Contemplations of the Realm of the Mother's mentioned in Steiner's writings lead one down deep and meaningful paths. Goethe mentions the Realm of the Mothers in Faust and says that he discovers this in reading Plutarch. Rudolf Steiner clarifies, "At the fourth stage of Devachan, the archetypes of things arise — not the ‘negatives’ but the original types. This is the laboratory of the Cosmos wherein all forms are contained, whence creation has proceeded; it is the home of the Ideas of Plato, the ‘Realm of the Mothers’ of which Goethe speaks in Faust in connection with Helena. In this realm of Devachan, the Akashic Record of Indian philosophy is revealed"
In another lecture Steiner gives on Faust he continues to define this region, "This shows us that Faust had attained to that stage in his soul life where he under-stood the “dying and becoming.” He participates joyfully in the Feast, but while it is going on he sets out on “the path to the Mothers,” where alone he can find the figures of Paris and Helena which the emperor wishes to see. The eternal archetypes of all existence are preserved in the realm of the Mothers. It is a realm which man can only enter when he has “given up his existence in order to exist.” (Rudolf Steiner Goethe's Standard of Soul; Chapter One)
conversation between Eckermann and Goethe taking place in 1830 which addresses the ‘the Mothers.’
“This afternoon, Goethe afforded me great pleasure by reading the scene in which Faust visits the Mothers. The novelty and unexpectedness of the subject, and Goethe’s manner of reading the scene, struck me so forcibly, that I felt myself wholly transported into the situation of Faust when he shudders at the communication from Mephistophiles. Although I had heard and felt the whole, yet so much remained an enigma to me, that I felt myself compelled to ask Goethe for some explanation. But he, in his usual manner, wrapped himself up in mystery, as he looked on me with wide open eyes, and repeated the words — “Die Mütter ! Mütter ! ‘s klingt so wunderlich “ The Mothers ! Mothers ! nay, it sounds so strange. ” I can reveal to you no more,” said he, ” except that I found, in Plutarch, that in ancient Greece mention was made of the Mothers as divinities. This is all that I owe to others, the rest is my own invention. Take the manuscript home with you, study it carefully, and see what you can make of it.”
“I was very happy while studying this remarkable scene once more in quiet, and took the following view of the peculiar character and influence, the abode and outward circumstances, of the Mothers : — “Could we imagine that huge sphere our earth had an empty space in its centre, so that one might go hundreds of miles in one direction, without coming in contact with anything corporeal, this would be the abode of those unknown goddesses to whom Faust descends. They live, as it were, beyond all place; for nothing stands firm in their neighbourhood : they also live beyond all time ; for no heavenly body shines upon them which can rise or set, and mark the alternation of day and night. “Thus, dwelling in eternal obscurity and loneliness, these Mothers are creative beings ; they are the creating and sustaining principle from which everything proceeds that has life and form on the surface of the earth.
Whatever ceases to breathe returns to them as a spiritual nature, and they preserve it until a fit occasion arises to come into existence anew. All souls and forms of what has been, or will be, hover about like clouds in the vast space of their abode. So are the Mother’s surrounded, and the magician must enter their dominion, if he would obtain power over the form of a being, and call back former existences to seeming life. “The eternal metamorphosis of earthly existence, birth and growth, destruction and new formation, are thus the unceasing care of the Mothers; and, as in everything which receives new life on earth, the female principle is most in operation, these creating divinities are rightly thought of as female, and the august title of Mothers may be given to them not without reason.
“All this is, indeed, no more than a poetic creation; but the limited human mind cannot penetrate much further, and is contented to find something on which it can repose. Upon earth we see phenomena, and feel effects, of which we do not know whence they come and whither they go. We infer a spiritual origin— something divine, of which we have no notion, and for which we have no expression, and– which we must draw down to ourselves, and anthropomorphize– that we may in some degree embody and make comprehensible our dark forebodings.
“Thus have arisen all mythi, which from century to century have lived among nations, and, in like manner, this new one of Goethe’s, which has at least the appearance of some natural truth, and may be reckoned among the best that was ever devised.”
If the Realm of the Mother's is where the divine archetypes dwell, then they are going to be found cross-culturally around the world in all creation stories or creation myths.
Shambhala, which is a Sanskrit word meaning “place of peace” or “place of silence”, is a mythical paradise spoken of in ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient scriptures of the Zhang Zhung culture which predated Tibetan Buddhism in western Tibet. According to legend, it is a land where only the pure of heart can live, a place where love and wisdom reigns and where people are immune to suffering, want or old age.Shambhala is said to be the land of a thousand names. It has been called the Forbidden Land, the Land of White Waters, Land of Radiant Spirits, Land of Living Fire, Land of the Living Gods and Land of Wonders. The Hindus call it Aryavartha (‘The Land of the Worthy Ones); the Chinese know it as Hsi Tien, the Western Paradise of Hsi Wang Mu; and to the Russian Old Believers, it is known as Belovoyde. In Judeo-Christian it's called the New Jeresulum. But throughout Asia, it is best known by its Sanskrit name, Shambhala, Shamballa, or Shangri-la.
Click to View Nathan Soul in the Realm of the Mothers painting