Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Singular Intensity

Rudolf Steiner:  "Only when you can penetrate into the world with an intensity that makes all natural events into spiritual events and that gives all spiritual events the intensity of natural events will you truly gain insight into the formation of the world. Then the moral and the natural will join in a single evolution ..."

Jean-Paul Sartre as The Modern Man

Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough.
— Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

Anthroposophy: a new flowering of Christianity to meet the needs of our time

Rudolf Steiner:

I have often called attention to the need to bear in mind the golden age of the rise of Christianity before the era of Constantine . . . If we look back to Origen and to Clement of Alexandria we find men who were open-minded, men still imbued with the Greek spirit: yet they were also conscious of the significance of what had been accomplished through the Mystery of Golgotha. Their conception of this Mystery and of the crucified Christ is considered to be pure heresy in the eyes of all denominations today. In reality the great Church Fathers of the pre-Constantine age who are recognized by the Church are the worst heretics of all. Though they were aware of the significance of the Mystery of Golgotha for the evolution of the Earth, they gave no indication of wishing to suppress the path to the Mystery of Golgotha, the gate to the Mysteries or the path of the old clairvoyance, which had been the aim of the Christianity of Constantine. In Clement of Alexandria especially we see that his works are shot through with great mysteries, mysteries which are so veiled that it is even difficult for contemporary man to make head or tail of them. Clement speaks of the Logos for example, of the wisdom that streams through and permeates the Universe. He pictures the Logos as music of the spheres fraught with meaning, and the visible world as the expression of the music of the spheres, just as the visible vibration of the strings of a musical instrument is the expression of the sound waves. Thus, in the eyes of Clement, the human form is made in the image of the Logos; that is, to Clement the Logos is a reality and he sees the human form as a fusion of tones from the music of the spheres. Man, he says, is made in the image of the Logos. And in many of Clement's utterances we find traces of that supernal wisdom that dwelt in him, a wisdom illuminated by the Christ Impulse. If you compare these utterances of Clement of Alexandria with the prevailing attitude today then the claim to recognize a man such as Clement of Alexandria without understanding him will appear as more than passing strange.
When it is said that the aim of Spiritual Science is to follow in the main stream of Christianity, to be a new flowering of Christianity to meet the needs of our time, then the cry is raised — the ancient Gnosis is being revived! And at the mention of Gnosis many professing Christians today begin to cross themselves as if faced by the devil incarnate. Gnosis for today is Spiritual Science; but the more developed gnosis of the present time is different from the gnosis known to Clement of Alexandria. What were the views of Clement of Alexandria who lived in the latter half of the second century? Faith, he says, is our starting-point — the orthodox Christian of today is satisfied with faith alone and asks no more. Faith, according to Clement, is already knowledge, but concise knowledge of what is needed; gnosis however confirms and reinforces what we believe, is founded on faith through the teaching of Our Lord and so leads to a faith that is scientifically acceptable and irrefutable. In these words Clement of Alexandria expresses for his time what we must realize today. Christianity therefore demands that gnosis, the Spiritual Science of today, must actively participate in the development of Christianity. 
But the modern philistine protests: “We must distinguish between science [which he would limit to sense experience] and faith. Faith must have no part in science.” Clement of Alexandria however says: To faith is added gnosis, to gnosis love, and to love the “Kingdom”. This is one of the most profound utterances of the human spirit because it bears witness to an intimate union with the life of the spirit. First we are nourished in faith; but to faith is added gnosis, that is, knowledge or understanding. Out of this living knowledge, i.e. when we penetrate deeply into things, there is first born genuine love through which our Divine inheritance operates. Mankind can only be the vehicle of the influx of the Divine as it was in the “beginning” if to faith is added gnosis, to gnosis love, and to love the “Kingdom.” We must look upon these utterances as bearing witness to the deep spirituality of Clement.

"My kingdom is not of this world."

Source: http://wn.rsarchive.org/GA/GA0175/19170508p01.html#sthash.x1SFEZUm.dpuf

The alchemy of AnthroposSophia

The Fifth Seal: AnthroposSophia
Wisdom is to light as the soul is to the body; love is wisdom reborn in the I.
Rudolf Steiner, September 13, 1907:
"Today, man has a physical body, an etheric body, an astral body, and an ego. When the ego works upon the astral body, ennobling it intellectually, morally, and spiritually, then the astral body becomes the spirit self or manas. That has as of now hardly begun, but when in the future it will have been completed, when man will have transformed his whole astral body, then will his astral body become physically luminous. Just as the seed holds the whole plant within it, so does your astral body hold within it the seed of light. This will stream out into the world of space, its development and continuing formation effected by man as he ever more purifies and ennobles his astral body. Our Earth will transform itself into other planets. Today it is dark. Were one to observe it from space, then one would see that it appears bright only through the reflected light of the Sun. Someday, however, it will be luminous, luminous through the fact that human beings will then have transformed their whole astral bodies. The totality of astral bodies will stream out as light into world space, as it was also at the time of the Old Sun. It had higher beings at their human stage, and these beings had luminous astral bodies. The Bible, quite correctly, calls these beings Spirits of Light or Elohim.

What does a man work into his astral body? What we call goodness and common sense. If you observe a savage who is still on the level of a cannibal, blindly following his passions, you must say of him that he stands lower than the animals because the animal still has no understanding, no consciousness of his deeds. Man, however, even the lowest, already has an ego. The more highly educated person can be distinguished from the savage through the fact that he has already worked on his astral body. Certain passions he has so understood that he says to himself, “This one I may follow, this other I may not follow.” Certain urges and passions he fashions to more refined configurations, which he calls his ideal. He forms moral concepts. All these are transformations of his astral body. The savage cannot do arithmetic or make judgments. This property man has acquired through work on his astral body from incarnation to incarnation. What develops, as man gradually ennobles his present imperfect form to become that being of light of whom we spoke, is called the assimilation of wisdom. The more wisdom the astral body contains, the more luminous it will be. The Elohim, those beings who dwelt on the Sun, were wholly permeated with wisdom. Just as our souls relate to our bodies, so wisdom relates itself to light that streams out into cosmic space. You see, the relation between light and wisdom is not an image that has been contrived. It is based on fact. It is a truth. Thus is it to be explained that religious documents speak of light as a symbol of wisdom."

"Wisdom is the precondition of love; love is wisdom reborn in the I."
Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner, September 16, 1907:
"Then the times approach in which great changes will occur in the cosmos. When the human being will have drawn the Sun power near, the Sun will again be united with the Earth. The human being will become a Sun-being and, through the power of the Sun, will give birth to a Sun; hence we see the woman who bears the Sun. At that point, humanity will be so moral, so ethical, that all the ruinous powers that lie in the lower human nature will be overcome. This is portrayed by the beast with seven heads and ten horns. At the feet of the Sun-woman is the Moon, which contains all the bad substances that the Earth could not use and which it has cast out. All the magic powers that the Moon still exerts upon the Earth today will be overcome. When human beings are united with the Sun, they will have overcome the Moon."

Wisdom: The Virgin Mother

"That is the secret of real wisdom: that it is transformed in the soul into love through its own strength."  — Rudolf Steiner

O Spirit of God: fill me,
Fill me in my soul,
In my soul bestow a strengthening force,
Strengthening force too for my heart,
For my heart that seeks union with you,
Seeks union with deepest longing,
Deepest longing for good health,
For good health and strong courage,
Strong courage that streams through my limbs,
Streams as precious divine gift,
Divine gift from you, O Spirit of God,
O Spirit of God: fill me!

—Rudolf Steiner

O Gottesgeist, erfülle mich,
Erfülle mich in meiner Seele,
Meiner Seele schenke Stärkekraft,
Stärkekraft auch meinem Herzen,
Meinem Herzen das dich sucht,
Sucht durch tiefe Sehnsucht,
Tiefe Sehnsucht nach Gesundheit,
Nach Gesundheit und Starkmut,
Starkmut der durch meine Glieder strömt,
Strömt wie edles Gottgeschenk,
Gottheschenk von dir, O Gottesgeist,
O Gottesgeist, erfülle mich.

The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest. Lecture 7 of 18

Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, September 11, 1924:

Before we go any further in our study of the Apocalypse we must add one more method to read it properly, which however is taken more from outside. Then the main thing is to apply what we read in the Apocalypse to our present time. In order to do this, we must first look at the spiritual foundations from which this Apocalypse arose. But I don't mean that one should do this by trying to explain a book through one's times in a trivial historical sense. This is not really applicable to writings like the Apocalypse which are conceived out of the spiritual world in the way I described. Nevertheless, it was created in the way that it could be created in its time in accordance with the spiritual conditions — not in accordance with external historical conditions, but in accordance with spiritual conditions. Let's take a look at this time.
Let's connect this time of the first Christian centuries with general world evolution in a spiritual way. The year 333 A.D. is an important year if we look at the evolution which occurs behind outer events. This year 333 is the point in time in which the ego shot into the intellectual or mind soul, which developed between the year 747 before the Mystery of Golgotha and the beginning of the age of the consciousness soul in the 15th century. This year 333 stands right in the middle. The intellectual and mind soul developed during this epoch and it played an important role in the development of the Greek mentality. It continued to work until the age of the consciousness soul began. The Mystery of Golgotha took place in this age of the development of the intellectual soul or hearty feelings soul.
Now we must realize that this shooting in of the ego into the intellectual and mind soul is something which is very important. One has to tell oneself that one understands things with the intellectual and feeling soul. But this bursting in of the ego which occurred around the year 333 nevertheless shook up the humanity which comes into consideration for the reception of spiritual influences; it really shook them up right down into the depths of their soul. Anyone who wants to participate in the spiritual life and to work along spiritual lines must see the outer facts of historical developments on their spiritual backgrounds.
Which major events must be looked at in the light of this ego-entry into man's soul at the time when it was occurring behind the illusions of outer events, as it were? It was here that the whole relation off divine beings to men started tó become uncertain, contested and misunderstood.
At this point vie have the significant dispute between Arius and Athanasius. Men started to become unsure of how they should think about the relation of the gods to the world and to human beings, etc., at the time when a somewhat unconscious question about how the divine ego lives in human nature arose from a lack of clarity which was present when the ego shot into the soul. The two views of Arius and Athanasius were sharply opposed to each other, and we see that Äthanasius' view gained the upper hand in western Europe whereas the view of Arius gradually lost favor.
Let's look at this contrast from a spiritual standpoint, because it is important that we do so if we really want to understand the inner meaning and the inner spirit of something like the Apocalypse. On the one hand Arius sees that man is climbing higher and higher, and that he's supposed to get ever closer to the divine, and on the other hand he sees the divine being. In addition to these great world principles he must also understand the Mystery of Golgotha and the nature of Christ. He wants to answer the question: How is the human or the divine nature contained in Christ? Should one look upon the Christ as a really divine being or not? And he basically answered this question with a no. He basically took the position that became the general position of a large part of the European population, namely, he put up a boundary between man and God, that is, he didn't really want to admit that God dwells in man, so he placed an abyss between God and man.
We must go back to the time of the first Christian developments in an unbiased way, which basically had nothing in common with the things that happened later when Christianity became decadent within Roman Catholicism. And this is why we should realize that it became necessary for the further evolution of mankind to decide the whole question in the way that Athanasius does, who sees a directly divine being in the Christ and who sees a really divine sun-spirit in Christ, even though this later receded into the background because of a disinclination to think of the Christ in a cosmological way. But it lay in Athanasius' whole mentality to look upon the Christ as a god who is really equal to the Father God.
This view continued to work on, although it lost its entire evolutionary thrust at the eighth council in Constantinople in 869. which basically cancelled the doctrine of this first council in Nicaea, because it declared that trichotomy is heretical. Therewith things began to degenerate. For this definitely cut off any possibility of growth into spirituality for the catholic church in later centuries.
It was definitely that shock which occurred within when the ego broke into the intellectual and feeling soul which colored this outer event and which gives the latter its real inner meaning. And if we continue to look at things in a historical way we, have to tell ourselves: After this year 333 came those times which broke away from the ancient Roman culture, especially in Europe. We see that the old Roman culture could basically not absorb Christianity, because öf what it had become. It is a marvelous picture which unrolls before us if we direct our gaze at this year 333.
This year also indicates the period in which Romanism was moved away from Rome and further over to the east. The Roman emperor who wants to appropriate Christianity flees from Rome and goes further east. We shouldn't look so much at the detrimental things and bad side-effects which arose in the council of Constantinople, — we should pay more attention to the fact that when Christianity hit Rome one had to flee from west to east. This is tremendously significant. When such an event is looked at from the spiritual world its importance is so obvious that the harmful effects which were caused by Byzantinism were relatively minor.
One would like to say that it is of tremendous importance that when Christianity or its outer form was touched by Romanism, it had to flee. Of course something then rises from the ground — from which Constantine fled towards the east with Christianity which was prepared for a long time in Roman territory, but which forces Christianity into outer, worldly forms when it matures. One should just think how significant it is that the Apocalypticer's prophetic eye sees that Christianity begins to assume ancient Roman forms at the moment when Rome decides to make Christianity its official religion. This is really the thing which becomes manifest.
On the one hand we have the spiritual dispute between Arius and Athanasius. On the other hand, we have ancient Rome which converts to Christianity but moves towards the east, while the form which remains behind in Rome takes on the shape of the Roman state and becomes the continuation of ancient Rome, even in its outer activities.
Now let's ignore certain things for a while for which we will have to give a deeper spiritual explanation later, and let's look at some historical things. The Apocalypticer's perception of this historical element is great and tremendous. He doesn't express it clearly, but he has it in his feelings and it's in the way his writing is composed, that is, he points out that the growth of what occurs in mankind and outside in history took 333 years from the Mystery of Golgotha, and that a strange, illusory development of Christianity then sets in. Christian Romanism is uprooted and goes over to the east, and Roman Christianity adapts itself completely to Roman forms. This is the soil which prepares something which again takes 333 years or until the year 666.
If you place what we said yesterday about the things which the Apocalypticer and other people who were inspired by the ancient mysteries gained from a contemplation of numbers before your soul, you will have to tell yourselves: this Apocalypticer looks at the additional 333 years during which Christianity has a deceptive outer appearance, so that it must develop in murky fogs in two directions; — it is driven eastward and it preserves the old element in the west which is like an Ahrimanic thing.
Something which had remained from the non-Christian, ancient Romanism prepares itself in the womb of earth evolution. What does this nonChristian Romanism consist of?
Now if we look into the mysteries we find that trichotomy or the holy number three had a profound significance in all of the greatest and most advanced ones. Let's take a look at what this meaning was. One thought about how a human being is born in the physical stream of heredity, approximately in the way that esoteric Hebraic teachings conceive of this. One imagined how this human being brings characteristics and capacities with him through heredity. One described the life of a human being as something which proceeds in a straight line and in which nothing important enters except what is oriented by hereditary impulses. The fathers in the ancient mysteries said: You originate from the physical forces of your parents, and the spiritual impulses of your physical parents are also at work in you. And these ideas continued to be taught in Hebraic esotericism and by the proponents of other esoteric doctrines.
However other people added something to this. In the mysteries which must be called the most advanced ones, one spoke of how the man who bears hereditary impulses and develops accordingly can also take in another impulse during his physical existence between birth and death, an impulse through which he lifts himself out of hereditary conditions, so that his soul finds its way out of them, namely, the Son impulse or Christ impulse. And one said: The impulses of heredity are in man and they constitute his straight line evolution between birth and death. They are from the Father, the Father who underlies everything. The impulses of the Son do not enter into hereditary forces, they must be taken up into the soul and elaborated by the soul; they must be able to expand the soul to such an extent that it can free itself from bodily and hereditary forces. They enter the freedom of man, in the way that one understood freedom in those times; they go into the freedom of the soul, where the latter is free from hereditary forces. They are the ones which permit man to be psychically reborn. They are the impulses which enable man to control himself during the life which is given him by the Father. And so one saw the father-man in all of these mysteries, the man who is the son of the Father and the brother of Christ and who controls himself. He gains control over that part of him which is free from the body in a certain respect, and he must bear a new realm in him which knows nothing about nature and which is a different order than nature is the realm of the Spirit.
If one were to talk about the Father God, not in the external, materialistic way in which one does this today but more like they do in Hebraic doctrine, one would be justified in speaking of effects of nature which are also spiritual effects, for spiritual activities are present in all activities of nature. The natural science which arose a while back and which is active today is merely a one-sided science of the Father. The science of the Son or the Christ is added to this; this is connected with the way man takes hold of himself and with the way man receives an impulse which he can only take in through the soul, and not through hereditary forces. The way he works his way into this is chaotic at first, without the activity and the power of laws. This activity is brought into him by the Spirit, so that according to the ancient mysteries we basically have two kingdoms the kingdom of nature or the kingdom of the Father, and the kingdom of the Spirit, and man is carried out of the kingdom of nature and into the kingdom of the Spirit by the Son or Christ.
If we become aware that such views were still present in the Apocalypticer and in the souls of all the men of his time, it will enable us to look into his prophetic soul, which could survey the future in such broad strokes, in order to look at the way he looked at what poured over the Christianity which had become a semblance of itself in two directions around the year 666.
Here his prophetic eye fell upon that doctrine which had already arisen in the east in 666, and which goes back to that Muhammedanian mystery culture which knows nothing about the Son. This Islamic mystery culture doesn't know anything about the world structure to which I referred; it doesn't know about the two kingdoms, the realm of the Father and the realm of the Spirit; it only knows one rigid thing; only the Father exists for it, there is only one God. And everything else is his prophet — mainly Muhammed. This point of view makes Islam the polar opposite of Christianity. This viewpoint leads to the will to eliminate all freedom for all times to come, to the will for determinism, and this cannot be otherwise if one only thinks of the world in connection with the Father God.
However, the Apocalypticer feels that man cannot find himself like that. Man cannot be permeated by the Christ like that; he can't grasp his humanity if he only grasps this ancient teaching about the Father. The outer human form becomes Maya for a world conception which is so strongly closed off within; for man becomes man by taking hold of himself, by making Christ alive in himself and through the fact that he can fit himself into the spiritual order of things and into the realm of the spirit which is entirely free of nature. Thereby he becomes a man; but he doesn't become a man if he falls back into the view which only reckons with the Father God.
The Apocalypticer is basically saying that after the ego broke in mankind is in danger of going astray in the permeation of this ego which is pressing into humanity from 333 on, — that humanity is in danger of being confused in its permeation of this ego with the Son God or Christ. What threatens to keep man at the animal stage rises up after a period of time which is just as long as the first period after the Mystery of Golgotha, — 666 is the number of the beast.
The Apocalypticer had a decisive, inner vision of what threatens men. Christianity was made into a semblance of itself in two directions, or it would be better to say that it became obscured by fog. The year 666 marks the time of this inundation which threatens him. It is that significant year in the spiritual world when what exists in Arabism is introduced everywhere. He points to: this year 666 very clearly. People who can read in an apocalyptic way understand this quite well. For he foresaw the effect that the thing which was breaking in would have, and he called the number 666, the number of the beast.
Thus he basically anticipates everything which follows in an apocalyptic way. What follows is the streaming of Arabism towards Europe, whereupon Christianity becomes permeated by a teaching; which could only make men fail to see the humanity within them; where the Father dogma is converted into naturalism; whereby the latest view on evolution arose, which says that one must explain man by just following the sequence of animals down to the human being.
Wasn't the beast whose number is 666 still rising in Darwinism, where man couldn't comprehend that he is a human being but could only look upon himself as a beast? Don't we see these Ahrimanic resistances which are working against the Son God working further in the impregnation of Christianity with a materialistic form of the Father dogma? Isn't this still working into our time? As I have often pointed out, just take something out of recent theological developments such as Harnack's book about the nature of Christianity. One can put “Father” wherever he has the word Christ, for it is only a teaching about God and not a concrete Christ teaching. It is a denial of Christ's teaching, for a general Father God is put in the place of Christ; and no attempt is made to arrive at anything which is connected with Christology. The Apocalypticer sees this coming.
And when he sees this approaching it is already basically connected with something else which weighs upon his soul, namely, the difficulties with what one calls the transubstantiation for lack of a better word, although it doesn't really cover the spiritual elements which are involved. Now this difficulty, my dear friends you know yourselves how your souls struggled with the difficulties which are connected with transubstantiation when this Christian renewal was inaugurated; and many of you are still struggling with the difficulties which are involved in the understanding of this transubstantiation. Just think of how many hours we spent over there in that room where the Goetheanum fire started on discussions about transubstantiation; for the whole question of Son and Father is contained in transubstantiation. And one could say that some of that oppression which mankind felt in the dispute between Arianism and Athanasianism is also present in the dispute about transubstantiation which arose in the Middle Ages.
In fact, transubstantiation can only have a meaning if it is based on a real spiritual understanding of a Christology which tells one how Christ is connected with humanity and the earth. However, due to the breaking in of Arianism, the transubstantiation theory was always in danger of getting too close to the Father dogma, and it made people think that the metamorphosis of the substances which come into consideration for transubstantiation must be placed in the series of nature processes, that is, in the spiritual part of nature processes.
And all the questions which are connected with communion arise because one really says to oneself: How can what takes place in transubstantiation be grasped so that one can unite it with what one has in the way of a Father evolution of the world or of a working of the spirit through the laws of nature. This is not a matter of miracles here; this is mainly a matter of sacramentalism, which is not at all connected with the trivial question about miracles which gave people so much trouble in the 19th and already in the 18th century. The important thing here is to realize that one has the order of the Father and the order of the Spirit in the world. In between stands the Son, who raises the kingdom of nature to the kingdom of the spirit within the human sphere. If we place this before our soul, transubstantiation appears to us as something which we shouldn't look for in the wide order of nature, although it is nevertheless equipped with a reality, with a really spiritual reality, which one can speak of just as well as one can speak about a natural order. However, the Apocalypticer foresaw how difficult it would be for men to say that there is another order, a spiritual order besides the order of nature, since 666 plays into human evolution with such force.
One could say that Anthroposophy comes to the rescue here in a very modern way, and sheds light on precisely such a thing as transubstantiation. For Anthroposophy can help us to make the way man lives through repeated earth lives alive in us again, and also the way man has the impulses which lie in the hereditary line and which are connected with heredity, and with the Father force when he stands in the outer physical world with his actions. There man stands. There are the hereditary forces in the way he lives his life. There is a great deal in these hereditary forces which is connected with human destiny — if we only look at it in an external way — and which occurs through the Father forces that have been secreted into nature. The results of the previous earth life continuously play into man when he acts, so that as he acts he brings up the spirit into the physical corporeality which he has acquired in his present existence. The result of the previous earth life works in him; there are forces underlying this.
Imagine some human action. It can be looked at from two sides; from the point of view of the human being who is born from a mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, etc. But now look at the action from the other aspect. Forces are working in it which are an aftereffect of previous earth-lives. We have a completely different order here. This is why it can't be understood by any natural science, that is, by any Father science.
But it's possible to look at two things here which are essentially the same, even though they are accidentally different. On the one hand we see how karma or destiny as the result of previous earth lives develops out of the human being; we have a lawfulness there which is not a nature lawfulness at all, although it exists; and we look at the altar and at the way that transubstantiation takes place as a spiritual reality and in a way which is also not outwardly visible in the physical substances. The same laws hold sway in them. We can bring two things together here: the way that karma works and the way that transubstantiation takes place. Whoever understands the one can understand the other.
This is one of the mysteries which you must grasp in your new priesthood. This is one of the mysteries under whose light this priestly community must develop itself out of Anthroposophy. It is one of the inner reasons for this.
This also points to the tremendous difficulty which existed for an understanding of transubstantiation, because one couldn't understand the kind of a lawfulness which is present in human karma and which underlies transubstantiation. The ego which acquires freedom in physical life, which entered in 333 which wrapped Christianity in a fog in two directions, and made it flee towards the east on the one hand and into the ancient Romanism which could never be entirely Christian on the other, this year 333 and the entrance of the ego threw a shadow or a darkness over the connections between successive earth lives, and it had to throw it, because this lies within the evolution of mankind. What would have happened if this ego had not entered? Julian the Apostate would have won, although from the viewpoint of the ancient mysteries one should really call him the Confessor and not the Apostate. Of course the following is only a nebulous hypothesis, but it indicates what could have happened; if Julian had introduced teachings from the old mysteries, humanity might have received the ego which came in from spiritual worlds in such a way that one could have also understood the karma teaching with it. Mankind had to climb over higher walls in order to arrive at an understanding of Christianity, and not arrive at it as easily as they would have if Julian the Apostate had been victorious.
Thus humanity was exposed to the rising of the beast and to the consequences and results of 666. As I said, we will go into more of the inner details in the next few days. This is how the karma teaching was withheld from mankind and this is the way the transubstantiation dogma was placed into mankind, so that there is nothing analogous to it in men's world conceptions, for the closest analog for an understanding of the transubstantiation teaching is an understanding of the karma teaching. The force with which the destiny of a human being, is created in a next life out of successive lives is no force of nature, is no Father force, — it is a force of the Spirit which is mediated by the Son. It is the same force which is at work at the altar when the holy bread and wine are transformed.
And we must inscribe this deep into our souls; If we can understand this rightly, if we can lift our soul and mind and hearty feelings to the kind of spiritual impulses which work írom one earth life to the next, we also understand what happens at the altar in transubstantiation. For when someone looks at the holy bread and wine with his ordinary understanding and doesn't see what's happening at all, it's no different than when someone with a materialistic mind doesn't see anything in the destiny of a human being besides what proceeds from the forces of his muscles and his blood — I'm speaking of the spiritual forces of the muscles and blood and from hereditary statistics.
These are the connections which one must understand in order to arrive at a true understanding of the Apocalypse and the Apocalypticer. These connections lead directly into the present, from the impulses which one can read quite clearly in the Apocalypse.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Renunciation Strengthens Us

Rudolf Steiner [November 14, 1911]:

"Let us suppose that a person intended to accomplish something in the world through inner spiritual means. The individual has to prepare himself or herself by learning above all to suppress his or her wishes or desires. And while one becomes stronger in the physical world if one eats well and is well nourished and thus has more energy, one will achieve something significant in the spiritual world--this is a description, not advice--when one fasts or does something to suppress or renounce wishes and desires. Preparation that involves relinquishing the wishes, desires, and will impulses arising in us is always part of the greatest spiritual endeavors. The less we will, the more we can say that we let life stream over us and do not desire this or that, but rather take things as karma casts them before us; the more we accept karma and its consequences; the more we behave calmly, renouncing all that we otherwise would have wanted to achieve in life--the stronger we become."

"Joy to have merited the Pain —" by Emily Dickinson

Joy to have merited the Pain 
To merit the Release 
Joy to have perished every step 
To Compass Paradise 

Pardon  to look upon thy face 
With these old fashioned Eyes 
Better than new  could be  for that 
Though bought in Paradise 

Because they looked on thee before 
And thou hast looked on them 
Prove Me  My Hazel Witnesses
The features are the same 

So fleet thou wert, when present 
So infinite  when gone 
An Orient's Apparition 
Remanded of the Morn 

The Height I recollect 
'Twas even with the Hills 
The Depth upon my Soul was notched 
As Floods  on Whites of Wheels 

To Haunt  till Time have dropped
His last Decade away,
And Haunting actualize  to last
At least  Eternity 

Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek

Psalm 110
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ ~ Chapter 20

Revelation ~ Chapter 20

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest. Lecture 6 of 18

Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, September 10, 1924:

When someone became initiated in the ancient mysteries, one of the first things he experienced there was that his thoughts and his whole human soul mood were directed towards the significance of the cycles of world civilization which are based on the number seven. And we see a clear reflection of what arises from this initiation principle in the Apocalypse. The number seven is present in the construction, composition and content of the Apocalypse in a great variety of ways.
Now of course what is connected with this number seven was not connected with it in the external way that one usually imagines today, but one initiated the person concerned into the working and weaving of numbers in general. Now I would like to draw your attention to something which I explained over there in a quite different course on speech formation.
There I had to explain how an experience of speech sounds is possible, and that mankind has lost its ability to experience them. Just place the way elements of the creative word are given through these experiences of speech sounds and the way that the most manifold and wonderful content and even a whole world content can be given through combinations of about 32 sound elements before your souls. Now try to imagine what things were like at such a time — and there were times when something like this was a reality for mankind — a time that lived with these 32 elements in a very active way and which felt how wonderful it was to be able to shape a world out of this experience of 32 speech sounds. One really felt that something spiritual was weaving in speech formation and in the pictorial shaping of words when one spoke; one experienced that gods were living in the speech sounds.
If you take our 32 speech sounds, it will be easy for you to see that about 24 of them are consonants and that about 7 of them are vowels. Of course these things are always approximate, but you can now let some light from the beginning of John's gospel “In the beginning was the word” fall on that Apocalyptic Imagination of an Alpha and Omega surrounded by seven angels or vowels, and by 24 elders or consonants. One felt that the secret of the universe weaved and lived in what one intoned in holy cultic language in the way that I already explained to you. And when one celebrated a religious rite one felt the presence of the world's content which lived powerfully in this symbolic picture.
Mankind must again get a feeling for where the gods were located from the viewpoint of mystery wisdom. They weren't sought in the remote transcendental places one thinks of today. One sought their bodies in things like speech sounds; and when people spoke about the cosmic, word, they were speaking about the things which really weave through the world and which men participate in with their speech.
The same applies to numbers. Our present idea about numbers is very abstract, by comparison with the kind of thinking which still holds sway in the Apocalypse. Now you see, if one goes back to the first Christian centuries one finds that a few people have a certain understanding for something like the Apocalypse, because they still felt what the secret of numbers is and because they still experienced the peculiar proportions which are connected with a division into a series of numbers.
People definitely did not look upon a series of numbers as a kind of joining of one more unit to the previous number, but one experienced what is present in three and in four, namely, the closed nature of three, the open nature of four, and the five which is related to the human being. One felt something divine in numbers, just as one found something divine in speech sounds and letters.
When someone in the ancient mysteries had reached the point where he was initiated into this secret of numbers, it was his duty to think, feel and sense in accordance with this secret of numbers. Just think what this means. In music we have an octave of seven tones — for the eighth is the same as the first, in the rainbow 7 colors, and the number 7 is also present in other things in nature. Just suppose that it would occur to Nature to have a different arrangement in the rainbow, — the whole universe would be thrown into confusion; or suppose one would divide up the musical scale in a different way, — the music would become unbearable, and so on.
However, since this secret of numbers is also in man's soul being — there where the lawfulness is right —, just as the course of nature is in it, the candidate for initiation was told that he shouldn't toss his thoughts back and forth arbitrarily anymore after his initiation, but that it was his duty to think inwardly in numbers, just as Nature thinks in numbers; he was told to experience how the mystery of numbers weaves and lives in all beings and processes.
Now the Apocalypse was written at a time when such an insertion of man into the cosmic secret of a 7 or 12 or 24 or 3 was absolutely valid. Since the beginning of our consciousness soul age, that is, since the first third of the 15th century, we are running into things which are similar to those which took place before the time in which the number 7 was strictly valid, so that displacements in the number 7 are gradually appearing. We are no longer in the fortunate position of experiencing an evolution which occurs exactly according to the number 7 We are already in that evolutionary stage of the earth where irregularities are beginning with respect to the secret of numbers, so that the secret of numbers has acquired a new significance for us. If we enlighten ourselves through the secret of numbers which exists in documents like the Apocalypse, we find that we gradually become able to grasp what is increasingly occurring outside the secret of numbers with our senses. And so in a certain sense, we're living our way out of the secret of numbers. But we have to find out what it is, so that we can use it in the forms which are suitable for the earthly human events which are to be guided by the priesthood in the religious sphere.
Although I'm assuming this, I can nevertheless speak about certain phenomena as if they were occurring in accordance with the secret of numbers, because world events will probably only emerge from the secret of numbers slowly, as they move into a mode which is not in accordance with numbers. In any case, in the ancient mysteries people thought in terms of larger, smaller and very, small cycles of seven.
Thus we have seen the continuation of old cultures and the beginning of new cultural periods in the 7 communities or churches, which were also real, concrete formations on earth. On the other hand, we have a smaller cycle, and the Apocalypse helps us to understand this in a certain way. Just consider what this smaller cycle consists of.
If we look back to the time in which the Mystery of Golgotha took place upon earth, we see that Oriphiel, the archangel who gets most of his impulses from Saturn, was ruling human spiritual development. Then we come into an age where Anael is the ruling archangel, then to the age of Zachariel, then we come to the age of Raphael, then of Samael, of Gabriel and into the present Michael age; we have the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh ages; so that we're in the seventh age of this smaller cycle within our fifth larger cycle.
If we wanted to write what they wrote in ancient times in a modern form, we would have to say that we are living in the 5/7 age, that is, we're in a larger, fifth cycle, and we're also in a seventh cycle which intersects this. A seventh cycle signifies an end condition. It was preceded by the sixth Gabriel cycle. A great deal is always decided in a sixth cycle; the end is prepared, and the previous age still works into this sixth cycle. The Michael cycle begins about 1879, the Gabriel cycle begins about 1471. Before that was the fifth Samael cycle, and this archangel gets his impulses from Mars.
The archangel of the fifth smaller cycle was reigning when the fifth post Atlantean epoch began. However, he had already been reigning for 3 to 4 centuries in this fifth archangel cycle when he ushered in the fifth post Atlantean cycle. Thus the small cycle overleaps the beginning of the large cycle. However, this means that the large cycles are brought about by spirits in the middle hierarchies; the third hierarchy, which includes the archangels, are the servants of the higher hierarchies. But the law of numbers works in such a way that the fifth archangel's main activity coincides with that of a being from a higher hierarchy who is also connected with the number five at the beginning of the fifth cycle.
It's been a relatively long time since anyone has spoken about these things, but they were discussed over a period which is longer than most people think. These secrets were discussed in places like the School of Chartres in the 12th century. They still had an apocalyptic language then, for the latter is always one which looks upon the universe from the perspective or point of view of numbers, and also from other viewpoints.
When Plato says that God geometrizes and mathematizes he doesn't mean our rather abstract geometry or mathematics, but that deep experience which people in ancient times had in connection with forms and numbers. And although it is ridiculed by materialism, one can see everywhere that the law of seven also applies to organic life. One will find that the law of seven is at work in the time it takes for larvae and butterflies to develop and crawl out, and in the development of certain diseases, and in many other things. These initiates were told that numbers are something which arise out of the nature of things, and this helped them to see the way things really are.
For one really becomes attentive to things if one has to tell oneself that the archangel who stands in the number five spot helps to begin the fifth post Atlantean age with Mars forces. Everyone knows that there is something warlike about Mars. If we look at the successive cultural periods, we see that they are separated by important events.
If we look back at the last big event which separates the Atlantean age from the present age which is now in its fifth cultural period, we have what is known as the ice age or flood between the two the sinking of Atlantis and the rising of new continents.
We are living in the fifth post Atlantean period, a sixth one will follow and a seventh one will follow. The catastrophe which then separates us from the next large period which will come the fifth from the sixth period will not just be an external event in nature like the ice age or flood was. This separation of the fifth from the sixth period will become manifest in a more moral way. As I have often mentioned, a war of all against all or a moral catastrophe will separate the fifth from the large sixth earth period.
Of course, this will also be connected with events in nature, but the latter will be less important. It is introduced by what comes from Mars through Samael, the spirit of conflict, when warlike elements for initiation were brought from the spiritual world. At the beginning of our fifth, smaller consciousness soul age we have a preview of the way our larger age will end after our fifth cultural epoch has been followed by the sixth and seventh ones.
If we listen to what people who still knew something about the secret events which stand behind the public ones said around the beginning of the 15th century when Samael was reigning under the influence of Mars we will get an inkling of the way our large epoch will end. One finds one's way into apocalyptic thinking if one connects numbers with events. If one learns to look at the world in an apocalyptic way, one will, as it were, be able to read the apocalyptic universe, and one will find that countless secrets are revealed to one.
Now consider the fact that the small Michael cycle is in our fifth post Atlantean cultural epoch and in the larger fifth earth period. Let's take a look at what this means.
We are living in the post Atlantean epoch or in the fifth large earth period. This fifth epoch has in a way strongly separated men from the world of the gods. Atlantean men still felt that they were permeated by God; they felt that they were like a covering for the godhead, and not like individual human beings. Atlantean men felt that the godhead existed, but not individual human beings.
The main thing that our epoch is for is to make men independent and to separate him from the godhead, and this has been happening slowly and gradually for four cultural periods. It was happening slowly in the ancient Indian cultural epoch, and one could still see the after effects of this in the Ephesian mysteries. During, the ancient Indian cultural age men felt that they were still almost entirely embedded in the godhead. They separated themselves from it considerably during the ancient Persian period. They were relatively independent in the third, so that they already felt death approaching from a distance. Death was felt to such an extent during the Græco-Roman cultural period that it gave rise to that well known saying, “It's better to be a beggar in the upper world than a king in the realm of the shades.”
Now that we're gradually supposed to have death beside us as a companion in the fifth post Atlantean cultural age, as I said yesterday, we will need moral strength in order to bear this continual presence of death. In the immediate present and in the age where the consciousness soul and the accompaniment by death are beginning for us, it is important that this coincides with the time of Michael's reign — a reign that signifies an end in a certain sense and a kind of an attainment of perfection; or decadence and perfection at the same time.
At the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, Michael, who lived in the sun and who was the most important servant of the Christ spirit in the sun, experienced this event from the other side.
Humanity on earth experienced the Mystery of Golgotha in such a way that it saw the Christ approaching, whereas Michael and his hosts, who were still in the sun at that time experienced it in such a way that they had to say farewell to the Christ.
One must let the two poles of this event which surpassed everything else which was happening in the cosmos work upon one's soul, — the hosanna on earth when Christ arrived there, and his departure from Michael's hosts up above, for they belong together.
But Michael has undergone a great metamorphosis in our age, and the beginning of his reign signifies a following of Christ down to the earth, and in the future it will signify a walking before Christ's deeds upon earth. And then one will begin to understand again what “Michael walks before the Lord” means.
In the Old Testament the initiates of Asia said that Michael went before Jehova, just as a man's face precedes him as his foremost part; for there was a Michael reign before Oriphiel's. They spoke of Michael as the countenance of Jehova. We must learn to speak of Michael as the countenance of Christ, but we're in a different age now. Certain things must attain the greatest perfection; we must, as it were, learn to make things productive which couldn't be productive before.
Let's take the seven churches. If we assign one of them which we can do to the period which went parallel with the Christ event and the beginnings of Christianity, which was still underway when the Apocalypse was being written — if we take this first time period, it is represented by the church in Ephesus. And then we see that the people in this Ephesian community were the ones whose first love united them with Christianity around the time the Apocalypse was written and also afterwards. All of this should be understood out of the secret of numbers.
After this we find the age of Anael, who draws his forces from Venus. We find the great deeds of love which spread Christianity during this age, countless deeds of love, namely those deeds of love which live in the footsteps of the Irish monks as they spread Christianity in Europe. And we find that love is also the predominant thing in the rest of Christian life during this reign of Anael.
The reign of Zachariel follows; he draws his forces from Jupiter, mainly forces of wisdom, but forces which could be but little understood during this age. Instead of a real Jupiter reign, the reign of the archangels began to retire more into the background at this time. In a way humanity no longer reached up to the region of Jupiter, and they denied the Jupiter spirit. The significant eighth Council of Constantinople, which took away a great deal from the evolution of humanity and which eliminated the trichotomy, took place during this period.
Then comes the age in which events occur that are more or less ignored in outer history. After the age of Zachariel is over, humanity's soul is basically sick. Humanity is very sick, and pathogenic substances spread from east to west. Terrible pathogenic substances exist which are dangerous to Christianity, because the period of Jupiter wisdom has ended. These pathogenic substances came from materialism, for it was this which pressed into Christianity, and it thereby took hold of the whole Christian culture.
However, something strange stands behind all of what is only present on earth as a projection. The age of Raphael, the doctor among the archangels, stands behind the sick things which were left behind from the age of Zachariel. This was the age which began in the 10th and 11th centuries, where things were healed behind the scenes not in an outwardly manifest way but mostly within. Namely, much was healed in connection with the rescue of certain moral qualities which were on the verge of being ruined; a great deal was healed in this way. But in contrast to the pathological substances which were brought to Europe by Mohammedanism, something was summoned which was permeated by the Christian principle and which had to come from the Orient in a different form. One must become aware of the great will impulse which was behind the crusades. One of the causes of the crusades was the principle to heal mankind, to cure it of the materialism which was threatening it from both. Mohammedanism and Roman Catholicism. And Raphael, the doctor among the archangels, is basically the inspirer of those who prepared mankind, to look for the part of the Orient towards which the crusades were directed. However, the crusades are in the fourth small cycle in the fourth post Atlantean age which was almost over. Here we are in the fourth smaller cycle in the fourth larger one which is the fourth Græco-Roman age. But this fourth, larger period was the one which was chosen to include the Mystery of Golgotha. The fourth, smaller cycle or Raphael cycle is closely connected with the basic structure, of the fourth, larger one. For we see how Raphael the archangel implements Christ's impulses as he inspires people to go on the crusades and to look fervently towards the Orient in order to find Christ's mystery there, and we see that a kind of spiritual atmosphere floats above the ground and above all the events. The people who could look behind the scenes at all at the time were really only separated by a thin spider's web from a directly adjacent world, just as we were only separated from it by a spider's web in the last third of the 19th century, when Michael became visibly active on earth.
Joachim of Floris, Alanus ab Insulis and other outstanding spirits in the Raphael age could see this activity of Raphael and this healing of humanity which was going on behind the scenes. This was the background for the age of pathogenic spiritual materials, which is confirmed by the fact that people began to really understand Luke's gospel of healing in this age. Thus if one looks at periods from a numerical point of view, one finds important things which can help one to interpret events.
This was followed by the Samael age, which gets its main impulses from Mars. Quarrelsome forces arise and mankind is inoculated with them. Five becomes opposed to four. This is the strange thing in transitions from four to five, that the five always becomes opposed to the four. If we go back to the ancient mysteries, where pupils or adepts were initiated into the secrets of numbers for a long time, we find that after a while pupils left their classes with a deep conviction which they formulated as follows: Now I know that five is the number which represents evil.
According to the secret of numbers, wherever five is at work in the universe, one has to do with the evil sphere; it opposes four and this gives rise to great decisions which enable one to go up to six in either a good or an evil way. Tomorrow we will dis cuss the extent to which this leads to concrete things, such as to the wisdom of the heart and of the human soul. I wanted to show you how one becomes able to describe events if one lets one's thoughts be guided by the thread of numbers.