Category Archives: Early Christian

Who is Working Now?

John 5 is about a healing of a man by the Pool of Bethesda. Many of those afflicted awaited there for an angel to stir the waters believing the tradition that at that moment someone could be healed of their affliction. One man had been there 38 years hoping to be healed. Jesus approaches him and asks him if he has the will to be healed. The man replied that he does but he does not have someone who could carry him quickly down to the waters in time to be the first to catch the stirring and thus be healed. Jesus says to him, Arise, take up your mat and walk! Moments later, those adhering to Hebraic laws concerning the Sabbath, told this man that he was breaking the law that bans work by carrying his mat. Later Jesus “finds” this man “in the temple” and says to him, “Behold (Ide), you have become well. Sin no more lest something worse be generated in you.”  This man then tells the Jews that it was Jesus who healed him. So now the Jews confront Jesus about performing work, a healing, on the Sabbath. Jesus answers them by saying My Father once was working, now I am working [John 5:17]. The rest of chapter 5 is remarkably deep and a topic for another time. But what can we make of this passage?

Taking this in reverse order let us first focus on 5:17. Various translations include [NASB] “My Father is working until now, and I myself am working.” [KJV] “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work”, or [ASV] “My Father worketh even until now, and I work”.  The Greek says “working until now” using the word “arti” to mean that the Father’s work is being or has been suspended, and now Christ is becoming or is the one at work. A turning point in time was occurring then.

The healed man is not betraying Christ-Jesus by revealing who it was who healed him. We find this word “ide” translated as “behold”. In a prior blog concerning the mysteries revealed in John 20 (at the tomb) we found three Greek words that are often translated to merely “see”. But “ide” implies a seeing that is higher than that through the senses. “In the temple” can mean literally in the temple rebuilt by Herod or it could mean in a holy place within the body (soma) or both! It is here that Jesus finds him. The healing the man just went through changed him deeply, not just his lameness. Now he could truly inhabit his body and thus Jesus could find him there within.

Lastly we come to the 38 years this man has been waiting. The passage does not say he waited a long time; rather it is explicit how long. What else takes 38 years? The Hebrew calendar was based on the 235 full moons it took for the sun, earth, and moon come back into the same relative position, or every 19 years. Two such cycles this man had waited. Jesus had asked him what might seem to be an obvious question, “Do you have the will to get well?” The lame man, one would think, would be irritated when Jesus then says: “Take up your mat and walk.” That is exactly what he cannot do. But, deeply, he has understood what Christ-Jesus meant: through Him comes the power of inner adaptability, a soul-force that overcomes one’s adversity, a lame body. We can no longer allow ourselves to be carried by our fellow human beings – we must carry our own cross. Moreover, we must become those who are able to carry others. By developing our soul-forces, we become the masters of our environment (in a broad sense of the word environment).

Mithraism and the Cosmic Christ

When religions of old pointed to the God found in the sun, they were speaking about the Logos through whom all things became. Different names were given to this being. One religion that immediately preceded Christianity tried to prepare the way for the coming of this God, namely Mithraism. Once Christianity was established, it lost this connection to the cosmic Christ in favor of the earthly Christ. But the mosaic shown here, from St. Peter’s Basilica, shows the cosmic Christ as the charioteer of the Sun.

The approach of this God was experience in the ancient mysteries. Preparation meant overcoming one’s “Bull”. These ancient priests had an incredible knowledge of the stars and a sophisticated knowledge of the fixed and moving stars. They knew that if one followed all the majestic forces that flow from these sources and from the earth as well, one can grasp not the human but the bull. Only with the additional forces of the sun, could they grasp the meaning of the true human being. Meaning, of course, comes from the Logos.

To overcome one’s bull, involved inner strength to overcome the body’s influence on one’s soul (and lower self). Associated with this bull, we see in this sculpture three creatures. What do these represent? MithrasRemember that Christ was crucified with two others through whom individually both Lucifer and Ahriman spoke. Lucifer, in ancient art, has typically been depicted as the serpent while Ahriman is the hound. But who is represented by the scorpion? This completes the unholy trinity and its name is confusing as some traditions revere those spiritual beings with this name: Asuras. What is meant is those beings who are of the Archai level but have not met their own progress in past planetary conditions and thus act as a hindrance in our Earthly planetary condition. As weights are a hindrance to lifting objects, they strengthen us in our spiritual forces.

So Mithraism intended to make straight the way to the Cosmic Christ. Arius brought this cosmic Christ perspective. But by the 4th Century, Western Christianity had focused entirely on the earthly Christ and rejected the way of using the ancient mysteries to understand the Mystery of Golgotha.

Fear of Spiritual Death

As the Ancient Mysteries were fading, especially from the 4th century BC until the 1st century AD, the priests were very aware of a decline in their mysteries. No longer could their initiates reach back to the times when mankind and their gods interacted. No longer could their rituals invoke their folk spirits to descend and participate and guide. Traditions and knowledge passed down alone kept the people and their mystery center together. The priests feared what was to come. For them it appeared that without a renewal of their spiritual connection, all would be lost. Humanity would experience a spiritual death.

Christ entered and through the Mystery enacted on Golgotha, the new path, the new human became possible. Thus, Grunewalde depicts John the Baptist as saying at the cross “He must increase and I must decrease”.

This was what early Christianity was about.

St. John’s Day

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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