In the previous section, we came to the following picture of the time of the fourth sacrifice of Jesus and Christ—the Mystery of Golgotha: it took place during the last third of the third life-phase of Philosophia, in the Age of Aries; it was preceded by and the natural culmination of the ancient Hebrew culture; it was also preceded by two critical schools of wisdom: Platonism and Aristotelianism. This had to do with the Archangel Jesus sacrificing his perfected astral body for the sake of the birth of the individualised Ego through Christ’s sacrifice in a physical body, an Ego that had been gestating since the first sacrifice of Christ in ages long past. Initially Christianity had nothing to do with the two schools of Platonism and Aristotelianism; eventually, it integrated and brought to perfection first Platonism (in the Neoplatonic movement, ca 4th century AD) and then Aristotelianism (during the Scholastic movement, ca 13th century AD).
And now we find ourselves in the time of the fifth sacrifice—the so-called “Second Coming” (although this title is confusing in the fuller context of the seven sacrifices), Christ’s appearance in the etheric realm. Analogously, this appearance in the etheric takes place in the last third of the sixth life-phase of Philosophia, in the Age of Pisces; it has been preceded by and is the natural culmination of French Hermeticism (Rosicrucianism); and it has also been preceded by two critical cultural movements: Goetheanism (German Idealism and Romanticism) and Anthroposophy. In fact, we might say that the deed of Christ’s death and resurrection in the etheric sphere has been occurring over a much longer time period than it did 2000 years ago. The crucifixion of Christ on the etheric plane—actually better described as a suffocation—took place in the 19th century, according to statements made by Rudolf Steiner in 1913 (see here: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19130502p01.html). He refers there to the swooning of the angel with whom Christ had united in order to appear in the etheric. This “swooning” is both the perfecting and sacrifice of Ego-consciousness that had been developing since the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. Just as Platonism and Aristotelianism represented the perfection of the astral body in preparation to receive the Ego from Christ’s deed, Goetheanism and Anthroposophy represent for our time the perfection of Ego-activity in preparation to receive manas consciousness—the re-enlivened picture consciousness, now able to be a totally conscious and participatory experience, rather than strictly revelatory and dream-like.
The full sacrifice of Christ—Crucifixion, Descent, Resurrection—now takes place over the course of hundreds of years rather than 3 days—approximately 300 years. For the etheric crucifixion, the suffocation of Christ, which took place in the 19th century coincided with and was reflected in the untimely death of Kaspar Hauser, the Child of Europe, in 1833, at the age of 21—the age of the birth of the Ego in human development. Around the year 1933 marked the start of the second phase—the Descent into Hell—with World War II marking Christ’s decent through the nine sub-earthly spheres in order to reawaken humanity’s awareness of the Mother in the Depths, to reopen the Path to Shambhala (Paradise) in the heart of the Earth.
This second phase will not be completely finished until the year 2133, when something akin to the Resurrection takes place, although in our time—around the year 2033—Christ will have penetrated all the way to the Heart of the Mother, after a century-long journey to find Her (more on this, from various perspectives, can be found in the work of Robert Powell, for example The Christ Mystery). And so the Christ event of the modern age is happening—due to its taking place over centuries rather than days—more or less simultaneously with the modern Aristotelianism of Anthroposophy. It is therefore not nearly so foreign to it as the Mystery of Golgotha was to Aristotelianism.
Be that as it may, we need to find the fourth element. The modern equivalent of Judaism is French Hermeticism; of Platonism, Goetheanism; and of Aristotelianism, Anthroposophy. But the fourth element at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha was the actual rite itself, the Eucharist, the Mass, which abolished the old sacrifice—and is valid until the end of time, i.e. until the end of the cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation as we currently experience it, around the 7th millennium.
When we look at the development of the Orthodox Rite two thousand years ago, we can see that it took hundreds of years to take on its final form. Even to this day, with the reintegration of some of the churches of the Oriental Orthodox (the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches) there is some variety in the way that the Mass is celebrated within just Roman Catholicism alone. But perhaps we can find the “guiding motif” for the Eucharist, and try to discover what the “guiding motif” for the modern Rite might be.
The core of the Catholic Mass is the communion of bread and wine. It is based on the events of the Last Supper as recorded in the synoptic gospels of Luke, Mark, and Matthew, in which Christ inaugurates the very first Mass and instructs the apostles to “do this in remembrance of me.” According to the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, the development of the ritual of the Eucharist out of this seemingly simple phrase from the Gospels was not a matter of the apostles taking things a bit too far, perhaps out of enthusiasm. In her visions, much more was said to the apostles, and many specific instruction were given, for the establishment of the Mass.
One of the early customs of the church was to administer milk and honey at the first communion, prior to or along with the bread and wine (see here, for example: https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/8278/who-in-the-fourth-century-had-milk-instead-of-wine-at-communion). This died out, however, around the time that the Church of the East and the Oriental Orthodox Churches separated from the main body (in the 5th-6th centuries AD). The realisation that the Church was having at that time was many different celebratory elements were being added to the service—whether it was milk and honey, or special water, or special herbs and oils, etc. It was felt that all of these elements, while arising out of a true enthusiasm, were occluding the two elements of most crucial importance: the bread and the wine. And so the Mass eventually was stripped down to its essence, with the focus entirely on Transubstantiation and the union of human being with substance transformed into Christ.
The purpose of this Rite is to build, Mass by Mass and century by century, over many incarnations, the Resurrection Body within humanity. The purpose of it is to reunite the human being with the realm of the Father—with the nine spiritual hierarchies leading up to Him, as exemplified after the Resurrection by the Ascension into Heaven. The gaze of the Church since the time of Christ is upward, longing for our reintegration into the heart of the Father as it was in the beginning—but now as sons and daughters, not slaves (i.e., with full conscientious participation, not in a dream-like state).
What is interesting is that there was at least one instance of a Mass that took place much too early—Abraham enjoyed the bread and wine with Melchizedek some 2000 years prior to the Mystery of Golgotha. This might remind us as well of Cain’s sacrifice of plant-life, creating horizontal smoke, too early, during the Lemurian age at the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ. This form of sacrifice would only become proper during the Atlantean time period, at the second sacrifice of Jesus and Christ—and would only remain proper for the duration of the Atlantean Age. Indeed, it was the extension of this “Cain Rite” beyond its proper time that brought about the great Flood that destroyed ancient Atlantis.
And so it would seem that both rites—the Atlantean Rite and the Eucharist—were foreshadowed before their proper time, the one by Cain and the other by Abraham. Indeed, there is a very close relationship between these two beings. And perhaps this is where we might find a clue as to the nature and basic form of the modern Rite, one we might call the Johannine Rite, as will become clear as we proceed.
The clue lies in the individuality of Cain—for this individuality reincarnated as Lazarus (also known as Lazarus-John after his resurrection, John or Iohannes being an initiatory title). There is only one Gospel that contains the story of the Raising of Lazarus—and this is the Gospel of St. John. Now, what is very interesting about this Gospel is that it is very different in content and tone from the other three. It contains many events within it that do not appear in the synoptic Gospels; and it lacks certain content that is contained in the synoptics. It stands apart almost completely. While according to Rudolf Steiner Lazarus and John Zebedee were the same individuality, according to the research of Robert Powell and Estelle Isaacson—which builds on and elucidates the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich—John Zebedee (the disciple that Jesus loved) was able to bear the soul of Lazarus at certain crucial times. While the Apocalypse of John is entirely the work of Lazarus, and the three Epistles of John are entirely the work of John Zebedee, the Gospel of St. John is a collaborative document, produced by two eye witnesses to the ministry of Christ Jesus.
Perhaps, just as Cain was the forerunner of the Atlantean Rite, and Abraham was a forerunner of the Eucharist, we might find the indications for a future Rite in the Gospel of John. Certainly, the final scene in the Gospel of John indicates this: seven apostles are fishing all through the night, coming up empty. A figure on the shore tells them to cast their nets on the other side, and they haul in 153 fish. This figure turns out to be the Risen One, who prepares for them a breakfast of grilled fish and honey cakes. After this breakfast, he has a mysterious conversation in which he asks Peter three times if he loves Him—counterbalancing Peter’s denial of Christ three times on Good Friday—and mandates him to “feed the sheep.” We could think of this as an indication to Peter, as first Pope and representative of the Church, to vigilantly administer the Sacrament, from that moment onward.
Christ then turns to John, and Peter asks, “What about him?” And Christ tells Peter, “If he is to wait until I come again, what of it?” Perhaps this exchange indicates that John, too, must inaugurate a Rite, but cannot do so until Christ comes again—that is, the present time. But what should this Rite look like? If the transubstantiation of bread and the wine make up the core of the Mass, what would be the core of a Johaninne Rite?
First, let’s look at a portion of Valentin Tomberg’s Lord’s Prayer Course. Within it he indicates that there are seven levels of communion, related to the various lotuses of the human being:
Notice that it became important for the early Church Fathers that the focus of the Mass remain on only the bread and the wine, to the exclusion of these five other elements, in order to avoid the dilution of the Rite.
In the fourth healing miracle of Christ, the Feeding of the Five Thousand, a boy gives five loaves of bread and two fishes, from which the entire crowd of five thousand is satisfied, leaving twelve baskets of left-overs. Perhaps we could think of the two levels of communion administered in the Eucharist as the “two fishes.” This would leave the other five—incense, oil, fish, milk, and honey—as the levels of communion of concern to the Johannine Rite.
We can see the first beginnings of a Johannine Rite in both the Christian Community which sprang out of Anthroposophy in 1922, as well as in the Grail Priesthood of the Sophia Foundation, which began to be an official training in 2006. We could think of both of these as akin to the situation in the early church, when varieties of rites were springing up in different places, gradually approaching a universal (i.e., Catholic) underlying form. The Christian Community—as is quite clear in the lectures to the Priests on the Apocalypse from 1924—certainly sprang from the right essence, but is more or less an “updated” version of the Catholic Rite. On the other hand, the Sophia Priesthood offers access to an authentic milk and honey communion—a communion devoted to Sophia, the Divine Feminine—but also offers a dozen other celebrations, none of which are attached to the liturgical cycle of the Christian year.
Again, it is the Gospel of John which ought to offer us the right guide here. What is missing from this Gospel? Read closely the events of the Last Supper in John’s Gospel. There is no Eucharist! There is no bread and wine! Instead there is the Washing of the Feet—which is only present in John’s Gospel. And when we remember that the feet are the “fish” of the human body—related to the sign of Pisces—we can see how the washing of the feet fulfils the role of the “fish” level of communion. When we consider the way in which Mary Magdelene washes the feet of Christ on the day before the Last Supper—with spikenard oil (incense oil)—we can see that the upper levels of communion—incense, oil and fish—are fulfilled in the act of Footwashing.
We could think of Footwashing as the equivalent of the sacrament of Baptism in a way—whereas Baptism emerged from the Age of Aries (related to the head), Footwashing must emerge from the Age of Pisces (related to the feet). And it is these two activities—Footwashing and the Communion of Milk and Honey—that must be the central actives of a modern, Johannine Rite.
In the next section, we will look more specifically at what might be the other features of this Rite—a Rite devoted primarily to the Earth Mother rather than the Heavenly Father, and one that will be necessary for humanity for just a short time—until Christ comes again, around the year 4000, in an astral form.