In a conversation today, the Goddess Ishtar was mentioned. Her rites, it was suggested, may be a possible forerunner to the Easter bunny and egg festival. I looked up Ishtar and found this interesting passage in Wikipedia: (keep in mind Ishtar is an immortal, Gilgamesh is a hero but a mortal).
The Epic of Gilgamesh contains an episode involving Ishtar which portrays her as bad-tempered, petulant and spoiled by her father. She asks the hero Gilgamesh to marry her, but he refuses, citing the fate that has befallen all her many lovers:
“Listen to me while I tell the tale of your lovers. There was Tammuz, the lover of your youth, for him you decreed wailing, year after year. You loved the many-coloured Lilac-breasted Roller, but still you struck and broke his wing […] You have loved the lion tremendous in strength: seven pits you dug for him, and seven. You have loved the stallion magnificent in battle, and for him you decreed the whip and spur and a thong […] You have loved the shepherd of the flock; he made meal-cake for you day after day, he killed kids for your sake. You struck and turned him into a wolf; now his own herd-boys chase him away, his own hounds worry his flanks.”
Angered by Gilgamesh’s refusal, Ishtar goes up to heaven and complains to her father the high god Anu that Gilgamesh has insulted her. She demands that Anu give her the Bull of Heaven. Anu points out that it was her fault for provoking Gilgamesh, but she warns that if he refuses, she will do exactly what she told the gatekeeper of the underworld she would do if he didn’t let her in:
“If you refuse to give me the Bull of Heaven [then] I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion [i.e., mixing] of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living.”
Anu gives Ishtar the Bull of Heaven, and Ishtar sends it to attack Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the Bull and offer its heart to the Assyro-Babylonian sun-god Shamash.
While Gilgamesh and Enkidu are resting, Ishtar stands upon the walls of the city (which is Uruk) and curses Gilgamesh. Enkidu tears off the Bull’s right thigh and throws it in Ishtar’s face, saying, “If I could lay my hands on you, it is this I should do to you, and lash your entrails to your side.” (Enkidu later dies for this impiety.) Then Ishtar called together “her people, the dancing and singing girls, the prostitutes of the temple, the courtesans,” and had them mourn for the Bull of Heaven.
Now, what is the Bull of Heaven? Recall that in the time of this myth, we were in the midst of the sun in Taurus at the vernal equinox. The Bull represents the basic sensory experiences of the physical body. Later, when we enter Aries, the Lamb, we also have the rise of Mithraism whose descendant is the bull fighting in Spain (and Latin America). Mithra must kill the Bull to rise to higher consciousness. Overcoming the bull is also in the Greek myth of the Minotaur which is a word from the combining of (King) Minos and Taurus. The wife of Minos wanted to copulate with the Bull of Heaven and in so doing gives birth to the Minotaur. Each year the Athenians must offer up virgin boys and girls to the Minotaur until Theseus slays the Minotaur and escapes from the labyrinth (we could go into what labyrinth means another time) with the help of Minos’ daughter Ariadne. Here we have a story of the human soul who, in the wife of Minos, wants to “marry” the physical body, to enjoy the sensuality provided by the body. Theseus represents the spiritual man and Ariadne the soul who desires the “mystical marriage” with her spiritual member Theseus. (Next comes the part of Icarus in the story and flying over the “sea” from the island to the land of the spirit. But such a path is narrow; one cannot soar too high (into Lucifer’s realm) or too low (into the earthly, Ahriman’s realm)). One may ask, what is the relationship of Mithraism to Christianity? Mithraism could be called a cosmic Christianity in the time of Aries.
For me, Easter is the beginning of the Fulfillment of the Promise, the New Adam, the Overcoming of Death that began at baptism when the Logos entered the body of the man Jesus making this entity Jesus-Christ (I-CH in German or IX in Greek). The God whose name is I AM entered not just as an avatar into the body of Jesus, but fully becomes Man on Golgotha with death. The blood had been transformed to the blood of this God-Man (or Man-God) and flowed into the Earth. The transformation is stated when His side is pierced and out flowed blood AND WATER. On the third day, the stone in him is removed (as is the stone to the tomb). His physical body has been transformed – the Third Temple arises, rebuilt in 3 days. His body is real but has no mineral composition so even Mary and the disciples cannot at first recognize Him. By doing this, He has made it possible for each of us to do so. He is the New Adam.
Avatar comes from ancient Sanskrit and means ‘ descent ‘ as in descent of a divine being to earth. Such a spiritual being descends into a human body not for it self but in order to intervene in evolution as a human being, Nothing of any significance is experienced here in the physical world. An avatar enters a physical body for the blessing and advancement of mankind.
MacMillan Dictionary defines Mystery as something that you are not able to understand or explain. Another definition is information about a subject or activity that only some people are allowed to know.
If we go back to 500 BCE and especially if we go further back, the Mysteries played a vital role in all cultures everywhere in the world. Candidates who proved worthy were specially prepared to serve their people through service to their Mystery Center. This preparation involved a transformation administered by the hierophant who oversaw the death of the former person, a 3 day death experience, and then a calling back to new life. The initiate, who during these 3 days experienced the spiritual world, was so changed that they took on a new name.
In order for Humankind to fully develop Freedom, that is, spiritual freedom in thinking and consciousness, the Mysteries had to die out. The Dark Age settled in when direct guidance from the spiritual world came to an end – the Twilight of the Gods passed. Into this darkness came the new Adam, the Logos.
The greatest mystery of all, the Turning Point of Time, occurred on Golgotha as the blood of the Son of Man ran into the earth transforming it forever. With this deed, Humanity could now become the tenth hierarchy. The New Mysteries had begun.
This web site is devoted to what these new mysteries can become. We explore the ancient mysteries and what they can tell us about the human being, who we are, and what we are to become.
The Greek Mysteries are the most visible to historians but all cultures had their own Mystery Center(s).
Well known are many the leaders of Greek Mystery Centers such as Pythagoras and Heraclitus.
And well known are the mystery centers Cabeiri on the islands of Lemnos, and Eleusis in west Attica, about 12 miles from Athens. Mysteries known as Dionysian, Eleusinian, Orphic, and others are well known to historians. Many an emperor wished to be initiated, thus some of these Mysteries formed a Lesser Mystery appropriate for the unprepared while the original remained secret as the Higher Mystery. Anyone who attempted to reveal a higher mystery forfeited their life.
A veil of secrecy concealed the manner whereby spiritual needs were satisfied for those within the older civilizations who sought a deeper religious and cognitive life than was offered by the religions of the people. “We are led into the obscurity of enigmatic cults when we inquire into the satisfaction of these needs. Each individual who finds such satisfaction withdraws himself for some time from our observation. We see that the religion of the people cannot give him what his heart seeks. He acknowledges the gods, but he knows that in the ordinary conceptions of the gods the great enigmas of existence are not disclosed. He seeks a wisdom which is carefully guarded by a community of priest-sages. He seeks refuge in this community for his striving soul. If the sages find him mature they lead him step by step to higher insight, in a manner hidden from the eyes of those outside. What happens to him now is concealed from the uninitiated. For a time he appears to be entirely removed from the physical world. He appears to be transported into a secret world. — And when he is returned to the light of day a different, entirely transformed personality stands before us. This personality cannot find words sufficiently sublime to express how significant his experiences were for him. He appears to himself as though he had gone through death and awakened to a new and higher life, not merely figuratively, but in highest reality. And it is clear to him that no one can rightly understand his words who has not had the same experience.
Thus it was with those persons who through the Mysteries were initiated into that secret wisdom, withheld from the people, and which shed light upon the highest questions. This “secret” religion of the elect existed side by side with the religion of the people. So far as history is concerned, its source fades into the obscurity where the origin of people is lost. We find this “secret” religion everywhere among ancient people insofar as we can gain insight concerning them. The sages of these people speak of the Mysteries with the greatest reverence. — What was concealed in them? And what did they reveal to one who was initiated into them?
The enigma becomes still more puzzling when we realize that at the same time the ancients regarded the Mysteries as something dangerous. The way leading to the secrets of existence went through a world of terrors. And woe to him who tried to reach them unworthily. — There was no greater crime than the “betrayal” of these secrets to the uninitiated. The “traitor” was punished with death and confiscation of property. We know that the poet Aeschylus was accused of having brought something from the Mysteries to the stage. He was able to escape death only by fleeing to the altar of Dionysus and producing legal evidence that he was not an initiate.” [Rudolf Steiner, Christianity as Mystical Fact]
Flowing out of the Mystery Centers were stories for the general population to help shape evolution, especially the evolution of consciousness. These include the stories of Demeter and Persephone, Prometheus and Heracles, Jason and the Argonauts, Theseus and the Minotaur, and from Egypt: Isis and Osiris.
An entry in Wikipedia claims “Christian Mystery” is used in Eastern Christianity to refer to what the Western Church currently calls Sacraments. This writer goes on to reveal that the seven sacraments were defined for the Western Church at the Council of Trent that took place 1545-1563. For the gospel writers, use of the term “mystery” refers to The Mysteries: both the ancient Mysteries and the new Mysteries. It likely was taught in early Christian circles that the ancient Mysteries led to the Mystery of Golgotha. These ancient mysteries were necessary to prepare humanity to understand this central mystery for humanity. Following the Mystery of Golgotha, the New Mysteries of the future could begin – and these, to begin with, were enacted no longer secretly within the Holy of the Holies, but in public during the Mass. As Christ had initiated Lazarus in public, so now the mysteries came out of hiding. The sacraments are indeed part of the new mysteries. But the soul mood of the participants must be prepared to receive. A mood of sacredness must prevail to receive. For centuries, it was felt that one should come clean, that is confess all sins, before receiving the Eucharist.
The Temple in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus was no longer Solomon’s Temple. and it was no longer the Second Temple built by Zerubbabel after The Captivity in Babylon. An inspiration from the arch-angel Michael (known then as Marduk in those Persian times) had moved Cyrus the Great to free the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple.
Was it a third temple built by Herod the Great who had been selected by Rome to be King of Judea or did Herod merely fix-up the second Temple? The question is important to some concerning prophecy of the third temple. Thus it was either new construction or reconstruction by King Herod that the Romans would tear down after the defeat of Jewish Revolt in the year 70 CE.
This raises the questions:
Was Herod’s Temple the Third Temple?
Was Jesus-Christ the Third Temple? (recall John 2:19 where “Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ “)
Is there to be a new temple in Jerusalem where currently the mosque Dome of the Rock exists?
We will examine these questions in a later post to this blog.
For now, let’s examine Solomon and Hiram and the First Temple.
29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.
32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.
Then 1 Kings 7:
Dimensions of Temple and Adjoining Buildings
It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace.2 He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams.3 It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns—forty-five beams, fifteen to a row.4 Its windows were placed high in sets of three, facing each other.5 All the doorways had rectangular frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other.[b]
6 He made a colonnade fifty cubits long and thirty wide.[c] In front of it was a portico, and in front of that were pillars and an overhanging roof.
7 He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling.8 And the palace in which he was to live, set farther back, was similar in design. Solomon also made a palace like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.
9 All these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from foundation to eaves, were made of blocks of high-grade stone cut to size and smoothed on their inner and outer faces.10 The foundations were laid with large stones of good quality, some measuring ten cubits and some eight.11 Above were high-grade stones, cut to size, and cedar beams.12 The great courtyard was surrounded by a wall of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams, as was the inner courtyard of the temple of the Lord with its portico.
Solomon sends for Hiram
13 King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Hiram,14 whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Hiram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.
15 He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference.16 He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubitshigh.17 A network of interwoven chains adorned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital.18 He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital.19 The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits high.20 On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around.21 He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakinand the one to the north Boaz.22 The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.
23 He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.24 Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea.
25 The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center.26 It was a hand-breadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths.
27 He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high.28 This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights.29 On the panels between the uprights were lions, bulls and cherubim—and on the uprights as well. Above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths of hammered work.30 Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports, cast with wreaths on each side.31 On the inside of the stand there was an opening that had a circular frame one cubit deep. This opening was round, and with its base work it measured a cubit and a half. Around its opening there was engraving. The panels of the stands were square, not round.32 The four wheels were under the panels, and the axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. The diameter of each wheel was a cubit and a half.33 The wheels were made like chariot wheels; the axles, rims, spokes and hubs were all of cast metal.
34 Each stand had four handles, one on each corner, projecting from the stand.35 At the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit deep. The supports and panels were attached to the top of the stand.36 He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around.37 This is the way he made the ten stands. They were all cast in the same molds and were identical in size and shape.
38 He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths[v] and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands.39 He placed five of the stands on the south side of the temple and five on the north. He placed the Sea on the south side, at the southeast corner of the temple.40 He also made the pots and shovels and sprinkling bowls.
So Hiram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of the Lord:
41 the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars);
43 the ten stands with their ten basins;
44 the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;
45 the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls.
All these objects that Hiram made for King Solomon for the temple of the Lord were of burnished bronze.46 The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and Zarethan.47 Solomon left all these things unweighed, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.
48 Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the Lord’s temple:
the golden altar;
the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence;
49 the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary);
the gold floral work and lamps and tongs;
50 the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers;
and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the temple.
51 When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the Lord was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple.
Now comes the Queen of Sheba to visit Solomon (1 Kings 10):
10 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions.2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind.3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built,5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true.7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!9 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”
10 And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones.12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
[thanks to www.biblegateway.com for the above text from 1 Kings]
Some important points from above are:
Hiram was the son of a widow
Hiram came with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work
The Temple Legend contains much more about Solomon, Hiram, and the Queen of Sheba – we’ll explore this more in another post.
With Adam and Eve, original sin enters which consisted of one being dissimilar to the generation which had gone before. Lucifer had intended from his nature to speed along human evolution; to give to humanity too soon the sense of an ego within the soul. Expulsion from Paradise meant that Earth forces could now intermingle with their Heavenly forces; separation from God occurred. Awareness and shame of being different arose. Between Adam and Seth unfolds the drama of Cain and Abel. Through these dramas, a new principle entered into mankind, the principle of heredity, of bloodline. Keep in mind, that Cain and Abel represent not just individuals but streams. Not all of those belonging to the Abel line were eradicated; there still remain some Sons of God.
To the question: ‘Where is Abel, thy brother?’ Cain answered: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Cain reveals with this reply something new in humanity coming with the Cain stream – egoism. No man would have said that previously. Now the principle of opposition is added to the principle of love from the Father; now, through Lucifer’s deed, egoism is born: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
What happens to those who were still of the Abel line? They were known as Sons of God for they remained akin to the divine. To protect this divine nature and the gifts it brought, they now had to guard themselves against allowing the earthly forces to enter them. From this resulted what was to later become the principle of asceticism. They dedicated their lives to the service of God and in time a dedicated one would have nothing to do with those who were soiled, who had committed themselves to the affairs of earth. It was a sin when ‘The Sons of God saw the daughters of men, saw that they were ‘fair’ and took from them wives.’ They took wives from the daughters of Cain.
According to the Akashic Record research done by Rudolf Steiner, this union resulted a race of men hinted at in the Old Testament; a race that is not perceptible to physical eyes. This race is called ‘Rakshasas’ in occult language and is similar to the ‘Asuras’ of Indian lore. These Rakshasas worked as seducers of mankind. They continued to influence human desires until the time when Christ incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth and the Buddhi principle, the Life Spirit itself became present on the earth in a human body.
Steiner makes this point about the Rakshasas, “now you may believe it or not: this is something of cosmic significance, of significance which reaches beyond the earthly plane. It is not for nothing that the Bible expresses it thus: ‘Christ descended into the forecourts of Hell.’ It was not human beings He met there, He was confronted by spiritual beings. The Rakshasa beings were brought thereby into a state of paralysis and lethargy! They were at the same time kept in check so that they became unable to move. They could only be lamed in this manner because they were being opposed from two sides. That would not have been possible if there had not been two natures combined together in Jesus of Nazareth: on the one hand the old Chela nature, deeply connected with the physical plane, which could also work effectively on the physical plane and through its power could hold it in balance: on the other hand there was Christ Himself who was a purely spiritual being. That is the cosmic problem which is fundamental to Christianity. Something occurred at that time in occult spheres; it was the banishment of the enemies of mankind which has its echo in the Saga of the Antichrist, who was put in chains but will make his appearance again, if not opposed once more by the Christian principle in its primal force.
The whole occult striving of the Middle Ages was directed towards nullifying the effect of the Rakshasas. Those whose vision extends to the higher planes have long foreseen that the moment when this could happen might be at the end of the nineteenth century, at the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. Nostradamus, who worked from a tower which was open to the heavens, who brought succor during the Great Plague, was able to foretell the future. He wrote a number of prophetic verses in which you can read about the war of 1870 and several prophecies about Marie-Antoinette which have already been fulfilled. In these ‘Centuries’ by Nostradamus (Century 10, 75) the following prophecy can be found: At the close of the nineteenth century a Hermes Brother will come from Asia and bring unity to mankind. Through Madame Blavatsky, the Theosophical Society was intended to be nothing less than a fulfillment of this prophecy of Nostradamus. The annulment of the Rakshasas and the reestablishment of the primal mysteries was an aim of the Theosophical Society.” (see Rudolf Steiner, The Temple Legend, Berlin, June 10, 1904, Lecture 2)
I was asked a question “do Anthroposophists (spiritual scientists) believe that they are gods or even greater than gods?” I replied with the following that I will share here:
I think there is much more to this question than a mere yes or no.
This may sound like “what is the meaning of life?” Well, in fact, it is related to that question, why are we here? What is the purpose of humanity? What’s the end goal?
Science today would have us believe that first came matter as atoms, then bigger atoms and molecules, then building blocks, then life, then consciousness. Many philosophers and scientists today have come to a different conclusion, namely that consciousness is primary. From consciousness came life and from life matter. This does not violate the fossil record. As Life evolved, it was necessary to shed aspects to continue towards an upright human being. Life evolved shedding or precipitating out the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, and the animal kingdom. Finally an upright human being could evolve on earth.
The gods (a hierarchy of spiritual beings) prepared the earth and guided Mankind. Gradually they pulled back to where the human no longer walked with gods, no longer talked with gods, no longer found them in dreams or meditations, and eventually no longer found Nature a manifestation of the divine. God deemed this destiny so that human beings would develop towards a goal. What is that goal? To become spiritual (divine) beings of love and freedom. Each of the existing hierarchy are already spiritual beings of something – their name is what they represent. For example, Dynamis mean spirits of movement.
To become spiritual beings of love and freedom, that is a far distant goal of course.
Through inner development, one can improve one’s character, one’s moral fortitude. And one can also open soul organs through which one can perceive the spiritual world. The High Priests of old were such people. The Cathars of the twelfth to fourteenth century called such people Perfects as they had been perfected. Such terminology shows up in many early Christian writings. As in Buddhism, it is possible for such a perfected one to no longer incarnate. But typically in Christian streams, such perfects actually seek to incarnate more frequently to be of greater service on earth to their fellow humans.
Who were the sons of God spoken of in Genesis 6.2 and 6.4?
In Anthroposophy, we might see ourselves as moved by responsibility to Michael and the spiritual world that tries to carry out God’s will. We might feel called to do service but to perform this service we must set aside time in our day to work on our inner life – with the goal of opening these organs of spiritual perception so that we may work out of the truth and goodness that flows from Michael, from the Christ impulse, in ways that are appropriate today. So we do not see ourselves as God or gods, but as servants to such. We do not see ourselves as privileged but as earnest and responsible.
The meaning of life? The end goal? Mankind is to become the Tenth Hierarchy. There will be other beings after us who will be at the human stage and we who are human now will be their angels just as those that are angels now were at a human stage in times long, long ago. Perhaps the end goal is to build out Twelve Hierarchies eventually?
During the Age of Taurus (roughly from 3000 BCE to 800 BCE), the bull and the calf were venerated. As this Age transitioned to Aries, the Mithraic Mysteries arose where one was now to overcome the bull within:
Note the symbol of the snake. Mithraism apparently grew out of Persia and became popular throughout much of the Roman empire just before the spread of Christianity.
Many of the Old Testament books have the expression ox and ass. For example, in Job 1:14 it says “and there came a messenger unto Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them,”
Andrew Graham-Dixon of the Independent writes in his Arts column from December 1992, “The first reference to the ox and ass at the Nativity comes several centuries after the fact, in a book that is not much read these days: the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, written [down] some time in
the eighth century [most researchers date this to 600 AD]. The author of this apocryphal text is unlikely to have invented this detail on his own. It seems probable that the early church fathers had also placed the ox and the ass at the Nativity because of what seemed a suggestive reference to the two animals in the Book of Isaiah: ‘The ox knows its owner and the ass its master’s stall; but Israel, my own people, has no knowledge, no discernment.'” The Adelphia Sarcophagus relief (to the left) is from roughly 330 AD; note the ox and ass in its nativity scene.
Giotto also places the ox and ass in his nativity scene. In his Escape to Egypt and the triumphant entry of Christ Jesus to Jerusalem includes an ass for travel (frescoes by Giotto).
In Luke 13:15 we read “The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?”
A bit later in Luke, 14:5, it says “And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?”
OK, lots of other references are possible – you likely are aware there are many such references in the Bible and other related ancient texts. I have had a question about the symbolic or mystical purpose of these two beasts. In reading David Ovason’s book The Two Children, I found a treasure! “The ox was intended as a reference to the bull of Mithras, and perhaps even to the bull of the Egyptian god Apis – both important cults still offering initiation at the time of the birth of Jesus. … Just as the bull would have been familiar to the early Christians as being emblematic of the Mithraic cult, so the ass would have been familiar to them through the writing of the 2nd century AD African writer Lucius Apulcius.” Apulcius’ esoteric book The Golden Ass, is the story of a “human who had been metamorphosed into the body of an ass” but finds liberation through the “initiation rites of Isis”. David goes on to say that Gnostic deities were depicted with the head of a ass.
The gospel books are full of passages where the event could be happening in the physical or in the spiritual world or both (typically both). I find it plausible that both the bull (ox) and the ass each represent a stream of the ancient mysteries. Linking the bull to Mithras and Egyptian Apis mysteries makes sense. And I can be persuaded that the ass represents the Osiris-Isis mysteries of Egypt but I’ll need more persuasion. Anyone want to persuade me? Any other thoughts?
Historical records indicate that tribes or ethnic groups had a god that led them. Their priests were specially selected and trained in their consciousness and morality to be able to hear the guidance from their god. Later, a bit over 5000 years ago, Kali Yuga began when Humanity’s innate ability to experience the spiritual world was severed. The “discovered” Mayan calendar also described this 5000+ year period. During Kali Yuga, the Folk Spirit of a tribe could no longer guide its people so that they might develop Freedom. Humanity had the remains of Mysteries to help make good choices but gradually this faded as well. About the time of Aristotle, the Cosmic Intelligence was gradually given to Humanity. Gnosticism, Scholasticism, and other enlightenments arose.
Humanity, in picking up this intelligence, has tried to improve its lot with utopias, eugenics, free market concepts, and many other ideas most of which have failed. Our experiments tend to destroy the Human soul. We need guidance again that the spiritual world again is offering but we need to develop ourselves to be able to hear their call. We are now out of this dark age and we can once again develop the ability to experience the spiritual world.
There are ways to develop oneself to be such a servant. Rudolf Steiner gave the most modern method in his book Knowledge of Higher Worlds and Their Attainment. There is also the 8-fold path of the Gautama Buddha and others. Because the experience of the spiritual world will be new, the science of this experience will be raw and the experiences themselves can be clouded with deceptions from our own soul or from beings who wish to lead us astray.
My proposal is that meditants work with a group in addition to working alone. One person who has been working alone for a while on a given subject who feels that they have a breakthrough or some inspiration brings this to those gathered at the meeting. Such inspirations can come one morning as one awakens if one has “posted” a selfless question during prayer or meditation for many evenings before going to sleep. The meeting members then work with this inspiration during the meeting, playing out the inspiration in their imagination of how it would work in their life. If acceptable, then the Human feedback “fleshes” out the concept; makes it practical. We arrive together at a practical picture of an inspiration that might be adopted or further worked by the originator. You see, the originator is working in the vertical, in the direct connection to God or to the heavenly hierarchies while the meeting takes this inspiration and works it in the horizontal – at the human life on earth level – thus, the cross. I believe this method will prove to be useful for Humanity.
Last post we looked at the creation of Adam and Eve and the story of Cain and Abel. We saw that the Elohim (plural) were the creators of Adam and Eve: Adam was principally created by Jehovah and Eve by another unnamed Elohim. All the Elohim were involved. The Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ is typically translated into (singular) God. The Elohim are known to be one level of the Heavenly Hierarchy which in the Christian Greek model (by Dionysius the Areopagite) are called the Exusiai. Eve’s first child, Cain, is the result of her creating-Elohim causing her reproductive system to bring forth Cain. Now her womb is opened. She then unites with Adam and this results in Abel who carries the Jehovah stream.
Before Adam and Eve, according to the Mysteries, a different, less physical body existed for human incarnation – a single sex body rather than dual bodies divided into male and female. The former body no longer suited human destiny with the changing conditions of earth. The Elohim became involved to create a transformed body in their image. Adam and Eve were the first “to try them out”.
What applied to Adam and Eve applied to all of future humanity. The same for the two streams of Cain and Abel (who was replaced by Seth). These are able to find wives indicating more incarnating humans were able to find suitable, newly transformed bodies from the continued work of the Elohim. Again, the story of Cain and Abel applies to all of humanity.
Cain’s stream becomes known as the Sons of Fire because they strive for fruits through inner fire: desire, enthusiasm, and moral motivation. Cain’s stream is also know as the Sons of Man. It is connected with the Sun’s mystical influence. Abel’s stream is known as the Sons of God. Their wisdom remains calm, detached, even cool because they see that ‘it is all in God’s hands.” In that it is connected with Jehovah, it is considered connected with the Moon’s mystical influence.
To the keepers of the Mysteries, Cain’s stream represented Male wisdom while Abel’s stream represented feminine. For fraternal orders such as the Freemasons who felt connected to Cain’s wisdom, the Abel stream had to be excluded, hence, women were not allowed to be members (until the dawn of the 20th century).
The Mysteries indicated that Jehovah instilled strife between Cain and Abel (Seth) and between their offspring. While Abel represents the priestly linage, Cain represents the worker/warrior linage. In ancient societies the priests ruled. But, later, in most societies, the king arose from the worker/warrior line. As time marched on, the priestly line remained connected to the Abel linage while the emerging kingly line was associated with the Cain linage.
The Essenes and other mystery streams expected two Messiahs: one priestly and one kingly. These would somehow be united into one Messiah. During the heights of the Florentine schools where Leonardo da Vinci studied, this mystery was known and Leonardo had fun depicting this in his painting Madonna of the Rocks while he had his pupils depict the scene where the two Messiahs were united into one (click here for more). In the teenaged Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, the two streams, kingly and priestly, Cain and Abel, are united.
Before these streams are united, there is a remarkable mystery story of the building of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings). Revealing this mystery will be the topic of my next blog.
It is time for some mysteries to be made known. Let’s start with an ancient mystery whose story applies today, namely that of Cain and Abel. This quote of Genesis 4 (King James Version) from http://www.biblegateway.com will help us put the common story in our minds.
“4. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-Cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.”
Of these two, Cain and Abel, which is more like you and me? Cain labors on the earth for his keep while Abel merely watches over what is given to him by Jehovah. While we likely would not kill our own brother in a crime of passion, we can say that we are more like Cain but that we aspire to be more like Abel.
While Cain and Abel were separate blood lines, today we can say that all humans appear to be a mixture of both. I shall leave for later the question of when did these blood lines become united? Why was Cain’s sacrifice rejected? It reads “to his offering He had not respect.” Why was there no respect for the hard-won fruits of Cain’s efforts?
This story has been an important one for many Western mystery streams in answering this question. The Sons of Cain become the builder of cities, agriculture, music and the arts, sciences and metallurgy. The Sons of Cain work with the Lifeless world. Out of the Lifeless they bring the Living.
With Abel gone without any offspring, Adam and Eve conceive another, Seth, to be the progenitor of the Abel line. The Sons of Abel take what the Divine has offered; they take it as it is without altering it. They see the perfection of God’s work in all of Nature. They enjoy a gift of wisdom about life and their relationship to God. They revere and keep this relationship seeking to sacrifice to God the best of what God has given to them. In this way, God knows His creation is well.
But Cain engineers what was given. Cain seeks to know and to change the world. Cain expresses egoism – but not in a way that allows him to not only engineer the world but also himself. He is capable not only of evil but also of supreme goodness through transformation of his soul.
Let’s look a bit deeper into the roots of this. When Eve says, after giving birth to Cain, ” I have gotten a man from the Lord” she is indicating that Cain is not from Adam but from another Elohim. Earlier in Genesis it read “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. The word “God” here actually is the plural of the word “Elohim.” In the mysteries, the Elohim together make Man. One, unnamed, creates Eve and then she conceives because of this unnamed Elohim. Another Elohim, Jehovah, creates Adam. Adam then unites with Eve to bring forth Abel. So Cain carries an inner initiative from one Elohim while Abel carries that from another, Jehovah. When Cain and Abel make their sacrifices, they both sacrifice to Jehovah but Jehovah cannot appreciate or respect the sacrifice of Cain. This in itself is fertile ground for meditation. Contemplate the effect on one’s countenance when your best fruits of your honest labor is rejected by your God. Contemplate the soul mood of Abel and of Cain – and of Jehovah.
Confusion easily enters here because of the translation of the Hebrew word Elohim into God. Here Elohim is plural. The translation uses the plural terms “us” and “our”. Many early Christians believed that the God, Jehovah, of the Old Testament, was not the same God that Christ refers to as The Father. They found proof of this in the different levels of love expressed by Jehovah and by Christ’s Father. For these early Christians, Jehovah was one of the Elohim while God the Father is at the height of the Heavenly Hierarchies, one of the Holy Trinity. More on this theme later.
So, according the ancient mysteries, one Elohim creates Adam while another creates Eve who is impregnated by this unnamed Elohim. After giving birth to Cain, Eve later becomes impregnated by Adam resulting in Abel – and later still, after Abel’s death, resulting in Seth. These form two streams of humanity – one a priestly lineage from Abel/Seth and the other a builder/warrior lineage from Cain.
I have hinted that these two streams later will unite in the mystery of Jesus-Christ. Another important story of these streams comes in the building of Solomon’s Temple. We’ll take up that mystery in my next blog.