The Four-Fold Teachers Pt 4: Robert Powell

The title above may seem a bold statement to some, as possibly even Robert Powell himself would disagree with the characterization of himself as the successor to Valentin Tomberg. However, as the true successor to Valentin Tomberg, the Novalis individuality, is an individual completely out of the public eye, and performing her work primarily in the night life of her disciples (in the Night School of Sophia), then we must look towards the public teacher who is, more than anyone else, consciously her spokesperson.  The gesture of Robert Powell’s entire biography has been to bear tasks and burdens for others:  carrying on the unfolding of Astrosophy for Willi Sucher; translating the massive Meditations on the Tarot (and subsequently being ostracized from Anthroposophy to some degree); and accomplishing the (yet to be fully published) extensive research into karma and reincarnation at the behest of Rudolf Steiner. Robert Powell states that the Novalis individuality reincarnated sometime close to 1970; this means she would have experienced her transformative Christ years around the year 2000. We might see the impulse brought to manifestation through Robert of both the Sophia Foundation as well as the School of Choreocosmos as a deed performed on behalf of the Novalis individuality, as the outer expression of a transformation experienced by her leading up to and during her Christ years.


In fact, this entire characterization of Robert Powell as the bearer of the burdens (or Crosses) of others leads us directly to the first quality of the Great Teachers, the inner life of the Teacher. Following the sequence of the Major Arcana of the Tarot, we move from The Magician as the image of the inner life of Rudolf Steiner (Mysticism/Intuition), to The High Priestess as the image of the inner life of Valentin Tomberg (Gnosis/Inspiration), to The Empress as the image of the inner life of Robert Powell. The Empress is the representative of Sacred Magic and Imagination, Imagination in the sense of the Foundation Stone Meditation’s third stanza:

“Practice Spirit-vision

In stillness of Thought,

Where the Eternal Aims Divine

Cosmic Spirit Light

To thine own I

For thy free willing

Grant thee.”

This form of Imagination is the union of two wills, the higher Will of the Spirit bestowed on the Teacher through Phantasy or Spirit-vision, which can then freely be taken up by the will of the Teacher in the spirit of “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”

The Empress is also related to the Moon, just as The Magician is to the Sun, and the High Priestess is to Saturn. The Moon is the dwelling place of Yahweh Elohim; Valentin Tomberg has characterized the reason for Yahweh Elohim separating himself from the rest of the Elohim to dwell on the Moon in order to become the Cross-Bearer of all humanity. He is the filter; he maintains the normal progress of spiritual evolution by bearing that which cannot be borne by humanity or the spiritual world. This is akin to the inner character of Robert Powell:  he bears within himself the tasks that have been bestowed on him both by the spiritual world as well as by other Teachers; he bears within himself a living, mobile image of the starry heavens; he bears within himself knowledge of the karmic history and destiny of many individualities; and he bears within himself truths pertaining to the world situation which few others are prepared to bear.

Following on from the first level of manifestation, the inner life of the Teacher, we come to the mode and content of expression, of teaching of Robert Powell, the representative of the Third Great Teacher, Novalis. Following the sequence of Cosmic Evolution, which began with Saturn (High Priestess/Gnosis) for Rudolf Steiner, and the Sun (The Magician/Mysticism) for Valentin Tomberg, we come once again to the Moon (The Empress/Sacred Magic). It is very interesting that in the case of Robert Powell, we have a concordance between the inner life and the outer expression:  both are related to the Moon and the third Arcanum, The Empress.


In the case of the quality of Robert Powell’s outer mode of expression, both the lunar quality as well as the concordance with his inner life manifest themselves in the clarity and directness with which Robert speaks. Certainly in his written works, but even more so when one sees him speak in person, there is a refreshing, gentle, yet enlivening quality about his way of communicating. There is also an extremely scientific and intellectual quality to his work, that paired with a quite thorough, step by step explanation of his ideas, makes it possible for him to express with relative simplicity very complex concepts and discoveries.

In terms of the content brought forth by Robert, it is almost entirely encapsulated under the heading of “Sacred Magic,” particularly if we think of the archetypal Magi, the Three Kings who came to visit the Solomon Jesus child. Star Wisdom as the teaching of Sacred Magic is the content of most of his teaching. In addition to this, his teaching concerning new forms of eurythmy and sacred practice are concerned in a more practical way with instructing people in Sacred Magic that, being deeply related to the Etheric Christ and Divine Sophia, are healthy Magical practices to take up, with none of the potential hazards associated with the ceremonial magic of, for example, the Golden Dawn. Not surprisingly, many of his most basic meditation/eurythmy exercises have to do with deepening our relationship with the cycles of the Moon, as the boundary demarcated by the orbit of the Moon is the realm of the Etheric, in which Christ is currently manifesting.

At the third level of manifestation of the Great Teachers, we come to the sequence of the healing miracles of Christ: after The Moon/Empress for Steiner, and Venus/The Lover for Tomberg, we come to Mercury/The Pope for Robert Powell. I have already written to some extent about the unfolding of this Third Miracle between 1992-2004 in my previous articles on these miracles, and that these deeds were particularly centered around the establishment of the Sophia Foundation as well as the School of Chorecosmos. The fifth Arcanum, The Pope, is related to Love of God; we can see in the various liturgies and sacraments of the Second Coming that have come through Robert’s work with the Sophia Foundation a new expression of Love of God via The Pope, a miracle for our time.


Additionally, the Mercury Chakra is related, according to Valentin Tomberg, to the art of Dance. This barely needs any elaboration on my part. It is clear from Robert’s nearly 40 year relationship to the practice of eurythmy that the art of Dance, particularly Cosmic and Sacred Dance, is central to the expression of his will.

Finally, we come to the fourth level of manifestation of the Great Teacher:  the effect on his followers, and the legacy he has left.  As Robert has pointed out in his work on the Great Teachers (primarily found in The Most Holy Trinosophia), while Rudolf Steiner came to awaken the Brow Chakra to Truth, and Valentin Tomberg came to awaken the Larynx Chakra to Goodness or Morality, the Novalis being (via Robert Powell, implicitly) has come to awaken the Heart Chakra to Beauty. The Heart Chakra is related to the Sun, and hence to The Magician/Mysticism.


Hence, it is a Mystical experience of Beauty that is to be awoken in the student of Robert Powell. Again, anyone who has ever attended a workshop facilitated by Robert Powell can feel this Mystical mood permeating them through and through. In terms of the Stages of the Passion, again we are brought to the Bearing of the Cross, the Stage associated with the Heart Chakra. We can see that another effect that Robert has (again, with the utmost gentleness and tact) is to awaken in those around him the same quality that is developed so strongly in himself – the capacity and willingness to bear burdens, to take up tasks. It is wonderful to witness how, over the course of the last year or two in particular, various initiatives that have been largely spearheaded by Robert have been passed on into quite capable hands. This was something that Rudolf Steiner (for a variety of karmic reasons; here is not the place to point a finger of blame) could not accomplish during his lifetime; the ultimate responsibility for the General Anthroposophical Society and its various initiatives, up until the day of his death, always lay at his feet.

And once again, we see an inversion take place. For Valentin Tomberg, the inner life of Rudolf Steiner (Magician) became his teaching, while the teaching of Rudolf Steiner (High Priestess) became his inner life. In his deeds (Lover) and legacy (Chariot), he brought something new. For Robert Powell, the deeds of Rudolf Steiner (Empress) have inverted and formed the content of both Robert’s inner life and teaching, while the inner life of Steiner, and the teaching of Tomberg (Magician) have moved outward to Robert’s legacy and effect on his students. In his deeds (Pope), he has brought something new. Indeed, the simple phrase of Tomberg’s, “Let the will of the predecessor be the thought of the successor, and let the thought of the predecessor be the will of the successor,” conceals a great deal of weaving from one Teacher to the next!

In the next and final section, we will look at how the four levels of manifestation might display themselves in the time ahead of us:  Jupiter/Mars/Sun/Mercury

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3 thoughts on “The Four-Fold Teachers Pt 4: Robert Powell

  1. Hello Joel, Happy Cosmic Easter!

    What a beautiful article! It felt refreshingly blooming as well as inviting to the whole series of The Four-Fold Teachers which I will read in the next few days. I’ve been a reader or the Journal since 2011, and I very much enjoy your new version. I couldn’t feel more blessed to find Robert work and workshop which since the time of my first attendance I felt walking and dancing above the ground. His welcoming gesture and openness, as well as all the other participants never made me feel that I had to prove anything to anybody even though my knowledge of his works as well as Rudolf Steiner was to the level of acquaintance. I did’n even know about Valentin Tomberg yet, and I couldn’t be more grateful to him to reveal such a Master.

    On your suggestion and I very much like this format I’m sharing is a poem I wrote on the past Good Friday:

    Feeling of Life in Christ breath becoming.

    The lion’s heart star, the judgement remembered,

    In all people center the fountain of Love,

    Sun of existence, incarnation, emanation,

    This Light given to us, is rhythm as gift,

    The stages are ages, the evolution and it’s Mages.


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