According to Rudolf Steiner in his original Calendar of the Soul, TODAY 29 August ’33 – The Beheading of John the Baptist
“History, historical life, will only be seen in the right light when a true consciousness of the connection of the so-called living with the so-called dead can be developed” – The Living and the Dead by Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, 5th February, 1918
John the Baptist, truly the greatest of all Men – Still human, He hovers as an Eagle in the realm of the Angels. After his beheading He became the protector of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ & especially of John the Evangelist.
Did the Eagle land in the beginning of the 20th century on the shoulder of Rudolf Steiner to guide him towards the Second Coming?
“Elijah was destined to be one of the ruling figures in the régime inaugurated by Moses. There had to be Individualities who were not wholly contained in the human personality; one part of their being was in the earthly personality and the other in the spiritual world. Elijah was an Individuality of this nature. Only part of his being was present in his personality on the physical plane; the Ego-hood of Elijah could not penetrate fully into his physical body. He must therefore be called a personality ‘filled with the Spirit’. A figure such as Elijah could not possibly be brought into existence through the normal forces by which other men are placed in the world. In the normal way the human being develops in the mother’s body in such a way that through physical processes the Individuality who has been incarnated previously simply unites with the physical embryo. This could not be so in the case of an Individuality such as Elijah. Other forces had to intervene, concerned with the part of the Individuality that reached into the spiritual world. His development was necessarily attended by influences working upon him from outside. Hence when such Individualities are incarnated they appear as men who are ‘inspired’, ‘impelled by the Spirit’. They appear as ecstatic personalities whose utterances far surpass anything that might issue from their normal intelligence.
The man who lived as ‘Elijah’ was an outstanding example of this. The words uttered by his mouth and the actions performed by his hands did not proceed only from the part of his being actually present in his personality; they were manifestations of divine-spiritual Beings in the background.
When this Individuality was born again he was to unite with the body of the child born to Zacharias and Elisabeth. We know from the Gospel itself that John the Baptist is to be regarded as the reborn Elijah. But in him we have to do with an Individuality who in his earlier incarnations had not habitually developed or brought fully into operation all the forces present in the normal course of life. In the normal course of life the inner power or force of the Ego becomes active while the physical body of the human being is developing in the mother’s womb. The Elijah-Individuality in earlier times had not descended deeply enough to be involved in the inner processes operating here. The Ego had not, as in normal circumstances, been stirred into activity by its own forces, but from outside. This was now to happen again. But the Ego was now farther from the spiritual world and nearer to the Earth, much more closely connected with the Earth than the Beings who had formerly guided Elijah. The transition leading to the amalgamation of the Buddha-stream with the Zarathustra-stream was now to be brought about.
Everything was to be rejuvenated. Thus it was the Nirmanakaya of Buddha which now stirred the Ego-force of John into activity, having the same effect as spiritual forces that had formerly worked upon Elijah. At certain times the being known as Elijah had been rapt in states of ecstasy; then the God spoke, filling his Ego with a force which could be communicated to the outer world. Now again a spiritual force was present — the Nirmanakaya of Buddha hovering above the head of the Nathan Jesus; this force worked upon Elisabeth when John was to be born, stimulated within her the embryo of John in the sixth month of pregnancy, and wakened the Ego. But being nearer to the Earth this force now worked as more than an inspiration; it had an actual formative effect upon the Ego of John. Under the influence of the visit of her who is there called ‘Mary’, the Ego of John the Baptist awoke into activity. The Nirmanakaya of Buddha was here working upon the Ego of the former Elijah — now the Ego of John the Baptist — wakening it and penetrating right into the physical substance.” ~Rudolf Steiner, from The Gospel of St. Luke
“If we pass on to the sixth chapter of Mark we hear fully described how King Herod had John the Baptist beheaded. The tortured conscience of Herod arouses a strange foreboding in him. When he hears all that has occurred through Christ Jesus he says, “John, whom I beheaded, has been restored to life!” Herod feels that, though the physical personality of John had gone away, he is now all the more present! He feels that his atmosphere, his spirituality — which was none other than the spirituality of Elijah, is still there. His tormented conscience causes him to be aware that John the Baptist, that is, Elijah, is still there.
But then something strange happens. We are shown how, after John the Baptist had met his physical death, Christ Jesus came to the very neighborhood where John had worked. I want you to take particular notice of a remarkable passage and not to skim over it lightly, for the words of the Gospels are not written for rhetorical effect, nor journalistically. Something very significant is said here. Jesus Christ appears among the throng of followers and disciples of John the Baptist, and this fact is expressed in a sentence to which we must give careful attention: “And as Jesus came out He saw a great crowd,” by which could be meant only the disciples of John, “and He had compassion on them …” (Mark 6:34.) Why compassion? Because they had lost their master, they were there without John, whose headless corpse we are told had been carried to his grave. But even more precisely is it said, “for they were like sheep who had lost their shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.” It cannot be indicated any more clearly how He teaches John’s disciples. He teaches them because the spirit of Elijah, which is at the same time the spirit of John the Baptist, is still active among them. Thus it is again indicated with dramatic power in these significant passages of the Mark Gospel how the spirit of Christ Jesus entered into what had been prepared by the spirit of Elijah-John. Even so this is only one of the main points, around which many other significant things are grouped.
I will now call your attention to one thing more. I have several times pointed out how this spirit of Elijah or John continued to act in such a way as to impress its impulses into world history. I have often mentioned that the soul of Elijah-John appeared again in the painter Raphael. This is one of those facts that call attention to the metamorphoses of souls that take place under the impetus given by the Mystery of Golgotha. Because it was also necessary that in the post-Christian era such a soul should work in Raphael through the medium of a single personality; what in ancient times was so comprehensive and world encompassing now appears in such a different personality as that of Raphael. Can we not feel that the aura that hovered round Elijah-John is also present in Raphael? That in Raphael there were such similarities to these two others that we could even say that this element was too great to be able to enter into a single personality but hovered round it, so that the revelations received by this personality seemed like an illumination? Such was indeed the case with Raphael!” ~Rudolf Steiner, Gospel of Mark: Lecture 3
“The truth is, my dear friends, this earthly personality of Raphael was completely yielded up and was only present through what Lazarus-John gave to this soul to be poured out into colour and line for all mankind.
Such was the life of this being. And it was so, that this Raphael life could only be, as it were, absolved in another life of thirty years — in Novalis. And so we see Raphael die young, Novalis die young — one being, who came forth from Elijah-John, appearing before mankind in two different forms, preparing through art and through poetry the true Michael mood of soul, sent down by the Michael stream as messenger to men on Earth.
And now we behold the wonderful artistic power of Raphael come to life again in Novalis in poetry that stirs and enraptures the hearts of men. All that through Raphael was given to human eyes to see, — of this could human hearts drink deep, when it came again in self portrait of Novalis.
When we consider the life of Novalis, what an echo we find there of the Raphael life for which Hermann Grimm had so fine an understanding! His beloved dies in her youth. He is himself still young. What is he going to do with his life now that she has died? He tells us himself. He says that his life on Earth will be henceforth to “die after her”, to follow her on the way of death. He wants to pass over already now into the super-sensible, to lead again the Raphael life, not touching the Earth, but living out in poetry his magic idealism. He would fain not let himself be touched by Earth life.
When we read the “Fragments” of Novalis, and give ourselves up to the life that flows so abundantly in them, we can discover the secret of the deep impression they make on us. Whatever we have before us in immediate sense-reality, whatever the eye can see and recognise as beautiful — all this, through the magic idealism that lives in the soul of Novalis, appears in his poetry with a well-nigh heavenly splendour. The meanest and simplest material thing — with the magic idealism of his poetry he can make it live again in all its spiritual light and glory.
And so we see in Novalis a radiant and splendid forerunner of that Michael stream which is now to lead you all, my dear friends, while you live; and then, after you have gone through the gate of death, you will find in the spiritual super-sensible worlds all those others — among them also the being of whom I have been speaking to you today — all those with whom you are to prepare the work that shall be accomplished at the end of the century, and that shall lead mankind past the great crisis in which it is involved”. ~ The Last Address given by Rudolf Steiner The Individuality of Elias, John, Raphael, Novalis, Dornach, Michaelmas Eve, 1924
POD (Poem Of the Day)
In all directions
Knotted in the golden orb of the moment…
The eye opens, the heart opens, the navel yawns
& takes the world in its belly…
Everything else is sky…