Earth-bound dead

From AnthroWiki

Earth-bound dead are dead who remain bound to the earth sphere, namely to the mineral and plant kingdoms, for much longer than usual after death. These realms, however, are no longer appropriate to their being. Often these experiences, which are difficult for the dead to bear, are caused by the fact that the human being has neglected during earthly life to form concepts and ideas that reach beyond earthly existence. But it can also be worries for friends, relatives and children left behind, or unfulfilled tasks and duties, which still tie the dead person to earthly existence for a long time. One can then help the dead by taking over their tasks and duties. For the earth itself and the people left behind here, the earth-bound dead pose a great problem, for "much of the destructive forces at work within the earth sphere come from such dead people banished to this earth sphere." (Lit.:GA 182, p. 20)

„When man passes through the gate of death under the present conditions of development, he takes with him the conditions of consciousness which he has created for himself between birth and death. The man who, under present conditions, has occupied himself entirely with ideas and concepts and sensations about the material, about the sense world, condemns himself under present conditions to live after death only in an environment to which the concepts formed during bodily life relate. While he who takes up spiritual concepts rightfully enters the spiritual world, he who refuses to take up spiritual concepts must, in a certain sense, remain in earthly conditions until he has learned - and this takes a long time - to take up so many spiritual concepts on the other side that he can be carried by them into the spiritual world. So whether we absorb spiritual concepts here or not is determined by our surroundings over there. Many of those who have resisted or been prevented from taking up spiritual concepts here in life still walk about on earth as the dead and remain in contact with the earthly sphere. And then the soul of man, when it is no longer closed off from the environment by the body, which now no longer prevents it from having a destructive effect, the soul of man, when it lives in the earthly sphere, becomes the destroying centre.“ (Lit.:GA 178, p. 176)

„Much of the destructive forces at work within the earthly sphere come from such dead people banished to this earthly sphere. One must have compassion for such human souls rather than pass any critical judgement. For after death the experience is not particularly easy, having to remain within a realm which is not really appropriate for the dead. And this realm is in this case the mineral and plant kingdom, also that mineral kingdom which the animals carry within themselves, which man himself carries within himself. For those who have not absorbed any spiritual ideas, the situation is such that they shrink back after death from this experience, which evokes sensations everywhere: they cannot enter into the kingdom which rules in animal spirituality and in the human; they can only enter into that which is mineral in nature, that which is vegetable in nature. I cannot describe what is involved here, for firstly, language has no words for it, and secondly, one can only slowly and gradually approach what actually lies at the bottom of it, because this approach really does have something frightening about it at first. Now one must not imagine that such dead people are then completely removed from the life I have described (see: life between death and a new birth); but they only approach this life with a certain timidity, with a certain fear, and fall back again and again into the plant and mineral kingdom, because they have preferably only formed ideas which have a certain significance for the latter kingdom, for the kingdom of death, for the kingdom of physical mechanism.“ (Lit.:GA 182, p. 20f)

„Souls which have not developed much at all in the way of sensations and feelings, which, so to speak, go beyond earth-life, remain connected with the sphere of earth-life for quite a long time, connected by their own desires. If a human being - and this is, one might say, easy to see from the outside - has spent his whole life developing only those feelings and sensations in himself which can be satisfied by bodily organs, by conditions of the earth, then he cannot help remaining connected with the sphere of earth for a certain length of time. One can still remain connected with the earth sphere through quite different urges and desires than one usually thinks. For example, quite ambitious people, who are particularly concerned with this or that within the earthly relations, who attach the greatest importance to having such validity, which is dependent on judgements within the earthly humanity, thus also develop an affect in their astral soul, which makes them, so to speak, earth-bound souls for a longer time. There are manifold reasons which keep the human being in the earthly sphere. And by far the most that is imparted to people from the spiritual worlds by mediumistic means actually comes from such souls and is essentially what these souls strive to cast off.

It need not even always be thought of that such souls remain bound to earth by quite ignoble motives, although this is usually the case; they can also be bound by worries which are felt for what one has left behind on earth. Such worries for friends, relatives, children left behind, can also in a certain way act like a kind of heaviness and hold the soul back in the earth sphere. And it is good to draw attention to this very point, for the reason that, if we take this point into consideration, we can also help the dead in a certain way. If we know, for example, that a deceased person can feel this or that concern for the living - and one can know many things in this respect - then it is good for the further development of the dead person to relieve him of this concern. The life of a dead person is indeed made easier by relieving him, for example, of the care for a child which he has left unprovided for. So if you do something for the child, you are in fact relieving the dead person of a worry, and this is precisely a true service of love. For let us just imagine the situation. Such a dead person does not have the means at hand to actually remedy his worries; he often cannot do what could ease the situation of some child, relative, friend, left behind from his world, and he is often - this is an extraordinarily depressing feeling for the seeric observer in many cases - condemned to carry this worry until the situation of the one left behind improves of its own accord or through circumstances. If, therefore, we do something to improve it, the consequence is that we have done the dead person a real service of love. It has often even been observed that some personage has died who had resolved to do this or that in life. They were attached to such a resolution. We help her by trying to do in our turn what she would have liked to do. These are all things that are not difficult to understand, but which should really be considered, because they correspond with the visionary observation.

Now there are still many things which can keep a man for a long time, so to speak, in the etheric sphere of the earth. But then he grows beyond this etheric sphere ...“ (Lit.:GA 140, p. 267f)

Literature

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References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
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steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.