Many thanks to my wife Molly for bringing this to realization!
Many thanks to my wife Molly for bringing this to realization!
In this tenth section of the series of articles on the seven sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, we will look specifically at what the form of a modern Johannine Rite might be. This Rite ought to be as authentic as possible, stripped of arbitrary elements as much as possible; it also must be complementary to existing Tradition as much as possible—remembering that it is a temporal Rite, developing a completely different spiritual body (Buddhi or Life-Spirit—the “Tree of Life”) than the Orthodox Rite (which is developing Atman or Spirit-Human, the Resurrection Body).
The Orthodox Church is concerned with re-establishing the connection between human beings and the Father God in the heights, via the nine spiritual hierarchies. In doing so, it transforms the human kingdom into the tenth hierarchy—that of Love and Freedom. The centre of gravity of the Church is the Eucharist, the Communion of Bread and Wine. And the main time of year during which the Church focuses on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ is from Advent through Whitsun—the rest of the year (between Whitsun and Advent) is referred to as “Ordinary Time.”
Nowadays Advent begins somewhat less than four weeks prior to Christmas Day, at the end of November/beginning of December. This was not always the case. Originally, the season of Advent began on the Sunday after Martinmas (November 11), and was referred to as the Fast of St. Martin. It was an approximately 40-day fast leading up to Christmas, akin to Lent leading up to Easter. This is still the custom in both the Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites, in which the Advent season begins six Sundays before Christmas, rather than four.
Martinmas, in many Northwestern cultures, marks the end of the farming season. If Michaelmas is the harvest festival, Martinmas is the butchering festival. It is often celebrated with a harvest feast and bonfire. It marks the “turning within” of the Christian year, when the focus is no longer meant to be on outer affairs, but on the life of Christ.
On the other hand, Whitsun is a moveable festival which can occur anywhere from early May to mid-June. One could say this festival marks the proper beginning of the farming year (again, from a Northwestern cultural perspective)—it is usually at this time of year that animals go back out to pasture, the final frosts have occurred, and biodynamic preparations are sprayed on the fields and gardens. The “turning within” to the life of Christ ceases; we once again become concerned with outer affairs.
And now let’s take into consideration the aims of the Second Coming of Christ, in the Elemental realm. It is his task—and ours—in this age to turn our gaze below, to the Mother, rather than above. We must find the Mother in the depths; and we can only find her through the redemption of elemental beings of natural and sub-natural realms. If our task in Orthodoxy is to return to the Father via the Angels, it is our task in the Johannine Rite to return to the Mother via the Elementals. This time of year during which we turn to Mother Nature—so-called “Ordinary Time”—is the time of year during which the Johannine Rite ought to be performed.
We can find a clue to this in the mystery of the number 153, the quantity of fish that were caught by the disciples through the guidance of the Risen One. One hundred fifty three days is just one day shy of 22 weeks (22×7 = 154); the Tree of Life, the transformed etheric body of Christ, is made up of 22 Paths, 22 Arcana, represented in the Tarot of Marseilles. The “Christian year” of the Mother Service would ideally run from the 153 prior to the first Sunday of Advent in the traditional sense—that is, the sixth Sunday prior to Christmas.
This year, for example, the first Sunday of the Fast of St. Martin will be November 15. This would place the season of the Mother, of the Johannine Rite, from June 15 through November 15. Generally speaking, this about the time of year that the Johannine season would take place—from mid-June to mid-November. Notice that the start of this liturgical season would be marked very nearly by St. John’s Tide—a feast that is also celebrated with great bonfires. The death and resurrection of Lazarus, historically speaking, took place in the second half of July. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated (and occurred historically) in mid-August; and the Feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist is celebrated on August 29. Along with Michaelmas (the theme of which is the rescuing of the Divine Feminine from the attack of the Dragon), comes the Feast of St. Francis—the reincarnated John Zebedee—who had a very special relationship to Nature. And the season ends with St. Martin of Tours, who could be seen as a similar figure to St. Francis—a soldier who turns to a life of piety and service.
Just as the Father Church enters beautiful stone cathedrals, from the cold of winter to the rebirth of spring, ideally the Mother Service would take place outdoors in the beauty of Nature. For this church does not exist primarily for human beings. The key gesture of this service would be to redeem Nature, just as humanity has been redeemed by the spiritual world—in other words, to wash the feet of Nature. The gesture of footwashing is the higher bending over to honour the lower—the lower which has sacrificed itself for the sake of the development of the higher. This was the gesture of Christ toward his disciples on the night of the Last Supper.
In terms of aesthetic and core orientation, the outdoor paneurhythmy celebrations of the Universal White Brotherhood developed by Beinsa Douno (Peter Deunov) in the early part of the 20th century lay a great deal of groundwork. Paneurhythmy was developed specifically with the elemental beings and the world of Nature in mind. In fact, the songs and movements of Beinsa Douno could become an integral part of a modern Mother service. There are 28 paneurhythmy exercises, as well as the culmination of these exercises in the “Sun’s Rays” and “Pentagram” dances. The first 10 of the 28 exercises form a unity; therefore, this gives us 1+18 = 19 exercises and 2 culminating dances—21 celebratory songs and movements that align very closely with the 153 day/22 week liturgical season of the Mother. (Many thanks to Natalia Haarahiltunen for her valuable input regarding paneurhythmy—amongst many other things!).
As to the basic content and structure of the celebration, the Sophia Mass of milk and honey, introduced by Robert Powell over thirty years ago, and celebrated by many involved with the Sophia Foundation (mainly, up until now, in the United States) is a huge step in the right direction. In particular, the focus on the Our Mother prayer, given through Valentin Tomberg at the height of World War II in Amsterdam, is as central to the Mother service as the Lord’s Prayer is to the Eucharist:
Thou who art in the darkness of the underworld,
May the holiness of Thy name shine anew in our remembering,
May the breath of Thy awakening kingdom warm the hearts of all who wander homeless,
May the resurrection of Thy will renew eternal faith, even unto the depths of physical substance.
Receive this day the living memory of Thee from human hearts,
Who implore thee to forgive the sin of forgetting Thee,
And are ready to fight against temptation which has led thee to existence in darkness,
That through the deed of the Son, the immeasurable pain of the Father be stilled, by the liberation of all beings from the tragedy of Thy withdrawal.
For thine is the homeland and the boundless wisdom and the all-merciful grace, for all and everything in the Circle of All.
However, the orientation of the Sophia Mass would need to be somewhat altered. As it stands currently, the service culminates in the eating of milk and honey. A separate service replicates the bread and wine communion of the Orthodox Church; and a third, partially developed service includes a communion of fish. First of all, the bread and wine communion belongs to the Church and to the liturgical year running from Advent through Whitsun. It does not belong in a Mother service (the Johannine Rite), as it is not a part of the Gospel of John. Remember that this new Rite needs to complement and complete—not replace—the pre-existing Rite of the Church.
Second of all, the eating of milk and honey should not necessarily stand at the centre or culmination of the Mother service. You see, in the Orthodox Church, what is of primary importance is the taking of the Eucharist in the Mass—the sacrament that is ingested is of primary importance. On the other hand, the sacrament of baptism—a tactile sacrament—is of secondary significance. With the Johannine Rite, it is the reverse. What is of primary importance is the Washing of the Feet. Footwashing is mentioned not once, but twice in the Gospel of St. John. On Holy Wednesday, Mary Magdalene anoints Christ’s feet with precious spikenard oil and her tears, drying his feet with her hair. Then, on Maundy Thursday, Christ anoints the disciples’ feet with water. The tactile sacrament is of primary importance here—the Sophia or Mother service ought to culminate in the Washing of the Feet, rather than the tasting of milk and honey. Certainly, in the early tradition of the Church, milk and honey were taken only once, with one’s first communion—just as one is only baptised once, usually as a newborn in the Orthodox churches. The Johannine Rite could adopt this historical tradition, giving milk and honey only at the “first communion”—or rather, first foot washing.
At the time of Christ, the actual baptism administered by John was an initiatory event performed on full-grown adults, during which they were submerged in the water until they had a near-death experience. This was adapted to a sprinkling of water on the heads of newborn infants in the tradition of the Church. Similarly, the immersive and thorough foot washing performed by Christ and Mary Magdalene could be similarly adapted—one’s feet would be sprinkled with the water at the culmination of the service. One would then take water and douse the surrounding Nature, as in the application of biodynamic preparation. In fact, there is already a “Milk and Honey Prep” that is used in biodynamic agriculture:
Here we have an excellent beginning to the holy substance that would be regularly sprayed on the feet of the celebrants, as well as the “feet” of Mother Earth. One might only need to add to this a small amount of spikenard oil in order to have the fullness of the five communions:
(1) Incense and (2) Oil = Spikenard Oil
(3) Fish = Feet
(4) Milk and (5) Honey
So we have in many ways the basic elements required for a proper service. We have the Our Mother rather than the Our Father. We have Footwashing rather than the Eucharist. For liturgical music and movement we have paneurhythmy. For a chapel we have the natural world. But an essential beginning to any liturgical service is the Gospel reading. What is the equivalent for a modern rite?
Over the course of the years 1940-43, Valentin Tomberg led a group of individuals in Amsterdam through an in-depth study of the Lord’s Prayer, what is now known as the Lord’s Prayer Course. In the years after World War II, he distilled the essence of this study into powerful mantra—akin to the mantra of the First Class of the School of Michael. Originally there were 22 of these mantra; Tomberg’s handwritten notes (in German) for 14 of these mantra are still in existence. Since 2012, they have gradually been translated into English and paired with eurythmy gestures by Robert Powell as the Grail Knight’s Practice. Each of these mantra aligns with a certain section of both the Lord’s Prayer and the Our Mother Prayer; each aligns with one of the 22 Major Arcana; and each is a distillation of a portion of the Christian-Rosicrucian Path developed in the Lord’s Prayer Course.
For example: the first mantra is a distillation of the Nine Beatitudes, and relates to The World as First Petition of the Our Mother (or The Magician as First Petition of the Our Father). The second mantra is a distillation of the Stages of the Passion, and relates to The Fool as Second Petition of the Our Mother (or High Priestess as Second Petition of the Our Father). These modern “Gospel readings” are like the fruit of the Tree of Life, as this Tree is the underlying archetype of both the Our Father and Our Mother Prayers, as well as the Major Arcana of the Tarot.
Unfortunately, only 14 out of the 22 original mantra are still extant, at least from what material is currently known of and available. They are related to:
The Nine Beatitudes
The Stages of the Passion
The Apocalyptic Levels of Judgement
Nourishment from the Force of Seeds
The Healing of the Breath
Levels of Communion
First Healing Miracle
Second Healing Miracle
Third Healing Miracle
Fourth Healing Miracle
Fifth Healing Miracle
Sixth Healing Miracle
Seventh Healing Miracle
And this is as far as the notes go. The remaining parts would have related to the seven Words from the Cross, the seven sayings of the Risen Christ, and the seven days of Creation. In a way it is fortunate that we are not given this content in its completeness: an opening has been left in the spiral to complete these 22 mantra—the “Gospel readings” of the new 22 weeks of the Johannine Rite.
And so: an ideal celebration of the Mother would be an outdoor biodynamic foot washing using a special mixture of several sacramental elements; weaving together the work of Valentin Tomberg, Robert Powell, and Peter Deunov; focusing on the revivification of Mother Nature and the Elementals. It would be celebrated during “Ordinary Time,” the height of the farming season, from the time between Whitsun and St. John’s until Martinmas. And what would we call those who lead this service? Are they Priests? Ministers? I am not sure exactly, but not titles like this. The word “Priest” comes from “Presbyter” which means “Elder.” Those who are leading this service are not elders or masters, they are servants and children at heart. Some suggestions that have arisen amongst conversations with friends: “Grail Sharer”…”Grail Servant”…”Grail Celebrant.” But I think right now the preferred term, the one that captures the essence of what this role ought to be, is simply: “Grail Friend.”
In the next part we will turn our gaze to where the potential lies for this to unfold; and what the future holds in terms of the biography of Philosophia and the sacrifices of Jesus and Christ.
In the previous section, we came to the following picture of the time of the fourth sacrifice of Jesus and Christ—the Mystery of Golgotha: it took place during the last third of the third life-phase of Philosophia, in the Age of Aries; it was preceded by and the natural culmination of the ancient Hebrew culture; it was also preceded by two critical schools of wisdom: Platonism and Aristotelianism. This had to do with the Archangel Jesus sacrificing his perfected astral body for the sake of the birth of the individualised Ego through Christ’s sacrifice in a physical body, an Ego that had been gestating since the first sacrifice of Christ in ages long past. Initially Christianity had nothing to do with the two schools of Platonism and Aristotelianism; eventually, it integrated and brought to perfection first Platonism (in the Neoplatonic movement, ca 4th century AD) and then Aristotelianism (during the Scholastic movement, ca 13th century AD).
And now we find ourselves in the time of the fifth sacrifice—the so-called “Second Coming” (although this title is confusing in the fuller context of the seven sacrifices), Christ’s appearance in the etheric realm. Analogously, this appearance in the etheric takes place in the last third of the sixth life-phase of Philosophia, in the Age of Pisces; it has been preceded by and is the natural culmination of French Hermeticism (Rosicrucianism); and it has also been preceded by two critical cultural movements: Goetheanism (German Idealism and Romanticism) and Anthroposophy. In fact, we might say that the deed of Christ’s death and resurrection in the etheric sphere has been occurring over a much longer time period than it did 2000 years ago. The crucifixion of Christ on the etheric plane—actually better described as a suffocation—took place in the 19th century, according to statements made by Rudolf Steiner in 1913 (see here: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19130502p01.html). He refers there to the swooning of the angel with whom Christ had united in order to appear in the etheric. This “swooning” is both the perfecting and sacrifice of Ego-consciousness that had been developing since the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. Just as Platonism and Aristotelianism represented the perfection of the astral body in preparation to receive the Ego from Christ’s deed, Goetheanism and Anthroposophy represent for our time the perfection of Ego-activity in preparation to receive manas consciousness—the re-enlivened picture consciousness, now able to be a totally conscious and participatory experience, rather than strictly revelatory and dream-like.
The full sacrifice of Christ—Crucifixion, Descent, Resurrection—now takes place over the course of hundreds of years rather than 3 days—approximately 300 years. For the etheric crucifixion, the suffocation of Christ, which took place in the 19th century coincided with and was reflected in the untimely death of Kaspar Hauser, the Child of Europe, in 1833, at the age of 21—the age of the birth of the Ego in human development. Around the year 1933 marked the start of the second phase—the Descent into Hell—with World War II marking Christ’s decent through the nine sub-earthly spheres in order to reawaken humanity’s awareness of the Mother in the Depths, to reopen the Path to Shambhala (Paradise) in the heart of the Earth.
This second phase will not be completely finished until the year 2133, when something akin to the Resurrection takes place, although in our time—around the year 2033—Christ will have penetrated all the way to the Heart of the Mother, after a century-long journey to find Her (more on this, from various perspectives, can be found in the work of Robert Powell, for example The Christ Mystery). And so the Christ event of the modern age is happening—due to its taking place over centuries rather than days—more or less simultaneously with the modern Aristotelianism of Anthroposophy. It is therefore not nearly so foreign to it as the Mystery of Golgotha was to Aristotelianism.
Be that as it may, we need to find the fourth element. The modern equivalent of Judaism is French Hermeticism; of Platonism, Goetheanism; and of Aristotelianism, Anthroposophy. But the fourth element at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha was the actual rite itself, the Eucharist, the Mass, which abolished the old sacrifice—and is valid until the end of time, i.e. until the end of the cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation as we currently experience it, around the 7th millennium.
When we look at the development of the Orthodox Rite two thousand years ago, we can see that it took hundreds of years to take on its final form. Even to this day, with the reintegration of some of the churches of the Oriental Orthodox (the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches) there is some variety in the way that the Mass is celebrated within just Roman Catholicism alone. But perhaps we can find the “guiding motif” for the Eucharist, and try to discover what the “guiding motif” for the modern Rite might be.
The core of the Catholic Mass is the communion of bread and wine. It is based on the events of the Last Supper as recorded in the synoptic gospels of Luke, Mark, and Matthew, in which Christ inaugurates the very first Mass and instructs the apostles to “do this in remembrance of me.” According to the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, the development of the ritual of the Eucharist out of this seemingly simple phrase from the Gospels was not a matter of the apostles taking things a bit too far, perhaps out of enthusiasm. In her visions, much more was said to the apostles, and many specific instruction were given, for the establishment of the Mass.
One of the early customs of the church was to administer milk and honey at the first communion, prior to or along with the bread and wine (see here, for example: https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/8278/who-in-the-fourth-century-had-milk-instead-of-wine-at-communion). This died out, however, around the time that the Church of the East and the Oriental Orthodox Churches separated from the main body (in the 5th-6th centuries AD). The realisation that the Church was having at that time was many different celebratory elements were being added to the service—whether it was milk and honey, or special water, or special herbs and oils, etc. It was felt that all of these elements, while arising out of a true enthusiasm, were occluding the two elements of most crucial importance: the bread and the wine. And so the Mass eventually was stripped down to its essence, with the focus entirely on Transubstantiation and the union of human being with substance transformed into Christ.
The purpose of this Rite is to build, Mass by Mass and century by century, over many incarnations, the Resurrection Body within humanity. The purpose of it is to reunite the human being with the realm of the Father—with the nine spiritual hierarchies leading up to Him, as exemplified after the Resurrection by the Ascension into Heaven. The gaze of the Church since the time of Christ is upward, longing for our reintegration into the heart of the Father as it was in the beginning—but now as sons and daughters, not slaves (i.e., with full conscientious participation, not in a dream-like state).
What is interesting is that there was at least one instance of a Mass that took place much too early—Abraham enjoyed the bread and wine with Melchizedek some 2000 years prior to the Mystery of Golgotha. This might remind us as well of Cain’s sacrifice of plant-life, creating horizontal smoke, too early, during the Lemurian age at the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ. This form of sacrifice would only become proper during the Atlantean time period, at the second sacrifice of Jesus and Christ—and would only remain proper for the duration of the Atlantean Age. Indeed, it was the extension of this “Cain Rite” beyond its proper time that brought about the great Flood that destroyed ancient Atlantis.
And so it would seem that both rites—the Atlantean Rite and the Eucharist—were foreshadowed before their proper time, the one by Cain and the other by Abraham. Indeed, there is a very close relationship between these two beings. And perhaps this is where we might find a clue as to the nature and basic form of the modern Rite, one we might call the Johannine Rite, as will become clear as we proceed.
The clue lies in the individuality of Cain—for this individuality reincarnated as Lazarus (also known as Lazarus-John after his resurrection, John or Iohannes being an initiatory title). There is only one Gospel that contains the story of the Raising of Lazarus—and this is the Gospel of St. John. Now, what is very interesting about this Gospel is that it is very different in content and tone from the other three. It contains many events within it that do not appear in the synoptic Gospels; and it lacks certain content that is contained in the synoptics. It stands apart almost completely. While according to Rudolf Steiner Lazarus and John Zebedee were the same individuality, according to the research of Robert Powell and Estelle Isaacson—which builds on and elucidates the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich—John Zebedee (the disciple that Jesus loved) was able to bear the soul of Lazarus at certain crucial times. While the Apocalypse of John is entirely the work of Lazarus, and the three Epistles of John are entirely the work of John Zebedee, the Gospel of St. John is a collaborative document, produced by two eye witnesses to the ministry of Christ Jesus.
Perhaps, just as Cain was the forerunner of the Atlantean Rite, and Abraham was a forerunner of the Eucharist, we might find the indications for a future Rite in the Gospel of John. Certainly, the final scene in the Gospel of John indicates this: seven apostles are fishing all through the night, coming up empty. A figure on the shore tells them to cast their nets on the other side, and they haul in 153 fish. This figure turns out to be the Risen One, who prepares for them a breakfast of grilled fish and honey cakes. After this breakfast, he has a mysterious conversation in which he asks Peter three times if he loves Him—counterbalancing Peter’s denial of Christ three times on Good Friday—and mandates him to “feed the sheep.” We could think of this as an indication to Peter, as first Pope and representative of the Church, to vigilantly administer the Sacrament, from that moment onward.
Christ then turns to John, and Peter asks, “What about him?” And Christ tells Peter, “If he is to wait until I come again, what of it?” Perhaps this exchange indicates that John, too, must inaugurate a Rite, but cannot do so until Christ comes again—that is, the present time. But what should this Rite look like? If the transubstantiation of bread and the wine make up the core of the Mass, what would be the core of a Johaninne Rite?
First, let’s look at a portion of Valentin Tomberg’s Lord’s Prayer Course. Within it he indicates that there are seven levels of communion, related to the various lotuses of the human being:
Notice that it became important for the early Church Fathers that the focus of the Mass remain on only the bread and the wine, to the exclusion of these five other elements, in order to avoid the dilution of the Rite.
In the fourth healing miracle of Christ, the Feeding of the Five Thousand, a boy gives five loaves of bread and two fishes, from which the entire crowd of five thousand is satisfied, leaving twelve baskets of left-overs. Perhaps we could think of the two levels of communion administered in the Eucharist as the “two fishes.” This would leave the other five—incense, oil, fish, milk, and honey—as the levels of communion of concern to the Johannine Rite.
We can see the first beginnings of a Johannine Rite in both the Christian Community which sprang out of Anthroposophy in 1922, as well as in the Grail Priesthood of the Sophia Foundation, which began to be an official training in 2006. We could think of both of these as akin to the situation in the early church, when varieties of rites were springing up in different places, gradually approaching a universal (i.e., Catholic) underlying form. The Christian Community—as is quite clear in the lectures to the Priests on the Apocalypse from 1924—certainly sprang from the right essence, but is more or less an “updated” version of the Catholic Rite. On the other hand, the Sophia Priesthood offers access to an authentic milk and honey communion—a communion devoted to Sophia, the Divine Feminine—but also offers a dozen other celebrations, none of which are attached to the liturgical cycle of the Christian year.
Again, it is the Gospel of John which ought to offer us the right guide here. What is missing from this Gospel? Read closely the events of the Last Supper in John’s Gospel. There is no Eucharist! There is no bread and wine! Instead there is the Washing of the Feet—which is only present in John’s Gospel. And when we remember that the feet are the “fish” of the human body—related to the sign of Pisces—we can see how the washing of the feet fulfils the role of the “fish” level of communion. When we consider the way in which Mary Magdelene washes the feet of Christ on the day before the Last Supper—with spikenard oil (incense oil)—we can see that the upper levels of communion—incense, oil and fish—are fulfilled in the act of Footwashing.
We could think of Footwashing as the equivalent of the sacrament of Baptism in a way—whereas Baptism emerged from the Age of Aries (related to the head), Footwashing must emerge from the Age of Pisces (related to the feet). And it is these two activities—Footwashing and the Communion of Milk and Honey—that must be the central actives of a modern, Johannine Rite.
In the next section, we will look more specifically at what might be the other features of this Rite—a Rite devoted primarily to the Earth Mother rather than the Heavenly Father, and one that will be necessary for humanity for just a short time—until Christ comes again, around the year 4000, in an astral form.
We have now caught up, more or less, to the present time. At the end of part seven, we saw that, during the Age of Aries (the first three life cycles of Philosophia, from 1946 BC – 215 AD), the organization of the astral body which had begun at the end of the Age of Atlantis due to the sacrifice of the etheric body of the Archangel Jesus reached its fulfillment. This expressed itself historically in the disappearance of pictorial consciousness, which was replaced by “thought-perception.” These thought-perceptions came to full expression first in the Platonic school (which sought the highest origin in the One through a kind of “vertical memory”) and then in the Aristotelian school (which sought the expression of this One in the multiplicity through precise horizontal perception).
However, the thought streams of these two schools died out in their homeland, being preserved primarily in the Alexandrian schools and in the Middle East through the travels of Alexander the Great. They had nowhere to go: they required something more on the part of the human being in order to be properly worked with, and therefore had to wait for a future age to truly integrate themselves into human culture.
In the Greco-Roman lands, philosophical perception gave way to absolute sensual decadence on the one hand, and the rigid strictness of Roman law on the other. In the midst of this downfall of civilization came the event of the fourth sacrifice of Christ and Jesus: the Mystery of Golgotha. This sacrifice precipitated out the human personality (the concrete Ego) from the admixture of atman, buddhi, manas, and Ego that had prevailed prior to this event. It was this Ego that was the necessary implement for working with the Platonic and Aristotelian worldviews in a truly practical, widespread way.
The Ego had been gestating, developing, ever since it had been germinated at the time of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ, around the time of Cain and Abel. This sacrifice of Jesus’s Ego allowed for the organizing and precipitation of the material, physical body, yet planted the seed for the eventual birth of the Ego in each human being. The ancient Hebrew sacrifice was the rite which accompanied this development, from Abel’s sacrifice through the Last Supper.
At the same time, this fourth sacrifice planted the seed for the eventual unfolding of the highest member of the human being: atman, the resurrection body, the transformed physical body. The establishment of the Eucharist at the time of the Last Supper is a rite which accompanies this development of the highest in the human being, a rite which will accompany humanity through to the end of its earthly incarnations in the Anglo-American epoch.
And so since the end of the Age of Aries and the Mystery of Golgotha in particular, we have had a two-fold development of human culture. On the one hand, with the coming-to-birth of the personal Ego, humanity became ever more equipped to grapple with the Greco-Roman worldviews in an experiential way, recreating the thoughts out of their own inner activity, rather than perceiving the thoughts as a finished objective reality approaching from “without” so to speak. As humanity felt the presence, the loneliness, of the individual Ego more and more strongly over the course of the Age of Pisces (right up into the present), the more this could occur. And so the first third of the Age of Pisces sees the full integration of Platonism into Christian, European culture; the second third of the Age of Pisces sees the full integration of Aristotelianism into Christian, European culture.
At the same time, the rite of the Eucharist splinters into several streams of Orthodoxy. Between 431-451 AD, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Church of the East split off from each other and from the main trunk of Orthodoxy, the Roman Catholic Church. About 500 years later, the Eastern Orthodox Churches split off from this main trunk during the East-West Schism of 1054 AD. Another 500 years later, at the passing of the Act of Supremacy in 1534 which established the King of England as the head of the Church of England rather than the Pope, a third split from the main trunk occurred (simultaneous with the enormous fracturing of the Protestant Revolution).
So, over the first two-thirds of the Age of Pisces, more-or-less four separate Orthodoxies developed: Roman Catholicism in Europe (and eventually South America); Oriental Orthodoxy in Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East; Eastern Orthodoxy in the Slavic and Russian nations; and Anglicanism in the English speaking nations. (Needless to say, the dozens of Protestant denominations make their way into virtually the entire globe in the years since the 16th century).
And so the years 215-1655 AD, the fourth and fifth life cycles of the being Philosophia, set the stage for a flourishing of the Ego in the last third third of the Age of Pisces (1655-2375 AD) analogous to the flourishing of the astral body at the time of Plato and Aristotle. This flourishing came in the form of Goetheanism and German Idealism in the late 18th/early 19th century (equivalent of Platonism) and Anthroposophy in the late 19th/early 20th century (equivalent of Aristotelianism). And similar to Platonism and Aristotelianism thousands of years earlier, these cultural pinnacles in the experience of the individual Ego were cast to the four winds, and forgotten in the decadent materialism, rigid legalism, and suicidal technophilia of the 20th century. They require a concrete capacity that the human being has yet to fully integrate: manas consciousness, the gift of the Etheric Christ. They will not fully develop for thousands of years.
At the end of the Age of Aries, we have the progression: Platonism—Aristotelianism—Christianity. What is the equivalent in our time? Let’s take a step back, and look at the difference between cultural ages and zodiacal ages. The cultural ages, according to Rudolf Steiner, progress from: Indian epoch (7227-5067 BC) to Persian epoch (5067-2907 BC), to Egyptian epoch (2907-747 BC), to Greco-Roman epoch (747 BC – 1414 AD), to Central European epoch (1414-3574 AD, the one in which we now live). On the other hand, the zodiac ages run from the Age of Cancer (8426-6266 BC) to the Age of Gemini (6266-4106 BC), to the Age of Taurus (4106-1946 BC), to the Age of Aries (1946 BC – 215 AD), to the Age of Pisces (215-2375 AD, the one in which we now live). For more information as to why there is a lag between zodiacal age and cultural age, consult the work of Robert Powell, e.g. Hermetic Astrology vol I.
Plato and Aristotle arose out of ancient Greek culture. They are the representative products and producers of “Greco-Roman” culture. However, Jesus Christ and Christianity, the third in the progression “Platonism—Aristotelianism—Christianity”, does not emerge from or fit into Greco-Roman culture. It is the end result of the ancient Hebrew culture. This culture was more or less at odds with the Greco-Roman culture at the time of Christ; at best, they tolerated each other. And yet the Hebrews don’t really fit properly into the ancient Egyptian cultural epoch either. They were for the most part at odds with and strangers to this culture as well. Where do they fit in?
The Hebrews were the bridge from the ancient Egyptian to the Greco-Roman cultures. They were the primary people of the Age of Aries, which bridges that gap. And the advent of Jesus Christ, the God-Man, was the fulfillment of the mission of this people and that Age.
If, in the modern time, Goetheanism and Anthroposophy (both strongly Central European impulses) are the equivalent of Platonism and Aristotelianism, where might we look for the “third term,” the culture that has brought to birth the advent of the Second Coming, the fifth sacrifice of Jesus and Christ? Both Goetheanism and Anthroposophy are representative of the fifth cultural age, the Central European epoch. But what movement or stream has been the modern equivalent of the ancient Hebrews, a kind of bridge from Greco-Roman epoch to Central European?
We can find this out quite clearly and distinctly by looking to the story of the immediate aftermath of Christ’s resurrection for his followers, particularly Lazarus and Mary Magdalene (see my article “Eternal Israel” and Estelle Isaacson’s Through the Eyes of Mary Magdalene, vol III). They are sent adrift on the Mediterranean Sea and land in Marseilles, in France. The modern equivalent of the ancient Hebrews can be found in this region of France. It is the stream running from Lazarus and Magdelene, to the events of the Grail in the Carolingian era, to the School of Chartres and the Knights Templar, to the Tarot of Marseilles, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Martinism—in a word, the French Hermetic tradition. This French spiritual stream is the main shoot of cultural development in the Age of Pisces (215-2375 AD) vs the main shoot of the Central European epoch (1414-3574 AD)—the Germanic cultures.
And so if we want to seek out the third term, the equivalent of the incarnation of Christ in the ancient Hebrew culture 2000 years ago, we can look to the French Hermetic stream of the modern time—specifically in the work Meditations on the Tarot, composed anonymously by Valentin Tomberg in the late 50’s-early 60’s of the 20th century. We can consider this work a kind of Gospel or Testament of the Etheric Christ—or perhaps better said, Epistles or Letters of the Etheric Christ.
It is in working rigorously and intensively with the Tarot of Marseilles (both Major and Minor Arcana) that we can begin to develop our manas cognition. Why is this? At the time of Christ, the Ego that had been planted by Archangel Jesus eons before came to fruition; at the same time, the seed for atman was planted, only to come to fruition at the time of the seventh sacrifice of Jesus and Christ in the Anglo-American Age. However, now at the time of Christ’s Fifth Sacrifice, it is manas cognition which comes to fruition, comes to birth in each human soul, while the seed has now been planted for buddhi, a seed which will not fully develop until the sixth sacrifice of Jesus and Christ in the Slavic-Russian Age.
Now, Christ’s buddhi, his transformed etheric body (also known as “life-spirit”) was given over to Lazarus/Christian Rosenkreuz at the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Christ’s buddhi is symbolized through the Sephiroth Tree, the Tree of Life—a Tree which bears within it 22 paths of Wisdom through 10 Sephiroth operating on 4 planes of existence. This Tree is the Hebrew language. It is the Lord’s Prayer. It is the Tarot of Marseilles—and the development of the Tarot of Marseilles have been under the guidance of Christian Rosenkreuz from the very beginning. We might say that, in particular, the Tarot of Marseilles are a living symbol of Christ’s transformed etheric body. A living symbol both represents a spiritual being or reality, and at the same time is that which it represents. When we work with the Tarot of Marseilles, we are working with Christ’s etheric body to activate our manas consciousness. This is what Valentin Tomberg has offered to us through composing Meditations on the Tarot. And this work to activate our manas consciousness will remain crucial for our cultural development for the next 2000 or so years.
It was in the 16th century that the world saw the widespread printing of the earliest decks of the Tarot of Marseilles. On the other hand, we also see the final split in Orthodoxy occurring in the 16th century, with the rise of Protestantism, and the last “branch” of Orthodoxy, the Anglican Church. But a healing also begins during this time. It is from the 16th century up through the modern age that certain of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxies begin rejoin the Catholic Church, making up what are known as the Eastern Catholic Churches. These are special churches which are under the auspices of the Catholic Church and the authority of the Pope, and yet have maintained their own particular rites (represented among the 23 Easter Catholic Churches are five liturgical rites: Alexandrian, Armenian, Byzantine, East Syriac, and West Syriac). Therefore they represent a kind of bridge between Catholicism and the other Orthodox faiths.
So we have several strands to weave together in the coming years. Just as the Orthodox Communion established at Christ’s First Coming facilitates the long-term goal of birthing the Resurrection Body (atman) of Christ in each individual human being during the Anglo-American epoch, we ought to have a rite, some ritual, which is appropriate to the Second Coming of Christ. This rite should exist with the goal of facilitating the germination and gestation of buddhi consciousness in humanity, a level of consciousness that will be able to come to birth at Christ’s appearance in the Astral Plane around the end of the 4th/beginning of the 5th millennium AD.
So first of all we have the rite. Second of all, we have the full integration of Goetheanism and Anthroposophy into all of cultural life through the agency of the Hermetically-awakened mamas consciousness over the course of the next 2000 years. If the new rite is the equivalent of the Orthodox Communion, these two are the equivalent of the Neo-Platonic and Scholastic movements.
And finally, we have the continuing reformation and reunion of the Orthodox faiths. Perhaps, by the time of Christ’s third appearance/sixth sacrifice during the Slavic/Russian epoch, we can see the full integration of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxies, and the beginnings of the integration of the Anglican faith.
We will look more closely at all of this in the next section.
Here in this 7th part, we will investigate more closely the time period in which we are now living. Let’s recall that the life-cycle of the being Philosophia first passed through the Age of Aries:
1945-1225 BC = Moon cycle (0-7). Physical body. Hebrew Patriarchs through the Exodus.
1225-505 BC = Mercury cycle (7-14). Etheric body. Exodus through Babylonian captivity.
505 BC – 215 AD = Venus cycle (14-21). Astral body. Babylonian captivity, and the flowering of Greek philosophy, through the Fourth Sacrifice (the Mystery of Golgotha), up to the beginnings of Neoplatonism.
Notice that the first two thirds of the Age of Aries are building up to, and culminate in, the last third. Within the first two hundred years of this last third, both Platonism and then Aristotelianism are born and make their indelible mark on the world. But they burn brightly and then fade away, subsumed by Roman decadence, and transplanted to Egypt and the Middle East, preserved for later times.
Then, in the last two hundred years or so of the Age of Aries, the Mystery of Golgotha occurs. The Fourth Sacrifice seems to come out of nowhere, from a totally different sphere than the world conceptions of Greek philosophy, and begins to upend and renew all European culture. While Greek philosophy—hand in hand and contemporaneous with Buddhism—represented the fullest realization of the human astral body that had been born at the time of Christ’s third sacrifice at the end of the Age of Atlantis, the Mystery of Golgotha allowed the human personality, the crown jewel of Creation, to be placed within this astral body—the birth of the distinct Ego, the “I”, the personality.
The Age of Pisces then proceeds to reconfigure what had been given as the fruit of the Age of Aries:
215-935 AD: First Sun cycle (21-28). Sentient Soul. Platonism is revisited, sublimated, Christened through Neoplatonism and the early Church Fathers.
935-1655 AD: Second Sun cycle. Intellectual Soul. Aristotelianism is revisited, sublimated, Christened through Scholasticism, the Renaissance, and the first Scientific Revolution.
This revisitation was necessary due to the fact that the human being no longer experienced world conception as a perceiving of thought, but as the product of thought-activity of the Ego. Just as thought perception, becoming more and more vivid, gradually occulted the picture-consciousness of the distant past during the Age of Aries, so now Ego experience, becoming more and more vivid, gradually occulted the objective perception of thought that was common during the Greco-Roman Era, replacing it eventually with our modern—and highly accentuated—perception of the “I” as a unique, totally subjective core of our being, which creates thoughts through thinking activity, rather than perceives thoughts as an objective aspect of reality akin to sense perception.
This is a path initially of a feeling of independence, liberation, freedom; and then doubt and skepticism; and then utter loneliness and lack of all meaning—an existential crisis en masse—unless one can discover, through inner activity, in what way the personality, the Ego, is a member of the cosmos—and not an arbitrary, but vitally necessary member. This is the mission of the Age of Pisces—to discover the place of the personal Ego in the cosmos.
During the last third of the Age of Aries, we saw the sequence: Platonism—Aristotelianism—Christianity. On the one hand, this was the fulfillment and close of the mission of the Age of Aries; but, as we have seen, it also set the stage for the mission of the Age of Pisces. We can ask ourselves: do we see something similar developing during the last third of the Age of Pisces, the time period we are exactly in the midst of? Is there something analogous to Platonism that has developed? To Aristotelianism? And what about the Mystery of Golgotha?
The equivalent to Platonism for the Age of Pisces is, in its purest form, Goetheanism. It was Goethe more than any other who experienced the Ego properly:
“Nature! We are surrounded and enveloped by her, incapable of leaving her domain, incapable of penetrating deeper into her. She draws us into the rounds of her dance, neither asking nor warning, and whirls away with us until we fall exhausted from her arms…all men are in her and she is in them…Even the most unnatural is Nature; even the clumsiest pedantry has something of her genius…We obey her laws even when we resist them; we are working with her even when we mean to work against her…Nature is everything…She rewards and punishes, delights and tortures herself…She has placed me into life, she will also lead me out of it. I trust myself to her care. She may hold sway over me. She will not hate her work. It was not I who spoke of her. Nay, it was Nature who spoke it all, true and false. Nature is the blame for all things; hers is the merit.”
“When a man’s healthy nature acts in its entirety, when he feels himself in the world as in a great, beautiful, worthy and cherished whole, when inner harmony fills him with pure and free delight, then the universe, if it could become aware of itself, would rejoice as having reached its destination and would admire the peak of its own becoming and being.”
Goethe did not express or elaborate his world-view; he lived it, for this is what is intrinsic to this world view. It has nothing anymore to do with the abstraction of the self for the sake of reflection and discursive argument; it is radically immersed into whatever is experienced, whether in the act of sensing or conceiving, until it is fully brought to life again within the Ego itself. Goethe felt the Ego to be the portion of Creation that has become aware of itself, and, along with Schiller, saw science, art, and religion merely the human being carrying on the activity of Nature consciously, whereas all that had led up to the human being was this same human activity operating unconsciously. The human Ego is Nature, aware of herself.
Whereas Platonism was a philosophical movement spearheaded by one individuality, one cannot properly say the Goethe or Goetheanism contains the whole of the Platonic equivalent of our time. It is not only Goethe but Schiller, Hegel, Fichte, Shelling, Novalis. The French and German Enlightenment, Weimer Classicism, and German and English Romanticism are all part and parcel of this grand Platonic flourishing at the beginning of this Consciousness Soul cycle of the being Philosophia.
But this Goetheanism could not last. Like Platonism, subsumed by Roman decadence, and preserved in Alexandria until a later Age, Goetheanism has been driven into the catacombs, subsumed by the modern, ultra-materialistic, Western mode of existence. And there it will remain until its time has come—more on that later.
Platonism found its partner and counterbalance in Aristotelianism in the Age of Aries. What is the modern equivalent of Aristotelianism? It seems obvious to me that this is Anthroposophy—the activity of Goetheanism vigorously and rigorously united with each and every little detail of life. We see the same contrast of seeking original wholeness in Platonism vs attending to the particulars of the present in Aristotelianism expressed in a modern form with holistic Goetheanism and thorough Anthroposophy. And just as Aristotle was so thorough in his application of philosophy to life, to the point that he left virtually zero room for development and growth of his school of thought for thousands of years, Rudolf Steiner has left us a similar banquet feast. It will take us a very long time to work through all that Rudolf Steiner has left us before we can truly, creatively, bring it to its fulfillment.
And why? Why was humanity not ready to work with Platonism and Aristotelianism until hundreds and thousands of years later? Because we weren’t actually equipped to yet. We needed the Mystery of Golgotha—we needed the Ego, provided from an entirely different cultural and spiritual stream to the Greco-Roman—in order to properly digest and work with Platonism and Aristotelianism. It is the same with Goetheanism and Anthroposophy—it was impossible to work with them properly in the late 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, because we were not actually equipped to do so. What is it that human beings require in order to work with Goetheanism and Anthroposophy?
What we need is manas consciousness, the Spirit-Self of the human being, which experiences the world in living, imaginative pictures. In other words, what we require is the return, in full consciousness of the picture consciousness which, between the Atlantean cataclysm and the rise of Greek philosophy, entirely faded. That is, this picture-consciousness must return without occulting the experience of the independent Ego. We descended into the Hell of the completely isolated and dark Ego—now comes the freeing of the prisoners and the Resurrection out of the tomb.
And here we come to the modern equivalent of the Mystery of Golgotha. Whereas that event—the Fourth Sacrifice of Jesus and Christ—involved Archangel Jesus sacrificing his astral body for the sake of the birth of the Ego, in our time the Archangel Jesus sacrifices his ego for the sake of the birth of our Manas Consciousness. This presents itself as a kind of “swooning” in the spiritual world. The Archangel Jesus has become a being with a twilight-consciousness, who can only awaken at the direct request of human beings who have become aware of his activity. As Valentin Tomberg states in a lecture given in Rotterdam in January, 1939:
“An angel loses consciousness in the world of spirit; in selflessness, he sacrifices himself to humankind in such a way that his consciousness can be rekindled only when it lights up in the inner human being, in the conscience. It lights up in human beings when the angel’s astral body [higher astral = Manas], streaming down to earth, is received. This angel’s ether body [higher etheric = Buddhi] will remain an empty cup and able to receive the Christ, who will move through space in the form of that angel—the same angel with whom he was already connected four times before during his previous sacrifices. Thus, first, the consciousness of the angel is lost, somewhat like fainting spiritually. And on Earth, humankind’s moral life must be quickened as a means of preparation. There must be awareness of this moral stream that flows down. It will resurrect in human consciousness only when the deep-seated moral questions of human beings come to meet it.”
In the next section, we will try to understand what the equivalent in the Age of Pisces was to the Hebrew stream in the Age of Aries, and along with this, what marked the culmination of this stream in the 20th century in relation to the Fifth Sacrifice, Christ’s return in the etheric. We will also look to the future, to see when and where we might experience the fulfillment of Goethenism and Anthroposophy, the modern forms of Platonism and Aristotelianism.
Alongside of this, we will return to looking at the Sacrifices of Jesus and Christ from the point of view of religious rite and preparation for the developing members of the human being (Buddhi and Atman).
Now we will look closely at the continuing biography of the Being Philosophia. She has transitioned from the development of the head and thought perception in the Age of Aries (1945 BC – 215 AD) into the Age of Pisces. Here she will experience the three Solar cycles of development, encompassing the years 21-42 in a normal human biography. Here the three realms of the Ego, of Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul, and Consciousness Soul unfold in turn. And what is at stake here? There is a movement, gradually, out of thought perception in the realm of the head, to thought experience in the realm of the will. We are now in the realm of the Fish, the Feet, the Will, the Ocean of the Subconscious depths. The human being will gradually come to feel thought as something produced out of their own depths, and not given to them by the cosmos. Really, this is a coming to terms with the reality of the individualized Ego, alone in the cosmos, rather than thought perception simply building the stage on which the Ego can unfold. Human beings increasingly have to grapple with what this means in terms of the Ego’s place in the cosmos, and the true fundamental nature of the Ego itself.
The first Solar cycle of the human being, from ages 21-28, marks the unfolding of the Sentient Soul, the lowest layer of the human Ego. At this point, the human Ego, the individual personality, is still relatively subconscious. One’s personality is still very determined by and reliant on family, social group, etc, and not determined from within. This corresponds, in Philosophia’s biography, to the year 215 – 935 AD, the first third of the Age of Pisces. This time period sees a revisiting of the philosophy of Plato in the form of Neoplatonism. The striving of individuals such as Origen, Porphyry, Plotinus, St. Augustine, Hypatia, and many others is to bring the Platonic mode of conception into another, more mysterious realm of human soul experience. These philosophers noted that the entirety of human soul experience could not be encapsulated in mere thinking; there was another realm, the mystical or religious realm, that had equal or even greater validity to them, which could not be adequately accessed by human thought. And so Platonic philosophy was used in order to elaborate and understand Christian theology, the content of religious experience.
It was also put into concrete practice by individuals such as Dionysius the Aereopagite in the 6th century in a process called henosis, whereby that which is not God, the One, is bit by bit negated within the soul. Thoughtful reflection is put to use to realize inwardly that which is not God within the human soul until one is brought gradually higher and higher up Jacob’s Ladder to the One—the the inexpressible Godhead of the World within the human soul. Whereas the Greek Philosophers felt that the microcosmic perception of thought was an adequate reflection of the macrocosm within the human soul, the Neoplatonists and early Church Fathers saw thought as an inadequate reflection of the macrocosm. Religious, mystical experience in union with thinking more adequately expressed the wholeness of the world within the human soul. This time period was brought to its fulfillment by John Scotus Eriugena in the 9th century AD.
The second Solar cycle in a human biography is that of the Intellectual Soul. Here the human personality settles into itself, via the first Saturn return at age 29.5 and the subsequent Christ years between ages 30-33. A balance begins to emerge between self and world, individual and surroundings. One no longer feels so merged with one’s environment, heredity, and social group. One strives to establish one’s profession and persona (mask) of adulthood, typically by finding one’s career, partner, children, etc.
In the biography of Philosophia, this corresponded to the second third of the Age of Pisces, the years 935 – 1655 AD. During this time period, there was renewed contact between Europe and the Middle East due to the Crusades. The Aristotelian world conception which had been preserved in the Arabian courts was transmitted back to the West from which it sprung. It fell into the lap of the Scholastics, of the Franciscans and Dominicans in particular, exactly during the equivalent of the Christ years in Philosophia’s biography (approximately 13th-16th centuries AD).
It was only during this time period of the Intellectual Soul development of Philosophia that mankind as a whole began to experience the individual Ego as the source of thinking rather than thought as a more or less outer perception coming towards the soul. Thomas Aquinas in particular took up the task of bringing into harmony Reason, which is the product of human thinking (work), and Faith, which comes to us from religious experience and dogma (grace). Human thinking cannot, out of itself, discover or create Truth, but has been brought about as a faculty of the human soul that is able to justify the given Truths of the spiritual world offered through religious dogma. Thomas Aquinas and the Scholastics subsequently Christened Aristotelianism just as the Neoplatonists had Christened Platonism 700 years prior.
The aftermath of the Scholastics was twofold. On the one hand the German mystics such as Nicolaus Cusanus arose. The methodology of these mystics had a kinship to the henosis of Dionysius, but with a key difference. With Dionysius, the aim was to access a hidden part of the human soul that revealed more of the world than was accessible to human thought. The German mystics no longer sought for this realm within the human soul itself; they wished to utilize and transform the thinking Ego in order to access an objective spiritual world outside of and beyond the human Ego. The Ego was seen as separate from an objective spiritual world, rather than immersed and interwoven with it.
Similarly, and subsequently, arose the scientific revolution of the 16th century, with Leonardo da Vinci, Giordano Bruno, and Copernicus. They too no longer perceived the outer world as though interwoven with a thought-structure embedded within it, and likewise interwoven with the content of the human soul. They saw thought as something produced out of their own rigorous inner activity, and the sense world as something totally separate and objective over against their individual, thinking subject (the Ego).
Within the Age of Aries, the transition out of the Egyptian/Babylonian cultural epoch—and into the Greco-Roman epoch—took place, in the 8th century BC. It was after this that the full flowering of thought-perception, devoid of picture consciousness, took place, in Ancient Greece rather than Egypt or Israel. Similarly, around this time in the biography of Philosophia, we see the transition out of the Greco-Roman epoch into the Central European epoch, in the early 15th century AD. And just as the last third of the Age of Aries (505 BC – 215 AD) saw the full flourishing of Ancient Greek philosophy, so the last third of the Age of Pisces has seen the full flourishing of what we might call consciousness of the Ego.
The third and last Solar cycle in a human biography takes place from the ages of 35-42. It is the unfolding of the Consciousness Soul. Here the individual human being feels completely alone, ideally fully established in their proficiencies, conscious of their weaknesses, self-determining, creative, and capable. If they are not the above, a deep dissatisfaction, an existential ennui can become ever stronger. Here the choice is made whether to rise to higher levels of development out of one’s own will and work, or to stagnate and devolve, to remain more or less a teenager for life. They may also feel increasingly the external pressures of life, increasingly wrapped up in, acutely aware of and concerned by external affairs over which they wish they had more control. It is an intense time of life.
This time period was marked in the biography of Philosophia in the year 1655, when she transitioned into the development of her Consciousness Soul. We can see this as a kind of mini-consciousness soul age within the wider one of 1414-3574 (the Central European epoch referred to above). The loneliest loneliness, the Self completely thrown back upon itself. The year 1655 came right on the heels of the life of Descartes, who coined the cogito ergo sum, “I think, therefore I am.” The keynote of Cartesianism was doubt: all that is not the thinking Ego must be met with doubt and skepticism in order to discover its true nature, its lawfulness according to Reason. The fundamental experience that cannot be doubted is this very doubting itself—I think, i.e. I doubt, therefore I am. Cartesianism increasingly came to split the world into two pieces: an extendable (i.e. measurable) outer world, and an unmeasurable/subjective inner world. Only what was measurable—i.e. sense perceptible and/or able to be described by Reason—could be considered objective, and therefore True and Real.
Notice that this Cartesian split went hand in hand with the transition from geocentrism to heliocentrism. Under a geocentric model, there was hierarchy and order intrinsic to the Universe. The spiritual world operated in the heights above, as expressed by the movements of the stellar bodies; the Earth was the center of this creative activity, and Man was the center of the Earth. There was a hierarchy of Angelic beings expressed in the planetary spheres above; this hierarchy was reflected in that of Nature (Man, Animal, Plant, Mineral) and Society (Priest, Knight, Merchant, Peasant) below. Reason and Faith lived together under a happy marriage.
After Kepler, all of this changed. You see, Kepler had a choice. He had before him the work of both Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. The Copernican model is the heliocentrism that we all know today. What this model subconsciously reinforced for the human being is: “You cannot trust appearances. You must abstract the mathematically accurate reality out of the sense perceptions that are deceiving you. The Earth has no special place in the world, and therefore you are not part of a hierarchy. You are not special; but you are free to engage in self-determination and discovery through doubt and research.” On the other hand, Tycho Brahe had rediscovered the ancient Egyptian model of a universe with two centers: the Sun and Moon revolve around the Earth, while the rest of the planets (and the cosmos) revolve around the Sun. The acceptance of the Tychonic perspective would have led to a delicate interweaving between the Enlightenment mood of discovery without casting off the immanent order of the cosmos. Man would have been free to investigate and discover, to create and to question, but still would have felt himself an integral part of a whole. For a time these two cosmologies competed; it was Kepler’s decision to adhere to and popularize the Copernican model that led to the “Cartesian split”, and ultimately the entire materialistic scientism our culture has been increasingly immersed in ever since.
In the next section, we will look more closely at the last third of the Age of Pisces, a time period we are right in the middle of (the mid-point of this Consciousness Soul development of Philosophia was just a few years ago, 2015). During the last third of the Age of Aries, we saw the emergence of Platonism, Aristotelianism, and the Mystery of Golgotha. These three together determined the course of the subsequent 2000 years, with the Christening of first Platonism and then Aristotelianism. Have we yet, over the course of this last third of the Age of Pisces, experienced something analogous to Platonism, Aristotelianism, and the Mystery of Golgotha? Where are we now?
We have now come very far into our investigation of the seven sacrifices of Archangel Jesus and Christ. It would take me too far afield to offer a recap at this point: I encourage the reader to go back and read (or re-read) parts 1-4 in order to be fully caught up.
At the time of the Baptism in the Jordan, the astral body of the Archangel Jesus—in unity with the astral body of Gautama Buddha—offered a chalice into which the Ego of Christ could descend. The descent of this Ego—the Eje asher Eje, the Self of Selves—brought to fulfillment the promise of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ eons earlier during the Lemurian epoch, during which the physical, material body of the human being was formed and organized, and the seed was planted for the eventual unfolding of the personal, individual human ego.
Christ was the “first fruit” of the manifestation of the Ego—something that over the course of the next years would grow to become to common property of all humanity. For the first time in history, each human being would feel themselves to be a unique, individual personality, with a unique, individual biography.
And so now we have a new formation of the human being. The human being now has a fully externalized/individualized physical body; a fully individualized etheric body; a fully individualized astral body; and now the personal, “lower” ego has separated itself out from the three higher members of the human being—Manas, Buddhi, Atman—which continue to be a kind of undifferentiated conglomeration, still in formation. They were the transcendental and collective fifth member of the human being.
This separation expresses itself in the presence of two “eyes” in the human being. The lower self, the personality, is an eye directed below to the sense-perceptible world for the sake of the development of the self-conscious intellect. Increasingly, human beings begin to feel that their thoughts are produced out of their own inner activity, not given to them as perceptions akin to sense-perceptions. Meanwhile, the higher self, the conscience, is the eye directed above. The dim, intuitive stirrings of conscience are the expression of the higher self, the mixture of Manas, Buddhi, Atman.
At this moment, with the unfolding of the individual, personal ego, the mission of the Hebrew people has been fulfilled. Hand in hand with this, the fulfillment of the ancient Hebrew sacrificial rite has come—the animal sacrifice is no longer necessary, is done away with. The “old Law” is replaced by the “new Law” of the Love of Christ. It is this Love of Christ that maintains the unity and connection between the lower “eye” below and the higher “eye” above. A new goal and mission comes to humanity—for the life of Christ represents the complete inversion of the first sacrifice of Christ. Whereas at the first sacrifice, the seed of the Ego was planted as future potential so that the physical body could be immediately organized, the fourth sacrifice performed the counter-operation. Here, the seed of Atman—the Resurrection Body—was planted so that the Ego could be immediately organized.
After the first sacrifice, an individual material physical body became the common property of each incarnating human being. In the meantime, a sacrificial rite had to be performed, in preparation for the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, when the individual personality would be born. During the fourth sacrifice, the individual personality—the Ego—now became the common property of each incarnating human being. And analogously, a new rite had to be initiated in order to prepare for the seventh sacrifice of Christ, when the transformed physical body—Atman, the Resurrection Body—will become the common property of all humanity. It is the Holy Eucharist, the Mass of Bread and Wine which is instituted at this time. The Mass can never be altered or replaced by any other rite—it is valid until the seventh sacrifice, until the Resurrection Body becomes the common property of all humanity, after which physical incarnation will no longer be necessary; i.e., it is valid until the “end of time,” or “end of the Age.”
And so the religious ritual of humanity can be divided into two clear sections: the time from ancient Lemuria through the Mystery of Golgotha—until the Last Supper—when the Hebrew sacrifice was the most fundamental rite; and the time from the Last Supper until the beginning of the Anglo-American cultural age, the “end of time”—when material incarnation (reincarnation, birth and death) will cease.
In the midst of the first portion, from ancient Lemuria through the Mystery of Golgotha (what could be broadly termed the Ancient Hebrew era), we see the emergence of the ancient Atlantean rituals, in the heart of the Atlantean era between the second and third sacrifices of Jesus and Christ which bookended this time period. We noted that at the time of the first sacrifice, Cain attempted to bring the Atlantean rituals too soon, while Abel brought the sacrifice of the Lamb, one that was appropriate then and until the Last Supper.
It is interesting that Cain attempted to institute the Atlantean rituals before their time—in a sense, you could say he played the role of a forerunner, giving a foretaste of the Atlantean rituals which were to come in a subsequent time. Now, if we turn our attention back to the being Philosophia, to whom we gave our focus in part 4, we will see something similar occurring at the time of her birth, at the dawn of the Age of Aries in 1945 BC. We see there that Abraham met with Melchizedek, the Manu or spiritual guide in the transition from Atlantis to the post-Atlantean era. Together they shared an Agape (Love) Feast of Bread and Wine. Similar to Cain laying the foundation for ancient Atlantis in his sacrifice of the vegetable harvest, here Abraham lays the foundation for the institution of the Eucharist with Melchizedek some 2000 years prior to the Last Supper. But it was not yet time for this rite to become widespread—it was only preparation. Rather, it was time for the further codifying of the sacrifice of the Lamb, shown to us in the story of Isaac’s sacrifice being prevented by the appearance of a Ram in the bushes.
Let’s now go back to the biography of Philosophia where we have left off: at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. If the “Moon years” of her biography lasted from the time of Abraham to Moses/Joshua (1945 BC – 1225 BC) and her “Mercury years” lasted from the time of Moses/Joshua to the Babylonian captivity (1225 BC – 505 BC), then the Mystery of Golgotha and the gift of the human personality occurred toward the end of her “Venus years”: 505 BC – 215 AD. In fact, we see that the life of Christ approximately corresponds to the time of the first Nodal return (18.61 years) and the end of the first Metonic cycle (19 years) in the normal human biography. This is the time when the Earth, Moon and Sun have been in every possible relationship, and the pathway of the Sun and Moon intersect at the place they did at birth. The human being is given a reminder at this time of pre-heavenly purposes and intentions—we might say that the Ego flashes up at this point, and begins to express itself more and more strongly over the next 20+ years of the individual’s biography.
And this is precisely what occurred during the biography of Philosophia. The first three of her life cycles took place over the course of the Age of Aries. Aries is related to the human head, to the development of human thinking and the personality centered in the head. During the last third of this time—the Venus years, from 505 BC – 215 AD—this development came to a head. We saw the full flowering of human thought capacity in Plato and Aristotle: Plato’s world conception directed vertically, to the realm of the Eternal Archetypes—to the One—and Aristotle’s world conception directed horizontally, to elaborating every branch of science based out of a perception of those archetypes as immanent in every aspect of external reality—to the Multiplicity.
However, after Aristotle, Greek Philosophy petered out. No one could top Aristotle. He had investigated and elaborated everything more thoroughly than any successor could hope to add to. They could only pore over his work, trying to develop a complete systematism out of what he had brought. This work was, through the life of Alexander the Great, transmitted to the Middle East, where it was preserved for a later time.
Afterwards, and around the life of Christ, the decadence of the Greco-Roman era reached its height. It was as though the cultural flame had burned brightest in the Michaelic era of Plato, Aristotle and Buddha, only to burn out completely. The entire culture devolved on the one hand into a hedonist paganism, devoid of any true relationship to the Spirit, and on the other hand to a martial law and order, an all too rigid Roman empire. It was into this compost heap of culture that the Christ-Ego was planted, to spring up and flourish mightily over the next 2000 years. The Mystery of Golgotha marked the “flashing in” of the eternal mission—the pre-Earthly intention, the Ego—of Philosophia.
In the next section, we will investigate the next three life cycles—the three Solar cycles—of the being Philosophia, leading up to her second Nodal return and the end of her second Metonic cycle in our own time, the time of the 5th Sacrifice of Jesus and Christ. If we can come to understand the last 1800 years with due clarity, we can also see with clear vision what the next 1900 years hold in store for human spiritual and cultural development.
Last time we began to investigate Rudolf Steiner’s indications from the lecture “Perception of the Nature of Thought: Sun Activity in Earthly Evolution”, given on January 10, 1915. Here he describes the development and biography of the being Philosophia; he alludes to her approximately 700-year cycles, analogous to the 7-year cycles of the biographical development of the human being. He also points to the fact that the birth of Philosophia’s astral body, corresponding to age 14 of the human being, was expressed in the rise and flowering of the philosophy of ancient Greece—Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
In this lecture, he goes on to describe the succeeding three life cycles of this being—the period of the Neoplatonists and early Church Fathers up through John Scotus Eriugena corresponding to the “Sentient Soul years” of 21-28; the time from Eriugena through Descartes corresponding to the “Intellectual Soul years” of 28-35; and the time since then, the time in which we still live, corresponding to the “Consciousness Soul years” of 35-42. We will elaborate further on these different time periods in future sections of this article series.
What has become clear to me in working deeply with these indications is that the rhythm of the biographical development of Philosophia follows the rhythm of the Zodiacal Ages. Each life cycle is 720 years, one-third of a Zodiacal Age of 2,160 years. Her first three life cycles took place in the Age of Aries, from 1945 BC to 215 AD:
Physical Body/Moon Years (0-7) = 1945-1225 BC
Etheric Body/Mercury Years (7-14) = 1225-505 BC
Astral Body/Venus Years (14-21) = 505 BC – 215 AD
Aries is related to the human head; this was the time period when the human head became particularly active. We can see this first of all in that the human being’s pictorial consciousness faded, and was eclipsed by a perception of thoughts rather than pictures. This development reached its apotheosis in the Greek philosophers. On the other hand, the Age of Aries culminated in the birth of the human personality, which felt itself as centered in the head.
Can we try to understand the nature of these first two cycles, the “Moon years” and “Mercury years” of Philosophia, which Rudolf Steiner barely goes into? The closest he comes to doing so is an allusion to pre-Socratic philosophers such as Thales and Anaxagoras who grasped their world philosophy in an elemental, temperamental form: the origin of the world was found in a primal Water or a primal Fire. These philosophers were active when Philosophia was equivalent to the age of 12-14 years old (between 700-500 BC), transitioning out of the “Mercury years” of primary school into the “Venus years” of the teenage adolescent.
We can find an answer to the mystery of these first two “life cycles” of Philosophia by looking to two other lectures given by Rudolf Steiner five years previously, in 1910: the second lecture on the “True Nature of the Second Coming,” from March 6 (https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19100306p02.html) and the second lecture from the series on the Gospel of St Matthew on September 2 (https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19100902p01.html).
From the first of these two lectures, we get the clearest indication as to why exactly the start of the Age of Aries marked the birth of the being Philosophia in the history of mankind. This is related to the Hebrew Patriarch Abraham, who was born and lived around the start of the Age of Aries, 1945 BC (emphasis mine):
…at the conclusion of the first millennium of Kali Yuga [i.e., around the year 2000 BC], a kind of substitute was given for vision of the spiritual worlds. This substitute was made possible through the fact that a particular individual — Abraham — was chosen out because the special organisation of his physical brain enabled him to have consciousness of the spiritual world without the old faculties. That is why in Spiritual Science we call the first millennium of Kali Yuga the Abraham-epoch; it was the epoch when man did, it is true, lose the direct vision of the spiritual worlds, but when there unfolded in him something like a consciousness of the Divine which gradually made its way more and more deeply into his ego, with the result that he came to conceive of the Deity as related to human ego-consciousness. In the first millennium of Kali Yuga — which at its conclusion we can call the Abraham-epoch — the Deity is revealed as the World-Ego.
So we see that with Abraham, we have the birth of thinking that is attached specifically to the physical brain. The spiritual world is no longer perceived in a pictorial sense as something outside the human being; it now begins to be grasped as an internal reality of World-Ego. This new development in human evolution, this birth of Philosophia, is represented in the sacrificial lamb appearing to spare Isaac from the sacrifice. The lamb, Aries, the human head, sacrifices its perception of the spiritual world as an objective reality, and begins to turn itself to the perception of thoughts, so that the individual human personality (Isaac) can arise within the human soul.
This first cycle—the Moon cycle, the years related to the physical body in human development (0-7)—is consequently born with Abraham. In the three Hebrew Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob we might see an image the first three years of child development, and the gifts of uprightness (Abraham), speech (Isaac), and thought (Jacob). The second half of these years, the equivalent of 3.5 to 7, are then spent in Egypt. It is the departure from Egypt back into the Holy Land that marks the “change of teeth” of Philosophia. Moses is the figure which marks the end of the “Moon years,” transitioning to the “Mercury years” of 1225-505 BC (equivalent to 7-14 in a human biography).
The story of the “Moon years” is the gradual establishment, the “codifying” so to speak, of the religious rite of the ancient Hebrews. Up until this point it had existed as a kind of golden thread, organically flowing from generation to generation through more-or-less direct perception and/or memory of the spiritual world. But with the life of Abraham this direct perception and memory is sundered. With the time in history between the lives of Abraham and Moses, we see the rise of the first alphabets—picture-writing to begin with, hieroglyphics. Writing came about in order to preserve the knowledge that was no longer accessible through direct perception. This process culminated in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible written by Moses.
Here we see that picture-consciousness of the spiritual world has become mythology; a remnant of what was once perceivable. At the same time, we see written in exact detail the rites of the Hebrew people, which up until that time had not been codified. What existed previously as direct inspiration from the spiritual world needed to be transmitted to and codified by a chosen individual for the sake of the many.
And so we see that although Steiner first speaks of the Ancient Greeks in relation to the development of Philosophia, it is in the Ancient Hebrew peoples that we find her origin, her birth. Further confirmation of this is found in the second lecture mentioned above, from the series on the Gospel of St. Matthew. Steiner is here speaking of Zarathustra’s incarnation in Ancient Persia, some 5,000 years before Christ. Zarathustra had two pupils at this time. To one of them he passed on his astral body, and all the mysteries of Space. This individual reincarnated as Thoth or Hermes Trisgmegistus, around the year 2500 BC. He originated the Osiris cult and much of the external culture of Ancient Egypt. The other pupil received the etheric body of Zarathustra, and all the mysteries of Time. This individual reincarnated as Moses, who, along with the rest of the Ancient Hebrews from Joseph onwards, was immersed in the Hermetic culture of Ancient Egypt:
Now the contact of the wisdom of Hermes with that of Moses was pictured in the Mysteries of ancient Egypt as representing something that, according also to Spiritual Science, had previously taken place in the cosmos. We know that early in evolution the sun separated from the earth, leaving the moon for a period within the earth. Later a part of this globe separate from the earth, and remained as the present moon. Thus the earth sent a portion of itself, as moon, into universal space, towards the sun. We may think of the remarkable occurrence of the meeting of the Earth-wisdom of Moses with the Sun-wisdom of Hermes as comparable with this streaming forth of the Earth-forces towards the sun. One might say: The wisdom of Moses, in its further course, after separating from the Sun-wisdom of Zarathustra, developed as the wisdom of the earth and of men in such a way that it drew again towards the sun, absorbing and filling itself with direct solar wisdom. The earth was destined to receive direct Sun-wisdom only to a certain extent, then to develop further alone and independently. The wisdom of Moses, therefore, only remained in Egypt until it had absorbed sufficient for its needs. Then came the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, in order that the Sun-wisdom taken up by the Earth-wisdom might be assimilated and brought to greater self-dependence.
The wisdom of Moses was two-fold. One part was developed under the sheltering wing of the Hermes-wisdom which it continually absorbed from every side, then, after the exodus from Egypt, it separated from this development, continued further within itself, and later passed through three stages. Towards what should this wisdom evolve? What is its task? Its ultimate task was to find its way back from the earth to the sun. It had become earthly wisdom. Moses was born with all he inherited from Zarathustra, as a wise man of earth. He was to find the way back, and he sought it in three stages, the first being that in which he absorbed the wisdom of Hermes. These stages are again best expressed in the images drawn from cosmic events. When what takes place upon the earth streams back in space from the earth towards the sun, it first encounters what is of the nature of Mercury (in ordinary astronomy the Mercury of astronomy is the Venus of Occult Science), then that of Venus, and ultimately that which is of the nature of the sun. The soul of Moses had to develop his Zarathustrian inheritance in inner experiences in such a way that he might return and find once more what appertained to the Sun. In order to do this he had to attain a certain degree of development. The wisdom Moses had implanted in western culture had to develop according to the way he gave it to his people. The wisdom he had gained from Hermes and which came to him like the direct rays of the sun, he had to develop anew, and reflect it back again in a changed form, after he had absorbed some part of it.
And so we can discover from the above quotation that the “Moon years” center around the meeting of the Hebraic Earth wisdom with the Egyptian Solar wisdom, like the Moon reaching out to the Sun from the Earth. Next, we come to the description of the second life-phase, the Mercury phase, of the being Philosophia. This life-phase centers around the time of Kind David, who is an image of the “nine-year change” in the life of Philosophia. At this time the Hebrew people transition to an age of Kings, to the “Solomon era” which comes after the “Moses era.” Mythology slowly transforms into epic poetry. The law established by theocratic, initiate priest-kings now transitions into a monarchy: the roles of king, priest and prophet each separate, specialize and mutually influence each other. We can see in the Psalms of David, in the Song of Songs, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes a kind of proto-philosophy—part philosophy, part poetry.
Steiner describes the time periods of the “Mercury years” (1225-505 BC) and the “Venus years” (505 BC – 215 AD) as such:
Now we are told that Hermes, who was later called ‘Mercury,’ brought to his people science and art, that is, external knowledge and art, in a form suitable to them. But it was in a different and almost opposite way that the wisdom of Moses attained to the Hermes-Mercury standpoint. Moses had himself to develop the wisdom of Hermes further. This is shown in the progress of the Hebrew people up to the age and reign of David. David, who is presented to us as the royal singer of Psalms and holy prophet, who as a man of God worked both as warrior and harpist, is the Hermes, or Mercury, of the Hebrew people. That stream of the Hebrew folk had now so far evolved that it had developed an independent form of Hermetic or Mercury wisdom. At the time of David the wisdom received from Hermes had reached the Mercury sphere, or Mercury stage, on its return journey. It then continued to the region of Venus. This came to pass for the Hebrews when the Moses-wisdom, or rather that version of it which had endured as his wisdom for hundreds of years, had to unite with an entirely different element, with a stream issuing from another direction.
Just as that which streams back in space from the earth towards the sun encounters Venus, so the wisdom of Moses encountered an Asiatic wisdom that came from another direction during the Babylonian Captivity. The Moses-wisdom came in touch with the weakened form of another wisdom in the Mysteries of Babylon and Chaldea. Like a wanderer who, having acquired knowledge of the earth, leaves it for the Mercury sphere, and thence passes on to Venus desirous of experiencing the sunlight as it is felt there, so the Moses-wisdom, having received the direct Sun-wisdom from the holy teachings of Zarathustra, passed over in a weakened form to the mystery schools of Chaldea and Babylon. The wisdom of Moses experienced this weakening during the Babylonian captivity, where it united with all that had penetrated into the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates. Here something else happened.
In the sanctuaries which the wise men among the Hebrews were obliged to frequent during their captivity, the wisdom of Moses was directly impregnated with the qualities of the Sun-wisdom. For at this time Zarathustra was himself incarnated and taught in the mystery schools of the Tigris and Euphrates, and was known to the learned among the Hebrews. He who had relinquished part of his wisdom so that he might receive it back again, was himself teaching at this time. He had frequently reincarnated, and in this incarnation in which he was known as Zarathos or Nazarathos, he taught the captive Jews in Babylon.
Thus in the course of its further progress, the wisdom of Moses came in touch with what Zarathustra had himself become after he had withdrawn from the more distant Mystery Sanctuaries and had entered those of Asia Minor. Here he became the teacher of the initiate Chaldean disciples, as well as teacher of the Hebrews. They now received a fructification of their Mosaic wisdom by a stream they were now fitter to encounter, because what had once been given to their ancestor Moses by Zarathustra came to them now directly from himself, in his incarnation as Zarathos or Nazarathos. This was the destiny through which Mosaic wisdom passed. Originally it sprang from Zarathustra, but was then transplanted into an alien land. It was as if a Sun-being with bandaged eyes had been brought down to earth, and now, on its backward journey, had to seek all it had lost. Such a wanderer was Moses, the pupil of Zarathustra. His destiny had placed him within Egyptian civilization, so that all the wisdom given him at one time by Zarathustra might be quickened and illuminated in his inner being. He was cut off, as it were, from the sun on the fields of earth, where unaware of the source of his illumination he moved unconsciously towards what once was sun. In Egypt he was attracted towards the wisdom of Hermes, which brought to him direct Zarathustra-wisdom, not an indirect reflection like his own. After absorbing sufficiently of this, the wisdom of Moses continued its development in a more direct way. Having founded an Hermetic wisdom at the time of David, and a science and art of its own, it turned again towards the sun from which it had originally come forth, though in a way that had at first to appear veiled.
In the ancient Babylonian schools of learning where, among others, Zarathustra taught Pythagoras, his teaching was restricted by the type of physical body of the period. If Zarathustra was to give full expression to his Sun-nature through a form suited to those times, as he was able to do in that earlier incarnation when he had passed it on to Moses and Hermes, he would require a bodily instrument fitted to the new age. Restricted by a body such as could be produced in ancient Babylonia, he was only able to convey such wisdom as he passed on to Pythagoras, to the learned Hebrews and wise men of Chaldea and Babylon, who in the sixth century before Christ, were ready and able to hear it. In respect of this teaching it was exactly as if the sunlight were first taken up by Venus and prevented from shining directly on the earth; as if his teaching could not shine with its original splendour but only in a weakened form. Before the Sun-wisdom of Zarathustra could shine forth once more in its pristine power, a body suited to him must first be provided, and in a very special way.
So we see that the Venus years were inaugurated at the time of the reincarnated Zarathustra (Nazarathos) in the 6th century AD. Both the Ancient Hebrew and the Ancient Greek streams were given a kind of infusion of life at this time: Nazarathos taught both Pythagoras and the prophet Daniel. Yet each stream carried a different mission. The Ancient Hebrews had the mission of cultivating a physical body that could actually bring to birth the individualized ego—the promise of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ finding its fulfillment in the fourth sacrifice, the Mystery of Golgotha, the birth of the human “I”:
In the first lecture, we told of the three folk-souls of Asia, the Indian in the South, the Iranian, and the Turanian to the North, and we described the connection of these with the Atlantean migrations into Asia. Where the northern stream which came from Atlantis met the southern stream which passed through Africa, an extraordinary mixture of races occurred. From this admixture a race developed from which later the Hebrew people sprang.
Something unusual occurred in the development of these ancestors of the Hebrews. The lower astral-etheric clairvoyance which had become so decadent among certain races because it was the last phase of external perception, had in those people who developed into the Hebrew race, turned inwards and manifested as an organizing force. That which we have described as being externally decadent, as having remained behind in certain races as a last phase of declining clairvoyance, and as being permeated somewhat by the Ahrimanic element, had progressed among the Hebrews in the right direction by becoming an actively organizing force within the human body. Through this, bodies became more perfect. What among the Turanians was decadent worked constructively and progressively in the Hebrews. Within the physical nature of the Hebrews, as propagated from generation to generation in the close bond of blood relationship, all those forces were active which had accomplished their mission in developing external sight. These were no longer required to provide external sight, so could enter on another sphere of action, thus passing into their right element. That which had given to the Atlantean the power to gaze spiritually into space and into spiritual realms, that had run wild in the Turanians, appearing as a last relic of clairvoyance — all this force worked inwardly in the little Hebrew nation. What in the Atlantean had been spiritual and divine, worked inwardly in the Hebrew race to form certain organs. It worked constructively in the body and could therefore flash forth in the blood of this people as an inward divine consciousness. With the Hebrew people it was if all the Atlantean had seen when directing his clairvoyant vision into space was turned inwards, as if it constructed inwardly an organ of consciousness which was the Jahve-consciousness — the consciousness of God within him. This people felt the God Who filled all space to be united with their blood, felt they were filled, impregnated with Him, and that He lived in the pulsation of their blood.
As in the last lecture we contrasted the Iranians and the Turanians we have now considered the Turanians and the Hebrews, and have seen that what in its further progress and in its essence had become decadent in the Turanians, pulsated later in the blood of the Hebrew people. All that the Atlantean had seen, lived on in the Hebrew as an inward feeling, and could be comprised in a single word: Jahve or Jehovah. The consciousness of God lived throughout the generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob concentrated as into a single point, invisible but inwardly felt. The God Who had revealed Himself to the Atlantean clairvoyance behind all living things was now the God dwelling in the blood of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and led the generations of their race from destiny to destiny. The outward had thus become inward; it was experienced, no longer seen; it was no longer described by different names, but by one single name ‘I am the I am!’ It had taken on an entirely different form. Whereas for the Atlantean this was found where he was not — in the external world — it was now found by man in the centre of his own being; in his ego; he was conscious of it in the blood that coursed through the generations. The mighty God of the Universe had now become the God of the Hebrews; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and flowed through the generations as the blood of the race.
It was in this way that the race was founded whose special inner mission for humanity we shall consider in the next lecture. We have thus far only been able to indicate the very earliest stage of the composition of the blood of this people, in which was concentrated everything that in the age of ancient Atlantis, humanity had allowed to be impressed upon it from without. We shall see later what mysteries were fulfilled in that which had here its beginning, and shall learn to recognize the peculiar nature of that people from which Zarathustra could take his body to become the being we call Jesus of Nazareth.
In contrast to the Ancient Hebrews, it was the mission of the Ancient Greeks to bring to absolute perfection the human astral body that had been born at the end of the Atlantean Age. Their goal was to allow perception of thought to fully eclipse the ancient picture-consciousness. This perfected astral body could then be the solid foundation upon which the individualized Ego could stand. The Ancient Hebrews realized the promise of the Ego given to them at the time of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ; but they would have been unable to do this without the perfecting of the astral body on the part of the Ancient Greeks.
We see this perfecting and offering the astral body brought to a single point—an individual, representative, sacrificial activity—at the time of Christ. The Archangel Jesus once again offers his astral body to the Nathan Jesus, the vessel for Christ. He had offered this astral body at the dawn of the Atlantean Age in order to allow its force to flow down into the human etheric body, organizing and elaborating it, allowing it to separate off from the higher conglomeration of “bodies.” During the fourth sacrifice at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, the Archangel Jesus once again offers this astral body—but this time in order to lay the foundation for something higher to be born: the human ego. Keeping in mind that Rudolf Steiner indicated that Archangel Jesus was the same as the Apollo of the Ancient Greeks, we could say that the Apollonian wisdom of Greece was offered to the representative Hebrew—indeed, the representative of all Humanity—in order to facilitate the birth of the individual human “I”, the promise of the first sacrifice of Jesus and Christ. We will investigate this further in part five.
Let’s briefly recap before going further:
The first sacrifice of Archangel Jesus was the offering of his Ego in order to organize and bring to manifestation the physical body of the human being at the end of Ancient Lemuria. The offering of his Archangelic Ego planted the seed for the eventual unfolding of the purely human “I”, the earthly personality, at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. The cultivation of this developing Ego was performed primarily by the Ancient Hebrew culture through the Hebrew religious rites, beginning with Abel’s sacrifice of a Lamb to Yahweh, all the way through to the time of Jesus Christ.
However, at the beginning of the Age of Atlantis, Archangel Jesus also sacrificed his astral body in order to facilitate the coming-to-birth of the human being’s etheric body. While the full manifestation of the human being’s etheric body was the immediate gift of this sacrifice, it also planted the seed for the eventual and similar full development of the astral body, at the end of the Atlantean era. In between, certain ancient rituals—ceremonial magical rites—were enacted in order to cultivate this developing astral body. These occurred alongside of the ongoing Hebrew rituals meant to develop the Ego. At the culmination of Atlantis, with the birth of the astral body in the human being, these rituals were no longer necessary. Any remnant of them was decadent and potentially harmful, but ineffective at best. On the other hand, the Ancient Hebrew rite carried on, and continued to take on a more and more codified form.
We can put before our mind’s eye a larger cycle of development, extending from the first sacrifice at the end of Lemuria through the fourth sacrifice at the Mystery of Golgotha, consisting of the ancient Hebrew religion. Embedded within this cycle is a smaller one, which only unfold between the second and third sacrifices of Jesus and Christ during the Atlantean Age:
As the post-Atlantean Age unfolded, the Zodiacal Ages of Cancer, Gemini, and Taurus recapitulated the time period laid out above, from the end of Lemuria to the end of Atlantis. It was the Age of Aries that properly brought something—or Someone—new to birth, and finally saw the concrete codification of the Hebrew rituals through the patriarchs and Moses. When I say “birth,” the reader may very well ask: what exactly—or Who exactly—was it that was born at the beginning of the Age of Aries, around 1945 BC?
In a lecture from January 10, 1915, Rudolf Steiner paints a vivid picture of a being named Philosophia—see https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19150110p01.html. He characterizes her unfolding biography as the remnant or expression of the Ancient Sun evolution in our current Earthly world. Whereas the normal human being’s biography unfolds over a series of ten seven-year cycles, her biography, according to Steiner, unfolds in a series of approximately seven hundred-year cycles.
For the human being, these seven-year cycles are as follows:
0-7 = birth of physical body, development of etheric body. Related to the Moon Sphere.
7-14 = birth of the etheric body, development of the astral body. Related to the Mercury Sphere.
14-21 = birth of the astral body, development of the sentient soul. Related to the Venus Sphere.
21-28 = birth of the sentient soul, development of the intellectual soul. Related to the Sun Sphere.
28-35 = birth of the intellectual soul, development of the consciousness soul. Related to the Sun Sphere.
35-42 = birth of the consciousness soul, development of Manas or Spirit-Self. Related to the Sun Sphere.
42-49 = birth of Manas, development of Life-Spirit or Buddhi. Related to the Mars Sphere.
49-56 = birth of Buddhi, development of Atman. Related to the Jupiter Sphere.
56-63 = birth of Atman, development of the “Zodiacal Man,” the karma-free human being. Related to the Saturn Sphere.
63-70 = birth of the Zodiacal Man. Related to the Zodiac. (see Hermetic Astrology vol II by Robert Powell for more information)
In this fascinating and complicated lecture, Rudolf Steiner describes the evolution of this being Philosophia in terms related to the above unfolding of human biography. He points to the historical evolution of human consciousness as an indication of the evolution of this being. Oddly enough, he begins his description of the biography of this being at her third life cycle—that of the astral body, related to the Venus sphere. He makes only very vague remarks regarding the first two life cycles. (We will return to this later).
The third life cycle (14-21) of this being begins around the time of the pre-Socratic philosophers. These pre-Socratic philosophers represented the bridge from the old elemental picture consciousness that understood the cosmos via myth, and the newly arising consciousness that revealed itself to the human soul in the form of thought. This new capacity of the thinking soul only fully revealed itself in Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. For these three most representative Greek philosophers, the activity of human thinking did not proceed as though thoughts were created by the Ego, as it does for modern man. These thinkers perceived thoughts as being given to them as any other perception, out of the nature of the very phenomena to which they gave their attention. The divide between soul and world became clear; this divide was bridged through thoughts which were given to the human soul, like words whispered in one’s ear.
Steiner indicates that this third cycle lasted from around the 6th century BC up to the early days of the Church. He indicates that while the development of a world conception based on thought was coming from Ancient Greece, something else was arising in human evolution in connection with the Hebrew people. Their entire mission was tied up with the birth of the individual human Ego, the “I.” This was born towards the end of this period, in 33 AD, at the Mystery of Golgotha.
The next approximately 700-year life cycle in the biography of Philosophia begins during the days of the early Church Fathers and extends through the late 9th century AD—Steiner explicitly refers to John Scotus Eriugena as representing the end of this cycle. This time period was typified by a processing of the world conceptions that had been born in Ancient Greece—in particular Platonism—but at the same time recognizing the limitation of human thinking. It began to be recognized that human thinking does not encapsulate the entirety of the soul’s experience of the world. The thought conceptions of Plato were put to use in order to understand and bring to full consciousness (gnosis) the primal, mystical religious experience of the soul, and the content of religious traditions (primarily Judaism and Christianity).
This was followed by a crucial time period—the approximately 700-year time period of the development of the intellectual soul, the heart of which contains the Christ years of the human being’s biographical unfolding (ages 30-33). It was during the heart of this time period, from the 9th century through the 16th/17th century, that the philosophical/religious movement of Scholasticism began to unfold. Just as the prior time period was a revisiting of Platonism through the burgeoning forces of the Ego bestowed upon the human being through the Mystery of Golgotha, the Scholastic period saw a revisiting and revival of Aristotelianism. Through Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle was Christianized. It was at this point in human history that, for the first time on a completely conscious level, thought was experienced as being produced by the human soul, rather than as a perception coming towards it from without. The task of Scholasticism was to form a truce between the thinking produced out of the Reason of the human soul with the content of religious experience and tradition (dogma). Religious experience was a matter of grace, of a gift from another world that could only be perceived through the capacity of Faith. It was fundamentally based on a trans-subjective experience, and therefore could not become universal. On the other hand the activity of Reason, of the thinking soul, was the effort of the human being to bring this religious content into a conceptual structure and justification that had a universal, objective value.
This time period ended around the 16th/17th centuries, with the Copernican and Cartesian revolutions. The human self began to be felt very strongly as an independent, thought-creating entity. Scientists and philosophers began to feel ever more acutely the lack of the Ego’s self-justification, a deeper and deeper confusion in regards to the fundamental accuracy of human thinking and sense observation, and a loss of the sense of the human personality’s place in the cosmos. World conceptions based on natural science and observation seemed to have no room left for the human soul. More and more the Ego had to struggle to find its place in the world conceptions that were being forced upon the human being due to the rise of materialism. It is in the midst of this struggle that we currently stand.
This year I have had the great opportunity to teach a course of Philosophical Perspectives in the Camphill Academy. I used this lecture as my point of departure, in conjunction with the book Riddles of Philosophy (see here: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA018/English/AP1973/GA018_index.html). As we’ve worked with this material over the past three months, it has helped me to strike upon what I believe is the exact timing of the unfolding of this being Philosophia.
The first three life cycles of Philosophia take place over the course of the Age of Aries (1945 BC – 215 AD), each one lasting 720 years—this is why Steiner said the life cycles of Philosophia were approximately seven hundred years in length:
Physical body/Moon Sphere: 1945 BC – 1225 BC
Etheric body/Mercury Sphere: 1225 BC – 505 BC
Astral body/Venus Sphere: 505 BC – 215 AD
The life of Christ in this schema would fall right around what would be the equivalent of age 19. We might imagine the Mystery of Golgotha as related to the extremely potent time period in a human being’s biography between the first return of the Moon’s Node (18.61 years old) and the end of the first metonic cycle (19 years old). A window opens for the human being at this time, when one in a way “renews one’s vows” in relation to decisions made prior to incarnating.
The next three life cycles take place over the course of the Age of Pisces (215 AD – 2375 AD), and the final three will take place over the course of the Age of Aquarius (2375 AD – 4535 AD). We will look more closely at these time periods in the next sections. We will also turn our gaze to the mystery of the first two life cycles of the being Philosophia, which took place between 1945 BC – 505 BC. Did Steiner give any indications as to the nature of these two life cycles? Why did the birth of Philosophia coincide with this time period—the start of the Age of Aries? And what developed during that time period that had directly to do with the Mystery of Golgotha, the fourth Sacrifice of Jesus and Christ?