The Sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, pt 6

Now we will look closely at the continuing biography of the Being Philosophia. She has transitioned from the development of the head and thought perception in the Age of Aries (1945 BC – 215 AD) into the Age of Pisces. Here she will experience the three Solar cycles of development, encompassing the years 21-42 in a normal human biography. Here the three realms of the Ego, of Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul, and Consciousness Soul unfold in turn. And what is at stake here? There is a movement, gradually, out of thought perception in the realm of the head, to thought experience in the realm of the will.  We are now in the realm of the Fish, the Feet, the Will, the Ocean of the Subconscious depths. The human being will gradually come to feel thought as something produced out of their own depths, and not given to them by the cosmos. Really, this is a coming to terms with the reality of the individualized Ego, alone in the cosmos, rather than thought perception simply building the stage on which the Ego can unfold. Human beings increasingly have to grapple with what this means in terms of the Ego’s place in the cosmos, and the true fundamental nature of the Ego itself.

The first Solar cycle of the human being, from ages 21-28, marks the unfolding of the Sentient Soul, the lowest layer of the human Ego. At this point, the human Ego, the individual personality, is still relatively subconscious. One’s personality is still very determined by and reliant on family, social group, etc, and not determined from within. This corresponds, in Philosophia’s biography, to the year 215 – 935 AD, the first third of the Age of Pisces. This time period sees a revisiting of the philosophy of Plato in the form of Neoplatonism. The striving of individuals such as Origen, Porphyry, Plotinus, St. Augustine, Hypatia, and many others is to bring the Platonic mode of conception into another, more mysterious realm of human soul experience. These philosophers noted that the entirety of human soul experience could not be encapsulated in mere thinking; there was another realm, the mystical or religious realm, that had equal or even greater validity to them, which could not be adequately accessed by human thought. And so Platonic philosophy was used in order to elaborate and understand Christian theology, the content of religious experience.

It was also put into concrete practice by individuals such as Dionysius the Aereopagite in the 6th century in a process called henosis, whereby that which is not God, the One, is bit by bit negated within the soul. Thoughtful reflection is put to use to realize inwardly that which is not God within the human soul until one is brought gradually higher and higher up Jacob’s Ladder to the One—the the inexpressible Godhead of the World within the human soul. Whereas the Greek Philosophers felt that the microcosmic perception of thought was an adequate reflection of the macrocosm within the human soul, the Neoplatonists and early Church Fathers saw thought as an inadequate reflection of the macrocosm. Religious, mystical experience in union with thinking more adequately expressed the wholeness of the world within the human soul. This time period was brought to its fulfillment by John Scotus Eriugena in the 9th century AD.

The second Solar cycle in a human biography is that of the Intellectual Soul. Here the human personality settles into itself, via the first Saturn return at age 29.5 and the subsequent Christ years between ages 30-33. A balance begins to emerge between self and world, individual and surroundings. One no longer feels so merged with one’s environment, heredity, and social group. One strives to establish one’s profession and persona (mask) of adulthood, typically by finding one’s career, partner, children, etc.

In the biography of Philosophia, this corresponded to the second third of the Age of Pisces, the years 935 – 1655 AD.  During this time period, there was renewed contact between Europe and the Middle East due to the Crusades. The Aristotelian world conception which had been preserved in the Arabian courts was transmitted back to the West from which it sprung. It fell into the lap of the Scholastics, of the Franciscans and Dominicans in particular, exactly during the equivalent of the Christ years in Philosophia’s biography (approximately 13th-16th centuries AD).

It was only during this time period of the Intellectual Soul development of Philosophia that mankind as a whole began to experience the individual Ego as the source of thinking rather than thought as a more or less outer perception coming towards the soul. Thomas Aquinas in particular took up the task of bringing into harmony Reason, which is the product of human thinking (work), and Faith, which comes to us from religious experience and dogma (grace). Human thinking cannot, out of itself, discover or create Truth, but has been brought about as a faculty of the human soul that is able to justify the given Truths of the spiritual world offered through religious dogma. Thomas Aquinas and the Scholastics subsequently Christened Aristotelianism just as the Neoplatonists had Christened Platonism 700 years prior.

The aftermath of the Scholastics was twofold. On the one hand the German mystics such as Nicolaus Cusanus arose. The methodology of these mystics had a kinship to the henosis of Dionysius, but with a key difference. With Dionysius, the aim was to access a hidden part of the human soul that revealed more of the world than was accessible to human thought. The German mystics no longer sought for this realm within the human soul itself; they wished to utilize and transform the thinking Ego in order to access an objective spiritual world outside of and beyond the human Ego. The Ego was seen as separate from an objective spiritual world, rather than immersed and interwoven with it.

Similarly, and subsequently, arose the scientific revolution of the 16th century, with Leonardo da Vinci, Giordano Bruno, and Copernicus. They too no longer perceived the outer world as though interwoven with a thought-structure embedded within it, and likewise interwoven with the content of the human soul. They saw thought as something produced out of their own rigorous inner activity, and the sense world as something totally separate and objective over against their individual, thinking subject (the Ego).

Within the Age of Aries, the transition out of the Egyptian/Babylonian cultural epoch—and into the Greco-Roman epoch—took place, in the 8th century BC. It was after this that the full flowering of thought-perception, devoid of picture consciousness, took place, in Ancient Greece rather than Egypt or Israel. Similarly, around this time in the biography of Philosophia, we see the transition out of the Greco-Roman epoch into the Central European epoch, in the early 15th century AD. And just as the last third of the Age of Aries (505 BC – 215 AD) saw the full flourishing of Ancient Greek philosophy, so the last third of the Age of Pisces has seen the full flourishing of what we might call consciousness of the Ego.

The third and last Solar cycle in a human biography takes place from the ages of 35-42. It is the unfolding of the Consciousness Soul. Here the individual human being feels completely alone, ideally fully established in their proficiencies, conscious of their weaknesses, self-determining, creative, and capable. If they are not the above, a deep dissatisfaction, an existential ennui can become ever stronger. Here the choice is made whether to rise to higher levels of development out of one’s own will and work, or to stagnate and devolve, to remain more or less a teenager for life. They may also feel increasingly the external pressures of life, increasingly wrapped up in, acutely aware of and concerned by external affairs over which they wish they had more control. It is an intense time of life.

This time period was marked in the biography of Philosophia in the year 1655, when she transitioned into the development of her Consciousness Soul. We can see this as a kind of mini-consciousness soul age within the wider one of 1414-3574 (the Central European epoch referred to above). The loneliest loneliness, the Self completely thrown back upon itself. The year 1655 came right on the heels of the life of Descartes, who coined the cogito ergo sum, “I think, therefore I am.” The keynote of Cartesianism was doubt: all that is not the thinking Ego must be met with doubt and skepticism in order to discover its true nature, its lawfulness according to Reason. The fundamental experience that cannot be doubted is this very doubting itself—I think, i.e. I doubt, therefore I am. Cartesianism increasingly came to split the world into two pieces: an extendable (i.e. measurable) outer world, and an unmeasurable/subjective inner world. Only what was measurable—i.e. sense perceptible and/or able to be described by Reason—could be considered objective, and therefore True and Real.

Notice that this Cartesian split went hand in hand with the transition from geocentrism to heliocentrism. Under a geocentric model, there was hierarchy and order intrinsic to the Universe. The spiritual world operated in the heights above, as expressed by the movements of the stellar bodies; the Earth was the center of this creative activity, and Man was the center of the Earth. There was a hierarchy of Angelic beings expressed in the planetary spheres above; this hierarchy was reflected in that of Nature (Man, Animal, Plant, Mineral) and Society (Priest, Knight, Merchant, Peasant) below. Reason and Faith lived together under a happy marriage.

After Kepler, all of this changed. You see, Kepler had a choice. He had before him the work of both Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. The Copernican model is the heliocentrism that we all know today. What this model subconsciously reinforced for the human being is: “You cannot trust appearances. You must abstract the mathematically accurate reality out of the sense perceptions that are deceiving you. The Earth has no special place in the world, and therefore you are not part of a hierarchy. You are not special; but you are free to engage in self-determination and discovery through doubt and research.” On the other hand, Tycho Brahe had rediscovered the ancient Egyptian model of a universe with two centers: the Sun and Moon revolve around the Earth, while the rest of the planets (and the cosmos) revolve around the Sun. The acceptance of the Tychonic perspective would have led to a delicate interweaving between the Enlightenment mood of discovery without casting off the immanent order of the cosmos. Man would have been free to investigate and discover, to create and to question, but still would have felt himself an integral part of a whole. For a time these two cosmologies competed; it was Kepler’s decision to adhere to and popularize the Copernican model that led to the “Cartesian split”, and ultimately the entire materialistic scientism our culture has been increasingly immersed in ever since.

Tychonian

In the next section, we will look more closely at the last third of the Age of Pisces, a time period we are right in the middle of (the mid-point of this Consciousness Soul development of Philosophia was just a few years ago, 2015). During the last third of the Age of Aries, we saw the emergence of Platonism, Aristotelianism, and the Mystery of Golgotha. These three together determined the course of the subsequent 2000 years, with the Christening of first Platonism and then Aristotelianism. Have we yet, over the course of this last third of the Age of Pisces, experienced something analogous to Platonism, Aristotelianism, and the Mystery of Golgotha? Where are we now?

 

 

 

The Sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, pt 5

We have now come very far into our investigation of the seven sacrifices of Archangel Jesus and Christ. It would take me too far afield to offer a recap at this point: I encourage the reader to go back and read (or re-read) parts 1-4 in order to be fully caught up.

At the time of the Baptism in the Jordan, the astral body of the Archangel Jesus—in unity with the astral body of Gautama Buddha—offered a chalice into which the Ego of Christ could descend. The descent of this Ego—the Eje asher Eje, the Self of Selves—brought to fulfillment the promise of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ eons earlier during the Lemurian epoch, during which the physical, material body of the human being was formed and organized, and the seed was planted for the eventual unfolding of the personal, individual human ego.

Christ was the “first fruit” of the manifestation of the Ego—something that over the course of the next years would grow to become to common property of all humanity. For the first time in history, each human being would feel themselves to be a unique, individual personality, with a unique, individual biography.

And so now we have a new formation of the human being. The human being now has a fully externalized/individualized physical body; a fully individualized etheric body; a fully individualized astral body; and now the personal, “lower” ego has separated itself out from the three higher members of the human being—Manas, Buddhi, Atman—which continue to be a kind of undifferentiated conglomeration, still in formation. They were the transcendental and collective fifth member of the human being.

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This separation expresses itself in the presence of two “eyes” in the human being. The lower self, the personality, is an eye directed below to the sense-perceptible world for the sake of the development of the self-conscious intellect. Increasingly, human beings begin to feel that their thoughts are produced out of their own inner activity, not given to them as perceptions akin to sense-perceptions. Meanwhile, the higher self, the conscience, is the eye directed above. The dim, intuitive stirrings of conscience are the expression of the higher self, the mixture of Manas, Buddhi, Atman.

At this moment, with the unfolding of the individual, personal ego, the mission of the Hebrew people has been fulfilled. Hand in hand with this, the fulfillment of the ancient Hebrew sacrificial rite has come—the animal sacrifice is no longer necessary, is done away with. The “old Law” is replaced by the “new Law” of the Love of Christ. It is this Love of Christ that maintains the unity and connection between the lower “eye” below and the higher “eye” above. A new goal and mission comes to humanity—for the life of Christ represents the complete inversion of the first sacrifice of Christ. Whereas at the first sacrifice, the seed of the Ego was planted as future potential so that the physical body could be immediately organized, the fourth sacrifice performed the counter-operation. Here, the seed of Atman—the Resurrection Body—was planted so that the Ego could be immediately organized.

After the first sacrifice, an individual material physical body became the common property of each incarnating human being. In the meantime, a sacrificial rite had to be performed, in preparation for the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, when the individual personality would be born. During the fourth sacrifice, the individual personality—the Ego—now became the common property of each incarnating human being. And analogously, a new rite had to be initiated in order to prepare for the seventh sacrifice of Christ, when the transformed physical body—Atman, the Resurrection Body—will become the common property of all humanity. It is the Holy Eucharist, the Mass of Bread and Wine which is instituted at this time. The Mass can never be altered or replaced by any other rite—it is valid until the seventh sacrifice, until the Resurrection Body becomes the common property of all humanity, after which physical incarnation will no longer be necessary; i.e., it is valid until the “end of time,” or “end of the Age.”

And so the religious ritual of humanity can be divided into two clear sections: the time from ancient Lemuria through the Mystery of Golgotha—until the Last Supper—when the Hebrew sacrifice was the most fundamental rite; and the time from the Last Supper until the beginning of the Anglo-American cultural age, the “end of time”—when material incarnation (reincarnation, birth and death) will cease.

In the midst of the first portion, from ancient Lemuria through the Mystery of Golgotha (what could be broadly termed the Ancient Hebrew era), we see the emergence of the ancient Atlantean rituals, in the heart of the Atlantean era between the second and third sacrifices of Jesus and Christ which bookended this time period. We noted that at the time of the first sacrifice, Cain attempted to bring the Atlantean rituals too soon, while Abel brought the sacrifice of the Lamb, one that was appropriate then and until the Last Supper.

It is interesting that Cain attempted to institute the Atlantean rituals before their time—in a sense, you could say he played the role of a forerunner, giving a foretaste of the Atlantean rituals which were to come in a subsequent time. Now, if we turn our attention back to the being Philosophia, to whom we gave our focus in part 4, we will see something similar occurring at the time of her birth, at the dawn of the Age of Aries in 1945 BC. We see there that Abraham met with Melchizedek, the Manu or spiritual guide in the transition from Atlantis to the post-Atlantean era. Together they shared an Agape (Love) Feast of Bread and Wine. Similar to Cain laying the foundation for ancient Atlantis in his sacrifice of the vegetable harvest, here Abraham lays the foundation for the institution of the Eucharist with Melchizedek some 2000 years prior to the Last Supper. But it was not yet time for this rite to become widespread—it was only preparation. Rather, it was time for the further codifying of the sacrifice of the Lamb, shown to us in the story of Isaac’s sacrifice being prevented by the appearance of a Ram in the bushes.

Let’s now go back to the biography of Philosophia where we have left off: at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. If the “Moon years” of her biography lasted from the time of Abraham to Moses/Joshua (1945 BC – 1225 BC) and her “Mercury years” lasted from the time of Moses/Joshua to the Babylonian captivity (1225 BC – 505 BC), then the Mystery of Golgotha and the gift of the human personality occurred toward the end of her “Venus years”: 505 BC – 215 AD. In fact, we see that the life of Christ approximately corresponds to the time of the first Nodal return (18.61 years) and the end of the first Metonic cycle (19 years) in the normal human biography. This is the time when the Earth, Moon and Sun have been in every possible relationship, and the pathway of the Sun and Moon intersect at the place they did at birth. The human being is given a reminder at this time of pre-heavenly purposes and intentions—we might say that the Ego flashes up at this point, and begins to express itself more and more strongly over the next 20+ years of the individual’s biography.

And this is precisely what occurred during the biography of Philosophia. The first three of her life cycles took place over the course of the Age of Aries. Aries is related to the human head, to the development of human thinking and the personality centered in the head. During the last third of this time—the Venus years, from 505 BC – 215 AD—this development came to a head. We saw the full flowering of human thought capacity in Plato and Aristotle: Plato’s world conception directed vertically, to the realm of the Eternal Archetypes—to the One—and Aristotle’s world conception directed horizontally, to elaborating every branch of science based out of a perception of those archetypes as immanent in every aspect of external reality—to the Multiplicity.

However, after Aristotle, Greek Philosophy petered out. No one could top Aristotle. He had investigated and elaborated everything more thoroughly than any successor could hope to add to. They could only pore over his work, trying to develop a complete systematism out of what he had brought. This work was, through the life of Alexander the Great, transmitted to the Middle East, where it was preserved for a later time.

Afterwards, and around the life of Christ, the decadence of the Greco-Roman era reached its height. It was as though the cultural flame had burned brightest in the Michaelic era of Plato, Aristotle and Buddha, only to burn out completely. The entire culture devolved on the one hand into a hedonist paganism, devoid of any true relationship to the Spirit, and on the other hand to a martial law and order, an all too rigid Roman empire. It was into this compost heap of culture that the Christ-Ego was planted, to spring up and flourish mightily over the next 2000 years. The Mystery of Golgotha marked the “flashing in” of the eternal mission—the pre-Earthly intention, the Ego—of Philosophia.

In the next section, we will investigate the next three life cycles—the three Solar cycles—of the being Philosophia, leading up to her second Nodal return and the end of her second Metonic cycle in our own time, the time of the 5th Sacrifice of Jesus and Christ. If we can come to understand the last 1800 years with due clarity, we can also see with clear vision what the next 1900 years hold in store for human spiritual and cultural development.

The Sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, pt 4

Last time we began to investigate Rudolf Steiner’s indications from the lecture “Perception of the Nature of Thought: Sun Activity in Earthly Evolution”, given on January 10, 1915. Here he describes the development and biography of the being Philosophia; he alludes to her approximately 700-year cycles, analogous to the 7-year cycles of the biographical development of the human being. He also points to the fact that the birth of Philosophia’s astral body, corresponding to age 14 of the human being, was expressed in the rise and flowering of the philosophy of ancient Greece—Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

In this lecture, he goes on to describe the succeeding three life cycles of this being—the period of the Neoplatonists and early Church Fathers up through John Scotus Eriugena corresponding to the “Sentient Soul years” of 21-28; the time from Eriugena through Descartes corresponding to the “Intellectual Soul years” of 28-35; and the time since then, the time in which we still live, corresponding to the “Consciousness Soul years” of 35-42. We will elaborate further on these different time periods in future sections of this article series.

What has become clear to me in working deeply with these indications is that the rhythm of the biographical development of Philosophia follows the rhythm of the Zodiacal Ages. Each life cycle is 720 years, one-third of a Zodiacal Age of 2,160 years. Her  first three life cycles took place in the Age of Aries, from 1945 BC to 215 AD:

Physical Body/Moon Years (0-7) = 1945-1225 BC

Etheric Body/Mercury Years (7-14) = 1225-505 BC

Astral Body/Venus Years (14-21) = 505 BC – 215 AD

Aries is related to the human head; this was the time period when the human head became particularly active. We can see this first of all in that the human being’s pictorial consciousness faded, and was eclipsed by a perception of thoughts rather than pictures. This development reached its apotheosis in the Greek philosophers. On the other hand, the Age of Aries culminated in the birth of the human personality, which felt itself as centered in the head.

Can we try to understand the nature of these first two cycles, the “Moon years” and “Mercury years” of Philosophia, which Rudolf Steiner barely goes into? The closest he comes to doing so is an allusion to pre-Socratic philosophers such as Thales and Anaxagoras who grasped their world philosophy in an elemental, temperamental form: the origin of the world was found in a primal Water or a primal Fire. These philosophers were active when Philosophia was equivalent to the age of 12-14 years old (between 700-500 BC), transitioning out of the “Mercury years” of primary school into the “Venus years” of the teenage adolescent.

We can find an answer to the mystery of these first two “life cycles” of Philosophia by looking to two other lectures given by Rudolf Steiner five years previously, in 1910: the second lecture on the “True Nature of the Second Coming,” from March 6 (https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19100306p02.html) and the second lecture from the series on the Gospel of St Matthew on September 2 (https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19100902p01.html).

From the first of these two lectures, we get the clearest indication as to why exactly the start of the Age of Aries marked the birth of the being Philosophia in the history of mankind. This is related to the Hebrew Patriarch Abraham, who was born and lived around the start of the Age of Aries, 1945 BC (emphasis mine):

…at the conclusion of the first millennium of Kali Yuga [i.e., around the year 2000 BC], a kind of substitute was given for vision of the spiritual worlds. This substitute was made possible through the fact that a particular individual — Abraham — was chosen out because the special organisation of his physical brain enabled him to have consciousness of the spiritual world without the old faculties. That is why in Spiritual Science we call the first millennium of Kali Yuga the Abraham-epoch; it was the epoch when man did, it is true, lose the direct vision of the spiritual worlds, but when there unfolded in him something like a consciousness of the Divine which gradually made its way more and more deeply into his ego, with the result that he came to conceive of the Deity as related to human ego-consciousness. In the first millennium of Kali Yuga — which at its conclusion we can call the Abraham-epoch — the Deity is revealed as the World-Ego.

So we see that with Abraham, we have the birth of thinking that is attached specifically to the physical brain. The spiritual world is no longer perceived in a pictorial sense as something outside the human being; it now begins to be grasped as an internal reality of World-Ego. This new development in human evolution, this birth of Philosophia, is represented in the sacrificial lamb appearing to spare Isaac from the sacrifice. The lamb, Aries, the human head, sacrifices its perception of the spiritual world as an objective reality, and begins to turn itself to the perception of thoughts, so that the individual human personality (Isaac) can arise within the human soul.

This first cycle—the Moon cycle, the years related to the physical body in human development (0-7)—is consequently born with Abraham. In the three Hebrew Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob we might see an image the first three years of child development, and the gifts of uprightness (Abraham), speech (Isaac), and thought (Jacob). The second half of these years, the equivalent of 3.5 to 7, are then spent in Egypt. It is the departure from Egypt back into the Holy Land that marks the “change of teeth” of Philosophia. Moses is the figure which marks the end of the “Moon years,” transitioning to the “Mercury years” of 1225-505 BC (equivalent to 7-14 in a human biography).

The story of the “Moon years” is the gradual establishment, the “codifying” so to speak, of the religious rite of the ancient Hebrews. Up until this point it had existed as a kind of golden thread, organically flowing from generation to generation through more-or-less direct perception and/or memory of the spiritual world. But with the life of Abraham this direct perception and memory is sundered. With the time in history between the lives of Abraham and Moses, we see the rise of the first alphabets—picture-writing to begin with, hieroglyphics. Writing came about in order to preserve the knowledge that was no longer accessible through direct perception. This process culminated in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible written by Moses.

Here we see that picture-consciousness of the spiritual world has become mythology; a remnant of what was once perceivable. At the same time, we see written in exact detail the rites of the Hebrew people, which up until that time had not been codified. What existed previously as direct inspiration from the spiritual world needed to be transmitted to and codified by a chosen individual for the sake of the many.

And so we see that although Steiner first speaks of the Ancient Greeks in relation to the development of Philosophia, it is in the Ancient Hebrew peoples that we find her origin, her birth. Further confirmation of this is found in the second lecture mentioned above, from the series on the Gospel of St. Matthew. Steiner is here speaking of Zarathustra’s incarnation in Ancient Persia, some 5,000 years before Christ. Zarathustra had two pupils at this time. To one of them he passed on his astral body, and all the mysteries of Space. This individual reincarnated as Thoth or Hermes Trisgmegistus, around the year 2500 BC. He originated the Osiris cult and much of the external culture of Ancient Egypt. The other pupil received the etheric body of Zarathustra, and all the mysteries of Time. This individual reincarnated as Moses, who, along with the rest of the Ancient Hebrews from Joseph onwards, was immersed in the Hermetic culture of Ancient Egypt:

Now the contact of the wisdom of Hermes with that of Moses was pictured in the Mysteries of ancient Egypt as representing something that, according also to Spiritual Science, had previously taken place in the cosmos. We know that early in evolution the sun separated from the earth, leaving the moon for a period within the earth. Later a part of this globe separate from the earth, and remained as the present moon. Thus the earth sent a portion of itself, as moon, into universal space, towards the sun. We may think of the remarkable occurrence of the meeting of the Earth-wisdom of Moses with the Sun-wisdom of Hermes as comparable with this streaming forth of the Earth-forces towards the sun. One might say: The wisdom of Moses, in its further course, after separating from the Sun-wisdom of Zarathustra, developed as the wisdom of the earth and of men in such a way that it drew again towards the sun, absorbing and filling itself with direct solar wisdom. The earth was destined to receive direct Sun-wisdom only to a certain extent, then to develop further alone and independently. The wisdom of Moses, therefore, only remained in Egypt until it had absorbed sufficient for its needs. Then came the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, in order that the Sun-wisdom taken up by the Earth-wisdom might be assimilated and brought to greater self-dependence.

The wisdom of Moses was two-fold. One part was developed under the sheltering wing of the Hermes-wisdom which it continually absorbed from every side, then, after the exodus from Egypt, it separated from this development, continued further within itself, and later passed through three stages. Towards what should this wisdom evolve? What is its task? Its ultimate task was to find its way back from the earth to the sun. It had become earthly wisdom. Moses was born with all he inherited from Zarathustra, as a wise man of earth. He was to find the way back, and he sought it in three stages, the first being that in which he absorbed the wisdom of Hermes. These stages are again best expressed in the images drawn from cosmic events. When what takes place upon the earth streams back in space from the earth towards the sun, it first encounters what is of the nature of Mercury (in ordinary astronomy the Mercury of astronomy is the Venus of Occult Science), then that of Venus, and ultimately that which is of the nature of the sun. The soul of Moses had to develop his Zarathustrian inheritance in inner experiences in such a way that he might return and find once more what appertained to the Sun. In order to do this he had to attain a certain degree of development. The wisdom Moses had implanted in western culture had to develop according to the way he gave it to his people. The wisdom he had gained from Hermes and which came to him like the direct rays of the sun, he had to develop anew, and reflect it back again in a changed form, after he had absorbed some part of it.

And so we can discover from the above quotation that the “Moon years” center around the meeting of the Hebraic Earth wisdom with the Egyptian Solar wisdom, like the Moon reaching out to the Sun from the Earth. Next, we come to the description of the second life-phase, the Mercury phase, of the being Philosophia. This life-phase centers around the time of Kind David, who is an image of the “nine-year change” in the life of Philosophia. At this time the Hebrew people transition to an age of Kings, to the “Solomon era” which comes after the “Moses era.” Mythology slowly transforms into epic poetry. The law established by theocratic, initiate priest-kings now transitions into a monarchy: the roles of king, priest and prophet each separate, specialize and mutually influence each other. We can see in the Psalms of David, in the Song of Songs, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes a kind of proto-philosophy—part philosophy, part poetry.

Steiner describes the time periods of the “Mercury years” (1225-505 BC) and the “Venus years” (505 BC – 215 AD) as such:

Now we are told that Hermes, who was later called ‘Mercury,’ brought to his people science and art, that is, external knowledge and art, in a form suitable to them. But it was in a different and almost opposite way that the wisdom of Moses attained to the Hermes-Mercury standpoint. Moses had himself to develop the wisdom of Hermes further. This is shown in the progress of the Hebrew people up to the age and reign of David. David, who is presented to us as the royal singer of Psalms and holy prophet, who as a man of God worked both as warrior and harpist, is the Hermes, or Mercury, of the Hebrew people. That stream of the Hebrew folk had now so far evolved that it had developed an independent form of Hermetic or Mercury wisdom. At the time of David the wisdom received from Hermes had reached the Mercury sphere, or Mercury stage, on its return journey. It then continued to the region of Venus. This came to pass for the Hebrews when the Moses-wisdom, or rather that version of it which had endured as his wisdom for hundreds of years, had to unite with an entirely different element, with a stream issuing from another direction.

Just as that which streams back in space from the earth towards the sun encounters Venus, so the wisdom of Moses encountered an Asiatic wisdom that came from another direction during the Babylonian Captivity. The Moses-wisdom came in touch with the weakened form of another wisdom in the Mysteries of Babylon and Chaldea. Like a wanderer who, having acquired knowledge of the earth, leaves it for the Mercury sphere, and thence passes on to Venus desirous of experiencing the sunlight as it is felt there, so the Moses-wisdom, having received the direct Sun-wisdom from the holy teachings of Zarathustra, passed over in a weakened form to the mystery schools of Chaldea and Babylon. The wisdom of Moses experienced this weakening during the Babylonian captivity, where it united with all that had penetrated into the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates. Here something else happened.

In the sanctuaries which the wise men among the Hebrews were obliged to frequent during their captivity, the wisdom of Moses was directly impregnated with the qualities of the Sun-wisdom. For at this time Zarathustra was himself incarnated and taught in the mystery schools of the Tigris and Euphrates, and was known to the learned among the Hebrews. He who had relinquished part of his wisdom so that he might receive it back again, was himself teaching at this time. He had frequently reincarnated, and in this incarnation in which he was known as Zarathos or Nazarathos, he taught the captive Jews in Babylon.

Thus in the course of its further progress, the wisdom of Moses came in touch with what Zarathustra had himself become after he had withdrawn from the more distant Mystery Sanctuaries and had entered those of Asia Minor. Here he became the teacher of the initiate Chaldean disciples, as well as teacher of the Hebrews. They now received a fructification of their Mosaic wisdom by a stream they were now fitter to encounter, because what had once been given to their ancestor Moses by Zarathustra came to them now directly from himself, in his incarnation as Zarathos or Nazarathos. This was the destiny through which Mosaic wisdom passed. Originally it sprang from Zarathustra, but was then transplanted into an alien land. It was as if a Sun-being with bandaged eyes had been brought down to earth, and now, on its backward journey, had to seek all it had lost. Such a wanderer was Moses, the pupil of Zarathustra. His destiny had placed him within Egyptian civilization, so that all the wisdom given him at one time by Zarathustra might be quickened and illuminated in his inner being. He was cut off, as it were, from the sun on the fields of earth, where unaware of the source of his illumination he moved unconsciously towards what once was sun. In Egypt he was attracted towards the wisdom of Hermes, which brought to him direct Zarathustra-wisdom, not an indirect reflection like his own. After absorbing sufficiently of this, the wisdom of Moses continued its development in a more direct way. Having founded an Hermetic wisdom at the time of David, and a science and art of its own, it turned again towards the sun from which it had originally come forth, though in a way that had at first to appear veiled.

In the ancient Babylonian schools of learning where, among others, Zarathustra taught Pythagoras, his teaching was restricted by the type of physical body of the period. If Zarathustra was to give full expression to his Sun-nature through a form suited to those times, as he was able to do in that earlier incarnation when he had passed it on to Moses and Hermes, he would require a bodily instrument fitted to the new age. Restricted by a body such as could be produced in ancient Babylonia, he was only able to convey such wisdom as he passed on to Pythagoras, to the learned Hebrews and wise men of Chaldea and Babylon, who in the sixth century before Christ, were ready and able to hear it. In respect of this teaching it was exactly as if the sunlight were first taken up by Venus and prevented from shining directly on the earth; as if his teaching could not shine with its original splendour but only in a weakened form. Before the Sun-wisdom of Zarathustra could shine forth once more in its pristine power, a body suited to him must first be provided, and in a very special way.

So we see that the Venus years were inaugurated at the time of the reincarnated Zarathustra (Nazarathos) in the 6th century AD. Both the Ancient Hebrew and the Ancient Greek streams were given a kind of infusion of life at this time: Nazarathos taught both Pythagoras and the prophet Daniel. Yet each stream carried a different mission. The Ancient Hebrews had the mission of cultivating a physical body that could actually bring to birth the individualized ego—the promise of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ finding its fulfillment in the fourth sacrifice, the Mystery of Golgotha, the birth of the human “I”:

In the first lecture, we told of the three folk-souls of Asia, the Indian in the South, the Iranian, and the Turanian to the North, and we described the connection of these with the Atlantean migrations into Asia. Where the northern stream which came from Atlantis met the southern stream which passed through Africa, an extraordinary mixture of races occurred. From this admixture a race developed from which later the Hebrew people sprang.

Something unusual occurred in the development of these ancestors of the Hebrews. The lower astral-etheric clairvoyance which had become so decadent among certain races because it was the last phase of external perception, had in those people who developed into the Hebrew race, turned inwards and manifested as an organizing force. That which we have described as being externally decadent, as having remained behind in certain races as a last phase of declining clairvoyance, and as being permeated somewhat by the Ahrimanic element, had progressed among the Hebrews in the right direction by becoming an actively organizing force within the human body. Through this, bodies became more perfect. What among the Turanians was decadent worked constructively and progressively in the Hebrews. Within the physical nature of the Hebrews, as propagated from generation to generation in the close bond of blood relationship, all those forces were active which had accomplished their mission in developing external sight. These were no longer required to provide external sight, so could enter on another sphere of action, thus passing into their right element. That which had given to the Atlantean the power to gaze spiritually into space and into spiritual realms, that had run wild in the Turanians, appearing as a last relic of clairvoyance — all this force worked inwardly in the little Hebrew nation. What in the Atlantean had been spiritual and divine, worked inwardly in the Hebrew race to form certain organs. It worked constructively in the body and could therefore flash forth in the blood of this people as an inward divine consciousness. With the Hebrew people it was if all the Atlantean had seen when directing his clairvoyant vision into space was turned inwards, as if it constructed inwardly an organ of consciousness which was the Jahve-consciousness — the consciousness of God within him. This people felt the God Who filled all space to be united with their blood, felt they were filled, impregnated with Him, and that He lived in the pulsation of their blood.

As in the last lecture we contrasted the Iranians and the Turanians we have now considered the Turanians and the Hebrews, and have seen that what in its further progress and in its essence had become decadent in the Turanians, pulsated later in the blood of the Hebrew people. All that the Atlantean had seen, lived on in the Hebrew as an inward feeling, and could be comprised in a single word: Jahve or Jehovah. The consciousness of God lived throughout the generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob concentrated as into a single point, invisible but inwardly felt. The God Who had revealed Himself to the Atlantean clairvoyance behind all living things was now the God dwelling in the blood of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and led the generations of their race from destiny to destiny. The outward had thus become inward; it was experienced, no longer seen; it was no longer described by different names, but by one single name ‘I am the I am!’ It had taken on an entirely different form. Whereas for the Atlantean this was found where he was not — in the external world — it was now found by man in the centre of his own being; in his ego; he was conscious of it in the blood that coursed through the generations. The mighty God of the Universe had now become the God of the Hebrews; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and flowed through the generations as the blood of the race.

It was in this way that the race was founded whose special inner mission for humanity we shall consider in the next lecture. We have thus far only been able to indicate the very earliest stage of the composition of the blood of this people, in which was concentrated everything that in the age of ancient Atlantis, humanity had allowed to be impressed upon it from without. We shall see later what mysteries were fulfilled in that which had here its beginning, and shall learn to recognize the peculiar nature of that people from which Zarathustra could take his body to become the being we call Jesus of Nazareth.

In contrast to the Ancient Hebrews, it was the mission of the Ancient Greeks to bring to absolute perfection the human astral body that had been born at the end of the Atlantean Age. Their goal was to allow perception of thought to fully eclipse the ancient picture-consciousness. This perfected astral body could then be the solid foundation upon which the individualized Ego could stand. The Ancient Hebrews realized the promise of the Ego given to them at the time of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ; but they would have been unable to do this without the perfecting of the astral body on the part of the Ancient Greeks.

We see this perfecting and offering the astral body brought to a single point—an individual, representative, sacrificial activity—at the time of Christ. The Archangel Jesus once again offers his astral body to the Nathan Jesus, the vessel for Christ. He had offered this astral body at the dawn of the Atlantean Age in order to allow its force to flow down into the human etheric body, organizing and elaborating it, allowing it to separate off from the higher conglomeration of “bodies.” During the fourth sacrifice at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, the Archangel Jesus once again offers this astral body—but this time in order to lay the foundation for something higher to be born: the human ego. Keeping in mind that Rudolf Steiner indicated that Archangel Jesus was the same as the Apollo of the Ancient Greeks, we could say that the Apollonian wisdom of Greece was offered to the representative Hebrew—indeed, the representative of all Humanity—in order to facilitate the birth of the individual human “I”, the promise of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ. We will investigate this further in part five.

The Sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, pt 3

Let’s briefly recap before going further:

The first sacrifice of Archangel Jesus was the offering of his Ego in order to organize and bring to manifestation the physical body of the human being at the end of Ancient Lemuria. The offering of his Archangelic Ego planted the seed for the eventual unfolding of the purely human “I”, the earthly personality, at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. The cultivation of this developing Ego was performed primarily by the Ancient Hebrew culture through the Hebrew religious rites, beginning with Abel’s sacrifice of a Lamb to Yahweh, all the way through to the time of Jesus Christ.

However, at the beginning of the Age of Atlantis, Archangel Jesus also sacrificed his astral body in order to facilitate the coming-to-birth of the human being’s etheric body. While the full manifestation of the human being’s etheric body was the immediate gift of this sacrifice, it also planted the seed for the eventual and similar full development of the astral body, at the end of the Atlantean era. In between, certain ancient rituals—ceremonial magical rites—were enacted in order to cultivate this developing astral body. These occurred alongside of the ongoing Hebrew rituals meant to develop the Ego. At the culmination of Atlantis, with the birth of the astral body in the human being, these rituals were no longer necessary. Any remnant of them was decadent and potentially harmful, but ineffective at best. On the other hand, the Ancient Hebrew rite carried on, and continued to take on a more and more codified form.

We can put before our mind’s eye a larger cycle of development, extending from the first sacrifice at the end of Lemuria through the fourth sacrifice at the Mystery of Golgotha, consisting of the ancient Hebrew religion. Embedded within this cycle is a smaller one, which only unfold between the second and third sacrifices of Jesus and Christ during the Atlantean Age:

First portion

As the post-Atlantean Age unfolded, the Zodiacal Ages of Cancer, Gemini, and Taurus recapitulated the time period laid out above, from the end of Lemuria to the end of Atlantis. It was the Age of Aries that properly brought something—or Someone—new to birth, and finally saw the concrete codification of the Hebrew rituals through the patriarchs and Moses. When I say “birth,” the reader may very well ask: what exactly—or Who exactly—was it that was born at the beginning of the Age of Aries, around 1945 BC?

In a lecture from January 10, 1915, Rudolf Steiner paints a vivid picture of a being named Philosophia—see https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19150110p01.html. He characterizes her unfolding biography as the remnant or expression of the Ancient Sun evolution in our current Earthly world. Whereas the normal human being’s biography unfolds over a series of ten seven-year cycles, her biography, according to Steiner, unfolds in a series of approximately seven hundred-year cycles.

For the human being, these seven-year cycles are as follows:

0-7 = birth of physical body, development of etheric body. Related to the Moon Sphere.

7-14 = birth of the etheric body, development of the astral body. Related to the Mercury Sphere.

14-21 = birth of the astral body, development of the sentient soul. Related to the Venus Sphere.

21-28 = birth of the sentient soul, development of the intellectual soul. Related to the Sun Sphere.

28-35 = birth of the intellectual soul, development of the consciousness soul. Related to the Sun Sphere.

35-42 = birth of the consciousness soul, development of Manas or Spirit-Self. Related to the Sun Sphere.

42-49 = birth of Manas, development of Life-Spirit or Buddhi. Related to the Mars Sphere.

49-56 = birth of Buddhi, development of Atman. Related to the Jupiter Sphere.

56-63 = birth of Atman, development of the “Zodiacal Man,” the karma-free human being. Related to the Saturn Sphere.

63-70 = birth of the Zodiacal Man. Related to the Zodiac. (see Hermetic Astrology vol II by Robert Powell for more information)

In this fascinating and complicated lecture, Rudolf Steiner describes the evolution of this being Philosophia in terms related to the above unfolding of human biography. He points to the historical evolution of human consciousness as an indication of the evolution of this being. Oddly enough, he begins his description of the biography of this being at her third life cycle—that of the astral body, related to the Venus sphere. He makes only very vague remarks regarding the first two life cycles. (We will return to this later).

The third life cycle (14-21) of this being begins around the time of the pre-Socratic philosophers. These pre-Socratic philosophers represented the bridge from the old elemental picture consciousness that understood the cosmos via myth, and the newly arising consciousness that revealed itself to the human soul in the form of thought. This new capacity of the thinking soul only fully revealed itself in Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. For these three most representative Greek philosophers, the activity of human thinking did not proceed as though thoughts were created by the Ego, as it does for modern man. These thinkers perceived thoughts as being given to them as any other perception, out of the nature of the very phenomena to which they gave their attention. The divide between soul and world became clear; this divide was bridged through thoughts which were given to the human soul, like words whispered in one’s ear.

Steiner indicates that this third cycle lasted from around the 6th century BC up to the early days of the Church. He indicates that while the development of a world conception based on thought was coming from Ancient Greece, something else was arising in human evolution in connection with the Hebrew people. Their entire mission was tied up with the birth of the individual human Ego, the “I.” This was born towards the end of this period, in 33 AD, at the Mystery of Golgotha.

The next approximately 700-year life cycle in the biography of Philosophia begins during the days of the early Church Fathers and extends through the late 9th century AD—Steiner explicitly refers to John Scotus Eriugena as representing the end of this cycle. This time period was typified by a processing of the world conceptions that had been born in Ancient Greece—in particular Platonism—but at the same time recognizing the limitation of human thinking. It began to be recognized that human thinking does not encapsulate the entirety of the soul’s experience of the world. The thought conceptions of Plato were put to use in order to understand and bring to full consciousness (gnosis) the primal, mystical religious experience of the soul, and the content of religious traditions (primarily Judaism and Christianity).

This was followed by a crucial time period—the approximately 700-year time period of the development of the intellectual soul, the heart of which contains the Christ years of the human being’s biographical unfolding (ages 30-33). It was during the heart of this time period, from the 9th century through the 16th/17th century, that the philosophical/religious movement of Scholasticism began to unfold. Just as the prior time period was a revisiting of Platonism through the burgeoning forces of the Ego bestowed upon the human being through the Mystery of Golgotha, the Scholastic period saw a revisiting and revival of Aristotelianism. Through Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle was Christianized. It was at this point in human history that, for the first time on a completely conscious level, thought was experienced as being produced by the human soul, rather than as a perception coming towards it from without. The task of Scholasticism was to form a truce between the thinking produced out of the Reason of the human soul with the content of religious experience and tradition (dogma). Religious experience was a matter of grace, of a gift from another world that could only be perceived through the capacity of Faith. It was fundamentally based on a trans-subjective experience, and therefore could not become universal. On the other hand the activity of Reason, of the thinking soul, was the effort of the human being to bring this religious content into a conceptual structure and justification that had a universal, objective value.

This time period ended around the 16th/17th centuries, with the Copernican and Cartesian revolutions. The human self began to be felt very strongly as an independent, thought-creating entity. Scientists and philosophers began to feel ever more acutely the lack of the Ego’s self-justification, a deeper and deeper confusion in regards to the fundamental accuracy of human thinking and sense observation, and a loss of the sense of the human personality’s place in the cosmos. World conceptions based on natural science and observation seemed to have no room left for the human soul. More and more the Ego had to struggle to find its place in the world conceptions that were being forced upon the human being due to the rise of materialism. It is in the midst of this struggle that we currently stand.

This year I have had the great opportunity to teach a course of Philosophical Perspectives in the Camphill Academy. I used this lecture as my point of departure, in conjunction with the book Riddles of Philosophy (see here: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA018/English/AP1973/GA018_index.html). As we’ve worked with this material over the past three months, it has helped me to strike upon what I believe is the exact timing of the unfolding of this being Philosophia.

The first three life cycles of Philosophia take place over the course of the Age of Aries (1945 BC – 215 AD), each one lasting 720 years—this is why Steiner said the life cycles of Philosophia were approximately seven hundred years in length:

Physical body/Moon Sphere: 1945 BC – 1225 BC

Etheric body/Mercury Sphere: 1225 BC – 505 BC

Astral body/Venus Sphere: 505 BC – 215 AD

The life of Christ in this schema would fall right around what would be the equivalent of age 19. We might imagine the Mystery of Golgotha as related to the extremely potent time period in a human being’s biography between the first return of the Moon’s Node (18.61 years old) and the end of the first metonic cycle (19 years old). A window opens for the human being at this time, when one in a way “renews one’s vows” in relation to decisions made prior to incarnating.

The next three life cycles take place over the course of the Age of Pisces (215 AD – 2375 AD), and the final three will take place over the course of the Age of Aquarius (2375 AD – 4535 AD). We will look more closely at these time periods in the next sections. We will also turn our gaze to the mystery of the first two life cycles of the being Philosophia, which took place between 1945 BC – 505 BC. Did Steiner give any indications as to the nature of these two life cycles? Why did the birth of Philosophia coincide with this time period—the start of the Age of Aries? And what developed during that time period that had directly to do with the Mystery of Golgotha, the fourth Sacrifice of Jesus and Christ?

The Sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, pt. 2

The first sacrifice of Archangel Jesus and Christ occurred sometime in the last third of the Lemurian epoch. At this moment, human beings were given the immediate gift of the organized mineral-physical body, due to the developing seed of the Ego being planted within them. At this point, the human being’s primal, intuitive clairvoyance began to dim; they began to have the first inklings of a division between subject and object, but in the form of primal inspirations. They no longer felt completely at one with the spiritual world. Instead, they felt this world to be outside of them, yet still made up of concrete spiritual beings. None of this was in anyway occurring in full consciousness, but in a dim, almost hypnotic state.

It is my conviction that the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ went hand in hand with the events described in Genesis involving Cain and Abel. As we will see, the seed of the Ego that had been planted within humanity by the spiritual world needed to be met with a corresponding action on the part of humanity towards the spiritual world. In essence, the Ego that had been provided was a sacrifice on the part of Archangel Jesus—he sacrificed a fully-formed portion of his being to act as a substitute, and a guide, until the human being could have a fully individualized personality. And so what was required from humanity as sacred magical rite was a corresponding sacrifice, a properly performed sacrificial ritual.

We might say that the story of Cain and Abel shows us humanity’s tragic discovery of what is true ritual (i.e. sacred magic) and what is arbitrary or fallen ritual (ceremonial or black magic). The shepherd Abel properly mirrored the sacrifice enacted by Archangel Jesus, by sacrificing the best of his lambs. The animal sacrifice, since the time of Abel onwards, carries on through the entire history of the Hebrew people, becoming ever more codified and precise, until the time of Christ. It is there that the need for the sacrificial lamb ceases (we will return to this in a later section).

Cain, on the other hand, attempts first an arbitrary/ceremonial magical rite (symbolized by the burning of vegetation), and then in his frustration, a black magical rite (symbolized in the human sacrifice of his brother Abel). The seed is already planted here at the beginning of all ritual for three paths to open up: to the sacred, the arbitrary, and the debased.

The attention of Jesus and Christ now turns to the etheric body of the human being. At this point in time, the etheric body (body of life-forces) of the the human being is completely permeated by the other five members, particularly the astral body. Our organic functions at this point in time are not just keeping us alive, they are deeply felt and experienced, as a content of soul. We only experience our etheric body in such a way in modern times when we feel ill—our astral body sinks down into our etheric at such times. The human being constantly felt unwell—and due to the existence of arbitrary and debased magical practices, constantly ran the risk of becoming even more ill and out of balance, and sunken within him or herself.

Archangel Jesus, towards the beginning of the Atlantean epoch, sacrificed his astral body for the sake of the human being. The sacrifice of this body resulted in the coalescing, the birthing of the fully formed etheric body, separated from the other five members of the human being, as the physical body had been during ancient Lemuria. And at the same time, due to the sacrifice of the astral body of Archangel Jesus, the seed was planted for the eventual unfolding and distinct formation of the astral body.

three of coins marseilles

The etheric body and the physical body now existed as distinct members active in the material earthly plane. Both the astral body and the Ego had been potentized due to the first two sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, yet they remained essentially united and blended with the other three higher members of the human being (Manas, Buddhi, and Atman), in a sense “hovering above” the other two externalized members. The Ego and the astral body each demanded a different sort of ritual in order to continue to develop within the “flowing together” of the higher human being (i.e. higher than the etheric body).

With the astral body now separated from the etheric body, the possibility for vocalization, and kind of song-language based in vowel sounds could develop. This is reflected in human development at the age of 2, when the first attempts at speech are made. In this sounding, the human being now developed in the horizontal, towards other human beings and nature, in juxtaposition to its vertical development during the first sacrifice.

The rituals for the development of the astral body consisted in the rites of the ancient Atlantean oracles. It is entirely possible that these rites consisted in the “vegetable sacrifice,” the ceremonial or nature magic that Cain attempted to establish at too early a period, but which now had found their place. Abel’s animal sacrifice created smoke which rose up vertically, relating it to the development of the uprightness of the Ego, while the vegetable sacrifice created smoke which spread out horizontally, relating it to the community and nature oriented development of the astral body.

The human being at this point had entirely entered a stage of dim inspirational clairvoyance, and with the second sacrifice of Jesus and Christ, began to feel even more distinctly the split between subject and object. Inspirational clairvoyance, direct contact with spiritual beings, gradually faded into imaginative clairvoyance—a dream-like awareness of flowing pictures which represented the spiritual world to the human being.

Eventually, the astral body reached its full fruition. At the same time, it ran the risk of overwhelming the higher members of the human being, particularly the still-developing Ego. And so Archangel Jesus sacrificed his etheric body to Christ to facilitate the birth of the astral body in the human being, separating it from the other four higher members which continued to operate as a single conglomeration.

Four of Coins Marseilles

The astral body could now begin to differentiate into its three faculties of thinking, feeling, and willing. The human being at this stage had entirely lost the inspirational clairvoyance that had gradually faded since the second sacrifice at the beginning of the Age of Atlantis, living entirely in the dream pictures of imaginative clairvoyance. Out of this imaginative clairvoyance, the human being had experienced a continuity of consciousness from life to life, its memory extending back thousands of years. The speech of human beings had had a magical effect on the natural world, a creative force had lived within it.

These faculties now began to fade. As humanity transitioned from Atlantis into the post-Atlantean period, picture-clairvoyance began to fade away. The human being very gradually began to experience thoughts—but as perceptions, not yet as independent creations of the Ego. By the time of Ancient Greece, the human being was fully experiencing the world as subject and object—as soul and world, but an outer world permeated with thoughts, like the residue of a once perceptible spiritual world.

This third sacrifice at the end of Atlantis, the event which began this transition from picture-consciouses to thought-consciousness, also brought with it the development of consonantal speech, of allowing ideas to incarnate in language and not just feeling and will. This third sacrifice is reflected in the third year of child development, when the child begins to be able to think—albeit at a very rudimentary, imaginative level.

Take note that the development and cultivation of the astral body took place between the second and third sacrifices of Jesus and Christ—during the heart of the Atlantean period. Whatever rituals were attached to the development of the astral body either died away or lived on in a decadent (and unnecessary) form. But after the third sacrifice of Christ in particular, when the Manu (Noah) laid the foundation for the coming post-Atlantean culture, the ritual animal sacrifice for the sake of the development of the Ego (the content of the ancient Hebrew religion) only took on greater form and significance.

We might say that the subsequent Ages of humanity—after the third sacrifice of Jesus and Christ, as humanity transitioned from ancient Atlantis to the post-Atlantean world—were a kind of recapitulation of what had come before. The Age of Cancer (8425 – 6265 BC) straddled the end of Atlantis and the beginning of the ancient Indian culture. This time period recapitulated the transition from Paradise, through the Fall, to the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ that gave the human being the upright physical body. The Age of Gemini (6265 – 4105 BC) straddled the ancient Indian culture and the ancient Persian culture. This time period recapitulated the transition from the end of Lemuria (the first sacrifice) to the beginning of Atlantis (the second sacrifice). Then the Age of Taurus (4105 – 1945 BC) straddled the end of the Persian culture and the start of ancient Egyptian/Assyrian/Babylonian culture, recapitulating the heart of ancient Atlantis, between the second and third sacrifices of Jesus and Christ.

All of which culminated in the time period of the Hebrew Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, at the dawn of the Age of Aries (1945 BC). This was the point in history at which the true preparation for the pivotal fourth sacrifice—the Mystery of Golgotha—could begin in earnest.

The Sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, pt 1

Dear Friends,

It has been a long time since I’ve written anything for this site. I’ve had quite a few life changes in the past year—moving away from my home community, Plowshare Farm, in New Hampshire; spending two months in a cabin in the woods of the White Mountains; and adjusting to a new life in Camphill Village Copake. My wife and I have taken on running an elder care house here, which is a level of care totally new to us. It has been quite an adjustment, and now the global hysteria and subsequent lockdowns due to covid-19 have added a further layer to the complexity of our lives.

That being said, it has been a while since I have been inspired to write. I simply haven’t had the energy. I believe it was Rilke who said, in Letters to a Young Poet, that a writer doesn’t put pen to paper because he wants to, it’s that he cannot help himself. So it is in my experience; I can only write if I feel compelled by the content to make it known. I do not write “for fun.”

And in the past week, something that has been bubbling for a long time has begun to take form within me, that I feel compelled to share with you all. This has been formed due to a deep engagement with some friends of mine, fellow “Itinerant Hermits” or “Grail Knights” on the topic of the biography of our friend Robert Powell. It has also been formed due to an engagement with Valentin Tomberg’s essays on the pre-Earthly sacrifices of Christ (available in english in the book Christ and Sophia) as part of my journey through Tomberg’s Lord’s Prayer Course. A further element has been provided in my ongoing exploration of the Suit of Swords of the Minor Arcana of the Tarot of Marseilles with my friend and colleague Phillip Malone. And finally, in teaching a course on Philosophical Perspectives here at the Camphill Academy, many new insights have come to light.

I want to begin these considerations by pointing to the first portion of the 16th Letter-Meditation from Meditations on the Tarot, on the Arcanum of the Tower of Destruction. Here, the Anonymous Author contextualizes what exactly the “Fall of Humanity” involved. A Manichaean/Anthroposophical interpretation of the Fall would say that humanity was tempted by the Luciferic spirits to turn its gaze toward the physical material world rather than maintaining a strictly spiritual sensory orientation. From an Anthroposophical perspective, the human being bears seven bodies which interpenetrate each other: Physical body, Etheric body, Astral body, Ego, Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, Spirit-Man (for more information see here: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA009/English/AP1971/GA009_c01.html). However, what is significant in Anthroposophy is Rudolf Steiner makes it clear that the physical body as such is not necessarily material. It is a “phantom,” a body of physical forces, not necessarily of material substance.

What occurred at the time of the Fall according to a surface understanding of Anthroposophy or Manichaeism is that in turning their gaze toward the material/sensory world, human beings absorbed material substance, were in a sense “poisoned” by materiality. Like a drop of milk into a glass of water, the milk permeates the entirety of the water, making the whole of it cloudy. The two become impossible to separate—at least, without the intense procedure of distillation. So with the clear, diamond-like physical body being “infected” with materiality.

But this is a one-sided and very inaccurate perspective to take. The Anonymous Author makes clear to us in the Tower of Destruction that the Fall of Humanity occurred on the level of the soul first; it is not the poison of materiality entering the physical body that hampers the human being. It is the poison of desire for illicit knowledge, to make oneself like gods, that has poisoned the human’s overall organization—a poisoning of the astral body primarily, one might say, which then opens the gateway to infection in the rest of the human being.

And so let’s take our gaze back to the time of Ancient Lemuria. The human being has fallen due to a desire for illicit knowledge being inspired within it through attentiveness to Luciferic spirits (hierarchies of the Left) rather than maintaining obedience, poverty, and chastity to the nine hierarchies of the Right. The human being subsequently “falls” out of Paradise (a sphere in between the Lunar Sphere and Earth) and incarnates in a physical body. But it isn’t strictly a physical body…how can we understand this better?

We might say that while the body of the human being at that time is physical, it actually is a kind of homogenous mixture of all seven bodies listed above. There is no differentiation; all flows together. The human being exists at an extremely dim level of intuitive consciousness, with a body that can be extended and transformed more or less at will—and the will of the human being, at this point, is merged with, flows into, whatever will surrounds and comes in contact with it. The human body is at the whim of the human soul; the human soul is at the whim of the cosmos, for good or ill.

Ace of Coins M

An extreme danger presents itself here—the human sense organs, at this point, are totally alive, utterly receptive and engaged with whatever is confronting them. It is through the physical senses that spiritual beings—some with extremely dark intentions—can find their way into the human organism, more or less possessing and overtaking it completely. In the region of Paradise, a kind of hole has opened in the cosmos; where once the absolute purity of the human being dwelt in relation to the guiding spirits, a sphere of lies and delusion begins to open up, the so called “Belt of Lies” or “Luciferic Sphere.” This sphere allows Ahrimanic spirits to dedicate themselves to robbing human beings of their physicality, which would turn the human race into a group of ghosts, imprisoned in between life and death. A decision is made at this point. An Archangelic being, the Archangel Jesus, in union with Christ, sacrifices his Ego—his body of conscious intention, conscious will—in order to bring about a protection of the human organization.

This sacrifice of Ego results in two things: first of all, the Moon is extruded from the Earth and enters the Lunar Sphere. The Elohim Yahweh leaves the sphere of the Sun (and the other six Elohim) to take up his abode in the Lunar Sphere. This Lunar Sphere takes on a dense materiality—this dense materiality acts as a kind of shield or barrier from the attempts on the part of Ahrimanic spirits to rob human beings of their physicality. It is like the skull protecting the brain. Yahweh is the cosmic cross-bearer, bearing the cross of the Moon for the sake of humanity. (See here: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19151018p01.html)

The second result is in the human organization itself: the physical body takes on materiality, and for the first time a distinct, concrete physical body coalesces out of the homogenous mass of seven bodies of the human being. This results in changes to our organization: the senses “die,” they no longer participate in such a dangerously intimate way with the phenomena they present to the human soul. In dying, they are able to be integrated. This is reflected in the sensory integration that occurs in the normally developing child around age one. Notice that at the age of one the child normally attains uprightness and the ability to walk, to have some control of its movements.

This is exactly what happened during this time of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ. The Seed of the Ego’s formation was planted within the human being. This drew the human being upright, creating the basis for the skull and spinal cord, and the skin—the primal barrier between outside and inside—was in a way poured out over the human form from above to below. The material body is not a poisoning of the physical body—on the contrary, it is the shield, the barrier which has allowed the human being to develop into a free spiritual being.

marseilles two of coins

And so to be clear in this first sacrifice: the first or “lowest” body of the human being coalesced into a distinct entity. In the meantime, the other six bodies remained as a homogenous “flowing together,” albeit with the the seed of the Ego’s eventual formation planted within it by Jesus and Christ. This seed would take many ages to come to fruition. While the physical, material body was the immediate gift of these two beings, a potential and a promise was planted within the developing human being. While the physical body could immediately be put to use, the developing member of the human being (the Ego) had to be properly cultivated—and this is the origin of Rite, of Ritual. Certain rituals had to be performed, in exact ways, so that the development of the Ego could take its proper course.

In the next section, we will investigate what exactly this Rite or Ritual consisted of, and try to come to a better understanding of the subsequent sacrifices of Jesus and Christ.