Our Dear Kyle J. wrote in response to yesterday’s post about Sirius with a powerful connection to Till Eulenspiegel – which reminded me of presentation I love to give called ‘Lifting the Veil of the New Isis’, where I bring Rudolf Steiner’s imagination of the Statue of the Representative of Humanity as a veil covering the New Isis. And how in the corner of that statue is the Being of Cosmic Humor. In the Epiphany lecture of 6th January 1918 – ANCIENT MYTHS, THEIR MEANING AND CONNECTION WITH EVOLUTION, GA 180, Lecture III, in Dornach. Steiner likens this being of humor to the legend of ‘Till Eulenspiegel’:
‘So one day someone came before the provisional form of the statue of the new Isis, and up above at the left was placed a figure of humorous deportment, which in its world-mood had something between seriousness, a serious idea of the world and, one might say, even a chuckling about the world. And lo and behold! as once upon a time someone stood opposite this figure in a specially favourable moment, the figure became alive and said quite facetiously: Humanity has only forgotten the matter, but centuries ago something was placed before the new humanity about the nature of the new humanity, in so far as this new humanity is still only master of the abstract word, the abstract concept, the abstract idea and is far removed from the reality.
This new humanity keeps well to words and always asks: Is it a pumpkin or is it a flask? …when it happens that a flask has been made from a pumpkin…always clings to definitions, always stops short at words! (This is a reference to the cosmic script revealed in the cresent moon – spelling out the name Parzival, the Holy Fool who at 1st did not speak the words, but thru many trails is now the New Grail King)
In the 15th, 16th, 17th centuries — so said the chuckling being — mankind still had self-knowledge about this peculiar situation of taking words in a false sense, not relating them to their true reality, but taking them in their most superficial sense. Today, however, men themselves have already forgotten what was put before them for the benefit of their self-knowledge, in the 15th, 16th, 17th centuries.’
And the being went on chuckling and said: ‘What modern humanity should take as a real recipe for its abstract spirit is depicted on a tombstone in Mölln in the Lauenburg district. Because a tombstone stands there and on this tombstone is drawn an owl (Eule) which holds before itself a looking-glass (Spiegel). And it is related that Till Eulenspiegel, after he had wandered through the world with all sorts of buffoonery and pranks, was buried there. It is related that this Till Eulenspiegel existed, that he was born in the year 1300, went to Poland, even reached Rome, and in Rome even had a wager with the Court-jesters over all sorts of odds and ends of wisdom, and initiated all the other Till Eulenspiegelisms, which indeed are to be read in the literature about Till Eulenspiegel himself.’
Learned men — and the men who are scholars, are indeed very learned today and take everything with extraordinary gravity and significance — these have naturally discovered — they have discovered various things: for example, that there was no Homer, etc. — the scholars have naturally also discovered that there never was a Till Eulenspiegel. One of the chief reasons why the actual bones of the actual Till Eulenspiegel, who was only the representative of his age, are not supposed to lie beneath the tombstone in Lauenburg, on which is depicted the owl with the looking-glass, was because another tombstone had been found in Belgium upon which there was likewise an Owl with a mirror. Now the learned men naturally have said — for that is logical is it not, and logical are they all — how does it go in Shakespeare — for they are all honourable men — all, all, all! — logical are they all! They have said: if the same sign is found in Lauenburg and Belgium then naturally no Eulenspiegel existed at all. (Because their logic did not tell them, that like the name Parzival, the name Till Eulenspiegel is a title – held by those who have achieved that rank)
Generally in life if one finds a second time what one has found a first time, one takes this as a reinforcement — but it is logical, is it not, in these things to take matters so. Well, we say, if I have one franc, then I have one franc. I believe it. So long as I only know that I have a franc, I believe it! But then I get another and I now have two. Now I believe that I have not one at all! — that is the same logic. This is the logic in fact that is to be found in our science — if I were to recount to you how everywhere it is to be found wry frequently!
But what is the essential point of the Eulenspiegel-buffoonery? Read it up in the book: the essential thing of the Till Eulenspiegel-buffoonery always consists in the fact that Eulenspiegel is given some sort of commission, and that he takes it purely literally and naturally carries it out in the wrong way. For obviously if, for instance — to exaggerate somewhat — one were to say to Eulenspiegel (whom I now take as a representative figure) ‘Bring me a doctor,’ he would take the word literally and would bring a man who had graduated as doctor from a University. But he would perhaps bring a man who was — excuse the strong language — a perfect fool, he only went by the sound of the word. All the fooleries of Till Eulenspiegel are like this, he only goes by the wording. But this makes Till Eulenspiegel precisely the representative of the present age. Eulenspiegelism is a keynote in our modern times. Words today are far removed from their original source, ideas are often still farther removed, and people do not notice it, but behave in an Eulenspiegel way to what civilization happens to serve up. People have no notion how far they are removed from reality in what today they call ideas, and even ‘ideals’. In other words: mankind does not know at all how it has made Eulenspiegel into its patron saint, how Eulenspiegel is still wandering through the different lands.
One of the fundamental evils indeed, of our time, rests on the fact that modern humanity flees from Pallas Athene, that is, from the Goddess of Wisdom, and clings to the symbol, the owl (Eule). And mankind no longer has the least idea of it — but it is true, as I have often shown, that the foundation of external knowledge is only a reflection — but, my dear friends, in a mirror one sees that which one is! And so the owl … I mean the modern scientific profundity, sees in the glass, in the world-maya illusion just simply its own face.
Over such matters as these the being at the left above the modern Isis Statue chuckles and sniggers, and over many other matters which, out of a certain courtesy towards mankind, shall not be mentioned at the moment.
But, a feeling should be called forth that with the peculiarity of this presentation of human mysteries through the real existence of the Luciferic, Ahrimanic, in connection with the Representative of humanity itself, a state of consciousness is to be roused in mankind which wakes those very impulses in the soul which are necessary for the coming age.”
Steiner speaks again about Till Eulenspiegel in direct relation to the Grail Legend in OLD AND NEW METHODS OF INITIATION, GA 210, Lecture XIII, 26 February 1922, Dornach, Connecting Christoffel von Grimmelshausen’s fool, Simplicissimus representing the Fool of the intellectual soul, with Parzival, the Fool of the Consciousness soul age & with Till Eulenspiegel the Fool of the earlier sentient soul.
“People ought to consider what they actually have in their soul in conjunction with what they do externally; the relationship between the two would be like an owl looking in a mirror! If someone were to do exactly what the words say, it would be like holding up a mirror to an owl. Out of this, in the second half of the fourteenth century, Till Eulenspiegel arose. The owl’s mirror is held up in front of mankind. It is not Till Eulenspiegel who has to look in the mirror. But because Till Eulenspiegel takes literally what people say with their dry, abstract words, they suddenly see themselves, whereas normally they do not see themselves at all. It is a mirror for the owls because they can really see themselves in it.
Night has fallen. In past times, human beings could see into the spiritual world. And the activity of their words was in harmony with the world. Human beings were eagles. But now they have become owls. The world of the soul has become a bird of the night. In the strange world depicted by Till Eulenspiegel, a mirror is held up before the owl.”
In ANCIENT MYTHS, THEIR MEANING AND CONNECTION WITH EVOLUTION, GA 180, Lecture IV, Dornach 8th January 1918 – Steiner relates Till Eulenspiegel with the absurdity of modern science, the lies of politics & even names Woodrow Wilson!
Thanks Kyle for inspiring me to revist these ideas…
28 October 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”: The waxing crescent Moon is back in the evening sky, low in the southwest. As twilight deepens and the stars begin to come out — but before the Moon gets too low — look for the Sagittarius Teapot in its background.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1871 – Birthday of Michael Bauer, Anthroposophical teacher, poet, wrote: “The Life and Work of Christian Morgenstern“
Our Annual All Souls Celebration –
A Community Circle to Honor Our Beloved Dead
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
In-person at the Rudolf Steiner Branch
4249 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL. 60613
Doors open 5 pm
5:15-6:00 Potluck Dinner & Conversation
Transition to the Upper Room
6:05 Verse for the So-Called Dead
6:20-6:30 Speak Their Names
6:30-6:40 Social Art for the Dead
6:40-7:10 Conversation RE Experience
7:10 Closing Verse
For those wishing to attend All Souls Day Vesper Service
at The Christian Community, please arrive at the Church and be seated by 7:25 pm
The service will begin promptly at 7:30pm
2135 W WILSON AVE
CHICAGO, IL 60625
For more info. contact Coordinators Deborah Rogers or Paulette Arnold
Rudolf Steiner Branch of The Anthroposophical Society
4249 North Lincoln Avenue. Chicago, IL 60618 (map)