In the previous section (part 10), we tried to imagine into the modern rite of the Etheric Christ. Let’s keep in mind that what was laid out is a work-in-progress. For one example, a further reflection on the dating of this 153-day liturgical cycle of the Mother Church, the Church of John. Upon further reflection, it became clear to me that the liturgical year of the Father Church of Peter extends until Whitsun, after which “Ordinary Time” begins. The week after Whitsun is the Festival of the Holy Trinity. It was on this day (May 21, 1967) that the anonymous author finished penning his 22 Letter-Meditations on the Tarot. It was also on this day (May 26, 810) that Parzival came for the second time to the Grail Castle and healed King Anfortas (see my article in Cosmology Reborn: Star Wisdom, vol 1, “First Steps Toward a Grail Timeline”). Perhaps there is an indication here that the “Grail Church”, a service deeply related to the Tarot, ought to begin each year on the Festival of the Holy Trinity, one week after Whitsun.
A second example: further reflection and conversation since then has brought up the perspective that the milk and honey dowsing is perhaps more appropriate for the living world of nature, particularly in late spring and summer. This milk and honey preparation has the effect of attracting beneficial insects. This world of insects is the “outer garment” so to speak of the elemental world, in the same way the starry heavens is the “outer garment” of the angelic hierarchies.
But the use of the spikenard oil has a different gesture. Magdalene used this to prepare Christ for his death and burial. The application of the spikenard oil might be more appropriate from, say, Michaelmas onwards. It might be particularly appropriate to to apply it to minerals and stones, imbuing them with the warmth they lack and crave as the Earth prepares to enter into the winter months.
As a reminder as to the spiritual significance of this “washing the feet” of Mother Earth, let’s recall Valentin Tomberg’s indications about the second coming of Christ:
“The reappearance in the etheric has significance not just for humanity, but also for nature. The purpose is to bring something new into being. After death, the human ether body “dissolves”; nevertheless, at the same time an extract survives death and goes with the individuality from one incarnation to the next. Likewise, nature will also acquire a realm related to ordinary nature, just as the extract of the human ether body relates to the ether body itself. The extract of the human ether body is, in fact, budhi, or life spirit. Similarly, a realm of life spirit will also arise in nature as a result of the etheric second coming of Christ.” (Christ and Sophia, pp. 363-64).
“We mentioned that the etheric return of Christ will also have significance for the world of nature. When Christ appeared nineteen centuries ago, he came for the benefit of humanity. His descent took place vertically in the sphere of human existence. The consciousness of nature, however, is on a horizontal plane. Consequently, the effects of the Mystery of Golgotha are accessible to nature only through human beings. The world of nature does not experience the being of Christ directly, and because of this, a certain sense of hopelessness is becoming stronger for nature. We can say that humankind is the destiny of nature; we must bring salvation to the world of nature, because we have the moral connection with the spiritual world. But nature has a dynamic connection with the spiritual world; it must obey the world of spirit. Nature can experience the warmth that comes from the Sun, but not moral warmth, which can only come from human beings. Unfortunately, this does not happen. Because of this, misfortune occurs again and again in the elemental world.
The Bible mentions the primordial chaos (tohu wa bohu). The Genesis of Moses portrays the earth’s becoming, particularly from the view of the elemental world. At that time, the beings of nature, the animals, were brought before human beings, who gave them names. Through this act, a certain influence proceeded from humankind toward the beings of nature, and this determined their karma; human beings determined nature’s karma. This occurred during the Lemurian epoch, and the post-Atlantean epoch is a reversed reflection of that Lemurian epoch. Chaos is again arising in the elemental world. It is the duty of humankind to return order into that chaos by using moral powers. All of this chaos makes possible certain influences upon humanity. For example, when Rudolf Steiner spoke of Bolshevism, he sad that there are cruel elemental beings behind men—elemental beings who goad human beings to commit acts of cruelty. It is our human task to cure the world of those illnesses. Still, human beings do almost nothing in this way for nature, and thus much of nature has less and less hope for redemption. The etheric return of Christ will signal a restoration of hope for nature; it will be a sign of resurrection for nature. Christ will be active throughout the horizontal spatial realm. He will visit all the regions of the Earth, and this will lead to a meeting with the beings of nature and an active moral force in the world of nature. In the past, this happened through the vertical plane for humankind; today it happens on the horizontal plane for nature.” (p. 399)
The Age of Aries was focused on the perfection of the astral body in order to facilitate the birth of the Ego within humanity, culminating with Aristotle, Plato and the Mystery of Golgotha in the final third of the Age of Aries. The Age of Pisces involved the perfecting of the Ego in order to facilitate the birth of manas (imaginative) cognition, culminating in Weimar Classicism, Anthroposophy, and Christian Hermeticism in our time, the final third of the Age of Pisces.
The goal of the new rite that is to be established at this time of the second coming is meant to help bring to birth the next higher level after manas—budhi, which as the above quote indicates, is a concern for both humanity and nature together. It is the “extract” of the memory of Earth that we must take into the next planetary embodiment (Future Jupiter).
Notice that, for early humanity, the physical body and the etheric body were free gifts from above. Humanity had to work, in response to sacrifices from above, for the attainment of an astral body and an Ego. The Hebrew Rite which existed from the time of Cain and Abel (ancient Lemuria) up through the Mystery of Golgotha was the primary rite which built up the capacity for acquiring the individual Ego over long ages of time. The secondary rite lasted only throughout the Atlantean Era, and built up the capacity for acquiring a fully precipitated, individualised astral body (i.e., rather than an astral body united with the wider cosmos).
And now it is reversed. Manas (the transformed astral body) comes as a “free gift”, building on the work done to acquire and perfect the astral body prior to the time of Christ, combined with the exercising of the free Ego since the time of Christ. The highest body of the human being, Atman (the transformed physical body), requires the exercising of the Orthodox (Catholic) Rite until the end of time—that is, until the end of material incarnation in the 7th millennium. We must work for this transformed physical body, whereas the untransformed physical body was a free gift. And similarly, we must work for budhi, for the transformed etheric body, whereas the original etheric body was a free gift—and this work involves the “Mother Rite” we laid out in part 10, a work which must last through to the 6th Sacrifice of Christ—His appearance in an astral form rather than an etheric or physical form, in approximately 2000 years.
And so our time to establish and practice this “Mother Rite” is relatively brief. It more or less extends over the Age of Aquarius (2375 – 4535 AD), as a kind of miniature reflection of the Atlantean Era.
But the cultivation of this “Mother Rite” must go hand in hand with the full development of the independent manas:
“For the first time, the Mystery of Golgotha will be repeated, but now with an added new element…a new, “karmic clairvoyance” will be evoked through the activity of the Christ being. This etheric clairvoyance will be entirely new and not a repetition; it will be the result of the fifth sacrifice of Christ.
Try to understand this new, fifth sacrifice…The earlier sacrifices involved harmonising the physical, etheric, and astral bodies and the “I.” The fifth sacrifice, however, harmonises the human manas organisation, or spirit self. Harmonisation of the form always comes before the harmonisation of the essence, which can take effect later and develop on the foundation thus created. This is precisely a matter of harmonising the manas, the relationship between the “I” that ascends and the ego that descends. It is the harmonising of the two “eyes”; the upper eye sees the mysteries of goodness, the future, and the world of spirit, while the lower eye perceives the mysteries of evil. The manas organisation is harmonised by uniting these “eyes” in the I AM of the Christ impulse. This is their axis of vision, which includes potential communication with the spirit world while conscious and awake…
This union will become permanent in harmony with the human spiritual organisation, and not something that existed only at certain times during special states of meditation. The harmonisation of the manas organisation gave rise to permanent connection between the upper “I” and the lower ego. This axis of vision of both “eyes,” or axis of vision in the manas organisation (with the upper seeing into the upper world and the lower seeing into the lower world), unites both as a continuing, ever-present faculty.
With Christ’s etheric return, therefore, we are dealing not only with a memory of the past, but also a new “memory” of the future. In other words, the awake human daytime consciousness would perceive both what the upper “eye” is able to perceive in the future of the spiritual world (the spiritual world is always in the future), and what the lower “eye” would remember from the past by “reading” the etheric body, thus gathering knowledge from earlier incarnations. This attainment of knowledge from the past and knowledge of the future through the activity of two “eyes” is linked by a unifying memory stream. Rudolf Steiner once wrote a mantra that begins, “In the beginning was the power of memory.” For the human organisation, the significance of the etheric return is expressed in these words; it will permanently link the upper and lower worlds within human consciousness, a link that makes possible the intended power of memory. By awaking memory, the possibility of recognising karma arises.” (Christ and Sophia, pp. 397-98).
How exactly will this take shape? It will not be immediately apparent that human beings have been endowed with an independent manas formation, now independent from the spiritual world (the Guardian Angel). It will take time to show itself, just as the independent Ego (the individual personality) took its time after the Mystery of Golgotha.
In the first third of the Age of Pisces, the independent Ego displayed itself primarily in the Neoplatonist stream. The world-conception of Plato became experiential and widespread during this time (215 – 935 AD), primarily in the form of religious experience, expression, and expansion. Subsequently, the Ego displayed itself even more strongly—that is, even more independently from religious experience—in the Scholastic trend of the second third of the Age of Pisces (935 – 1655 AD), which took the world-conception of Aristotle and made it too experiential and widespread. This culminated in the first Scientific Revolution, the Age of Discovery, and eventually the French Enlightenment. The last third of the Age of Pisces has seen the full flowering of the independent personality, culminating in the development of Goetheanism/Weimar Classicism and Anthroposophy.
And now, the exercising of the new capacity of manas cognition will follow an analogous path. During the first third of the Age of Aquarius (2375 – 3095 AD), a kind of “Neo-Goethanism” or “Neo-Classicism” will arise in humanity—this time not localised to certain individual such as Goethe, Schiller, and Novalis, but spread to a much wider swath of humanity. That which Goethe strove for in the perception of his archetypal plant (a living imagination of a plant in metamorphosis) will become a much more common experience for humanity in general.
We might imagine this to be the fulfilment of Steiner’s words concerning the mission of Kaspar Hauser:
“South Germany should have become the new Grail-Castle of the new Knights of the Grail and the cradle of future events. The spiritual ground had been well prepared by all those personalities whom we know of as Goethe, Schiller, Holderlin, Herder and others. Kaspar Hauser was to have gathered around him, as it were, all that existed in this spiritual ground thus prepared.” (Communicated to Count Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz, November 1916).
Subsequently, in the second third of the Age of Aquarius (3095 – 3815 AD), we will see the full flowering of Anthroposophy—what Scholasticism and the Scientific Revolution was for Aristotelianism, the equivalent for Anthroposophy will arise in the 4th millennium. Only this time, what was experienced by and spoken about by Rudolf Steiner will be the common property of humanity, particularly in the realm of the “karmic clairvoyance” referred to above.
Finally, during the last third of the Age of Aquarius (3815 – 4535 AD), manas cognition will express itself completely; the new body of budhi, of life-spirit, will be bestowed on humanity through Christ’s astral appearance; and the task of both the Church of John and the Maitreya Boddhisatva will come to their conclusion.
And so the biography of Philosophia will be complete: extending from the time of Abraham, through the Age of Aries (the equivalent of 0-21), the Age of Pisces (21-42) and finally the Age of Aquarius (42-63), culminating with the final incarnation of the Abraham individuality as Maitreya Buddha, around the year 4443 AD (see Hermetic Astrology vol I by Robert Powell). He will have accomplished the mission of drawing humanity down out of picture-consciousness and into brain-bound thinking for the sake of the birth of the Ego (as Abraham) and eventually rescuing humanity from this brain-bound thinking, elevating them to restore true contact with the spiritual world (as Maitreya).
More on all of this in the next section…