Anima Sola – From an Esoteric View
In the following I have some texts describing Anima Sola or Lonely Soul from Catholic lore, and Steiners description of the Homeless Souls and in relation to his description of Goethe’s distinctiveness.
The Anima Sola or Lonely Soul is a Catholic depiction of a suffering person — almost always a woman — in chains amidst the barred prison doors and flames of Purgatory, the place where sinners go while awaiting final judgement.
It is said that those who die while wearing a blessed brown scapular, as directed by Our Lady of Mount Carmel, will not suffer long in Purgatory, but on the Saturday following their death, the Virgin of Mount Carmel will arrive bearing the Infant Jesus in her arms, accompanied by a group of angels, and at her direction, the angels will pull from the flames all those who died while wearing her scapular. Thus the Anima Sola, whose purgatorial chains are broken, is closely identified with the Carmelite devotion to Mary.
The Blessed brown scapular is the Etheric Mantle, the result of Illumination or Initiation, the background for the meeting with Christ in the Etheric. The releasing of Anima Sola of purgatory means that the person don’t die as a person, but continues living in the Etheric body. The first person known to wear the etheric mantle was Saint John, the Evangelist, and it’s reasonably to believe that it also were the case with Mary Magdalene.
The woman appears penitent and reverent, and her chains have been released, so this sends quite an ambiguous message to the believer: she suffers and at the same time is released from suffering – perfectly representing Purgatory itself – a way-station for on the way to redemption to clear or burn away past sins.
Anima Sola is celebrated in folk religions much as a saint – and she hears the prayers of the living. She may bless and intercede on the prayer’s behalf to accelerate the conclusion of a purgatorial penance of a loved one who died in sin.
She might also be called up on to create a living purgatory for someone who has hurt the person praying to her.
The Lonely Souls becomes God’s helper. Even though some woman want to take all virtues in under the female brand, this is quite democratic, it’s distributed in pairs, one man one woman, Dual’s – Twin Spirits.
From The Homeless Souls
In contrast, there are a number of souls, particularly at present, whose interest is concentrated less on worldly happenings as they approach a new life on earth than on the question of how they can develop maturity in the spiritual world. Their interest lies in the spiritual world right up to the moment before they find their way to earth. As a consequence, when they incarnate they arrive with a consciousness which has its origins in spiritual impulses. With their spiritual ambitions they outgrow their environment, and are thus predestined and prepared to go their own way.
Thus the souls who descend from pre-earthly to earthly existence can be divided into two groups. One group, to which the majority of people today still belong, comprises those souls who can make themselves remarkably at home on earth; who feel thoroughly comfortable in their warm nest, which so fascinated them long before they came down to earth, even if it does occasionally appear unpleasant — but that is only appearance, maya.
Other souls, who may pass patiently through childhood — appearance is not always the decisive thing — are less able to make themselves at home, are homeless souls, and grow beyond the warmth of the nest much more than they grow into it. …
The things which are being sought by these souls on the byways of life, away from the major highways, manifest themselves in many ways. If the others did not find it so agreeable to take the well-trodden paths and did not put such obstacles in the way of homeless souls, the numbers of the latter would be much more obvious to their contemporaries. But it is widely apparent today how many souls have a hint of such homelessness about them.
The tendency to such homelessness could be anticipated: the rapidly growing evidence of a longing in homeless souls for an attitude to life which was not laid out in advance; a longing for the spirit in the chaos of contemporary spiritual life.
The Sign of the Rosicrucian
A chock, an accident, or a sickness can loosen the etheric body from the physical, making it possible for the person to look at the world and himself as spectator, that he is not as immersed into the physical world as is usual. This is the sign of the Rosicrucian. It is symbolized with Jacob’s wrestling with the Angel, one who is too absorbed in the physical don’t fight with his angel, the physical world is too fascinating. Jacob is marked physically after the ‘fight’ with his angel, who symbolizes the spiritual world or his higher I, himself; he is becoming less physical.
From “The Karma of Vocation” – On Goethe
With Goethe, this force of soul became even stronger, and yet he lived to an advanced age. What enabled him to live so long? You will recall that I reminded you yesterday of a fact that intervened significantly in Goethe’s life. After he had spent some years in Leipzig as a student, he became seriously ill and stood face to face with death. He virtually looked death in the face. This illness is, to be sure, a natural phenomenon in the organism. However, we never learn to understand a man who creates out of the elemental forces of the world — indeed, we never learn really to understand any man — unless we take into consideration such events in the course of his karma. What really happened to Goethe when he became ill in Leipzig? We may describe it as a complete loosening of the etheric body in which the life forces of the soul had been active until then. It was loosened to such an extent that, after this illness, he no longer had that closely knit connection between the etheric and the physical bodies that he had formerly possessed.
The etheric body, however, is the supersensible member in us that really makes it possible to form concepts, to think. Abstract concepts such as we have in ordinary life, the only concepts that are approved by most persons who are materialistically disposed, come about through the fact that the etheric body is, as it were, closely united with the physical by a strong magnetic union. It is also through this fact that we possess a strong impulse to project our will into the physical world, that is, provided the astral body is strongly developed. In the case of Robespierre, Mirabeau and Danton, we have an etheric body strongly united with the physical but also a powerfully developed astral body. This works, in turn, upon the etheric body, which establishes these human individualities strongly in the physical world. Goethe was also organized like this, but another force now worked in him and brought about a complication. The result was that the etheric body was loosened and remained so through the illness that had brought him to the point of death. When the etheric body is no longer so intimately united with the physical body, however, it no longer thrusts its forces into the physical but retains them. This explains the transformation Goethe passed through when he returned to Frankfurt. There, during his acquaintance with Fräulein von Klettenberg, the mystic, and with various medical friends who were devoted to studies in alchemy, and through the writings of Swedenborg, he really developed a systematic spiritual world conception. It was still somewhat chaotic, but nevertheless a systematic spiritual world conception, and he was profoundly inclined to occupy himself with supersensible things.
Here we see how a natural event seems to enter with immense significance into the life of a human being. Undoubtedly, it points to a deeper interrelationship than the one the biographers generally wish to reveal. The significance of an illness to a man cannot be explained on the basis of hereditary tendencies but rather points to the connection between a man and the world in such a way that this relationship must be conceived spiritually. You will note also how Goethe’s life was thus complicated; such experiences determine how we take things in and what we are ourselves.
This event of near death appeared in Goethe at the end of the sixties in Leipzig, but its force had been prepared long before that….In anyone possessing a compact connection between the physical and etheric bodies, the external world exerts its influence and, as it makes impressions on the physical body, they pass over immediately into the etheric body; this is one and the same thing. Such a person simply lives in direct contact with the impressions of the external world. In Goethe’s case, the impressions are, of course, made upon the physical body, but the etheric body does not immediately respond because it is loosened. As a result, such a person can be more isolated, in a sense, from his environment, and a more complicated process takes place when an impression is made on his physical body. If you establish a connection between this organic structure of Goethe and the fact that, as we learn from his biography, he lays himself open even to historic events without forcing them, you have then arrived at an understanding of the peculiar functioning of his nature. I told you that he took the autobiography of Gottfried of Berlichingen and, influenced only by the dramatic impulses received from Shakespeare, did not really alter much in it. So he did not call it a drama but The History of the Iron-handed Gottfried of Berlichingen, Dramatized. You see, this soft and almost timid handling of things, as I might call it, without taking hold of them forcefully is due to his quite unusual connection between the etheric and physical bodies.
Through what I have explained, a sort of chasm had been created between his unusual inner nature and the external world. Just as he does not alter by force what is living in the external world but only delicately modifies its form, he also does not carry his feelings and sensations, which he can experience only in his etheric body, through the physical body to such a firm contact with the external world — something that, in others, would have led to quite definite events in life.
There is really a tremendous difference between Goethe’s mood up to 1775 and that after 1775, a difference that may be compared with a mighty wakefulness followed by a subdued life. The word “Dumpfheit,” an inner feeling of numbness, comes into his mind when he describes his life in Weimar, where he engages himself so much in events but responds to them more than at an earlier age, when he had rebelled against them. It is peculiar that after this dampening down for ten years there followed a period when events confronted him in a more gentle way. Just as the life of sleep is by no means a direct effect of the preceding daytime life, so also this sleep life of Goethe was not at all the result of what had gone before.
If, however, as in the special case of Goethe, the astral body is brought into a more vivid relationship with the spinal cord system and the ego with the ganglionic, because the ether body has withdrawn from the head, then far more vivid intercourse occurs with what is going on in our surroundings. But it is concealed from us in normal life because it is only while we are asleep at night that we enter into relationship with our spiritual environment.
He was able to sense this because what lived mysteriously in his fellow men made an impression on him such as is made by one person on another only when an especially intimate relationship, indeed when love, develops between them. In such a case of ordinary life, the connection of the ego with the ganglionic system, and of the astral body with the spinal cord system is highly active, although this is not consciously perceived as such. Something very special is activated. But what is otherwise active only in a love relationship came about in Goethe vis à vis a far larger number of people, so that he experienced a tremendous, more or less subconscious, compassion for the poor fellows — excuse the expression — who did not know what their inner natures were going through as they were driven from class to class and from examination to examination.
They were nothing but actual experiences that he gained from the most extensive environment because his ganglionic and spinal cord life was stimulated to more than normal wakefulness. This was the opposite from the subdued head life, but it was a potentiality in him even in his boyhood. We can see this from his description of what became active in him: not only what ordinarily engages people, say in piano lessons, became active in him but also the entire being. Goethe partook much more in the happenings of real life as a whole person than others, and we must say, therefore, that he was more wide-awake during the day than they. During the time in his youth when he was working on Faust, he was more awake during the day, and because of this he also needed what I described yesterday as the time of sleep — the ten years in Weimar. This dampening was necessary.
The world must be protected, so to speak, from standing still. It seems trivial to say this, but it is nevertheless a profound mystery-truth: not all people can dream in this way. The forces with which they dream must first be applied in the external world to something different so that through it a foundation may be created for a further evolution of the earth. It would come to a standstill were all men to dream as I have indicated.
These homeless souls don’t have as massively an impact on the physical world as those with strong physical connections, but they may have a much more subtle influence on other people, may be changing other peoples destiny by putting inspirations into words. In this way they don’t create new karma, but resolves old karma.
Many people think that they’re working for the good of mankind from morn till eve, but this is questionable. A clairvoyant can see that efforts coming from materialistic thinking have the wrong effect, and it may lie in some people’s karma that they should wait until they can do certain things. Then a higher being can whisper such a task in his ear, so that it’s not induced by outer circumstances. Life is a destructive process for someone who only devotes himself to outer sense impressions. A meditating esoteric doesn’t let his life be determined by outer circumstances as much.