The Fourth School (Aristotle and Plato concluded)

Well, my friends, we are now heading into quite uncharted territory. In fact, we may have already wandered quite far into the woods. Let’s recap just for orientation’s sake:

Traditionally, Anthroposophists have considered themselves “Michaelites.” At the end of his life, Rudolf Steiner indicated that there would be two classes of Michaelites that would come into incarnation, and would need to learn to work together:  Aristotelians and Platonists. These two karmic streams held the banner of spiritual research aloft, in the name of Michael, who guards the threshold to perception of the spiritual world from this side, the side of the human being.

In 1937, Valentin Tomberg emphasized this need for Aristotelians and Platonists to work together in the name of Michael in order to bring about the Grail Community of the modern age. It is the task, according to Tomberg, of the Michaelites to stand guard over this side of the threshold in the name of independent spiritual research; on the other hand, it is the task of Sophians to stand guard on the other side of the threshold, that of the spiritual world. Sophians are the guardians of the two revelatory streams in human history, which we have designated as the Shepherd stream and the Kingly stream. If the Michaelites and Sophians can work together, they will be able to bring about the modern Grail Community under the motto:  Michael Sophia in Nomine Christi (Michael Sophia in the name of Christ).

We have associated the Michaelites or the School of Archangel Michael with Archangel Michael in the East:  “Holy Michael, thou Sun-radiant power whose rose-hued aura shines on high, bestow on us thy omniscient light from thine inexhaustible fount of wisdom.” This School of Michael is represented on earth by Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy, particularly the First Class. It represents the virtue of Wisdom, and the third of the three medieval classes:  the workers. Here we have cultivators in the field of knowledge.

On the other hand, we have associated the Sophians or the School of Sophia with Archangel Gabriel in the South:  “Holy Gabriel, thou glowing one clothed in silvery moonlight, breathing graciousness, fill us with the ineffable beauty of thy gentle loving piety and reverence.” This School of Sophia is represented on earth by the Sophia Foundation and the work of Robert Powell, particularly in the Sophia Grail Circles. It represents the virtue of Love and Beauty, and the first of the three medieval classes:  the priesthood.  Here we have a priesthood of the arts.

We then investigated the existence of the third name in the motto of the Grail Community:  Christ. The Christ School is associated with Archangel Uriel in the North:  “Holy Uriel, thou blue radiance of shining glory, instill in us the inexpressible grandeur of thy awesome righteousness.” This School of Christ is represented on earth by Grail Knighthood (i.e. those who have put into practice the content of Valentin Tomberg’s Lord’s Prayer Course) and the Christian Hermeticism of Meditations on the Tarot. The two karmic streams that must work together here are Gardeners and Masons. This school represents the virtue of Goodness and Morality, and the second of the three medieval classes:  the knighthood. Here we have a knighthood of the good.

Up until now we have been referring to the School of Christ by another name as well:  the School of Archangel Jesus. But is this justified? Are they identical? After all, Christ and Archangel Jesus are two separate entities, although the Archangel Jesus consistently works together with Christ in order to facilitate his sacrifices on the behalf of advancing humanity forward in spiritual evolution. The Archangel Jesus has gone by other names over the course of the ages, such as Apollo and Krishna.

In fact, we might designate four parts to the Grail Community:  1) Michael 2) Sophia 3) in Nomine 4) Christi. Here we can see that the name of Christ—that is, Jesus—is distinct from Christ Himself. In an earlier article we pointed out that Michael guards one side of the threshold (that facing humanity), while Sophia guards the other (that facing the spiritual world), while Christ is Himself the Threshold. But the Threshold itself also has two sides—a cosmic side and an earthly side. We might say that Christ is the cosmic side radiating benediction towards the earth, while Jesus is the earthly side, offering prayer and supplication towards the heavens.

The Archangel Jesus is strongly identified with the task of healing humanity. This becomes clearer as we come to an understanding of the Archangel Jesus’s involvement in the pre-earthly (and earthly) sacrifices of Christ. This Archangel is constantly making sacrifices of aspects of his being in order to rectify imbalances in the human organization. We might associate the Archangel Jesus very closely with the work of Mani, especially in his incarnation as Parzival. The ability to ask the healing question, which Parzival extends to the ailing Anfortas, is an aspect of the work of Archangel Jesus. Similarly, we might see the Archangel Jesus as standing in a very close relationship with Kaspar Hauser, who has become the patron saint of the Camphill Movement worldwide—communities dedicated to healing and therapeutic work.

So perhaps we need to make a distinction:  whereas the School of Christ is associated with the Archangel Uriel, who works primarily in the religous/social spheres, we can associate the closely related School of Archangel Jesus with the Archangel who has thus far been missing from our considerations—Archangel Raphael in the West. And it is Archangel Raphael who is particularly related to therapy, healing, education: “Holy Raphael, thou gold-gleaming tower of strength, empower us with the magnificent force of thy healing presence.”

We enter a special realm here. Notice that in the above schools, it is brilliant individualities such as Rudolf Steiner, Valentin Tomberg, or Robert Powell who have founded the earthly reflections of these spiritual schools (although, in a way it is more complicated than this in the case of Robert Powell, but we don’t have the space or intimacy to go into that topic here). But we might say that the School of Archangel Jesus does not rely on or revolve around a great individuality, but around the “least of these, my brethren”: the stimulant for the work is the child, the sick, the broken, the special needs. Those who are seen as invalid or outcast and in need of healing are actually the Teacher. This ethos lives very strongly in Camphill.

We might say that the two streams of this fourth school revolve around the two Jesus children:  the so-called Nathan Jesus, an incarnation of the pure sister-soul of Adam, and the so-called Solomon Jesus, an incarnation of the great Zarathustra. The one stream is the stream of the simple and pure, the Kaspar Hauser beings in our midst. This is the stream that asks for help and receives care. It stimulates the urge to heal in the other stream. This stream is the stream of Zarathustra, the stream of the experienced and wise, who are ready to sacrifice all of their forces for the sake of healing the other.

This stream has actually expressed itself quite strongly ever since the early days of Anthroposophy. In fact, we might say that Anthroposophy has by and large so far been an exercise in the work of Michael (expansion of consciousness, self-development, research) and Raphael (healing and therapy, medicine, Waldorf education). It seems that the awful split that developed in the society in the 1930s was not just a matter of Aristotelians not getting along with Platonists (although, to be sure, Elisabeth Vreede was a Platonist as well as many of the Anthroposophists with whom she worked closely). No, it was also a split between the General Anthroposophical Society (Michaelites who fiercely wished to preserve the legacy of Rudolf Steiner) and the Free Anthroposophical Movement (Raphaelites who wanted to engage in practical healing work, and expand the boundaries of what Anthroposophy could be).

If any kind of an esoteric School of Archangel Jesus was founded in the past century, I would point to two different places:  first of all, the Camphill Community, the esoteric body of the Camphill Movement which became active in the 1940s. The Camphill Community is related very much to the stream of the Nathan Jesus, the pure and simple soul. We might say, though, that the true point of origin for this school lies in the biography of Kaspar Hauser over a hundred years prior. Second of all, we see this School active in the Universal White Brotherhood of Peter Deunov (or Beinsa Douno). He was himself an incarnation of Master Jesus, the great Zarathustra, and was contemporaneous with Rudolf Steiner, Karl Koenig, and Valentin Tomberg.

Interestingly, the model of the three classes of medieval times also seems to have its limitations. According to William Stoddart:  “Humankind may be looked at either from the point of view of its differences or from that of its equality. The hierarchical differentiation of humankind finds expression especially in Hinduism (with its four castes: brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas, shudras) and, analogously, in Christendom with its four estates, Lords Spiritual (the spiritual hierarchy), Lords Temporal (kings, nobles), the “middle class” (craftsmen, farmers, and merchants), and serfs (common laborers/peasants). However, it should not be forgotten that with the privilege of birth go obligations. Noblesse oblige.”

Caste is referred to frequently in the ancient Indian texts. The four classes were the Brahmins (priestly people), the Kshatriyas (also called Rajanyas, who were rulers, administrators and warriors), the Vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen and farmers), and Shudras (labouring classes).

The following picture begins to emerge:

Kaspar Hauser, 1812-1833 —Founder of the School of Archangel Jesus. The Peasants of Healing.

Rudolf Steiner, 1861-1925—Founder of the School of Archangel Michael. The Craftsmen of Wisdom.

Valentin Tomberg, 1900-1973—Founder of the School of Christ. The Knights of the Good.

Robert Powell, 1947-present day —Founder of the School of Sophia. The Priests of Beauty.

In my articles on the Seven Miracles of the Etheric Christ, I pointed out that now is the time of the Fourth Miracle, the cosmic Feeding of the 5000. And in my articles on the Four Great Teachers, I made mention of the fact that now is the time when the Maitreya Bodhisattva is once again active upon the earth—the Fourth Teacher will facilitate the Fourth Miracle.

Now, both Rudolf Steiner and Robert Powell have indicated that the individual Mani, who was Parzival in the 8th-9th century, will also be incarnated and active in the 21st century. Just as the fourth and fifth miracles, those of the Feeding of the 5000 and the Walking on Water, happened in very close proximity to each other in the time of Christ, it may also be that the Fourth and Fifth Miracles of the Etheric Christ, and the Fourth and Fifth Teachers, will work in very close conjunction with each other in the 21st century.

The Fourth Teacher (the Maitreya) has a strong inner connection with the School of Christ, the School of Goodness and Morality. On the other hand, the Fifth Teacher (Mani) has a strong connection with the School of Archangel Jesus, the School of Healing. It may be the task of these two individualities in the present time to bring the School of Christ and the School of Archangel Jesus into more direct relationship (for example, weaving together Christian Hermeticism, the Camphill impulse, and the work of Beinsa Douno). Through this interweaving of Christ and the Archangel Jesus, the rift that to some degree separates the Michaelites (Anthroposophy) from the Sophians (the Sophia Foundation) can be bridged. Each of the four schools can begin to find its place as points on the spiritual compass of our time: Anthroposophy in the East, Christian Hermeticism in the North, Sophia Celebration in the South, and the “least of these, my brethren” in the West.

We might see these four schools in relation to the second Apocalyptic Seal:

Here it becomes clear that the focal point around which these four schools orient themselves is the Lamb who reads from the Book of Life.

The process of the Schools coming into proper alignment and position relative to each other might be compared with the events occurring at the very end of Goethe’s Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly:  “The old Man looked to the stars, and then began speaking: ‘We are assembled at the propitious hour; let each perform his task, let each do his duty; and a universal happiness will swallow-up our individual sorrows, as a universal grief consumes individual joys.’

For the time is at hand!


Aristotle and Plato: Further Reflections

Over the course of the past month or so, I have reflected more on the topic of these three streams of Michael, Christ and Sophia. I’ve had time for conversation with others who have read what I wrote last month, and taken in their reflections as well. One of the main things we wondered was, “what exactly is it that characterizes and sets apart the Gardeners from the Masons?” We might say that the Gardeners are those who are tending the “eternal springtime” of humanity; they are those who maintain the Tradition, i.e. the Living Tradition of Hermeticism. On the other hand, the Masons are those who have an eye on the “eternal autumn” of humanity, who receive inspirations from the future of humanity and do their best to steer humankind steadily to the great city, the New Jerusalem, when all the earth will have been transformed by human activity. “May that which is fired in the East in the West take form.”

And so we have Aristotelians and Platonists as scientists and historians; we have Shepherds and Kings as mystics working in the realm of Beauty (i.e. artists); and we have Gardeners and Masons working in the religious and social realms. We begin to approach, in a quite roundabout way, a picture presented by Rudolf Steiner of the four compass points in the realm of the Archangels (see for example this excellent piece:

Archangel Michael works in the East as the leader of Cosmic Wisdom. Here, clearly, the School of Michael (Aristotelians and Platonists) find their home. This is equivalent to the Medieval class of laborers/artisans/farmers.

Archangel Gabriel works in the South as the leader of Cosmic Beauty. Here we might place the School of Sophia (Kings and Shephereds) in relationship to Gabriel. As Robert Powell writes in the introductory invocations in his Christian Hermetic Astrology:  “Holy Gabriel, thou glowing one clothed in silvery moonlight, breathing graciousness, fill us with the ineffable beauty of thy gentle loving piety and reverence.” The Virgin Mary was the bearer of Archangel Gabriel in her life mission at the time of Christ, with whom she had a revelatory experience at the time of the Annunciation. Indeed, we might say that other than the newborn Jesus, it is Mother Mary who is the focal point of the nativities. The School of Sophia is equivalent to the priestly class.

Then we have Archangel Uriel working in the North as the leader of Cosmic Righteousness. He is the Archangel who oversees the religious and social realms. The School of Christ finds its home here, with the “Gardeners” more related to the religious realm, and the “Masons” more related to the social realm. The School of Christ is equivalent to the class of Knights/Royalty.

(Here the perceptive reader might wonder, what of the fourth point on the compass? What of Raphael in the West? More on that later).

It is perhaps here that we come to the heart of the problem with the School of Archangel Jesus. The Knights Templar were perhaps the last time that these two streams of Tradition and Progress were totally united. For the stream of Tradition is upheld most of all by Orthodoxy, by the Catholic Church. And the stream of Progress is upheld most of all by the western occult brotherhoods, for example Freemasonry. And yet, since the time of the destruction of the Templars, these two impulses have been sundered, and are even at odds with one another. Especially since the time of Napoleon and Kaspar Hauser, these two streams have even begun working in a destructive, anti-Christian way towards humanity: they have become their opposite, the School of Antichrist.

Rudolf Steiner made the unfortunate characterization of the egregore of the Catholic Church as “Jesuits.” I say that this is unfortunate, as there are plenty of Jesuits who are not working for dark brotherhoods, and there are plenty of individuals who are working for dark forces who are not part of the Jesuit brotherhood. The important point is not the name, but the activity. The goal of the egregore of the Traditional stream of Gardeners is to arrest progress. The wish is for Tradition to no longer be living, for it to be removed from the realm of “Spring Time.” These dark forces wish for a permanent caricature of celestial hierarchy to be established on earth, for oligarchical centers of power and control to be established. We see this manifesting in many realms as religious fundamentalism that will go to violent extremes in order to achieve its goals.

On the other hand, the egregore of the Western lodges (which has more or less entirely absorbed Freemasonry, but again this would be a misleading title to give to this egregore, as “Jesuit” was for the egregore of Tradition) has as its goal to bring the future too quickly into the present, crashing down upon our heads in a revolutionary and chaotic manner. Ironically, the egregore of progress, of the Masons, has the same goal as the above mentioned traditional egregore in mind:  establishing centers of control and power. The progressive egregore wishes to achieve this by misusing occult knowledge of the future and of scientific technology in order to completely abolish all traditional hierarchy, particularly in the form of cultural marxism. The wish is to eradicate traditional morality and replace it with moral relativism. The end result they have in mind is for a large majority of human beings to be sick, immoral, medicated, and addicted to things which nullify the human spirit (entertainment devices, opiates, etc).

Since the time of Kaspar Hauser and Napoleon, these two streams have worked together (to whatever degree dark forces can actually collaborate) in order to create that which they both desire:  99% of humanity in subservience to a small oligarchy. In fact, these two streams over the course of the 20th-21st century more or less merged into one school, the school of antichrist. This school achieved its zenith of power, and the closest that humanity has come to being knocked completely off course of its evolutionary path, between March 13, 2013, and November 8, 2016.

Already, however, in the 1960’s, essentially all of the groundwork had been laid by these two egregores for the machinations of the early 21st century to come to fruition. Readers familiar with the work of Robert Powell are already aware of the fact that the Antichrist, the vessel for Ahriman, was born on February 5, 1962. Around this same time period, the Vatican was engaging in black magical occult rituals dedicating the Holy See to Satanic forces. It was during this time that the unfortunate decisions of Vatican II came about within the Catholic Church (for more on this, see the worlds of Malachi Martin). The traditional egregore was effectively consumed by and united with the progressive egregore.

Looking back even earlier, we can see the cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Nazis. Many of the Nazis at the end of World War II were smuggled into the Americas and became a part of the American power structure (particularly the CIA and NASA). Interestingly, many Nazis found their way into Argentina—the birth country of Pope Francis. See here:

And here is where Meditations on the Tarot comes into play. Valentin Tomberg attempted to establish the Knighthood of Christ via the Lord’s Prayer Course in Amsterdam in the 1940’s. When this was swept away due to World War II, he continued this Knighthood more or less on his own. Aspects of his daily meditative practice are now being disseminated through the Grail Knight’s Training, facilitated by the Sophia Foundation annually. Valentin Tomberg, we could say, was at the forefront of the battle between good and evil during this time. Part of why he was led to join the Catholic Church was to create an antidote to the black magical union that occurred there between the 1940s and the 1960s. His goal was to plant the seed of the regeneration of an authentic Knights Templar, where Masons are active under the auspices of the Gardeners—Tradition and Progress working together in the name of Christ. In Meditations on the Tarot, the “Martinist—Templar—Rosicrucian” Hermeticism of Mebes, into which Tomberg was initiated in 1920 (see page 590 of Meditations on the Tarot), was married to the orthodoxy and tradition of the Catholic Church.

For hundreds of years we have witnessed the battle between past and future in the name of Antichrist. What needs to be re-established, and to some degree has been through Tomberg, is the marriage of Past and Future in the name of Christ. We might say that the goal of the egregores of the Gardeners and Masons is the annihilation of Time; whereas the goal of the true Gardeners and Masons is the transmutation of Time into Metamorphosis, an alchemical transformation.

Uriel is the inspiring Archangel of both the religious and social life:  i.e. the life of morality. Notice that the Catholic Church has more to do with the traditional administration of the sacraments. However, the Freemasons have always been associated with the “great art” of the transformation of society, of the shaping of culture. Here is the place for the administration of “social sacraments” such as those laid out by Dieter Brull in the text linked to above. The Masonic gesture must become one that is of service to humanity, and not a secret masterminding, coercion, and manipulation from behind the scenes. Remembering that the School of Christ is one of morality, goodness, and righteousness, here is the relevant invocation from Christian Hermetic Astrology:  “Holy Uriel, thou blue radiance of shining glory, instill in us the inexpressible grandeur of thy awesome righteousness.”

Now, we have only been discussing three Great Teachers, and three Schools—but there is a fourth Archangel, is there not? What of Raphael in the West? Is there possibly a relationship between the impulse of Raphael and the fourth teacher—the current incarnation of the Maitreya Bodhisatva? Here we will have to come to a further degree of discernment in regards to what we have already been addressing thus far. We will address this in the next portion.


Moving Beyond Aristotle and Plato

In response to a question from a friend (“What is the School of the Archangel Jesus?”), I decided to go back and revisit a lecture from Valentin Tomberg that I hadn’t read for quite a long time. Tomberg’s first lecture from the series Inner Development, “The New Michael Community,” given in Rotterdam in 1938, begins with his extremely brief outline of the new Grail Community, a Community whose motto is to be Michael Sophia in Nomine Christi. He spends a good deal of this lecture describing the nature of the School of Michael and its relationship both to Sophia and to the threshold between the spiritual and material worlds.

For those of us involved with the Sophia Foundation or any of Robert Powell’s work, this lecture is key. This lecture planted the seed for two perspectives which lie at the heart of our work and our approach to spiritual life. The first perspective is hidden in the motto of the Grail Community:  Michael Sophia in Nomine Christi. What is contained in this simple phrase is the following:  the 20th into the 21st century witnesses the advent of Christ’s second coming. In order to facilitate this, three great Teachers of Humanity came to establish three spiritual schools on Earth. These three schools satisfy completely different needs of the spirit, yet are meant to be complementary to each other.

The first school was founded by the first great teacher, Rudolf Steiner, over the course of the years 1902-1925:  the School of Michael. The primary aim of this school is to enable human beings to rise to the Cosmic Thinking of the Archangel Michael:  it works for Wisdom.

The second school was founded by the second great teacher, Valentin Tomberg, over the course of the years 1940-1967:  the School of Christ (represented by the Archangel Jesus). The aim of this school is to bring human beings to a higher level of morality and experience of conscience:  it works for Goodness. (Although to be clear, this School was unable to incarnate fully as intended by Valentin Tomberg. More on this later, perhaps).

The third school has been developing under the guidance of Robert Powell and Karen Rivers, inspired by the third great teacher, the reincarnated Novalis, since the year 1994:  the School of Sophia. This school works on the heart forces of the human being in order to promote feelings of love and community:  it works for Beauty. This school, like the Michael School, has properly incarnated, and has attained its mature manifestation in the Grail Priesthood of the Sophia Foundation. (A much clearer and thorough description of the three Great Teachers is given in Robert Powell’s Most Holy Trinosophia).

In fact, we might characterize these three schools in relation to the three classes of the Middle Ages:  the workers, the priests, and the knights. The Michael School consists of laborers in the fields of Thought, of Wisdom. The Sophia School is made up of priests in the church of Beauty and Love. And the Christ School is meant to be composed of knights on the battlefield of Good and Evil.

This is of course a woefully brief characterization that could be discussed at length, but it will suffice for now.

So much for the first perspective (that of three teachers and three schools) that has become a guiding light in the work of the Sophia Foundation and of Robert Powell. It is the second perspective that has become somewhat more entrenched and divisive—and as we will see, is very likely based on a misunderstanding of the words of Valentin Tomberg. This perspective has to do with the so-called “Aristotelian” and “Platonic” karmic streams, and their respective relationship to Michael and Sophia.

Tomberg refers to Sophia and Michael each guarding different sides of the Threshold to the spiritual world. Sophia wishes to administer revelations from the spiritual to the earthly, but stands as a warning to the spiritual beings who wish to bestow their revelation upon human beings. Michael, on the other hand, stands as guardian of human beings towards the spiritual world, only allowing those who are adequately prepared to cast their gaze across the threshold. He is the guardian of the revelatory content bestowed by Sophia, and simultaneously puts out the call to “Michaelites” who are ready to investigate and research beyond the threshold.

For readers who have the English edition of Inner Development, it is especially between pages 28-31 that the core characteristics of these Michaelites are presented. On the one hand, there are Aristotelians, those who research and bring to conscious understanding the spiritual realities operating behind the manifestations of nature. On the other hand, there are Platonists, those who research and bring to conscious understanding the spiritual realities operating behind human history, particularly in the realms of karma and reincarnation.

Note that both of these streams are Michaelites. The following quote from the lecture has led to a certain level of confusion:  “The men and women of Sophia, of revelation, will walk the path together with the men and women of knowledge; the Platonists will stand guard together with the Aristotelians at the threshold of the spiritual world.” Here two separate ideas have been merged into one. It ought to read as such:

“The men and women of Sophia, of revelation, will walk the path together with the men and women of knowledge.

The Platonists will stand guard together with the Aristotelians at the threshold of the spiritual world.”

You see, Tomberg is making a sharp distinction here:  the Sophia School will be a revelatory stream. Meanwhile, the Michael School, which is composed of both Aristotelians and Platonists, is a stream dedicated to knowledge. Both the Aristotelians and Platonists must stand together as Michaelites, as “men and women of knowledge” to guard the threshold of the spiritual world.

A dangerous misunderstanding of the above has come about in certain circles. There has developed a false (or at the very least short-sited) identification between “Sophian” and “Platonist,” as though the Platonic stream of Michael were the same thing as the Sophia stream of revelation. This is not the case. This way of thinking only breeds divisiveness. One begins to imagine that all mainstream or traditional Anthroposophists are Aristotelians; that they are stuck in a one-sided version of Anthroposophy; and that they have “missed the boat” and rejected the Platonic element, which Steiner foretold would come to Anthroposophy at the turn of the 20th to the 21st century. He emphasized the need for these two groups to work together to bring Anthroposophy adequately into the world. One begins to identify all Sophians as Platonists, and that they carry the “next level” of spirituality that has been rejected by mainstream Anthroposophy.

True as the above may be on some level, the reality is (as reality tends to be) much more complicated.

There was of course discord and enmity for a time between the Aristotelian and Platonic streams of Anthroposophy. The rejection of Elisabeth Vreede, and along with her much of the Free Anthroposophical Groups, Valentin Tomberg, Willi Sucher, and others, more or less represented a rejection and ejection of the Platonists from Anthroposophy (in April 1935). But this only held true for a time. The work of many of these Platonists has been recognized and integrated into mainstream Anthroposophy. Other Platonists have incarnated and work in a very strong way in modern Anthroposophy. Whether or not those Platonists are also Sophians, or for that matter whether all Sophians are Platonists, is another matter altogether.

No, when we look at the Sophian streams, we are not looking for two different branches of knowledge. We are looking for two different forms of revelation, of mystical experience. And this is an important distinction to make. When we read Meditations on the Tarot, or Christ and Sophia, which were written by Valentin Tomberg (who described himself as a Platonist), and we compare these works to, for example, Through the Eyes of Mary Magdelene by Estelle Isaacson, we can feel that we are working with two different schools of spirituality. The former are Michaelic—certainly Platonic, but one could not say “revelatory.” They are books of knowledge. The works of Estelle Isaacson, on the other hand, are mystical and revelatory. It is not the knowledge conveyed, but the message that is being transmitted, the mood that is living, which is of primary import here. Isaacson’s works are, therefore, Sophianic par excellence. 

Clearly “Aristotelian” and “Platonist” are inadequate, indeed incorrect, titles to associate with the Sophianic stream of revelation. But if we reflect for a moment, we may find two other streams that we can characterize as the two streams which must work together in order to accomplish the mission of Sophia. Let us look to the Letter-Meditation on The Sun for a clue in this direction. Tomberg characterizes the experience of mystical revelation as such:

“According to the case, it can take either the character of a ‘conversation through forces’ or that of a ‘conversation through words.’ In the former case it is not precise and articulated thoughts or images which are communicated to you, but rather ‘forces’ or impulses—spiritual and psychic seeds impregnated germinally with moral ideas and judgements. In the case of the ‘conversation through words,’ a revelation of articulated thoughts and representations takes place. The revelation to the shepherds at Bethlehem can be considered as a prototype of the meeting whose character is ‘conversation through words’ and the experience of the mages of the Orient—who saw the star of the ‘king of the Jews…in the East,’ but who had to ask at Jerusalem, ‘where is he who has been born king of the Jews?’ (Matthew 2:2)—is an example of the meeting whose character is ‘conversations through forces.’ The ‘star’ of the king of the Jews gave them certainty concerning the coming of Christ and gave them the impulse to go and search where he was awaited, but it did not give them information with respect to the place and parents, whilst to the shepherds of Bethlehem is was revealed that ‘to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger’ (Luke 2:11-12), i.e. precise and complete information was given to them with respect to time, place, and external circumstances.”

Ah, and here we find more than a clue, but a clear outline of the two revelatory streams of Sophia:  the Shepherds and Kings. The Shepherd stream of Sophia experiences revelatory content with sound and color, with precise and complete information. This is the type of revelatory experience had by Estelle Isaacson or Judith von Halle. On the other hand, the Kingly stream of Sophia experiences revelation on a more intuitive level, without sound and color, and must apply research and effort in order to come to clarity. One might characterize the mystical experience of a Carl Jung or St. John of the Cross as such.

Is there a uniting factor between the Shepherds and Kings, beyond the fact that they both came to see the newborn Jesus, and beyond the more-or-less arbitrary connection we have made between them by naming them the two streams of Sophian revelation? Both of these streams are related strongly to the individuality who incarnated as Mary Magdelene. In her incarnation as Abel, she was the primal Shepherd; in her incarnation as Solomon, she was a great King. (Note that the Solomon Jesus, visited by the Kings, is a product of the Solomon line—a kingly stream; while the Nathan Jesus visited by the Shepherds is the product of the Nathan line—a priestly stream. This brings us back to the Sophia School as a Grail Priesthood.)

So, life is not so simple as we thought it was. It is not only that Aristotelians and Platonists must learn to work together; Shepherds and Kings must also learn to cooperate. Above and beyond this, Michaelites and Sophians must unite their complementary forces: not just respecting, but honoring and revering each other’s differences, as members of different streams, yet learning to work together. And of course, there are many of us who belong to both schools (I might consider myself a Platonic King, for example). This is very important; in fact, ultimately it will be important that there are individuals who are members of all three schools, who have integrated them into a harmonious unity.

Which brings us to the third school, the School of the Archangel Jesus (or Christ). What is this school? Are there two representative streams who must work together here? This is harder to answer, as I believe this school was a sort of miscarriage. It has been preserved  in two ways:  through the notes of the Lord’s Prayer Course which was held between 1940-1943 in Amsterdam, and through the anonymously written Meditations on the Tarot, which for all intents and purposes founded the Christ School in the heart of anyone who lovingly devoted their attention to the 22 Letter-Meditations contained within this text. It was an ingenious move, really:  to unofficially found the Christ School amongst an enormous spectrum of spiritually striving individuals. A very strong foundation is laid for the existence of this school, and in a way it does exist, but informally, stealthily. It remains to be seen whether it is the destiny of this school to incarnate in a formal, external way, as has the Michael School (in the form of the First Class of Spiritual Science, which has been in existence for 94 years) and the Grail Priesthood (which has been in existence in a limited sense for 24 years, and a broader sense for 12).

But in spite of all this, can we discover two streams active within this School? Well, we have looked at the two streams of Abel in reference to Sophia:  Kings and Shepherds. The Kings represent the human/spiritual realm (awakening the Ego); the Shepherds the animal/astral (awakening the Spirit Self). Might we find two streams in the Christ School related to the plant/etheric realm (awakening the Life Spirit) and the stone/physical realm (awakening the Resurrection Body)?

For this, we must look to the individuality who incarnated as Lazarus. Who did this individual incarnate as during the times of Abel and Solomon? At the time of Abel, he incarnated as Abel’s older brother, Cain—a Gardener; and during the time of Solomon, the architect of the Temple, he incarnated as Solomon’s partner and rival, Hiram Abiff, the actual builder of the Temple—a Mason.

And so, with the Christ School, we are dealing with another stream altogether. In fact, we find that we are dealing with nothing less than the Rosicrucian stream—for Lazarus incarnated in the 14th-15th century as Christian Rosenkreuz. This stream is deeply associated with the Freemasons, with the Tarot, and with the Knights Templar—bringing us back to the characterization of the Christ School as a school of Grail Knights.

This school has less to do with knowledge or revelation, but rather with deeds, both inner and outer. It has to do with the overcoming of evil inwardly, overcoming the double, in order to create new and ever higher forms of Goodness within; and it has to do with overcoming evil externally, in order to create new and ever higher forms of Goodness without. The only other individual to have traversed the path through the nine sub-earthly spheres other than Christ himself was Lazarus. He is our guide in the navigation and transformation of Evil. Lazarus was given Christ’s ether body (Life-Spirit) when he was raised from the dead; and we are all given a new physical body, the Resurrection Body, through Christ.

Here we do not look to the Nativity of the Christ Child to find the archetypes of Gardener and Builder:  we look to his Entombment and Resurrection. For he was entombed in a grave belonging to Joseph of Arimethea, a stone-mason. And when he rose from the dead, he first appeared to Mary Magdalene in the form of a groundskeeper, a gardener.

Michael guards this side of the threshold, the side of human beings. Sophia guards the other side, that of the spiritual world. But the Threshold itself is Christ—it is Conscience. The aim of the Christ School is not to stand guard over one side or the other, but to be the Threshold itself, to cultivate ever deeper levels of Conscience that the Threshold may open ever wider between the spiritual world and humanity, between Heaven and Earth. Its members are the cultivators and builders of the future—the New Jerusalem.

And this third stream is in the same situation as the others. It must find a way to enhance cooperation between the Gardeners and Masons; and it must find a way to properly engage with both the Sophianic and Michaelic streams. I reiterate that it will be of great importance for there to be individuals who feel themselves to be active members of all three streams, in order to bring about the Grail Community of our time:  Michael Sophia in Nomine Christi.

As a final note, and keeping in mind that Tomberg described the upper chakras as chakras of knowledge, and the lower chakras as those of revelation, here is how these streams might relate to the seven chakras of the human being:



Larynx—Michael (Mason)


Solar Plexus—Shepherd (Gardener)




The Four-fold Teachers Pt 5: What Next?

The articles on the topic of the 7 Miracles of the Etheric Christ were meant to give a guiding image as to the nature of the activity of those of us working under the aegis of the Kalki Avatar, as that activity unfolds itself over the course of the next 25 or so years. Specifically, this guiding image was that of the 4th Miracle, The Feeding of the 5000. The purpose of these articles on the Great Teachers is to expand this set of guiding images from one to four, to have a more nuanced and balanced picture to motivate us as modern-day Templists (Grail Knights).

In the first place, if we are to be working in the name of Kalki Avatar, the Maitreya Boddhisatva, what must the nature of our inner life consist of? Following on from the Magician (Mysticism, Sun) of Rudolf Steiner, to the High Priestess (Gnosis, Saturn) of Valentin Tomberg, to the Empress (Sacred Magic, Moon) of Robert Powell, we come to the Emperor. The Emperor is Hermeticism, and the representative among the Major Arcana of Jupiter.


To begin with, we must take this as an indication that our inner life must be imbued with Hermeticism; that is, the act of synthesis, of finding correspondence via analogy, must be our guiding light, rather than analysis and discursive logic. We can make this indication even more specific by looking to the life of Rudolf Steiner. Here we see that the effect and legacy of Rudolf Steiner was to awaken and heal the Brow Chakra, the Jupiter Chakra. Our inner life, then, must become completely saturated and transformed by the being of Anthroposophia. This is something above and beyond merely filling ourselves with the content of Rudolf Steiner’s teaching, but of actually following the path laid out by him which leads to a synthetic, living form of thinking. It is a matter of uniting ourselves inwardly not just with his teaching, but with all the initiatives that sprang up due to this teaching:  Waldorf schools, biodynamic farming, Camphill, the Society itself.

Here we have another example of the principle of inversion:  what was the most external aspect of Rudolf Steiner must become the most internal aspect for those of us acting on the behalf of the Maitreya Boddhisatva.

Next we come to the mode and content of our teaching. Following on from Saturn (The High Priestess), Sun (The Magician), and the Moon (The Empress), we come to Mars:  The Chariot. This is the Arcanum of Self-Mastery.


In his Letter-Meditation on The Chariot, Valentin Tomberg describes the successive Temptations in the Wilderness:  how on the 37th day, Christ was tempted to Power; on the 38th day, he was tempted to Instinct; and on the 39th day, he was tempted to Materialism. On the 40th day, having overcome the three temptations, he was then ministered to by three Angels, who bestowed on him the seven-fold Glory which carried the seeds of the seven Healing Miracles.

However, this last day of temptation, this victory over evil, bears within it the seed of a combined temptation, of meeting all three temptations simultaneously in the form of megalomania. As we enter into the 40th Cosmic Day of Temptation (according to Robert Powell, from 2018-2047), the teaching of how to overcome megalomania and achieve self-mastery via humility is the key teaching of our time. It is the path to receiving the seven-fold Glory of the ministering Angels.

Combined with the comprehensive knowledge that is borne by an inner life under the sign of The Emperor, a mode of speaking under the sign of The Chariot can potentially be overwhelming for the person or people to which one is speaking. One must be careful to keep hold of the reigns of one’s tongue, and practice balancing both the Michaelic/Rosicrucian mode of speaking (which can be too severe) with the Franciscan/Buddhistic mode of speaking (which can be too gentle). Again we have the principle of inversion at play:  that which operated at the outermost level (effect and legacy) for Valentin Tomberg must become internalized to the level of teaching.

We have looked quite specifically at the third aspect, that of the expression of will, at length in the articles on the 7 Miracles of the Etheric Christ, as alluded to above. Following on from the Moon (Changing of Water into Wine, Empress) of Steiner, to Venus (Healing of the Nobleman’s Son, The Lover) of Tomberg, to Mercury (Healing of the Paralyzed Man, The Pope) of Robert Powell, we come to the Sun. The Sun is the Feeding of the Five Thousand. It is The Magician—Mysticism.


In addition to the quality of “spiritualizing the senses” discussed in the prior set of articles, we can once again look to the artistic realms related to the different chakras in order to get a picture of how the act of Feeding of the Five Thousand might express itself through those of us acting on behalf of Kalki Avatar. Whereas the Root Chakra is related to Drama, the Sacral to Poetry, and the Solar Plexus to Dance, the Heart Chakra is related to Music. Whether implicitly or explicitly, there will be a musical quality to the mystical deeds we undertake in order to accomplish this 4th miracle.

Again an inversion has taken place. Whereas the effect of Rudolf Steiner on the Brow Chakra must work all the way down into our inner life, and the effect of Valentin Tomberg on the Larynx Chakra must work down to our mode and content of teaching, the effect of Novalis (via Robert Powell) on the Heart Chakra must have gone far enough to effect the quality of our deeds in the world. The three streams preceding us must unite:  the legacies of Steiner, of Tomberg, and of Robert Powell must all come together in the thoughts we think, the words we speaks, and the deeds we perform on the behalf of Kalki Avatar.

Finally, we come to the effect and legacy we are trying to extend out into the world and into each other. Following on from the Brow Chakra (Jupiter, The Emperor), to the Larynx Chakra (Mars, The Chariot), to the Heart Chakra (Sun, The Magician), we come to the Solar Plexus Chakra. This is the chakra of Mercury and of The Pope. This is the Stage of Crucifixion in Christ’s Passion.


The Solar Plexus Chakra is the realm in which subconsciousness has the potential to meet and be taken up by consciousness. It is the region in which we can confront our Karmic Double, the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold—the cumulative result of all of our deeds over the course of many lives. The effect that Kalki Avatar ought to have on us in the present day (whether through another person or directly) is the awakening of this chakra. The result of this awakening is a strong sense of contrition and shame to begin with, and subsequently an increasing feeling of responsibility and vigilance over our lower self, our doppleganger. Taking ownership of our double is an act that contributes to the overcoming of Ahriman; to the redemption of Lucifer; and to the awakening of karmic clairvoyance, the gift bestowed on us by the Etheric Christ increasingly in the time to come. Humanity as a whole is crossing the threshold; it is our task to awaken in it the strength and capacity to accomplish this.

Once again we have come to an inversion:  that which was operating at the level of the will for the third Teacher must extend out to become the effect and lasting legacy of the Great Teacher of our time.

We come to an arrangement of Arcana that is in a way as harmonious as that of Rudolf Steiner’s (which spelt the Divine Name, YHVH). Here we have:

The Emperor—Jupiter

The Chariot—Mars

The Magician—Sun

The Pope—Mercury

The sequence Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Mercury takes us from the Brow Chakra, down to the Larynx Chakra, to the Heart Chakra, and then into the Solar Plexus Chakra. While Rudolf Steiner’s “Name” spelt out the path of the inner life (that of the first four Major Arcana), the “Name” of Kalki in our time spells out the path of outer effect (the path downward through the chakras). It is this path that consists of the closing part of the Morning Meditation of Rudolf Steiner:

“…during the first abstention from breathing the pupil concentrates on the point lying between and a little behind the eyebrows, at the root of the nose, inside the forepart of the brain, while he fills his consciousness exclusively with the words:

I am.

During the second abstention from breathing he concentrates on a point inside the larynx, while he fills his consciousness exclusively with the image:

It thinks.

During the third abstention from breathing he concentrates on the two arms and hands. The hands are either held folded, or the right is laid over the left. At the same time he fills his consciousness exclusively with the image:

She feels.

During the fourth abstention from breathing he concentrates on the whole surface of the body; that is, he pictures his bodily self with the utmost possible clarity and fills his consciousness with the image:

                                                                         He wills.”

from Guidance in Esoteric Training

It was Valentin Tomberg who later explicitly connected these four stages to the four chakras mentioned above. This progression can be experienced on another level through working with the exercises in Robert Powell’s Cultivating Inner Radiance, bringing them together with the Foundation Stone Meditation, cosmic evolution, and levels of transformed consciousness (see page 217). We might think of the path laid out in Cultivating Inner Radiance as the ideal path for developing in ourselves the four qualities required of us to unfold the spiritual task of our time. Yes, the effect on the pupil of the Kalki Avatar should be to experience the Stage of Crucifixion:  crucified to the four points of the internal compass, thus creating the possibility for the 5th wound, the spear wound, to open up a fount of creative transformation.

The Four-Fold Teachers Pt 4: Robert Powell

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


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

“Practice Spirit-vision

In stillness of Thought,

Where the Eternal Aims Divine

Cosmic Spirit Light

To thine own I

For thy free willing

Grant thee.”

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

The Four-Fold Teachers Pt 3: Valentin Tomberg

“May the will of the predecessor become the thought of the successor; may the thought of the predecessor become the will of the successor.”

This magical formula given by Valentin Tomberg in his Lord’s Prayer Course is the key to understanding the transition (and resulting confusion) from the era of Rudolf Steiner to that of Valentin Tomberg in the 1930’s. That which was manifest became hidden, and that which was hidden became manifest; this was an unexpected and difficult flipe, too difficult for the Anthroposophical Society to embrace (as the years 1933-1938 in its history make clear) .

On the first level of manifestation of Valentin Tomberg’s work, that is, in the realm of the inner life of Valentin Tomberg, we have the second Arcanum of the Tarot, following on from the first Arcanum in Rudolf Steiner’s work. This means we have The High Priestess, who is related to Saturn, as the representative of his inner life. How can we better understand this?

high priestess

There are several different ways in which the life of Valentin Tomberg bears witness to The High Priestess as the archetype of his inner life. The first is the quality of Valentin Tomberg’s inner activity. Rather than a representative of Intuition (The Magician), as was Rudolf Steiner, he was a representative of the activity of Inspiration first and foremost. If we read closely his Meditations on the Tarot, especially his meditations on the 14th Arcanum, Temperance, we find it revealed that Inspiration is a “thinking together” with one’s Angel (or Archangel, Elohim, or Seraphim as the case may be). This “thinking together” is like a conversation of one’s higher self with the spiritual world, rather than a uniting of one’s being completely with the spiritual world, as is the case in Intuition. Valentin Tomberg calls Inspiration the uniting feature of Hermeticists, the key to speaking their language and performing their activity. Since presenting Christian Hermeticism to the world was more than anything else the mission of Valentin Tomberg, we can assume that Inspiration was, more than anything else, the method and spiritual activity employed by him during his life. And The High Priestess is the representative of this listening, conversational quality of Inspiration—the second letter of the Divine Name YHVH, Gnosis. (The Magician=Yod, Intuition, Spiritual Touch. The High Priestess=He, Inspiration, Spiritual Hearing. The Empress=Vau, Imagination, Spiritual Seeing. The Emperor=He, Hermeticism, Synthesis.)

On the other hand, The High Priestess is an image of the Virgin Mary (Tomberg relates Saturn specifically to the Virgin Mary). From childhood, Tomberg was drawn to the Divine Feminine, first in Russian Sophiology and ultimately in the cult of the Virgin in the Catholic Church. Rather than The Magician as the Representative of Humanity (the key inner experience of Steiner), we have The High Priestess as the Holy Virgin (the key inner experience of Tomberg).

Last but not least, we can see that what was outer for Rudolf Steiner (his mode and content of teaching) has become inner for Valentin Tomberg. We might say that on an inner level, Valentin Tomberg united himself completely with the content of the teachings brought forth by Rudolf Steiner over the course of his life. His comprehensive grasp at such a young age of the content of Anthroposophy is evident upon reading, for example, Christ and Sophia.

The next level of manifestation of Valentin Tomberg’s work is in his own mode and content of teaching. Following on from the “Saturn Evolution” that was Rudolf Steiner’s teaching, his is a “Sun Evolution”; we move from The High Priestess to The Magician. How can this be understood?


Once again, we have a flipe: the inner life of Rudolf Steiner becomes the outer expression, the teaching, of Valentin Tomberg. Fundamentally, Valentin Tomberg’s teaching was to proclaim the advent of Jesus Christ in the Earth’s etheric aura, and to elucidate activities through which the human being could begin to come into a relationship with Him. This is essentially an outer expression and explication of the life-changing event that occurred to Rudolf Steiner in 1899, his inner experience of the Mystery of Golgotha.

But this Arcanum of The Magician is also expressive of Valentin Tomberg’s mode of expression. Rudolf Steiner’s impeccable reports of experiences of the spiritual world none-the-less strike some people as cold and dry. They are certainly written from an academic/scientific perspective—very Saturnine. Compared to this, Valentin Tomberg’s writings are free-wheeling, full of light, warmth, and life. They lack the scientific precision of Steiner’s writings, but one gets the impression that one is being brought to life by what one is reading. Tomberg’s ability to imbue his writings with this quality only increased with his age, as it comes to full expression in his Meditations on the Tarot. It is completely holistic and harmonious, but is written almost in a stream-of-consciousness style. It is like The Juggler (another name for The Magician) – effortlessly keeping in motion several spheres simultaneously. Unfortunately, it was this tone which came as such a shock to the Anthroposophical Society, and struck some then (and even now) as a sign of overconfidence and a tendency to allow the lower personality to bleed into what ought to be detached. In reality it was nothing more or less than the contrast between the Gnostic content of Anthroposophy and the Mystical content of Christian Hermeticism, the Head and the Heart.

We find the next level of manifestation of Valentin Tomberg’s work in his life of will, in the nature of his deeds. This is the Venus Miracle, the Healing of the Nobleman’s Son, following upon the Moon Miracle of Rudolf Steiner, the Changing of Water into Wine. In other words, we move from The Empress (Moon) to The Lover (Venus). How can we understand this better?


The quality of the sixth Arcanum, The Lover, is “Love of Neighbor.” When we look at the life of Valentin Tomberg, we see that from the very beginning, he was drawn to working with groups of people, whether it was the Hermetic school around Mebes, the Theosophical Society, the Anthroposophical Society, the Catholic Church, or ultimately the broader scene of Christian Hermeticists to which his magnum opus, Mediations on the Tarot, is addressed. One might imagine that in doing so he was addressing all of the groups mentioned here; but another group, of great importance to his work, is also addressed. His friend Martin Kriele has stated that Valentin Tomberg performed most of his “sacred magical” work behind the scenes, working with and interceding on behalf of the Dead. Many of these “Known Friends” who have crossed the Threshold are specifically named in Meditations on the Tarot. In fact, based on my own experience, I would posit that this work was written with the direct aid of Hermeticists across the Threshold; hence it is a work that is written Anonymously, in which the Anonymous author greets one from beyond the Threshold. The author must remain Anonymous for, in truth, he has not acted alone in writing these Letter/Meditations. Their authorship originates from beyond the Threshold.

In terms of the seven arts represented by each of the chakras, the Venus Chakra represents to us poetry, speech, the word. We can see that Valentin Tomberg’s great Magical Deed, the second Miracle accomplished through him, was linked to the authorship of Meditations on the Tarot. There is, in my opinion, no better written work, no better use of human language, no better fusion of poetry, prose, academia, and mysticism than this collection of 22 Letter/Meditations. Rudolf Steiner’s deeds were collectively a Spiritual Drama (Drama in the sense of the totality of the Arts); Tomberg’s were collectively a Spiritual Poem, a great Word.

Finally, we come to the final level of manifestation of Valentin Tomberg’s work, his effect and legacy. Here we arrive at the activation of the Larynx Chakra, a Crowning of Thorns. This is related to the seventh Arcanum, The Chariot. How can this be understood?


We can understand The Chariot (whose quality is that of Self-Mastery), as well as the Mars Chakra, to be related particularly to the cultivation of morality in the human being. Specifically, it lays out a path of “Crowning with Thorns,” of being crowned with the uprightness required to carry out deeds on behalf of the spiritual world. This uprightness is what Jung would call the Individuated Personality, the Ego that has become Salt, balancing the explosiveness of Sulphur (megalomania) and the fluidity of Mercury (inferiority complex). It is this purifying, will-strengthening path that one sets out on when one begins to read Meditations on the Tarot, becoming ultimately a Knight in the order of Michael (the modern representative of Mars), a member of the so-called Church of John:  one who infuses the blessed purity of the Buddhistic St. Francis with the experiential knowledge of Christian Rosenkreuz.

The effect of Rudolf Steiner was primarily to lay out the path by which the human being could take up their own schooling in an esoteric path, developing their latent spiritual sensory capabilities (Emperor/Hermeticism/Brow Chakra). This required the counterbalancing effect brought by Valentin Tomberg, encouraging the human being to take up their own schooling in moral development (Chariot/Self-Mastery/Larynx Chakra). “The golden rule is this:  for every one step that you take in pursuit of hidden knowledge, take three steps in the perfecting of your own character.”



The Four-Fold Teachers Pt 2: Rudolf Steiner

To reiterate briefly:  the four aspects of the Hermetic Tradition (Mysticism, Gnosis, Sacred Magic, and Hermeticism) express themselves through the activities and biographies of the so-called Great Teachers of the 20th century. They do this, respectively, through the inner life of the teacher (Mysticism), through his or her mode and content of teaching (Gnosis), through deeds (Sacred Magic), and finally through the effect the teacher has on his or her students, through the legacy left behind (Hermeticism).

In order to make this clearer, let’s look at each Teacher in turn, making the attempt to grasp as vividly as possible these four aspects for each of them. And so first we turn our gaze to Rudolf Steiner.

Let’s recall that the progressive unfolding of the inner lives of the Great Teachers has a certain relationship to the sequence of the Major Arcana:  The Magician (Sun), The High Priestess (Saturn), The Empress (Moon), The Emperor (Jupiter), etc. Therefore, we should be able to find in the inner life of Rudolf Steiner something representative of the spiritual activity that is The Magician. What is this spiritual activity? The Magician is Mysticism. He reveals to us the nature of Intuition; of Union with the Divine. This Intuition and Union is so immediate, and so pure, that it is unmediated by the reflection of thought or discursive thinking. It is pure, living, spiritual experience that only subsequently can be gathered into conscious thought (through the spiritual activity of The High Priestess, Gnosis).


We could say that The Magician is a representative of Christ; indeed, he bears a striking resemblance in gesture to Steiner’s Representative of Humanity. He is, among the Tarot, the representative of the Sun, and by association, with the Resurrected Christ. He is, in fact, quite a perfect picture of the inner life of Rudolf Steiner:  pure freedom; the effortless union with the spiritual world, above all with the spiritual reality of the Mystery of Golgotha.

The progressive teachings given by the Great Teachers do not follow the sequence of development laid out by the Major Arcana. Rather, this second level of activity on the part of the Teachers is expressed through the sequence of Cosmic Evolution, from Ancient Saturn to future Venus. Translated into the language of the Tarot, this sequence is The High Priestess (Saturn), The Magician (Sun), The Empress (Moon), The Chariot (Mars), The Pope (Mercury), and The Lover (Venus). Can we find in the teaching of Rudolf Steiner a quality related to that of The High Priestess, of Saturn?

The quality of the High Priestess is that of completely accurate reflection, like a still lake reflecting the sky. It is the utter stillness of the lower personality which enables it to clearly bring to consciousness, as well as communicate, the reality of the intuitive experience portrayed for us by the Arcanum of the Magician. Rudolf Steiner, more than any other human being, possessed the ability to impartially translate into human language the realities of the higher worlds. To the same degree as his impartiality (the silencing of the lower personality), Rudolf Steiner possessed a thoroughness and accuracy in reporting spiritual realities, one thus far unmatched by any other.

high priestess

In fact, the very word Anthroposophy contains these two figures. Anthroposophy is Anthropos-Sophia; Anthropos refers to Man, as in the archetypal Human, Christ. This is The Magician (Mysticism). Sophia refers to Wisdom, the Goddess Wisdom specifically, rather than any kind of dry philosophy. This is The High Priestess (Gnosis). Anthroposophy, then, is Mysticism-Gnosis, or Mystery Wisdom:  the Magician and the High Priestess.

Now we come to the third level of activity of Rudolf Steiner:  his deeds. This particular realm of Steiner’s activity has been discussed from one angle in my prior articles on the 7 Miracles; now we will investigate it from another. Let’s remember that the path of Sacred Magic accomplished by the Great Teachers follows the path of the Healing Miracles of Christ through the chakras:  Moon, Venus, Mercury, Sun, etc. Translated into the imagery of the Tarot, this gives us:  The Empress (Moon), The Lover (Venus), The Pope (Mercury), The Magician (Sun), The Chariot (Mars), The Emperor (Jupiter), The High Priestess (Saturn). How were Rudolf Steiner’s deeds related to the Empress?


The Empress is the primary representative of Sacred Magic among the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Just as Rudolf Steiner was the archetypal mystic in his inner life and the archetypal gnostic in his teaching, he was also the archetypal mage in his life of will, his deeds. It seems that over the course of the last 20 years of his life (beginning particularly in 1907), every area of human endeavor was touched by this man and infused with the life of the Spirit. Architecture, painting, eurythmy, sculpture, speech, medicine, agriculture, pedagogy—each and every one of these areas became the platform upon which Sacred Magic could be performed via the agency of Rudolf Steiner.

In the Lord’s Prayer Course, Valentin Tomberg makes the following correspondences between the 7 Arts and the chakras:

Crown = Architecture

Brow = Painting

Larynx = Sculpture

Heart = Music

Solar Plexus = Dance

Sacral = Poetry

Root = Drama

The last of these, Drama, is meant in the Wagnerian sense, in which Drama is the synthesis of all of the preceding Arts. We can see that in the life of Rudolf Steiner, the attempt was made and the seed was planted for the archetypal form of Mystery Drama, in which the union of all of the Arts with the Spirit is realized.

If we now look at the last realm of activity of Rudolf Steiner, we come to his legacy and his effect on his students. The development of this last realm across the activity of the Great Teachers follows the path of the chakras from above to below, beginning with the Brow Chakra, the Jupiter Chakra. When translated into the language of the Tarot, this gives us the Hermetic correspondence of:  The Emperor (Jupiter), The Chariot (Mars), The Magician (Sun), The Pope (Mercury), The Lover (Venus), The Empress (Moon), The High Priestess (Saturn).

This sequence presents to us a different way of working with the Stages of the Passion taken by Christ. Rather than beginning with Crown=The Washing of the Feet and ending with The Moon=Resurrection, we have a sequence which integrates the reality of the descent to the Mother in Shambhala, which is only becoming clear to humanity in the present age:

Brow = Scourging

Larynx = Crowning with Thorns

Heart = Bearing of the Cross

Solar Plexus = Crucifixion

Sacral = Entombment

Root = Descent to Shambhala (reunion with the Mother)

Crown = Resurrection/Ascension (reunion with the Father)

What is significant in this sequence is that it begins in the Brow Chakra, where the human being is alone with their own effort (“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”). And this was the effect intended by Rudolf Steiner:  to encourage the student of spiritual science to strive upwards into the spiritual world by dint of an unceasing effort of the transformation of thinking, suffused with equanimity and patience.


Within the Major Arcana, Jupiter is revealed to us through the Arcanum of the Emperor. He is the representative amongst the Arcana of Hermeticism. What is Hermeticism? It is the synthesis, within a perennial philosophy, of all knowledge and experience. A perennial philosophy, i.e. a living Tradition; while it ever strives to be all encompassing, it is also an organism in development. Rather than a fixed philosophical system, it offers a way of approaching the world to discover Truth. It forms a spiral, not a closed circle. Above all, it follows the Hermetic axiom, “As above, so below,” seeking the correspondence between the spiritual above and the material below. This was the enormous legacy left by Rudolf Steiner. More than any other teacher, he has left us with a synthetic, all encompassing world-view, one that (ideally) is a living activity in meeting the spiritual and material worlds rather than a new set of extremely abstract dogma (although this is its shadow side). It is in the wrestling with the content of Anthroposophy, in our active engagement both with the inner path laid out by Rudolf Steiner as well as the outer endeavors initiated by him that we find ourselves guided to the redemption of the Brow Chakra. In light of the Scourging, this is fundamentally the inner exercise of resolving polarities of left and right, of above and below, via the ultimate Center which is Christ.

And now we can understand more clearly why and how Rudolf Steiner accomplished such a miraculous amount in one lifetime. The four levels of his activity are summed up in the first four Major Arcana of the Tarot:  The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor; or Mysticism, Gnosis, Sacred Magic, Hermeticism. These four Arcana comprise and express to us the ineffable name of God:  YHVH, Yod He Vau He. Rudolf Steiner’s life and destiny, then, were a perfect expression of the ineffable name of God, of Yahweh. Considering Rudolf Steiner’s karmic background as the individuality Moses, this is a humbling and awe-inspiring reality to ponder. It is no wonder, then, that in him we have seen the most comprehensive and inspiring spiritual teacher of the modern age:  he bears the very Name of God as his garment.