The Life of Rudolf Steiner in Relation to Religion.
We began our death day memorial for Rudolf Steiner some eighteen years ago. We began with his last year in life, 1925, and have progressed backwards year after year. We are now about to embark on his memorial again, now devoted to the year 1907.
If we look at Rudolf Steiner’s life as a whole, we can see certain periods that unfolded one after another, but they can be seen flowing into one another as well. Rudolf Steiner gave indications to look at his life in seven year periods. A number have done this, as we did here during the Holy Nights of 1991. For this memorial, however, I will try to give a little different time sequence.
Let us begin with 1861, the year of his birth. If we encompass the time period from birth to the end of the century, nearly forty years, we can make this one time period. We might call this Rudolf Steiner’s scientific period. He worked and wrote to come to an appreciation of science, but also to lay a foundation for other forms of science than were present at that time. He wanted to be able to move from a science of the nonliving to one of the living, to that of the soul and then a science of the spirit. His epistemological works fall into this period. He came to be known as a scholar, and his contemporaries came to view him as a guiding light in the field of the sciences. There was great hope that he could make a significant contribution to the science of the day. He tried, but brought perspectives which not many could appreciate.
With the close of this period, we do not find Rudolf Steiner moving into academia, quite to the contrary. Rather he began to teach in a workman’s school. He left academia behind. He taught in the workman school until he was asked to leave. The content of his instruction was quite out of line with the union leaders. These leaders were Socialists. This episode of teaching the workmen took place as the nineteenth century came to a close.
Rudolf Steiner has indicated that as his teaching experiences were coming to a close, just at that time he came to the experience of the Mystery of Golgotha, as a solemn act in the process of coming to knowledge. That is, his path of knowing led him to experience the Crucifixion in the process of acquiring knowledge. From this we can easily surmise that this is a rather profound knowledge process, as most of us learn and acquire knowledge without an experience of the Crucifixion. This, of course, is a much deeper experience of knowing than is commonly spoken to. It was during this time that he came close to being penniless, even if he before had never had much in the way of monies. As many know, he often managed his livelihood by tutoring. He was in a way first and foremost an educator, a pedagogue. What he came to know he tended always to share, and this laid the basis for his next step in life.
He was recognized as a teacher by Marie von Sivers who later became his wife, his second wife. He had become estranged from his first wife, and almost nothing is known of this relationship. Many would love to know more about this relationship but nothing has ever surfaced, and whatever I have been able to learn was that, even in estrangement, Rudolf Steiner kept a good relation with this first wife. At least the daughters of the first wife respected Rudolf Steiner deeply, and at no time has adverse criticism come from them. This I bring as so many in our day like to look at the personal, which Rudolf Steiner here kept out of the limelight for very definite reason. The reason being that his opponents would have tried to make hay with his personal life. With his mighty responsibilities to the world, this had to be guarded carefully. We can consider from Rudolf Steiner’s own words that he was sent, selected, by the Spiritual World to bring spiritual content to mankind out of the spiritual world, via the path furnished by modern times and out of western culture.
We can contemplate that Rudolf Steiner was one of the most unusual of human beings, who was at home among the spirits of the spiritual world, as we are among our fellow man in this physical world. If we can get to know each other as spirits, then we can begin to have an experience in the social domain of what Rudolf Steiner had in his life and activity in the spiritual world. For us in our day, this is not so easy to grasp as we are not so used to communing on the level of spiritual give and take. It is just this give and take in the spiritual domain that we gather so often here in the Goethe room. Thus we strive to practice with one another what was a kind of habit, a more usual experience that Rudolf Steiner had in relation to the spirits of the spiritual world. It was out of this spiritual domain that he began to share as a teacher, when he was first recognized by Marie von Sivers.
Those to whom he was first able to speak were those who were already active in the Theosophical Society. When Rudolf Steiner took up this work, then, of course, most of his relationships with workers came to a close. What he shared with the Theosophists was a very different content than he had given to the workers. As far as his friends in science and academia was concerned, it is difficult to imagine what they thought, though there are indications that some were stunned. For a possible leading light in the field of science to begin to lecture and teach in the strange world of the then theosophy, this was such a change that could hardly be fathomed. Even today we would be shocked most likely even though the unusual has become a little more usual today. With materialism at its zenith, it was a radical change at that time.
His first and radical lecture to those who began to recognize his capacity was on Giordono Bruno. This set the stage for a life that would progressively show itself to be quite removed to the outer flow of events of the day, as far as pure materialism is concerned. Material science was then still seen as the save all and end all. That there could be a spiritual teaching, that there could be a spiritual world at all, this was new to the view of that day, that is materialism.
From 1900 to 1907 we can find a period where he became progressively involved in bringing a western spiritual teaching, a western spiritual science, to many who were interested in the wisdoms of the past and particularly from the East. The theosophy of that time was the one founded by Helena Blavatsky, who began to bring a new western impulse to ancient hidden knowledges, but was then taken over by eastern Indian impulses. It became the activity within the Theosophical Society to share what was given by the “Masters”. This imparting from another domain in existence today is called channeling, and there is much today about this type of communication from another world through individuals who have a make up for being spoken through. Rudolf Steiner could not go along with this type of spiritual revelation, as it introduced elements of secrecy and mystery, mysticism, that was contrary to his efforts to evolve a science. He however, did share the results of his research, always taking full responsibility for his revelations, and at the same time, standing very independent of any form of tradition, particularly religious and spiritual traditions.
What Rudolf Steiner brought came from his research into the mystery centers of the past, where human souls had in past lives undergone initiation. He was able to do this by developing the capacity to read in the book of life, in the Akasha as it is called in the east. In the beginning he did speak somewhat about masters, but this faded quickly. When he did speak about the Masters, he spoke with reverence, but independent of Master revelations. It was “Master” revelation that formed so much of the content in the Theosophical Movement. He took up the most important aspect of the Theosophical Society, which is that it brought to the west a spiritual impulse which had to fight against the pure and crass materialism. Many of the Masters spoken of from the Theosophical side were known to those involved in eastern esotericism. The two Masters that Rudolf Steiner spoke of in relation to western esotericism are the Master Jesus and Christian Rosenkreutz.
The revelations that came from Rudolf Steiner’s researches were not new to mankind in the course of human cultural evolution, but were new in the west and were new in the age of materialism. Anything beyond the crude materialism of the day, was given over to formal religious institutions. Western culture at the turn of the century was barren of almost any form of esotericism. The first to bring an esoteric, an impulse for the occult, was H.P. Blavatsky. Even the formal religious institutions were promulgating materialism, and slowly the leaders of the Theosophical Movement were also bringing a materialism that was given out as a spiritual teaching. The only other bodies, groups of men, who were involved with esoteric life, were those active in brotherhoods. However, here again Rudolf Steiner found no real depth or new impulse for spiritual life. Rudolf Steiner with his researches was active totally independent of societies, brotherhoods and formal religious institutions. He, therefore, was free to speak as he saw fit, and did speak fairly openly to those willing to listen. Notable is that it was the Theosophists who were the first to be willing to listen. Here he became recognized by some as a significant teacher.
It was not so long after he joined the Theosophical Society that he expanded his activity to take in more and more who sought pupilship in spiritual matters. I have found that he did have a few pupils even before the turn of the century, but this activity of working as a spiritual teacher was quite restricted then. Two years after joining the Theosophical Society, he became a teacher within the “Esoteric School”. Thus along with his more public activity in the Theosophical Society, he became active in this esoteric school and began to have more and more pupils. This side of his life is only now beginning to be realized by a wider public.
As time progressed and already in 1907, it was becoming apparent that he was developing another spiritual path, as a teacher in the public and as one who could help private pupils in esoteric matters. Because of his progressively independent ways, he was excluded from the Theosophical Society. However, he was still active within the Theosophical Society in 1907. It was later in the year that he, together with others within the German Section of the Theosophical Society, held a large congress in Munich, where his divergent path became very evident. At this congress the import of art and the existence of a western spiritual path, surfaced without question.
In addition to art and a western spiritual path, he began to introduce the deep significance of the Christ Mystery and the Mystery of Golgotha. All of this direction began to become antithetic to many within the Theosophical Society. Note should be made that he spoke of the Christ in mystery terms so that it could be assured that his was not to be a repetition of the Christian religious institutional activities. By this means he began to alienate a number within these institutions. So his western path, his introduction of art into spiritual life, and his progressively deepening Christic revelations, all created a widening chasm with the larger world, with the conventional religious institutions and the Theosophical Movement as it was evolving. His was a path that was also very independent of the occult brotherhoods, and mainly the Masons. He began to note the progressive anti-semitic element with the Theosophical Movement and rebelled totally when a young Indian boy, Krishnamourti, was proclaimed the reincarnation of the Christ. All of this was underway in 1907, as a germ. Only later did all the differences and struggles which were forming then, come to light.
Rudolf Steiner began this year with lectures on religious subjects, from the Old and New Testament. During the course of the year, he evolved the world congress for Theosophists already noted. There was at this congress the emphasis on art, and the role of the mysteries came to the fore with a performance of Eduard Schure’s drama on Eleusis. The artistic element, also previously noted, was brought to the fore with colorful decorations and with paintings of the occult seals from the St. John Apocalypse. All of this was grounded on the early work of the year on the Old and New Testaments.
One of the purposes of this Memorial for Rudolf Steiner is to lay a foundation for the contemplation of religious life outside the usual religious institutions, where ritual and cult are a fundament. This I should like to do by turning to the lecture given early on in the year. The lecture is entitled-“Prayer”. This lecture can be seen as a step to take what is so well known as the Lord’s Prayer, the central prayer in Christendom, and bring an esoteric approach to this monument in the Christian world. By this means he is bringing an esotericism to the conventional religion of the Christian. It is just this esoteric impulse that I would like to use to take up religious life in a very different form than is current in our day, and was very different when the lecture was held. To do this let me try to share a very brief history of the unfolding of Christianity as a formal religion.
Three giants in history can be mentioned when taking up the subject of so-called Christianity. Of course, the Christ Mystery has not only worked through giants, and in fact not so at all, except perhaps with the outer institutions of Christianity. However, in the unfolding of the outer Christian religious institutions, the to be mentioned individuals are central.
The three central individuals were, are, Peter, Paul and John. Peter was an apostle and he with whom we can associate the unfolding of the Church-the Catholic Church. His was in close relation with the law of the Jews. He took this law, penetrated this law, with the law unfolding in Rome at the turning of time, and gave a lawful ground and foundation for the Church of Rome. He was the “rock” on which the Church was built. It was his disciple, Mark, who authored the Gospel of St. Mark. This gospel has often been pointed to by Rudolf Steiner as the one where the element of law is, in fact, very important. So we can associate Peter with the bringing about of the Church with its institutional activities and its laws in the name of the Christ. The Catholic Church sees a direct relation between the Church and the Christ through Peter. So we can contemplate an evolution of Christianity out of the law of the Jewish religion when it comes to Peter.
If we jump to John, to the disciple whom the Lord loved, then we come upon one whose task in the history of Christianity has not yet been fulfilled. This is particularly the case if we take up the Apocalypse of John, the saint, the apostle, who came into Christianity through a “raising”. We can learn from Rudolf Steiner’s researches that the author of the Apocalypse is the one who was raised by the Christ himself. As Rudolf Steiner points out, this raising was a transition from the old initiation procedures to modern times when initiation is to become something very different from the past. The initiation today is not one where human consciousness should in anyway be lowered, but rather it is to be enhanced so that initiation can be an extension of our ordinary life, with many changes of course. However, the becoming subservient to another being in a state of decreased consciousness, this was transformed with this raising. This we can hear from an Anthroposophical Spiritual Science. Ordinarily in the mysteries, a candidate for initiation was placed in a state of cataleptic sleep. The body, without soul and spirit, was manipulated by the initiator, while the soul was guided by the initiator as well. The initiator had to know the working of the body to such an extent that the etheric organization could be “raised”, loosened, from the body. This gave great power to the initiate and made the pupil of initiation subservient to the initiator. This initiation practice became a matter of the past with the “raising” of Lazarus. It was, however, just this raising which later permitted him to progress in his initiation, to progress from the raising which gave the spiritual view of the past, to a new view which gave a vast view into the future. The Apocalypse is written out of the later unfolding in initiation of John’s association with the philosophical mysteries of Greece, and particularly the Mystery of Ephesus. This great soul then gave what is to come, gave what mankind has to expect, but in pictures which require an esoteric training and an evolution in occult knowledges. He has laid a basis for the future, but a basis that is tremendously deep. To this day the Apocalypse is not well understood. Again, Rudolf Steiner, out of his researches and with his lectures on the Apocalypse, helps that we can begin to contemplate a future that has been foreseen by few in the conventional world. Through his researches, we have the opportunity to try to view a far distant future which evades most of mankind. This future was assured by John, the one initiated by Christ as the “one whom the Lord loved”.
Therefore, with John we have a bringer of a Christianity which has yet to be realized. It is a Christianity that is not one of a formal religious structure, but one where man will come into a totally different relation with the spiritual world and with the spiritual beings of that world and the physical world, as well. As Peter birthed the Church out of the Law of Moses, we can say, so John gives to mankind what he can do for the future of mankind and the earth depending on what mankind can make of such revelations as John has given. With the revelations of John, man is not given a law to follow, nor a formal religion. Rather man has to undertake a path where it is necessary to come to a totally different understanding of the world. The pictures given in Revelations, in the Apocalypse, are those which each human soul has to make his own through a path, where good and evil will be understood by judging according to number. To know the number of the Beast assumes knowledge of mathematical exactness, while judgment becomes a faculty which is not yet. When we judge today, we may employ statistical mathematics – probability. Needed is an exact method of judgment which contains mathematics, but comes to be a way of knowing good and evil. Good and evil pertains to deeds and not only to wisdoms, so that a new faculty is to be gained. Here individual striving becomes a vital issue, not the moral judgments of any one outside one self. The occult path of John is a path into the world, and not a path of old mystical immersion, where it is necessary to have guides and laws outside the core of each human being. Each has to strive for an exactness in the judgment of good and evil – through truth. Dogma has to be laid aside.
With the past assured through Peter and the future pointed to by John, we come to Paul, who in a way fills in between the past and the future. He is timely, at present. Rudolf Steiner took considerable pains to point out how Paul was, in fact, anticipating the life and needs of our time. His initiation anticipated our time, the time of the consciousness-soul, were man can begin to evolve out of his own efforts. Paul was born in the time known as the time of the intellectual-soul. This cultural period arose seven centuries before the turning of time, and lasted into the year 1415. It was during this cultural epoch that the first beginnings of the consciousness-soul were seeded. It is out of the star world, out of the spiritual world related to the Zodiac, that the cultural periods are brought to mankind, as a Christian evolutionary impulse. At present a Christianity is in the making which is not that of a religious institution, but a Christianity that belongs to all mankind independent of outer religious practice as it is known today.
If we seek the major impulse for the seeding of the consciousness-soul at the time of the intellectual-soul, we might consider this to be the initiation of Paul. It was in the time of the intellectual-soul that man could begin to take up his own soul, as his own. This became possible with the deeds of Michael, who helped that cosmic intelligence could become human intelligence. With the bestowal of intelligence upon man, with making it possible for man to grasp the interaction of spiritual beings through thinking. Michael, the Archangel Michael, made it possible for man to make a first step in becoming his own master. It was in the five to six centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha, that man could say that he thinks – that is, “I” think. Before this, spiritual beings thought into man. With the activities of Michael, man gained a faculty that he did not posses before. This possession laid the basis for man to be able to initiate an activity out of his own soul. Thinking is this activity. This step in the soul life of man, makes self-determination possible and can help that self mastery can slowly get underway. In the philosophical stream that is born and grows out of the mysteries of Greece, this birth of thinking out of the soul of each individual is brought about. This was just noted when it was said that John gained quite new faculties as he lived in relation to the Mystery of Ephesus.
The possibility of self engendered thinking can be seen as a seed in the early centuries of Christian unfolding, where mastery out of one’s own being could be birthed. The next step in cultural evolution, as seen from the point of view of the human soul, is when the soul can become conscious of itself as a being. It becomes the task in the time of consciousness-soul not only to able to say that it is the “I” who can think, but the nature of this “I” has to become conscious. This is just what occurred in the initiation of Paul and his way to Damascus. Self-knowledge becomes the core of the age of the consciousness-soul.
The formulation of Paul in regard to the nature of his own soul, his inmost being, was to say, “Not I but the Christ in Me”. This means that the soul can come to self-knowledge and to do so, has to be able to know the spirituality of the soul. If we follow this line of contemplation, of thinking, we can then say, “I” or “not-I”. The sense of “I” has to be deepened to the point of being able to know oneself when one is open to the spiritual world or closed in oneself with the spirituality, the karma, one has brought with one. When one says “not-I”, then it is necessary to identify the “not-I”. The “not-I” can be an angel, an archangel, an archai, etc. Needed is that the beingness of each spiritual essence can be known. To say “not-I, but the Christ in me” identifies the inner beingness that has become objective and is one’s self at the time. When this can be done, then one begins to live in the time of the consciousness soul.
One of the dangers of our day, is when the “I” becomes the personal subjective I, then one may not be certain which life of the person is acting. This means that previous incarnations might be active, and one can become quite confused. The problems of depersonalization and multiple person syndromes can be considered to be a sign of such. However, just this difficulty can become part of the process of self-knowing, in terms of the personal I or the impersonal I in the age of the consciousness-soul. It appears that it is necessary that the “not I” or the higher person of the I comes to some sort of recognition before the usual personal I becomes too all consuming, or each and every one will become quite confused. The integrity of the “I”, when the state of “not I” is attained, can be assured by the initiation of Paul. Thus the Pauline impulse in the age of the consciousness-soul underlies a certain health of our soul as the I comes to self-knowing.
All of this is involved in man coming to be his own master. With this direction, man has actually become his own master with all the problems that attend this progression in human evolution. Man has begun to become his own master and makes steps in spiritual life out of his own core and out of his own efforts. In a way, we can say that the spiritual world has distanced itself to a slight extent to give man the possibility to find his own way and then become an individual who can come to self-knowledge. Today it is possible to make ones own relation with the spiritual world, and this emerges as kindergarten steps in present culture.
This prophet, this forerunner of our time, the time of the consciousness soul, Saul, had his beginnings as a Jew. He was born in Tarsus in Turkey, in Asia Minor. His father was a merchant, and as a boy, he early on became interested in deeper spiritual life. He was very early exposed to the religious group called the Pharisees. This is the group that was apocalyptic, waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Saul, as he was known at first, was well trained in the Law of Moses and in the concepts that lay a basis for the coming of the world Saviour, the bringer of the Law that would separate the wicked from the good. This was a rather harsh Bringer of the Law, carrying a dooms-day aura. Such was the Pharisee view of the future. A great “Being” would come to bring about this judgment of the wicked and the good. The idea of a forgiving and a loving Messianic being was the furthest from the view of the Pharisee and the view of Saul.
Thus when the Mystery of Golgotha came about, there was no understanding in the soul of Saul that the Crucified One could, in fact, be the One he was awaiting. He became one of the leading persecutors of the early Christians. In no way could he consider that a simple human being who had, as a criminal, been hanged on a cross be the Messiah whom he had been waiting for.
There then came a transforming experience into the life of Saul. He who had been born prematurely, Saul, was ahead of his time, so to speak. His ether forces from before birth, as we have noted at different times, had not all been used up in embryonic formation. It was just he, who had unused cosmic ether forces, forces which are of the domain of Adam Cadmon, who came to the Damascus experience. He it was who was in search of the Messiah and had been persecuting those who had said that the Messiah had actually come. He it was that was in search of the One who would save the world, as the world had Fallen. In his rush and his anticipatory fury, Saul began the persecution of those who spoke of the Jesus of Nazareth, of the Crucifixion events as the indication that there had, in fact, been the birth of the Saviour. This Saul could not recognize. His Saviour was a righteous being who would separate mankind into the good and the evil ones.
However, Saul, on a trip from Jerusalem to his home in Tarsus, at the age of about thirty three, on the way to Tarsus, came near to a small town known as Damascus. There in the vicinity of Damascus, in mid-day, he was blinded by an inner but outer light. The light was so intense that he became temporarily blind. Out of the blinding light, he could hear the words of the Christ asking “why persecuteth thou me?”. He was lamed by this experience and had to be carried to the town, Damascus, where he lay in bed and was blind for three days. This intense inner, but outer light, was so great that he was overcome. The words of the Spiritual Being who spoke to him he recognized was He whom Saul had been searching for, but could only recognize when the light of Adam Cadman had united with the etherized earth. Such is the result of Rudolf Steiner’s investigations into the Damascus experience. Saul, who then became known as Paul, was able in outer blindness, and inner, but outer clairvoyance, to apprehend the Being of the Christ active in the ether of the earth, which had been contributed to by Krishna, Adam Cadmon or the Nathanic Being. The olive oil earth, had prepared the way as it were, for the change in the etheric make up of the earth through the deeds of the Nathanic being, and the Crucifixion of the Christ. The Light-Life, bearing the Christ, the new light and life of the earth, could not only be seen in its outer blinding activity, but the light sounded in the Words of the Christ. Through this experience, Saul became humble and therefore took on the name Paul, which means the “little one”.
It is after a good number of years of search that I have come to this view that the light body, which could carry to Christ, and sound His Words, was and is the ether ego of the Nathanic Jesus. The Nathanic Being ascended into the outer reaches of the ether cosmos after his death at twelve years of age.
I have come to a view of the light body in which and through which the mighty Being of the Christ could reveal Himself to Saul and at the same time, speak of the same light body, that could reveal itself as the cosmic form of Krishna. The same cosmic being whose form was revealed to Arjuna, was united with the earth at the time that Christ was crucified, at the time that the blood flowed from the Cross into the earth. With the flow of blood, with the flow of the physical blood of Christ into the earth, at the time of the Crucifixion, with this outer event, a hidden process, an invisible process also took place. This hidden process is the reason why the Crucifixion is connected with a “mystery”, the Mystery of Golgotha. The invisible process could only be seen with the help of the Krishna etheric and through the help of the Christ. This is what came before the inner eye of Paul in an outer visible circumstance in mid-day. In the past, this mystery of the earth, the etheric of the earth, had been seen at mid-night in the old Persian initiation process. This old knowledge was probably known to Paul, but the change in the ether make up of the earth, to be seen in day time, at the time of the heights of the outer sun, this was new. It could come to Paul who was born out of time.
That the etheric of the earth, that the ether make up of the earth had changed at the time of the Crucifixion, this was new in the mystery events connected with our earth. That the etheric that flowed into the earth, with the flow of the blood of the Christ, that this ether is the same ether as the etheric make up of Krishna, this has come to me only in recent times. This depiction of the Adam Cadmonic ether, this course of the etheric of Krishna, this is not stated as such by Rudolf Steiner and has to be considered as my own perception from a long search concerning the ether events around the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, as perceived by Paul. Only a new clairvoyance could make this perception. This new clairvoyance was possible for someone born “out of time”, such as Paul. This light body, which densified the etheric of the earth, so that it could become the body of the Christ after death, this was furnished by the one who in history we can find as Adam Cadman. This is the same being who becomes the charioteer and the Teacher of Arjuna in the Bhagadvad Gita. This Mighty Being could reveal himself as the etheric nature of all existence, once the illusion of existence had been penetrated by Paul. This illusion was transformed in the state of blindness by Paul.
It is through the process of knowledge and truth seeking that this domain of reality can be revealed. The being of Krishna, of Adam Cadmon, of the Nathanic being, after death, rose to Devachan, the domain where it is knowledge and truth that becomes the manifestation of this realm of existence. With the Mystery of Golgotha, this realm was brought to earth, the Kingdom of Heaven was brought to earth. Into the etheric of this kingdom, the Christ could incarnate and remain the Spiritual Being of our earth. When etherness becomes revealed from the domain beyond illusion, beyond maya, then it is not only light, but light which speaks. He who speaks to Paul in the Name of Christ, as the Christ as it were, is none other than Krishna, who had incarnated for twelve years in the Nathanic Jesus. It was he who had, on the occasion of the Krishna revelation, drawn closer to the earth than had been the case in earlier earth and cultural evolution. It is the Adamic sister soul of Adam of the earth that we are contemplating. This is an etheric sister soul being who then incarnated for the first time, and the only time, as the Nathan Jesus. This is the impulse of the simple man of Nazareth, the carpenter’s son.
This Simple Being, this was the Jesus of the Nathanic line of the House of David. The not so simple Jesus was the Jesus of the Solomonic line, which through spiritual scientific investigation has been revealed as the incarnation of Zarathustra. Thus there are two Jesuses that we have to consider, the Nathanic, the Simple, and the Solomonic, the Wise. We are told that the Simple soul stepped out of the body at the Scene in the Temple and the Wise entered into the body of the Simple Jesus. It was then the body of the Simple and the soul of the Wise that was carried to the Baptism. It is the soul of the Simple, the ego being of the Simple, that is the sister soul of Adam, the Adam Cadman-Krishna being that indwelled the Nathanic Jesus. It was he who then furnished the garment in the world on the other side of the senses, for the Christ.
I have come to wonder, if at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, the Christ was able to densify this ether of Adam Cadman to a condition that would permit a life on the astral plane of the ether world after death. This means that the Christ can remain in the domain where the elemental beings live and can be perceived. It would take a densified warmth and light-ether, densified to outer light, for the Christ to continue to live with the outer evolution of the earth and be met at noon when the outer sun is at its height. Just as the Jehovah Elohim had densified the light ether to warmth ether at the time of the first incarnation of Adam, so we might think of the Pleromic Elohim (Christic Elohim) coming to densify the light and warmth-ether into a state that approaches the condition of physical warmth, light, and physical sound. This may be why some of those traveling with Paul, described the events near Damascus as a sounding of thunder.
Anyone who reads the Gita and tries to gather into an imagination what Krishna reveals to Arjuna as his godly form, can only be deeply moved by the cosmic magnitude, the earthly magnitude and the human magnitude of this form, this form of man, this form of Krishna as an etheric ego being. It is just this dimension which the Nathanic Jesus placed into the etheric body of Jesus into which he incarnated. It is just this mighty ether in a human body which is needed for the incarnation of the Sun-Being, the Christ. For those who then come to anthroposophy, this Cadmonic, Krishnic and Nathanic being is of the greatest import, as it is the higher revelation of man. Man as an anthropological being, as an anthropos, through the working of this Ether-Ego being, became able to bear the Christ. This same Ether Being became the higher ether activity for man, so that men could develop an Anthroposophy. Through the search for knowledge and truth this Being in activity can become revealed as the sophia of man, the anthroposophia who walks among us. This is a physical, but largely an ether make up of man, a macro-microcosmic man. As such Anthropos approaches the make up and the configuration of the Christ after death, the Resurrected form, as it were. Thus it is that this Being, Cadman, Krishna, Nathan and now Anthroposophia, is of the greatest import for those who seek a new way to the spirit, and a quite new approach to the Being of the Christ.
If we follow further the path of Paul, we come to see that he walked much of his second thirty-three years of his life. His first thirty three years he shared on earth with the Jesuses and then the Christ Jesus. His second thirty-three he traveled and traveled the earth where it was etherized by the olive tree. However, it is important to realize that he walked, he was a man of the foot, as it were, after he had been a man of the hand, as a weaver. Something of the Simple man, the Nathanic Jesus lived deeply in his being after the Damascus event. As the ether of the sun raises the earth through the olive into an etheric state of existence, so this ether make up of Paul came to expression in his will, in his word and in his letters or epistles. He is said to have made four major journeys although this is an artificial division in a most active and ever moving life. He journeyed from Jerusalem, through Asia Minor, over the Hellispont into Greece and ultimately made his way to Rome where it is thought that he was put to death. The end of his life is shrouded in mystery.
What is important in Paul’s stay in Greece can be divided into work for the outer church and for the hidden spiritual life. He, in his work in Corinth, one of seven communities that he founded, a mirror of the communities of St John, developed the cultic and sacramental life of the Church. As Peter founded more the outer, the legal and the administrative aspects of the Church, so Paul, in his work in Corinth, helped to develop the more deep, the inner activity of this Church. We can call this an exoteric impulse, exoteric work in the name of religious life. On the other hand, Paul also founded an esoteric impulse and movement. Here he worked with the remains of the School of Athens at the Aeropagus, the site of the unfolding of philosophy, the philosophic impulse. As he worked there, it is known that he also was in contact with the mystery center at Eleusis, where the Demeter initiatory activity unfolded. In his work at the Areopagus, he initiated an esoteric work which was then carried into the world by Dionysus the Areopagite. The names of the hierarchies we know today comes from Dionysus. It is held that Dionysus met his end in Paris. His memory is eternalized at St. Dennis in France.
For us, this esoteric impulse is of the greatest import. It is one where few have come to know that there is a Christianity that is not known to the world and which needs to be considered. It is just this esoteric impulse which is so well indicated with the emphasis of Paul on the Resurrection. It is the Christ, not of the physical world, that was brought to Paul at Damascus that is so important for us. It is just the Ether Being of Krishna, Nathan, Anthroposophia that points to this domain of human existence in the world where the Resurrected is active. Thus Paul is the harbinger of activities that lie in the ether world, where one is led through esoteric life. The same might be stated about the pupil of St. Paul, that is St. Luke, where we find the physician Luke speaking to the etheric in the form of healings. It is the etheric which can be revealed in healing, in the domain of the Resurrection and in the quest for wisdom, the wisdom of man.
In regard to the exoteric and esoteric of Christianity, Rudolf Steiner’s investigations have come upon a very important set of facts. This is, that the Folk-soul of the Greek peoples, sacrificed, stayed behind and did not advance to the stage of a time spirit. This Folk-soul stayed behind to help unfold exoteric Christianity. I take the bringing forth of the Church as a major vehicle for exoteric Christianity. By the Church I do not think that the Catholic Church is the only Church, but look to the Churches of the Christian Community as part of the exoteric Christian impulse. The various sacraments might be seen as part of this exoteric activity. In addition, the whole development of art around the religious life of the Christian, might well be included. Mani has been known to have contributed significantly to this aspect of exoteric Christianity, the aspect of art.
At the same time, Rudolf Steiner has also discovered that the Folk-soul of the Celts, in like fashion, sacrificed and stayed behind to serve esoteric Christianity. It is this esoteric Christian impulse that we have to consider so seriously in our work with anthroposophy.
If we look at the life of Paul and his work at Corinth and at Areopagus, there we can see that he came to serve both aspects of Christianity. He was a mighty initiate who could serve both. Whereas we might see Peter serving more exoteric Christianity, we may contemplate Paul serving both. In the case of John, we may consider that the esoteric predominates.
Our considerations then have led us to see a duality in relation to Christianity, that is exoteric and esoteric. The former exists to place the Christ impulse into the world as an outer institutional impulse, in art or in community life devoted to an exoteric relation with the Christ. The latter, the esoteric, exists so that man may more or less make his own way. The dual, is not absolute so that one aspect of the dual may reach over into the other, but then we have to contemplate a higher level of resolution. A dual is not resolved on the same level, it has to be raise into the next level. The dual of the exoteric and esoteric then is resolved not in the physical world or the ether world but in the purest of astral worlds.
THE LORD’S PRAYER AND THE PRAYER OF BATH KOL.
In order to take up the exoteric and the esoteric in a direct way, let me take up two prayers that we can find in the works of Rudolf Steiner. As we noted, the year 1907 was opened with a lecture on the Lord’s Prayer. Let me use this as an example of an exoteric revelation from Christendom. A second prayer, the prayer of Bath Kol, we only know from the researches of Rudolf Steiner and this can serve as an example of a more esoteric creation. It is this latter esoteric impulse that Rudolf Steiner gave for us to find our way with a deeper strata of earthly, human and cosmic existence.
The Lord’s Prayer is known to most, those who are so to speak Christians or those who may not be or think they are not Christian. What is important is that this is such a well known prayer. It has served the unfolding and the evolution of Christianity in an exoteric way. What is important is to take up the esoteric that lies behind and within this prayer. To do this we can employ the lecture given at the beginning of this year, 1907. The prayer that has served outer religious life, the unfolding of institution and formal cultic practice, this we will now try to take into the esoteric. Perhaps we can begin with the prayer and then through this lecture given by Rudolf Steiner early in 1907, we can take the prayer into a deeper esoteric contemplation, meditation.
I take it to be extremely significant that Rudolf Steiner has taken the Lord’s Prayer in order to share, to show, to demonstrate that there can be the deepest content, the most esoteric embedded in such a prayer. By this means, that which is of the usual exoteric domain, can be taken into the esoteric, where quite new vistas can be brought forth. This approach also permits us to see, that the dual of the exoteric and the esoteric can be seen as two sides of one coin.
With this Prayer as usually taken in, with many repetitions, it is quite possible to experience a waking of one’s feeling towards the petitions of this prayer. Slowly one can experience the waking of feeling life. One’s feeling life can be brought into activity by merely repeating the words. When after such a repetition over a period of a number of years, one seeks to penetrate into its meaning, its content, then it is easily discovered that feelings are easily lost. By subjecting this prayer to a thoughtful consideration, it is easy for delicate feelings to be pushed to the side, as it were. There is, however, another way to work ones way into the prayer that is of a more intellectual nature, where feeling is not lost but deepened. This way is to take up the esoteric of the prayer. It is the esoteric that Rudolf Steiner tried to give with this lecture. The exoteric prayer has esoteric content that can be revealed though spiritual scientific investigation, to deepen one’s feeling life. The esoteric content Rudolf Steiner has given in this lecture.
Rudolf Steiner lays out a line of consideration where the petitions to be found in the prayer can be thought of as pointing to the make up of man. This he could do, because he has given an esoteric revelation of the make up of man. For some years before this lecture, he gave much content to those listening, where the secret of the threefold, the fourfold, the sevenfold and the ninefold human being had been treated quite exhaustively. In his book entitled Theosophy, he details these varied memberings of man. This esoteric view of man, this manifold and varied view of man, is what lays a foundation for what is given in this lecture.
In the case of this prayer he uses the seven folding of man, and tries to indicate how the Christ was trying to teach his followers how to pray in a selfless way for the sake of man, the earth and the heavens. The sevenfolding of man indicates the physical, the etheric and the astral as sheaths. The ego is not actually a sheath and is the active agent in the sheaths. Inherent in the sheath nature is the possibility that the sheaths can be transformed into a higher nature. This means, that the physical of man, by dint of man’s own effort can come over many, many thousands of years, to form a higher nature, a spiritual nature in man’s make up. This higher spiritual member is called spirit-man by Rudolf Steiner or Atma in the old Indian terminology. In the case of the etheric sheath, it can become a spiritual member by being transformed into the life-spirit-Buddhi by treading an esoteric path. The astral sheath can become a spirit-self-Manas through esoteric efforts. It is either conscious ego activity, esoteric striving or many lives that permits the ego to become the transformer of the sheaths.
A conscious path means to undergo initiation, to become a conscious ego striver, or the evolver of the consciousness-soul. The taking up of a conscious effort to transform what is given to us in the form of sheaths, by activating our soul, this is what a path is all about. Thus if there is to be a path, a conscious effort on our part, then we have to turn to our own soul for activity and action, and depend less on outer institutions and formal trainings by leaders or guiding individuals. What we can consider is that if such a path is to be taken up, then it is important for us, all men, to have a goal, a picture, and image, an archetype towards which to evolve. The direction indicated by Rudolf Steiner is such an archetype. Rudolf Steiner tells us this archetype of man is embedded in this prayer.
The prayer was presented in a seven-fold way by Rudolf Steiner, and I will alter this presentation slightly for our contemplations here.
1) Our Father which art in Heaven
2) Hallowed by Thy Name
3) Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done on earth
As it is in Heaven
4) Give us this day our daily bread
5) Forgive us our trespasses
(As we forgive those who trespass against us)
6) Lead us not into temptation
7) But deliver us from the evil.
With such a sevenfold petition, we are asked to consider how the spiritual world is drawn into the sphere of man. The movement from the domain of the Father to that of evil is downward. The effort in meditative consideration is from above down. This is just the same movement that has to be made if there is activity or action in relation to ritual and cult. In ritual and cult, it is the spiritual that is asked, begged, and drawn into the proceedings of the cult. A true, cultic ritual is the endeavor to bring about an incarnation of the spiritual world into the outer proceedings of the cult. It is spiritual revelation in the physical world that is in process with a true cultic ritual. In the case of those who do not seek a path, such a working of the spiritual into man can take place unconsciously. By being given the content shared from an esoteric perspective here, this same content, this same prayer can be taken up more thoughtfully and more meditatively. The content can be used to ask the spiritual world to come to one, as it were. The archetype of man, the future of man, can be drawn to man.
In the lecture being spoken of, Rudolf Steiner made a diagram of the prayer in relation to the membering of man. The diagram is of a square with a triangle on top. The diagram and the labeling he gave is as follows:
The triangle has always been a symbol for the triuneness of the higher world. What is there is the domain where God is spoken of. In the east this was noted to be the world of Nirvana. What is shared is a kind of hierarchical form for the make up of man, and at the same time a spatial consideration for the place in which spirituality can take place. A higher world and a lower world can be contemplated and at the same time, a man’s make up in relation to this dual can be seen. The possibility to bring the higher to the lower is not so well depicted with this diagram, but the flow of the prayer leads from above to the below.
Now let us turn to another possible formulation, another diagram of this prayer. Let us take up more the core of the human being, the ego as the central active agent, in the transformation of the lower to the higher. The following prayer diagram gives more of an emphasis on the being of man, where the ego is active and is not so much petitioning for the higher world to come to one’s aid. Rather what is being petitioned is for the being of man himself to become active.
With this diagram, we have an above and a below placed in time, with the human ego as a central point in bringing about a separation, and at the same time, a possible transformation. In bringing the ancient past of Saturn, Sun and Moon to the present ego of Earth and the present constitution of man, it is possible to think that the ego can bring the future to the present. With the future brought to the present, then it is possible to think that the higher can be a present goal of work. Such a present work is called the unfolding of the higher man, and at the same time, can be considered to be initiation.
The future and the human will on earth can be brought to higher man in heaven, and then the former downward emphasis can be reversed. This can be considered to be a reverse cultic activity or just a reverse cult when brought into life. When man as soul-spirit seeks for the higher out of his own being, when in spiritual activity which can be thinking that is pure activity, then a reverse cultic activity is in process.
With such activity, the Lord’s Prayer can be considered in the light of initiation activity, and there can be an open door to a reverse in the usual cultic process. One of the reasons that the spiritual world asked that a Rudolf Steiner come to this earth is so what has been cultic, from times past, can be rejuvenated. As a youth, Rudolf Steiner became aware that the spiritual world was deserting the usual cultic activities in religious institutions. Rudolf Steiner’s work with priests can be seen as an effort to help to bring forth new life in the cult. New cultic activity can be seen in the work of the priests of the Christian Community. At the same time, as Rudolf Steiner became a teacher in esoteric life, he had the responsibility to also help that souls, human beings would take up a conscious path, striving for initiation. Thus in the year 1907 he began with an effort to bring an esoteric to just that prayer that has helped so much in bringing exoteric Christianity into existence.
Just as we can see that with this prayer Rudolf Steiner gave indications for esoteric deepening within the exoteric, we must see that he went further. To address this next step in esoteric deepening, in relation to the reversal of cult, it is necessary to turn to the Prayer of Bath Kol.
PRAYER OF BATH KOL
The following is the prayer of Bath Kol:
Evincing the Ego’s struggling free,
Debt for selfhood at other’s expense,
Enjoyed in the daily bread,
Wherein the Heavens’ will prevaileth not,
Since Mankind severed themselves from Your Kingdom
And forgot Your Names,
Ye Fathers in Heavens.
It is quite possible to see that this prayer has a relation with the Lord’s Prayer of the usual Christian world. However, it is just as possible to see that one starts in this prayer where the Lord’s Prayer ends. One does not begin in heaven, one begins where “Heavens’ will prevaileth not”. The point of departure is in the world which has fallen. Into this fallen world the Christ has descended. What in the past was a macrocosmic prayer, a prayer before the events of the Mystery of Golgotha, is now the prayer that exists within the fallen, be it man or our earth. The task is to raise this world, not so much by petition, but by an inner striving that is not stated. What is needed then is to take a look at the origin of the prayer and perhaps this can lead us to an insight as to how such a prayer might be understood and used.
The first time this prayer can be found is its use by Rudolf Steiner when he laid the foundation stone of the first Goetheanum. For the first time in world history this prayer was spoken openly to a group of men. It was later identified as a prayer given by Bath Kol, a being identified in Jewish mystical circles, as best as I can learn thus far. Where next we hear of this prayer is in the cycle called the Fifth Gospel. Here Rudolf Steiner tells that this prayer was revealed to the Zarathustra being in the process of making his way to the Baptism.
To grasp the moment of the revelation of this prayer, we then have to take a look at the antecedent events in the life of Jesus. This immediately leads to a renewal of an old wisdom known to the occultists and esotericists of the past. This old wisdom is that there were, in fact, two Jesus children. Rudolf Steiner tells that this is the reason for the two genealogies to be found in the Matthew and the Luke Gospels. There are paintings where this twofold origin of the Jesuses can be found. The two Jesuses are both within the house, the blood line of King David. Thus the stream is a Jewish stream with two branches as it were. The one branch is identified by the being known as the Nathanic Jesus. The other branch is identified by the being known as the Solomonic Jesus.
The Nathanic Jesus, as we have already heard, incorporated or better said was overshadowed by the being we have identified as Adam Cadmon and then Krishna. The Solomonic Jesus was overshadowed by the being of Zarathustra. As already noted, the Nathanic Jesus leads us to the sister soul of Adam, and the Solomonic Jesus to Zarathustra. Zarathustra was one of the three Bodhisattvas who had worked again and again to lead the west in spiritual life, exoteric and esoteric. The other two bodhisattvas are known as Buddha and Schythianus. The Nathanic soul is identified as an etheric ego being. This can be thought of as an ego, which is not of true ego nature, but an ego which is living, is life, is an all encompassing life with an ego nature. This all encompassing life and ego nature we can meet when Arjuna, asks his charioteer in the Bhagavad Gita, to reveal his true spiritual nature and this we have already spoken to. As we noted, one can be awe struck just by reading what stands in the Gita.
From Rudolf Steiner’s researches, we then hear that the two Jesuses were born approximately at the same time. The Nathanic Jesus was a “Simple Soul”, who has been described in the light of a carpenter. The Solomonic Jesus was not simple, but was a very wise being. As noted, at the time that the two Jesuses were twelve, the Zarathustra Being deserted his body, and stepped into the body of the Nathanic Jesus. The latter soul-spirit departed for the spiritual world, while the remaining organism from Zarathustra died shortly thereafter. So it is the Being of Zarathustra who walked to the Baptism living in an organism, where the etheric ego of Adam Cadman had worked to bring a very living ego-activated ether organization.
Prior to the Baptism, we hear that this Zarathustra-Nathanic-bodied Jesus lived among the Essenes. There this Jesus had many experiences, and one that is revealed by Rudolf Steiner, out of his investigations, is that the being of Zarathustra came to hear the words of the Bath Kol. The prayer of Bath Kol thus can be considered to arise out of the ether body of Jesus, where the Nathanic-Adam-Cadmonic had dwelled. The prayer arose from within Jesus, reflecting the worlds of Bath-Kol (Krishna).
One can find in Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the Bhagavad Gita, that the great Krishna was able to lift the striving, struggling Arjuna into the spiritual world to reflect His higher make up in the loosened etheric body (brain) of Arjuna. In like fashion, we might consider that ether body from the departed Nathanic-Krishna, lifted the ego of Zarathustra out of the physical body of the Jesus, so the words of Bath Kol could be reflected in the ether body freed from the brain of this Jesus. This Jesus carried the soul-spirit of Zarathustra. This could mean that Bath Kol is, in fact, the Nathanic-Krishna being, and it is he who gives the prayer to be reflected in the ether body of Jesus which has been slightly raised. With this event, a possible archetype for all mankind may be taken into the ether body for those to come in the future. The spiritual economy of such a circumstance demands that such an ether body, in which a prayer for the striving soul is placed, be preserved for all those to come, for the future seekers in the spirit.
In this way we can think of this prayer as given out of the cosmos, as a macrocosmic prayer but reflected in the ether body of the Jesus on the way to sacrificing the organism to the incarnating Christ. As Christ was the mighty being of the Cosmos to incarnate in a very special body, he could then as man, as one born as son of man, not only born of God, but of man as well, bring forth the microcosmic prayer known as the Lords Prayer. The latter is brought to man to help lift man to a higher life. As we have indicated it can be used for the striving man as well with the help of esoteric knowledges. The Macrocosmic Lords Prayer, the prayer of Bath Kol, is a prayer for the esoteric striver, it can lie as a quiet gem in the ether organism of those who trod an inner path and have taken on the archetype into their ether body. The impulse for this prayer lies within the ether body of all those who have made copies of the ether body of the Jesus who walked the path to the Jordan. Thus it can be, that some souls will come to this prayer experience out of their karma, while some others will have to strive diligently with esoteric life.
What this suggests is that there lies a potential in the life organization of individuals today, a potential for individuals to come to the etheric events that surround the happenings at the time of the Incarnation. A raising is possible, if the archetype has not been taken in. With continued effort, that which lies in the depth of the living organism might be lifted by the effort of the individual himself to a stage where the events of the past might be reflected in a raised, freed ether organization. Such an individual can be considered to be seeking on a path of the reversed cult. Such an individual might make the process of striving and knowing, of wisdom search, an act of cultic nature. The prayer of Bath Kol can then be in itself the point of departure for an esoteric striving. How much esoteric knowledge might be needed can not be foretold, but individual effort might well surface this depth of spirituality.
We can carry this line of contemplation of the lifting of the ether body out of the head, as the soul is raised into the ether world, to be the case with raisings after the Krishna initiation of Arjuna. Rudolf Steiner through his investigation could find that the etheric force nature of Krishna, loosened the ether body of Arjuna, and as just noted, raised his soul into the ether world, where truth seeking is the sign of this etheric domain. The loosening of the ether body of the head assumes that this ether had over millennia come to conform to the physical configuration of the head. We can recall with the evolution of mankind that the ether of the head was not conforming to the physical head. During Atlantis, the form of the etheric became conforming with the physical (Noah’s Ark). Only slowly did the conforming of the etheric and physical head come about. The conformity was the circumstance which permitted the soul to have individual thoughts, have ideas that arise out of the self. Arjuna was at that time a kind of modern man. His questions are those that we can understand today, that is, why fight one’s relatives? Today we would ask, why battle one’s heredity?. If more would ask this question, we might have fewer battles in the Middle East where there is so much struggle between blood lines.
The loosening of the etheric of the head of Arjuna, permits Arjuna to see the cosmic form of Krishna, the form of the ether-ego. The etheric which served, serves, this form, is the same ether that was taken out of the earthly evolution at the time of Hyperborea, when the sun was extracted from the earth. At that time, light, tone and life-ethers were taken along. These higher ethers are those which bring about the phenomena of the cosmic word, cosmic speech and can raise the soul into the ether world of Devachan. Here archetypes exist and those for all the kingdoms. Here the archetype of man can be found. All this ether world comprises the ether of Krishna. Thus the form of Krishna encompasses all the archetypes of the kingdoms and appears as a mighty, a grandiose, and far-reaching Being. This Being has been identified as Adam Cadmon, Krishna and Nathanic Jesus. The Jesus incarnation of twelve years is revealed as the only incarnation of this Being, who for the most part exists in the ether world. This Being is the Bath Kol who gave the Macrocosmic prayer.
In our time, this ether Being can be known as the Being of Anthroposophia, a being who comes from great heights and distances, but Who now can be met on a spiritual path. The etheric nature of Anthroposophia should not be taken as the only member of this being, as there needs to be an astral, ego, and higher membering as well. In the case of Anthroposophia, it would appear that the ether nature of this Being is very close to the physical of light, warmth and sound as already noted and is ego revealing. For the evolution of the ego, this Being becomes very important in our time. This Ether-being may well have been the Being which Rudolf Steiner perceived when he encountered the threefold make up of man, for the first time. Rudolf Steiner was in his early twenties at the time. This is the Being Krishna whom Arjuna perceived at another time in the evolution of man, when this Being had not yet gone through an incarnation. We can think that this Being left an imprint of his ego in the ether body of the Nathanic Jesus. It was then this imprinted ether, which was lifted out of the physical head of Zarathustra-Nathanic body Jesus, in the circumstance where Bath Kol, Krishna, could “speak” the words of the Macrocosmic Lord’s Prayer, the Aum Prayer. It was this same Bath Kol, Krishna, who then united His Being with the earth at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha as we have noted above. This is the Being who then also brought about the Damascus experience, so that Paul could encounter the Christ in his ego.
In order to place what has been written here into a geometric form let me share the following:
From this diagram it can be seen that the petition is not one that necessarily takes one into the future. The diagram suggests the here and now in the life of the striving human being. Let us try to accept that this prayer asks that we can in our present circumstance strive to bring the future of the Lord’s Prayer into the here and now. It is within the flow of our day, of the present, that we seek to strive. To bring the future to the present, uniting the past with the present, this is initiation. This is not only an act in a cult, but in daily life – in many acts.
The bringing of the heavens to earth took place. This we can learn from a spiritual science. It is the Christ who performed this deed in his activities at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha when the blood flowed into the earth. However, that actual lifting of the earth and man into the lower astral world, the lower kingdom of heaven, this I would say was a Resurrection deed. This is the way I would try to put it. In resurrective process, there is not only a raising of the soul out of the body, a lifting of the ether out of the head, but there is a raising of the remainder of the human organism. At the same time, the earth accompanies this process. The reversal here is not only a lifting of the soul into the spiritual, a loosening of the ether, but an actual transformation of the physical into a higher state. The physical is the physical of the earth and man, both. It is not atomic explosions that are asked for, but a working with the earth and substances so that a new substance, a new earth substance can come forth. The same can be said for the human organism.
The changes in substance we can think of as a spiritualization and etherization of substance. We can think on the practicing of Biodynamic agriculture with Preparations, the use of potentized remedies or even coming to a meal, where there is not just the usual revelation of our lowest life. This change in substance we can consider to be the creation of new substance as can occur within man since the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. With the earth, the deed of the Christ has brought about the spiritualization of matter, physical matter, in radioactive decay. This Rudolf Steiner indicated to Johannes Walter Stein by word of mouth. With man, the Christ leaves it up to man to first come to the loosening of the etheric of the head, so that in truth man can come to the spirit in freedom, and then he, man, can work for the spiritualization of the earth and mankind.
A lecture in the Karma of Vocation spells out the kind of life, religious life, that can be undertaken today without an outer formal cult and ritual. My impression is that this cycle gives indications for man to work for the freeing of the human soul-spirit and the spiritualization of our earth evolution. What is indicated might be stated as an ensouling of our deeds. It takes the karma of vocation to do this, however. In the lecture cycle on vocation, Rudolf Steiner indicates that our deeds, our vocational deeds, lay the foundation for future evolutions, of Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. This means that something of the future is brought to the here and now. The future is brought to the present. It is these evolutions in the here and now, that makes for a seed process in the present.
As the future is seeded, the past has to be redeemed. There has been a Fall. This means that the original intentions of the spiritual world were taken too far into the material world, and this has to be corrected. Man has to reunite with the original intentions and deeds of the spiritual world. This redemption and union with the spiritual beings who brought evolution into our present circumstances, can be called religion, this means to re-unite. For this to happen certain types of activity and certain deeds need to take place. These deeds and activities are pointed to in this cycle of lectures, Karma of‘ Vocation. Because of the Fall, religious practices have to lead to redemption, have to include the redemption of those spiritual beings who went through the Fall before man. These are the fallen elemental beings who have come to be invested with the forces of electricity, magnetism and gravity, and perhaps information. These fallen spiritual beings have to be released, be redeemed, so that these elementals which invest man, can be liberated. Just as these elemental beings invest the states of matter, they also give matter its purely subearthly quality in our existence as a physical human being. In religious life of the present, it is necessary to work for this liberation so that the true form of man can be maintained. Here we are dealing with fallen etheric beings and substances, which need release from this fall though our deeds. The redemption of these beings means that it is not only man whose future we are working for, but the earth with which the Christ has united Himself and the elemental beings on earth and in man.
As we have often shared, there are three basic practices to a religious life where there is not formal cult, but the practices are a reversal of cult. These three practices are pointed to briefly in the Karma of Vocation. These practices are:
1) SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
2) BAPTISM BY CULTIVATION OF THE AGES OF MAN
3) SERVICE TO GOD.
We have spoken to these three practices at various times. In the case of spiritual communion, man attempts to rise in conscious practice to communion in the world of idea. The normal clairvoyant process of enlightened ideation can be replaced by a conscious intuition of idea, and here then, the communion can take place. What has to be realized is that our normal idea activity is a clairvoyant one, and we have to replace this with a conscious activity, which is a reversed cultic activity in coming to KNOW.
With baptism, there is also a kind of communion, a communion of the soul. Here comes the need to find the archetype of man, as an etheric being in time. Man in the process of baptism, is continually in the process of finding the life of the etheric body ever changing and it is this ether body, a body that is lifted out of the usual life processes, that can come to serve the soul of the striver. As a part of vocational life, it is an activity that is lived in relation to others and social forms. Here the intimate exchanges of soul and spirit that take place between human beings in the process of vocational life, become the basis for religion in a new form. It is just this intimate aspect of working together that is hidden for the most part today by the way human beings work. Needed is to uncover this intimacy, and for this quite new working circumstances are necessary. This secret has been found and is being mistakenly used in some industries. In some industries there is a grouping of workers around a task in a factory. This is a first step in the direction of intimacy, but for the wrong reason. Here we are trying to find our way to this intimacy in our working groups. In Waldorf education the effort to identify and work with the first three seven year periods is a beginning at the intimacy that man can come to experience as an etheric being. When man with his intimate relations communes in the social process, soul meeting soul, then there is a communion in soul. This communion in soul is being relentlessly searched for, but is not being found as it is hidden in our karmic relationships. It is hidden just by the fact that it exists in our working relationships, where fraternality is not present for the most part. In working activities, in social forms, in fraternal activities, the communion is NOT IN SPIRIT, but IN SON. Thus it is that baptism, to be united with the Christ, this seeking of the ages of man needs to take place.
If we turn to communing with the physical in the world, the FATHER element, then we need to develop a sense for the redemption of our physical existence, as we have somewhat unfolded above. Here there is not a search for a communion through the consuming of substance, in a formal cult. We are, however, seeking a redemption of the fallen physical. Rudolf Steiner in the Karma of Vocation calls this redemptive effort, “Service to God”. When one speaks of “Service to God” then it is quite possible to contemplate our care of the earth, the environment and our fellow man as a physical-bodily being. To serve this task, often means serving the “little thing”. This service to the little thing is a training of modesty in the process of taking up a conscious path of initiation where religious life is a part of the process.
The egotism, that is the expansiveness of our soul as astral body, is immense when it comes to initiation or taking up of a path. In expansiveness, we can speak of the communing with Lucifer. On the other hand, the overwhelming nature of the universe and the spiritual world can be such that one feels reduced to dust. With this experience, we can think of communing with Ahriman. These two mighty beings we need to know in every detail and every possible way. It is just in the work with the “little thing” that we enter a schooling that can hardly be gained in any other way. The grandiosity of the striver can wind up in the hands of the psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor. Such souls become a terrible problem in the social fabric. On the other hand, the reduction to dust leads to the so-called inferiority complex, the poor self-esteem and the sense of helplessness which besets the other half of the work force of the day. Again, it is the therapist who is sought to solve a problem that belongs to a new religious striving on a path of initiation.
Thus the service to god, means a kind of devotion that is the most difficult to come to just because we are so unfrugal, so much in the throw-away mode and so little concerned with “God’s World”. All the preaching in the world will not change this circumstance. The suggestion here is that it will take a path of initiation to be able to master this domain, the domain of God, with a continuous struggle to win Lucifer and Ahriman to a human evolution. Such a communion is then one of real struggle. If one takes the opening scene of the Bhagavad Gita, the war and struggle of Arjuna, then the struggle of the present might be seen in terms of this great poem of initiation which took place in pre-Christian times when man could not have the Spiritual Being of the Christ at his side, and the Spirit within at the same time.
Paul W. Scharff, MD.