Wednesday, April 6, 2016

One ring to rule them all

Rudolf Steiner:

The transmigration of the Atlanteans to the East has been preserved wonderfully in a cycle of European legends. Man could not say “I” to his individual personality, when he still lived on the ancient Atlantean continent. Consequently egoism, which later on constituted the foundation of social life, did not exist among the Atlanteans. The inhabitant of Atlantis considered as his possession everything which belonged to all his blood-relatives and he felt that he was a member of this blood relationship. Then came the transmigration to the East. Man's Ego-consciousness emerged more and more, and with it, human egoism. Man once lived far more in the external world than within his own being; Nature still formed part of his being. He felt as if he were embedded in Nature, as if he were a part of Nature. With the acquisition of his Ego-consciousness, the world around him became narrower and narrower; he separated himself from his environment little by little and the Ego emerged more and more.
This was at the same time connected with a process of Nature. When the old Atlantean looked up to the sky, he could not see the sun as we see it to-day; thick masses of fog filled the air, and when he looked at the sun and at the moon he saw an immense circle of rainbow colours. Then came the time when the Atlantean could perceive the sun and the moon as such. But there was one phenomenon which was unknown to the Atlantean — the rainbow. When the waters of Atlantis began to leave the atmosphere, when rain alternated with sunshine as is the case to-day, then the Atlantean learned to know the rainbow, for there no rainbows in the moisture-filled atmosphere of ancient Atlantis. Now bear in mind that great stretches of land were laid bear by the great Atlantean flood, and this has been wonderfully preserved in many legends, particularly in the Bible. Consider the deep truth contained in the Bible words: “And when the waters had departed, Noah saw the rainbow”. Only when the atmosphere became freed from the fogs and mists of Atlantis, could the sun appear to man in its present form. This process accompanied the narrowing of man' s being, so that he became confined within his own self, within his Ego.
For reasons which have a profound meaning, spiritual wisdom defines the light flooding through space as the etheric gold, and gold is looked upon as the condensed light of the sun. The ancient Atlanteans were taught by their teachers that there is a connection between the light of the sun and gold, and they took in the following image: “The light of the Sun, the gold of the sun, shines forth! It envelops us with a ring which frees the Ego, bringing about the fact that we no longer experience ourselves selflessly as a part of Nature”. Among the Atlanteans the Ego was still dispersed within clouds of mist, but now it began to enfold him like a ring.
The mists of Atlantis left the atmosphere, they were pressed down and appeared in the West as rivers. For the descendants of the Atlanteans, the Rhine was nothing but mist which descended from the air and then flew along as a river. In the Rhine they perceived the masses of water still permeated by light; in the Rhine they felt the presence of the sun's gold, which exercised such a pure and selfless influence upon the inhabitants of ancient Atlantis. They saw this gold in the Nibelung treasure of the Rhine, and anyone who strove to gain possession of this treasure, was their enemy.
Richard Wagner, who describes this in music, was not clearly conscious of this truth, but nevertheless he was inspired by this powerful, encompassing fact. Remember the Prologue to “Rhine Gold”: Is the wonderful organ-theme in E sharp not the point where the Ego enters humanity?


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