THE WORK OF MAN

CULT-MAGIC AND MYTH

Preface
1. The work of man
2. Myth and reality
3. Myth and cult
4. Cult as magic
5. Magic and recognition
6. The inner light
7. Conclusion



THE WORK OF MAN

 

I know of nothing greater on this earth than the spiritual work of man!
In particular, I have to marvel at man’s spiritual work when it seems even so great for him that he creates gods for himself in his own image! It can never lose its great value in my eyes, even if you say to me: – “Now finally we know that this spiritual work we revered as being the work of gods, in truth originates in man.”
I know that all spiritual things on this earth will always require intervention of man if they are to be made manifest and perceptible to men…
Indeed, I can even revere man’s self-created gods for his sake!
I see what is best in man represented in them!
The creations of his spirit, raised high above him so that he can render service to them, show me his own greatness…
He has created an image of his own majesty that he might prostrate himself before it…


Therefore many a lofty cult, and the wise myths belonging to it, is sacred to me for the sake of man: – as the work of man.
Myth shows me man in a divine image.–
In cults I see him honouring the divine within him – giving it the name of the god he created himself. –

 

 

book 16 the work of man

 

 

 


Truly: you have a low opinion of yourself if you think you can despise the work of man in the exalted spheres where he created gods, myth and cult for himself!
You are still a stranger to yourself if you seek the manifestation of the spirit on this earth and yet would disdain those things bearing witness to man’s work within that manifestation!


The wise among the ancients were compelled to hide from the immature the fact that they themselves had created the words they preached as words from the gods.
Yet those who heard the voice of the Godhead within themselves had to create gods, lest they would be startled by the word in themselves!
Thus the language they spoke had already become image and parable for themselves. Others who listened to them let the images and parables influence them, producing further images. –
However, exalted sages, recognising the capacity of man’s spiritual power, created the cult for the myth, – created sublime forms of magical acts which rendered man’s most secret might, hidden behind image and parable, useful to him.
Much of this is now buried under rubble, having once been man’s most sacred possessions through the millennia.

Much is still today at work, yet is scarcely recognised any more by those who look after it.


Yet those who have contempt for all cults, because they discovered that man was at work in the genesis of the myths which bear them, are mistaken in believing that in the end knowledge shows myths and cults to be the constructions of foolish delusions.
They do not suspect that the sage honour here what they despise!
They do not suspect that they are walking over the foundations of temples in whose walls precious gems still await their discoverer!
They have found man where they previously believed the gods had been at work, – therefore they now consider what once they honoured to be worthless and contemptible.
Only rare individuals feel within themselves the heights to which man’s work can be raised.
They alone still feel awe before the work created by men of bygone times.
They know that there has not been a great culture which had not been raised upon a cult which in turn owed its power to a myth.
They know that cults and myths can not be created as works of arbitrary will; therefore they honour what once was born from the depths of man’s creative power.
No one has yet measured the profoundest depths of the source of this power!
But those who intuitively seek within themselves will readily acknowledge that they profane only themselves in disdaining the works of ancient sages…
They will shudder before the work of man which reveals the Godhead to him! –

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