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Cosmic Christianity

On-line since: 24th August, 1969

PART TWO

Cosmic Christianity

The Stars during the Three Years of Christ's Ministry and Practical Viewpoints with Regard to Evolution

Revised content of eight lectures given at Hawkwood College, Stroud, Gloucestershire, England August, 1969.

These were not, strictly speaking, lectures in the usual sense. They were conducted as work sessions, in which the lecturer gave leading ideas and practical suggestions, which all those present then worked out together. Thus the meetings were a give and take in which the entire audience was actively involved.

The Movement of Saturn During the Three Years

We decided to work over the so-called Three Years and, in a wider sense, over the 33 years from the birth of Jesus up to the moment of Golgotha. Why do we want to do this? There are many points that one can make in order to justify such an intensive study. The main aspects are the following ones: First, you know that the historicity of the Christ Events, about 2,000 years ago, is by no means established as a fact in modern history. This branch of science is still in doubt. These doubts made it possible, as a matter of fact, for a professor at a German university at the beginning of this century to suggest, in all sincerity, that the Gospels are nothing but fictional stories concocted by clever astrologers who knew the events in the heavens at the time of Christ. On the foundation of this knowledge they concocted the Gospels. You see, this is a very serious matter, and we ought to occupy ourselves with the events closely in order to obtain insight into the probability of the events. Rudolf Steiner pointed out in one of his lectures that, indeed, the writers of the Gospels had knowledge of the cosmology of the events that took place at the time of Christ. By that time the direct, oral traditions had already ceased, and all the people who had been present during the Three Years had died. However, the writers of the Gospels were convinced that the events did take place on account of the simultaneous events in the heavens. So, all the more we have reason to get these matters very clear and in detail.

Another point is that in order to rise to the heights of Christianity, to the esoteric meaning of the Christ events, we must take into account the cosmic events. Thus inner experience can increasingly become a reality with regard to the Christ Events. This will become more and more evident. One can even say that those events which took place nearly 2,000 years ago will come back to humanity, even as a Presence. One day people will realize that not only did they take place 2,000 years ago, but that they can be here and now with humanity in a new fashion, not in the physical but on a higher plane, on a plane that is accessible only to spiritual experience. A new clairvoyance will arise in humanity. This is a very profound perspective. You know yourself that all religion finds itself at present in a very difficult situation. There are so many problems. We have heard it proclaimed publicly, even by ministers of religion that God is dead. You see, if this should be generally accepted, it would mean the end, not only of religion but of Christianity as well. I would like to quote the opinion of Dr. Steiner, published by the periodical Bltter fr Anthroposophie, 4 Jahrgang, No. 6: If the correlation between the Earth and the extraterrestrial world, that is, the cosmic world, is not comprehended again on a level of spiritual understanding, then the Mystery of Golgotha cannot live on, cannot survive into the future. I think we can feel the gravity of such a statement, Christianity cannot survive. What does this mean? It simply means that in order to make the Mystery of Golgotha live on into the future, it will be necessary to grasp, on a spiritual level, the interconnection between the cosmic and the earthly and human worlds, for instance, during the Three Years. Another point, which goes with this, is the fact that we must gradually move onto the level that St. Paul, nearly 2000 years ago, had reached in the moment when he could say, Christ in me; not I myself, but Christ in me. To come to such an experience needs a tremendous inner development. Humanity in our present age is called upon to move toward that position. This again needs the knowledge of cosmic correlations.

Finally, I should point out that humanity of the future will move more and more toward a realization, or a preparation for the realization, of what is sometimes called the phantom body, that is, the resurrection body. This can be done only by a spiritual knowledge of the correlations between the cosmos and the Earth. Take only the following fact: We so happily rely on nature. Each time a human being is born on this planet, nature provides us with a body. We take it for granted that we are endowed with a physical-material body; but are we aware of how this came about? It is given to us and we take it as a matter of course. We can know, of course, and Anthroposophy gives us all the information we need, that the human being, together with the spiritual hierarchies, builds up the form body the spiritual form-body in the cosmic world long before incarnation. We receive and bring it down from the cosmos. The Zodiac is the external expression of the spiritual forces of that form body, the body that had been designed, as it were, in the dim past by the divine world. This we receive, and with this we force the earthly matter, which is offered to us at the moment of conception, into a human form. Without that spiritual form-body we could not do it, and this is bestowed on us. There will come times when this will cease, when we will be called upon more and more to do it ourselves, to do it as a self. This we will be able to accomplish only if we have the corresponding insight. First, we have to prepare ourselves by creating a knowledge of this correlation between the great cosmos and the incarnation in Earth-matter. This preparation will also have to include the planets a knowledge of the functions of the planets. It will become more and more necessary. This cosmic form-body, which really makes the human form, this eternal archetype, was founded in the very beginning of all evolution.

In the course of human history, this cosmic form-body was lost by humanity. At the event of the Fall from Paradise, the human being became deeply involved in corruptible matter. Since that time, whenever a human being incarnates, the incorruptible cosmic form-body is torn down into the domain where death rules. Therefore the human being is irresistibly inclined to take the corruptible body for the only reality. However, the incorruptible body was rescued by the Deed of Christ. This is the resurrection body. This is that body in which Christ appeared to the disciples. It is the form of which He could then even say to Thomas: Put your fingers into the stigmata, so that you can convince yourself of my Presence.

We have to prepare for this realization as we move toward the future. In order to take the first steps of preparation, it is necessary that we at least get a glimpse, and that we start to acquire an insight and a knowledge of the correlation between the cosmos and humanity, as it was re-established by Christ.

Now let us go to work. We will start with the planets, and simply look at what the planets did during those three years. There is straightaway a problem that is not easy to solve. It is the so-called Three Years. The question is what is meant by the Three Years chronologically. Some people have formed the opinion that it was three and one third years; that the Baptism took place, if the traditional date is accepted, on the 6th of January, the day of Epiphany, of the year 30 AD. From there we would count three and one third years up to April 3, 33 AD. Another view is that it was only two and one third years. We hear in the Gospel of St. Luke that Jesus was 30 years old when he went down to the Jordan in order to be baptized. That would have been the moment when the cosmic Christ-Being entered the body of Jesus. I have investigated both possibilities very closely, and I myself have come to the conclusion, as far as the cosmic evidence goes, that the version of two and one-third years is more realistic than the other. Jesus then indeed would have been 30 years old, just a few days prior to the 6th of January, the day of Epiphany of the year 31 AD.

We take first Saturn. What is Saturn doing? Saturn is, in a broad sense, an expression; it is not the beings involved themselves, but it is the cosmic expression of the Father Forces in the universe. They inaugurated evolution in the dim past. We have to go back as far as Ancient Saturn, according to Rudolf Steiner's Occult Science, in order to get an idea of the workings of the Father Hierarchy. There exists an intimate relationship between the present planet Saturn and Ancient Saturn. In a sense, the present Saturn with its rings is a perfect image of Ancient Saturn. It is only a smaller, condensed image of the original Ancient Saturn. The latter was as big as the sphere, that is, the volume of space that is contained in the orbit of Saturn. Around that physically very subtle body, consisting only of warmth, stood the divine hierarchies in a big circle, like the rings of present Saturn. The living memory of this Ancient Saturn organized, so to speak, the present planet. Thereby our present Saturn is, first of all, an image of that Ancient Saturn. In this sense it is an image of the line of divine intention, the focus that goes through all evolution and which will go through into the far future. It is a line indeed, and this is present in every human form as the power of human uprightness. This element of uprightness in the human form is, in a sense, a kind of metamorphosis of that long line of divine Will from the dim past into the far future. One can regard it as the ordination of evolution by the Father Forces. Thus would Saturn know the dim past, and project, as it were, the past into the future. We can see in it an expression of sublime historic conscience. The movement from the past toward the future is wonderfully expressed in the form of the human skeleton. First, from the past there is the enclosure of the skull. It encloses the brain and has the tendency to contract and to concentrate. Then the skeleton spreads through the body. As much as Saturn guards and hems in the brain, so does it change its character as we move into the body. There is no longer any brain, though still a spinal cord, nerves, and the muscles of the body. The muscles are outside and around the bones of the limbs. Indeed, a tremendous metamorphosis has taken place here. Saturn started in the skull and evolved step by step right into the skeleton of the limbs and down into the toes.

During the Three Years, Saturn moved, from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins, through the constellation of Cancer. About the time of Whitsun 33 AD, it entered the constellation of Leo. (See Fig. 1.1, taken from the geocentric viewpoint.) What does this diagram tell us? What speaks in this moment from the far spaces of the cosmos? We said that it is a representation a picture or image of the Father Forces. What did that Father World pronounce in that moment? Continually, this world speaks through the external medium of the stars. However, we are not listening, or rather, we are no longer capable of listening; otherwise, we could make something of these things by moral imagination, and the most wonderful inspirations could rise up in us. This we can learn again, though in entirely new ways. Concerning the Christ events, we imagine that there it was expressed and given an entirely new significance on the Earth through the words and deeds of Christ.

   

Figure 1.1

   

First, we have to go a bit further back from Cancer to the constellations of Aries and Taurus. What do these constellations of the Zodiac represent with regard to the archetypes of the human form? The cosmic-spiritual form-body is represented in the constellations, the 12 regions of the Zodiac. There we find the image of the totality of the human form as it was ordained by the divine world in the beginning. Aries (Ram) is the image of the head. Taurus (Bull) is the archetype of the larynx the complete region of the larynx, including the canals leading up into the middle ear. It not only concerns speech but also hearing. The canals, or Eustachian tubes, are like horns going up to the middle ear. The entire organism literally appears almost like a bull. Further back we find Ram with its horns. This part is still faintly indicated, so to speak, in the lines that lead from the horizontal eyebrows into the vertical line of the nose: . Now in Gemini (Twins), there is a division into two. This physiological tendency descended from the region of speech and sound into the symmetry of the human body. Thus it continues throughout the entire body. It started earlier in the head as the two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, and so forth. Eventually it becomes in Gemini the two arms and the two feet. In the Bull-larynx region the word is spoken, and now here in Gemini it is realized as movement and deed. The next step, Cancer (Crab), is the house of the chest. The chest is something wonderful if one understands it in the sense of a spiritual anatomy. It is built of 12 pairs of ribs. This house is built according to the cosmic order of 12. The human heart dwells in it, where life is centered, where the breathing organism is at home, and so forth. Then next we come to Leo (Lion). Leo is the archetype of all that which dwells within the house and from where the circulation radiates out into the totality of the body. So, what does it mean when Saturn is in that position? It says, starting out from the cosmic image of the head, that Saturn has now moved through the region of the cosmic Word, the Logos, and has entered the region of Gemini, the Deed. In that moment the Incarnation takes place. It is done; the Great Event is done. Christ enters the body of Jesus. Saturn was, during most of the time of the Three Years, in Cancer. Christ dwelt in the house, the house of the originally divine human form, from which were imparted the new impulses of evolution to Earth existence. When Saturn enters Leo, we see something like a mighty communication of cosmic heart forces to the community of the first Christians. At the Whitsun Event they all experienced, as they were sitting there, something of the universality of the Christ impulse. They partook in it as a kind of cosmic communion. This was a tremendous, new manifestation of the meaning of Leo. The ancient symbol of Leo is this: . You start out from the heart but then you move out to the periphery, for instance, to the periphery of the body, via the stream of the blood circulation. This happened, in a spiritual sense, to the entire community of first Christians who were present at the first Whitsun.

Ancient mythology can tell us wonderful stories of these constellations. Norse mythology in particularly gives us a wonderful impression of the constellations. It speaks of Gemini, for instance, in connection with the death of Baldur, the God of Light and of the Sun. He is killed by his own brother, Hoedur. The Evil One, Loki, had a hand in it. Odin once wandered through the world and he heard a prophecy that Baldur would soon be killed. He came home to Valhalla in great distress. The gods discussed the matter among them and decided to send messengers into the entire world to extract promises from all beings that they would not touch Baldur, not kill him. This was done. The messengers came back. Everything had been accomplished to satisfaction. Only one plant was forgotten, and that was the mistletoe. This happened because it did not seem to be a plant of its own; it is attached to other trees and therefore it was forgotten. Loki, the Evil One, knew this. There was now a great festival in Valhalla, and the gods threw everything they could lay their hands on at Baldur, because they knew nothing could hurt him. Hoedur, his blind brother, did not participate. So Loki crept up to him and asked him, Why dont you take part in this sport? The reply was, I cant see a thing. I shall help you, I shall guide your hand, said Loki. He pressed an arrow made of mistletoe into his hand and passed him the bow. Hoedur shot, and Baldur fell dead. We see here twins, the God of the Sun and of the Light, and his brother, who lives in darkness because he is blind. This is the blindness that gradually took complete possession of humanity as the gate to the ancient, direct awareness of the spiritual world was closed the blind brother kills the light. Heaven and Earth were separated. Down in that darkness, a humanity developed that became separated more and more from the reality of a divine world. Baldur, the Sun Being of Promise, was in the heights of the spiritual-cosmic world. There grew a tremendous gap.

We can now really see what actually did take place in that moment of the Baptism. It seems to be a contradiction at first. But this is just the wonderful fact: the Christ Event healed and redeemed that split between Heaven and Earth. This happened when John the Baptist heard the voice in heaven of the Father: This is my beloved Son. In the usual Bible translation it says, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Rudolf Steiner says this translation is incorrect, and it actually should be: This is my beloved Son in whom I, the Father, realize myself as Self. Then a tremendous step in evolution happened down on the Earth. The Heavens revealed themselves. They were present in the being of Christ as Self, as I. This is expressed or exclaimed, as it were, by this Saturn who carried the sadness of the cosmic meaning of the Baldur-Hoedur myth. Now he realizes, Heaven and Earth can be united again.

In connection with Cancer, we find in Norse mythology another wonderful story that can explain what happened. The constellation of Cancer is connected with the so-called Bifrost Bridge. This is the bridge that spans the abyss between Asgard, the dwelling of the gods, and Midgard, the dwelling of the human race. At the time of the Twilight of the Gods, this bridge was burnt down, so the myth says, and so there was no longer a bridge. What does this mean? It simply wants to tell us that the nature-given connection that existed in ancient times between the spiritual world and the human world so that humanity could look directly into the spiritual world was interrupted. After a certain moment it no longer existed. But now, during the Three Years, the bridge was rebuilt; the kingdom of heaven again came close to humanity. Heaven was open again to those of good will. And then at the time of Whitsun, Leo was given a new meaning. The original meaning was this: Once upon a time in the course of creation, the periphery was gathered together in order to build the human heart, for originally the archetypal functions of rhythm were right out in the periphery of the cosmos. You find corresponding indications in the book Occult Science by Rudolf Steiner. These functions eventually became enclosed in the chest, the house of the human being. From the Christ events on, they can again expand toward the periphery. We can grow again toward the cosmos, but now in such a fashion that we maintain our integrity as a self. All this was spoken into the movement of Saturn during the Three Years by the deeds of Christ.

Now we go on to Fig. 1.2. We look at the same thing from the heliocentric point of view, that is, from the viewpoint of the Sun. Again we have here Cancer and Leo. During the latter part of the Three Years, Saturn moved through the perihelion of Venus and eventually through the aphelion of Mars. What does this mean? This is one of the most important aspects of the story and can also give an idea of how one can combine, or reconcile, the geocentric and the heliocentric. For our present purposes, there is no need to insist exclusively on one of the two. To maintain that the world is heliocentric and that is the end of it, or that it is geocentric and we cannot do anything with the heliocentric, is immaterial in our present context. We can make the two cooperate, and then we can get the most wonderful interpretations. What do we mean by this? The planets move, according to the heliocentric point of view, around the Sun. They do not move around the Sun in circles but in ellipses. The Sun is in one of the two foci (Fig. 1.3). The ellipse is the orbit of the planet. It is overdone in the figure for the sake of demonstration. In some cases the differences are much smaller. The perihelion is the position where the planet is closest to the Sun, whereas the aphelion is the position where it is furthest away from the Sun. This orbit indicates the sphere of the planet.

   

Figure 1.2 Figure 1.3

   

   

If we want to come to a deeper comprehension of cosmic events, we must enter an investigation of the spheres. The spheres are contained within the orbit of the planet. With this concept we come closer to the perception of the cosmos as a living organism. This endeavor is most important just in our time. We know that men have landed on the Moon, and there was much speculation on what this means for our knowledge of the cosmos, how this will affect the Moon, and so forth. However, we must not forget that the Moon is only a reflection. The Moon that we see in the sky is only the visible indicator of that completely invisible sphere that is contained within the orbit of the Moon. This sphere is the more important element. It is, so to speak, the workshop of Divine Hierarchies. This is where they work. Thus the beings who are connected with Venus have their workplace, so to speak, in the sphere of Venus. The beings of Mars work in the sphere of Mars, and so forth.

For our work, it is important to know the difference between perihelion and aphelion. They are deeply connected with that which was introduced into the universe and evolution around the time of the Fall in Paradise. Before the Fall the cosmos was an integrated whole, so to speak, and humanity lived in this wholeness. At the moment of the Fall humanity came apart. On the one hand the head forces developed; in other words, humanity ate from the Tree of Knowledge. It is really a Tree of Knowledge, that which grows into the body. We need only imagine the central nervous system; the brain, as the root system of that tree and the nerves that spread like branches into the entire body. One thing was then withheld from humanity, the Tree of Life, which is the opposite, the other polarity of the human form that then developed. If we imagine the heart and the arteries going out from the heart, we have a picture of the Tree of Life, which spreads through the organism, as it were, against the Tree of Knowledge, the tree of the nerves. Actually the human form was thus distorted. The gods had created it differently.

This polarity was even introduced into the life of the spheres of the planets. Somehow all the spheres of the planets are involved in this. We recall again, for instance, the workings of Saturn forming the skeleton. Here we can quite clearly get an impression of the polarity. On the one hand the skull is built by Saturn, which encloses the brain, and on the other hand, the skeleton of the limbs supports the muscular substance, and so forth, from within. This is connected with that stage of evolution around the time of the Fall. Thus we can say that in the perihelion the planetary sphere is really integrated into our solar system. The spiritual beings who are connected with the perihelion within a particular sphere are interested in this solar system. They combine with it identify themselves with it. In other words, we have something like the cosmic equivalent of a head (Fig. 1.3). It is an activity, somewhat faintly similar on a cosmic level with what every human being does with the head when observation combines with perception, etc. In the opposite part, in the aphelion, the planet and its sphere almost look as though they were intent on going off on a rampage in the greater cosmos. It expresses at least the tendency for this, whereas in the perihelion, the Sun would hold it back within the solar system. In a certain sense, an element of stagnation is involved in this polarity; an element, however, that facilitates a certain evolution until such times in the future when a breaking out of this state of stagnation will be necessary.


Figure 1.4
Thus we see here something wonderful during the Three Years: On the one hand Saturn moves through the perihelion of Venus and on the other through the aphelion of Mars. The head part of the sphere of Venus and the limb part of Mars are engaged. In this is expressed something of tremendous import, even right into our time. In The Changing Countenance of Cosmology, we spoke about Mars. The principle of its movements, of the rhythms of its conjunctions and oppositions to the Sun, forms two squares, one set upon the other. This is the principle of Mars, which means that it is really set and firmly fixed, consolidated, and absorbed into matter so that it is no longer capable of change and movement. Mars is continually doing this in the world

and in us. Mars is connected with the sense of material existence. By following the Eight-fold Path of Buddha, one does actually redeem the double square and make it pliable for seeing the reality of the material world. We need Mars. Every human being needs Mars. This planet is connected with aggressiveness. It is the god of war, whom we need in order to use our senses properly. If I look at certain objects, I must put these objects into their proper places, distances, and so on. I say, You are there and I am here, and only on that level can I see you. Otherwise I am in danger of dissolving and melting together with the objects, and I would not see them as a self. So, we need Mars, but it can go too far and bind us forever to the material world. In other words, we would get stuck in the first part of the Earth evolution. During the first half, the Cosmic Divine Wisdom was incarnated step by step, precipitated into matter. This is the First Creation, which is described in Genesis.

Venus, which we call the Evening Star, was in very ancient times called Mercury. The names were exchanged at some point far back in history, according to Dr. Steiner. In Part One, we worked out the elements of this planet that astronomy calls Venus. And we came to realize that the conjunctions of Venus with the Sun inscribe a pentagram into the ecliptic. This is a picture of the perfect integration, perfect harmony, within the human form, and still more, within humanity. In other words, it pronounces love and harmony in a cosmic sense. Traditional astrology also speaks of Venus being connected with love in a more worldly sense. This is correct, but it is only a tiny fraction of the reality of Venus. It is really that impulse of love and compassion, communication with all existing things, which was introduced and practiced by true Christianity.

Saturn moved through this cosmic expression, through the perihelion of the impulse of love, with regard to all future Earth evolution. It is the redemption of Mars, which would want to go its own way of material, loveless, and cold factual existence only, expressed, for instance, in all that happens in its perihelion-aphelion line. Thus Saturn moved, about eight months after Golgotha, through the aphelion of Mars. These lines are moving through the Zodiac in time. At the time of Christ, the perihelion of Venus was in Cancer, where it still is. However, at present it has moved further toward Leo. The aphelion of Mars, the faster one, was then already in Leo, but the two were then closer together than at present. Indeed, if we did go back into pre-Christian times, we would find that at one point in the history of humanity the two coincided. So, one would find the perihelion-line of Venus being identical with the aphelion-line of Mars. The two were, so to speak, at loggerheads. The one had the head part of its sphere where the limb part of the other sphere was located. There existed a contradiction between the two spheres, a fundamental contradiction in cosmic terms. How did this express itself?

When in ancient times the great initiates of humanity had problems, they put their questions to the cosmos. They asked, so to speak, the Sun through the medium of the Moon. We can no longer do this. We must, in order to receive answers, look toward the connections in time no longer to space, but time. In other words, what we are going to do now in order to find an answer to our problem, the meaning of that coincidence between the spheres of Mars and of Venus, is to go back in time. We go back to that moment in history when the two actually did coincide. There we find something very interesting. We discover that they coincided about 3200 to 3100 BC. This is the beginning of the Kali Yuga, the Dark Age. Thus at the beginning of the Kali Yuga we have that unique event. It takes some of these conjunctions tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of years to recur. Thus, we can see how the Christ Impulse timed in with the historical and physical consequences of the Dark Age of oncoming materialism, in order to lay the foundation for the slow redemption of Mars by the forces of Venus (i.e., by Mercury in an occult sense), the healing impulse of the cosmos. This we can read in the position and associations of Saturn during the Three Years.

   

   



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