On The Way To Threefolding At The Fellowship Community

This is a second step in the contemplations concerning threefolding of the human social process. With the first step, a general background was attempted. A biographical approach was taken. This was done in order to point to the threefolding of the social process which can arise out of man’s experience from nature. Many in the Anthroposophical Movement do not take the path through nature as the point of departure for the threefolding of the social process, rather they turn to the book, Riddles of the Soul or the book, The Threefold Commonwealth. These two texts take a very strong point of departure in the nature of the human soul or the life of the worker. Before taking up the path through nature, as the point of departure, Rudolf Steiner’s own path was briefly presented in order to take up the threefolding of the human organism out of his own particular path. The threefolding of the human organism in relation to his biography differs from that which is given in the Riddles of the Soul. With the autobiography, Rudolf Steiner indicates his path as he strove for the various means of gaining knowledge of the inorganic, the organic, the soul and the spirit. From all that can be seen it appears that Rudolf Steiner’s discovery of the threefold human organism, the nature of the threefold organism, is new in human knowledge and in human cultural evolution.

With the cycle Spiritual Science as a Basis for Social Forms, Rudolf Steiner reveals how man’s relation with nature itself can lay a basis for the threefolding of the social organism. Here the approach is not that of coming to knowledge of nature (The Science of Knowing)-(The Theory of Knowledge), beginning with the domain of labor (The Threefold Commonwealth) or pursuing knowledge of the human soul (Riddles of the Soul), but the path is that of man’s direct relation with nature. It is this cycle that is taken as a direction for sharing from direct biographical experience. The major orientation with the first presentation of threefolding was the direct of experiences that can be had at the hand of nature, without the demand of esoteric or occult knowledges. It is from the aforementioned cycle that the courage surfaced to share personal experiences in relation to the topic that is being struggled with. This direct experience of nature I should like to label as a path through nature.

This personal, biographical approach was taken, so that the subject is not considered from a purely abstract point of departure. The hope by taking this approach is that some more individuals can find a relation with this subject or with this aspect of man’s life on earth. To this day a great number who contemplate the threefold organization of the social body find only thoughts that seem very theoretical. This does not mean that the thoughts presented by Rudolf Steiner are theoretical, but many experience them as such, particularly when the social organism is addressed. To this day the threefold social organism has appeared as a great theoretical edifice in the field of anthroposophical knowledge, even if the threefolding of the human organism has become a more frequently contemplated subject.

Another approach to the threefolding of the social process can be discovered by taking up the initiations of Christian Rosenkreutz. The initiations of this mighty human being are for many a hidden chapter in man’s social strivings. However, it is crucial for our considerations as we go on. Some individuals even doubt the very existence of Christian Rosenkreutz. One of the present Rosicrucian Orders considers Paracelsus to have been the true incarnation of Christian Rosenkreutz. Rudolf Steiner from his spiritual scientific researches gave significant indications concerning this individuality in his two lectures in Neuchatel, in 1912. These lectures are extremely important for anyone who seriously takes up this subject from a more esoteric point of view.

In addition to the Neuchatel lectures, there are a number of lecture cycles by Rudolf Steiner dealing with spiritual science in the light of the Rosicrucian world view. Paul Regenstreif has given quite a complete review of what Rudolf Steiner had to say about Christian Rosenkreutz and the Rosicrucian stream. For those who wish to contemplate the Anthroposophical Movement in relation to the Rosicrucian stream, the cycle which Rudolf Steiner gave after the Christmas Foundation meeting is extremely important. The cycle is entitled Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation. With this cycle Rudolf Steiner gives his own encounter with significant individuals in the Rosicrucian stream, before the advent of the Anthroposophical Movement on earth. There he gives the lives of a number of individualities who worked within this stream. A number of anthroposophists who have followed up this cycle hold that some of those individualities who were being discussed by Rudolf Steiner were some of the individuals sitting in the audience at the time of the lecture cycle. Among those present in the audience were Ernst Lehrs, Zeylman’s van Emmichoven, and Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, all of whom later came to be associated with this particular stream.

Something can be said about the second initiation of Christian Rosenkreutz, which has come to the world in the form of The Chymical Wedding. This “wedding”, this initiation which is a union, a wedding of the lower with the higher in man, was written down by Valentin Andreae early in the seventeenth century. The initiation was given through the earthly person of Andreae some centuries after the actual initiation which took place during the week beginning on Easter Saturday of 1459. The Chymical Wedding can be considered to be a gift from the spiritual world, through this person Valentin Andreae.

For many years and by many people, the Chymical Wedding appeared to be a play of childish fantasy. Rudolf Steiner wrote an essay on the Wedding in 1918. The essay points to the profound depth of the Chymical Wedding and its significance for our time. The wedding, Rudolf Steiner’s essay and much else has been put together by Paul M. Allen in an extensive anthology “Christian Rosenkreutz”.

To find the path through nature as a basis for social forms in the Chymical Wedding is not so easy, but it is there if it is searched for. The Chymical Wedding places a singular demand on our capacity to form fantasy-images, and this exercise can be used as a part of a spiritual scientific training for those who are so inclined. However, the great import for those of the anthroposophical movement is that this wedding, this initiation of Christian Rosenkreutz, was taken up by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Nine years after reading the wedding, Goethe came forth with his fairy tale The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. Rudolf Steiner, in turn, brought forth another metamorphosis of the Green Snake to bring this initiation even more into modern times. Rudolf Steiner brought the initiation of Christian Rosenkreutz into relation to the anthroposophical movement by way of the Mystery Dramas. In all three of these works, The Chymical Wedding, the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, and the Mystery Dramas, we can find social forms emerging. In all three works, the initiation of Christian Rosenkreutz shines though if it is searched for. In addition, the path through nature plays a role in all three works. Since there are a number of individuals who are not aware of these connections it is shared here as a background for our further considerations of the effort to bring a threefold activity to the Fellowship Community.

A very old debate, a debate which even cost human lives and which runs as a thread through human cultural history, is the one concerned with the Trinity. The question of the trinitary nature of the Godhead, as we can hear again and again from conventional research, is a debate which was so intense that in the early centuries of Christendom lives were lost over the debate. By the ninth century the trinitary nature of the Divine had faded. In addition, at the ninth ecumenical council in 869 the trinitary nature of man was denied. Man became a two-fold being, a being of body and soul, no longer a being of body, soul and spirit. Rudolf Steiner never ceased to point out that it was just this council which laid the basis for the present scientific formulation of man as a purely bodily being by first eliminating the spirit. Few trace the materialism that has taken hold of the make-up of man to the decisions of this council. The result is that all soul-spirit, or psychic-mind activities of man, have come to be viewed as epiphenomena of the human physical organism. For the most part we, in our current civilization, are living this formulation of man’s make-up, even those who claim to have a soul-spiritual view of man in hand. It is for this reason that Rudolf Steiner has given us the threefolding of the organism.

The question that can arise from all of the foregoing contemplations can easily be, why should we even concern ourselves with such apparently intellectual, historical and distant concerns, when social life is so living and immediate? The experiences of social life make the subjects being addressed here turn pale. For the most part, humans today seek the warmth of a social life where their own identity, there own inner life, their own creativity can find a place, and still not feel so alone. The prime answer given for the sake of these considerations is that it is just because of the richness of the soul and the intensity of loneliness that threefolding of the social organism is so important.

It is just human loneliness which identifies one of the most potent, most evident, most universal, and at the same time, the most singular sufferings of our day. Perhaps we can contemplate, for a short moment, that in this loneliness lies one of the most significant unrevealed spirit germs. A way to take up loneliness is to consider it to be a path, a suffering path, that has not been identified as such by many. We can take up this path by turning to the St. John Gospel. An even earlier depiction of loneliness can be found in the Legend of Gilgamesh. However, let us remain with St. John. With the depiction of loneliness in this Gospel, we can fairly directly see that it is related to a path which leads to a higher life, one that is of Christian nature. As we have been continually taking up the Christian path, let us stay with this presentation out of the initiation of this great leader of mankind, John the Baptist, who became an ‘evangel’ through his path. John became a messenger of the angels. If we take loneliness as an fundament of this path, a Christian path, we can consider that it is the life of John (Baptist to Evangelist) which can serve as the archetype for loneliness. If we turn to this life, we come to the path of loneliness depicted as a path into the wilderness in order to make it “straight” or new. The Johannian path is one that is of great loneliness. At this point, we should note that the Rosicrucians called themselves Johannian Christians, and this Rudolf Steiner points to again and again. Those familiar with the life of Rudolf Steiner will see that his was also a singular path of loneliness which few could or can bear. This is pointed to just to try to indicate that the path of man today is one of loneliness, and its archetype is given and served by great spiritual leaders.

What is the goal in this suffering? With tongue in cheek, it could be said to be so that there are thousands of therapeuticians and counselors who seek to allay this great suffering in mankind. It is there for the sake of a rich economic undertaking in our day. Because loneliness is so prevalent, so deep, so painful, it is much talked about, tomes are being written and millions, billions of dollars are flowing to assist those helpless souls who find it almost intolerable to bear this loneliness. Some find the origin of loneliness in fear, the fear of loneliness, of loss, the loss of what one loves. A less well propounded view is that one can look at the human soul to find that loneliness is just the suffering that brings man to his core, to his inmost being. The emerging of individuality can be seen as a healthy fruition of this extensive suffering in our time. The suffering of loneliness, the fear of loneliness, the pain of loneliness might be seen as a deepening, a bringing of a deeper element into the superficiality of our times. From such a vantage point loneliness could be considered from a Christian perspective with a path that can heal. With the suffering, the pain of loneliness, the individuality, the singular, which almost every human being cherishes today, what can be the fruit of this suffering. The manifoldness of soul events, the vastness of human soul life, the depths and the heights of soul life, the potential for evil and good, all this has to be struggled through for the sake of the emerging individuality and is often the struggles of the lonely soul. At the same time, those who speak of a Christian path point to the help that can be given by the spiritual world and in particular, by the Christ. Rudolf Steiner has often pointed to Christian Rosenkreutz, as well as Mani, the Paraclete, as those who serve this impulse in the name of the Christ. One’s coming into the world of the angels then is a healing of this illness, or this suffering in our time.

I would like to suggest, that the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity has been written as a path to unfold great individuation in thinking. This is a path that is suffered by those who take it as a path and not just to exercise one’s thought faculty. The aloneness on this path often shows itself in the gatherings where the solitary thinker comes to share his trials on this path. Often a sense of total aloneness in reaching to heights in the intuition of idea, and endless courage to overcome loneliness to bring ideals to human existence in moral tact, this can often be apprehended.

Now how is it that a threefold social process could or can be of import here? Can the threefolding of the social process ameliorate, help, heal man’s loneliness? Let me try to answer this in the affirmative and develop a line of contemplation. As nature has created three kingdoms, we can consider that man can also become creative of three kingdoms, three aspects of existence. These three creations are the kingdoms, the provinces, the three aspects of a living organism, a social organism. Some have likened the creation of a social organism to the creation of a temple. Temple building is often used to depict this activity. There are a few who point to the Golden Legend with Cain and Abel, to the building of the Temple of Solomon as such an activity. Others speak to the creation of the social organism as the activity of the Masons, where outer, as well as inner creation is important. With the point of departure taken here, it is nature and man’s relation with nature that is the impulse to action.

Two known efforts in the threefolding process are often pointed to. The first is “Fraternity, Equality and Liberty” which emerged with the French Revolution. As a result of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual scientific researches, we can see this impulse as the outcome of the initiation of Christian Rosenkreutz. The second is the threefolding of the governing activities of the United States Government. This latter threefolding has been attributed to the influence of the Masonic Movement in the creation of such a social form. A few have as well pointed to a threefold impulse within in the governing principles of the American Indians. So we can say that with the threefold initiatives of Rudolf Steiner there is not a working into a vacuum, but into an ongoing evolution of social forms in the life of mankind.

With this background in history, we can turn to man today. Today, more than ever before, man comes to his inmost being, to his inner core. The path is one of great loneliness. Needed is that he, man and woman, become creative out of this core. When this can take place, when this is possible, when this is supported, when this is encouraged, when this creation helps to unfold the social organism, then something of the sense of human equality can come to birth in the soul. Something of the loneliness is transformed. And so it is with the other two provinces of social life, that of freedom and of fellowship, of fraternity. As man strives to create these three domains, he can find an expression in the life of his soul. The soul is very highly varied as just stated, and it cannot be taken up in a social process with a single form. The emerging individual with his highly varied soul, with his soul which can slowly be perceived in thinking, feeling and willing, needs an outer receptacle of the life of the soul, and the individual who can come to master it. For the most part, it is a terrifically lonely process to be able to come to these three activities of the soul, and much inner work is required to come to these three which can, in fact, only emerge if there is a certain harmony in the process. Our civilization knows mostly about associational activity instead of true thinking. Much work is needed to surface that conscious act of thinking, which demands a new activity of will. In the process, this activity wants to come to dominate the soul, wants to become sole possessor of the soul. Emoting is today the evidencing of the feeling soul, which all too often overcomes all the realms of soul life. The individual with the most intense emotions often senses that the soul is devoid of feeling, with action in the soul gaining the upper hand, and the depth of true feeling being eliminated. In the case of will, much of human action is reflex. True will is such a mystery, that we can speak of our time as the time of the mystery of the will. The mystery appears to be surfacing in the phenomena of the paralysis of our will. A swimming head or a soul filled with emotions tends to replace the soul-warmed action, the moral deed. He who struggles to birth the soul, a deeper strata of the soul, finds the inner battle to be one that needs continual tending, and in the process the individuation of the effort comes to birth. The individual has to become the master of the harmony of the soul, of thinking, feeling and willing. This struggle, this path, can be called a path of loneliness, and as well, can be seen as grounded in a path through nature. The loneliness increases as each falls prey to a onesidedness of the soul. How is it that each and everyone can find help, help for every man with such events in the evolving soul, in mankind?

I should like to put forward the thesis that it is a threefolded social organism that is needed and can help with the emerging soulness of mankind and the individuation which comes along with it. In order for human beings to find help for the loneliness of the soul, a varied social organism is needed. If not, the potential for individual action in the social fabric can be curtailed, severely curtailed. It would go too far here to document this, but the upheavals in civilization speak to this point. The trials of South Africa, the problems of the poor, the economic difficulties of third-world countries, all speak to this need for creative solutions, where not only nation, not only peoples, but the emerging individuals can find a place on the face of this mighty globe. Control of the mind, control of government, or control of the economic sector, all three are striving to master the evolution of mankind, each one in a one-sided way. The question then comes as to how to meet the human soul which is emerging, where the three provinces come to their onesideness and then need harmonization. How can we work that this same process is present in the larger social fabric, be it in a small group of people, an institution, a v illage, a stale, a nation, or worked with on an international level? Such is the dimension and scope of the social question, so that an effort on a small scale can support what is needed in a large scale. If one takes the magnitude and the dimension of the social problem, it is little wonder that some degree of courage is needed to even consider what is being addressed here. So that if the path is one of loneliness, something of the element of courage needs to come forth as well.

The outer social forms, the social processes which are cultivated for the sake of the emerging individual, the individual in the human soul need tending, need continual creative unfolding. The social lorms that we are trying to consider here are not ones that just surface. The social forms are ones that have been quietly tended over the millennia, and only now are being voiced in an open form. These forms can be seen as arising out of the initiations of great individualities. The evolution of social forms being considered here as well, now point to the need for the human being to take up his own soul. The loneliness of our day points in this direction, so we are considering it here. With this, social forms are not a given, they have to be created. The creative spiritual beings and their activities that brought forth nature with the path of loneliness, on a path through nature, have to be taken into the soul of man, and there a new creation needs to come forth. The creation is the higher creation within nature. The threefold social organism is such a creation. High spiritual beings have to be taken hold of, have to be intuited by man, so that his creation bears a reality as living as the nature given by the Gods. The Gods have created the three kingdoms of nature. Man can strive to create a higher nature within nature. This creation is a kingly creation, that is a social organism which has to be more alive, more ensouled, more grand than the given. Tremendous artistic skill is needed, and that is why the social art has been called the kingly art. (This is why the Chymical Wedding is cast in the form of the marriage of the king and the queen.) All arts are needed and unite to help, that man out of the arts, the old and the new liberating arts, can become socially creative.

In the social life, the emerging individual, as a free-willing being needs to meet with a domain where his free activity can find expression. Needed is a domain of free spiritual life. Our educational activities with schools (colleges and universities) and our cultural activities of a higher type (e.g. mystery dramas), but lower as well (sports, cinema, TV, Broadway shows, etc, etc.) cannot be excluded. The lower cultural life can exist as a challenge to the higher. The soul needs a domain where the free spirit in will can find an echo. This acts like a balm for the lonely soul, where the soul is consciously striving or not. A sense for the expression and manifestation of the free spirit in will, in action, needs tending. At the same time, this freedom in spirit has to have some form of harmonization with other spheres of human social life. The national debates on TV, the struggle of what constitutes art, the role of industry in the creative domain, all of these debates and struggles can have been taking place without a perception from whence they come. Thus the harmonization is difficult, and at the same time, the domain for moral judgment is difficult to find.

As the human feeling comes to evolve and to separate from the mixed soul life, the mixed king of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, the outer social organism could be seen as having a task to fulfill. The sense of intimacy, the loving relation of one with another, needs to be found in the outer societal circumstance. The area where this could be found, but this is not happening, is in the domain of economic life. Why do those who work together talk shop? It is because they have formed a bond, want to share this, and at times it can happen that those who work together have come to love each other. That souls come to love one another in the work place, in the economic sector, this is like saying the Empire State Building was just turned upside down. Those who have had a rich life in work, in vocation, are filled with the relations of and with one another. The producer lives for the consumer. The distributor lives in the intertwining of the producer and the consumer. What kind of moral life does it take to transform the sense of oneself and one’s goal to find a rich web of destiny in the sphere of economic process. Of course, for most another view of this process can be seen as an empty dream and sheer nonsense. However, let me contend that it is possible to love those with whom one works, those for whom one produces, and carry a love for those that one meets in the round of distribution. One can be a producer of an object, be server of a need, be a creator of something beautiful, and sense love for one’s fellow man, and even live with a feeling of gratitude to one’s fellow man. To be true this is no given, and is not easy to find, but this is a need in the social fabric where, human feelings seek in love for one’s fellow man. Assuredly this is a herculean task, but even the smallest germ of its existence, or its possibility could be considered in creating social forms where man’s feeling life can find a mirror.

Man needs to live in the social economic processes so that his heart can warm as he meets and works with his fellow human being. If this happens we might think that another type of economics might emerge over time.

As we turn to man’s thinking, to his soul life in thought, there then unfolds for the striving soul, for modern man, the need to be able to meet in the social organism, a place where he, as an individual, can speak for his right. Each needs to be able to speak for his singular domain of existence. Something of the “God-given”, the inmost core of the lonely soul, needs a province for existence and expression. The human being can have his will unfold in free deeds. For this a free spiritual life has to exist in the larger social domain. For the human being to blossom in his feelings, he needs fraternal, fellowship experiences. Here a more appropriate economic life is needed. These two social domains support freedom and love for the healing of loneliness. So also the social domain needs to support the human soul, when the inner-most core of the lonely soul has to come to expression and be accepted in rightfulness. A space in the social organism, a working in the social sphere needs to exist, where the lonely soul can speak out of his singular ideas, along with all others. Man needs a right for the core of his existence to become manifest. However, it cannot be done at the expenditure of another or others. Each, has his right as it were, in the face of God. For this the sphere of rights is needed.

If one listens to those engaged in the political process, if one contemplates the debates in legislative bodies, if one participates in the forming of coalitions, one can come to marvel that in the domain of human rights, such singularity can come to expression. Our political scene today has coined the term grid-lock, when each and all can find no common ground out of the multivaried ideas of those who come to speak for a populace that is becoming so individual in their ideas that representation becomes almost impossible. To labor in the domain of human rights, to seek and support the rights of others as well as one’s own, is a terrific challenge to one’s thought capacity to enter into the thoughts of other human beings. Of course, there may not be clear thoughts to deal with human rights, and this is just why the process is so extremely laborious. Today we are able to enter the legislative chambers, the courts, the mediation rooms, the national debates, the international debates, because of newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. To be true, first hand experience in the various chambers of rights debate is of import. Our thinking can be challenged to find those thoughts which can penetrate to such depths that a commonality, can be found which serves a varied world population that gradually becomes more and more individual. The struggle of the emerging individual, the emerging individual with his own and singular thoughts. This can be seen almost daily on the television, even if the television does so little justice to help mankind make the next step in the personalization and the higher personalization of ideas.

Let us look at a little outline so that the above stated considerations might be made more clear. For those who are students of the threefolding process, this line of contemplation is not the usual and represents only one approach. Other approaches and other outlines are possible.

Emerging human soul activities — Activities in the social organism
Free willing — Spiritual domain
Loving feeling — Economic associative life
Active thinking — Human rights
(personal to impersonal)

It can be considered that it is the human individual that weaves and grows in the soul activities, that have to be united. The free human person who strives from person to higher person can find a reflection of the soul in the larger social domain. It then becomes this circumstance that continually asks the creative process of every human being, a kind of free responsibility, to create the “one” out of the “three”. Needed is the social process to mirror the human soul, and at the same time the continual striving for a unity. A unity is needed as a derivative, but not a given, as it is the effort that helps the lonely soul to find a reflection of the inmost core of his being. The effort to help the emerging individual of the human soul might be considered to be a “great work”.

For the sake of completeness and from Rudolf Steiner’s indications, there is yet a deeper strata of creativity. Here it is not with one’s fellow human being that one works for a new social organism, a living organism, but with the elemental beings in the world of nature. This is an even more complex working in the depth of nature. An entire treatise would have to be written to develop this aspect, but a few words can be shared here. In brief, it can be said that man can work with and in nature, not with the kingdoms, but with the elemental beings who live in the kingdoms, as servants, and then another threefolding can be found. In work with these beings, so close to man, so important for nature, man can begin to serve the actual threefolding of the human organism. Those elemental beings, who are freed by man, are carried into the spiritual w orld and accompany man in his journey after death. It is they, working with the departed soul and in conjunction with the beings of the spiritual world, who work to create the archetype for the threefolding of the human organism. This is a work in the loftiest of the ether spheres ol existence and with the highest of angelic beings. A brief comment would be to say that such a work with tiie elementais of existence takes the human soul to the domain of spiritual existence where there shines the Triune Light of God. It goes too far to unfold this aspect of the threefold process, but again, it is just the emerging individual who can and must make a one out of the threefoldness of the Divine world in working out ot the elemental world. It is at such depths that the threefolding and the making into one, the individual, as an all-human being has to work. This I should like to place before the readers as a deeper challenge of nature.

With such contemplations, it may be obvious whv we have not progressed further on this path. The path of loneliness, the path through nature, is not an easy one, and so obviously places many challenges and possible demands. It is up to the responsible, but lonely soul who has to struggle for courage to work at such depths of existence. This is with the provision that such depths are a reality for the lonely soul.


Nature at work on the human soul -leads to threefolding of the soul.
Threefolding of the human soul -leads to threefolding of the social organism.
Elementals at work on the soul -leads to the threefold archetype of the human organism.
Archetype of the organism -permits the uniting of the threefoldnes and a new relation with the Divine as an individual.