Rudolf Steiner tells us that the ancient Greeks were speaking of the total human being, spirit, soul and body, when they let resound the ancient word of the Sun, the word of Apollo: ‘Know thou thyself!’ To say these words was to mean: ‘Soul of Man, know thou thyself in the weaving existence of spirit and soul and body, in all that streams down from the heights and works in the encircling round and rises up through the forces in the limbs, know that this is the foundation of your being!
Rudolf Steiner tells us that this call rang out from a being responsible for guiding a heavenly wisdom to the earth to quicken a spiritual alchemy in the human soul that would lead to this self-knowledge. This being that was intimately seen by the Greeks as Sophia and by Dante as Lady Philosophy was unveiled by Rudolf Steiner in our times as Anthroposophia.
But how can we have a true spiritual meeting with this being? How do we in this age of materialism find Anthroposophia so that we can know ourselves?
In the physical everyday world, our meetings with others are usually precursors to our acquaintanceship with those people. That is, we see what they look like, we hear their voice, we note the warmth or coldness, we either feel a certain kinship, a sympathy or as the case may be, an antipathy in our hearts and this usually leads us to a desire to know this person more deeply, more fully, to delve into their very being, into their thoughts, feelings and will, to know what makes them ‘tick’, or to pass them by in a superficial and though hopefully, friendly way.
We can describe it like this:
We meet/see, the human being; we speak with/hear the human being; we have a feeling towards him or her; we decide to get to know the human being better.
For many of us, though we may not be aware of it at the time, our first meeting with the Being of Anthroposophia occurs the moment we read even one word that was once spoken or that was written by Rudolf Steiner, but because we are living in an age of materialism when our consciousness of the spiritual world is dimmed, it is often easy to overlook this first meeting and to think that a book can only ever contain so many pages of information.
But what do we meet in a book?
As an author and reader of books, I have come to realise that a book is a window into the soul of the writer. In the writer’s soul one finds the content of the ego’s relationship to the Word and to the World, that is, a memory of those inspirations and imaginations and intuitions of human beings and higher beings that have worked into the author and have enabled him/her to write the book; whether the relationship is a conscious one or not, this relationship is still there. Once a book is read and the content of this relationship has entered the soul of the reader, it begins to magically connect the reader to the source of those inspirations, imaginations and intuitions, be they good sources or bad. It is like an introduction of sorts. That is why it is important that we develop consciousness and discernment of whom and what an author is introducing us to!
The difference between our meeting with human beings in the world and our meeting with higher beings and the dead is that in once sense the order is reversed.
In the supersensible world we have to get to know a higher being or a dead human being before we meet them; we have to prepare our souls and train our thinking feeling and willing and then we have to wait. The rest is the affair of the spiritual world and a meeting can only come about through grace. The spiritual world and the higher being must then come to us.
In light of this how do we prepare for a meeting with Anthroposophia?
A true conscious meeting with Anthroposophia occurs only gradually. At first we may pick up a book by Rudolf Steiner and we may feel a familiarity with the content of this book. It seems as though a memory is rising up of words that we have heard before.
This is a spirit Recollection that occurs in the Will.
A desire may rise up at this stage to know more and to read more. It moves us (our limbs) towards acquiring new books, going to lectures etc. Gradually Rudolf Steiner’s thoughts and words lead us to create our own imaginations of the content of spiritual science and we begin to sense the higher being that infused Rudolf Steiner’s soul with wisdom in order that he could fashion the Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence of Christ into a word-form that could be understood by human beings in our times. We hear this being’s through Rudolf Steiner’s words and this voice becomes our own as we read. This now begins to kindle in us a great love that moves up through our feelings and drives us towards further conscious knowledge of this being.
We become ever Mindful of a spiritual enthusiasm that is felt in our life of Feelings.
Now we come to the point when we realise that it is only through knowledge have we been woken up to what really lives behind this knowledge, because the being that inspires it is one with the knowledge iself! The knowledge is the body, soul, and spirit of the being! Only then are we ready for the moment of grace when we meet the being supersensibly. This links our thoughts with our memory – that is:
We have a thought perception or vision that is accompanied by understanding and a feeling of oneness of knowing the being.
To condense the above:
We have to get to know the higher being through study and loving interest first before we begin to have a memory of the higher being. As we wake up and become more conscious and our love grows for the higher being, when we become so one with the being, so in tune with this being that we ‘think as one’, then we are ready to meet the being supersensibly! This meeting signifies that we are no longer who we were before the meeting. We have had to change in order to have the meeting, we have had to become one with this being and this relationship we have fostered and developed has made us different. In seeing the being, we therefore, see also, what we have made of ourselves. How we have changed and what we have become through this meeting.
This is what Anthroposophia wishes us to do. She tells us:
Man Know thou thyself through knowing me!
In the coming two days I will describe how such a supersensible meeting is facilitated by the Alchemical process one undergoes when one works with the Foundation Stone Meditation; a Meditation which can be said to be the voice of Anthroposophia herself, speaking to us.
Because study is the first step towards our meeting with the being our first lecture will ask these questions: Who is the being of Anthroposophia? What is her nature and what are her tasks? We will look at Magi and Shepherd and how they are united by the Foundation Stone Meditation through an Alchemical process which elaborates thinking feeling and will.
Our second lecture will then look at this Alchemical process as it rises up again from the will to the life of feeling and will creating new forces of cognition. We will explore how this relates to our relationship to the being of Anthroposophia and how she moves us through the Foundation Stone Meditation towards a meeting with her and through her to a meeting with the being of Christ.
In our esoteric striving there is an important caveat that we must take into consideration. This caveat is two fold: The first aspect of this caveat is that if we are to work appropriately with the Foundation Stone Mediation we can only do so in a state of complete consciousness - that is it must not become something we do by rote; the second aspect to this caveat is that when we embark in the search for knowledge that we do so by creating true pictures of the knowledge we are receiving. We should take the knowledge into our heart’s blood and enable it to beat with the fire of enthusiasm for the sake of the truth. Rudolf Steiner tells us it is the profoundest call of Anthroposophy to shine into our souls, the fullness of truth, if we are only open to it. So let us open ourselves to Anthroposophy and the being that guides it, remembering always that there spiritual experiences are individual and that I will be offering one experience in the coming lectures.
Only after taking the above into consideration can we begin to broach the subject of this mystery with the appropriate reverence…even so we will do so with faltering words.
Who is the being of Anthroposophia and what is her relationship to The Foundation Stone Meditation?
The Foundation Stone Meditation
Soul of man,
Thou livest in the limbs
That bear thee through the world of space
Into the ocean being of the Spirit
In depths of soul
Wherein the wielding
World creator life
Thine own I comes to being
Within the I of God
Then, in the all-world -being of man thou wilt truly live.
For the Father-Spirit of the Heights holds sway
In the Depths of Worlds begetting life
Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones!
Let there ring out in the heights
What in the depths is echoed,
Ex Deo Nascimur.
The elementals hear it
In the East and West and North and South
May human beings hear it!
Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the beat of Heart and Lung
Which leads the through the rhythmic tides of time
Into the feeling of thine own Soul being,
In depths of soul,
Wherein the surging
Deeds of the Worlds Becoming
Thine own I unites unto the I of the world
Then ‘mid the weaving of the soul in man
Thou wilt truly feel
For the Christ will in the encircling round holds sway
In the rhythms of worlds blessing the soul
Kyriotetes, Dynamis, Exusiai,
Let there be fired in the East,
What in the West is formed
In Christo Morimur
The Elementals hear it, in the East and West and North and South
May human beings hear it.
Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the resting head
Which from the ground of the Eternal
Opens to thee the thoughts of worlds
In quietness of Thought,
Where the eternal aims of Gods
Upon thine own I unite
For thy free willing.
Then from the ground of the Spirit in Man
Thou wilt truly think
For the Spirits Universal Thoughts hold sway
In the beings of all worlds craving for light.
Archai, Archangeloi, Angeloi!
Let there be prayed in the depths,
What in the height is answered,
Per Spiritum, Sanctum, Reviviscimus
The Elemental Spirits hear it,
In the East and West and North and South,
May human beings hear it!
At the turning point in Time
The Spirit Light of the World
Entered into the sphere of Earthly being
Darkness of night had held sway;
Poured into the souls of men:
Light that warms simple Shepherd’s Hearts
Light that enlightens the Wise Heads of kings
Oh light divine,
Oh sun of Christ!
Warm thou our Hearts,
Enlighten Thou our Heads,
That good may become,
What from our hearts we would found,
And from our heads direct
In conscious, light filled, willing
Rudolf Steiner tells us that in the history of world evolution the world human beings have passed through various conditions during different planetary stages. These planetary stages he called Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth. He tells us that our evolution was made possible by the deeds and sacrifices of higher spiritual beings which make up nine hierarchies in the spiritual world: Angels, Archangels, Archai, Spirits of Form/Exusiai, Spirits of Movement/Dynamis, Spirits of Wisdom/Kyriotetes, Spirits of Will/Thrones, Spirits of Harmony/Cherubim and Spirits of Love/Seraphim. He tells us that all nine hierarchies work on behalf of the trinity: Father Son and Holy Spirit.
When we read the Foundation Stone Meditation from first panel to the last we can see that it is a call for the human being to understand the descent from Saturn into the realm of matter, the Earth, and the beings that cooperated in building up not only of the earth but also of the human being himself/herself:
· The Physical body/Metabolic System – First Panel
· Etheric body/Rhythmic System – Second Panel
· Astral body/Nerves and Senses System – Third Panel
· Willing/Consciousness Soul – First Panel
· Feeling/Sentient Soul – Second Panel Ego
· Thinking/Intellectual Soul – Third Panel Fourth panel
· Seed of Spirit Man – First Panel
· Seed of Life Spirit – Second Panel
· Seed of Spirit Self – Third Panel
In the fourth and last panel we hear of the darkness of night and how through evil man fell lower than intended, but we also hear how Christ himself has descended towards earth by way of the light Divine of the Nathan Soul to bring to human beings the power to redeem this fall into matter: firstly to redeem the physical body and the twelve senses to enable the human being to stand upright in his limbs; secondly to redeem the Etheric body and the seven organs to allow for the development of speech; and thirdly to redeem the three soul aspects thinking, feeling and willing making it possible for human beings to think. These three ennoblements enabled humanity to freely develop the soul, but in order for humanity to do so wisdom was necessary.
In the Foundation Stone Meditation we are told that along with this descent of Christ, the spirit Light of the World that the wisdom of the cosmic Sophia was also descending to the earth. This wisdom would prepare humanity for the Incarnation of Christ and it would descend into two streams: The stream of the upper/outer and the stream of the inner/lower. These two streams represented the different ways of achieving knowledge. Wisdom then, through these two streams sought to create the right conditions for a development of soul forces capable of understanding the Day Radiant knowledge of Michael, the Cosmic Intelligence concerning Christ. When Christ incarnated on earth, the human being who was his vessel, Jesus of Nazareth was a representative of these two streams signifying that from now on, human beings must unite these two streams of wisdom, which hitherto had existed in the world into one stream in order to freely and wholly understand Christ. These became known as the Magi and Shepherd stream.
Let’s have a look at how this happens.
The loftiness of the Cosmic Sophia, precluded her direct descent into the soul of humanity, this meant that another being had to take up the task of being the mediator of this wisdom to man. Who was this being?
Rudolf Steiner first spoke about this being’s place in our times, some months before the laying of the foundation stone for the first Goetheanum. In his inaugural lecture at the First General Meeting of the Anthroposophical Society in 1913 he told Anthroposophists that they were to think of ‘Anthroposophia’ as a living being, a being with an evolution and a biography. In a different lecture he indicated that Anthroposophia was an invisible human being, whose destiny and path had followed that of humanity, only in an accelerated way. We were asked to come to a relationship with this being, to go to her with all our questions, our hopes and our fears that we, as Anthroposophists were to do nothing before consulting with this being.
But who was this illusive being, what was her nature and what have been and continue to be her tasks?
Rudolf Steiner gave us indications that in the beginning, Anthroposophia had the nature of an Archangelic being; that she was of the same substance as Michael and ‘developed in accordance not with earthly laws but with the laws of the Sun. This suggests that Anthroposophia was possessed of the nature of an archangel and in this case from what we gather in Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the Four Sacrifices of Christ this was also the nature of the Nathan Soul.
What does this mean?
Let us look at the Nathan Soul. The Nathan Soul was that being comprised of the unspoiled or unfallen ethers: Chemical Ether and Life Ether of Adam. In Adam, the Nathan Soul had passed through the four planetary stages of Saturn, Sun, Moon and a part of our present stage, Earth, but it was on Earth during Lemurian times, before Jehova breathed the spirit or the rudimentary Ego into man, that these forces were separated out from Adam.
Nathan Soul = Chemical Ether and Life Ether of Earthly Adam
Because these forces were separated out before the ego was bestowed on Adam these forces were kept back before the effects of the ‘Fall’ and the descent into matter. This being was taken up and we are told it was then protected in the Mother Lodge of Humanity – in the Sun lodge, or the sphere of the Sun. The Nathan Soul is therefore related to the Archangels because the pre-fall Ether body is of like-substance to the Life Spirit (spiritualised Ether body/Buddhi), which is only obtained fully by the Archangels. The Nathan Soul did have, therefore, a kinship to the sphere of Archangels through the embodiment of Sun Laws, just like Anthroposophia.
The kinship exists because Anthroposophia was a mirror image of the Nathan Soul, that aspect which was separated out from Eve. The Alchemists called her the Heavenly Eve, or the heavenly twin.
Heavenly Eve (Anthroposophia) = Chemical Ether and Life Ether of Earthly Eve
Now Rudolf Steiner tells us with regard to the Nathan Soul that his pre- fall forces came into the guardianship of the Sun Archangel Michael – the highest of all Archangels on the Sun. It was this spiritual relationship between the Nathan Soul and the Archangel Michael that enabled the Nathan Soul to become the bearer of the Christ being in the cosmos, to be His garment during Christ’s sacrificial descent towards earth, firstly into the sphere of the Sun as a star, from the sphere of the stars to the sphere of the Sun as a planet and then to the sphere of the Moon. Now it stands to reason that in order to follow Christ in his sacrificial descent the Nathan Soul had not only to sacrifice his Archangelic nature but also his Angelic nature when he incarnated into a physical body as a human being on earth - Jesus of the Luke Gospel. He then participated in the fourth sacrifice of Christ - the Mystery of Golgotha where he sacrificed his human body.
Nathan Soul – Masculine – Christ Bearer
Heavenly Eve – Feminine – Sophia Bearer
In order to accomplish this task she had to make her descent to earth like the Nathan soul, performing sacrifices. She too, descended from the lofty Sun sphere where she had her ‘home’, sacrificing her Archangelic nature to enter into the sphere of the Angels (where she became the lowest member of the sobornal being of the Divine Sophia). Finally she sacrificed her Angelic nature, to become a human being. For Rudolf Steiner tells us that in his time she was a supersensible human being, and in earthly evolution the stage of human being can only be reached by incarnating in a physical body. So it is that at the turning point in time the Heavenly Eve had a brief incarnation alongside the Nathan Soul. She was the Mary of the Luke Gospel who gave birth to her heavenly twin, Jesus of the Luke Gospel.
Is this picture not beautiful, the two heavenly twins coming together in this way?
Michael, as the mightiest son of the Sophia, who had participated in the sacrifices of the Nathan Soul, also participated in the sacrifices of the Heavenly Eve as she made her descent to Earth. The difference here is that the Heavenly Eve’s descent did not occur in the macrocosm, it was, instead, a descent that occurred by way of the microcosmic human soul.
Nathan soul’s descent – Macrocosmic
Heavenly Eve’s descent – Microcosmic
Why was it necessary for Michael to follow this descent?
Rudolf Steiner tells us that the Archangel Michael was the guardian of the substance that the Heavenly Sophia had created in our cosmos from above, from the sphere of the Spirit of Wisdom, downwards.
What is this substance?
This substance created by the Heavenly Sophia comprises all the knowledge, all the conversations and communications, the creative world thoughts exchanged between higher beings pertaining to the entire significance of the Being of Christ and His deeds for the whole of earthly evolution - past, present and future. This is what is referred to in Spiritual Science as the Cosmic Intelligence of Christ and in the Foundation Stone Meditation as the Day Radiant Light of Michael. It was Michael’s task to administer this Intelligence until the time came to sacrifice his dominion of it to humanity, which occurred onwards from the time of the Mystery of Golgotha.
In order to prepare human beings for Michael’s sacrifice of the Cosmic Intelligence the Heavenly Eve descended to Earth carrying the Heavenly Wisdom, The Spirit Light of the World into human souls belonging to both streams of Magi and Shepherd, in order to prepare the faculty of logical thought necessary for receiving and also understanding the Cosmic Intelligence of Christ, but also in order to facilitate, as Mary of the Luke Gospel, the birth of the human vessel for the spirit of Christ - Jesus.
We can mark her preparation for the descent of Christ through her own descent into the human soul - into the various soul sheaths elaborated in the Egypto-Chaldean Greco-Roman and in our own Anglo-Germanic times: the Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul and Consciousness Soul respectively. The abovementioned being inspires ‘Creative thinking’ in the development of the Consciousness Soul. This is a consciousness of the creative will impulses, a conscious wisdom or moral force which brings to fulfillment the perfection of the entire soul through the unification of the two wisdom streams of Magi and Shepherd in the one human being.
Let’s have a closer look at these Streams.
The Magi Stream was the stream of the North. The initiates of this stream gazed out into the expanses of the Astral world and experienced there an expanded memory of what they had experienced in the time before birth, that is, during the time after the midnight hour in the time between death and rebirth. For this reason the mysteries pertaining to this stream are called the Mysteries of Birth. These were the ecstatic mysteries of the Sun worshipers.
The Shepherd stream was the stream of the South. The initiates of this stream contracted into the soul below the level of thought to observe through the medium of the etheric body the Karmic stream of events that occurred in the time after death, that is, before the midnight hour. For this reason the mysteries pertaining to this stream are called Death Mysteries. These were the Temple Sleep mysteries of the Moon worshippers.
Birth Mysteries – Magi
Death Mysteries – Shepherds
The unification of these two mystery streams occurred at the turning point in time when the Solomon Jesus (Zarathustra) the greatest representative of the Northern Stream became one with the Luke Jesus, (Nathan Soul) the representative of the Southern Buddha stream. Together they were known as Jesus of Nazareth.
What has become of the tasks of the two streams since the Mystery of Golgotha?
Since the Mystery of Golgotha the Magi stream, the stream of outer spirit perception connected to the old Birth Mysteries drew inward, contracted, and in time became ‘the dry, geometrical-mathematical world’ of thought which the modern man draws out of his soul.
Geometry and Mathematics = Inwardly Contracted Imagination of the thoughts of Gods, Old Magi
After the mystery of Golgotha the inward gazing meditative thought path of the Shepherd moved outward to become the dry way of looking at nature: Natural Science.
Natural Science = Outwardly Expanded Inspirations of the feeling and will of the Gods, Old Shepherd
The forces of the old Magi, the mysteries of Birth, which became dry Mathematics and the forces of the old Shepherd, the mysteries of Death, which became Natural Science could be redeemed only after Kali Yuga and the revelation of Anthroposophy on earth, which enabled a conscious and free transformation of the soul.
Rudolf Steiner not only gave us the renewal of the old mysteries, the old initianic paths of Birth and Death in Spiritual Science, a body of work which encompassed numerous lectures and books, but he also performed two Mystery acts which sealed the revelation of the new mysteries in the physical world:
· The Laying down of the double twelve-membered form of the Foundation Stone of Wisdom into the soil of the First Goetheanum, the Temple of the Word, the Temple of Truth – the building of Anthroposophia, Sep 1913.
· The Laying down of the Supersensible Foundation Stone of Love, for the building of the supersensible Temple of Anthroposophia - the etheric heart in the human soul at the Christmas Conference of 1923-24.
At the laying of the Foundation Stone of the First Goetheanum Rudolf Steiner gave Anthroposophists the Macrocosmic Lord’s Prayer which was a plea by human kind to all the hierarchies for the redemption of the Physical, Etheric, Astral bodies and Ego which was answered as we saw above, four times by the being of the Nathan Soul: once when he offered himself as a vessel for Christ on his descent toward earth to redeem the twelve senses in the Physical Body; a second time when he offered himself to Christ for the redemption of the seven organs in the Etheric Body; a third time when he offered himself to Christ for the redemption of the Astral body - thinking feeling and willing; and finally when he offered himself a fourth time for the redemption of the human Ego at the Mystery of Golgotha. These sacrifices occurred in the first instance in the sphere of the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, the sphere of the stars - in the second instance in the Sphere of the Kyriotetes, Dynamis, Exusiai, the sphere of the planets – in the third instance in the sphere of the Archai, Archangeloi and Angeloi, the sphere of the Moon; finally uniting with mankind on Earth in the fourth instance at the Turning Point in Time.
Rudolf Steiner also incorporated into the architecture of the First Goetheanum a complete artistic renewal of the old mysteries of Birth and Death belonging to the old Magi and the old Shepherds, achieved through a synthesis and an interweaving of musical forms, of colour and light, which could only have been made possible through the agency of the Holy Spirit.