Sunday, January 31, 2016

13 ways of looking at my guru. #5: The Referee

The Practice of the Presence of God: Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. Letter 14

Fourteenth Letter: 

I give thanks to our Lord for having relieved you a little as you desired. I have often been near death and I was never so much satisfied as then. At those times I did not pray for any relief, but I prayed for strength to suffer with courage, humility, and love. How sweet it is to suffer with God! However great your sufferings may be, receive them with love. It is paradise to suffer and be with Him. If, in this life, we might enjoy the peace of paradise, we must accustom ourselves to a familiar, humble, and affectionate conversation with God.
We must hinder our spirits wandering from Him on all occasions. We must make our heart a spiritual temple so we can constantly adore Him. We must continually watch over ourselves so we do not do anything that may displease Him. When our minds and hearts are filled with God, suffering becomes full of unction and consolation.
I well know that to arrive at this state, the beginning is very difficult because we must act purely on faith. But, though it is difficult, we know also that we can do all things with the grace of God. He never refuses those who ask earnestly. Knock. Persevere in knocking. And I answer for it, that, in His due time, He will open His graces to you. He will grant, all at once, what He has deferred during many years. Adieu.
Pray to Him for me, as I pray to Him for you. I hope to see Him soon.

The Still Point = ICH = Jesus Christ

Ex Deo Nascimur        In Christo Morimur        Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

"At the still point, there the dance is."  — T. S. Eliot

The Gospel of Thomas: Saying 50

Jesus said: If they ask you "Where are you from?" reply to them "We have come from the place where light is produced from itself. It came and revealed itself in their image."
If they ask you "Are you it?" reply to them "We are his sons. We are chosen ones of the living Father."
If they ask you "What is the sign within you of your Father?" reply to them "It is movement. It is rest."

Rudolf Steiner:  "...we must consider the entrance of Christ into world history. Previously, anyone who wished to achieve a life in Christ had to enter into a Mystery school. There a state of lethargy was induced in the physical body, and only through the purified priesthood could there be added to the astral body what was still needed for its purification. This constituted initiation.
But through the coming of Christ into the world, it came about that a man who felt himself drawn to Christ could receive from him something which could take the place of this old form of initiation. It is always possible that someone through union with Christ can preserve his astral body in so purified a condition that he is able to work into his etheric body without doing harm to the world. When one bears this in mind the expression ‘vicarious atonement through death’ receives a quite other significance. This is what is meant by the atoning death of Christ. Before this, death in the Mysteries had to be suffered by everyone who wished to obtain purification. Now the One suffered for all, so that through the world-historic initiation a substitute has been created for the old form of initiation. Through Christianity much that is of a communal nature has been brought about which previously was not communal. The active power of this substitution is expressed in the fact that through inner vision, through true mysticism, community with Christ is possible. This has also been embodied in language. The first Christian initiate in Europe, Ulfilas, himself embodied it in the German language, in that man found the ‘Ich’ within it. Other languages expressed this relationship through a special form of the verb — in Latin, for instance, the word ‘amo’ — but the German language adds to it the Ich. ‘Ich’ is J. Ch. = Jesus Christ. It was with intention that this was introduced into the German language. It is the initiates who have created language. Just as in Sanskrit the AUM expresses the Trinity, so we have the sign ICH to express the inmost being of man. By this means a central point was created whereby the tumultuous emotions of the world can be transformed into rhythm. Rhythm must be instilled into them through the Ich. This center point is literally the Christ.
All Western nations have developed activity, passionate desires. An impulse must come from the East in order to bring into them a more tranquil condition. There is already a precursor of this in Tolstoi's book On Doing Nothing. In the activity of the West we find chaos in many spheres. This is continually on the increase. The spirituality of the East should bring a central point into the chaos of the West. What throughout long periods of time had its function as karma passes over into wisdom. Wisdom is the daughter of karma. All karma finds its compensation in wisdom. An initiate who has reached a certain stage of development is called a Sun Hero, because his inner being has become rhythmical. His life is an image of the Sun which in its rhythmical course traverses the heavens.
The word ‘Aum’ is the breath. The breath is related to the Word as the Holy Spirit is to Christ, as Atman is to the I."


Saturday, January 30, 2016

The goal of yoga: the fire and the rose are one

“The self is formed out of, born out of, the whole universe, and our own ascent leads us finally to merge in the whole cosmos. The aim of self-knowledge is to give man his place in the great world in order to reveal to him there the true meaning of the word 'self-knowledge'…”  — Rudolf Steiner

The conclusion to T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

13 ways of looking at my guru. #8: T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot was a member of The Aristotle Society of London. He once took Ezra Pound with him to a Society meeting. He introduced Pound to a fellow member, who expressed surprise that Pound would be interested enough to attend the meeting. Eliot replied "Oh, he's not here as a participant; he's here as an anthropologist."

13 ways of looking at my guru. #8: Uncle Ernie

A man is complaining to a friend about Uncle Ernie, who has just moved into a spare room in his house as a member of the family: "He's absolutely insane. He thinks he's a chicken. I'm not kidding: he really does fully believe that he's an actual chicken!"

"Well then why live with such an insane person? Why not simply kick him out of your house?"

"We would, but we need the eggs."

13 ways of looking at my guru. #8: Father William

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "As I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box—
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "And your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak—
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!"

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Practice of the Presence of God: Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. Letter 13

Thirteenth Letter: 

I am sorry to see you suffer so long. What gives me some ease and sweetens the feeling I have about your griefs is that they are proof of God's love for you. See your pains in that view and you will bear them more easily. In your case, it is my opinion that, at this point, you should discontinue human remedies and resign yourself entirely to the providence of God. Perhaps He waits only for that resignation and perfect faith in Him to cure you. Since, in spite of all the care you have taken, treatment has proved unsuccessful and your malady still increases, wait no longer. Put yourself entirely in His hands and expect all from Him.
I told you in my last letter that He sometimes permits bodily discomforts to cure the distempers of the soul. Have courage. Make a virtue of necessity. Do not ask God for deliverance from your pain. Instead, out of love for Him, ask for the strength to resolutely bear all that He pleases, and as long as He pleases. Such prayers are hard at first, but they are very pleasing to God, and become sweet to those that love Him.
Love sweetens pains. And when one loves God, one suffers for His sake with joy and courage. Do so, I beseech you. Comfort yourself with Him. He is the only physician for all our illnesses. He is the Father of the afflicted and always ready to help us. He loves us infinitely more than we can imagine. Love Him in return and seek no consolation elsewhere. I hope you will soon receive His comfort. Adieu.

Acanemia: "Parched, dried-up little professors"

"Be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh."  — Ecclesiastes 12:12

Rudolf Steiner:

As human beings we really live, as it were, throughout the day in a kind of autumn and winter mood. Indeed, the soul's summer mood only exists when the soul is asleep, and the sleeping human body, the physical and the etheric body, is like a plant. And the I and astral body outside shed their rays upon the physical and etheric body like the Sun and the stars, and they call into life again the forces destroyed during the day; vegetable life begins to grow. And the day's thinking activity exists in order to eliminate what the night calls forth as growing life.

When we wake up, we lightly pass over our whole plantlike existence, just like autumn over the plants of the Earth. And when we are awake during the day, we do what winter does to the vegetation of the Earth by destroying in our physical and etheric body the budding, growing life produced at night in the soul's summer time when we are asleep. From this standpoint, it can easily be grasped why people who do not bring at least something of their soul's summer into their waking daytime life dry up so easily. Parched, dried-up little professors are people who do not like to absorb things which are not fully conscious. They do not like to take in anything of the soul's summer seasons. Consequently they dry up; they acquire a pronounced winter character.

The Modern Man as Anthropologist

T. S. Eliot was a member of The Aristotle Society of London. He once took Ezra Pound with him to a Society meeting. He introduced Pound to a fellow member, who expressed surprise that Pound would be interested enough to attend the meeting. Eliot replied "Oh, he's not here as a participant; he's here as an anthropologist."

Great Big Gobs of the Grace of God! This is what reading Rudolf Steiner is like:

This one's for you, Bangkok Bob, International Man of Mystery, Intrigue, and Suspense!

my Self among others

Namaste: I pray to the Christ in you

Rudolf Steiner: "When someone is alone, Christ is not there. You cannot find Christ without first feeling a connection to humanity as a whole. You must seek Christ on the path that connects you with all humankind.... To be connected only with your own inner experiences leads you away from Christ."

From my School of Metaphysics Intuitive Health Reading of June 5, 2007:

Me: How can I better receive Christ?

SOM: As this one receives--allows to come into the self--sensory stimulation, to hold within the mind the point of origin of these people, places, and things, and to honor that; to endeavor to let go of old thinking and old limitation; to constantly consciously embrace change.

Ex Deo Nascimur       In Christo Morimur       Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus
"Each person, in his thinking, lays hold of the universal primordial being who pervades all human beings."
--Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom, part 3

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sunburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dreams and the Pineal Gland. Involution and Evolution

An Esoteric Cosmology. Lecture 4 of 18.
Notes of an audience member of a lecture given by Rudolf Steiner in Paris on May 28, 1906:

There is a phenomenon of physical life which has never been explained by exoteric thought — the chaotic life bound up with sleep and called the life of dream.
What is the dream? It is an activity which has survived from prehistoric times. To understand it by analogy, let us consider certain phenomena which do not any longer belong, properly speaking, to physical life — organs which have now become useless, rudimentary organisms of which the naturalist can make nothing. Such are the motor organs of the ear and eye which function no longer, the appendix, and — notably, the pineal gland in the brain, which has the form of a tiny pine cone. Naturalists explain it as a product of degeneration, as a parasitic growth in the brain. This is not correct. In the lasting creations of Nature, nothing is without its use. The pineal gland is the surviving remnant of an organ of great significance in primitive man, an organ of perception which served simultaneously as antenna, eye, and ear. This organ existed in man during his rudimentary period of development, in days when the semi-fluid, semi-vaporous Earth was still united with the Moon. Man moved through the semi-fluid, semi-gaseous element like a fish, guiding his way by means of this organ. His perceptions were of a visionary, allegoric nature. Currents of warmth evoked in him the impression of dazzling red and of powerful sound. Currents of cold evoked the impression of shades of green and blue, silvery, rippling sounds.
The rôle played by the pineal gland was thus of great significance. But with the mineralization of the Earth, other organs of sense made their appearance, and with us the pineal gland has no apparent purpose.
Let us now turn to the phenomenon of the dream.
The dream is a rudimentary function of our life — seemingly without use or purpose. In reality it represents an atrophied function — a function which in days of yore gave rise to a very different mode of perception.
Before the Earth became metallic, it was only perceptible in the astral sense. All perceptions are relative; they are merely symbolic. The central core of truth is ineffable and divine. This is wonderfully expressed in the words of Goethe: “All things transitory are but symbols.”
Astral vision (which is still present in the dream) is allegoric and symbolic.
Examples of dreams provoked by physical and bodily causes:
A student dreams that a companion gives him a blow, whereupon a duel is fought and he himself is wounded. He wakes up to find that the cause of the dream is a chair that has fallen over. Again, someone may dream of a trotting horse but the sound is really caused by the ticking of a watch.
The bodily nature of man lies at the root of certain dreams, but others are directly related to the astral and spiritual worlds. This latter class of dreams is the origin of myths.
In the opinion of modern scholars, the myths are poetic interpretations of the phenomena of Nature. If, however, we study certain folk-legends, we shall find that they are more than this. Myths and legends are based upon astral visions which have been travestied, changed and added to by tradition.
Think of the Slavonic legend of the ‘Woman of Noonday.’ If peasants who are laboring at the harvest in the oppressive heat of summer lie down to rest on the ground at midday instead of going to their homes, the figure of a woman appears and places a number of enigmas before them. If the sleeper can solve these enigmas, he is saved; if not, the woman slays and cuts him in two with a scythe. The legend goes on to say that this phantom can be exorcised by reciting the verses of the Lord's Prayer in backward order. Occultism teaches us that the Woman of Noonday is an astral figure, an incubus who appears and oppresses man during his sleep. The reversed Lord's Prayer indicates that in the astral world everything is reflected as in a mirror (inversion). In The Riddle of the Sphinx, Ludwig Laistner says that the origin of the legend of the sphinx is to be found among all races. He also proves that all legends have been conceived in a condition of higher sleep where realities are perceived, and that the sphinx is in truth a daemonic figure.
A state of dream-consciousness, or perception of a real world in astral symbols — this, then, is the origin of all the myths. Myths describe the astral world seen in symbolic visions.
In the course of history we find that the creation of myths ceases when the life of logic and intellectuality begins to develop.
A law known to occultism is that with every new stage of evolution, an element from the past makes its appearance. Ancient faculties, survivals from past epochs which have atrophied in the being of man, act as ferments for subsequent development; they are like the yeast which makes the dough rise. Man's present faculty of dreaming will beget a new kind of vision, a perception of the astral and spiritual world.
The man of today lives only in his senses and intellect, which elaborates what the senses tell him. The intellect of man of the future will awaken to the full light of consciousness and he will live consciously in the astral world.
The trance of the hypnotized subject and of the medium is an atavistic phenomenon, bound up with lowered consciousness. The initiated clairvoyant is not an unbalanced visionary; he possesses, in advance, the consciousness which will be possessed by all men in future ages; he has his feet on solid ground just as firmly as the most matter-of-fact human being; his reason is just as clear and certain — but he sees in two worlds.
It is a law of evolution that certain organs atrophy, subsequently to take on new functions.
The pineal gland has a certain physiological relation with the lymphatic system. In olden times this gland was the organ of perception of the outer world and it is still to be seen near the top of the head of newly-born babes where the soft matter recalls the nature of man's body in olden times.
In our life of intellect, the dream plays a rôle similar to that of the pineal gland in the physiology of the human body.
Why is there a descending and an ascending process in evolution? What is the purpose of evil? These are weighty questions which have never been solved by science or religion. Yet the whole problem of education depends upon their solution.
We cannot speak of evil in the absolute sense. Evil, indeed, plays a part in the development of beings and the unfolding of freedom.
The materialist will not admit that the thoughts stimulated in us by Nature are, in fact, already contained in her being. He imagines that we infuse our thoughts into Nature.
The Rosicrucians in the Middle Ages were wont to place a glass of water before the neophyte and say to him: ‘This water would not be in the glass if some being had not put it there.’ Thus it is in regard to the ideas we find expressed in Nature. They must have been implanted there by divine Intelligences, by servants of the Logos.
The thoughts we derive from the universe are actually there. All that we create is contained somewhere in the universe.
It is a false idea on the part of certain mystics to disparage the value of the physical body. It has just as much value as the astral body; its mission is to become the temple of the soul.
Think of the marvelous structure of the femur, of the bone which bears the whole body. Its construction is such that the maximum amount of strength is produced with the minimum amount of substance. No engineer could create such a wonder-structure. In comparison with the physical body, the astral body — the seat of passions and desires — is rudimentary and crude.
The physical world is the expression of wisdom incarnate, divine wisdom.
The Rosicrucians taught that the Earth, in primeval times, was an Earth of wisdom. Today we may call it an Earth of love. The mission of man is to accomplish for the imperfect part of his being what divine wisdom once accomplished for his physical body. He must ennoble his astral body and therewith the world around him.
All that has entered into us without our conscious will under the influence of divine wisdom — that is Involution. All that we must bring out of ourselves by dint of conscious will — that is Evolution.
The pyramids will perish in the course of the centuries but the ideas which gave them birth will develop onwards. The cathedral of today will take another form. Raphael's pictures will fall into dust but the soul of Raphael and the ideas which his creations represent will be living powers forever. The Art of today will be the Nature of tomorrow and will blossom again in her. Thus does Involution become Evolution.
Here we have the point of intersection between the divine and the human, the twofold power which brings God to man and raises man to God.

Ex Deo Nascimur        In Christo Morimur        Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

For God so loved the world

John 3:14-21

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

"Not I, but Christ in me"

"Is this not love?"

Helen Keller, The Story of My Life, chapter six:

I remember the morning that I first asked the meaning of the word "love." This was before I knew many words. I had found a few early violets in the garden and brought them to my teacher. She tried to kiss me; but at that time I did not like to have any one kiss me except my mother. Miss Sullivan put her arm gently round me and spelled into my hand, "I love Helen."

"What is love?" I asked.

She drew me closer to her and said, "It is here," pointing to my heart, whose beats I was conscious of for the first time. Her words puzzled me very much because I did not then understand anything unless I touched it.

I smelt the violets in her hand and asked, half in words, half in signs, a question which meant, "Is love the sweeetness of flowers?"

"No," said my teacher.

Again I thought. The warm sun was shining on us.

"Is this not love?" I asked, pointing in the direction from which the heat came. "Is this not love?"

It seemed to me that there could be nothing more beautiful than the sun, whose warmth makes all things grow. But Miss Sullivan shook her head, and I was greatly puzzled and disappointed. I thought it strange that my teacher could not show me love.

A day or two afterward I was stringing beads of different sizes in symmetrical groups--two large beads, three small ones, and so on. I had made many mistakes, and Miss Sullivan had pointed them out again and again with gentle patience. Finally I noticed a very obvious error in the sequence and for an instant I concentrated my attention on the lesson and tried to think how I should have arranged the beads. Miss Sullivan touched my forehead and spelled with decided emphasis, "Think."

In a flash I knew that the word was the name of the process that was going on in my head. This was my first conscious perception of an abstract idea.

For a long time I was still--I was not thinking of the beads in my lap, but trying to find a meaning for "love" in the light of this new idea. The sun had been under a cloud all day, and there had been brief showers; but suddenly the sun broke forth in all its southern splendour.

Again I asked my teacher, "Is this not love?"

"Love is something like the clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out," she replied. Then in simpler words than these, which at that tiime I could not have understood, she explained: "You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything. Without love you would not be happy or want to play."

The beautiful truth burst upon my mind--I felt that there were invisible lines stretched between my spirit and the spirits of others.

I the Beloved

At least once a day repeat 25+ times "I am loved. I am great. I offer my love and my light to those that are around me." As you say the words, visualize the self becoming light, allow yourself to experience the warmth of the love, and allow the joy of interconnectedness to be present in the beating of your heart.


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sunburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

"A Fitting Frame of Mind": The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest. Lecture 1 of 18

Plate 1

Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, September 5, 1924:

My dear friends, to begin by replying to your kind words, I would like to say that it is fully justifiable that you should have spoken them just now in the name of the circle of priests. One cannot always call something spoken with the best intentions by human beings fully justifiable, but in this instance one can do so. I say this because the inner spiritual impulse that is intended to flow from the Goetheanum through the anthroposophical movement always contains an aspect that goes far beyond any theoretical understanding, indeed beyond any understanding altogether. A way of expressing approximately what is meant would be to say: The tasks human beings must undertake today are growing great again. They are growing great because the forces once available in the times when humanity was able to turn away more or less from the impulses of the ancient Mysteries are now exhausted.

The ancient Mysteries unfolded actual divine substances and divine forces on the earth in full reality. Humanity had to develop sufficiently for there to be a time when people were left more or less to their own devices, a time when the divine substances and forces were unable to work directly on the Earth through human beings. The forces that held sway in earthly humanity during that intermediate period of human evolution are now exhausted. Though not the most lofty, it is perhaps a significant, important, and far-reaching occult truth that the forces which were able to become effective in human evolution without the help of the Mysteries are now exhausted, so that human evolution cannot proceed further unless forces from the Mysteries enter into evolution once again.

Under the influence of this truth it must be sensed that today something other than understanding alone is necessary for someone who wants to work out of genuine spirituality in any branch of the anthroposophical movement. Something must come about anew that resembles the working of the old Mysteries, something that is described as an offering and devotion of the whole human being, an opening out of the whole human being within his or her task.

The words you have spoken would not be profoundly true if it were not entirely obvious—and it is entirely obvious—that in your circle of priests this impulse is at work in pure inwardness, the impulse to give one's whole humanity as an offering to the work that you have recognized as being holy. Before all the divine powers who shine their light to lead our work I am able to say: The words you have said about your enthusiasm and devotion to the task express the truth fully, genuinely, and honestly. It has been abundantly obvious that the whole circle of priests is filled with the most noble and inward effort—with all the inner spirituality human beings have—to render the sacrifices that need to be made today fully fruitful. Even now it is possible to say that what you have done is the beginning of something that can bring satisfaction to the divine being of the cosmos. By saying this I am making an important statement.

Your work has remained within Germany, certainly. But the reasons for this will in all probability be overcome in the not too distant future. Interest in the religious renewal that was burning in your hearts when you came to me here for the founding of your priestly work is taking hold of souls in widespread regions outside Germany. How far it will be possible to go beyond Germany's borders will depend on the inner strength you can have within you.

We cannot help being deeply moved in our hearts when we think of how your movement was inaugurated and initiated here two years ago with the holy Act of Consecration of Man in the very hall where the flames were first seen which then destroyed our beloved Goetheanum. As you see, that is the spot where the Earth is now most deeply scarred. But through your fine devotion a beginning has been made towards transforming what took place in that room—the first to be devoured by by the flames—into what is surely a holy deed for the Earth. If you continue with the sacred zeal that first took hold of you, the impulses within your circle of priests will continue to develop in the right way.

Having gathered once again at this place, we shall have important matters to address in the light and in the warmth that have come to us through the Christmas Foundation Conference like a kind of compensation for our earthly losses. We shall consider what could be a genuine help to you in taking further your impulses of soul.

This time we shall endeavor to allow ourselves to be approached by the profound content of the Book of Revelation. Taking the Book of Revelation as our point of departure, we shall endeavor to bring before our souls all that at this moment in time is especially important for your priesthood. By looking at the Book of Revelation in particular, we shall be able to center all our work here on the Act of Consecration of Man, which is what gives your priestly work its meaning and purpose. We shall have before us on the one hand the Act of Consecration of Man and on the other the Book of Revelation.

Today already we shall give a brief hint about how we want to inaugurate this, how we want to inaugurate the work of your priestly movement. We shall save what arises in direct connection with the needs of your work as priests, what needs to be said about the practicalities of your priestly work, or about a review of the past and a prospect for the future—we shall save all these things for moments when they fit naturally with the inner aspect of our considerations. Today I will begin by telling you how we shall take our work forward over the next few days.

Let me first greet all of you wholeheartedly in the name of all those powers who have brought you together here—who, as you know, are the multitudes of powers who follow Christ. May they give the right religious impulses, the right theological insight, and the right impulses for today in working with a cultus that you want to adopt religiously, theologically, and ceremonially in the deepest Christian sense. This is the sense in which we want to be together and this is the sense in which the work we are about to undertake together is to be shaped.

We begin by pointing out something great in our time, something great that consists in an entirely new attitude of the human soul towards that which comes about through a priestly action. What is present in the action of the priest when the Act of Consecration of Man is celebrated is something that human beings have always sought, for as long as there has been a humanity on the Earth.

If we want to understand the light in which the Act of Consecration of Man must appear today for the priest celebrating it and for the layperson receiving it, we must first consider what the Act of Consecration of Man has meant, means now, and will mean in human evolution on Earth as time moves on. But if there is to be an understanding of what the Act of Consecration of Man is today while it is being celebrated, we must, from another angle, also be filled with the true content of what John, initiated by Christ himself, wanted to give to Christian posterity through his Book of Revelation. Strictly speaking the two belong together—a fitting frame of mind in celebrating the Act of Consecration of Man, and a fitting frame of mind in imbuing oneself with the substance of the Book of Revelation.

For the moment, let us set aside the specific form of Apocalypse or revelation given to Christians in John's Book of Revelation. Let us use the term 'apocalypse' to mean all occult truths bestowed on humanity in order to give it a genuinely priestly impulse for its further evolution. A great deal can be encompassed by the concept of apocalypse, which appears in a concentrated summary in John's Book of Revelation in a form that is attuned to the Christ. Whenever apocalypse or revelation has been sought it has always been understood that comprehending apocalypse profoundly and fully was only possible when one was standing entirely within the act of consecration of man.

Much will become clearer if we begin by stating that there were, in the past, Mysteries which I shall call the ancient Mysteries. Rather than going into the matter of specific dates, I want in this introduction simply to describe the four successive stages of the Mysteries. There were ancient Mysteries, there were semi-ancient Mysteries, there were semi-new Mysteries, and we are now at the point at which new Mysteries will begin. We thus have four stages of evolution in the understanding human beings have for apocalypse or revelation and for an act of consecration of man.

Looking at the ancient Mysteries which existed among human beings in the distant dawn of human evolution on the Earth and which had the task of bringing to human beings everything that was holy, true, and beautiful, we can say: The essential aspect of the ancient Mysteries was the way the gods descended from their divine thrones and came down to human beings, and the way those human beings who bore the priestly office within the Mysteries associated face to face, being to being, with the gods. Just as human beings today associate with one another being to being, so in the Mysteries of those ancient times did the gods associate with human beings and human beings with the gods.

As there are natural laws that are valid in time, so are there also primeval, eternal laws that do not, however, infringe human freedom. Among these primeval, eternal laws there are some that relate to how the gods associate with human beings. These primeval, eternal laws came into play when in the ancient Mysteries of earliest human existence the gods themselves associated with human beings, and when all teachings received by human beings came about between the divine teachers and the human beings themselves. When the cultus brought the supersensibly powerful gods to be there amid the celebrants, this was when something was attained in the ancient Mysteries that has always given meaning to an act of consecration of man, namely the Transubstantiation. What, though, was Transubstantiation in the ancient Mysteries?

In the ancient Mysteries, Transubstantiation was what the gods regarded as the ultimate through which they entered into association with human beings. The ceremonies were determined in accordance with the primeval, eternal laws I mentioned just now. Out of certain stellar constellations that were known to genuine ancient astrology, and out of the coincidence of these constellations with conditions that can be determined by human beings, the way was opened from the gods to human beings and from human beings to the gods.

If you can get an overview of ancient chronology you will find that there are various chronologies, some, for example, that reckon with 354 days and others that reckon with 365 days. Leap days and leap weeks were inserted into these chronologies to compensate for the non-compatibility of human calculations with the progress of the cosmos. What human beings were able to calculate never quite conformed with the actual progress of the cosmos. Somewhere or other there was always a small remainder. The priests of the ancient Mysteries paid particular attention to those small remainders that occurred where human chronology did not conform to the progress of the cosmos. By dividing the year into months and weeks, they laid down certain periods when this non-conformity was particularly conspicuous, so that after several lunar months there were always a few days left before the new year began.

Someone who wants to gain an understanding of the progress of human evolution would do well to look closely at those periods when human beings, by inserting days or weeks like this, used this to express the non-conformity of human calculations with the progress of the cosmos—those periods which the priests then regarded as holy weeks. In those holy weeks which used to make it obvious that the thinking of the gods is different from the thinking of human beings, in those times that used to make this non-conformity obvious, it is possible, if the heart of the gods is in harmony with the heart of human beings, for the path to be found that leads from the gods to human beings and from human beings to the gods.

The moment when the gods entered into the Mysteries—this was something people were able to observe through the ancient astrology which enabled them to understand it in the right way. At the end of each year, or at the end of a moon cycle of 18 years, or at the end of other periods, there were always holy times that signified the non-conformity, the borderline, between human intelligence and divine intelligence, holy times when the priests in the Mysteries were able to recognize that the gods could find their way to them and that human beings could find their way to the gods.

It was in such times that the priests of old sought to pre­serve the effective forces of sun and moon in the substances with which they celebrated the act of consecration of man, so that what they had received in the holy times could be spread out over all the other parts of the year when they would need to celebrate. They also preserved what the gods had made out of the earth's substances and forces during the holy times. They kept the water from those times, the mercurial element, so that at other times of the year they would be able to celebrate the act of consecration of man in such a way that it would contain the Transubstantiation in the way the gods themselves had done it in those acts of consecration of man that had taken place in the 'dead times', as they called them, the times that were holy.

Thus in those ancient Mysteries, in times when the cosmic language, not the human language, was current among human beings, people sought to make contact with the gods who then descended into the Mysteries and who on each occasion made holy once more the act of consecration of man. On each occasion, too, an understanding of apocalyptic things was bestowed upon the human beings who celebrated the act of consecration of man. This is how the great truths were taught in those ancient times when being in the midst of the act of consecration of man meant being filled with apocalyptic substance.

The act of consecration of man is the path of knowledge; apocalypse, revelation, is the content of the holy knowledge.

Now we come to the semi-ancient Mysteries, those Mysteries of which at least a faint shimmer remained in historical times. (Of those that I have described as the ancient Mysteries nothing historical remains; they can be researched only by spiritual science.) The time had come when the gods withdrew from human beings and no longer descended into the Mysteries with their own being; but they continued to send down their forces. It was the time when the act of consecration of man was to receive through the Transubstantiation that shining light of the divine that was intended always to illumine the act of consecration of man.

The Transubstantiation was now no longer accomplished through learning from astrological observation of cosmic processes about which substances and forces should flow into the celebration of the Transubstantiation. Now the secret was sought in a different way. The inner nature especially of what the old alchemists called 'leavens' was taken up. A leavening agent is a substance that has reached a specific age while having gone through various stages of bringing about transformations in other substances without changing its own substance. To make an everyday comparison we need only think of how bread is baked. The principle is the same. You save a small piece of your previous batch of dough and add it to the new batch as a leavening agent. Imagine how in the semi-ancient Mysteries age-old substances, having retained their own inner substantiality through the ages while other substances were undergoing transformation, were stored in holy vessels that were themselves ancient and holy objects, venerable objects in the Mysteries.

From these ancient vessels were taken the substances that were the leavening agents with which the Transubstantiation of the old, still holy alchemy was performed. People in those days knew: The initiated priest understands the transformation, the Transubstantiation taking place through the forces preserved in the substances; he knows that they send forth sun-radiance in the holy quartz-crystal vessels. What was looked for in them, the reason they were needed, was that they were seen to be the celebrant's organ of perception for apocalypse, for revelation.

The following was something that took place in those semi-ancient Mysteries: The priest was tested at the moment when he approached the holy place and the ancient leavening agents began to transform the substances in the holy quartz-crystal vessels in such a way that he could see in those vessels how the substances sent forth sun-radiance. The vessel containing the little sun was a monstrance. It was a Host such as can only be recreated in imitation nowadays. The moment when he saw the sun-radiance of the Host was the moment in which he became a priest in his inner being. (Plate 1)

Plate 1

Nowadays in the Catholic church, everyone going to church sees the consecrated Host, for now it is no more than a symbol for what it once was. In those days, however, only those individuals were genuine priests who beheld the consecrated Host in that they saw a sun-radiance in the substances that had been preserved. At such a moment their knowing was open to receive that which is apocalyptic.

Next came those Mysteries of which the Mass of more recent times is a reflection. The Catholic Mass, the Armenian Mass, and other Masses have developed in a very complicated way out of the semi-new Mysteries. Although they have now become external, these Masses still bear within them the full principle of initiation. In the ancient Mysteries the gods were present; in the semi-ancient Mysteries the forces of the gods were present. In place of these there came into the semi-new Mysteries what human beings can perceive when the Word awakens in them, the magical Word, the Word in which inwardness resounds, the Word that penetrates into the depths of understanding concerning the inner being of the sounds of speech. For in the age of the semi-new Mysteries human speech was juxtaposed with the speech of the cultus, that cultic speech of which a last remnant remains in the different religious creeds. In it, everything depends on rhythm, on the inner understanding of the sounds of speech, on the understanding of how the sounds of speech emanating from the mouth of the priest enter inwardly into human hearts. The magical Word, the cultic Word spoken in the holy place was the first way upwards to the gods or, initially, to the forces of the gods.


First age of humanity: ancient Mysteries—the gods descend.

Second age of humanity: semi-ancient Mysteries—the gods send down their forces.

Third age of humanity: semi-new Mysteries; the human being learns the magical speech and in intoning the magical speech begins to ascend to the forces of the divine world.

That was the meaning of all that was intoned in the act of consecration of man during the third age of the Mysteries. It was the time when the element of the Cabeiri provided the contemporary religious cultus living in the Mysteries. The services, the sacrifices of the Cabeiri, which were celebrated at Samothrace, are a part of all that is ceremonial in the semi-new Mysteries, a part of all the ceremonies the priest had to perform.

Imagine the altar of the Cabeiri at Samothrace. The Cabeiri standing on it as external reminders were offering vessels, jars in which were contained, not leavening agents now, but substances which human understanding could find if it was able to delve into the inner spiritual nature of the substance. The sacrificial substances in the jars were set alight, the smoke rose up, and in the ascending smoke the magical speech made visible the Imagination of that which the Word intoned. Thus the path upwards to the divine powers became externally visible in the sacrificial smoke. Then the substances were mixed in a way that had still been taught to, say, Alexander by Aristotle in olden times, so that the holy Imagination signifying the path to the gods emerged from the sacrificial smoke. Then this Transubstantiation, the priestly action, was a proper one. The act of consecration of man had indeed been achieved. The celebrant and the one who received it knew: This is the organ for perceiving knowledge, for when that which flows upwards to the gods lights up in the sacrificial smoke and in the prayer that is ceremonially shaped in magical sequences of words, then, as a gift of grace from above, there comes down the revelation, the apocalyptic revelation. That was the third stage in the evolution of the Mysteries and in what is contained for human beings in the act of con­secration of man.

Although these first stages have become decadent, a good many of their external aspects have been preserved. In that moment over there in the now burnt-down Goetheanum when you inaugurated a new priesthood in the movement for a Christian renewal, in that moment a new age of the Mysteries began, a new age for the Act of Consecration of Man and for an understanding of apocalypse, of revelation. Tomorrow we shall begin to speak about what must now stream through your hearts in order to fulfil properly the fourth stage of the Mysteries.