Thoughts from Rudolf Steiner’s lecture: Mysteries of the East and of Christianity, # 4 given in Berlin, 7 February 1913 – a lecture recommended to me by Steve Hale, so I took it in & here is what I have gleaned:
All Mysteries have 4 levels of Initiation:
1. Approach to the Boundary of Death;
2. Becoming acquainted with the Life of the Elementary World;
3. Beholding the Sun at Midnight;
4. Standing before the Upper and the Lower Gods.
This Standing before the Upper & the Lower Gods occurs when the aspirant understands, 1st the forces which rule everything that belongs to the physical side of the human being, the part which remains behind in sleep as physical & etheric body — this has to do with the Lower Gods. In relation to the Upper Gods it is a knowing of the forces connected to the innermost being, working thru various incarnations – the “I” & the astral body.
The experiences undergone by human souls within the Mysteries of ancient times, point to the tragic impression made on Egyptian souls when in the course of their Initiation they came face to face with the changes that had affected the Cosmic Power known as Isis in the Egyptian Mysteries. From the Osiris legend we learn that the spouse of Isis was overcome by the enemy & torn away from her. This changed situation in the life of Isis had an effect in the higher worlds known as the “fate of Gods”. It also affected the soul of humanity, which was experienced in later Egyptian times as being raised into spiritual worlds to became a participant in the fate of Osiris, the God who was dying to the higher worlds & then descending into the earthly region.
Let us enter into the tragic mood of one about to be initiated during the Egyptian epoch. “Formerly, when I entered the spiritual worlds, I found Osiris permeating cosmic space with the Creative Word and its meaning, which represent the ground-forces of all being and development. Now the Word has become mute and silent. The God who was called Osiris has forsaken these realms. He is preparing to penetrate into other regions; he has descended into the Earth-region in order to enter into the souls of men.”
The Christ Being who had been known spiritually to human souls in earlier days 1st became manifest in physical life when Moses heard in the physical world the Voice that in earlier ages had been heard only in the spiritual worlds: “Ejeh asher Ejeh!” — “I AM THE I AM, Who was, and is, and will be”. And then this Being who, as the Creative Word, had gradually become lost to the experience of the candidate for Initiation, transferred His life into the Earth-region so that He could gradually come to life again in the souls of earthly humanity; & in this new life, rising to ever higher & higher glory, will consist the further development of the Earth, even to the end of the Earth-evolution.
Let us follow the evolution of the Earth, to see that for spiritual sight this Creative Word now goes forward like a stream which disappears for a certain time below the Earth’s surface, in order to reappear later at another place.
How did it reappear? It became visible in the “Holy Grail”, guarded by the Grail Knights. The phrase the “Holy Grail”, involves a reappearing of the essence of the Eastern Mysteries. In every later epoch the earlier experiences of humanity must appear again, but in a fresh form.
In the dawn of our 5th cultural epoch there is also a repetition, & then also something is added, something new which must come from the Consciousness Soul to provide supporting forces for our new initiation. Our New Mysteries must have centers where human souls can recall the secrets poured into human evolution thru the Egyptian-Chaldaic soul, & the secrets poured out in the 4th post-Atlantean epoch, the Graeco-Latin time, during which the Mystery of Golgotha took place. And to that must be added a new element – a redeeming of the New Isis-Sophia.
The Mysteries often find expression in various legends which correspond to secrets in which the human soul has participated. In the Grail Mysteries are revealed secrets related to the Cosmos, to the in-pouring of the forces of the Zodiac, of the Planetary beings, & particularly to the secrets connected with the co-operation of the Sun & Moon, in their shifting influences, as they pass thru the signs of the Zodiac.
During the start of the 5th epoch, these forces inspired certain individuals, called “The Knights of King Arthur’s Round Table”, who became the instruments, the vehicles, of cosmic influences issuing from the Sun & Moon during their passage thru the signs of the Zodiac. Into the 12 Knights flowed the inspirations from the 12 directions of the Zodiac. The inspirations which came from the spiritual forces of the Sun & Moon were represented by King Arthur & his wife Guinevere. So here we see in King Arthur’s Round Table the humanized Cosmos.
The Knights of King Arthur’s Round Table journeyed far & wide & slew monsters & giants. These imaginations point to the purifying of the forces in the astral body.
Everything that had to be recapitulated from the epoch in which the Mystery of Golgotha took place was concentrated in the influences that streamed forth from the secrets of the Holy Grail.
In the present day also the human soul must be open to these influences if we are to be initiated, if we are to have an understanding for the spiritual nature of our times. The Holy Grail is surrounded by many, many mysteries which can show us to ourselves.
Today souls are thirsting to vitalize something in the physical & etheric bodies which we have had to abandon as lifeless because the impressions they once absorbed do not penetrate into modern consciousness. This is the disturbing impression received today by the candidate for Initiation.
We sense that there is something in us that is withdrawn from the sovereignty of our soul, something that is dead. By working upon this dead part, the Luciferic & Ahrimanic forces are exposed. When we work to acquire more & more freedom, the Luciferic & Ahrimanic forces insinuate themselves into that part of us which has been withdrawn from the sovereignty of the soul. That is why so many people in modern times feel as if there were 2 souls dwelling in them – as if one wanted to tear itself away from the other.
The Holy Grail was & is that which can nurture that living portion of the soul so that it can become master of the dead part.
Montsalvat, the sanctuary of the Holy Grail, is the school in which one has to learn, for the sake of the living part of the human soul, something that there was naturally no need to learn in the Eastern & Egyptian Mysteries. One needs to learn what has to be poured into the still living part of the soul in order to become master of the part of the physical body that has died, & the part of the soul that has become unconscious. We learn that the secrets of the Grail bring the Intellectual soul a New Conscious Wisdom.
When the Initiate of the Middle Ages wanted to present in picture form what he had to learn in order to permeate with the new wisdom the living part of his soul, he spoke of the Castle of the Holy Grail & of the new wisdom — which is in fact the “Grail” that flows out from it.
And when he wanted to indicate that which is hostile to this new wisdom, he pointed to the domain which was the most vicious & hostile to the Grail – the gathering-place of all the forces which attack the human being – the evil Castle Merveil.
Spiritual wisdom can be carried anywhere today, because we are living in a time of transition from life in space & time, into more spiritual forms of time. We have reached a transition stage leading towards the 6th Epoch & these things are no longer tied to particular localities; but in the Middle Ages it had to be sought in certain definite places.
Legend tells us that the Castle of the Grail is situated in the West of Europe.
The evil Castle Merveil is in Southern Calabria; closely connected with a figure who glimmers across from the Middle Ages as a legendary being, but is well known to anyone acquainted with the nature of the Mysteries: a personality who was quite real: Klingsor, the Duke of Terra de Labur.
In the middle of the Middle Ages, Calot bobot in Sicily was the seat of the goddess Iblis, the daughter of Eblis; & among all evil unions which have taken place within the Earth’s evolution between beings in whose souls there were occult forces, the one known to occultists as the worst of all was between Klingsor & Iblis, the daughter of Eblis. Iblis is a kind of feminine aspect of Eblis, the Mohammedan Lucifer, & with her, the evil magician Klingsor united his own evil arts, thru which he worked against the Grail. And the hostility to the Grail was enacted in that fastness of Iblis, “Calot bobot
Everything that was undertaken by this power hostile to the Grail, & which also wounded Amfortas, can be traced back to the alliance which Klingsor had contracted with the stronghold of Iblis, Calot bobot; & all the misery & suffering which we see embodied in the Grail legend thru Amfortas is an expression of that pact. For this reason the soul must still be strongly armed even to-day when it comes into the neighborhood of those places from which emanate hostile influences.
So we have on the one hand the Kingdom of the Grail, & on the other the evil Kingdom, Chastel Merveille, with all that came from the pact between Klingsor & Iblis playing into it. The whole change which had taken place in the Intellectual soul is portrayed, in a legendary way, in the antithesis between “Montsalvat” & “Chastel Merveille”.
In the “Knights of King Arthur’s Round Table” we see a repetition of all that the candidate for Initiation had to experience thru the Sentient Soul. In all that was grouped around the Holy Grail we are shown what can be experienced in modern times by the Intellectual Soul – Now everything that we must go thru, so that we can make the good part of our double nature strong enough to penetrate into the mysteries of the spiritual worlds in modern times, must be enacted in the Consciousness Soul. This is the new thing that has to be added. This is crystallized in the figure of Parsifal.
All the legends connected with King Arthur & the Round Table represent the repetition of the experiences of earlier ages in the Sentient Soul; all the legends & narratives which are directly connected with the Holy Grail, apart from Parsifal, represent what the Intellectual Soul had to go thru. And all that finds expression in the figure of Parsifal, this ideal of the later Initiation in the Consciousness Soul, represents the forces which must now be made our own.
The whole nature of modern Initiation has a more inward character. Much more than in the old Initiation, the external must be cleansed & purified thru the strengthening of the inner, so that this inner part becomes sovereign over the outer.
A special feature of our time is that these attacks from Klingsor & Iblis, as they gradually lay hold of people, are insinuating themselves into intellectual life, particularly the intellectual life that bears on education, with its popularization of modern science. When a person becomes “cleverer & cleverer”, certain vital forces necessary for the human organism are worn away. And when such a person has taken into himself only these typical dregs of modern education, in his next incarnation he will lack the forces that are required for properly building up the human organism. The more intellectual a person is, the more of an imbecile will they be in a later incarnation. If thoughts are not permeated by the wisdom of the spirit, then the souls occupied with thinking only about material things will find in later incarnations that they are unable to use their brains properly; their brain-forces will be too weak to lay hold of things. A soul which today is occupied merely with calculating debit & credit, or with the usages of commercial & industrial life, or absorbs only the ideas of materialistic science, is filling itself with thought-pictures which in later incarnations gradually darken the consciousness, because the brain would be an unformed mass & so no longer capable of being taken hold of by the forces of thinking.
The forces belonging in particular to the Consciousness Soul must be infused with inner spiritual knowledge. We must overcome “apathy and doubt” just as Parsifal had to do in his own soul. Yes, it may be that the ‘motley fool’ is still discernible through the raiment of the spiritual, as with Parsifal. But that is not the point. What matters is that there should be present in the soul the impulse toward spiritual knowledge, spiritual understanding — that impulse which is inextinguishable in Parsifal & brings him at last, in spite of everything, to the stronghold of the Holy Grail.
The more we can look into our self & try to exercise honest self-knowledge, the more we will find how conflict is raging unconsciously in our soul; a conflict within the Intellectual Soul that needs to be healed by yielding to the heart-thinking of the Consciousness soul.
Self-knowledge is an initiation in itself; & it is becoming more & more difficult to discern with all the present propaganda that taps into our deeply hidden passions which are often raging undetached under the surface, ready to subconsciously sabotage our higher self.
When we approach the new Mysteries we must feel that we are confronting our self in such a way that we will choose to strive after the virtues of Parsifal, while at the same time knowing that we also carry the wound of Amfortas. In our time we carry within us this double nature — aspiring Parsifal, wounded Amfortas. That is what our self-knowledge must show us. Then from this recognition forces will flow, which we must unify. And when we do our part it brings humanity as a whole a little further in the course of world-evolution.
In our Intellectual Soul, in the depths of our inner life, there must be a meeting between Amfortas, wounded in body & soul, with Parsifal, whose task is to cultivate the Consciousness Soul. And yes, it’s true, that in order to gain freedom for our self we must go through the “wounding” of Amfortas, & become acquainted with the Amfortas within our self, so that we may also come to know Parsifal.
Just as it was right for Egyptian times that one should rise up into the spiritual worlds in order to know Isis, so is it right for our times to start with the spiritual nature of this world, & thru it to rise into the higher spiritual worlds. A wish to deny the Amfortas-nature will only keep us wounded. In order to develop the forces of Parsifal in our human nature, the Amfortas-nature in us must be recognized -in ourselves – & in the other – so that we can ask: “What ails thee”.
Legends, which call forth pictures of deep soul-processes, can lead our deeper premonitions, towards the nature of the New Mysteries of Isis-Sophia to come.
Much to ponder
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
12 December 2020 – “Speaking with the Stars”: It’s Venus & Bella Luna – what are they whispering?
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Sunday 20 December 2020, 2 pm – 3pm CT
‘Awakening to the Light in the Darkness’: A Christmas Contemplation with Rev. Craig Wiggins. In-Person at The Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago & online
We will begin with live Music by Lucien Dante Lazar
And to end the program: Eurythmy with Mary Ruud
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/7052931041?pwd=ai94YmhnS1k3cWN3TFFlL3ozTDgxdz09 Meeting ID: 705 293 1041 – Passcode: Peace
For more info. contact Hazel Archer firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 23 December 2020 – 7:15 pm – 8:30 pm CT
Unwrapping our Cosmic Gift: Thoughts on the Christmas Conference 1923
with the Central Regional Council. Themes inspired by Prokofieff’s book: May Human Beings Hear it! include: Turning Points of Time; Christ, Sophia and Michael; Foundation Stone Meditation.
Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83533262486
for more info. contact Alberto Loya email@example.com
24 December 2020 – 5 January 2021, 11 am – 11:30 am CT
ASA Holy Nights 2020-21 “A Rose By Any Other Name…”
International online gathering on the Theme of the Divine Feminine.
Hosted by Laura Scappaticci & Tess Parker, featuring the Sophia Working Group.
27 December – Leading Thoughts by ~hag
29 December – with Ultra-Violet Archer calling in on the Full Moon from Sweden
For the full schedule contact Tess Parker firstname.lastname@example.org
Register Here. Then check your email for a confirmation with the Zoom registration link.
The Festivals Committee for the Rudolf Steiner Branch in Chicago invites you to Holy Nights December 24, 2020, through January 5, 2021
Please note–No meeting December 29th and 31st. See special offerings below for these dates.
The Fifth Gospel by Rudolf Steiner https://wn.rsarchive.org/Religion/GA148/English/RSPC1950/FG1950_index.html
Each evening we will study together on Zoom from 7 pm – 8 pm CST
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/92592034861?pwd=Mmo0eURaWDVqYVlabTdSY1ltcUFxdz09 Meeting ID: 925 9203 4861 Passcode: Peace
On Tuesday, December 29th, 6 pm – 8:30 pm CST, we will join Anthroposophy Atlanta for a reading of Goethe’s fairy tale, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily This has a separate zoom code: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82656914578?pwd=MHN3Mmt3OEhtQlZTMlc1NHFtUm80QT09 Meeting ID: 826 5691 4578 Passcode: Goethe
New Year’s Eve, there will be NO zoom call, as we will gather for our Annual NYE event. This year’s theme is “A Masked Ball” 6 pm till 10:30 pm
6 pm Potluck and artistic mask making with Lucien Dante Lazar
7:30 – 9:30 Live Music with Jutta and the High Dukes
10:10 pm Project Thought-Seed
The evening ends at 10:30 pm
Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 2 pm – 4 pm CST Joan’s Epiphany: What Joan of Arc Calls for Today In-Person at Elderberries & The Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago and online
Today on the Birthday of Joan of Arc, we welcome special guest Nancy Poer
We will also explore The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations, Lecture 5, “The Nature of the Christ Impulse and the Michaelic Spirit Serving It” by Rudolf Steiner, with Leading Thoughts by Hazel Archer-Ginsberg
Social Sculpture: “The Passage” with Lucien Dante Lazar
We will also share an artistic exploration, singing and Eurythmy.
This event has a new Zoom Code https://zoom.us/j/7052931041 Meeting ID: 705 293 1041
For more info, contact Hazel Archer email@example.com
Peace and Good Will to All, Deborah Rogers on behalf of the Rudolf Steiner Branch Festivals Committee