...never did the souls of men take part so intimately, so fervently, in this last phase of the descent to Earth — the enveloping in an etheric body — as in the Mysteries of Ephesus. There the whole service of the Goddess of Ephesus, exoterically called Artemis, was directed toward co-experiencing the spiritual weaving life within the cosmic ether. When members of the Ephesian Mystery approached the image of the goddess, the feeling this gave them may be said to have become intensified to hearing; and what they heard, as though the goddess were speaking, was something as follows: "I rejoice in all that bears fruit in the wide expanse of cosmic ether." — A deep impression was created by this expression of intense joy on the part of the goddess of the temple, her joy in all that grows, sprouts, and burgeons in the world-ether; and an ardent feeling of close relationship with blossoming and flowering was in particular something that permeated the spiritual atmosphere of the Ephesian sanctuary as with a magic breath.
Nowhere else was the growth of the plant life, the drive of the Earth forces into the plants, co-experienced so intensely as in the Mystery of Ephesus, for the entire training here tended to that end. And this led to the next step: it was here that instruction was given, if I may so call it, specially intended to induce in the minds of members a feeling for the Moon secret, of which I spoke yesterday. It was everyone's own experience to feel himself as a light-being, because the act of receiving his light-form from the Moon was made so alive for the neophytes and initiates.
A part of the ritual ran something as follows — and one who could take part in it was actually transported into that act of forming himself out of the sunlight that circles around the Moon: as though proceeding from the Sun, there came to him the sound J O A.*
* Translator's Note: — For readers not familiar with German it must be explained that j is pronounced like our y in “yet” — in other words, like an excessively short German i. For this reason it is not too strange that one often encounters J for I (but only in capitals), and the above is a case in point. Indeed, there is no choice here but to use it, as the same letter must serve as a pure vowel in J O A and later as a modified vowel in Jehova. — The letters J O A must be pronounced Ee Oh Ah, and Jehova that appears later, Yay-hoh-vah.
He knew that this J O A activated his ego, his astral body. J O (ego, astral body) and A (the approach of the light-ether body), joining in J O A. Then, with the J O A vibrating in him, he felt himself to be composed of ego, astral body, and etheric body.
And then it seemed as though he heard sounding up to him from the Earth — for he had been transported into the cosmos — something that saturated the J O A: eh v. Jeh Ov A What rose up to him in the eh v were the Earth forces.
Now he realized that in this Jeh Ov A he felt the complete human being. The premonition of the physical body, which he acquired only on Earth, he felt intimated in the consonants complementing the vowels that in the J O A indicate the ego, the astral body, and the etheric body. — This becoming one with the Jeh Ov A was what enabled the disciple of Ephesus to sense in their full significance the last steps of the descent from the spiritual world.
But in feeling the import of this J O A the neophyte at the same time felt himself to be the sound J O A in the light. Then he was a human being: resonant ego, resonant astral body, in a shimmering light-ether body. He was sound in light. That is the nature of cosmic man; and in this state the initiate was able to grasp what he saw in the cosmos, just as on Earth he could perceive through his eyes what occurs in the physical environment of the Earth. When the neophyte of Ephesus bore this J O A within him he really felt transported into the Moon sphere, and he took part in all that could be observed from the point of view of the Moon.
In this condition the human being was man in general, in the sense that the differentiation between man and woman did not enter until the descent to Earth occurred. Man felt himself transported into this pre-earthly existence, the region immediately preceding his approach to the terrestrial....
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