Extract from a lecture given by Rudolph Steiner in Dornach 2 June 1923

‘When we see colours we do not at all see just what is contemporary, we look back into far-distant perspectives of time. We cannot in fact see a coloured jewel at all as just something belonging to now, any more than we can see a church spire immediately beside us as if we are standing hundreds of feet below. Being at a distance from it we have to see it in perspective.

If a topaz is put in front of us we cannot see it merely in this moment, we have to see a time perspective. And as the jewel takes us back in time we look at the first beginnings of Earth creation before the Lemurian epoch of our Earth evolution and because we see it being created out of the spirit we see it coloured. Physics does something monstrously absurd in this regard. It spreads the work out in front of us with vibrating atoms behind it which are supposed to cause colours. Where as it is really that the divine spiritual beings who created stones long ages ago come alive in the colours and stimulate a living memory in us of their past creations. We see colour in nature alright if the colour stimulates us to see past creations of the gods in nature.’