The Mystery of Joseph

Dear Friends,

A few months back, my friend Phillip and I began to work with a 33 day consecration to St. Joseph—beginning around Michaelmas and ending around All Soul’s. During this time, we began to wonder about the identity of St. Joseph from an anthroposophical perspective. The anthroposophical mythos paints a picture of two different families—a Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the Gospel of St. Matthew, and a different Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke. We are familiar, as anthroposophists, with the karmic identities of the two Mary individualities and the two Jesus individualities, and yet there is virtually zero mention in anthroposophical literature regarding the identity of Joseph. What follows are some intuitions that arose for me as we held this question last fall.

When it comes to the two Jesus children, we find that the Jesus of St. Matthew is the reincarnation of Zarathustra—the individual who bore the accumulated wisdom and experience of all humanity—while the Jesus of St. Luke is the “twin soul” of the Adam individuality—a pure soul who had been held back in the spiritual “White Lodge” since the fall of humanity, and therefore had never before incarnated. They represent the two poles of vast experience vs complete innocence. 

On the other hand, we have the two Mary individualities. The Mary of the Gospel of St. Matthew is the reincarnation of the Queen of Sheba, who bore the son of Solomon: Menelik, the first Emperor of Ethiopia. Menelik was an incarnation of Zarathustra—therefore, in their incarnation in the Gospel of St. Matthew, they repeat the relationship of mother and son. Indeed, in their first incarnation they had this relationship, as the Mary of Matthew is none other than the primal mother, Eve, while Zarathustra is Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. On the other hand, the Mary of the Gospel of St. Luke is another “twin soul”—the twin soul of Eve who was also held back at the time of the fall, waiting until the time of the incarnation of the Logos to have her one and only incarnation on Earth. 

A question that arose for me and Phillip is around this “twin soul” phenomenon—what exactly does this mean? Are these “twin souls” like reserves, back-ups, or copies of the original egos incarnating on Earth? Or only their higher members, held back until the right time? If it is only the latter, how can they incarnate in material, physical form? Do each of us have a “twin soul”, a kind of parallel identity that is protected in the spiritual world, in case our stream of incarnations goes totally awry? 

For the sake of the picture I will paint here, let’s assume for the time being that at the very least, and in particular, it was the primal family who were sent down to the dangerous incarnational battlefield of Earth, and therefore “copies” of each of these primal egos were made in the spiritual world as a protective measure. (For some justification of even entertaining the idea of “ego copies”, see the lecture series on Spiritual Economy by Rudolf Steiner from 1909: 

Therefore, we would consider that each of the five members of the primal family is accompanied by a “twin soul”: Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and Seth. 

From this, we might entertain as a hypothesis the Joseph from the Gospel of St. Matthew was also a member of the primal family, and that the Joseph from the Gospel of St. Luke was, like the Mary and Jesus of Luke, an innocent “twin soul”, incarnating for the first time. But which member of the primal family was he? We might want to jump to the conclusion that since Mary is Eve, then Joseph ought to be Adam, but this is not the case. As we pointed out above, the “twin soul” of Adam incarnated as the Jesus child in the Gospel of Luke. Adam himself incarnated as the cousin of this Jesus child—John the Baptist, who was born some six months prior to Jesus. 

Something remarkable that may give us a clue as to the identity of Joseph is related to the time of his death. You see, after the union of the two Jesus children in the Temple—when the Matthew Jesus was around 17 and the Luke Jesus was around 12—the body of the Matthew Jesus, now bereft of the ego of Zarathustra, soon after passed away. His father, the Matthew Joseph, had already died some years prior. On the other hand, the Luke Jesus had changed to such a degree after the entry of the Zarathustra Ego into his body that his mother, the Luke Mary, passed away. The nature of the innocent twin-soul of Adam was such that the Luke Jesus was more or less a child with special needs. With the entry of the Zarathustra Ego into this boy, he transformed into a totally different person more-or-less overnight. His mother could no longer relate, could not find her son any longer so to speak. 

The Matthew Mary, now a widow, met and married the widower Joseph from the Gospel of Luke. In this, she was reunited with her son Zarathustra who now inhabited the body prepared by the twin-soul of Adam. From the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich we know that in early April, AD 29—about five months prior to the Baptism in the Jordan—the Luke Joseph also passed away. A few weeks later, “the ‘word of God’ came to John…[who] left the wilderness and ‘he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.’” This is a significant indication—that a few weeks after the passing of the Luke Joseph, a transformation comes over John the Baptist. Perhaps we can see here that something akin to the union of the two Jesus children in the Temple has taken place? That the individuality dwelling within the Luke Joseph has passed over into John the Baptist? 

We know from Rudolf Steiner’s telling from the Fifth Gospel that shortly before the Baptism in the Jordan, Jesus of Nazareth poured out his soul—quite literally—in a confessional conversation with his mother. As he did so, the Zarathustra Ego departed from the body of the Luke Jesus, preparing this body for the descent of the Logos. Simultaneously, the Luke Mary—the twin-soul of Eve—united with the Matthew Mary. For the first time since the Fall of Humanity, a twin-soul had united with its pair: twin Eve uniting with Eve herself. In this reunion, she became the Virgin Mary. We will return to this extremely significant event later on. For now, we can realize that at the moment of the Baptism in the Jordan, we have another Nativity scene: the Luke Mary dwelling in the breast of the Matthew Mary; the Luke Joseph speaking through John the Baptist, who baptizes the body of the Luke Jesus to receive Christ—the birth of the Logos into Humanity. If we entertain the hypothesis that the Luke Joseph united with John the Baptist, then all three of the innocent twin-souls of the Luke Gospel were active and present at the Baptism in the Jordan.

We will return, in a moment, as to why exactly the uniting of the Luke Joseph with John the Baptist might bear an indication as to Joseph’s identity. For another indication we need look no farther than the life circumstances of the Matthew Joseph. We see here a man who communicates in the night with the angelic spheres; who must travel into Egypt in order to escape the persecution of the jealous Herod; and who must remain in exile in Egypt, protecting the treasure of the Matthew Jesus until the time is right. Indeed, even the name “Joseph” gives it away. We have here a transformed repetition of the destiny of Joseph, son of Jacob. Joseph was the dreamer, who had prophetic visions in the night. He was threatened by his jealous brothers, and sold into bondage in Egypt. There he made sure that a portion of the abundant harvest was held back and protected for the future time when it would be needed and shared out. 

According to the research of Robert Powell, Joseph son of Jacob was an incarnation of the Abel individuality. Jacob, on the other hand, was an incarnation of Mensor (or Melchior), the “Gold King” who comes to revere Jesus in the Gospel of St. Matthew. After incarnating as the son of Jacob, the Abel individuality then incarnated as Solomon—Solomon who fathered Menelik (Seth, Jesus) with the Queen of Sheba (Eve, Mary). Again, this would indicate that the holy family in the Matthew Gospel repeats their karmic relationship from the time of the Queen of Sheba. Finally, Solomon’s father was King David, who (again according to the research of Robert Powell) reincarnated as King Herod, the jealous “4th King” who slaughtered the innocents. And so we can see that many of the Abel individuality’s karmic threads are woven together around the birth of the Zarathustra Jesus. 

In fact, we could see this incarnation as the father of Jesus as the culmination of a certain lineage of incarnations, after which the karma of this individuality turns the corner and goes in a very new and different direction. Almost immediately after the lifetime as the father of Jesus, this individuality would have reincarnated as a woman—specifically, as Mary Magdelene. We could perhaps view this individuality’s incarnations prior to Christ as akin to Joseph the Dreamer prior to being sold into Egypt; and now, from her incarnation as Mary Magdalene onwards, this individuality is on her way to becoming Joseph the Interpreter of Dreams, the Joseph who is unrecognisable to his brothers when they come to him looking for grain. We will return to this theme later on. 

And so we entertain this hypothesis: the Matthew Joseph was an incarnation of the Abel individuality, whereas the Luke Joseph was the innocent “twin soul” of Abel. This innocent twin soul of Abel then entered into John the Baptist in April, AD 29, at the start of his ministry. And why exactly is this uniting with John the Baptist a clue that the Luke Joseph is related to Abel? This would make sense of confusing indications from Judith von Halle, who consistently refers to John the Baptist as representing the “Abel stream”, and even seems to bring him into connection with the Abel individuality. She paints the picture of the uniting of John the Baptist with Lazarus at his raising from the dead as a temporary union of the Abel stream (through John the Baptist) with the Cain stream (since Lazarus is the reincarnated Cain): a kind of preview of a state of being that will only truly be realized in the future, according to Judith von Halle. 

Again, we will return to this theme later…for now, the main point is that considering 1) the Luke Joseph as the twin-soul of Abel and 2) that John the Baptist was united with this twin-soul from a certain point onward, makes sense of Judith von Halle’s otherwise confusing indications.

Now, let’s take stock of what we’ve come to so far: in the Gospel of Matthew, we have Abel, Eve and Seth reincarnated in Joseph, Mary, and Jesus respectively. The “twin-souls” of Abel, Eve, and Adam are incarnated in the holy family Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in the Luke Gospel. John the Baptist is the reincarnation of Adam, and Lazarus is the reincarnation of Cain. (Notice that the twin-souls of Adam, Eve, and Abel are active in this time, but those of Cain and Seth are not). 

Abel dies as the Matthew Joseph, and reincarnates rapidly as Mary Magdalene. The Matthew Jesus (Seth) dies and unites with the Luke Jesus (twin-Adam), becoming the vessel for Christ. The Nathan Joseph (twin-Abel) dies and unites with John the Baptist (Adam). Eventually, this Abel-Adam hybrid being unites with the deceased Lazarus, facilitating his resurrection, after which he is a kind of amalgamation of Abel-Adam-Cain. Perhaps most significant of all—only surpassed by the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ—is the reunion of Eve with her own twin soul just prior to the Baptism in the Jordan.

Take a moment to reflect: all of the unions (except for one) between members of the primal family with twin-souls are a kind of mixing and matching. Abel with Adam. Adam with Seth. Adam and Abel with Cain. We have here what might be the archetypal expression of Charles Williams’ “Company of the Coinherence”, actively bearing each other’s burdens (see here: and here: Each of the “mundane” members of the primal family seemed incapable of accomplishing that which they needed to accomplish without the aid of a more transcendent “twin-soul” that did not originally belong to them. This represents a level of sacrifice, humility, and cooperation unmatched in human history. 

And it would seem that the goal—yes, even the goal of the incarnation of Christ—is to reunite the twin-soul with its original companion, one member of the primal family at a time. This process of reunion begins where the separation started: with our collective mother, Eve. All of this mixing and matching amounts to making possible Mary’s attaining the status of Virgin through reunion with her primal twin. This reunion then culminates, some 15 years later, in the Assumption of the Virgin, when Mary became Queen of the Angels. The Mystery of Golgotha is at the center of world becoming, yet the immediate raison d’être of this divine-human act was the (utterly paradoxical!) goal of returning Eve to a state of Unfallen Nature through reuniting her with her twin-soul, and assuming this Virgin being into Heaven at the end of her life. The Virgin Mary held the unique place in the center of the circle of apostles at the time of Christ, and has held the center of Christianity for 2000 years since then. 

Perhaps, however, this reunion of the primal family with their respective twin souls is an ongoing process that will reach a certain culmination at one point? It would seem that now, in the time of the Second Coming, another reunion is taking place. Rudolf Steiner indicated in his final public lecture that the Adam-Elijah-John-Raphael-Novalis individuality would return at the end of the 20th century in order to carry the world through the coming trial. Valentin Tomberg, in his private journals, corroborated this indication of Steiner’s but added that this individuality would need to incarnate in a female form, in order to be a proper vessel for the soul of the Nathan Jesus, with whom she would unite (see Most Holy Trinosophia by Robert Powell). Now, we have been referring to the Nathan Jesus as the Luke Jesus—this is none other than the original twin-soul of Adam! There is incredible significance to this indication: just as Eve was “made Virgin” by reuniting with her twin-soul at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, so in our time, Adam too is “made Virgin” by being reunited with his twin-soul. 

According to Robert Powell, this individuality incarnated in the mid-1970’s as an individual with special needs. Keep in mind that when the twin-soul of Adam incarnated at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, it was as a child who would have been perceived as having special needs or developmental differences. This indication of Robert’s speaks to the fact that this individual incarnated in a specific form in order to facilitate a reunion with her twin-soul—becoming a kind of “Virgin John.” 

We might wonder whether this has any bearing on Christ’s indication to Peter in Chapter 21 of the Gospel of John, that John should remain until Christ comes again. Perhaps, after a series of preparatory incarnations  since the Mystery of Golgotha, the destiny of the John-Adam individuality will now be akin to the Virgin Mary: to no longer incarnate on Earth in a physical body, but to be an ever-present guardian and comforter of the striving souls of humanity on their way to Christianize the Earth. The primal parents renewed as King and Queen of the Angels.

We might imagine that there is now a similar swapping of twin-souls, just as there was at the time of Christ, in order to facilitate this reunification of Adam with his twin-soul. We might imagine, for example, that during our own time the Abel individuality was incarnated with the “twin-soul” of Cain-Lazarus speaking through her. Or that the Cain-Lazarus individuality is among us, with the “twin-soul” of Seth-Zarathustra inspiring him. Or that the Zarathustra individuality is here, with the “twin-soul” of Abel-Joseph working into his destiny. To be sure, all of that remains highly speculative at best, so take it with a grain of salt.

What seems to be clear enough—based on indications from Estelle Isaacson in her Mary Magdalene trilogy—is that the Abel individuality will also be reunited with his twin-soul, at some point in the 4th millennium, transforming this individuality into a semi-angelic being. This is the transformation into “Joseph the Interpreter of Dreams” alluded to above. We might imagine that both Cain-Lazarus and Seth-Zarathustra would be there—perhaps sharing twin-souls once again—in order to facilitate the reunification of Abel with his twin. This “Virgin Abel” will then become the vessel for the etheric incarnation of Sophia, around the year AD 3574. I am of the mind that, from two different perspectives, the “timeline” of the Book of Revelation culminates ca AD 3200, and that this will be the time of the reunification of Abel with his twin. From this perspective, the Book of Revelation is a description of the destiny of the Abel soul on the part of the Cain soul, who facilitates this process. We will go into this in a further section.

The process of reunion of the primal family with their twin-souls culminates around the end of the Age of Light (ca 4433), when Maitreya Bodhisattva attains to Buddhahood. It will be around this time that the Cain-Lazarus individuality can properly reunite with his twin-soul. This process of “virgining” begins with Eve and ends with Cain—the two perpetrators of the primal Fall of Humanity, the one committing the primal female sin in the eating of the forbidden fruit and temptation of Adam, the other committing the primal male sin of jealousy and murder. There is a deeper aspect to the fratricide of Abel by Cain that is germane to our discussion here.

We can consider Cain as akin to the prodigal son, who takes his inheritance before its time and squanders it, until he is driven to return in shame and dire need to his father. We can think of the Cain individuality as insisting on carrying his twin-soul with him, dragging it down to Earth and not allowing it to be protected, as was the case with the other members of the primal family. This is reflected (or one could say embodied) in his murder of Abel: the smothering of his transcendent twin in the mud of earthly existence. At that point, his twin soul experienced a death, and his destiny ever since then has been to go through a process—as a Wandering Fool—of resurrecting this deceased twin soul. A preliminary step was taken when Lazarus was resurrected in union with the dual being of twin Abel and Adam. This dual being acted as a kind of “stand-in” for the deceased twin-soul of Lazarus. It achieved another stage of revivification during the 13th-15th centuries, when it was bestowed in a provisional form on the Lazarus individuality with the name “Christian Rosenkreuz.” 

This being is now more fully resurrected, and is able to achieve to varying degrees unification with the karmic communities that are in relationship with the Cain-Lazarus individuality. For example, as we indicated above, it does seem that this being was able to “overlight” and “speak through” the Abel individuality for a time in our own day and age. At the culmination of the resurrection process, this being will reunite completely with Cain-Lazarus, bringing him into the same Virginal state as Mary, John, and Magdalene before him, and fulfilling the promise of the reuniting of the Abel and Cain streams that was foretold in the deed of the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

We can only assume that simultaneously, Seth-Zarathustra—the Unknown Friend from the Highlands—will finally be able to meet with his twin soul, after shepherding his brother Cain to this final reunification. Interested readers should be able to find many indications from Steiner, Tomberg, and Powell that these two individualities work hand-in-hand as we move through the 6th Cultural Age of “Brotherly Love.” 

Another name that has been given to this resurrecting twin-soul of Cain-Lazarus is Kalki Avatar. (Note that Steiner fairly explicitly indicated that the twin-soul of Adam was none other than the Krishna Avatar). We can remember that the name “Kalki” means “born from filth”—like the Prodigal Son with the pigs. A symbol of this birth out of the mud is the lotus flower, which blossoms in the swampy waters. He is the final Avatar in the classical sequence of ten Avatars. These Avatars incarnate over the course of five yugas, or ages:

Krita Yuga, or the Golden Age, lasting 20,000 years;

Treta Yuga, or the Silver Age, lasting 15,000 years;

Dvapara Yuga, or the Bronze Age, lasting 10,000 years;

Kali Yuga, or the Iron Age, lasting 5,000 years;

Satya Yuga, the Age of Light, lasting 2,500 years.

I will address the timing of the Book of Revelation, as well as the timing of the appearance/incarnation of Avatars and Buddhas, in the next section.