From AnthroWiki

A vision (from Latinvidere "to see"; Frenchvision "dream") is an imaginatively perceived spiritual phenomenon in the astral world, which is unconsciously carried over into the sensual daytime consciousness. Visions are not only limited to impressions that are remotely comparable to sensual sight, but other sensual qualities, e.g. smelling, tasting, etc., can also play a role, insofar as the sensual qualities have their origin in the astral world. An exclusively heard event is also called an audition (Latinaudire "to hear").

„Visions arise from the fact that man unconsciously carries over experiences of sleep into day-life, and that day-life shapes these sleep-experiences into imaginations which are then inwardly much more saturated, much more full of content than the ordinary imaginations which are shadowy; by carrying over such imaginations man makes them into such vivid, colour-sounding imaginations.“ (Lit.:GA 227, p. 163)

The vision is a retarded remnant of the old clairvoyance. It occurs when the consciousness, which today is normally centred in the I, dives down into the astral body, although it is distorted by the experiences of the object consciousness.

„Whoever dives down there after having been a present human being, everything that is below is coloured here with the experiences from above. One brings into this subconsciousness, like a shell, what one has experienced above, and thereby does not get a pure imagination, an unclouded picture, but a picture clouded by the experiences of the object-consciousness.“ (Lit.:GA 57, p. 408f)

„When man dives down into his astral body, he artificially transports himself back into the sphere which his consciousness occupied when he himself still lived in the astral body. This is how the vision arises in the present sense. If man were to descend into the consciousness of the astral body without knowing anything of the present world, he would really experience those images which represent the interior of objects. But since, when he descends, he takes with him what he has experienced above, all things that would otherwise appear to him in their true form appear to him in such a way that they simulate, pretend, that which can only be experienced here in the world of the objective. That is what is true and what is deceptive about the vision.

When a man descends into the world of vision, he can always be sure that there are reasons which lie in the soul's environment; but it is also certain that what comes before his eyes as a vision will be mirages, that the true form of things will not be revealed to him, but after-images of what is seen in the upper world. That is why the visions of man usually appear in such a way that they suggest what people experience in the present. This can be examined in detail, even from decade to decade.

Think of a man immersed in that world at a time when there was no telegraph and no telephone. He would not have seen a telegraph or a telephone in the underworld either. In our time, on the other hand, seeing telegraphs and telephones in the vision is becoming more and more frequent. Hence it is that a devout Catholic who has often seen the Madonna in the form in which she appears to the object consciousness when he descends, takes this image with him and this appears to him in the vision. As a rule, those who are not devout Catholics will not experience the Madonna in the visions either. What is seen in the vision does not correspond to reality; but that which dresses itself as reality, man has first brought down. He carries down into this world what he has experienced here. We see, then, that in the vision man in fact colours in a certain way that which he experiences.“ (Lit.:GA 57, p. 409f)

Vision and Hallucination

To be distinguished from the vision, which makes real existing spiritual facts perceptible in astral form, is the hallucination, which feigns non-existent sensual impressions.

„To these things, which by all means for the ordinary consciousness already stand on the border between the sensuous and the supersensuous world, belong, for example, the human visions, visions where in a kind of hallucination, which more or less, however, is still dominated by the human being, images appear. They can even be coloured, they can be audible, they can contain other things, but they do not correspond to external things in the way they present themselves to the consciousness, so that the thing outside would be in the same way as the vision that lives inside. For that which is perceived in everyday life, the object is outside; but the image, very shadowy, is within. And the human being is fully conscious of how his shadowy image inside relates to the outer world. The vision first appears for itself, makes the claim to carry a reality in itself. The human being also comes into a state of soul in which he is no longer capable of now judging in the right way the reality-value of the image that appears, appears without his intervention.“ (Lit.:GA 227, p. 161f)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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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.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - 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.