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From Ancient Mysteries to Rome, Part 2

A study of history can, however, bring to light something else in this connection, that is of very great significance. Into the external exoteric culture of Greece flowed much of this threefold teaching of

  1. Zarathustra, teaching of the spiritual Sun
  2. Osiris, the elemental Sun and
  3. Anaxagoras, of Zeus, the Sun-flooded ether environment of the Earth.

The world would never have had such a sublime Greek art, nor such a wonderful Greek philosophy, nor a Plato or an Aristotle, were it not that into the art and philosophy of Greece flowed streams from this ancient wisdom.

A time came, however, when the initiation truths that were handed down from past epochs were no longer sufficiently protected from profanation. Many teachings that had their source in initiation wisdom passed into the hands of distinguished Romans, more especially the Roman emperors. Among them all, perhaps of Augustus alone can it be said that he still knew how to value the initiation wisdom that was imparted to him. In the Roman world there was, generally speaking, no understanding for the esoteric factor in Greek art and Greek wisdom, no recognition that these contained elements which could be traced back to the very most ancient wisdom teaching. Consequently, the hopelessly prosaic, the semi-barbarous civilization of Rome took over what we may call the surface brightness, the sheen, of Greek culture, but was quite incapable of handing on, in its true form, to later generations what lived at the heart of this culture. And so when Roman influences began to permeate the Christianity that had, ever since the Mystery of Golgotha, been making its way into the world, there was no possibility for Christianity to receive, along with all that came from Rome, the true essence of the ancient culture.

Because Rome did not know how to value and guard initiation, the genuine initiation truths of earlier times have been prevented from finding their way over to the West. We must realize that we, as human beings possessing the ordinary consciousness of modern times, have been debarred from the sacred truths of olden times because Rome was unable to understand these truths. As we know, it was a man who hailed from Rome that drove out of Europe the last remaining Greek philosophers and obliged them to seek refuge in the East.

Now, there was in a later time a man who came as near to the teachings of initiation as it was possible to come in the time in which he lived, and who was acquainted with the teaching o£ these three aspects of the Sun — the aspect of the Sun according to Zarathustra, the aspect of the Sun that is associated with Osiris, and the aspect of the Sun as seen and understood by Pythagoras and Anaxagoras. This man was Julian the Apostate. He was not able himself to behold the Sun in all three aspects, but he knew of the teaching; he knew it as a tradition that had come down in the Mystery Schools. And so impressed was Julian the Apostate by this teaching of the three aspects of the Sun that to him that which Christianity brought seemed small in comparison. For he still knew of the inexpressible glory and splendor into which Zarathustra had gazed; he had learned to know also of the activities of fire and of light, of the cosmic chemical forces, and of the cosmic life-forces, as man had been able to behold them in the ancient Mysteries. Of all this he, Julian, could in his time still learn, albeit only by tradition.

This whole teaching seemed to him so sublime, so mighty, that he found himself unable to accept Christianity. The thoughts and purposes of his mind were, in fact, turned in quite another direction. He seized with the desire to impart to mankind the ancient Mysteries into which he had himself been initiated up to a certain degree. And this, my dear friends, was what led at last to the unsheathing of the dagger that brought his life to a violent end. The hand that lifted the dagger belonged to one of those who counted it a sin to communicate the lofty teachings of initiation to the general run of mankind. Julian’s murderer wanted that people should hear of the Sun spoken of in an external manner only.

Julian the Apostate declared that the Sun has three aspects:Bust of Julian the Apostate

  1. its influence on the Earthly ether
  2. its heavenly light that is behind the Earthly ether, the warmth, the chemical, and the life forces
  3. the aspect of pure spiritual Being.

For this he was put out of the way arranged by one of his own soldiers (tradition says John Martyr the Warrior). And indeed it must be admitted that the moment had not yet come when mankind in general was ripe to receive such weighty and solemn truths. That time has now come.

From Ancient Mysteries to Rome, Part 1

[The following relies on insights from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner in London, 24 August 1922]

Let’s go back to the Ancient Persian civilization when the teacher of mankind during the height of this civilization was Zarathustra (aka Zoroaster). It was a common custom for the pupils of a great and lofty teacher to continue for a long time to bear his name.  Thus, the Zarathustra we read of in history is in reality the last of a succession of pupils of the great Zarathustra. This great teacher of mankind was initiated in a most wonderful and remarkable manner into the secrets of existence, and he could stand before the men of his time and teach them as an eminent and sublime initiate.

When we look at the Sun, we see it through our scientific education. Through his initiation, Zarathustra knew that in that place in the heavens where we see a mere Sun, he knew there lives a great and all-embracing Spirit. In fact, Zarathustra did not see the physical Sun at all; rather he beheld a great and omnipresent cosmic Spirit that influenced him in a spiritual way. Zarathustra knew that with the sunshine came also spiritual rays, rays of divine-spiritual grace and bounty, which enkindle in the soul and spirit of man that ‘higher man’ to which the ordinary man in us must continually aspire.

Zarathustra, Zoroaster means the Radiant Star as this is what his pupils called him. They perceived that he received from the radiant Godhead the rays of wisdom. When Zarathustra looked upon the spiritual cosmic Sun, he was looking into the source of all the forces through which all things became. Forces that make the stones on the Earth to be hard and solid, forces that make the plants to come forth from their seeds and grow, forces that make the animals to spread abroad over the face of the Earth in their different kinds, and forces that make man to flourish and thrive upon the Earth. The first and oldest of the Zarathustras, the original Radiant Star, had knowledge of everything that took place on the Earth because he was able to experience the Spiritual Being of the Sun whom he called Ahura Mazda.

As mankind evolved, so did these Ancient Mysteries. When we get to the Chaldean and Egyptian era,  initiates were no longer able to penetrate so deeply into the Mysteries of the worlds. Mankind still looked up to the Sun, but he no longer saw it as radiant, as sending forth rays; rather, he saw it now as shining, as illuminating the Earth with its light. Sun-radiance was replaced with sunshine. Ra signified for Egyptians the Sun that moved round the Earth, giving light and Osiris was his representative on Earth. Some of the secrets from Persia had been lost. For example, the initiate was no longer able to see with full inner clarity the radiant cosmic God, as had the Persian initiates of an older time. He could only see how the primal astral forces descend from the Sun. Zarathustra saw in the Sun a Being, he was still able to see in the Sun a Being. The initiates of Egypt saw in the Sun the forces that come to the Earth.. What they saw were deeds, forces of light, forces of movement but not a spiritual Being. And the Egyptian initiates spoke of One who represents, on Earth, the forces of the Sun that man carries within him, namely Osiris.

When we come to the age of Greece, we find that by the eighth, seventh, fifth century before the Mystery of Golgotha, man had lost all power of looking into the Mysteries of the Sun. He could see only the effect of the Sun’s influence in the environment or the Earth. Man beheld the working of the Sun in the ether that fills all the space around the Earth. And this ether, that spreads out around the Earth and permeates also man himself, this the Greek initiates such as Anaxagoras called Zeus.

We see three descending stages in the cultural evolution of mankind. First there was the stage when the initiates beheld in the sun a divine-spiritual being; followed by a second stage when the initiates beheld the sun’s forces; and finally a third stage, when the initiates beheld only the influence of the sun being in the earth’s ether.

Learning Christianity from a Tadpole

OK, this title sounds crazy. Hang on; it will (perhaps I should say may) become clear.

This morning I was reading an article in a journal from the Nature Institute called In Context. I was struck by how the author, researcher Craig Holdrege, was able to describe how genetics alone cannot lead to an understanding of how one organism can transition from a tadpole to a frog. Craig writes “I’m wanting to counter the strong habit of thought that imagines the answer to developmental questions – the key that opens insights into the mystery of development – as lying in the past and in substances, i.e. in what one images as physical causes. No matter at what level we consider an organism and its development, we are always dealing with organizing activity or agency that is specific and that provides the context for any part-processes, such as molecular events, that are discovered.”  Earlier Craig had written “When scientists discover new molecular processes that in turn influence other processes, they are uncovering fascinating details about how the frog is coming into being. They are not ‘explaining’ it.”

I recall my high school biology teacher waved a wand over metamorphosis and later to pass the exam we needed to claim that all aspects of the processes could be found in its genes or DNA. Craig’s article caused an ‘Ah-ha!’ moment for me when I got to his conclusion “Something creative – something I have referred to as ‘activity’ or agency – is molding the developmental process. But it is not an artist creating something externally. It is the developing organism as artist creating itself. This gives richer meaning to the term ‘autopoiesis’ (self-creation), which is often used to characterize the self-organizing capacity of living beings.”

You see, in Him is life. Through Him all things became. Of course! The wholeness of Nature. All living things share their source in the Logos.  We all know about the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Metamorphosis is happening everywhere in Nature; we just do not see it; it is occult.

And what is our metamorphosis? How can we find our inner artist and fundamentally change our own being? What can we become? We must do our inner work individually but to metamorphose into our becoming we must become as one with another human being for when two or more are together as one self, in my name, I am there.

For more on self-metamorphosis, see this blog post on Whitsun.

Whitsun: what is this festival anyway?

What is Whitsun? Why is it Important?

Whitsun is a shortened version of Whit Sunday which may derive from White Sunday or from Whit as in wit, wisdom, or both. This name is used in countries with Anglican religious heritage or connections. Whitsun is the seventh Sunday after Easter. It is another name for Pentecost which is the fiftieth day after Passover (the Saturday before Easter, or at least it was supposed to be but differences between the Gregorian, the Julian, and the Hebrew calendars cause Western Easter, Eastern Easter, and Passover to often unalign.) Another way to describe this is that Ascension Thursday happens 40 days after Easter and Whitsun/Pentecost ten days later. While Christmas is a fixed holiday, Whitsun/Pentecost is “movable” as it falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon that follows the spring equinox. The early Christians tried to establish Easter as a cosmic event with Christmas as an earthly event.  Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavuot, a prominent feast of ancient Israel that celebrated Moses receiving the Law on Sinai. Perhaps the name Whitsun, or Whitsunday, was an attempt to distance or distinguish this Christian festival from the Jewish one.

Whitsun and Ascension go together. The time from Easter to Ascension is a time of intense teaching from Christ to the disciples. All present were initiated into the deep Mysteries of Golgotha.  Then comes the proving of the training – ten days alone (or becoming all-one).

The festival of Whitsun commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s disciples. This is described in Acts 2:1-4, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all together in one self [place is often used]. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong rushing wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”

Normally our mental image is tongues of fire on the 12 disciples but note this 6th century Rabbula Gospels from Syria (now in the Laurentian Library in Florence, Italy). It shows Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, in the middle. Thus present, in one self, were more than just the 12. Some traditions claim as many as 120 were present as one.

To understand Whitsun/Pentecost, we need to understand what is here called the Holy Spirit. There are two mentions in the bible of descents of the holy spirit. The first is [John 1:32-34] at the baptism of Jesus,  “Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit descend down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’” The second ‘descent’ is Acts 2:1-4 as quoted above. I bolded the words “and remain” to emphasize that this spirit was not in Jesus of Nazareth until this moment of baptism. Theologians often miss this important point.

‘Spirit’ is mentioned in other passages, notably John 19:30, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit [pneuma, πνεῦμα].” Pneuma is the same word for wind in Greek, not the moving air but what moves the air. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states that pneuma also means “breath as in the nostrils or mouth, often in Greek writings from Aeschylus down.” Now read Genesis 2:7 (ASV) “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” And in John 1:4 “In Him is life [zoe, ζωὴ] and that life is the light of mankind.” “Him” is the Word, the Logos. When a human being speaks a word, they must use their breath. Breath is of the airy element in which light can freely exist. Note the strong association of the Word with life, zoe. Much more could be said on this tangent.

How are these two descents of the Holy Spirit alike and how are they different?

Let’s start with the day of the Ascension. Gazing upwards, the disciples of Christ Jesus  see Christ vanishing in the clouds. The usual conception of this scene is that Christ went up into heaven and so departed from the earth leaving not only the disciples to their own resources but the rest of mankind as well. This feels like a spiritual reneging on the promise of Easter! Did not Christ, through His deed on Golgotha, resolve to unite His own Being with the earth, that is to say, from the Mystery of Golgotha onwards to remain forever connected with earth-evolution?

Next, ten days after this Ascension, tongues of fire descend upon the heads of all of those assembled as “one self” so that they are inspired “to speak with other tongues.” What this actually means is that from this moment forward those gathered were able to impart the secrets learned from their time with the resurrected Christ, of the Mystery of Golgotha, to the heart of every human being, irrespective of race, gender, religion, or ethnicity. This was a cosmic deed accomplished for the whole of humanity.

Christ fulfilled his deed for all mankind on Golgotha. But now mankind must come to grasp this deed. The permeation of the human spirit-and-soul with the power to understand the Mystery of Golgotha is the sending of the Holy Spirit. This is the picture of the Whitsun festival, the festival of Pentecost.

Christ sent the Spirit after ten days of working on their own so that the individual being of spirit-and-soul may have access to the effects of The Deed that was accomplished for all men in common. Through the Spirit man must learn to experience the Christ Mystery inwardly, in spirit and in soul. The Holy Spirit is available to each human individual in order that he or she may be able to understand this cosmic Deed.

Looking a bit deeper (there are always more depths!), we can come to see that the Ascension tells us: The Deed on Golgotha was fulfilled for the physical body and the etheric body in the universal human sense while Whitsun tells us: The single human being must make this Deed bear fruit in himself by receiving the Holy Spirit. Thereby the universal Christ Impulse becomes individual in each human being.

Dreams

This post will reveal some, perhaps unfavorable, personal traits of me. When I was a child I remembered far more dreams than I do as an adult. Occasionally I’ll remember the last dream of the night or one where I woke up during the dream and was able to make a written or visual or mental note about it so that in the morning I was able to recall the dream. Now I recall a dream from last night.

In the dream I was the person responsible for a group of people. We were in a fancy large hotel. My immediate responsibility was to get these twelve people from the hotel to their transport to some morning event. Soon the twelve had all arrived so I began to lead them to where I thought the taxi stand for the hotel existed. I knew where it was because I had, in the dream, stayed in this hotel at a prior conference (the memory of this was present to me in the dream but it was not part of a prior dream or reality that I am aware of).  Out of the hotel we wander and I soon realize that there are no taxis in front so I lead the group down the circular drive to the highway where I try to flag down a set of taxis. But there are none. Then one comes but the driver appears busy and does not even look my way. Suddenly I have an aide and she suggests I call the taxi service with whom I made arrangements. Brilliant! My dream-memory said that I had made arrangements. I pulled out my iPhone and in its ‘recent calls’ list I found the number. The driver answered the call and wanted to know where we were! I asked him where he was and he said he had a 12-person van in the taxi stand behind the hotel. I realized at that moment that in leading the group to the front I was using old data. I apologized to the driver and said “we’d be right there.” Prior to this, the group had paid no attention to me. They were chatting profusely among themselves and treating me as a mere lower class tour guide. Now they began to complain about my incompetence as I led them back into the hotel’s front entrance. I would need to find a stairway to go down one level and walk the entire depth of the hotel’s ground floor to reach the rear entrance. That’s when I noticed a clear overhead sign that stated the taxi stand was now in the rear. Some in my group also noticed and increased their condemnation of my capabilities. At this point, I woke up. It was 5 am and sunrise was just beginning.

This dream helped me to realize that when traveling and within crowds, I become inwardly tense. In this state I become less observant and less tolerant. I sometimes go into auto-pilot and rely on doing things the way they’ve always been done. But with the spiritual world, things change, evolve. The way to the taxi stand to be transported with my 12 beings was no longer where it was in my previous ‘incarnation.’ The way there is now first inwardly, first into myself to find how I am a microcosm of the macrocosm. These twelve are me as a microcosm. When I try to take care of them out of old knowledge, they ignore me. But as I get my directions aligned, I’ll receive their ‘guidance,’ as difficult as it might be to hear. For to reach the taxi stand and the transport, I will need to sacrifice this old lower self, these old habits, and this materialistic thinking. Scourging is part of the western spiritual journey.

In ancient times, dreams were more easily remembered and remembered with reverence for dreams were a gift from the spiritual world. They contained wisdom and foresight. But as humanity evolved to become self-aware, intellectual beings, the importance of dreams faded. Human destiny was for us to develop individualism, true freedom. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32]

Now I’m trying to read the signs of our times and find that taxi stand behind the hotel [my body] with a van for twelve.

21 Chapters in John’s Gospel – why?

Why are there 21 chapters? Might it have something to do with 7 times 3? Seven being the days of the week which come from the seven spheres of the esoteric geo-centric solar system (moon, mars, mercury, jupiter, venus, saturn, and sun). And three is the number of the Trinity. Three-ness is reflected in the three great heavenly hierarchies within which there are three sub-hierarchies (seraphim, cherubim, thrones; kyriotetes, dynamis, exusiai/elohim; archai, arch-angeloi, angeloi). Nine hierarchies from 3 times 3. Thus, 21 chapters to reflect 7 times 3 makes sense.

But like all esoteric works, there is much more here to this layout.

The middle number of 21 is 11. What is in chapter 11? The Raising of Lazarus. Since this gospel was written by one who was able to witness what was written, it begs the question was this gospel written by Lazarus? What kind of death did he suffer? Read again what the high priest prophesied after this event. What historically and traditionally took place within the Holy of the Holies, Initiation, had just taken place in public. Revealing secrets of the local Mystery meant death. Christ would be put to death, would become the sacrifice, but he had brought to an end the old way of initiation. And Lazarus, what happens to him? He becomes the beloved disciple and takes on the name John. There are ten chapters before and ten chapters after. Given that the first chapter is a prologue and the last one is an epilogue, then one could say that there are nine chapters for the nine hierarchies spiraling in to chapter 11 and again nine spiraling out after the Raising of Lazarus.

And even more depth to 21 chapters is found when we find that there are seven signs, seven “I am” sayings, and seven agapes. These do not line up by chapter; rather, the seven signs occur in the first 11 chapters, the seven “I am” sayings occur in the middle third, and the seven agapes appear from chapter 11 to the end, chapter 21. [Note, the word agape and expression “I am” occur in other sentences but not as a significant ‘milestone’.] Again 21 from 3 times 7.

The seven agapes are John 11:5, 13:34, 14:23, 15:9, 15:12, 17:23, and chapter 21.

Dual Triads of John’s Gospel

For Christian mystics and most of the so-called heretics, John’s Gospel was beloved as the most esoteric. With 21 chapters, the middle chapter must be the most important. What is chapter 11? It is the raising of Lazarus who afterwards becomes the beloved disciple. Yes, Lazarus, after this public initiation, takes on a new name, as did all initiates, choosing in his case the name John. Betrayal of the Mysteries meant death. This is why high priest Caiaphas prophesized that  “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” [John 11:49-50, NIV]

This gospel is appropriately named “John’s Gospel” and not “Lazarus’ Gospel” because all of the events recorded are witnessed by the author! But how can this be? Was Lazarus at the baptism? No, but John was. We are introduced to John as the witness in Chapter 1, the Prologue. When one was initiated, their new name arises out of their spiritual experience. It was John the Baptist, who had recently been beheaded, who was Lazarus’ guide during his three and a half days ‘dead’. While the old ego of Lazarus died in this initiation, the entelechy was very much alive. He is called forth by his hierophant, Christ-Jesus, at the scene of his raising from the dead. Now, as in the Mysteries, Lazarus is such a changed person he must take on a new name. And he calls himself after his guide, John, for what John had witnessed had been passed on to the former Lazarus.

John is first mentioned in John 1:6, “there was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” This gospel concludes with the words “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” [John 21:24]

And one gem that came to me in my morning meditation a couple days ago was the structure of the first lines of this gospel where it says “In the beginning was the Logos. And the Logos was with God. A God was the Logos. This same one was, in the beginning, with God. ” Note carefully that both ‘Logos’ and ‘God’ are repeated three times. The sequence is: Logos, Logos, God, God, Logos, God. This is the story of the Logos, so it begins with the Logos. One can arrange these as the six-pointed star of David; that is as dual triads. The first triad is Logos-Logos-God as a trace of the triangle pointing downwards (towards the earth). The second triad, God-Logos-God traces the triangle pointing upwards (towards the heavens). Now we can better understand why this gospel has 21 chapters or 3 times 7. This gospel is about the Trinity and Logos. The expected God from the Sun, the Christ, represents the solar system as known in the Mysteries from whence comes the names for the days of the week and why there are seven days per week. Sun and moon and the planets out to Saturn. Three outer planetary spheres and three inner spheres (where the moon is considered here as an inner sphere).  As microcosm of this solar system, mankind is 7-fold (Physical body, Etheric or life body, Sentient soul-body, Intellectual soul, Spirit-filled consciousness soul, Life spirit, Spirit man). As a microcosm of the Trinity, mankind is 3-fold: body, soul, and spirit.

Bees and Stingers – quotes from Rudolf Steiner

“One must not disclaim the world when one wishes to rise higher; an ascetic fleeing from the world does not serve clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is the fruit of what the soul collects in the sense-world. Greek philosophy beautifully compared the human soul with a bee. The world of color and light offers the soul honey which it brings with it into the higher world. The soul must spiritualize sense experience and carry it up into higher worlds.”  The Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness, and Death, GA 55 – Berlin, 22nd November 1906

“Now it is actually the case that this ego-organisation is in a mysterious way present in the poison of the bee; it is a similar force to the force that circulates in your blood that is present in the bee-poison. It is of great interest that the bee should have need of this poison within her. The bee does not merely need it in order to be able to sting; that is merely incidental. The bee needs the poison throughout its whole organism, for it must have the same force of circulation that man has in his blood.

The colony of bees, as I told you, is like an entire man. Now consider, you get some of this bee-poison into your body, that is, into your blood, for any poison entering the body goes immediately into the blood. You are, let us say, a normal man, your blood will come more into motion, and inflammation may follow, but your heart can bear it. If however, a man has some disease of the heart, and his ego-organisation is made stronger by the poison, then this affects the weak heart, and the result may be that the man faints, or may even die.

The remarkable thing is this; that substances that can make a man ill or even kill him, can also cure him. This is one of the great responsibilities one has in the preparation of medicines, for there are no real remedies which, if wrongly applied, cannot cause the same illnesses which they can also cure.

What then actually happens when a fainting fit or even death results from the sting of a bee?

You see, when a man faints, then his astral body, and more especially his ego-organisation, has withdrawn from the body as happens in sleep, only in sleep this happens in a normal way, and in a swoon in abnormal way. In a swoon, or fainting fit, the astral body does not withdraw completely as in sleep, it gets stuck fast, and when a man has a weak ego-organisation, he cannot bring it back again. One has to shake him, wake him up, rouse him out of his faintness by making him breathe more strongly by certain movements. You know how in these cases, one has to take the man’s arms, cross them over on his breast, put them back, then again bring them forward and so on, and this artificial breathing really always means that one is trying to bring the ego-organisation back into the body in the right way.

And now let us suppose someone is suffering from rheumatism, or perhaps gout, or other deposits in the body; then one must try to strengthen the ego-organisation. Why do people have gout or rheumatism? Because the ego-organisation is too weak and cannot bring the blood into the right movement. The blood must be made to move more quickly. When the blood is not in the right state, when for instance, it flows too slowly, minute crystals are precipitated everywhere, and pass into the neighbourhood of the blood-vessels. These minute crystals consist of uric acid, and they go all over the body, and cause gout or rheumatism — the ego-organisation is too weak.

If I now give this man the right dose of bee or wasp poison, his ego-organisation is strengthened; only one must not give too much, or the ego-organisation might not be able to hold its own. But if one gives just enough to strengthen the ego one can then find a very good remedy prepared from the bee or wasp poison; only one must combine it with some other substance.” — Nine Lectures on Bees, lecture 7, Dornach, December 12, 1923.

Mithraism and Christianity

In other posts we’ve looked at the guidance and wisdom carried in every religion by its local Mystery Center. The ancient mystery teachers had knowledge of the stars that, without telescopes, seems incredible to us today. The Caldeans and Persian astronomer/astrologers were well aware of the course of the sun through the zodiac and the movement of the planets. Yes, in their view of spirit as reality and physical as illusion, they placed the earth, from human perspective, in the center of the spiritual universe. They also knew that each human being begins each incarnation journey from out of the planetary spheres. Rudolf Steiner called this knowledge Etheric Astronomy. i think it relates powerfully with a healthy Eugenics.

As evolution progressed, and the sun moved from Taurus to Aries, new wisdom flowed into the Mysteries. Now the teachers learned one does not arrive at a full conception of the gradual approach of an entity out of extra-planetary spheres into the planetary and hence onto the earth sphere. No, their spirituals pictures revealed that this process leads not to a human being but rather to the human as a bull. No human beings would exist on earth if there were nothing besides this extra-planetary being that descends through the planetary sphere into evolution.

These teachers knew that the time had come when human beings must struggle against this bull-like nature with something still higher. Thus the Mysteries of Mithra came into being and spread from Persia (and perhaps from even farther east) into the Roman Empire from where it spread into eastern Europe and as far west as Spain.

This new mystery stream intended to lead humanity to overcome the aged-view of humanity’s pre-birth origin given by the ancient wisdom. What was offered outside of the Mystery Centers was the image of the bull with Mithras on top of it. Mithras was meant to be the human being who struggles to overcome the bull. Mithras was the sun force in the human being who rebelled against the merely planetary and terrestrial aspects that can only lead to the bull-human. There must be of far loftier origin than the being that was pictured according to the ancient teaching of wisdom. Mithras

Two outcomes resulted. One, the beginnings of revolt against the revered mysteries, and two, the inner preparation for the coming of Christ who was seen as this Sun being.

Remnants of Mithraism persist in the bull-fighting in Spain and Mexico.

In the statue, note the direction of Mithra’s gaze (and compare to this blog post). Note the ‘cosmic’ animals; note where each is on the bull: the crab, the snake, and the dog. I invite you to comment on what these represent.

What is a Mystery? What is a Christian Mystery?

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.

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