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The East in the Light of the West, GA#113
The Children of Lucifer and The Brothers of Christ
ARJ2 Chapter: Spiritual Science
Published by Rudolf Steiner Press/UK in 2017
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2018
The East in the Light of the West, GA#113
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The subtitle seems a bit unusual, referring to the East as the "children of Lucifer" and the West as the 'brothers of Christ." Patience. Steiner urges us readers to endure, as we wade through the early lectures until he reveals all in Lecture 5.
[page 1] Patience, or the ability to wait, is the inexorable demand in all departments of life. Failures are inevitable, and we must not grieve over them. Nature is not concerned over her countless failures, for the beings behind nature know that the higher spiritual law is bound to bring to pass the things which have been determined.
If, in our transitory human lives, we can grasp the Christ, we will allow to mature in our intransient womb the eternal and the immortal. We do best to view our failures in the light of the cross, "to remember that on the cross hung the source of boundless eternal life which defeats death not only for itself but for all mankind." (Page 2) As humans we had to live in a time of darkness, which was to be illuminated by the Christ principle as spoken of by John.
[page 3] A wonderfully beautiful legend tells us that when Lucifer fell from heaven to earth a precious stone fell from his crown. This precious stone — so the legend proceeds — became the vessel from which Christ Jesus took the holy Supper with His disciples; the same vessel received the Christ's blood when it flowed on the cross, and was brought by angels to the western world where it is received by those who wish to come to a true understanding of the Christ principle. Out of the stone, which fell from Lucifer's crown, was made the Holy Grail.
This jewel represents the full power of the human 'I' which requires humans to blend the radiance of Lucifer's star with a deep understanding of the Christ principle, and thereby become able to receive light where our thinking and sight had formerly only grasped darkness and night. Only by doing so, Steiner tells us, can "we understand the cross of the Christ in the star of Lucifer." (Page 4)
[page 5] If this is our conception of the mission of anthroposophy, Lucifer will guide us to the safety of a luminous spiritual life, and the Christ will guide us to the inner warmth of the soul which trusts and believes that will come about which may be called the birth of the Eternal out of the Temporal.
In Lecture 2 Steiner asks us what if we were awakened with all our faults on display? Could we handle confronting ourselves as a "naked soul being"? The answer is important because at the moment we become clairvoyant we perceive how far from perfection we are. It is then that we meet the Guardian of the Threshold who shields us from experiences we must first learn to bear(1).
[page 21] In ordinary life, that which we see at the moment that clairvoyantly we step out of ourselves is the Guardian of the Threshold. He shields us from an experience that we must first learn to bear. We must first acquire a strong enough force to enable us to see a world of the future before us, and to look without fear and horror upon what we have become, because we know for certain that we can make it all right again.
Life begins when warmth spirits enter the elements of our body. This is often expressed as "we become living when permeated with spirit." We need this warmth for permanence and continuity.
[page 29,30] In the real spiritual world there is permanence, even if it is relative. For this reason the inner being of man, if it is to exist without a break from one incarnation to another, must pass through the spiritual worlds, because only there is to be found a certain — not external — but relative permanence or continuity.
What happens if someone performs an evil deed? To see this portrayed in a movie, watch the movie Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. The murderer is beset by dark shapes exactly as Steiner describes.
[page 31, 32] Suppose somebody has done an injustice: from thoughts which have led to the unjust act other thought-forms develop as the metamorphosis of the first. Everything that a person thinks and feels exists in his astral aura as a form or shape of the nature of thought or of feeling. A thought which is, let us say, distinct, definite, can be seen in sharp outline hovering round a person, and wild thoughts or passions in confused outlines. At the time when a person is doing an injustice he has certain thoughts and feelings, these forms detach themselves from him and live in his environment, but the essential point is that they do not remain in this condition but draw nourishment from certain worlds. Just as the wind rushes into empty spaces, beings from definite regions (of which more later) rush into the forms created by the pang of conscience and fill them with living substance. Thus in his own thought-forms a person offers opportunity for other beings to live in his environment, and these beings are really the cause of the sting of conscience. If the beings were not present the conscience would not sting. When a person begins to feel these beings unconsciously, the first gnawing of an uneasy conscience is experienced.
Modern humans do not see the spirits created by one's bad deeds, but can feel what we call the inner voice of conscience.
[page 33] What we of today call the psychological phenomenon of conscience was not present in our forefathers, but on the other hand they could see in the astral aura what is now only perceptible to the eye of the seer; modern people feel the inner voice of conscience and the spirits of conscience are hidden behind it. . . . The avenging goddesses of Greek mythology are simply a pictorial image of what has just been described as a reality for spiritual perception.
Rightly understood, humans developed a mechanism called conscience in a leap of understanding between Euripides and Aeschylus. In the fifth century BC, Aeschylus saw avenging goddesses called Furies, and only a few decades later these were gone, replaced in Euripides by humans with a conscience. Not only is it possible to perceive a gradual evolution of consciousness in humans, but at times dramatic changes in consciousness.
[page 35, 36] The phrase 'nature makes no jumps' is untrue; nature continually makes jumps at decisive moments. And such sudden transitions are perceptible in spiritual life. For centuries and millennia there is slow and gradual development; but then there is a sudden change, as in the case of the conscience in the fifth century BC where an earlier tragic poet makes no mention of conscience in his dramas and only a few decades afterwards it is introduced for the first time. With this is connected the fact that clairvoyant perception of the spirits of conscience, the Erinyes, has disappeared. The spiritual beings are of such a nature that our inner experience of conscience comes between us and them in the same way as the outer expression of fire hides the spirits of the element of fire. . . . When conscience came to be a voice speaking in the human soul, it interposed itself in front of the world of the Furies and hid that from human sight.
During the transition from Old Sun to Earth, the beings who co-existed with human beings in the Old Sun stage remained behind as humans moved to Earth. The Sun beings continued to radiate their sunbeams to the human beings on Earth as they do today.
[page 36, 37] The other beings, whose evolution could not proceed upon the earth, separated from the earth the substances necessary for them, and built their sun abode. From there they influence and work upon the earth. In physical sunbeams, as they lighten and warm the earth, we see the streaming activities of the sun spirits; the sunbeams are the outer, corporeal manifestation of sun beings. That is the meaning of the separation of the sun from the earth.
What was the meaning of the separation of the Moon from the Earth? The Moon was the opposite of the fast tempo of the sun beings; it was far too slow for humans to survive. The sun beings had an evolutionary tempo too fast for human beings; only by the Moon withdrawing from the Earth were human beings able to be saved from hardening and mummification.
[page 38] Ask someone whose spiritual sight is able to penetrate into the cosmos as to the origin of man's perception of the external world and his answer will be that it is to be found in the physical or spiritual sun elements. Ask what lies at the basis of inner experience, of thought, of feeling, of conscience, for example, and it will be found that all this is due to the moon, to those beings who separated their substance from the earth with the moon. The presence of moon substances in the earth would have prevented the inner mobility of soul life.
We learn in many places from Steiner that Old Saturn consisted of beings of warmth, Old Sun beings of air, Old Moon, beings of water, and only on Earth, do we find beings of earth. The warmth of Old Saturn is often related to the element of fire, but the only fire of that time was the warmth, the same warmth which permeates our human blood today. The dramatic element we know as fire today is a later product of Old Saturn warmth and only appeared in the external form we know it today during the evolutionary period of Earth. The triad of Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon can be considered as the Three-in-One Oil out which our life on Earth was formed.
[page 46] Accordingly men whose instinctive consciousness brought them into touch with the realities of the spiritual world felt the mystery of the birth of the earth to be expressed by the relation of the three to four. And they turned reverent eyes to the sacred triad of Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, which had become the quaternary manifested by the Earth period. It is obvious that the modern expressions Saturn, Sun, and Moon had other equivalents in the instinctive consciousness of ancient humanity.
As evidence of our instinctive consciousness I can cite the ages-old idea of the Moon being made of Green Cheese. It became a joke after men brought rocks and dust back from the moon in 1969, but those who study the Old Moon stage realize that the vegetative state of the Old Moon was green and living much as a green cheese would be. In my youth the favorite playing cards was Bulldog Squeezers with a drawing of two bulldogs with a full moon above them and an inscription which says, "There is a tie which binds us to our home." Clearly this is a cryptic reference to our home on the Old Moon stage of human evolution.
Scholars who have studied the ancient gods of Kronos, Zeus, and Chthon have little idea that these refer to the terrestrial triad of Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon. The chthonic (earth) god Chthon embodied both our Moon and Earth (Gaia). If you study these ancient myths you'll find our cosmic evolution described in the form of myths, of which few people can make literal sense who have not studied Steiner's insights.
Many people think it is a silly platitude to say that humans reincarnate again and again. But not students of spiritual science. They do not believe in reincarnation; they understand it to be a concrete fact.
[page 51, 52, italics added] And why? Because the people who incarnate during the Christian era are those who have passed through previous incarnations, and what they could not possibly learn before the appearance of Christ on earth they must learn after that event. Anyone who believes that man incarnates again and again — only to learn exactly the same wisdom — has no serious appreciation and feeling for reincarnation in his soul; for to believe in reincarnation seriously means to realize its goal and its purpose and to know that there is good reason for our returning to earth repeatedly. We come back in order to have new experiences. It is a platitude to say that exactly the same wisdom is to be met with again and again in different conceptions of the world. The concrete fact is that wisdom develops, that it takes on higher and higher forms, until there comes into being on the earth something that is ripe to pass over into another condition, in the same way as Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon passed over to the earth condition. There is real progress and not mere repetition — that is the whole point. And here lies the difference between eastern and western modes of thought. Western thought, in face of the whole task and mission of the West, can never separate itself from an actual, a concrete historical conception of the evolution of the Earth; and a historical conception implies the idea of progress, not of mere repetition.
We now arrive at the eponymic message of this volume of lectures, "the point at issue here is that of raising a mode of thinking to a higher level or, as we may say, of illuminating oriental (Eastern) thought by the light of the West." (Page 53) Steiner wishes to lead us to "understand why a certain wisdom has flourished in the East and why the future of the Christian impulse depends upon the development of powers residing in the West." (Page 59) The people migrated from old Atlantis and settled into two distinct streams, one in a northerly stream and another in a southerly stream.
[page 61] We can follow these two streams of human evolution if we examine the records of spiritual seership. One stream of evolution is formed by the transmigration of certain peoples from old Atlantis to more northerly regions, touching territories which now include England, the north of France, and thence extend to the present Scandinavia, Russia and into Asia as far as India. In this movement were to be found peoples of various kinds, forming the vehicle of a definite spiritual life. A second stream went a different way, in a more southerly direction, through southern Spain and Africa to Egypt and thence to Arabia. Each of these two streams of civilization goes its own way until they meet to fructify each other at a later point of time.
In Greek sculpture we can identify northern people with purified physical bodies such as Zeus, Aphrodite, Athena, etal. In the southern people we find the form of Hermes or Mercury, the bearer of science and wisdom as befits the messenger of the lower gods.
[page 66, 67] Again we might characterize the difference between the two evolutionary streams by saying that the northern peoples worked at the production of a human being whose outer bodily form is an image of the spirit; whereas the southern peoples were busy developing the invisible forces of soul, perceptible only when the gaze is directed inwards (to the inner life). The northern races created the outer aspect of the image of divinity in man; the southern peoples created the invisible soul-image of the Godhead in the inner life.
In summary, we learn that the southern peoples can be called the "Children of Lucifer" and over time the northern peoples come to be called the "Brothers of Christ". First the Lucifer children.
[page 67, 68] In accordance with the nature of the powers holding sway in the spiritual world accessible to the southern peoples it is called the world of Lucifer, the Light-bearer. It is a world, spiritual and divine in its nature, illumined in the inner being of man by a light invisible to outward sight and which has to be acquired by the process of individual perfecting. This was the path to the world of Lucifer which people of the southern evolutionary stream took.
Next Christ's brethren. In the northern region of Persia, Zarathustra set about creating a perfect human body to be the receptacle for the Godhead, Ahura Mazda, which he saw approaching the sense world of Earth from the world of Sun beings(2).
[page 68, 69] And so in one of his incarnations, Zarathustra appeared in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, a body so spiritualized, so noble that into its external corporeality could be poured that spiritual essence formerly to be found only behind the veil of the sense world. The human body which had been developed in the northern evolutionary stream by the turning of the external gaze to the spiritual world was prepared for the reception of the spiritual essence concealed behind the sense world. For in this manner, preparation was made for the mighty event of the reception upon earth of the spirit behind the sense world, invisible to all save spiritual sight, and its maturing there for three years in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Hence it devolved upon the northern peoples not only to develop an understanding of what lay behind the sense world, but to prepare for the possibility of that spirit flooding our earthly world, of the being heretofore hidden behind the sun, treading the earth for three years, as man among men.
The two streams of Lucifer and Christ have already begun merging. The blood of Christ flowed into the Grail formed by the jewel which fell from Lucifer.
[page 69, 70] It has already begun; it began at the moment indicated in the story which tells us that the sacrificial blood of the Christ flowing from the cross was received into the vessel of the Holy Grail and brought to the West from the East, where preparation for the understanding of the incarnation of Christ had been made in a very definite way by cultivating that which represents the light of Lucifer. . . . Christ will give the substance, Lucifer the form, and from their union will arise impulses which shall permeate the spiritual evolution of mankind, and bring about what the future has in store for the healing and the blessing of the peoples.
There will be many who will oppose using Lucifer as a principle in understanding the Gospels. You can imagine how they might respond in some Sunday service in a fundamentalist church in 2018. That Rudolf Steiner could be saying these words over a century ago indicates how little has changed in the Christianity of these otherwise earnest Christians.
[page 85, 86] "We are content to accept the Gospels as simple Christians; we feel that they satisfy us. The Christ speaks through them, and He does so even when we receive them as traditionally handed down for centuries in religion."
Steiner asks us to imagine that the people saying the above words, though they claim to be good Christians, are actually the enemies of Christianity in our time.
[page 86] Although these people may imagine themselves to be good Christians they are in reality enemies of the Christ, who on account of their personal egoism, and because they still feel themselves satisfied by what is offered in the traditional interpretation of the Gospels, would sweep away that which in future will bring Christianity into glory. Those who today believe themselves to be the best Christians are often the most effective exterminators of real Christianity.
They can be recognized immediately as they are egoists who claim that the Gospels are enough and they teach on that basis, not realizing their fundamental error. Steiner says, "Real Christians today know that humanity needs something more than the Christianity of the egoists; they realize that the world can no longer be satisfied with the old Gospel tradition, and that the light from Lucifer's kingdom must be thrown upon it." (Page 86) Only through Steiner's spiritual science can the light of Lucifer's kingdom fall upon the Gospels. If initiates do so, they will find "the Gospels to be of such infinite depth that it is impossible to imagine that they can ever be exhaustively dealt with." (Page 86)
We have reached the time where our views of Lucifer and Christ will be reversed. No longer will we see Lucifer as being behind the veil of the soul world and no longer will Christ be behind the veil of the sense world. What has happened? "The Christ, an erstwhile cosmic God, has become an earthly God, who is henceforth the soul of the earth; Lucifer, an erstwhile earthly god, has become a cosmic god." (Page 88) What can happen if we allow the forces of Lucifer to rise in us? "Lucifer will intensify our understanding and comprehension of the world; the Christ will strengthen us perpetually." We must become as children of Lucifer and learn from him, and we must become as Brothers with Christ who will strengthen us.
Reading Owen Barfield first led me to Rudolf Steiner and I was impressed by his comprehensive understanding of the evolution of consciousness. Scientists of today who apply retrodiction to the writings of the past completely misinterpret the past. These scientists and thinkers need to study carefully and understand these two statements of Rudolf Steiner or else remain confused about the past as they continue to perpetuate their errors. Our human organization and view of the world changes over time.
[page 90] There is no such thing as a conception of the world which holds good for all times. Man's perception of the world is conditioned by his organization.
During the Old Indian epoch, humans saw a misty cloud of an etheric nature which arose from all things. "The manner of perceiving then was what might be called a seeing of the etheric element, which was spread out over everything like the dew or hoar frost. That peculiar kind of sight was then normal; at the present time the human soul can only attain to it by means of special exercises given by spiritual science." (Page 91) This misty condition was how humans perceived the world in Old Indian times. By being able to perceive such ancient times, Steiner knew that human perception is always conditioned by our organization. This permits us to understand the reversal of luciferic beings and the Christ being.
[page 91] The object of the progressive evolution of mankind through the different periods of civilization is to cause the etheric body to descend deeper and deeper into the physical body. Thus the whole manner of human perception changes, for all human perception depends upon the way in which the etheric body is organized. And this in its turn is connected with the fact that the luciferic beings manifesting within the earth and within the soul have risen to the state of cosmic beings, and that the Christ Being who was formerly a cosmic being descended into incarnation in a human body and has now become an inner being.
Our human condition has now begun to allow our etheric body to emerge again and Steiner indicates that "many of the subtle diseases characteristic of the present time would be understood if this were known." (page 95)
[page 92] It was a change that not only affected the past but was also a preparation for the future. We live in a time when the most complete inner permeation of the physical by the etheric body is already a thing of the past — a time when the tendency of evolution is in the opposite direction. We live in an era in which the etheric body is slowly emerging from the physical body. The normal development of humanity will in the future consist in the gradual emergence of the etheric body from the physical body.
At the time when Christ appeared on Earth, luciferic influences were so darkened that humans could perceive nothing of spiritual forces, so it was necessary for Christ to appear in sense-perceptible human form. Humans needed to "place their hands into His wounds" in order to believe in Him. Clairvoyant perception was not a human capability during His time, but it is slowly returning in our current time.
[page 96] From having been a sub-terrestrial god, Lucifer becomes a cosmic god. Man must prepare himself in such a way that his etheric body is provided with such forces as make Lucifer a fructifying and a beneficent element instead of a destructive one. Man has to pass through the Christ experience, but in such a way that he becomes capable fo recognizing in the world the spiritual fabric of which the world was created.
I have long been puzzled by the two different meanings of the word, "feeling": it can refer to the sense of touch and it can refer to an inner soul-experience. We can feel joy as an inner soul-experience and pain from an unpleasant external touch. Both can be called feelings. I feel joy; I feel pain.
[page 99] Experiences of joy or pain are defined as feelings. This particular feeling of which we are here speaking is an intimate soul-experience; the other feelings, produced by the sense of touch, are always caused by some external object. The other feeling may be associated with an external object, but it can be seen that an external object is not the only cause, because the effect upon one person is different from the effect upon another. We have two experiences: one connected with the external sense, the other bound to the inner. These two at the present day appear to be widely divided, but this was not always the case.
But today, the inner soul-experience bounces off of humans at the skin.
[page 101] The reason for this was that in those olden times, for example, man, in his whole make up, stood in a very different relation to light. The light surrounding us has not only its external physical aspect but, like everything physical, is also permeated by soul and spirit. The course of human evolution was such that the soul and spirit of the outer world withdrew more and more from man and gradually the physical part came to be all that was perceptible. Man came to perceive light as a fluid pouring into his organization from all sides, and within this light streaming through him he felt its soul. Today the soul of the light is stopped by the human skin.
Steiner recognized the great Christ event and came to call it later the Mystery of Golgotha to remove any preconceived limits placed by humans upon it. Part of the Mystery was the reversal of luciferic forces and Christ forces which happened at that time.
[page 106] We have seen that the Christ event, when the two forces, the Lucifer principle and the Christ principle, crossed each other, was the decisive one in human evolution. The Christ event was the turning point, when that which comes from out of the cosmos, from the fountain of the spirit, was to be poured as a ferment into human evolution. It had been lost, but it had to be poured in again as a ferment. That which was harmful to mankind, that which made it into something evil, is poured in as a ferment and transformed into good. The evil has to drop into the fructifying spiritual inherent in human evolution and work with it for the good. That too has been expressed in the myths.
This leads Steiner into sharing the parallels of the Oedipus myth and the Judas Ischariot story from the Bible. A man was told his son was to murder his father and marry this mother. The son was sent away to the island of Kariot and rescued and adopted by the Queen. After killing the Queen's real son, he flees and ends up working for Pilate. He kills a neighbor, marries his wife, fulfilling the prophecy. Overcome by remorse, he goes to Christ who received him. Judas had an important deed to perform so that Christ could be crucified. This is an amazing correlation that Steiner did with the myth of Oedipus and story of Judas. He ends Lecture 7 with, "External life becomes comprehensible only when there is knowledge of the inner, the spiritual."
My external life exists in the City of New Orleans which has always had a deep inner, spiritual life. It was founded when French explorers landed on a nearby shore on Mardi Gras day three hundred years ago. Thousands of its citizens voluntarily design floats and costumes to parade through its streets between the Twelfth Holy Night and the day before Lent each year. The most popular Carnival themes are that of Apollo and his nine Muses, the names of which people in New Orleans know better than in other cities because they drive over streets every day named after Urania, Thalia, Euterpe, Calliope, Clio, Erato, Melpomene, Terpsichore, and Polyhymnia. My native city is bathed in Apollonian mysteries and holy music of the spheres and I love it dearly.
[page 116] And when the teachers in those Apollonian mysteries desired to speak to their pupils of the spiritual and moral influences of Apollo, they said that Apollo filled the entire earth with the holy music of the spheres, that is to say, he sent down rays from the spiritual world. And they saw in Apollo a being accompanied by the Muses, his assistants. A wonderful and deep wisdom is wrapped up in Apollo and his nine Muses.
Let us consider Apollo and his nine Muses, and we cannot help but think of the human 'I' and its nine constituents, arrayed around the 'I' as the Muses are around Apollo.
[page 116] Man's being consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, sentient soul, intellectual soul, consciousness soul and so on; man is an 'I'-center, having seven or nine members around it, all of which are parts of its being. Let us ascend from a human being to a divine being, and think of the 'I' as this divine being, and of the members as his helpers, each helper being a single individuality. Even as in man the different members, physical body, etheric body, astral body and so on are gathered together and grouped around his 'I', so were the Muses grouped around Apollo.
The seven post-atlantean epochs (PAE) of our time are arrayed in a V-shape with Indian, Persian, and Egypto-Chaldean stepping downward, and the fourth, Greco-Roman, marking the turning point. Then fifth epoch (our time), is followed by the sixth and seventh. Note the symmetry of three downward steps, a turning point, and three upward steps. Epochs PAE 1 will be recapitulated by PAE 7, PAE 2 by PAE 6, and PAE 3 by PAE 5. Already in our time, early in PAE 5 we can find signs of PAE 3, Egypto-Chaldean, being recapitulated. One example is the focus on the innovative astrology of PAE 3 appearing as astrosophy which is being studied seriously in our PAE5 time(3). With this précis of the epochs, it's possible to understand how the PAE 2 Song of Apollo will be realized in PAE 6.
[page 116, 117] What was said in connection with this subject to those about to be initiated into the Apollonian mysteries is of a deep significance. A secret was confided to them, and the secret was this: that the god who in the second epoch had spoken such wonderful words to Zarathustra would speak to people in the sixth epoch in a very special way. This was the intention and meaning of the saying that in the sixth period the Song of Apollo upon earth would attain its goal. In this saying, which was frequently quoted by the pupils of the Apollonian mystery schools, was expressed the fact that during the sixth epoch the second period of the Earth evolution would be recapitulated on a higher stage. The first epoch will reappear in a higher form during the seventh period.
What were humans like in the first epoch, PAE 1? In that period, the old Indian Epoch, people could perceive directly with their etheric body, lifting their etheric body out of their physical body as we might lift a sword out of its scabbard. They could perceive spiritual realities directly without any reason or logic intervening. Steiner explains how such people experienced their world:
[page 118] 'I do not see with eyes or hear with ears, or think with the physical organ of understanding; I make use of the organs of the etheric body.' And this he did. Then, however, living wisdom rose before him — not thoughts which people may think or have thought, but thoughts according to which the gods without had fashioned the world. Deeply immersed in spiritual life, the Indian knew nothing about what we today call thought, fabricated as it is by the instrument of the brain. He never thought things out intellectually, or reasoned about them; he rose out of his physical body into his etheric body, and from there he looked all around him at the cosmic totality of the thought of the gods, whence the world sprang forth. He saw in a flash the gift proceeding from the divine world.
I am reminded of old Indian images of hundreds of beings lined abreast and stacked upon each other. An old Indian could not explain what these images consisted of, any more than a modern naturalist could explain why a huge flight of birds makes the patterns it does in the sky. It just does. We might feel a need to explain such things, but they did not.
[page 118, 119] With his etheric organs he saw the thoughts of the gods depicted in the design of all things. He had no need of logical thinking. Why must we think logically? For the reason that we must find truth through logical thinking, because we might otherwise make mistakes in linking up chains of thought. If we were so organized that right thoughts coalesced of themselves, we should not require logic.
When things are already organized rightly, there is no need to organize at all. The individuals of the Old Indian Epoch could breathe in wisdom directly.
[page 119] The Old Indian did not require logic for he looked at the thoughts of the gods, which were right of themselves. He wove around himself an etheric, cosmic net, wove it out of the thoughts of the gods. He looked into this web of thought, which appeared to him like a soul-light pervading the world, and in it he saw the primordial, eternal wisdom. This highest stage of perfection, which I have just described to you, was of course only possible for the Holy Rishis, and with this vision they could proclaim great world realities.
These great world realities were written down by the Holy Rishis and became part of the Vedas.
[page 119] They were justified in saying that everything which they proclaimed was breathed out by Brahman himself. That is the meaning of the deep expression, an expression which is verbally correct: 'It is breathed out by Brahman and breathed in by men.' That was the position of the Holy Rishis as regards the wisdom of the world, as regards the things which they made known. These were then written down in the different portions of the Vedas, in pictorial form, if the expression may be permitted; yet these forms were but feeble reproductions of the original visions.
We are poised to reach an understanding of the Children of Lucifer and the Brothers of Christ, as promised by the subtitle of these lectures. When we consider the laws of time, we encounter the number seven, and when we consider the laws of space, we encounter the number twelve. In considering time, we find groupings of seven, the seven stages of human growth, the seven post-atlantean epochs, for example. In considering space we view groupings of 12 which exist side-by-side, such as the twelve regions of the zodiac or the twelve disciples of Christ, each of which live together in space. In considering time we can talk of children and growth, but in considering space, we can talk of our co-equal human beings, our brothers and sisters.
[page 133] Brothers and sisters live side by side. Beings who descend from one another live after one another. Here we see the transition, at a significant epoch, from the sons or children of Lucifer's kingdom and of his being, to the brothers of Christ, a transition of which we shall speak further.
Once the material of these lectures are fully absorbed, one can never think of a grouping of seven without thinking of growth and evolution again, from the smallest to the largest grouping, always there will be an aspect of growth. Steiner exhorts us not to attribute meaning to the number seven, but instead to consider seven as a key to facilitating our understanding of growth.
[page 135] Take, for instance, an individual whose spiritual vision is so far opened that he can examine data of the Akashic Records of the past. He may use the number seven as a guide and realize that what runs its course in time is built up on the basis of the number seven; that which repeats itself in various forms can very well be analyzed by using the number seven as a foundation and proceeding from this as a basis. In this sense it is right to say that since the Earth goes through various embodiments we have to look for its seven incarnations: Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. Because human civilizations pass through seven incarnations we must seek their connections by once more using the number seven as a basis. Let us for instance consider the civilizations in post-Atlantean times. The old Indian is the first, the second is the old Persian, the third the Egypto-Chaldean, the fourth the Greco-Roman, the fifth our own and we are expecting two more, the sixth and seventh, to succeed our own. We can also find our way in the study of the karma of an individual by trying to look at his three former incarnations. By starting with the incarnation of a person of the present day and looking back at his three former incarnations it is possible to draw certain conclusions concerning his next three incarnations. The three former and the present incarnations plus the three following make seven again. Seven is a clue for everything that happens in time.
In space we have found from the key to understanding things which coexist; it is the number twelve. Again, the meaning of the number twelve is not important; what is important is the key twelve provides to our understanding of space.
[page 136, 137] On the other hand the number twelve is a clue for all things that coexist in space. Science, which at the same time was wisdom, was always conscious of this. It said; 'It is possible to find the right way by connecting the spatial relationship of everything that occurs upon earth with twelve permanent points in space — the twelve signs of the zodiac in the cosmos.' These are the twelve basic points with which everything in space is connected. This declaration was not an arbitrary yield of human thinking. But the power of thought in those early times had learned from reality and so ascertained the fact that space was best understood when it was divided into twelve constituent parts, thus making the number twelve a clue for all spatial relations.
Somewhere I read that Steiner was once asked, "What existed before all of this?" He described a metaphor of climbing to the top of a high mountain, saying we look in one direction as far as we can see, then we look in the other direction as far as we can see; we can break up each direction into three parts and together with our current position we have the ability to understand a total of seven parts of our surroundings. Steiner's mountain is a metaphor for time, especially long ages of time. When we move forward into time, we will be able to see forward a bit further, but always we will be seeing and understanding using the number seven.
Seven is our clue to our inner being.
[page 137] How can we best understand a being with a message for the inner life of man? How, for instance, can we best understand those beings with their fundamentally individual characteristics whom we call the Holy Rishis? By relating them to soul life which runs its course in time. Hence in those ancient epochs wherein the great sages spoke, one question above all was asked: 'Whence have they descended?' Just as we might ask a son 'Who are your father and mother?' so ancestry, the time element, was then the subject of enquiry. On meeting a wise man the primary concern was: Whence does he come? Who was the being who preceded him? What is his descent? Whose son is he? Therefore in speaking about the luciferic world, the number seven had to be taken as basic and the interest was whose child it was who was speaking to the human soul. We speak of the children of Lucifer in this sense when we speak of those who in olden times taught of the spiritual world lying hidden behind the veil of soul life, behind that which belongs to time.
Children grow up in the course of time in the Light of Lucifer. Brothers and sisters grow together separated in space. In Christ we find a Being who enters Earth from space and is not concerned with the relationships of parents and children(4), rather with how we coexist with each as brothers and sisters. Christ existed in space and was visible to the earliest seers such as Zarathustra. He approached us not through time, but as a brother who lives in a distant land and approaches us through space.
[page 137, 138] The approach through space, this advent of the Christ out of the infinitude of space down to our earth, has an eternal and not a temporal value. With this is connected the fact that Christ's work upon earth is not carried on only under the conditions of time. He does not bring to earth anything corresponding to the relationships between father and child, or mother and child, which exist under time conditions, but He brings into the world something which goes on side by side, which coexists. Brothers live side by side, they coexist. . . . What Christ brings is the coexistence of human beings in space, a condition of increasing community of soul regardless of time conditions. The mission of the earth planet in our cosmic system is to bring love into the world. . . . Through Christ there came the love of soul to soul, so that that which is side by side, which coexists in space, enters a relationship which was at first represented by brothers and sisters living side by side and at the same time — the relationship of brother love which one human soul is intended to bear towards another in space. Here the condition of coexistent life in space begins to acquire its special significance.
Everywhere we look, we will find instances of the relationship between the numbers seven (time) and twelve (space).
[page 138, 139] Hence in the olden times, it was natural to speak of those who were connected by the rule of the number seven: the Seven Rishis, and the Seven Sages. But Christ is surrounded by twelve Apostles in whom we see the prototypes ot man living side by side, coexisting in space. And this love which, independently of successive ages, is to encompass all that exists side by side in space, will enter social life on earth through the Christ principle. To love what is around us with brother love, that is to follow Christ.
Through the great Christ event on Earth, we find more groupings of things by twelve, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve Apostles, etc. The number twelve comes to have a deep meaning for us when we find the twelve signs of the zodiac which remain fixed in the celestial sphere which surrounds Earth.
[page 140] It has been said that if we do not consider universal space in an abstract sense, but really relate earth conditions to universal space, we must refer those earth conditions to the circle described by the twelve essential points of the zodiac, namely Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. These twelve points of the zodiac were not alone the real and veritable world symbols for the very oldest divine spiritual beings, but the symbols themselves were thought to correspond, in a certain sense, with reality. . . . [They have] the nature of permanence, as it were; they are far more sublime than that which arises and passes away within our earth existence. That which is symbolized by the twelve signs of the zodiac is infinitely Higher than that which is transformed in the evolutionary course of our planet from Old Saturn to Old Sun and from that to Old Moon and so on. Planetary existence arises and passes away, but the zodiac is ever there. What is symbolized by the points of the zodiac is more sublime than what upon our earth plays its part as the opposition between good and evil.
Those humanistic ministers who try to say that Christ Jesus was a man who was a great teacher are misleading their followers. The Bodhisattva were great teachers; the difference between them and Christ is incalculable.
[page 147] The Bodhisattvas are what they are through being great teachers; the Christ is to the world what He is through His own Being, through his own Essence. He needs only to be seen, and the manifestation of His own Being needs only to be reflected in His surroundings for the teachings to spring forth. He is not only a teacher; He id Life, a Life that pours itself into the other beings, who then become teachers.
Yes, Christ was man; He was incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth during His baptism by John in the Jordan. He lived in a human body, but even the most perfected Hebrew male was only able to hold the Great Christ Spirit for three years. It is not a metaphor to say that Christ Jesus sweated blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, his human body could not hold the Christ Spirit much longer. His goal was not to teach humans great things; his goal was to do a great thing for all humanity for all time. He was destined to be the first god to experience death as a human being and in the process to pour His Blood into the Earth and thereby become a resident Spirit in the Earth available to all who would call upon Him for help. This was the event Steiner spoke of, saying he stood in awe of the great Deed of Golgotha when the golden light of the Great Sun Spirit filled the Earth with a glow which could thenceforth be seen from the cosmos.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
During the 1960s when people died from taking LSD, it likely that under the influence of the potent drug, unprepared people met the Guardian of the Threshold and became so frightened that they killed themselves.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
In the Gospel of Matthew, the genealogy of Jesus on Nazareth shows him as descended directly from King Solomon. As humans beings reincarnating we may chose our parents carefully, the Christ spirit chose the parents of Jesus of Nazareth extending back far enough to create a perfect Hebrew human male.
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Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
In Matthew 10:35, Jesus says, "I have come to divide a man against his father and a daughter against her mother."
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