Easter in relation to “The Mysteries” of Goethe, the Initiation of Tobit,
the Mysteries of Ireland and the Tabula Smaragdina.
Our themes for the three days of our Easter Festival (1992 – editor) start with The Easter Mystery Poem of Goethe called “The Mysteries”. We will then take up the story of Tobit, move to the secret of Ireland (part2) and then consider the Tabula Smaragdina (Part3).
As we open the Easter Festival with “The Mysteries” of Goethe, we come to a hallowed and holy ground. We are introduced to the initiation of Christian Rosencreutz as it appeared to the soul of Goethe. He placed this initiation of 1450 into the 18th century in the form of a poem, in a somewhat incomplete form. In the poem, we are told how Brother Mark is led to the initiation process, into the sphere of the twelve with the thirteenth. We are introduced to a cosmic process with the twelve. The twelve with the thirteenth is an image of the heavens with the sun in the middle. The same can be said of the Christ with the twelve Apostles. Thus we are introduced to the initiation of Christian Rosencreutz. Through initiation he became a member of the cosmic order of hierarchical workings. He was introduced to the hierarchies. This is the story of an initiation. Initiation, as a process, has to become our theme in order to link Tobit, Ireland and the Tableau Smaragdina one to another.
As we turn to the initiation of Tobit, we look to a time in world history. The time is the mid-seven hundreds BC. This is the millennium of Solomon, the temple builder. The millennium of Solomon was preceded by the millennium of Moses. This, in turn, was preceded by the millennium of Abraham, the initiator of a peoples.
As best as I can tell, Tobit was born somewhere in the region of Galilee – in the city of Nephthali – of the tribe of Nephthali. He was known as a God-fearing man – a man faithful to Jahve. He had the struggle to maintain something of the purity of the blood line of the Jew. He had to struggle with the impulse of the Ball – (heathen) as had Elijah-Naboth in the preceding millennia. The struggle with the impulse of the Ball is the struggle with heathenistic, with polytheistic impulses. Tobit strove to remain true to the monotheistic impulse of Jehova. In the process, he was known as a pious, devout man. It appeared that he was a kind of merchant. He was abducted by a king – King Enemessar. He was taken to the city of Nineve on the Tigris River. There it is told that he cared for those who had been killed or died, his brethren Jew. He buried them. He was in favor with the king of Nineve. Therefore he could bury the dead. Otherwise the dead were left, exposed to rot unconsumed by the earth. Tobit thus was a God fearing man, who had a sense for the relation of man to the earth. The earth received the remains – God’s earth.
It is told how Tobit then went to bury the dead. He did so at night, and it is said that he fell asleep at the wall with his eyes open. A bird in passing made droppings which then touched the eyes and produced blindness. A way in which one can look at this event is to say that he is an individual who cared for the human organization, realized that it had come from the earth and had to be given back to the earth. He had a sense about the roll of the earth in relationship to man. He was a true Adam-man, he had a true Jehova-man sense. With this he had a certain clairvoyance. His clairvoyance permitted a relationship with the elementality of the earth. However, he had to be able to give up the clairvoyance in his initiation. He gives up clairvoyance through illness. His initiation is through experiencing illness, undergoing illness. I would look at the droppings of the bird – the excreta of the bird where liquid urine and solid fecal material are mixed. In the bird there is not yet a division between the forming of urine and feces. Urine formation is a mirror process of mineral formation in earth evolution. In the bird there is not a separation of urine from fecal material. Fecal formation is a mirror of earth evolution when the plant kingdom was formed. In the bird, mineral and plant process are mixed. The bird carries a kind of old moon or early earth process. Luciferic impulses are active here. The blindness that follows I would see as an inflammatory Luciferic process – a karmic initiation event related to the burying of the dead and his relation to animalness. His own astral working leads him to this initiation – to this set of circumstances.
Tobit is a married man who has a son. He becomes blind and then sends his son to collect his monies in Media. The son is to seek the monies (talents – inheritance) in Media. The son has to travel East. This initiation is related to the activities of human movement – standing, walking, gesturing and traveling. In addition, there is movement related to economics. Here money is called talents. Here an aspect of the human being is being unfolded in relation to the economic process. The economic process is a mobile one. The surface of the earth is involved – traveling, shipping, carrying, flow, etc. Talents, abilities, material events are involved with the economic processes. The hereditary element to be found in the talents (monies and abilities) is passed on in the world in the form of activities related to the economic processes. Here the inheritance is not of that which is genetic, but is connected with what happens in relationship to the earth, its products and human values. So we are dealing with an initiation which has to do with heredity, but also with earth substantiality. In the economic process, man begins to move and the earth, as well, becomes moving – mercurial in its products. Economic activity is related to the fluid. The healing of illness is also related to the mercurial – the Staff of Mercury (a symbol of initiation). The economic activity in the life of Tobit – to me speaks of the working of Raphael-Mercury – his illness and healing, as well.
Tobit’s son, Tobias, is sent to fetch the talents or the inheritance. Tobit has grown blind and wants the monies for his wife. Tobias is to go to pick up the talents, but also to meet a spouse, Sara. If we look at this book of Tobit as an account of initiation, we can consider the unfolding of the soul of Tobit as expressed in the being of Sara. Tobias, his son, is his own spirit. His soul and spirit move east to return west with talents which have unfolded in relation to the earth. The economic activity is a reflection of this unfolding – initiation. The unfolding of Tobit through Sara, as soul, and Tobias, as spirit, can remind us of the Isis Osiris Mysteries of Egypt. Isis and Osiris unite to become husband and wife, to give birth to Horus. Sara and Tobias are to give birth to a family, to a child. This I would see as an expression of the evolution of the higher nature of Tobit. The two-fold higher nature of Tobit unites. In the language of initiation, male and female unite. Here male and female are at the same time brother and sister. In meeting and uniting, they gave birth to a third – to the spiritual entelechy – the higher nature of man – the individuality.
We are told that Tobias is to go to Media, accompanied by a protector and guide. The guide is an archangel unperceived by either Tobit or Tobias. Tobias comes to the River Tigris and there is threatened to be consumed by a fish. He comes into the domain of the waters in which lives the fish. In these waters, the constellation of Pisces is active. Tobias is to enter into this domain – the ether world, so that he can then find the healing substances and processes that are needed for the future. The healing substances have to be found to heal the blindness of Tobit and the possession of his future wife. Sara is possessed by an evil spirit – by a demon. It is Raphael that guides Tobias through the waters, guides him in the etheric world through the astral world of the fish – the animal – to the working of the constellation of Pisces which is the fish impulse from the domain of the spirit. In the upper ether world, which can heal the lower astral world, there lie the forces of healing – forces of Adam Cadman – Sun-Man is encountered. Raphael leads the way. The healing substances can be produced. Tobias is instructed by Raphael to take the liver, the gall and the heart of the fish in order to make remedies from these.
On this whole journey, Tobias and his accompanier, Raphael, have an animal element accompanying them, that is, the dog. We are not introduced to a dove, nor a lamb. We are not introduced to one of the archetypal animals, that is the lion, the bull or the eagle. It is a dog that accompanies this initiation. What can we make of this? Here I think we can look to the Egyptian Mysteries. There the initiation secret of the three, Isis-Osiris-Horus, was directed from the dog star, Sirius. The dog star was, at that time, important in the unfolding of the higher human being in the Osiris-Isis Mystery. Here lives an impulse for the birth of the individual. Man has to move towards and be accompanied by the dog-star.
Though Tobias has a strong connection with the blood of Abraham, with the underlying impulse of Jehova, Tobias is to lead from this blood line, guided by group soul, over into the element of individuation. We can say that something of the Naboth-Elijah impulse, which leads to John and to Baptism, is also present here in the initiation of Tobit. The dog-star, the Sirius impulse, is important for the emergence of the individual in initiation, a baptismal event. It appears to me that here an initiation takes place in the sign of the Fish. The sun mystery is in ascendancy and at the same time the impulse of the dog star, the cosmic impulse of individuation, is awakening in mankind. Group soulness of man is to pass over into individuality. This is something that Tobit, with Tobias-Sara, has to give to mankind as a true and God-fearing, devout Jew. Tobit is to enact an initiation as a human being. In the initiation of Tobit, we do not hear of great Bodhisattvas or lofty angelic hosts. Rather we are introduced to the Archangel Raphael who is the principal actor in this drama, when looked at from the point of view of the angel world.
We are told that after Tobias removed the liver, gall and heart from the fish, he then goes to the home of Sara. Sara, as noted, is possessed by a demon. She has been married seven times. This demon, Asmodeus, has managed to kill her seven husbands. Seven men have been killed by the demon possessing Sara. I think it would be well to contrast these seven husbands with the seven daughters of Jethro. As we know, Moses came from Egypt into Media to the Mystery Center where the priest, Jethro, was active. Jethro had seven daughters. They can be likened to or used to point to the seven planetary genie. Moses has to meet these seven. Rudolf Steiner has indicated that these seven appear later as the seven beings of the liberal arts of the Middle Ages. Moses has to meet with these cosmic beings and marry one, unite with one. He can enter the heights of cosmic existence in this fashion. In the thunder and lightening of Mt. Sinai, he meets the heights. In the burning bush, he is introduced to the depths. Something of the group-soul of the Jew leads him to the region of these seven beings who give a liberating impulse to mankind through Moses. Moses unites with one of the seven and as a cosmic soul-being he then can pursue his further initiation on earth. The seven daughters point to the soulness of Moses in his initiation, at least so I understand it. In the case of Sara, we have the soulness that has to unite with the spirit, a seven-fold spirit – the seven suitors. However, the time is not yet ripe. It is not possible for the male element of the human being, the spirit, to be seven-folded. The Christ event has not yet occurred. The single uniting element of the seven, the eighth, has first to be acquired in order that the seven-foldness can come into existence. It is, therefore, that the seven husbands, the seven spirits of Sara, die. They die. They are killed by the elemental demonic makeup of Sara. Sara, carried by the blood, by the elements inherent in the declining blood line, has to be healed. New activities of heart and liver (feeling and will) have to unfold in order to marry the eighth – unite with the eighth.
There is a secret to eight. Eight leads us to the eighth sphere – the mystery of Michael – of the Moon. The eighth sphere, I gather, is actually the etheric sphere between the Moon and the Earth. In this sphere, there exists not only the terrible problems with evil, but also the work of ascending good spirits and the former teachers of mankind. The seven-folded element of the Moon, the seven wisdom elements of the old moon can be acquired by uniting with this sphere that unites the Moon with the earth. Earth and Moon have to be kept together etherically in order that the true individuality of man can unfold so that the future is assured in the reuniting of earth and moon. The being of Tobias, the spirit of Tobias is one that can unite with the soul being that comes into the ether sphere of the Moon and the Earth. Tobias is not then destroyed by the demonic element of the Fall, the illness of the Fall which can kill and take human souls into the subearthly sphere of evolution. In the subearthly, man is killed – is taken out of evolution. We must note that initiation is a responsibility to evolution.
Tobias weds Sara after making incense of fish liver and heart. Physical substances are used, though animal in origin. This is not a healing through spirit. Substance is used – healing substance prepared under the direction of Raphael. After the wedding, Raphael accompanies Tobias on his journey (note the movement) back to his father – returning from east to west. On the return home, Raphael instructs Tobias how to take the gall and rub it into the eyes of his father upon first meeting him. Thereby the blindness will be healed. Tobias follows Raphael’s instruction and Tobit can then see again and in a new way. There are various descriptions of the length of his blindness. One description speaks of seven years – this is the length I would choose as it depicts changes in metabolism. Tobit goes through a seven year initiation, not a seven day initiation as Christian Rosencreutz does in the future. The process is a much more strung out for Tobit. This is a mighty undertaking for mankind. Tobit is healed after seven years. The veil falls from his eyes. He becomes able to see the Archangel Raphael. He can, as well, speak with the Archangel. He is able to have intercourse with this Archangel.
The capacity to be a waking, moving, speaking, thoughtful individual and to be able to perceive an archangel in the light of day is what is to occur in our fifth post-Atlantean epoch, our own epoch. Our epoch is the epoch of the consciousness soul. I know of only one significant individual who has thus far accomplished this, Rudolf Steiner. He has described Archangels working in his lectures on The Four Seasons and the Archangels. Tobit, 2500 years ago, out of the blood line, created by Jehova through Abraham, Elijah and Moses, enacts an initiation with Raphael so that today we can come to this experience, not out of the blood. Man’s ability to cognize Archangels in imagination has to have a foundation before the Mystery of Golgatha. Archangel activity in relation to the blood-line must have an archetype to be transformed by the Mystery of Golgatha.
In this way, the Tobias legend can be connected with the healing of man. We can also think of Tobit’s work with the burial of the dead as a healing of the earth. Tobit more than twenty-five hundred years ago, anticipated a type of consciousness, a type of seeing that we seek today. We, as modern strivers on an initiation path, seek the light of the eye of a Tobit – now not out of a blood line, but as independent human beings.
Let us now look at the gall bladder and the eye. It is a very interesting relation to contemplate. First we have to settle or again consider the illness of the eye. I would suggest that the eye illness was either a keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea or an iritis – an inflammatory process of the iris. A third possible illness is of a hardening of the lens, a cataract. The cornea, iris (a part) and lens embryologically come from the skin, from the outside of man. The remainder comes from within – from the brain. I will consider that it is the outer portion of the eye that is affected. This portion has to be healed – changed. I would venture that the inner portion of the eye has also to be changed, but this occurs through the healing of Sarah – the actual soul of Tobit. Tobit in undergoing initiation has to come to metabolic changes of the liver and heart as well. Let us therefore combine Sarah and Tobit for this contemplation.
Let us first turn to Sara. She is possessed. I would suggest her liver is not functioning properly. Because of her liver, her soul is exposed to the elementality of the Fall. The being that indwells her soul is a Luciferic fallen elemental being who slays individuation of spirit. Because of the malfunction of the liver – metabolic disturbance – the impulse to destroy individuality is lead to the heart. Out of the heart flows murderous deeds. The malfunctioning liver and the murderous heart on being exposed to therapeutic incense – incense from the hand of Raphael – are healed. The inner organ processes of Tobit reflected in the soul make up of Sara, is healed. The organs connected with movement, liver and heart, are healed. The trader, the merchant, the initiate is healed. The inner part of the eye is involved with the heart and liver.
In this healing, I am inclined to see a healing that goes back to the pre-earthly deeds of Christ. Rudolf Steiner tells how in the pre-earthly deeds of the Christ, through the Christ being uniting with the life processes of Adam-Cadmon in the form of an archangel, man became able and was permitted to stand erect, to move, to speak and then to think. The process is to permit the human body to come into the soul domain. The soul can then receive the spirit. It seems to me that this healing in the initiation of Tobit mirrors these pre-earthly deeds. We might contemplate Raphael as the archangel active in the pre-earthly deeds. Tobit, in becoming blind, no longer travels or trades. He, in a way, falls to earth. He once more has to be raised – resurrected for movement, inner activity and conversing with archangels. I take it that the healing of Tobit is enacted, on the initiation path, in the scene of the healing of Sara. Sara, as higher soul activity of Tobit, is to unite with Tobias, the son of Tobit. The higher union – the marriage of Sara and Tobias – is to lead to child birth, the higher ego. This is then, I take it, the secret of Raphaelic healing of the blood line so that the blood line in man, as purified, can lay a foundation for what is to occur in the future, 2500 years ahead. This is the one side of the initiation of Tobit. He has to permit something to unfold in a period 2500 years ahead. This is the initiation of Tobit.
Now let us turn to the gall and the eye. The eye can actually be seen in relationship to the liver as well as the gall. The line of thought has been developed by Rudolf Steiner. He tells how the liver in man actually has been lifted into the sphere of the watery where it is transformed into the brain. The metabolic processes of the brain are higher liver activities. This lifting of the liver into the brain can be carried further into the eye. In the eye, the liver process is pushed back, compressed to form the retina of the eye. Retinal metabolism is liver-brain process. We can image the cerebro-spinal fluid in the vitreous humour of the eye. On the other hand, Rudolf Steiner also speaks of the liver as an eye in the abdomen. Now just as the gall bladder is pushed into the liver, so the cornea, iris and lens are pushed into the eye. We can think of the gall pigments and the color of the iris. The gall bladder accumulates bile. The bile and gall-fats can be crystallized into stones. By and large, the astral body which forms the crystals is active generally to eliminate the bile. Astral forces are freed as substance is eliminated – movement becomes possible with elimination. By and large, the gall bladder is an etheric organ which sucks in the bile pigments and fats. As evacuation takes place, a posterior movement of the bowel begins so that forward movement – standing and walking – can take place. This process, when lifted to the eye, forms the cornea, lens and iris pigments, but there is no excretion. The astral is free for seeing – mainly in the ether world like a fish in water. This astral movement in the ether world like a fish in water is what is brought to Tobit. His healing permits imaginative-vision in the course of normal daily activity – standing, walking, speaking and thinking.
This healing of the senses again points back to pre-earthly events – pre-earthly deeds of Christ. We are told by Rudolf Steiner how the senses, the life processes and soul-life of man have to be healed. Christ working through Archangelic activities into the life ether of Adam Cadmon heals man’s senses, life activities and soul. These deeds permitted the senses to become selfless to the outer world and to the spirit in the outer world. The healing of the blindness, I think, points back to these events. The four steps of the Christ that unfold man as a sensing, life-filled, soul active being, reappear here. This process, these four healings, amount to a kind of a slaying of the lower makeup of man. The St. George-Michaelic imagination is valid and is presented to us here. In Rudolf Steiner’s lecture concerning the redemption of the senses in the lecture where he addresses this activity, he in fact, also speaks of Michael – St. George. The four pre-earthly deeds of Christ, which have to do with walking, speaking and thinking, I sense, as indicated is more connected with Raphael. Two Archangels work together and for man.
In this initiation, we can contemplate both Raphael and Michael as active. Raphael as healer gives to Michael what is needed to overcome the lower in man. Raphael works as healer with Michael so that the impulse of the cosmos can enter man, can enter through the senses, effect life and enter the soul as well. Cosmic ego has to unite with the human ego. It seems to me that this is a wonderful expression of the working together of these two archangelic beings. They work together for the healing of man, for the healing of the fall. The healing is done in the light of the fish, the time of the fish, the time of the Christ. The healing is done so that another step can be taken in mankind. Something of the individuation of mankind is laid as a possibility through this initiation. This is not the complex initiation of the Jesus with the Christ. This is an initiation of a man who out of the impulse and the line of the blood, makes a step for mankind so that mankind at a later date can take up the impulse of the consciousness-soul, to be able to walk with the angels.
Important is that this initiation ends with the future. The New Jerusalem is pointed to. The future, the coming of the New Jerusalem which is the culmination of the Jewish destiny. Here something of the Christian future is anticipated, the cosmic ego of man. All of this has to stream to the future and that future is expressed as the New Jerusalem, an etheric-physical condition of the earth and mankind. I would like to suggest that this points to our next consideration – the Isle of Ireland. We will take this up next.