Saturday, March 31, 2018
Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity
You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, April 21, 1924:
In expanding today what we have been discussing in the previous lectures I should like to take up the astronomical aspect of the Easter festival; and in order to do this it will be necessary to touch upon some of the facts referring to the so-called secret of the Moon.
During all epochs in which people knew of the Mystery wisdom, the secret of the Moon was a familiar concept and was invariably associated with the being of man, in so far as the latter is related to the whole cosmos. We must keep clearly in mind that in his entirety man is related to the whole cosmos, just as he is connected with the Earth as regards his physical body. Now, it is a concomitant of the materialistic age that of the vast cosmos, which expresses its spirituality in the form of the fixed star constellations and the movements of the planets, nothing has remained in human consciousness but the outer appearance of the stars and the computation of their movements (if they are planets) and so forth.
The manner in which astronomy is studied today is the same as it would be if one studied the relative measurements and the outer conditions of movement in the human organism, remaining unaware that a psycho-spiritual element pervades the physical organism and comes to expression in these measurements and conditions of movement.
In the human being a unified psycho-spiritual element manifests itself, held together by the ego. But spiritual observation discloses that the cosmic organism expresses itself not in a unified psycho-spiritual entity but in a multiplicity, an immeasurable, limitless multitude of spiritual beings that reveal themselves through the forms of the fixed star constellations, through the movements of the planets, through the light raying forth from the stars, and so on.
Inner man is related to this spiritual multiplicity in the stars as is physical man to Earth substances that can serve as nourishment. And man's closest connection with the universe has to do with what we can call the secret of the Moon.
External observation of the Moon shows it to be in a state of metamorphosis as seen from the Earth. We see the full luminous face, we see it half-illuminated, then one-quarter — and there is also that stage in which it entirely withdraws from outer view, called the stage of new Moon. And then we have again the return to full Moon.
All this is nowadays explained as though the Moon were merely some kind of a body moving about in cosmic space, illuminated by the Sun from different directions and hence presenting various aspects. But that does not exhaust what the Moon means to the Earth, and especially to Earth men. In the case of the Moon in particular we must understand that if we look out at something as readily perceptible in its physical surfaces as, say, the full Moon — that is, something that presents a physical aspect — this aspect embodies something totally different from what is inherent in a new Moon. True, the new Moon cannot achieve direct physical expression on account of correlated cosmic conditions; but we must not conclude that because it does not express itself as a physical phenomenon, it has no effect. When our knowledge of the firmament tells us that it is new Moon, this means that the Moon is present in an invisible but all the more spiritual way than when appearing as full Moon in physical light. So the Moon is present — now wholly physical, now wholly spiritual, and we have the rhythmic alternation of its physical and spiritual expression.
And now, in order to understand the crux of the matter, we must recall a fact with which you are familiar from my Occult Science, an Outline, namely, that at one time the Moon was within the Earth: it was part of the Earth body. It passed out of the Earth and became a satellite, as the term goes. In other words, it split off from the Earth and now circles it. When it was one with the Earth its influences upon human beings were exerted from the Earth.
Naturally, in the time when man existed and developed upon an Earth that still contained the Moon, he was a very different being. When this Moon withdrew, the Earth became poorer by exactly what the Moon represented; and henceforth the lower
We can put it this way: formerly the Moon forces came in contact first with the lower limbs — the feet and legs — and then streamed upward from below; but since the Moon withdrew from the Earth they act in the opposite direction, from the head downward. But this implies that the task of these forces has become a very different one, and the nature of this task comes into evidence in the experiences man has when he descends from the pre-earthly to the earthly life. When he has completed the period between death and a new birth and has absolved all the requirements of soul and spirit demanded during that period, he prepares to descend to Earth, to unite with the bodily-physical principle transmitted to him by his father and mother. But before it is possible for his ego and astral body to unite with the physical body he must provide himself with an etheric body, which he attracts from the surrounding cosmos.
This process has radically changed since the Moon withdrew from the Earth. Before that time man needed forces, when approaching the Earth again, that would enable him to shape the all-pervading ether into the form of an etheric body around his ego and astral body. These forces he drew, as he approached the Earth, from the Moon which was then within it. He still does; but the point is that since the splitting off of the Moon they come to him from outside the Earth. This means that immediately before entering the Earth life he must appeal to the power of the Moon forces — that is, to something cosmic — if he would build his etheric body.
This etheric body must be formed in such a way that it has, as it were, an outer side and an inner side. Let us think of it quite graphically, formed with an outer side and an inner side. When the outer side is being formed the forces of light are needed, for, like other things of substance, the etheric body is fashioned principally out of the flooding light of the cosmos. But sunlight cannot be employed for this purpose: it does not provide the forces that would enable man to build his etheric body. This calls for sunlight that is reflected by the Moon and thereby radically altered; and all the light coming to us from the Moon — in fact, all the light shining from the Moon into the cosmos — contains the forces that enable man to form the outer side of his etheric body when he descends to Earth.
And on the other hand, the forces man needs to form the inner side of his etheric body are the spiritual emanations of the new Moon; so that his ability to form the outer and the inner side is related to this rhythm of the outer light and dark of the Moon.
But all this that the Moon forces achieve for man, as it were, goes back to the fact that the Moon is truly not the mere physical body about which modern science tells us fairy tales, but a body wholly permeated by spirituality, comprising a multiplicity of spiritual beings. I have repeatedly explained that when the Moon withdrew from the Earth, it was not merely physical matter that streamed out into cosmic space: those ancient beings, man's primordial teachers, who lived on the Earth not in physical bodies but in a spiritual form, these passed with the Moon out into the universe and there founded a sort of Moon colony. We have therefore to distinguish between the physico-etheric and the psycho-spiritual constituents of the Moon, remembering that again the latter is not a unity but a multiplicity.
Now, the entire life of this spirituality in the Moon depends upon the manner in which those beings observe cosmic conditions from their point of view, from the point of view of the Moon. Figuratively expressed: the spiritual beings of the Moon direct their gaze primarily to what is of greatest importance for them, to the planets of our orbit; and upon the inferences of these observations depends all that takes place on the Moon, as well as all that contributes to providing man in the right way with the forces needed for forming his etheric body.
Certain of the Mysteries knew this. It was ancient Mystery knowledge in some of the sanctuaries that the constellations and the movements in the planetary system were observed from the Moon, and the actions of the Moon beings determined accordingly. This was expressed by relating, in human consciousness, the Moon with the forces of other planets, the Moon being the point from which are determined those cosmic contexts that are linked with the forming of the human etheric body. This is reflected in the names of the days of the week:
|Jupiter||Thursday (Donnerstag — Jupiter is the German Donar)|
|Venus||Friday (Venus is the German Freia)|
|Sun||Sunday (the Sun forces cannot act directly in the formation of the etheric body, but they act in their reflection from the Moon.)|
Thus we see how everything pertaining to the point of view of the Moon was brought into relation with all that tended to quicken man's awareness of the planets in connection with reckoning time. And the burden of the admonition given in the old Mysteries was something as follows: Remember, O man, that before descending to Earth you needed forces engendered in the Moon by the act of the Moon-beings in observing the other planets. For the configuration of your etheric body, when you descended to earthly life, you are indebted to the Moon's share in what is expressed by Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and so forth.
So on the one hand we have the rhythmical passage of the Moon through light and darkness in its course around the Earth, and on the other we find the whole sequence of the planets inscribed in human consciousness. The Mysteries even added the following: Due to the ability of the Moon-beings to behold Mars, the capacity for speech is organized into man's etheric body, and through their observation of Mercury, the capacity for movement is concentrated there.
If we wish to employ these secrets of the Moon as a medium of expression, this can be done in an entirely different form: speech becomes eurythmy. It comes about as follows: if we study the secrets of speech by finding out what the Moon-beings observed when questioning Mars, and then discover what changes these observations undergo when the Moon-beings turn to Mercury, then speech becomes eurythmy. In other words, if we transform the Moon-beings' Mars experiences into their Mercury experiences, the human capacity for speech becomes the capacity for eurythmy. That expresses the matter cosmically.
The current engendering in man the capacity for wisdom derives from the Moon-beings' experiences with Jupiter; what streams through the soul as love and beauty, from Venus; and that which permeates the etheric body with inner soul warmth is gained from the experience acquired by the Moon-beings' observation of Saturn.
There remains that which must be kept away — pushed back, as it were — to prevent its interfering with the formation of the etheric body immediately before the descent to Earth: that which comes from the Sun. From the Sun — or from the observation of the Sun — derive the forces from which man must be protected if he is to become complete in himself through the integration of the etheric body — that is, through protective forces.
It can be said that in this way we learn what occurs on the Moon, and at the same time we learn how the human etheric body is formed and constituted when man descends from the pre-earthly to the earthly existence. Those are the facts connected with the secret of the Moon. Nowadays we can recount such matters, but in certain of the older Mysteries they were not merely narrated but actually experienced. What I shall now write on the blackboard was not only known; it was an inner experience.
|Saturday:||Inner Soul Warmth|
By means of initiation into the Mysteries, of which I spoke yesterday, it was possible to get beyond looking outward and listening outward with eyes and ears in the physical vicinity of the Earth. It was possible to become free of the physical body, to keep aloof from it, and to live only in the etheric body; and then the initiate lived with all that has been described. He did not live with the speech formed in the larynx, but with the speech resounding in Mars as cosmic language. He moved in conformity with the way in which Mercury guided the movements in the cosmos: not merely with feet and legs did he move, but in accord with the manner in which Mercury directs the movements of the human being. Nor did he possess that wisdom so laboriously acquired during childhood and early youth — really an unwisdom in the materialistic age — but he lived actually in the wisdom of Jupiter, because he could unite with the Moon-beings who observed Jupiter.
This sort of initiation really meant that the mystic was wholly in the light shining from the Moon. He had left the Earth, no longer a creature of flesh and blood, and lived in moonlight modified by forces from the other planets. During these periods of spiritual observation he simply became a light-being of the Moon — not in a symbolical sense or in any way to be thought of as abstract, but rather, as a man might today go to Basel and back, fully conscious of a reality, knowing he had experienced something real. The mystic was equally conscious of reality when he was led through the initiation ritual to the Moon-beings.
The initiate knew that for the time being he had taken leave of his physical body, that his soul and spirit had passed into the light-sphere of the Moon, and that he had borne a light-body; and because he had been united with the Moon-beings he had looked out into planetary space, truly able to behold what could be revealed in this vast realm.
And what was that? Well, among other things, he observed principally that from the Sun there emanated the forces of beings that must not be allowed to intervene in the building of the human etheric body. The Sun appeared as something that tended to dissolve, destroy, the etheric body; hence he knew that forces to be received by the Sun-beings must not proceed from his etheric body, but from his higher principles, from his ego and astral body. Only upon these must the Sun forces be allowed to act. So he knew that for the forming of his etheric body he must not look to the Sun but to the planets, and that he must turn to the Sun for his astral body and especially for his ego and its whole inner strength. The second point, then, that became manifest through this recurring initiation into the secret of the Moon was this, that in what pertained to his etheric body man belonged to the planets; but for the strengthening of his astral body and most of all his ego he must look to the Sun.
This initiation was really of such a nature as to make the mystic one with the moonlight; but it was by means of his own moonlight existence that he looked into the Sun.
And now he reflected as follows: the Sun sends its light to the Moon because this must not be imparted to man directly. The result is moonlight in conjunction with the planetary forces, and out of this the etheric body is formed. — That was the secret known to him who was initiated in this way. He also knew to what extent he bore within him the power of the spiritual Sun: he had seen it, become conscious of it; and this was the stage of initiation at which the initiate became a Christ bearer — that is, a Sun-being bearer, not a Sun-being recipient. Just as the Moon itself, when at full, is a sunlight bearer, so man became a Christ bearer, a christophoros. This initiation leading to the stage of christophoros was thus an absolutely real experience.
Now imagine this actual experience through which the mystic sped away from the Earth, as it were, and ascended as an initiated Earth-man to the light-being; and imagine this inner, human Easter experience of former times transformed into a cosmic festival. In later ages men no longer knew that such things could happen: that man is really able to withdraw from Earth conditions, unite with those of the Moon, and from the Moon behold the Sun. But the memory of it was to be preserved, and this we have in the Easter festival.
The ability to experience all this did not pass over into the later consciousness that was becoming materialistic; instead it turned into an abstract conception. Men no longer looked inward and said: I can unite with the moonlight. They looked at the Moon, the full Moon, and said: It is not a question of my aspiring upward: it is the Earth that strives to ascend. And when is this effort at its height? When spring begins, when there burst forth from the surface of the Earth all the forces that had lain dormant in seeds and plants under the ground. On the Earth they become plants, but they go further: they stream out into cosmic space.
The old Mysteries employed this image: man can most easily attain to the Moon-Sun initiation and become achristophoros in the season when the inner Earth forces, by means of the stems and leaves of plants, carry out of the ground what then streams forth from the Earth into the cosmos; for then he floats, as it were, on the forces that in spring ray out from the Earth and up to the Moon. But it must be the light of the full Moon.
All this, then, became a memory, but it also became abstract ... It must be the light of the full Moon. ... Subconsciously, no longer with the clear knowledge that this could be a human experience, people imagined that something or other — not man himself — streamed toward the full Moon, the first one after the beginning of spring. And what can this full Moon do now? It beholds the Sun; that is, the first day dedicated to the Sun: the first succeeding Sunday. Just as once a christophoros, from the viewpoint of the Moon, beheld the Sun-being, so now the Moon beholds the Sun — that is, its symbolization in Sunday.
We have the beginning of spring, March 21st, and the forces of the Earth are burgeoning forth into the universe. We must await the proper observer, the full Moon.
March 21st — full Moon — Sunday.
What does the Moon observe? The Sun; and the following Sunday is fixed as Easter Sunday. This is an abstract way of determining the date, surviving from a very real Mystery event that in former times frequently occurred for many men.
That is actually what our present spring Easter festival has come to be. It represents a Mystery act that has often been performed in spring; but it is not the one I described day before yesterday. The latter led man to a comprehension of the death event. I explained that the idea of resurrection, clarified by something like the Adonis celebration in the fall, really led men to the experience of death, to the spiritual resurrection after about three days; and this process of resurrection really belongs in the autumn, for the reasons I gave.
The process I described today is a different one, performed in other Mysteries for certain initiations — those of the Sun and Moon; and this process confronted the neophyte with life's beginning. So you see, we can look back at a period in which certain Mysteries saw the descent of man from the pre-earthly to the earthly life, while others dwelt on the ascent in the spirit. But in later epochs, when the living substance of man's relation to the cosmic spirit could no longer be discerned, men went so far as simply to combine the autumn Mystery of the ascent with the spring Mystery of the descent into one festival.
Thus the confusion manifesting itself in the course of human evolution is evidence of the gradual effect of materialism: not only has the latter engendered false beliefs, but it has completely confused men's minds concerning an issue that at one period of human events existed, I might say, in a sacred order that caused mankind at the approach of autumn to celebrate a cosmic festival. But this in turn pointed to a Mystery act that evoked the thought: Nature falls into barrenness, it wilts and dies away, and this is like the physical dying of man; but while in Nature only the perishable is seen to be active, there lives in man the eternal, which must now be observed spiritually, disregarding the course of Nature, as the element of resurrection in the spiritual world after death. The spring Mysteries made it clear that Nature is conquered by the spirit, that, in turn, the spirit acts out of the cosmos, and that matter germinates and sprouts from the ground because it is driven by the spirit.
But this was intended to remind men not of their passing into the spirit through death, but of their origin in the spirit, their descent from the spiritual world. Precisely where Nature begins to ascend, man was to remember his descent into the physical; and where Nature disintegrates, man was to contemplate his ascent, his spiritual resurrection. There is no doubt that such an understanding of man's relation to the cosmos intensified his soul life enormously.
But this varied according to the locality. In olden times some were definitely inclined to be autumn peoples and others rather spring peoples. Among the former were to be found the Adonis Mysteries; among the latter, other Mysteries concerned with what I have set forth today. And only those seekers after wisdom of whom it is correctly reported that, like Pythagoras, they moved about from place to place, from one Mystery to another, only those enjoyed the fullness of human experience. They would pass from a sanctuary where they could participate in the autumn secret, which is really the Sun secret, to one where the spring secret was revealed, the Moon secret. For this reason it was reported again and again of the consummate old initiates that they traveled from one sanctuary to another. It can truly be said of these that they had a certain inner experience of the year and its festivals. An old initiate of that sort could say to himself: I come to a place where the Adonis festivals are celebrated, and I can witness the cosmic autumn and the rays of the spiritual Sun at the beginning of winter's night; I wander to another, where the Mysteries of spring are observed, and I can behold the secret of the Moon. — Thus he acquired an inner knowledge of all that relates to the whole meaning of the year.
You see, our Easter Festival has really had something saddled on it that is not right. It should really be a spring commemoration of burial; and this commemoration of burial in the spring should at the same time be an incentive to work, such as the more primitive man needed during the summer time: that is what such burial festivals were in their appeal to the human spirit. Easter was a festival of admonition regarding the work of summer, just as the autumn festival of the resurrection of the spiritual world was a festival celebrated in the season when the labor was completed. But it was of the utmost importance for man's soul and spirit that, when his work was finished, he should become aware of and inwardly experience the eternal in himself by contemplating the resurrection in the spiritual world, the days that follow upon death.
In passing, then, from Earth secrets to cosmic secrets, from Earth wisdom to cosmic wisdom, we can come to know what I should like to call the inner structure of the order of the year, as indicated by the festivals. But much of what had been hidden in them has disappeared.
Today I wanted to present this subject to you by considering the conditions of the firmament itself. Tomorrow I shall endeavor, as far as time permits, to penetrate still deeper into it in the light of certain Mystery sanctuaries.
Friday, March 30, 2018
"The Eagle" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
Edward Schuré on first meeting Rudolf Steiner: "I shall never forget the extraordinary impression made upon me by this man when he entered the room. As I looked at that thin, powerful face, at the black mysterious eyes flashing light as if from unfathomable depths, it struck me that for the first time in my life I was facing one of those supreme seers who have direct vision of the great beyond."
Esoteric Easter. Lecture 2 of 4.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, Easter Sunday, April 20, 1924:
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, Easter Sunday, April 20, 1924:
The original idea of any sacred festival is to make the human being look upward from his dependence on earthly things to those things that transcend the Earth. The Easter festival especially can bring these thoughts near to man's heart. During the last three, four, or five centuries humanity of the civilized world has undergone an evolution of soul and spirit which led man farther and farther away from the thought of his connection with cosmic powers and cosmic forces. Man became more and more restricted to those relationships alone which hold good between himself and the Earthly powers and forces. Indeed it is true to say that by the methods of knowledge recognized today, no other relationships can be considered. If a man who stood near to the sanctuaries of initiation in pre-Christian times, or even in the first centuries of Christianity, could learn to know the character and trend of our present scholarship — if he could approach it with the mood of soul belonging to that ancient time — he simply would not understand how it is possible for man to live without a consciousness of his non-earthly, cosmic relationships.
I will now give a brief outline of certain facts, the precise details of which you will find in one or other of the Lecture-Courses. The purpose of these present lectures is to bring especially the Easter thought near to our hearts; I cannot therefore go into all the details now.
We may transplant ourselves in thought into one of the many different religious systems of antiquity. Take for example the one that is least far removed from the modern man — the Hebrew or Jewish system of religion. In such religious systems of antiquity — in so far as they are monotheistic — we shall find the reverence for, the worship of, the One God. It is the Divinity of whom we speak in the Christian conception as the First Person of the Godhead — the Father God.
Now, all those religions in which this conception of the Father God was living were more or less aware — the priests indeed were fully aware — of the connection of the Father God with the cosmic Moon forces — with all the forces that flow down from Moon to Earth. Scarcely anything is left today of that ancient consciousness of man's connection with the Moon forces — unless it be the imaginative inspiration which the poetic mind still feels that it receives from thence, or again in medicine the counting of the embryo period as ten lunar months. But the older world-conceptions had a clear consciousness of the fact that when man descends to this physical life from the spiritual world where he dwelt as a soul-spiritual being in his pre-earthly life, the currents of those forces and impulses which proceed from the Moon pour through him.
To understand what shapes him in the fullness of his life — what lives in him as the forces of nutrition, breathing, and the like, in a word, as the general forces of growth — man must look not to the earthly forces but to forces from beyond the Earth. Man can indeed become aware, if he considers the matter truly, how the earthly forces are related to himself. If we did not hold our body together by forces from beyond the Earth — if our body did not receive its form through these — what could the earthly forces do to hold our body together? The moment the forces from beyond the Earth have left it, this body is indeed exposed to the earthly forces. Then it disintegrates and dissolves; it becomes a corpse. Earthly forces can only make a corpse of man; they cannot form and mould him. But there are other forces in him which lift him out of the earthly realm. These forces make him a connected organism, a connected form and figure within the earthly realm between birth and death. They prevent him from falling a victim to the forces which take hold of him in death and destroy him. Throughout his earthly life they battle against the destruction of his form; indeed they must be battling all the time. For these forces man is indebted to the Moon influences.
While on the one hand, therefore, we may state this somewhat theoretic truth: The Moon forces contain the formative principle of the human body, we must realize on the other hand that the ancient religions revered and worshipped in these forces which guide man, so to speak, through birth into this physical existence, the forces of the Divine Father. The initiates of the ancient Hebrew culture were clearly aware that the forces which guide man into this Earth-existence, which maintain him here, and from which — as physical man — he escapes when he passes through the gate of death, stream from the Moon.
To love the Divine Father forces with heart and mind, to look up to them and to express this reverence in sacred ritual, in prayer and praise — such was the content of certain monotheistic religions of ancient time. But the old religions were more consistent than we generally think. History describes these things quite wrongly, for it only has the outer documents to go upon and is unaware of what can be observed by spiritual sight.
The religions which looked up to the Moon — to the spiritual beings in the Moon — belonged really to a later period. The primeval religions possessed not only this conception of the Moon, but also had a clear idea of the Sun forces; nay more (as we may also mention at this point) of the Saturn forces. Here indeed we are entering a realm of history for which no outer documents exist. For the time we are now considering lies many thousands of years before the founding of Christianity. These are the epochs which I called in my Occult Science the ancient Indian (since one must have a name and the civilization of that first epoch existed on the soil that afterwards was India), and the ancient Persian. In those old civilizations man's evolution was very different from what it was in later times. Moreover his religious beliefs depended on this unfolding of his life.
Our lives today (and it has been so for more than two thousand years) unfold in such a way that a certain break in our earthly life and development escapes our notice. Indeed it is scarcely perceptible today. The inner change that takes place in the human being about the thirtieth year of life remains for present-day humanity to a large extent in the subconscious, in the unconscious. But it was very different eight or nine thousand years before the Christian era. In those epochs man developed until about the thirtieth year of his life so that one might call this development continuous. But in the thirtieth year a far-reaching metamorphosis took place in him. I will describe it in a radical way. I admit it is radical, but this way of expressing it will serve to characterize the facts.
The following thing might well happen in those olden times. Before the thirtieth year of his life a man had made the acquaintance of another man, say, three or four years younger than himself. His friend would therefore undergo this metamorphosis about the age of thirty, a little later than he did. Now if the two had not seen one another for some time and then met once more — I am speaking in modern terms, which make it seem still more radical — it might well happen that he who had undergone the change, being addressed by the other, simply failed to recognize him. So deeply was the memory transformed.
The small communities of those very ancient times were connected with the Mystery schools, and in these the lives of the young folk were registered. For they themselves, in that they underwent this revolutionary transformation, forgot their earlier life. They had to learn over again what they had experienced in life until about the thirtieth year. So they became aware: ‘In my thirtieth year I have become an altogether different man. I must go to the Registry (a modern expression, needless to say!) to learn what was the content of my life before this change.’ Yes, indeed it was so! And in the instruction which they then received, they learned that it was the Moon forces which had worked upon them exclusively until the thirtieth year, and that then the Sun forces had entered into the development of their earthly life. The Sun forces and the Moon forces work upon man in very different ways. What does the man of today know of the Sun forces? He knows only the outward and physical aspect. He knows — forgive me saying so — that the Sun forces make him perspire, that they make him warm. He knows, maybe, one or two other things. We have Sun baths and the like. Thus certain therapeutic properties are known and so forth; but all these ideas are quite external. The man of today simply does not conceive what the forces that are spiritually connected with the Sun are doing with him.
Julian the Apostate, the last of the pagan Caesars, had still received instruction in what was left of the ancient Mysteries concerning these forces of the Sun. He wished once more to make this knowledge an influence in the world, and for this very reason was murdered on his campaign into Persia. So strong were the powers in the first Christian centuries which intended that all knowledge of such things should disappear. No wonder if this knowledge cannot be attained in any ordinary way today!
Now, the Moon forces represent that element in man which determines him, which fills him with an inner necessity, so as to act according to his temperament, his instincts, his emotions — in a word, according to the whole nature of his physical and etheric bodies. It is the spiritual Sun forces, on the other hand, which free him from this necessity. They as it were melt away the forces of necessity within him. Through the Sun forces, man becomes a free being.
In those ancient times the two things were sharply separated from one another in man's development. In the thirtieth year of his life he became a Sun man, that is to say, a free man. Until the thirtieth year he was a Moon man, that is to say, an unfree man. Today these things merge into one another. Today the Sun forces work already in childhood alongside of the Moon forces, and the Moon forces work on into a later age. Today, therefore, Necessity and Freedom are mingled; they work into one another. But it was not always so. In the pre-historic times of which I am now speaking, the Moon influences and the Sun influences were sharply separated in the course of human life. Hence in those olden times it was said: Man is born not once, but twice. This was said of the great majority of human beings — and it was considered abnormal, pathological, if a man did not experience this fundamental metamorphosis of life at the age of thirty. — This second birth was the Sun-birth of the human being; the first was called the Moon-birth. And when in the further course of evolution this Sun-birth became less clearly noticeable, certain exercises, sacred rituals, and actions were applied to those initiated in the Mysteries. Thus the initiates underwent what was no longer there for mankind in general. They were the “Twice-born”.
We can still find the term “Twice-born” in Oriental writings, but the expression is already a derived one. Indeed I would like to ask any Orientalist or Sanskrit scholar (I believe our friend Professor Beckh is here and you may ask him whether these things are so according to his special studies) — I would like to ask any Sanskrit scholar whether modern scholarship can explain in clear terms what the expression “Twice-born” signifies. No doubt there are plenty of formal explanations, but of the substantial meaning of the term our scholars are quite unaware, for it can only be known by those who are aware of the real facts of life from which it is derived. Spiritual research alone can give information on these matters. But when spiritual research has had its say, I would ask any open-minded scholar who knows the available documents, who knows all that external scholarship can lay hands upon: Does not external scholarship subsequently confirm, piece by piece, the researches of spiritual science? It will do so indeed, if things are only seen in the true light. But I have to draw attention to matters which must take precedence over all documentary research; for by documentary research alone one simply cannot understand the life of man.
Thus we look back upon an ancient time when they spoke of a Moon-birth of man as of his creation by the Father. And as to the Sun-birth, they knew that in the spiritual rays of the Sun, the power of Christ the Sun is working; and this is the power that makes man free. Think for a moment: what does the spiritual Sun-force bring about? We owe it to the Sun that we, as human beings upon Earth, are able to make anything of ourselves. We should be strictly determined, placed in an inexorable Necessity — a Necessity not even of Destiny but of Nature — if the liberating forces of the Sun, the impulses that melt away Necessity, did not come near to us.
In those ancient world-conceptions, as man gazed upward to the Sun he was aware of these things. “This Eye of the World, whence radiates the power of the Christ, this Eye of the World brings it about that I must not remain subject to the iron Necessity with which I was born out of the Moon forces. I need not remain, my whole life long, a human being evolving by Necessity. These Sun-forces — these forces of the Christ, looking down upon me through the cosmic Eye of the Sun — bring it about that I, during my earthly life, by my own inner freedom, can make of myself something which I was not yet by virtue of the Moon-forces when they placed me into this earthly life.”
The consciousness in man that he could transform himself, that he could make something of himself — this was attributed to the Sun forces.
In parenthesis and for the sake of completeness, I will add that they also looked up to the Saturn forces. In these they recognized all that maintains the human being when he passes through the gate of death — that is to say, when he undergoes the third earthly metamorphosis.
Birth: the Moon-birth second Birth: the Sun-birth third Birth: Saturn-birth, earthly death
In earthly death man was maintained by the forces holding sway at the outermost limit (as they conceived it) of the planetary system of the Earth — the Saturn forces. The Saturn forces hold man upright and carry him out into the spiritual world, preserving his being as a connected whole when the third metamorphosis takes place. Such indeed was the world-conception of an olden time.
But humanity evolves. There came a time when the ancient knowledge of how the Sun-forces work upon man was preserved only within the Mysteries. And it was preserved longest of all in the medical departments of the Mysteries. For the same Sun-forces which in the normal course of man's development give him his freedom — give him the opportunity to make something of himself — the same Sun-forces, the forces of the Christ, are also working in many different ways in certain plants upon the Earth, and in other earthly beings and earthly creatures. Here they represent medicaments and means of healing.
But mankind in general has lost this connection with the Sun. While the consciousness that man depends upon the Moon forces — the Divine Father forces — remained for a long time, the consciousness of his dependence on (or as we should rather say, his liberation by) the Sun forces was lost. What we today call the forces of Nature — the forces of which we speak almost exclusively in our modern world-conception — are indeed simply and solely the Moon forces, which have become abstract and all-powerful.
But the Sun forces were still known to the bearer of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, who not only knew them, but was able to direct his whole life by them. Indeed He had to know them; for the same Sun forces which had been attainable only in the ancient Mysteries by human beings looking upward to the Sun — this in their own downpouring to the Earth, He was destined to receive into His own Body.
I described it yesterday. At the time of the founding of Christianity this was felt to be the essential point. — In the body of Jesus of Nazareth, in the thirtieth year of his life, a transformation had taken place. It was the same transformation which all human beings had undergone in primeval times, but with this difference: that in those olden times the rays of the spiritual Sun had entered into all men at this point in their life. Now the essence and Being of the Sun Himself — the Christ — descended into human evolution and took up His abode in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the truth underlying the Mystery of Golgotha, as the primal foundation of all earthly life.
We shall recognize the full connection of these things by turning our attention now to the ancient Mysteries and the way in which men there celebrated the Easter festival in its full human form — by which I mean the act of initiation. For initiation was in truth an Easter festival. It took place, to begin with, in three stages. But before the candidate could attain true knowledge or initiation, the first requirement was that through all that had come toward him out of the Mystery, he should have grown truly humble — so humble that no one today can have any real conception of such humility. True, the men of today think themselves very humble in respect of knowledge; but to anyone who can see through these things, they still appear possessed by the greatest arrogance.
At the starting point of his initiation, this above all had to come over the human being: that he no longer considered himself a human being at all, but said “I must first become a human being.” Of course we cannot expect the man of today at a given moment in his life to no longer consider himself a human being. But in those times it was the very first requirement. The candidate must in all truth not consider himself a human being. He must say to himself: Certainly I was a human being before I descended into an earthly body. In the pre-earthly existence I was a human being in soul and spirit. Then the soul and spirit entered into the physical body which it received from the mother — from the parents. The soul and spirit — I will not say ‘clothed itself’, for that would be a wrong expression — the soul and spirit permeated itself with the physical body. But as to how the soul and spirit in the course of time permeates the physical — permeates the nerves-and-senses system, permeates the rhythmic system, permeates the system of metabolism in the limbs — of this the human being has no consciousness. He looks outward through the senses and becomes aware of the surrounding physical world. But what after all can a man do when at last he has so far penetrated his physical body with the soul and spirit that he considers himself a fully evolved and grown-up human being? What can he do? He can but look outward from his eyes, hear outward through his ears, feel outward with his skin, perceiving warmth and cold, roughness and smoothness. He cannot perceive inward, he cannot look through the eyes into himself. At most he can flay the physical corpse of man, and then imagine he is looking into himself. But he is not really doing so. It would be childish to believe that he is.
Suppose that I have a house before me here, and instead of looking in through the windows I pick up all manner of instruments and — if I am strong enough — break the house to pieces. There indeed I have the single bricks lying before me. I stare at the pile of bricks. This is what man does today. He flays the human being and dismembers him in the hope of knowing him. But he cannot; for it is not the human being that one learns to know in this way. If we would learn to know the human being, then even as we look outward through the eyes, so we must become able to look back again through the eyes, and to hear back again inward through the ears. All these things taken together — the eyes, the ears, the whole skin as an organ of touch, of warmth, the organ of smell, and so forth — all these together were called in the ancient Mysteries the Gate or Portal to the human being. Indeed the starting-point of initiation was this: Man came to realize that he knew nothing of the human being. Therefore, since he had no self-consciousness of man, he could not be one. He must first look inward through the senses, whereas in ordinary life he looked only outward.
Such was the first stage of initiation in the ancient Mysteries. Now the moment the man learned thus to look inward he also experienced himself in the pre-earthly life. For then he knew: I am in my own being of soul and spirit.
We may draw it diagrammatically. Here is the head. Man looks outward. Now, instead, he learnt to look inward.
But in thus looking inward he became aware of what had entered into him as the pre-earthly life and being, which had entered in through eye and ear and skin, etc. Of this he now became aware. Here it was that he possessed his pre-earthly existence. Moreover it became clear to him that only now could he learn to know what we today should call natural science. When we study matural science today, how do we set about it? We are led to see the things of Nature, to describe them and so forth. But this is just as though I had known a human being for a long time; now I am about to see him again, and someone lays on me the strict injunction: “When you see him again you must forget all you had in common with him; you must not remember anything at all of what you had in common with him before.” Think of it! It is inconceivable what it would mean to husbands and wives, for instance, if on some occasion when they are about to meet again, they were strictly commanded to forget all that they had undergone together in the past. I can conceive that in some cases this might sometimes be not unpleasant to them! Still, life could not subsist under such conditions. Yet this is what is required of the modern man with regard to Nature through the very ordering of present-day civilization. For he already knew the kingdoms of Nature — he knew them in their spiritual aspect — before he descended to the Earth. The human being of today is led to forget all that he learned of minerals and plants and animals before his descent to Earth. The ancient initiate, on the other hand, was thus instructed in what was called the first degree within the Mysteries: “Behold the crystal quartz!” Thereupon everything was done to make him remember what he had known of the quartz before he came down to the Earth, or again what he had known of the lily or of the rose. Recognition was taught as knowledge of Nature. And when a man had learned this Nature — lore recognition of what he had seen before he came down to earthly life — then he was received into the second degree.
In the second degree he learned Music; he learned Architecture, Geometry, the Mensuration of that time — and so forth. For what did the second degree contain? It contained all that the human being perceives when he now no longer gazes into himself through the eyes, or hearkens inward through the ears, but when he actually enters into himself. At this stage it was said to the candidate: “Thou enterest the human Temple Grove”. He learned to know the Temple Grove of man — permeated physically by the forces of soul and spirit, of which man consisted before he descended into earthly life. Thus he entered into himself. And it was said to him: There are three chambers in this Temple Grove. The one was the chamber of Thinking. Seen from outside it is the head. It is but small, but when one sees it from within, it is great as the universe; one learns to know its spiritual nature. This was the first chamber. In the second chamber the candidate learned to know the life of Feeling; and in the third chamber the life of Willing. Moreover in discovering how man is organized in his organs of Thinking, Feeling, and Willing, the candidates were learning to know what holds good on Earth.
The knowledge of Nature holds good not only on the Earth. Man already acquires it before he descends to Earth. Here on Earth he is only called upon to recollect it. But houses are not built in the spiritual world as they are built with earthly architecture. Music is yonder, it is true, but that is spiritual melody. Whatever is earthly music has been cast downwards into the earthly air; it is a projection of the heavenly Music, but in the form in which man experiences it, it is earthly. Likewise all that we measure is earthly. We measure earthly space: Mensuration, Geometry, is an earthly science. This in fact was the important thing for the candidate for initiation in the second degree: he became aware that all talk of knowledge by mere earthly methods is vague and void, save in so far as it be related to Geometry, Architecture, and Mensuration. He saw that a real science of Nature must be pre-earthly knowledge, remembered, recognized; and that the true sciences of Earth are Geometry, Architecture, Music, and Mensuration. For these can be learned here on the Earth.
Thus man descended into himself, and learned to know the three-chambered Man as against the single human incarnation which one perceives in ordinary life, when, without entering inside the human being, one merely knows him from outside.
And in the third degree, man learned to know the human being when he no longer dives merely down into himself and knows himself as a spiritual being, but when this spiritual being learns to know the body itself. Hence in all ancient Mysteries the path one had to take was through the Gate of Death. One became aware what man is like when he has laid aside the earthly body. Only there was a difference between the real death and the death of initiation. I shall explain in the following lectures why there must be this difference; now I will only state the facts.
When man actually dies, he lays his physical body aside. He is no longer bound to it. He no longer follows the earthly forces, he is freed from them. But when he is still connected with the physical body — as was the case in the act of initiation in ancient times — then he must attain by dint of inner strength the freedom from the body which he has as a matter of course in real death. That is to say, for a certain length of time, he must hold himself free. Hence for initiation it was necessary to achieve the strong inner forces of the soul, whereby one could hold oneself in soul free from the physical body. And the same forces which gave man power to hold himself free from the earthly body, these same forces gave him the higher knowledge — knowledge of things which can never be seen by the senses nor conceived by the intellect. These forces transplant the human being into the spiritual world, just as his physical body transplants him into the physical world. At this stage the initiate was able to know himself as soul-spiritual man even during the earthly life. Henceforth, for the initiate, the Earth was a star — a star external to the human being — while he himself (notably in the more ancient Mysteries) must live with the Sun instead of with the Earth. He knew now what man receives from the Sun. He knew how the Sun forces work within him.
This then was the third degree; and it was followed by the fourth, which worked upon the candidate somewhat as follows. — When a man eats on Earth, he knows he is eating cabbage, wild-fowl, and so forth, and drinking all manner of things. He knows: These things are now outside me, and now they are within me. He breathes the air. First it is outside him, then it is within, and then it is outside again. So he stands in connection with the earthly forces; he bears within himself the forces and substances which are otherwise outside him on the Earth. “Before thou art initiated” — thus it was explained to the candidate for initiation in ancient times — “before thou art initiated thou art an Earth-bearer, a cabbage-bearer, bearer of wild fowl, of veal, and so forth. But when thou hast been initiated into the third degree, and art given what can be given to thee when freed from the body, then thou will be not a cabbage-bearer, a pork-bearer, a veal-bearer, but a bearer of that which the Sun forces give thee.” Now in many of the Mysteries that which the Sun forces spiritually give to man was called Christos. Hence he who had passed beyond the three degree was called a Christopher, or Christophorus. For he felt himself henceforth bearer of the Sun forces (even as on Earth he might feel himself as a cabbage-bearer and the rest). In most of the ancient Mysteries Christophorus was the name for those who attained the fourth degree.
In the third degree man had to understand certain things; above all he had to understand that for the moments of knowledge the craving for the physical body must cease. He must perceive that while man in his physical body belongs to the Earth, yet in reality the Earth is only there to destroy the physical body, not to build it. Henceforth he learned to know the upbuilding forces, whose origin is in the cosmos. But he learned something else besides when he became a Christophorus. Then above all he learned to know that spiritual forces are at work even in the substance of the Earth, only they are not visible to earthly sight. Speaking in modern words — though they spoke with the same meaning I can only tell you of these things in modern language, not in the words of that time — they explained to him: “If thou wouldst learn the science of substance — how the substances are combined and separated — thou must behold the spiritual forces which permeate the substance out of the cosmos. Thou canst not know these things when thou art uninitiated. Thou must first be initiated into the fourth degree and be able to see through the forces of the Sun-existence. Then thou canst study Chemistry.”
Just imagine, if we today required of a man wishing to take his degree as a chemist or pharmacologist that he would first feel himself in relation to the forces of the Sun even as he feels himself in relation to the cabbage of the Earth. What madness this would seem! Yet these were the realities. It became fully clear to men: With all the forces that are living in the body and that we make use of for ordinary knowledge, we can study only Geometry, Mensuration, Music, and Architecture. With these forces we cannot study Chemistry; and if we do study it, we shall be talking in superficialities.
And so indeed it is. Since the time when the ancient initiation science was lost, all talk of Chemistry has been superficial. It drives anyone who is seeking for real knowledge to despair when he has to study the official Chemistry of today. For it rests only on external data, not on an inner penetration of things. If men only had an open mind they would say to themselves that something quite different is necessary. We must acquire a different mode of knowledge if we would truly study Chemistry. It is the present cowardice of knowledge which is instilled into the human being and prevents him from awakening to such an impulse.
When man had attained this stage he was ripe to become an Astronomos, which was a still higher degree. To learn to know the stars outwardly, by calculation and the like, was considered altogether meaningless. In the stars, spiritual beings live. They can be known only if one has overcome bodily vision, nay, if one has even overcome Geometry and can live within the universe, thus learning to know the spiritual essence of the stars. At this stage man was truly resurrected. And now he could behold how the Moon forces and the Sun forces work, even into the earthly man.
I have had to bring these things near to you from two sides today. In the ancient Mysteries — not at a certain season of the year but at a certain degree in a higher development of man — Easter took place as an inner experience: Easter as the resurrection of the man of soul and spirit, out of the physical body into the spiritual universe. And in this way those who still had knowledge of the Mysteries at that time looked up to the Mystery of Golgotha. They said to themselves: What would have become of mankind if the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place? In bygone ages there was the possibility of being initiated into the secrets of the cosmos. For in very ancient times man had experienced as a matter of course his second birth, about the thirtieth year of his life; and in subsequent times there still remained at least the memories of this: there was a science of the Mysteries, preserving in tradition what had actually been experienced in former times.
But in the age when the Mystery of Golgotha took place, all these things had been wafted away and forgotten. Mankind would have fallen into utter decadence if the power to whom the initiates in the Mysteries ascended when they became Christophorus had not descended into Jesus of Nazareth to be present henceforward on the Earth; so that man might henceforward be united with this power through Christ Jesus.
Thus what appears before our eyes in the Easter festival today is connected with a certain chapter in the historic evolution of the Mysteries. Truly we only become aware of the content of the Easter festival when we call this ancient sacred history to life again.
These things will be the subject of our further study. But you will now at any rate be able to draw near to what the candidate for initiation in ancient times experienced. He could say to himself: Through my initiation I have come to understand how the Sun and Moon work within me in their mutual and heavenly relationships. For now I know that I, as physical man, am shaped and formed in such and such a way: that I have such and such eyes and nose and other bodily forms both inwardly and outwardly throughout my body; that this bodily form could grow, and grows to this day in the process of nutrition — all this is dependent on the Moon forces. All that is Necessity depends on them. But that I can live and move as a free inner Being within my bodily nature — that I can transform myself, that I have myself in hand — this depends on the Sun forces, the forces of the Christ. These are the forces I must kindle in my inner being if I would mould with conscious knowledge, and attain by my own inner work, what the Sun forces would otherwise have to do within me, once more by a kind of Necessity.
In this way we shall also understand why man even today looks upward to the Sun and Moon and determines from their mutual constellation the time of the Easter festival. For this alone has still remained. We calculate when is the first Sunday after the first full Moon after the Spring Equinox. The Easter festival of the year is fixed for the Sunday following the first full Moon, indicating (as I shall explain in greater detail tomorrow) that we recognize in the form and structure of the Easter festival something that must be determined from above, out of the cosmos.
But the Easter thought must be regained. And it can only be regained by looking back to the ancient Mysteries, where the human being was made aware how it is when he looks within himself and beholds — the Gate of Man! And when he actually enters into himself — the Three-chambered inner Man! And when he makes himself free — the Gate of Death! When he lives and moves freely in the spiritual world, he becomes a Christophorus.
The Mysteries themselves receded in the age when the free development of man had to take place. But now the time is come when they must be found again. Of this, my dear friends, we must be fully conscious. Institutions must be created today to find the Mysteries once more.
Out of this consciousness we held our Christmas Foundation Meeting. For it is an urgent necessity that there should be a place on Earth where the Mysteries can once more be founded. The Anthroposophical Society in its further progress must become the path to the Mysteries renewed. This will also be our task: out of a right and true consciousness to cooperate toward this end. And to this end the life of man will have to be considered according to the three stages: the stage where we turn our gaze into the human being; the stage where we strive to enter right within him; and the stage where we become, in consciousness, what in the outer reality we become only in death.
Let us then take away with us these words as a solemn remembrance of this lesson which we have held today, and let us make them active in our souls:
Stand in the porch at Man's life-entrance, Read thereon the World's writ sentence, Dwell in the soul of Man within, Feel in its pulsing, Worlds begin.
In ordinary life we do not see the World's Beginning, but only this or that within the World.
Think upon Man's earthly ending. Find therein the Spirit's wending.
Let this then, be the extract from today's lesson:
Stand in the porch of Man's life-entrance, Read thereon the World's writ sentence. Dwell in the soul of Man within, Feel, in its pulsing, Worlds begin. Think upon Man's earthly ending, Find therein the Spirit's wending.