. Thus one passes from love of the body to love of the soul and finally to love of the spirit. The more evolved the soul is, the more it will be able to experience a selfless love that comes close to the Spirit. Spiritual evolution is therefore a relationship of love with the archetypes that live through our biographical events.
The Formation of Destiny in Sleep and Waking
But what develops from this state of sleep to the beginning of human life down here? Three things we must consider especially, if we are to understand how man acts what he has brought down from his prenatal existence, and that in his physical existence: three things that man must appropriate differently from how he appropriates the animal. The animal either does not appropriate them at all, or takes them more or less with him to the world. These three things, we designate them in life so that they are understood very unilaterally. Only a small part of the whole is properly understood. The first thing is learning to walk. Man comes into the world as a being who cannot walk, who must first acquire this faculty. The second thing that man must appropriate is speaking, and the third is thinking. We can, it is true, see in the child how one thing precedes the other, but, taking humanity as a whole, we can generally say that man learns to walk, to speak, to think. In any case, he learns to think after he has begun to speak. It is only from speaking that he gradually learns the faculty to hold back even in thought what is closed in words. And this lasts a very long time, until you can really say that the child is thinking. – Rudolf Steiner, The Formation of Fate in Sleep and Wake, Bern, April 6, 1923.
The descent of the soul
According to the vision of Anthroposophy, the soul descends from cosmic spaces to incarnate on Earth.
Once in its physical vehicle it expresses itself as a visible image directly in the body and in the way it is used in the path of life. The expression of the soul occurs with the three powers:
Thinking through the Head;
Feeling through the Heart;
Willing through the Hands with which to do, the Feet with which to go.
Originally these three powers are in perfect harmony with each other, having not yet been touched by the events of life. The family is the first nucleus that guarantees protection and allows the development of one’s abilities during childhood. The soul thus incarnates itself by choosing the conditions necessary for its future evolution on Earth, however harsh they may be. Then in adolescence the first detachment takes place, the young soul really meets the world outside the family, friends and love for the first time. The soul thus finds itself surrounded by souls incarnated in the same generation, the peers, with the same archetypal forces acting in time and space. When the soul has woven intense relationships with its peers, at the same time weaves its future potential, it reaches the age of 21 when its spiritual self becomes incarnated and fully becomes an individual. From that moment the adult life begins and with it, the battle with its shadows.
Relationship between Soul and I
Anthroposophy helps us to understand the relationship between the I and soul, which is fundamental in the practice of Anthroposophical Counseling and Biography Study. Only we ourselves can call ourselves “I”: the first person can only be used in reference to us as subjects, never for another. This is the first clue of the transcendence of the I with respect to the human soul and life. In fact, when the human I touches the soul at the fateful turning 21, the soul itself undergoes a profound transmutation that involves its entire being and its relationship with the subtle bodies that belong to Nature.
When the I incarnates and works on the power of Feeling, the soul is transmuted into the Sentient Soul, which feels the beautiful and the ugly;
When the I incarnates and works on the power of Thinking, the Soul is transmuted into the Rational Soul, which thinks true and false;
When the I incarnates and works on the power Willing, the soul is transmuted into the Conscious Soul, which wants right and wrong.
Thus, the “I” is the watershed both in the individual biography of the older person and in the soul itself, which is alchemically transmuted. The clash with adult life is the clash with dualism, the double face that everything assumes on the mental, animic and physical plane. The three powers of the soul take on an independent character, being touched for the first time by dualism: either they find new relations of harmony among themselves, or else they begin an internal struggle. Opposition couples, beautiful-bad, true-false, righteous-wrong, must be brought back to their transcendent origin, the I, which is also the only one capable of finding a meaning in each of them and a meaning in the development of the soul through biography. Thus arises the need for mediation of the soul between the body that belongs to Nature and the Spirit that belongs to the Cosmos.
The battle of the soul
The human soul struggles every day to break down the separation it feels towards Nature and the Cosmos. The goal to be achieved is the spirit of Cosmos, in which it recognizes itself and its mission on Earth. In this battle it employs its three powers: as the soul approaches adulthood in the I, many of its potentials are lost. Here arises on the one hand the sense of separation from Nature, with the perception of one’s own body as an envelope inhabited by the spirit, and on the other hand the sense of separation from the Cosmos, as a spirit who is definitively incarnated for the first time. To recognize oneself as an inhabitant of this Earth, even though one does not belong to it, can be upsetting, to such an extent that the three powers of the soul can react by becoming the inverse of what they originally are:
Thinking becomes Doubt: when thoughts are no longer guided by concentration and attention, they live their own life without the possibility of dominating them, leading to the absolute relativism for which one thought is worth the other. The rational soul thus loses the ability to rationally discern the true from the false in its evolution towards self-consciousness.
Feeling becomes Separation: when feelings no longer adhere to experiences, one no longer knows what to feel. Thus one tries to intensify the life of feeling by letting oneself be dragged either by unbridled passions, ending up falling into attachment or by the fascination of what is cold and abstract. The sentient soul thus loses the ability to lovingly understand the beautiful compared to the ugly in its evolution towards self-consciousness.
Willing becomes Fear: when thinking and feeling are no longer in balance, the will is exercised in a reckless way, until the inability to choose. The conscious soul thus loses the ability to intuitively recognize right from wrong in its evolution towards self-consciousness.
The three powers of the soul must resonate in harmony, otherwise they separate from each other, acting independently first and then against each other. When they collide with each other they fall prey to separation, to attachment, and thus the soul becomes a prisoner of dualism. At that point the I freezes in its evolution, no longer recognizes the forces acting in the biography and instead of governing them, it becomes its hostage.
Love and Karma
Karmic ties work much more broadly than blood ties (of family members). All the people we know in life and with whom we create a spiritual experience may be our family members in the future, or already have been in the past. Without exception, whether they evoke positive or negative feelings in us. The spirit, the ego, is not limited in its genesis to the bloodline, but rather uses it to evolve. He who is our dearest friend today may be our brother in the next incarnation. There is also a way, very simple but precious, to know if someone has been close to us in a previous incarnation: when one meets such souls one experiences the well-known feeling of having “known that person long ago, as if he had always been close”.
When you make projects together, of course, a strong karmic bond is created: the project is in fact a pure product of the I.
The projects are the markers that the I places on the map of time and space, they are the stages of its evolution and if they are interrupted, they will certainly be resumed, in one way or another in future incarnations, even in the most unpredictable ways. An evolutionary project, in fact, is never wasted: it can metamorphose into something else, but it lasts in the etheric and astral world, and then incarnates at the right moment. This preservation of the evolutionary impulse is due to the spiritual economy that preserves evolutionary intentions outside of space-time, and then materializes them at the appropriate time spiritually.
It is love that moves us in metamorphosis: love for ourselves and for our neighbor, for events and things, for man and Nature. Love has many forms, most of them linked to individual destiny (karma). But when love is conjugated to freedom, that is, to the consciousness of the archetype within action, it succeeds in overcoming the bond of destiny, fulfilling it fully. Thus one passes from love of the body to love of the soul and finally to love of the spirit. The more the soul has evolved, the more it will be able to experience a selfless love that comes close to the Spirit, in the same way that in the Cosmos the Sun loves everything and everyone, indiscriminately. Spiritual evolution is therefore a loving relationship with the archetypes that live through our biographical events.
It is absolutely true that if it is not spiritualized love between human being and human being, if it is not spiritualized love, it is not really love as such, but it is the image that we make of it, and generally it is nothing more than a terrible illusion; in normal life love is very rarely spiritualized, and now I am not talking about sexual love or love based on sexuality, but about love in general between human being and human being.
– Rudolf Steiner, GA186, Dornach December 6, 1918
Love does evolve:
Eros: sensual love of the body, this is the erotic level influenced by animal cravings, the chemistry of hormones and sensory stimuli. It has an evolutionary value in youth, when the forces of nature in man are still active. In Eros the main karmic bonds are woven, both from the past and the future. It creates attachment for the person or for the lust in itself;
Philia: the friendly love of the soul, this is the level of love as friends, based on intellectual and soul understanding. Usually it is the level at which most evolutionary exchanges take place, since we meet from soul to soul. In Philia, the karmic bonds already created are unravelled and one moves towards freedom, detaching oneself from attachment to the object of desire;
Agape: is the spiritual love of the I, no longer bound by body and soul, but by the loving understanding of the biography of the neighbor. The soul recognizes in the I capable of experiencing spiritual love, the Master. Thus, in Agape one is freed from karmic bonds and loves, without attachment, in complete freedom.
How love evolves in the course of one incarnation, all the more so in the course of successive incarnations. Romantic love is situated in the context of Eros and Philia. The more evolved the soul is, the more it will be able to experience a selfless love that comes close to Agape. Whenever two people love each other, in the broad sense of the word, there is a third spiritual being between them. This will tend to incarnate: it can incarnate as a physical child, in the case of the couple, but also as a work of art in the case of the artist’s love for his art. It depends on the karmic mission. Anthroposophical Counseling makes it possible to discover the metamorphoses that lead to the couple’s bond, the polarity between the two partners and the archetypes that are experiencing their evolution through them.
We are spirits who make a human experience, unique and unrepeatable, which we call Biography.
However, when we are not aware of the immense archetypal forces that act in life, we lose the meaning of events.
Biographical Counseling helps us to recognize our potential, to make conscious choices for our spiritual evolution.
The Biographical Counseling interview takes place as follows…
Let’s talk about your biography, from birth to interview, and how we would like to evolve spiritually.
Let’s divide your biography into seven years and discover the rhythms and forces at work.
Let’s draw a picture of the archetypes at stake, recognizing and interpreting them.
Let’s outline how to write in full consciousness the continuation of the biography. Let’s walk back together towards freedom!
In order to avoid misunderstandings remember that Counseling has nothing to do with Psychiatry or Psychotherapy, only the psychiatrist or psychotherapist can diagnose and treat psychological disorders. Counseling is concerned with the maintenance of a person’s well-being, as well as disharmonies present in the absence of organic or psychic pathologies.