In Christ Death Becomes Life

30 March 2018 – Good Friday, the eve of the Blue Passover Moon & Rudolf Steiner’s DeathDay:

 

Starting just after the Christmas Conference, when Rudolf Steiner took on the karma of the Anthroposophical Society with all its members on, Dr. Steiner showed signs of increasing frailness & illness. Yet he continued to lecture & travel widely. He was often giving 4 lectures a day for the various courses taking place concurrently. Many of these lectures focused on practical anthroposophy, such as education, agriculture, medicine & the Christian Community. He gave his last lecture on Michaelmas September 1924. Yet even after that, Rudolf Steiner continued to work on his autobiography during the last months of his life until  he died on Holy Monday 30 March 1925.

 

March 1925 was cold and foggy. It became quite windy in the last week of the month, and then the storms began. From the South and the West, the rain whipped against the walls of the studio. On March 29th, Rudolf Steiner awoke in pain. “No work was done that morning. It was the 1st time. We spoke at length about the pain. There was no reason to be worried. The pains disappeared in the course of the day. He was extraordinarily still and patient that day and gave new suggestions for his care” (Wegman and Nachrichtenblatt 1925)

 

Albert Steffen, who visited Rudolf Steiner regularly throughout his illness, recalled this time: “I visited him March 28th at 5 pm in his studio, where he lay in his sickbed. It was a tall room with skylights. Nothing of the earth looks in: no tree, no mountain, no house, only the light of the heavens. Sculptural and architectural models that he has made himself stand on the shelves along with some busts he has sculpted; at the foot of his bed, the noble statue of Christ, carved by his own hand, soars high above him. All around him are tables covered with books and manuscripts…Up to the last day of his life, his interest was for the entire world. In his studio, which he had not left for half the year, he had collected an entire library

 

Rudolf Steiner wrote the last “Letter to the Members” the day he died! This last missive is like a preview of what was to come in the 21st Century. It is titled “From Nature to Sub-Nature.” In it, Rudolf Steiner characterizes the dangers of the technological age and the task that has arisen for humanity through the technological developments, which rob humans of a direct experience of nature and place themselves in its stead. At 4 pm on March 29th, the pain returned. Yet Rudolf Steiner asked again if the adjoining studio was ready for him to work on the model for the 2nd Goetheanum. Both doctors, Wegman and Noll, kept watch throughout the night.

 

In his recollections of Rudolf Steiner D.N.Dunlop recalled, “A few weeks before his final illness, during the summer conference in Torquay, I spoke to him about my concerns for his physical health. He drew me aside, vigorously but with infinite friendliness, and made me aware that his situation could not be explained in terms of our usual notions of disease”.

 

It has been publicly stated that he died of stomach cancer. But one of Ita Wegman’s closest colleagues, Dr. Margarete Kirchner-Bockholt vehemently rejected this conjecture. And Dr. Ita Wegman had reported that Rudolf Steiner’s etheric body was no longer able to work in the digestive organs in the appropriate manner. “The result was that these organs were subjected too strongly to the physical forces, which are forces of degeneration.” (Wegman and Nachrichtenblatt 1925)

 

From Friedrich Rittelmeyer: “None of us had expected that Rudolf Steiner would succumb to the illness. The mortal sheath, just abandoned by the spirit setting out on its far journey, was resting on the death-bed at the foot of the Christ statue which stood there almost completed. Those who looked at the face of the dead could see what the spirit can make of the body in the life of a truly great man on earth. The sublimity and purity of his features was equal to every test and unsurpassed. Perhaps the death mask, if it is ever reproduced as a picture, will be a means of convincing many. Again and again one’s gaze turned from the forsaken earthly body to the great Christ figure which points with compelling gesture into the future. The disciple had fallen at the feet of the Master. It was as if Christ were taking the disciple to Himself with sheltering arms while He Himself went forward with unceasing step towards the future of the world. The disciple’s mission was fulfilled. The Master’s brow was radiant with the light of divine world-purposes. When, at the wish of Frau Dr. Steiner, and in the solemnly decorated hall where Dr. Steiner had given most of his great lectures, I was performing the burial service according to the ritual of The Christian Community, a drop of the sprinkled water fell in the centre of the forehead and shone there through the whole service like a sparkling diamond. The light of many candles was reflected in this glittering star – even as the revelations of light from higher worlds had been reflected in his spirit. Thus adorned, the body sank into the coffin. To me it was as if higher Spirits had indicated in an earthly picture what it had been our lot to experience. When the service was at an end, one impression lived mightily within my soul: “This work is now completed. Like a great question it stands there before mankind. If all who belong to that work dedicate their powers to it with single purpose, it will prevail!”

 

According to Ita Wegman’s report, Rudolf Steiner was very still sad and silent. She recalled, “It seemed to me as though he had a very difficult problem to solve. The forces of light in his eyes appeared weaker than usual”.

From Ita Wegman Nachrichtenblatt 1925: “At 3 am, I noticed a slight change in his breathing. I approached his bed; he was awake. He looked at me & asked whether I was tired. This question touched me. His pulse was not as strong as it had been, but much faster. I called Dr. Noll in order to speak with him about what ought to be done. Herr Steiner was not astonished to see him there in the middle of the night & greeted him amiably. “I don’t feel too bad” he said “I just can’t sleep.” We turned the light out again. At 4 am, he called me because the pain had reappeared. He said, “As soon as the day comes, we want to continue the treatment that I suggested”…Naturally, we didn’t wait for the day to come but did what was necessary. But then the situation changed quickly – his pulse grew weaker, his breathing more rapid. And we had to experience how his life was gradually extinguished…He went as though it were the obvious thing to do. It seemed to me as though the dice had been thrown for a last decision. When they fell, there was no struggle, no attempt to remain upon the earth any longer. He gazed calmly into the space before him for a time, said a couple of tender words to me, consciously closed his eyes & folded his hands

“His last thoughts were of the work to which he had in love dedicated himself” ~Rudolf Steiner, from the last act of the 4th Mystery Drama.

 

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Greetings Friends –

Join us this evening on this most auspicious day:

Good Friday, Rudolf Steiner’s DeathDay & the eve of the Blue Passover Moon!

7 pm – 9 pm on the Elderberries side of the Branch

As we continue the compelling saga of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz 

Then: Holy Saturday  March 31st 4 pm – 6 pm in the upper room at the Branch

PLEASE NOTE: The date for our Easter Fest has been changed to next Sunday April 8th 2 pm – 4 pm

Christian Rosenkreutz: ‘Granum Pectori Jesu Insitum’ Interactive Art Projections & Lecture with Hazel Archer-Ginsberg

Social Art, Group Eurythmy & Singing 

$10 Donation to support Eurythmy & Art Supplies,

Snacks to Share Encouraged – Hazel will bring the Pascal Lamb

For more info. contact festivals Coordinator Hazel Archer Ginsberg

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Rudolf Steiner Branch of The Anthroposophical Society, 4249 North Lincoln Avenue. Chicago, IL 60618 (map) Check out our Web site! Chicago, IL (Anthroposophical Society in America)

The newly renovated (& lazured) Elderberries 3-Fold Space is currently available for rental on PEER SPACE for classes, events, meetings, retreats, art exhibits, family parties, etc…