Monday, May 2, 2011
The Tree of Life: The Human Being in the Form of a Pentagram
From the Contents of Esoteric Classes
Rudolf Steiner, Munich, August 27, 1909:
Today we want to occupy ourselves with occult symbols that a pupil gets to know during his development and through which the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings give us wisdom that was brought over to us from Atlantean times.
After Atlantis sank, great initiates led two main streams of people from west to east, one through Africa, the other through Europe. Those who came to Asia through Africa produced the individuality that could take in the Christ light in the course of incarnations and developments. In the northern stream a strong, sturdy stock arose among initiates that not only knew how to defy outer enemies but was also a match for psychic, demonic influences. There were mystery centers in Europe, whose existence is reported in old sagas. For instance, the report of such an esoteric school is concealed behind the legend of King Arthur and his Round Table. King Arthur was a high initiate who proclaimed the mystery wisdom to his pupils.
Now, it's an occult law that some initiates withdraw to spiritual worlds when an especially high one unfolds his activity on the physical plane. Thus, while the Christ light shone in the Orient, another high initiate withdrew for whom north European people had been prepared as a later sphere of activity. He later incarnated to let the Christ event in its whole importance flow into mankind. We're told about this incarnation of the high initiate in the legend of the Holy Grail that angels carried from east to west and kept floating above the Earth there. King Titurel was the guardian of the Grail and the reincarnation of the high initiate who was supposed to prepare things for a certain historical period. An old French legend, Floire et Blanchflor, was inspired by Titurel. Charlemagne was the reincarnation of a high, East Indian adept and an instrument of the spiritual individuality that's symbolized by the name Titurel. Floris and Blancheflur are called Charlemagne's spiritual parents. They inspired people who were connected with the mystery center.
.Titurel attracted pupils who were all called Parzival. A Parzival had to free himself, through appropriate exercises, from all worldly influences that drag one down. He had to be a Cathar. When Parzival, who at this stage would call himself a “pious one” or purified one, stepped before his master Titurel, the latter let him use the forces that he'd developed through catharsis for an intensive concentration: the Earth and everything on it disappeared before his eyes and gradually changed into the image of a tree that grew and from which a wonderful lily sprouted. And while Parzival was immersed in this perception he heard the voice of Blancheflur behind him — who, as it were, symbolized herself in the lily, saying “You are that.” The lily emitted a strong odor that Parzival found repulsive and he realized that this aroma symbolized all the things that he had set outside himself through catharsis, and that this still surrounded him like an atmosphere. Then the tree withered before him and it was replaced by a black cross with red roses sprouting out of it. He heard the voice of Floris — whose symbol was the red rose that's strengthened in itself — behind him: “You should become that.”
Parzival was then led into mountain solitude by Titurel to meditate on the mighty pictures that had been conjured up before him. And on a secluded peak he directed his gaze to the endless heavens above him, lowered it to the endless depths beneath him, looked to the front and rear, right and left into endless distances, and an indescribable feeling of reverence and devotion for the Godhead that revealed itself to him in everything overcame him. And he directed a prayer to it: “You great Enveloper, you whom I feel above and below and beside me, who is everywhere whether I look forward or backward — I would like to devote myself to you and merge with you.”
At the same time he felt another divine power who did not overpower him as much, who seemed to lead him into himself and seemed to give him a center there. And he felt a third force like a messenger of the great Enveloper who seemed to lead him in a circle around his center. He felt that his left hand was grasped by a force that pressed like warmth through the arm, that announced itself through a feeling of cold. If we want to draw these forces then we must draw the first three (as at the bottom of the diagram below), and the two others that pressed through him like a feeling that gave him knowledge of his connection with all mankind, as wings.
Then the sky became dark for him and lost its outer light, and suddenly space lit up for him from within. He had the feeling as if his head opened up like a chalice to divine light and in this light he saw the messengers of the Panenveloper who came towards him from above, and through the radiant light that stood above him like a star and sent its shine deep into him he heard their voice that said to him: “This is the light of the Father, out of which you were born.”
And he realized that to become worthy of this birth he would have to transform the green lily tree into the dry wood of the cross in himself, just as the Christ had gone through death on the same, and that only thereby the hope could blossom in him to be resurrected in the Holy Spirit:
Ex Deo nascimur
In Christo morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.
Notes from B-F: 1 is a force that projects into us, that also fills us when we concentrate on an object (white lily). 2 is another force that urges us to be ourself in initiative actions (rose cross). 3 is really a circle, a force that induces us to see life's joyful and sad experiences around us and not in us — with equanimity. It's the karmic law of necessity that turns in a circle. If we devote ourselves to these three, we then get 4/5 as supports, a warm wing of enthusiasm (love) and a cold one (shame and fear) that harmonizes this. Then in arrows 6/7 there are streams from the geniuses of light who bring us wisdom; thereby we feel as if we were growing two small wings in the larynx region. Then we hear the harmony of the spheres 8/9 from the geniuses of will that clarifies the goal of man and world evolution.
The whole picture is the tree of life or man in the form of a pentagram.