Saturday, April 25, 2015

Anthroposophy: The Sap of the Tree of Life. The New Adam. The Microcosm. Orpheus and Eurydice. The Son of God and the Son of Man.

Background to the Gospel of Mark. Lecture 6.
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, January 16, 1911:
If you continue reading the Gospel of Mark from the verses we endeavored to explain in the last lecture, you come to a remarkable passage similar in every way to what we are told in the other Gospels, but the full meaning of which can be best studied in the Gospel of Mark. This passage tells how Jesus Christ, after He had received baptism in the Jordan and passed through the experiences met with in the wilderness, went into the synagogue and taught. The passage is generally translated as follows: “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” What more does this sentence mean to the man of today, however much he may believe the Bible, than the somewhat abstract statement: “He taught with authority and not as the scribes?” If we take the Greek text we find for the words “For he taught with authority”— “He taught as an Exusiai” and not as the “scribes.”

If we enter deeply into the meaning of this important passage, it leads us a step further toward what may be called the secrets of the mission of Christ Jesus. For I have already remarked that the Gospels as well as other writings that spring from inspired sources are not to be understood so simply as people think, but that we must bring to the understanding of them everything in the way of thoughts and ideas concerning the spiritual world that we have been able to acquire in the course of many years. Only such thoughts can show us what is meant in the Gospel where it says: For he taught those who sat in the synagogue as an “Exusiai,” as a Power, and not as those who are here called “scribes.”

If such a sentence is to be understood we must recall the knowledge we have acquired in recent years concerning the supersensible worlds. We have learnt during this period that man as he lives in this world is the lowest member of a hierarchical order; it is here we must place him. He is a part of the supersensible world, a world where, in the first place, we find beings called in Christian esotericism Angeloi or Angels; these are the beings standing next above man. Above them come the Archangeloi or Archangels, then the Archai or Spirits of Personality. Above these again are the Exusiai, Dynamis, and Kyriotetes, and still higher are the Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim. We have thus a hierarchical order of nine kinds of beings one above the other, the lowest of which is man. Now we ought to understand how these many different spiritual or supersensible beings intervene in our lives.

Angels are those who, as messengers of supersensible realms, stand nearest to man as he is on Earth; they constantly influence what may be called the fate of individuals on our physical plane. As soon as we mention Archangels on the other hand, we speak of spiritual beings whose activities cover a wider span. We can also call them “Folk Spirits,” for they order and guide the concerns of whole nations or groups of peoples.

When a “Folk Spirit” is spoken of today, people generally mean so many thousands of people who are guided by this spirit merely because they live within the same territory. But when a “Folk Spirit” is spoken of in spiritual science, we mean the individuality of the people, not such or such a number of people, but a real individuality, just as we speak of the “individuality” of separate men. And when speaking of the spiritual guidance of the individuality of a people, this guide or leader is called an Archangel. In speaking of these exalted beings we speak of real supersensible entities having their own spheres of activity. The Archai (called also Spirits of Personality, or First Beginnings) are spoken of in spiritual science as being again different from “Folk Spirits.” We speak, for instance, of a French or an English or a German “Folk Spirit,” and in doing so speak of something allotted to different parts of the Earth. But there is something that unites all men, at least all Western humanity, something in which these people feel at one. This, in contradistinction to the separate “Folk Spirits,” we call the “Spirit of the Age, or Time Spirit” (Zeitgeist); there is a different “Time Spirit” or Zeitgeist for the time of the Reformation from that of pre-Reformation times, and again a different one for our own day. The beings we call “Time Spirits” or Zeitgeists have therefore to be ranked above the separate “Folk Spirits”; in fact the name Archai is given to these leaders of succeeding epochs, but all the same they are “Time Spirits.”

When we rise still higher we come to the Exusiai, here we have to do with a quite different kind of supersensible being. In order to form an idea of how the beings of the higher hierarchies differ from the three just mentioned — the Angels, Archangels, Archai — think how similar members of one group of people is to another. As regards their external physical constitution — as regards what they eat and drink, for instance — we cannot say they differ very much in anything outside the realm of the soul and spirit. Even in respect of succeeding epochs of time we must allow that the spiritual guides of humanity are connected only with the things of soul and spirit. But man does not consist only of soul and spirit, these influence mainly his astral body, but within his being are also denser parts, and these, as regards the activities of the Archai, Archangels, and Angels, do not differ much from each other. Creative influences are however at work on these denser members of man's being, and this creative activity of hierarchical beings, beginning with the “Exusiai,” continues upward.

We have to thank the “Time Spirits” — Zeitgeists or Archai — and the “Folk Spirit” or Archangels for ideas connected with time and for speech, but human nature is influenced also by other things, by what lives in light and air and in the climate of particular districts. The humanity that flourishes at the Equator is different from that which flourishes at the North Pole. We do not perhaps quite agree with a well-known German professor of philosophy who states in a widely read book that “Important civilizations must develop in the temperate zone, for all those great beings who have introduced important civilizations would have frozen at the North Pole and been burnt up at the Equator!” We can say, however, that food, etc., is different in different climates, and this affects people differently. External conditions are by no means unimportant to the character of a people, whether this people dwells, for instance, among mountains or on wide plains. We observe how the forces of nature influence the whole constitution of man, and as students of spiritual science we know that the forces of nature are nothing else than the result of the activities of beings of a spiritual nature. For we hold that supersensible spiritual beings are active in all the forces of nature and make use of these to influence man. We therefore distinguish between the activities of Archai and of Exusiai by saying: Angels, Archangels, and Archai do not influence man by making use of the forces of nature, but they make use of that which affects his spiritual nature, his speech, and the ideas that connect him with epochs of time. The activity of these beings does not extend to the lower members of his organism, neither to the etheric nor yet the physical body. In the Exusiai, on the other hand, we have to recognize those higher beings affecting mankind who work through the forces of nature, who are the bringers to man of the different kinds of air and light, of the various ways in which foodstuffs are produced within the different kingdoms of nature. It is they who control these kingdoms of nature.

What comes to us in thunder and lightning, in rain and sunshine, how one kind of food grows in one region, other kinds in other regions — in short, the whole distribution and organization of earthly conditions — we ascribe to spiritual beings that have to be sought among the higher hierarchies. So that when we look up to the nature of the Exusiai we do not see the result of their activities in any such invisible way as in the case of the “Time Spirits” for instance; but we see in them that which works on us in light, and that also works on the plant creation as light.

Let us now consider what was given to man as “culture,” what he had to learn in order to progress. Every man receives in his own age what this age has produced, but he also receives to a certain extent what former ages have produced. This can, however, only be preserved historically, can only be the result of historical teaching and learning. This is derived from the lowest of the hierarchies, and reaches as far as to the “Time Spirit.” What comes to man on the other hand from the kingdoms of nature cannot be preserved in records or traditions. Yet those who are able to penetrate to supersensible worlds pass beyond the sphere of Archangels to still higher revelations. Such revelations are perceived as carrying more weight than what comes from the realms of the Zeitgeists, they affect mankind in a quite special way.

Every clear-thinking man should occasionally turn back and seriously ask himself — “Which has the greatest effect on my soul: that which I have learnt from the traditions of different peoples and ‘Time Spirits’ since history began, or a lovely sunrise; that is, than the revelations of spiritual worlds presented to me by nature itself?”

Such a man feels that the grandeur and beauty of a sunrise reveals infinitely more to his soul than all the sciences, learning, and art of the ages. What nature reveals can be felt by anyone who having visited the art galleries of Italy and seen what have been preserved to us of the works of Michelangelo, of Leonardo da Vinci, or Raphael, and having allowed the power of these to act on him, has then climbed one of the mountains of Switzerland, and viewed the marvellous spectacles provided by nature. He might then ask: Who is the greater painter, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci, or those powers who paint the sunrise as seen from the Rigi? And he would be obliged to answer: However much we may admire what man has achieved, what is here presented to us as the divine revelation of spiritual powers appears to us infinitely the greater!

When the great spiritual leaders of men appear whom we call initiates, who speak not according to tradition but in an original way, their revelations resemble the revelations of nature itself. But what we feel in a sunrise would never have the same effect on us if it were something merely repeated. Compared with what we have received as the communications of Moses and Zarathustra, when these were traditional and had been handed down as the external culture which the “Time Spirits” and “Folk Spirits” had preserved and then passed on — compared with this, what nature has to give is infinitely greater. For the revelations of Moses and of Zarathustra only worked as powerfully as nature's revelations when they sprang directly from the experiences of supersensible worlds.

The grandeur of the original revelations made to man is seen in their power to affect him in the same way as the revelations of nature itself. But this only begins where, as lowest among the hierarchies controlling nature, we divine something of the Exusiai.

What then was felt by those who sat in the synagogues when the Christ appeared among them?

We are told by the “grammarians” that until then they had experienced those things which the “Time Spirits,” “Folk Spirits,” and others had communicated to them. People had got accustomed to this; but now One had appeared who did not teach as those others, but so that His words were a revelation of the supersensible Powers in nature itself, or of the Powers working in thunder and lightning.

Therefore when we know how the greatness of the hierarchies increases as they ascend, we can understand such a saying in the Gospels and accept it in the full depth of its meaning. This is how we must feel about these words in the Gospel according to Mark, and even in such human endeavors as have come down to us in the works of art of Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. Anyone with a feeling for the supersensible quality lying behind these is aware — even in what remains — of all they originally presented to us. So that it is in all great works of art, in all great works of genius. Something continues to affect us in these like an echo of those others [the hierarchies]; and if we are able to see what Raphael, for instance, put into his pictures, or if we are able to pour fresh life into the works of Zarathustra, we can hear in them something of what streams down to us from the realms of the Exusiai. But in what was taught by the scribes in the synagogue, that is, by those who accepted what originated from the “Folk Spirits” and ”Time Spirits,” nothing could be heard that agreed in any way with the revelations of nature.

We are justified therefore in saying that a sentence like this shows that men began at that time to have a feeling, a presentiment, that something entirely new was speaking to them; that through this man who had appeared among them something made itself felt that was like a power of nature, like one of those supersensible powers that stand behind nature. Men began gradually to divine what it was that had entered into Jesus of Nazareth, and was symbolized in the baptism in the Jordan. In reality, they were not far from the truth when they said in the synagogue: We feel when He speaks as though one of the Exusiai spoke — not only an Archai, or Archangel, or Angel.

It is only through what spiritual science has given us that we can fill once more with living sap these modern translations of the Gospels that have become so thin and meaningless; only then are we able to learn how very much goes to a true understanding of what is contained in the Gospels. It will take many generations to fathom, even approximately, all the depths of which our present age is only beginning to have some perception.

What the writer of the Gospel according to Mark desired especially to point out was really a further development of the teaching of Paul, who was one of the first to grasp the nature and being of Christ through direct supersensible knowledge.

Men had now to understand what Paul taught to all, what it was that all men could receive into them through the revelation of Damascus. Although this event is described in the Bible as a sudden illumination, yet those who know the truth regarding such occurrences know that it can happen at any moment to one who desires to rise to spiritual realms; and that through what such a man experiences he becomes a changed being. With regard to Paul we are amply told how he became an entirely different man through the revelation made to him on the way to Damascus.

Even a superficial study of the letters of St. Paul will prove to anyone that he saw in the Event of Christ and in the Event of Golgotha the central point of our whole human evolution; that he associated this directly with that other event spoken of in the Bible as “the first creation,” the first Adam, so that he might have spoken somewhat as follows:

What we describe as the true man, the spiritual man — of whom in this world of maya only a maya exists — came down in ancient Lemurian times to this world of illusion and to all he had to experience in the flesh in successive incarnations. He became man, as this was understood in Lemurian and Atlantean times, and up to the time of Christ. Then came the Event of Golgotha. All this was firmly fixed in the mind of Paul after the vision of Damascus. He realized that in the Event of Golgotha something was given which is comparable with the descent of man into the flesh. With this was given an impulse by which he could gradually overcome those forms of earthly existence which had entered into him through “Adam.” Hence Paul calls the humanity that began with Christ the “new Adam,” the “Adam” that everyone can put on through union with the Christ.

We have therefore to see in the man of Lemurian times, and on into pre-Christian humanity, a slow and gradual descent of man into matter (whether he be called Adam or not). Then came the power and impulse that enabled him to rise again; so that along with all he acquired in earthly life man was able to return to his original spiritual state, that state in which he was before he descended into matter. Unless we misunderstand the true meaning of evolution we must now ask “Could man not have been spared this descent? Why had he to enter a fleshly body and pass through many incarnations, only then to rise again to what he had been before?" Such questions can only spring from a complete misunderstanding of the spiritual nature of evolution. For man takes with him all the fruits and experiences of his earthly evolution, and is enriched with the results of his incarnations. These are results, contents, which he did not have previously. Picture to yourselves a man entering into his first incarnation: in it he learns certain things; he learns more in the second incarnation, and so on through all his subsequent incarnations. The course of these is a descending one; he is entangled more and more in the physical world. Then he begins to rise again, and is able to rise so far that he can receive within him the Christ Impulse. One day he will again enter the spiritual world, but will have taken with him all he had gained on Earth.

Paul saw in the Christ the true central point of the whole earthly evolution of man; he saw what gave man the impulse to rise to supersensible worlds enriched by all the experiences he had gained on Earth.

How, from this standpoint, did Paul regard the sacrifice on Golgotha, the actual crucifixion? It is not easy to bring these facts, these most essential facts of human evolution, clearly before modern minds, in the sense in which Paul saw them. For this sense is also that of the writer of the Gospel of Mark. Before we can do this we must make ourselves familiar with the thought that in man, as he comes before us today, we are concerned with a microcosm, a small world, and we must study everything that this idea brings with it.

As man comes before us today in the course of his evolution between birth and death in one incarnation, two parts of his development are presented which differ greatly from each other; only this difference is not noticed as a rule. I have frequently spoken about these fundamentally different parts of man's life (for our whole spiritually scientific endeavour has a more systematic construction than is often supposed); one of these parts or periods is that between birth and the moment to which at the present time memory extends. If we trace our life backwards, a point is finally reached beyond which all memory ceases. Although you were present, and have perhaps been told by parents or relatives of things you did, and so have knowledge of them, you have no recollection of them; memory does not reach beyond a certain point. Under favorable circumstances this lies round about the third year. Up to this period the child is specially active and impressionable. How much he has learnt during this period, during his first, second, and third years! But of how things impressed him he has not the least recollection.

Then follows the time through which the thread of conscious memory extends smoothly.

These two parts of his development should be carefully considered, for they are of very great importance when man is studied as a whole. Human evolution must be followed carefully, and without the prejudices of modern science. The facts of modern science certainly confirm what I have to say; but if we are not to wander far from the truth we must not follow the prejudice of science. Observing human evolution closely, we say: Man's life among his fellows as a social being can only be lived in accordance with conditions regulated by memory, which begins as a rule about his third year. Of all that concerns this we can say: it is under the direction of our conscious life; all the things we consciously accept as laws according to which we guide our impulses, etc., and that we feel to be worthy, all this is contained in memory. Of what lies before we are unconscious so far as ego consciousness is concerned.

The threads of memory which belong to our conscious life do not reach to this period. There are therefore certain years of our conscious life during which the surrounding world works on us quite differently from how it does later. The difference is a most radical one. Were we able to observe a child before the period to which at a later age its memory extended, we should see that it then feels itself to be much more within general macrocosmic spiritual life; it is not yet separated from this, is not yet isolated within itself, but reckons that it belongs rather to the whole surrounding universe. It does not express itself as others; it does not say “I will,” but “Johnnie wills.” It only learns later to speak of itself as an ego; modern psychologists criticize such facts adversely, but this in no way denies the truth, but only their own powers of insight.

In its early years a child still feels within the whole surrounding world, feels that it is a part of this world. Memory first begins when it separates itself as an individual from the world around it. We can therefore say: the laws a man accepts, and which form the content of his consciousness, belong to the second part of his consciousness, to the second part of his evolution, the part we have just described. A quite different relationship to his environment belongs to the first part: he then feels far more a part of, far more within, the environing world. What I wish to say can only he clearly understood if you imagine hypothetically that the consciousness which gives man this direct contact with the surrounding universe in the first years of childhood were able to continue. In that case his life would be entirely different: he would not feel so isolated, but would feel in later life that he was a part of the whole macrocosm, that he was within the great world. At present he loses this. He has no later connection with that world, he feels cut off from it. If he is a man belonging to ordinary life this feeling of isolation only comes to him in an abstract way. For instance, it enters his consciousness for the most part when egoism increases, when he shuts himself up, as it were, more and more within his own skin. Opinions limiting his life to what is contained within his skin are but half-baked opinions — in fact nonsense, for the moment man exhales breath, the breath he had drawn in is now outside of him. So that even as regards our in-breathing and out-breathing we are continually in touch with our whole environment. The way man regards his own being is an absolute illusion, but his consciousness is such that he must live in this illusion. He cannot help himself. For we are really neither suited, nor are we ripe enough, to experience our own karma at the present day. If, for example, someone wishes to close the window, we are apt, because we regard ourselves as separate beings, to feel injured and annoyed. But if we believed in karma we would feel that we belonged to the whole macrocosm, and would know as a fact that it was really we who had closed the window, for we are interwoven with the whole cosmos. It is absolute nonsense to think we are enclosed within our skin. But the feeling of being one with the macrocosm is only retained by the child in its early years, it is lost from the point of time to which later its memory extends.

Things were not always thus. In former times, which do not lie so very far behind us, man was still able to a certain extent to carry this consciousness of his early years on into later times. This was in the days of the ancient clairvoyance. With it was associated a quite different kind of thinking, as well as a different way of expressing facts. This is something belonging to human evolution that it would be well the student of spiritual science should understand.

When a man is born among us at the present day, what is he? He is in the first place the son of his father and of his mother. And if in communal life he has not got a certificate of birth or baptism showing the standing of his father and mother by which he can be identified, nothing is known of him, and his existence is ignored. According to the ideas of the present day, a man is the physical son of his father and of his mother.

This is not how men thought at a time not so very long ago. But because the scientists and investigators of today do not know that in former times men thought differently, that their words and their relationships to each other were different from what they are now, they have therefore arrived at interpretations of ancient communications that are also quite different. We are told, for instance, in these ancient communications of a Greek singer, Orpheus. I select him because he belongs to an age immediately preceding that of Christianity. It was Orpheus who inaugurated the Grecian Mysteries. The Greek age falls within the fourth period of post-Atlantean civilizations, so that in a way the Greeks were prepared by Orpheus for what they were to receive later through the Christ Event.

What would a modern man say if confronted by a person like Orpheus? He would say: He is the son of such and such a father and mother; modern science might perhaps even look for “inherited attributes” in him. There exists today a large volume treating of all the inherited characteristics of the Goethe family, and would present Goethe as the sum of these inherited attributes. People did not think in this way at the time of Orpheus, they did not then regard external man and his attributes as what was most essential. The most essential thing in Orpheus was the power by which he became the inaugurator, the true leader, of pre-Christian civilization in Greece. They recognized quite clearly that his physical brain and nervous system were not what was most important in him. They considered this to be far more the fact that he bore within him an element that had its direct source in supersensible worlds, that through it, all he experienced in these worlds came in touch, by means of his personality, with a physical-sensible element, and could then express itself in the various stages provided by a physical personality. The Greeks saw in Orpheus not the man of flesh descended from father and mother, even perhaps from grandfather and grandmother: this was not to them the main thing, it was only his shell, his outer presentment. For them the essential thing in him was what had descended from a supersensible source, and had entered into a sensible being on the physical plane.

When the Greeks confronted Orpheus they hardly considered his descent from father and mother; what mattered to them was the fact that his soul qualities, the qualities through which he had become what he was, sprang from a supersensible source that till then had never had any connection with the physical plane, and that through what this man was, a supersensible element was able to work within his personality and be united with it.

Because the Greeks saw, as what was most essential in Orpheus, a pure supersensible element, they said of him: “He is descended from a Muse.” He was the son of the Muse Calliope; he was not the son of any mere earthly mother, but of a supersensible element that had never had connection with sensible things. Had he been the son of Calliope alone, he could only have given information concerning supersensible worlds. But because of the age in which he lived, he was ordained to give expression also to that which would be of service to his age physically. He was not only an instrument for the voice of the Muse Calliope — as the Rishis at an earlier day had been the vocal instruments of certain supersensible forces — but he was able to express supersensible things so vividly in his own life that the physical world was influenced by him. Because Orpheus had a Thracean river God for his father, what he taught was closely associated on the other side with nature, with the climate of Greece, and with all that external nature gave to the river god, Oiagros.

We gather therefore that the soul-nature of Orpheus was considered the most important part of him. It was in respect of their souls men were described long ago, not as became customary later when people were described by saying: he is the son of so and so, and was born in such a town, but they were described according to their spiritual values.

It is extraordinarily interesting to note how intimately the fate of a man like Orpheus was felt; a man who was descended on one side from a muse and on the other from a river god. He had within him not merely supersensible qualities as the prophets had, but to these he had added sensible qualities. He was therefore exposed to all the influences exercised on man by the physical-sensible world.

You are well aware that the nature of man is composed of several members. The lowest of these is the physical body, then comes the etheric body (concerning which I told you that it comprises the opposite sex), then the astral body, and the ego. A man like Orpheus was still able to look on one side into the spiritual world because he was descended from a Muse (you now know what that means), but on the other side the capacities by which he could live in the spiritual world were undermined owing to the life he led on the physical plane, and because of his descent from his father, the Thracian river god. Through this his purely spiritual life was undermined. In the case of all the earlier leaders of mankind in the second and third periods of post-Atlantean culture, by whom only a verbal teaching concerning the spiritual world had been imparted, conditions were such that they were conscious of their own etheric body as something separated from their physical body. When in the civilizations of ancient Greece, and also in those of the Celts, a man was empowered to perceive what he had to communicate to his fellow-men, these revelations came to him because his etheric body extended beyond his physical body. It became in this case the bearer of forces which entered into the man. If the person giving out these revelations was a man and his etheric body therefore female, he perceived what he had to communicate from the spiritual world in a female form.

Now, it had to be shown that where Orpheus came into purely spiritual relationship with spiritual powers, he was exposed, owing to his being the son of the Thracian river god, to the risk of not being able to retain the revelations that came to him through his etheric body. The more he entered into the life of the physical world and expressed what he was as a son of Thrace, the more he lost his clairvoyant powers. This is shown in the fact that Eurydice, she through whom he revealed himself, his soul-bride, was removed from him, and was taken to the underworld. This occurred through the bite of an adder. He could only receive her back again by passing through an initiation. This he now did. Whenever we are told of anyone “going into the underworld,” it means an initiation; so he had to pass through an initiation before receiving his bride back again. But already he was too closely interwoven with the physical world. He certainly did attain powers by which he was able to penetrate to the underworld, but on his return, as he again beheld the light of the sun, Eurydice disappeared from his sight. Why? Because when he beheld the light of day he did something he should not have done — he looked back. That means, he overstepped a law strictly laid on him by the God of the underworld. What law is this? It is, that physical man as he lives on the physical plane today must not look back beyond that moment of time I have already described, within which lie the macrocosmic experiences of childhood, and which, when extended into later states of consciousness, gave him the ancient form of clairvoyance. “Thou shalt not desire to unravel the secrets of childhood,” said the God of the underworld, “nor remember how the threshold was crossed.” If he did this he lost the faculty of clairvoyance. Something infinitely fine and intimate in Orpheus is shown us by this loss of Eurydice, one result of which is the sacrifice of man to the physical world. With a nature that is still rooted in the spiritual world, he is directed to what he has to become on the physical plane. Through this nature all the powers of the physical plane rush in on him, and he loses “Eurydice” his own innocent soul, which must be lost to modern humanity. The forces among which he is then placed lacerate him. This in a certain sense is regarded as the sacrifice of Orpheus.

What did Orpheus experience as he lived on from the third to the fourth period of post-Atlantean culture? He experienced in the first place that stage of consciousness which the child leaves behind — he experienced connection with the macrocosm. This does not pass over into his conscious life. Therefore, as we see him, he is swallowed up, slain by life on the physical plane, which really begins at the point of time of which we have been speaking.

Consider now the man of the physical plane, who is normally only able to carry his memory back to a certain point of time, before which lie the first three years of childhood.

The thread of memory so entangles Orpheus with the physical plane that with his true nature he could not abide in it, but is torn to pieces. Thus it is with the spirit of man today; we see how profoundly the human spirit is entangled in matter. This is the spirit which, according to the Christianity of St. Paul, is called the “Son of Man.” You get this conception of the “Son of Man” who is in man from the point of time to which memory extends, along with all that he has gained through culture. Keep this man before you, and then think what he might have been through union with the macrocosm if there had entered into him all that streamed toward him from the macrocosm in the early years of childhood. In these early years what comes can only form a foundation, for the evolved human ego is not yet present. But if it entered into an evolved human ego there would then take place what occurred for the first time through the baptism in the Jordan at the moment when “the Spirit from above” descended upon Jesus of Nazareth. The three innocent stages of childhood's development would blend with all the rest of the human being. The consequence would be that as this innocent life of childhood sought to develop on the physical Earth, that it could do so only for three years (as is always the case): — it would meet its end on Golgotha. This means it cannot mingle with what man becomes at the moment when he achieves his egohood, at the point of time to which later his memory extends.

If you ponder this; if you ponder what it would mean if all the connections with the macrocosm were to meet in one man; if everything that approached him in a vague, uncertain way in his early childhood streamed into him, but could not really dawn in him because the evolved ego was not present, were you to carry this thought further and picture it dawning within a later consciousness, something would be formed in man, something would enter into him, which did not spring from a human source, but from the vast world-depths out of which we are born You would then have the interpretation of the words uttered in connection with the descent of the dove: — “This is my well beloved Son; this day have I begotten Him!” This means: Now is the Christ incarnated — “begotten” — in Jesus of Nazareth. Christ was actually born in Jesus of Nazareth at the moment of baptism in the Jordan. He then stood at the summit of that consciousness which otherwise man only enjoys in the early years of childhood, but He was aware at the same time of this union with the whole cosmos. A child would also have this feeling of union if it were aware of what it felt during those three early years. In this case other words heard at that time would acquire a different meaning: — “I and the Father (the cosmic Father) are one!”

When you allow all this to affect your souls you will be conscious of something within you that is like an echo of what Paul felt, the earliest initial element of that which came to him in the revelation of Damascus, and experienced in the beautiful words: — “Unless ye become as little children ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” This saying has manifold meanings, among others this: Paul said, “Not I, but Christ in me!” This means a being having the macrocosmic consciousness a child would have were it to experience the consciousness of its three early years along with that of a later day. In the normal man of today these two kinds of consciousness are separate; they must be separate, for they are not compatible. Neither were they in Jesus Christ. For after these three years death had necessarily to follow under such circumstances as occurred in Palestine. It was not by chance these occurred as they did, but because two factors lived in one being: the “Son of God” — which man is from the time of his birth until the development of his ego-consciousness; and the “Son of Man,” which he is after this ego-consciousness has been acquired. Through the union of the “Son of God” and the “Son of Man” all those events came to pass which later led to the Events of Palestine.

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