Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Vision of Anthroposophia. The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest. Lecture 12 of 18


"Before seeing the birth of Christ as a male being in the Sun in the middle of the Atlantean period, the priests saw a female being in the Sun."

"Mystery priests in pre-Christian times looked up to the Sun when they wanted to be united with Christ. But since the Mystery of Golgotha, Christ has been the Spirit of the Earth. We must now look for Christ the Sun Being in earthly life and in earthly work."

Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, September 16, 1924:

Let us be aware today of the propitious karmic circumstance that brings us together during this period when, two years ago, the first Act of Consecration of Man was celebrated here. The main developments of our spiritual life here have followed a remarkable sequence: the Act of Consecration of Man two years ago, the burning of the Goetheanum, one year after that the laying of the foundation stone of the Anthroposophical Society, and now, after the second year, here we are again, this time to contemplate the Book of Revelation, as was your wish.

As I have been mentioning from the very beginning, there is a close connection between considering the Book of Revelation and what is encompassed by the Act of Consecration of Man, so that every day we spend considering the Book of Revelation is like a memorial celebration of what we made alive among us two years ago in order to bring into this life that which wanted to reveal itself out of the spiritual world as the present-day, modern cultus.

Taking the coincidence of events into account, it is perhaps fitting that today we should call up before us the point in the Book of Revelation that is most difficult of all to understand but which actually leads right into the heart of the Book and which is most intimately connected with the mystery of the Act of Consecration of Man because it is linked objectively with the Being of Christ. One can indeed only speak properly about this in connection with the Book of Revelation, for this Book bears so clearly the fundamental stamp of Christianity that we cannot possibly arrive at anything deviating from a Christian consideration by looking at what is naturally connected with this Revelation. I can assure you that what I shall have to say about the point we want to consider today will emerge in quite an astonishing way from the visions of the apocalyptist.

Since the beginning of the fifteenth century, dear friends, we have been living in the fifth post-Atlantean age, and within this we are at the beginning of the renewed struggle that Michael will have to conduct in everything that will be happening in the near future. From here we look back to the fourth post-Atlantean age, the one that immediately preceded our own.

We know that the fourth post-Atlantean age began around about the year 747 before the Mystery of Golgotha, so that the Mystery of Golgotha took place during that fourth post-Atlantean age. Although not exactly, because it actually occurred more or less during the first half of the fourth post-Atlantean age, one can say that, give or take the displacements that always affect events in world evolution, it can be regarded as having taken place in the middle of that age. So we can make a diagram of our spiritual evolution like this (Plate 4): Here is the fifth post-Atlantean age. It was preceded by the fourth, third, second, and first, right back to the Atlantean catastrophe, which essentially gave the final formation to the surface of our Earth, providing our Earth with—you could say—a new face.

Let us now look at the fourth period, the Atlantean period. It was preceded by what I have often called the Lemurian period of Earth evolution, and before that were those we call the second and the first period of Earth evolution. The three periods leading up to the Atlantean period are recapitulations: the first of the Saturn condition, the second of the Sun condition, and the third of the Moon condition. Not until the fourth, the Atlantean period, does something new come about. The three periods that precede it are repetitions, recapitulations at a higher level.

Plate 4

The fourth, the Atlantean period, represents something new. What occurred during the Atlantean period occurred while the Earth still had forms that were quite different from those that came later. Even in the middle of the Atlantean period the Earth did not have a solid crust of the kind familiar to us now. The geological dating posited for these things today is an illusion. The time when the Earth solidified out of a partially firm, partially fluid consistency lay in the Atlantean period. So the human race was quite different during the Atlantean period, for even in the middle of that period it did not have today’s rigid skeleton. The substance of which human beings were formed in those times was more like that of the lower animals, although their form was most noble. The substance, however, resembled the consistency of the jellyfish; it was soft, with some tendency to form cartilage.

We can state, therefore, that all physical conditions on the Earth have changed since those times, and we now no longer have those radical metamorphoses, those radical transformations, that were still possible in the middle of the Atlantean period. In those times we were able at any moment to metamorphose our shape—which was made of soft material—and grow larger or smaller, adopt this or that form, depending on our inner state of soul. Every stirring of soul immediately impressed itself on our physical body. If someone in the middle of the Atlantean period wanted to take hold of an object that was situated at a distance, his will worked into his jelly-like organs in such a way that they were able to stretch the required distance. So the whole of physical life was different; physical processes followed quite different courses at any given moment. All physical processes, all transformations and metamorphoses, provided a picture of actual spiritual happenings at any moment.

This is no longer the case today. Today we look out and no longer see the spirit working in what happens out there, not even in the course of the seasons. Those rapid transformations that took place in old Atlantis left no room for doubt that this world contained the divine and the spiritual. Although the continent of Atlantis retained its shape in essence, it was nevertheless very mobile, and surrounded in every direction by weaving, viscous fluidity. You could not have called it semi-fluid, but it was viscous and was able to bear the bodies with their still very soft organs and also the plants that were at that time not yet anchored in the Earth; the plants hovered or glided in the soft, mobile substance of the Earth. So physical conditions were quite different then. You could say that sea and land were not yet separate in the way they became later; they still merged into one another. Those who were able to see these things clearly at that time spoke of the ocean—with its even greater capacity for expressing metamorphosis than the solid-fluid land adjacent to it—as being where the gods held sway. The gods were seen to hold sway all around the edge of Atlantis. There were no doubts about those gods who held sway, for spirit and soul were everywhere perceived as clearly as the physical. human beings saw soul and spirit in the physical realm.

A characteristic possessed by the fourth post-Atlantean age was that people then were able to see the gods holding sway in the play of the air, although this was no longer so strong in the centuries leading up to the fifth post-Atlantean age, but in Grecian times it was entirely obvious. In old Atlantis human beings saw the gods hold sway in the solid-fluid element. In the fourth post-Atlantean age the gods were seen to hold sway in the fluid-airy element of the clouds, in the twilight formations and so on. The consciousness people had in the fourth post-Atlantean age was not yet very clear, so there are no descriptions defining this exactly, but nevertheless this is how it was. Surely any unprejudiced observation can only arrive at this interpretation of those wonderful paintings of clouds in early Renaissance pictures, an interpretation that points to the feeling of how something spiritual is born out of them, of how the working of the divine spirit is felt to be in the airy clouds, in the airy-watery being of the air.

Human beings at that time did not turn their attention very much to the physical aspects of cloud formations. They looked for what the clouds would reveal to them. The feeling this gave them was wonderful, but it is difficult to reconstruct it for today’s consciousness. Even as late as the eighth or ninth post-Christian century, when people looked at the morning sky they saw before their soul the clouds shimmering in the dawn light and felt that there was something alive in the aurora, in the pink sky of morning; and the same was felt when the evening twilight came.

We can therefore say: In old Atlantis the spirit was seen physically. After Atlantis came the post-Atlantean period with its seven ages; and the recapitulation of what had happened in Atlantis, the recapitulation of what had happened physically in Atlantis, took place at the soul level in the fourth post-Atlantean age. The mighty upheavals I spoke about, the years AD 333 and 666, which are upheavals at the soul level in human evolution, these correspond to physical upheavals in old Atlantis. When they saw the revelations in the fluid-airy element, the seers of the Greco-Latin age felt that they were seeing in their soul something like a recapitulation of earlier conditions of Earth that had once taken place in the physical realm. They were aware of this, although somewhat dimly, as befitted the consciousness of that time.

Everything that lived in schools like that at Chartres, which I have been mentioning in the anthroposophical lectures, showed in its descriptions that the soul experiences of the Greco-Latin age were a recapitulation in soul of the more dense, physical experiences and events in Atlantis.

We are now in the era of the consciousness soul. Any direct soul experience of what happens in the airy-fluid element is extinguished. But through the kind of catastrophe with which the fifth, the post-Atlantean, period began, the further development of the consciousness soul of humanity is beginning to be prepared. As regards external civilization we are still somewhat bogged down in the chaos of this development of the consciousness soul.

However, the dawn of the Michael age should bring in some vision that will provide order for this chaos.

This vision will be as follows: No longer physically as in Atlantean times, no longer in the soul as in Greco-Latin times, but entirely spiritually, pictures will arise like memories in the human being, pictures that are somewhat like a mirage of thoughts, and this will happen particularly after the appearance of the Etheric Christ. Something like an inner mirage in pictures of a visionary nature will arise in the thoughts of human beings, and in the era of the consciousness soul these pictures will come in full consciousness. Just as the heat in the desert air creates a mirage, so will the human thought be carried in a way that leads to an understanding of what the airy-fiery element, the airy-warmth element, is.

We can put it this way: In Atlantean times the human being perceived the divine in the solid-fluid element, which means more in external, physical matter; in the fourth post-Atlantean age, the Greco-Latin age, the human being perceived the spirit in the wonderful formations of the fluid-airy element; and now, in the fifth post-Atlantean age, when it will be the consciousness soul that does the perceiving, we shall experience how more and more there will appear in our consciousness what is airy-fiery, airy warmth. This will cause what the Greeks experienced in soul, and what the inhabitants of Atlantis experienced in body, to appear to human beings now in mighty spiritual pictures.

So a time is coming in human evolution when visions will appear that are as clear as thoughts, visions about primeval Earth times and about the origin of the human being, and everything connected with these. Darwin’s view that attributed a lowly ancestry to the human being based entirely on a single line of reasoning will be superseded by inner visions, by the development of wonderful Imaginations that will arise out of inner human warmth linked with the breathing process, like vivid, colored visionary thoughts full of meaning. The human being will know what he once was through seeing something like a reflection of the Greco-Latin age, and then back beyond that of what was there in Atlantis.

You see, dear friends: This seeing concerns us very directly, for it will begin to happen in the next age of humanity. Because this seeing is so close to us we find ourselves looking into the heart of the apocalyptist. The seeing that is about to begin is what he describes in the picture of the woman clothed with the Sun with the dragon beneath her feet, and giving birth to a male child. (Rev. 12:1)

Through what is expressed in this picture many individuals will indeed become seers still in the course of this twentieth century. Much rays forth from this picture that will bring understanding to human beings. First of all it shines back into the Greco-Latin age, where at the soul level an understanding was prepared for the shape of this picture as it will appear in the near future. It has taken on all kinds of shapes: Isis with the child Horus, the mother of Christ with the Christ child; especially in the Greco-Latin age these things lived with wonderful profundity in many metamorphoses that are still preserved in tradition.

In the near future, human beings will look back to the kind of seeing that people had in the fourth post-Atlantean age when they saw this picture in the clouds, in the airy-fluid element. Looking back even further they will see what lived in the physical processes of Atlantis. This image of the woman clothed with the Sun giving birth to a male child, and having the dragon beneath her feet, will be seen as though through a kind of spiritual telescope, a kind of ocular pointing toward a long-distant past in which the earthly, physical element was linked with the supra-earthly, cosmic element. In those times there was a far more intimate contact between the Earth and the world of the planets and the world of the Sun.

As we know, during the period of Earth evolution when the ancient Saturn condition was being recapitulated there were many characteristics of Saturn in earthly existence, although in a denser form. During the second period of Earth evolution, which brought with it the recapitulation of the Old Sun condition, the Sun, which had still been bound to the Earth during Saturn, separated out from the Earth, and with it went all the beings belonging to the Sun. In the third period of Earth evolution, the Lemurian period, the Moon, too, departed from the Earth, so that this triad of Earth, Sun, and Moon became the reality for the subsequent Earth period. You can see in my book Occult Science how the planets came to be added as well. It is also necessary to look at all the processes I have described in connection with the return of human souls during the Atlantean period. These are Earth processes seen from the earthly perspective.

There is also something else we should add. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, dear friends, initiates who have understood cosmic secrets have regarded Christ as a Sun Being who was connected with the Sun prior to the Mystery of Golgotha. Mystery priests in pre-Christian times looked up to the Sun when they wanted to be united with Christ. But since the Mystery of Golgotha, Christ has been the Spirit of the Earth. We must now look for Christ the Sun Being in earthly life and in earthly work, whereas those who wanted to see and have communion with him prior to the Mystery of Golgotha had to raise themselves up to the Sun.

This Sun Spirit, who is rightly regarded as male in the way he came to the Earth—and there have indeed also been similar events in earlier ages, which I have often mentioned—is brilliantly described in the apocalyptist’s vision, that profound vision which appears with an immediacy almost tangible in the middle of the Atlantean period and stands there as a shining physical appearance.

After that moment in time the wise scholars of the Mysteries saw, when they looked up to the Sun, how Christ was developing and maturing there, up to the point when he became capable of going through the Mystery of Golgotha. What they saw when they looked toward that point in evolution during Atlantean times was a birth taking place out there in the cosmos inside the Sun.

Before seeing the birth of Christ as a male being in the Sun in the middle of the Atlantean period, the priests saw a female being in the Sun.

The important change that took place in the middle of the Atlantean period is that before the middle of that period the cosmic female was seen in the spiritual aura of the Sun: ‘the woman clothed with the Sun.’ Putting it this way corresponds exactly with what happened in the supra-earthly world, in the heavens: ‘The woman clothed with the Sun giving birth to a male child’. The apocalyptist rightly calls him a male child; and this is the same being who later went through the Mystery of Golgotha and who had earlier gone through other forms of existence.

What took place during that Atlantean period was a kind of birth, which was actually a complicated kind of metamorphosis. One saw how the Sun gave birth to what was male in it, to what was of the nature of a son.

But what does this mean for the Earth? In the middle of the Atlantean period there was of course quite a different feeling about what a Sun existence is. Nowadays the Sun is regarded as a conglomeration of craters and fiery masses; what today’s physicists describe is an abomination. But in those times the initiates saw what I have just described. They really saw the woman clothed with the Sun, with the dragon beneath her feet, and giving birth to a male child. Those who saw and understood such a thing said: For the heavens that is the birth of Christ; for us it is the birth of our ‘I’. They said this although the ‘I’ only entered into the human being much later.

Since that moment in the middle of Atlantis, evolution has meant that human beings have become ever more aware of their ‘I’. They were of course not as aware of it as we are today, but in a more elementary way they became ever more aware of it when the priests of the Mysteries showed them: The Sun kindles the ‘I’ in the human being. Through the birth shown by the apocalyptist in that picture, the ‘I’ was continuously kindled from the outside through the way the Sun worked, right up to the fourth post-Atlantean age, when the ‘I’ finally fully entered the human being. The human being, it was felt, belonged to the Sun. This was a feeling that entered deeply into human nature.

Having become such weaklings in our soul life today, we cannot imagine how the soul experiences of human beings surged and stormed in bygone ages. As a result of receiving the ‘I’ out of the cosmos, human beings on the Earth felt that everything in their earlier nature had become transformed. Earlier they had been dependent on their astral body, on what lived in the astral, and this worked in the soul-spirit in such a way that human beings in those times saw this picture: Here (Plate 4, left) is the human being, and above him is the Sun; the ‘I’ has not yet arrived, and what works down from the Sun is astral. The human being carried in him the astral body, which came from the Sun, the astral body that is not as yet governed by the ‘I’ and so still has animal-like, though more refined, emotions.

But now he is an entirely different human being: he has become ‘I’, whereas what bubbled through him earlier was the astral body. All this came from the Sun.

Let us now imagine something that I shall draw like a diagram (Plate 4, bottom left): Here is a picture of the Sun in oldest Atlantean times, filled with living, shining light bubbling and moving in the lower half of the Sun being; out of this, something is born in the upper part; the hint of a face was sensed here. Down below in the being of the Sun the human being felt the origin of all the emotions surging in his own astral body, but also of everything that gave him his soul and his spirit being.

The next phase, showing how the Sun was seen later, would have been like this (Plate 4, bottom middle): emerging more clearly, its face becoming more defined, and assuming the form of a woman. You see—not clearly yet—what is to be brought to the human being as the result of the ‘I’ taking charge. The space down below, writhing like an animal, grows smaller and smaller until finally the moment comes when the woman is in the Sun and gives birth to the male child; and beneath the feet of the woman is that which was formerly here (Plate 4); the woman in the Sun, giving birth to the ‘I’, showing the image of how the dragon may be controlled—the astral world of the earlier period that is now beneath her feet.

There in the Sun, at that time, the struggle began between Michael and the dragon. The consequence of this was—and it was perfectly apparent physically—that all things in the Sun gradually moved toward the earth and became earthly ingredients, earthly content, which ruled the human being in his unconscious while into his consciousness the ‘I’ entered more and more.

What took place cosmically in this way in the Atlantean period found its mythological counter-image in the Greco-Latin age. In the next age immediately following ours, human beings will be able to experience retrospectively the earlier picture of Isis with the Horus child that then became the picture of the Virgin with the Jesus child. Human beings will see in this picture the woman clothed with the Sun, and the dragon beneath her feet, the dragon that was thrown down to the earth by Michael that can no longer be found in the heavens.

This picture, which will change, will appear at the time when the dragon will be unbound and when what I described yesterday will come about. It is a fact that humanity will be experiencing a deepened vision of Earth’s primeval times and of the origins of humanity, and at the same time also an etheric vision of the Christ-Being, for during the age of Michael those events will occur which the apocalyptist hints at when he speaks of Michael throwing the dragon creature down to the Earth, where it works within the nature of the human being. Michael, however, will concern himself with that in human nature which he has thrown down as the dragon creature.

Dear friends, let us try to imagine vividly what this means. Let us look once again into the Atlantean period. The apocalyptist does so in advance of us. He has the vision of the woman clothed with the Sun, giving birth to the Jesus boy and having the dragon beneath her feet. This picture grows weaker and weaker as Atlantean times advance. At the end of the Atlantean period the new continents rise up out of the ocean, the continents that contain the forces through which human beings have fallen into the various errors of the post-Atlantean period. Out of the ocean rises the Beast with the seven heads (Rev. 13:1), and sevenfold land rises up out of the ocean, dragging down the human being through the vapors that arise spiritually from the Earth out of the human being’s emotions.

The apocalyptist also sees the Atlantean catastrophe in the form of this seven-headed Beast rising up out of the ocean, and this will reappear in the future when what he is indicating will occur again in the Michael age. The apocalyptist is speaking of entirely real happenings which are very much our concern with regard to the spiritual life of humanity. The content of this picture in particular is connected with the Being of Christ.

We are approaching an age when we shall once again see how the spirit lives in the earthly realm; we shall see how the spiritual processes at work in the Transubstantiation will once again be able to appear before the souls of human beings. Especially in the Transubstantiation there will appear the earthly reflection of what has taken place in heavenly regions in such a way that what has happened since the middle of the Atlantean period is but a small section of everything that is connected with the Being of Christ. Then one will understand how a metamorphosis such as that taking place in the Transubstantiation becomes possible when one regards what is today physical and chemical as merely an episode, and when one relates the Transubstantiation to something entirely other than what is seemingly material.

In this way let us deepen our commemoration of the first Act of Consecration of Man two years ago; this commemoration of what truly descended from heaven, shone down from heaven from the Atlantean period; this commemoration of what appeared in the clouds of the Greco-Latin age; of the Christ who walks on Earth and is grasped by human beings in their visions, of Christ who walks on the Earth etherically in our time and can be grasped by human beings in Imaginations, in visions. The Christ is present in the Transubstantiation and he will be more and more present to human beings.

The processes I have described today comprise the paths through which the Christ gradually entered into the happenings of Earth evolution.

Let us take this in as a kind of festive inner picture in memory of the first Act of Consecration of Man celebrated in the Goetheanum two years ago.


The Revelation of John: September 30, A.D. 395


From the notes of a listener to an Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner on March 5, 1911:

Two sayings are given to pupils in Rosicrucian schools to support them in their meditations: Beware of drowning in your esoteric striving. Beware of burning in the fire of your own ego.
There's an outer and an inner way to strive towards the spiritual.
Everything around us is like a veil, like a cover before the spiritual that we must punch through to get to the spiritual behind it. But in which direction? This cover surrounds us on all sides: above, below, front, back, right, and left. And inwardly, everything that we experience as joy, pain, etc., is like a veil, like fog that conceals the spiritual in us, and this spiritual is the same one that we find when we break through the outer cover.
So that mankind can evolve further and get into the spiritual there are always men from time to time who are more advanced than is permitted by the momentary stage of human development, and who have things to tell us about states of human evolution that reach far into the future. Such advanced beings must exist to lead men further. John, the writer of the Apocalypse, was such a man. When he wanted to write a revelation of the future, he told himself: If I write this book out of the whole surroundings in which I'm living here and now, it'll be influenced by the self that's in my body, since I'm connected with everything around and in me. I must free myself from all of this. He had to place himself on something like a rock that served him as a firm support, on which he didn't wobble and wasn't influenced by anything that surged around and in him. And he moved himself to the evening of September 30, 395 A.D., to the island of Patmos, as the Sun had already disappeared under the horizon, though its effect could still be felt, and as the Moon and stars appeared. The Virgin constellation was there in the western sky, irradiated by the last gleam of the Sun that had set, with the Moon under it. This picture is reproduced in one of the seals — the Virgin with the radiating Sun, and the Moon under her feet. Thus, all of these seals were produced out of deep mystical connections.
John broke through the cover that surrounds us in this one direction — that of Virgo. There are 12 of these signs. Seven of them are good — the ones reproduced in the seals; the other five are more or less dangerous. Just as John chose this particular point in time and space to become completely separated from himself and all temporal things around him, so a Rosicrucian pupil must acquire a firm foundation in himself. The best way to do this is to let theosophical teachings work on us. Our astral body and thereby our etheric body become expanded by listening to theosophical ideas. This is the effect on anyone who hears anything about theosophy But the effect on those who are inclined toward theosophy is different than on those who aren't. The former feel the etheric body's expansion and fill it up with theosophical teachings, by accepting them. The other feel an emptiness in their etheric body through its expansion because they don't accept these ideas and so don't fill the expansion. Then doubt and skepticism arise through this emptiness. Whereas with the first men, it's like a pouring of oneself into the universe, which they can't let go too far, for they'll get a feeling of hollowness, of not feeling at home in these widths of space, like a fish that's taken out of water and can't live in air, because its organs haven't adapted themselves to this changed element. When a theosophist devotes himself to the teachings and his astral body expands evermore, he loses himself in this unfamiliar element One must avoid drowning here. And this is possible if one studies theosophy seriously, takes it in, elaborates it, and grasps it with feeling, not just with thinking and will, but permeates it completely with feeling. One can only do this with great earnestness. One must gain a firm support within oneself — like John when he wanted to write the Apocalypse and he transported himself to the island of Patmos at sundown of Sept. 30, 395.
The configuration of the Sun, Virgo, and Moon on that evening can be checked astronomically, and this was done. From this materialistic science draws the conclusion: Therefore the Apocalypse was written at that time. And then we're told that science has ascertained this. That's the way science ascertains things.
On the inner path one finds all the joys and sorrows, pains and blissfulness that live in us. But all of this is attached to our lower, perishable ego This whole desire world surrounds us like a fog that covers the spiritual for us. It keeps us from seeing and noticing the spiritual. We must break through it to get to the spiritual. There are forces that approach an esoteric pupil to make this fog even denser. The fog gets even denser if we don't resist it. We must burn it to avoid burning in the fire of our passions. If we don't overcome this fog, if we don't resist its becoming ever denser through Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces, we're prisoners, as occultists say. There actually are men today who are born with great capacities and reach certain stages very quickly, but are then completely wrapped up in such a fog by the adversarial powers that they can't get out. One calls this occult imprisonment.
Our desire world consists entirely of egoism. And we can only overcome this egoism in deep humility. Which thought can lead us to an overcoming of egoism? The thought that we already spoke about yesterday in the exoteric lecture, the thought that we killed Christ. We're murderers, yes, that's what we are. We can transform this fact, but only if we let Paul's words live and become truth in us, “Not I, but Christ in me.” We shouldn't kill the divine in us through egoism, through our life of desires, etc., we should let Christ live in us. We should begin to carry out this easy and yet so difficult thing in us with shivering earnestness.
We arose from the divine: Ex Deo nascimur. We should take all suffering upon us willingly and patiently with the thought that we killed Christ; we should devote ourselves to him completely and die in him: In Christo morimur. Then we'll be reborn, reawakened through the Holy Spirit: Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus. This verse sounds different exoterically than esoterically, but the difference is in only one word that's left out in the esoteric version. As we leave this word out and don't speak this word in shy reverence for what this word expresses, our feeling goes out to what is left unspoken in shy reverence.

Ex Deo nascimur
In … morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.

This tells us that man arose from the spiritual; that he was originally contained in the spirit:

In the spirit lay the germ of my body.
And the spirit has imprinted in my body
The eyes of sense,
That through them I may see
The lights of bodies.
And the spirit has imprinted in my body
Reason and sensation
And feeling and will,
That through them I may perceive bodies
And act upon them.
In the spirit lay the germ of my body.

In my body lies the germ of the spirit.
And I will incorporate into my spirit
The supersensible eyes
That through them I may behold the light of spirits.
And I will imprint in my spirit
Wisdom and power and love,
So that through me the spirits may act
And I become a self-conscious organ
Of their deeds.
In my body lies the germ of the spirit.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ave Eva! ~ The 10 Aristotelian Categories as the stages of embryonic development during the 10 lunar months of human gestation [from Sophia to Anthropos-Sophia]


The Reunion of the Soul and the Body
"The Reunion of the Soul and the Body" by William Blake

Diagram 1

Know Yourself

Esoteric Easter. Lecture 4 of 4.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, April 22, 1924:

We have seen that out of the Mysteries grew something that made man aware of being related to the world in a way that can be expressed in the annual festivals; and in particular we have learned that Easter is an outgrowth of the principle of initiation. From all that has been set forth it will have become evident what a significant role the Mysteries played in the entire evolution of humanity. Really everything of a spiritual nature that has permeated the world and developed through mankind originated in the old Mysteries. In modern terms we could say that the Mysteries were all-powerful in guiding the spiritual life.
Now, it was intended from the beginning that mankind should develop freedom; and to this end it was necessary for the old Mystery system to recede and for humanity to be less closely linked, for a time, with the powerful guidance that proceeded from the Mysteries, to be cast more upon its own resources, as it were. We certainly cannot assert today that the time has arrived in which men have achieved their true inner freedom and are ready to pass over into the next phase of evolution that is to follow upon that of freedom. This is not the case. Still, many have already passed through a number of incarnations in which the power of the Mysteries was less strongly felt than formerly; and though the seeds of these incarnations have not yet sprouted, they are nevertheless potentially present in the souls of men. And with the coming of a more spiritual age they will develop what they have not developed in their present dimness of vision. Above all things, however, it will be necessary that the wisdom, the vision, the experience of the spiritual such as can be attained by modern initiation be met with esteem, with reverence; and this must be offered out of man's freedom. Without esteem and reverence, true enlightenment and a spiritual life of humanity is really not possible.
Surely we make the right use of festivals if with their help we try to implant in our souls this esteem, this reverence, for things spiritual as they have evolved during the course of human history; if we try to learn how to observe in the most intimate way possible the spiritual significance of outer events, to understand how these carry spiritual meaning from one age over into another. For the time being men keep returning to Earth in repeating incarnations, thus carrying over their experiences of earlier epochs into later ones. Human beings are the most important factor in the further development of all that takes place within the history of mankind. But men of all periods live in a definite environment, and clearly, one of the most significant environments was that of the Mysteries. A most important factor in the progress of humanity is the carrying over of what has been experienced in the Mysteries and re-experienced, be it again through the medium of Mysteries, whence it acts upon mankind, or by other means of enlightenment. Today it must be the latter, for the true Mystery system has withdrawn from the present outer world and is to reappear only in the future.
If the impulse that went forth from here, from the Goetheanum, at the time of the Christmas Meeting really takes root in the Anthroposophical Society, it is certain that by leading to ever deeper insight the Anthroposophical Society will be the foundation for the Mysteries of the future. These new Mysteries must be consciously nurtured by the Anthroposophical Society. We recall an event that can be utilized in our development as once a similar one was used: the burning of the temple of Ephesus. Both were the result of a grave wrong; yet on different planes things have different meanings, and it is possible for a frightful iniquity, as it appears on one plane, to be employed on another for the advancement of human freedom — in the sense that precisely such horrible events can bring about a real advance in human progress.
But as I have already said, such matters must be grasped through their inner meaning if they are to be approached understandingly. One must enter into the particular manner in which the spiritual element of the world pervaded the Mysteries. Yesterday I pointed out how the establishment of the annual Easter festival grew out of a spiritual conception of the constellation of Sun and Moon, and that from the Moon viewpoint the other planets were observed. And I said further that according to what is learned by observing the other planets, the human being, in descending from the pre-earthly to the earthly existence, is guided in forming his light-ether body.
If we would observe and rightly understand how this light-ether body, these ether forces, are transmitted to us by the Moon forces, Moon observations — by what I might call the spiritual Moon observatory — this can be done as we have just endeavored to do it: by turning to the cosmos, where it is all inscribed and exists as a fact. But it is important to ponder in our souls the human element as well, the part it plays in the different epochs as a factor of these truths.
As a matter of fact, never did the souls of men take part so intimately, so fervently, in this last phase of the descent to Earth — the enveloping in an etheric body — as in the Mysteries of Ephesus. There the whole service of the Goddess of Ephesus, exoterically called Artemis, was directed toward co-experiencing the spiritual weaving life within the cosmic ether. When members of the Ephesian Mystery approached the image of the goddess, the feeling this gave them may be said to have become intensified to hearing; and what they heard, as though the goddess were speaking, was something as follows: "I rejoice in all that bears fruit in the wide expanse of cosmic ether." — A deep impression was created by this expression of intense joy on the part of the goddess of the temple, her joy in all that grows, sprouts, and burgeons in the world-ether; and an ardent feeling of close relationship with blossoming and flowering was in particular something that permeated the spiritual atmosphere of the Ephesian sanctuary as with a magic breath.
Nowhere else was the growth of the plant life, the drive of the Earth forces into the plants, co-experienced so intensely as in the Mystery of Ephesus, for the entire training here tended to that end. And this led to the next step: it was here that instruction was given, if I may so call it, specially intended to induce in the minds of members a feeling for the Moon secret, of which I spoke yesterday. It was everyone's own experience to feel himself as a light-being, because the act of receiving his light-form from the Moon was made so alive for the neophytes and initiates.
A part of the ritual ran something as follows — and one who could take part in it was actually transported into that act of forming himself out of the sunlight that circles around the Moon: as though proceeding from the Sun, there came to him the sound J O A.*
* Translator's Note: — For readers not familiar with German it must be explained that j is pronounced like our y in “yet” — in other words, like an excessively short German i. For this reason it is not too strange that one often encounters J for I (but only in capitals), and the above is a case in point. Indeed, there is no choice here but to use it, as the same letter must serve as a pure vowel in J O A and later as a modified vowel in Jehova. — The letters J O A must be pronounced Ee Oh Ah, and Jehova that appears later, Yay-hoh-vah.

He knew that this J O A activated his ego, his astral body. J O (ego, astral body) and A (the approach of the light-ether body), joining in J O A. Then, with the J O A vibrating in him, he felt himself to be composed of ego, astral body, and etheric body.
And then it seemed as though he heard sounding up to him from the Earth — for he had been transported into the cosmos — something that saturated the J O A: eh v.  Jeh Ov A  What rose up to him in the eh v were the Earth forces.
Now he realized that in this Jeh Ov A he felt the complete human being. The premonition of the physical body, which he acquired only on Earth, he felt intimated in the consonants complementing the vowels that in the J O A indicate the ego, the astral body, and the etheric body. — This becoming one with the Jeh Ov A was what enabled the disciple of Ephesus to sense in their full significance the last steps of the descent from the spiritual world.
But in feeling the import of this J O A the neophyte at the same time felt himself to be the sound J O A in the light. Then he was a human being: resonant ego, resonant astral body, in a shimmering light-ether body. He was sound in light. That is the nature of cosmic man; and in this state the initiate was able to grasp what he saw in the cosmos, just as on Earth he could perceive through his eyes what occurs in the physical environment of the Earth. When the neophyte of Ephesus bore this J O A within him he really felt transported into the Moon sphere, and he took part in all that could be observed from the point of view of the Moon.
Diagram 1

In this condition the human being was man in general, in the sense that the differentiation between man and woman did not enter until the descent to Earth occurred. Man felt himself transported into this pre-earthly existence, the region immediately preceding his approach to the terrestrial. The Ephesian disciples were able to achieve this ascent to the Moon sphere in a particularly intimate way; and henceforth they carried in their heart, in their soul, what they had experienced there. It sounded for them something as follows:

World-engendered being, thou art shaped in light,
By the Sun empowered in the Moon's full might;

Mars' creating chiming, power to thee is bringing,
And Mercury, moving limbs in oscillation swinging;

Jupiter's radiant wisdom is on thee gleaming,
And Venus' love-bearing beauty is on thee beaming;

So that Saturn's world-aged spirit-inwardness
Doth to space's being and to ages now aborning consecrate thee.*

* Translation by Henry B. Monges.

another translation:

Offspring of all the Worlds! Thou Form of Light,
Firm framéd by the Sun, with Luna's might,

Endow'd with sounding Mars' life-stirring song,
And swift-wing'd Mercury's motion in thy limbs,

Illum'd with royal Jupiter's all-wisdom
And grace-bestowing Venus' loveliness —

That ghostly Saturn's ancient memoried devoutness
Unto the world of Space and Time thee hallow!
the original German:

Weltentsprossenes Wesen, du in Lichtgestalt,
Von der Sonne erkraftet in der Mondgewalt,

Dich beschenket des Mars erschaffendes Klingen
Und Merkurs gliedbewegendes Schwingen,

Dich erleuchtet Jupiters erstrahlende Weisheit
Und der Venus liebetragende Schönheit,

Dass Saturns weltenalte Geist-Innigkeit
Dich dem Raumessein und Zeitenwerden weihe!

That expresses what permeated every Ephesian, and he counted it the most important of all that pulsed through his being. When a participant in the Ephesian Mysteries heard these words ringing in his ears, as it were, there was something about them that made him feel himself completely as a human being; for through them he became aware of the relation between the forces of his etheric body and the planetary system. This came to forceful expression. The cosmos speaks to the etheric body:

World-engendered being, thou art shaped in light,
By the Sun empowered in the Moon's full might.

Now the human being feels himself to be in the power of the moonlight.

Mars' creating chiming, power to thee is bringing.

The chiming, endowed with creative force, sounds across from Mars.

And what gave strength to man's limbs, endowing him with the power of movement:

And Mercury, moving limbs in oscillation swinging.

From Jupiter there rays across:

Jupiter's radiant wisdom is on thee gleaming.

And from Venus:

And Venus' love-bearing beauty ...

In order that then Saturn may gather up all that rounds off the human being within and without, prepare him to descend to Earth and there to clothe himself in a physical garb; and then further enable this physically garbed being, who bears the god within him, to live on the Earth:

So that Saturn's world-aged spirit-inwardness
Doth to space's being
And to ages now aborning
Consecrate thee.

From what I have described you can readily see that the spiritual life in Ephesus was colorful and aglow with inner light. Epitomized in the thought of Easter, it comprised really everything that had ever been known about man's true dignity in the cosmos, in the whole universe. And many of the wanderers I mentioned yesterday — those who went from one Mystery to another in order to benefit by the totality of the Mysteries — many of these have repeatedly assured us that nowhere else as in Ephesus — at least, not so joyously — did they perceive so intimately and brightly the harmony of the spheres through that Moon point of view, where the radiant astral light of the world shone on them, where they sensed it in the spiritual sunlight flooding the Moon: in other Mysteries the saturation of man's soul and spirit with astral light was not felt with such an intense, inner artistic grasp.
All this was associated with the temple that went up in flames by the hand of a criminal or a lunatic. But as I mentioned during the Christmas Conference, initiates of the Ephesian Mysteries were re-embodied in Aristotle and Alexander; and these personalities came close to what was still capable of being sensed, in their time, of the Mysteries of Samothrace.
Now, what appears to be an outwardly fortuitous event can be of great spiritual significance in world evolution. Among ourselves it has frequently been mentioned for years that the Temple of Ephesus was burned at the hour in which Alexander the Great was born. But as this temple burned, something significant occurred.
What untold experiences had come to the dwellers in that temple through the centuries! What a wealth of spiritual light and wisdom had suffused its halls! And while the flames lept up from the Temple of Ephesus, all that wisdom was imparted to the cosmic ether, so that we may say: the perpetually recurring Easter festival of Ephesus that had been locked in the temple halls was henceforth inscribed in the dome of the universe, in so far as this is etheric, though in less legible letters.
That is often the way things work out: much human wisdom that in olden times had been enclosed within temple walls was released, was inscribed in the world-ether, and there at once becomes visible to one who ascends to real imagination. And this imagination is the interpreter, as it were, of the secret of the stars: what once was secret within the temples has been inscribed in the world-ether, and there it can be read by means of imagination.
We can put it another way, but it means the same. I go out into the starlit night, contemplate the firmament and throw myself open to it. Then, if I have the right capacity, the forms of the constellations and the movements of the planets are transmuted as into vast cosmic script. And if I read this script, something emerges like that which I explained yesterday in referring to the Moon secret. When the stars no longer remain merely something to be mathematically and mechanically computed, but become the alphabet of cosmic script, these things can indeed be read there.
But I should like to develop the matter further. When Alexander and Aristotle approached the Kabirian secrets in Samothrace at a time when the old Mysteries were already on the decline, [Samothrace still existed as a memorial and also as a sanctuary for work, but in the main the Mystery schools had declined in the time of Alexander] something occurred to them at that moment through the influence of the Kabirian Mysteries like a memory of the old Ephesian time, which both had passed through in a certain century. And once more there resounded the J O A, and again they heard intoned:
World-engendered being, thou art shaped in light,
By the Sun empowered in the Moon's full might;

Mars' creating chiming, power to thee is bringing,
And Mercury, moving limbs in oscillation swinging;

Jupiter's radiant wisdom is on thee gleaming,
And Venus' love-bearing beauty is on thee beaming;

So that Saturn's world-aged spirit-inwardness
Doth to space's being and to ages now aborning consecrate thee.

But in this memory, this historical recollection of something ancient, there resided a certain power, the power to create something new. And from that moment there streamed forth this power to create something new — but it was something strange and little observed by mankind. For you must really first understand the nature of this creative power that went forth from the collaboration of Alexander and Aristotle.
Take any notable poem or other work of art — it can be a most beautiful one, such as the Bhagavad Gita or Goethe's Faust or his Iphigenia — anything you value very highly — and reflect on its rich and mighty content — let us say, on the content of Goethe's Faust. Now, by what means, my dear friends, is this rich content transmitted to you? Let us assume that it is transmitted in the ordinary way, as it is to most people. At some time during your life you read Faust. What did you encounter on the physical plane — on the paper? Nothing but combinations of a b c and so forth. The means by which the mighty content of Faust is disclosed to us consists only of combinations of the letters of the alphabet. If you know the alphabet, the paper contains nothing that does not correspond with one of the twenty-odd letters. Something is conjured up out of these twenty-odd letters — if you know how to read — that evokes for you the whole glorious substance of Faust. You may find it excessively tiresome to recite the alphabet, and you may consider it as abstract as anything could well be; yet rightly combined, this superlative abstraction gives us the whole of Faust.
Now, when there was heard again the cosmic resounding from the Moon that disclosed to Aristotle and Alexander what the blaze of Ephesus signified, how that fire had carried the secret of Ephesus out into the world-ether, there came to Aristotle the inspiration to found the cosmic script. This, however, is not achieved by means of the alphabet, but rather through thoughts, as book writing is made up of letters. And so the letters of the cosmic script came into being. — When I write them down for you they are just as abstract as the alphabet:

Quantity (amount)Position
Quality (attribute)Having

There you have a number of concepts. They originated when Aristotle laid them before Alexander. Learn to accomplish with these concepts what you do with the alphabet, and you will have learned to read in the cosmos by means of Being, Quantity, Quality, Relationship, Space, Time, Position, Having, Doing, Suffering.
In our age of abstractions something peculiar happened to logic, as it is taught in the schools. Imagine a custom existing in some school to teach — not reading, but, for instance, to provide books from which the pupils had to keep learning the letters in all conceivable combinations, but never arriving at using them for envisioning the wealth of the contents: that would be the same as what the world has done to Aristotle's Logic. In the books on logic are listed his categories — that's what people call them. People memorize them, but have no idea what to do with them. It is exactly like memorizing the alphabet without knowing how to apply it.
Reading the cosmic records bases on something just as simple as extracting the content of Faust by means of the alphabet — it must merely be learned. And fundamentally, all that anthroposophy has ever brought forth or ever will has been experienced by means of these concepts, just as what is read in Faust is experienced through the letters. For all the secrets of the physical and the spiritual world are comprised in these simple concepts that are the cosmic alphabet.
Something intervened in Earth evolution at the time of Alexander that stands in contrast with the direct perception so characteristic of Ephesus. It did not develop till later, especially during the Middle Ages; and it is deeply hidden, profoundly esoteric. Profoundly esoteric is the meaning that dwells in those ten simple concepts; and actually we are learning more and more to live in them. But we must keep striving to experience them as livingly in our soul as we do the alphabet when a wealth of spiritual substance is in question.
Thus you see how something that for thousands of years had been a mighty instinctive revelation of wisdom flowed into ten concepts, whose inner power and light, however, remain to be re-disclosed. And when man will have learned again to read in the cosmos, when he will experience the resurrection of what has lain buried as though in a grave during this interlude in human evolution between the two spiritual ages, then it will come about at some future time that the world wisdom, the light of the world, will be found again. It is our task, my dear friends, to bring to light again what is hidden. We must make of Easter an experience for all humanity. And just as it could be said on other occasions that anthroposophy is a Christmas experience, so it is in its whole manifestation an Easter experience, a resurrection experience coupled with an experience of the grave. And it is especially important during this Easter gathering that we should feel, if I may so express it, the solemnity of anthroposophic striving by realizing that today we can turn to a spiritual Being Who may be close to us, directly beyond the threshold, and appeal to Him thus: Oh, how blessed was mankind at one time with divine-spiritual revelation that still shone so very bright in Ephesus! But now all that is buried. How can I uncover what is so deeply buried? — for one would like to believe that what once existed might in some historical way be found again in the grave where it lies.
Then the Being will reply to us, as did once before a like being in a similar case: What you seek is no longer here. It is in your heart, if only you will unlock your heart in the right way.
Anthroposophy is indeed latent in the hearts of men, but it is for these human hearts to open in the right way. That is what we must deeply feel. Then we will be led back — not instinctively, as of old, but in full awareness — to the wisdom that lived and shone in the Mysteries.
All this I would like to implant in your hearts, my dear friends, at this Easter time; for to permeate yourself with something that can enkindle a feeling of solemnity in every heart dedicated to anthroposophy, that is something which carries up into the spiritual world and which must be correlated with the Christmas impulse given at Dornach. For this impulse must not remain a thought-out, intellectualistic one, but must spring from the heart; it must not be formal or matter-of-fact, nor must it be sentimental: it must issue from the cause itself and bear the mark of solemnity. When the conflagration at Ephesus blazed up, first in the outer ether and then in the heart of Aristotle, it revealed anew to Aristotle the secrets that could then be epitomized in the simplest terms; and we may say in all modesty that, just as he was able to use the fire of Ephesus to this end, so it is our task — and we shall fulfill it — to use what the flames of the Goetheanum carried into the ether: the aims and purpose of anthroposophy.
What do we gather from all this, my dear friends? That at the memorial service in the Christmas-New Year time, the time in which the disaster struck us a year before, it was vouchsafed us to send forth a new impulse from the Goetheanum. How could this be? Because we are right in feeling that what had previously been a cause pertaining to this Earth, worked for and established as such, was carried by the flames out into cosmic space. Because this misfortune has come to us we are, recognizing its consequences, justified in saying: Now we understand that we may no longer represent a mere Earth cause, but must know it as one of wide etheric space in which the spirit lives: the cause represented by the Goetheanum is a cause of the cosmic ether in which lives the spirit-filled wisdom of the world. It has been carried out into the ether; and it is granted us to permeate ourselves with the Goetheanum impulses flowing in from the cosmos.
Take this in any sense — as an image, if you like: even as an image it signifies a profound truth, a truth that can be simply expressed: the Christmas impulse calls for the permeation of anthroposophical activity with an esoteric element. This is present because what had been earthly now reacts on the impulses of the anthroposophical movement through the astral light in the physical fire that rayed forth into cosmic space; but we must be able to receive these impulses.
Then, if we are able to receive them, we feel a certain important link in the chain of all that lives in anthroposophy: it is the anthroposophical Easter spirit, which can never in the world believe that the spirit perishes, but rather that it arises ever and again after dying through the world; and anthroposophy must hold fast to the spirit resurrected again and again out of eternal depths.
That is what we will take into our hearts as the Easter thought, the Easter feeling; and from this gathering we shall carry away feelings, my dear friends, that will fill us with courage and strength for work when we return to our allotted spheres.