Our everyday ego, to which I say “I”, takes part in the whole outer world, in all that is perishable. But is there a part of me that is imperishable? There slumbers within me, a new man, a second ego. In our age, people are unaware of this but they can become aware. This second ego is linked with the imperishable just as our first ego is bound up with the perishable. By means of a rebirth this second ego, namely our higher ego, beholds a spiritual world just as our first, or lower, ego perceives the physical world through the senses. This rebirth is initiation. It is the greatest event for any human soul. Once achieved, an initiate can look “from above” on the lower ego analogously to how man looks on objects of the physical world.
As the child is born of the mother, so the higher ego is born of man as the Son of Man. In the individual human being there can be a rebirth of the higher ego. Once this occurs, the higher ego irradiates all the circumstances of his life. He is a new man. That which existed previously is of no further importance. The higher ego grows and develops further.
Does this event of the rebirth of the higher ego have some connection with the event of Christ Jesus? “Just as a rebirth can occur for the individual in his development, so a rebirth for all humanity came about through Christ Jesus. That which is an inner event for the individual — a mystical-spiritual event, as it is called, something he can experience as the birth of his higher ego — corresponds to what occurred in the outer world, in history, for all mankind in the event of Palestine through Christ Jesus. The body of Jesus of Nazareth had unfolded like the bright sun on St. John’s Day in June. That had been foretold. Then the spirit was to be born out of the darkness, just as the sun steadily gains in strength and power up to St. John’s Day, and then begins to decline. That was what the Baptist had to proclaim. He had to continue to bear witness until — pointing to the sun’s ever-increasing splendor — he could say, He of Whom the old Prophets told, He Who in the spiritual realms has been called the Son of the Spiritual Realms, He has appeared. — Up to this point John the Baptist was active. But then — when the days become shorter and darkness begins to gain the upper hand — then the inner spiritual light is to shine as a result of right preparation, is to become ever brighter as the Christ shines in Jesus of Nazareth.
That is the way John the Baptist saw the approach of Jesus of Nazareth; and he felt the growth of Jesus of Nazareth as his own diminution and as the increase in the power of the sun. From now on I shall wane, he said, even as the sun wanes after St. John’s Day. But He will wax — He the spiritual sun — and shine out of the darkness. — Thus was the Christ heralded; and thus began the rebirth of the ego of mankind, upon which depends the rebirth of every individual higher human ego. ” — Rudolf Steiner, June 24, 1909