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Cosmic Christianity

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The Movement of Mars During the Three Years

We have worked during the last two sessions with the movements and associations of Saturn and Jupiter during the Three Years. We did this not just in order to have the information; it has a definite, practical relationship to our present age. In the course of this present century, the Christ events (the Christ Impulse) have again come close to humanity. During the last nineteen hundred years humanity lived by tradition. It had mainly only the documents, and we have experienced how this tradition is coming to an end. It is getting short of breath, in a sense. We see this happening all around us in the ailing of the churches. It concerns nearly all religions, but the Christian religion seems to suffer the most from this decline. Just in this situation, which has arisen in the course of this century, we can lift up our eyes again with hope. Rudolf Steiner revealed, already in 1910, that during this present century the experience will commence of the Second Coming of Christ the Presence, or the Parousia as it is called in the Greek version of the Gospels. Dr. Steiner pointed out that this Second Coming will occur in a life, or ether, body. This would explain the corresponding expressions used in the Gospels, Luke XXI:27: And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory; or Acts I:9, A cloud received him out of their sight... [He] shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

From the year 1935 actually from the years 1933, 1935, and 1937 onward into the future and during the next 3,000 years, people in increasing numbers will be able to have the experience of the closeness of the Risen Christ in the ether body. Rudolf Steiner pronounced this on the basis of his spiritual investigations. The tremendous and dramatic pictures, words, and deeds that happened on the Earth during the Three Years are not lost in the cosmos. After some sojourn and development in the wide cosmos, where they were strengthened, they have now come back again to the Earth. They are in the neighborhood, or in the aura, of the Earth and can work down into the spheres where human beings live. Thus the Christ can manifest again as the Risen One, who is close to a humanity that seeks Him. We have experienced that these events are, as a rule, accompanied by the ever-repeated configurations in the heavens similar to those that took place during the Three Years. Hence we can look at the rhythms and workings of Saturn and Jupiter during the Three Years as something like a foundation, as a sort of principle or archetype for all the future. These archetypes can be with us, and if we study Saturn, for instance, in our days and look particularly for returns to the original positions, then we shall find in history, and particularly in modern history, moments in which the Christ is especially near to a humanity that accepts Him. We shall now demonstrate this.

As we followed the movements of Saturn and Jupiter during the Three Years, we came to the conclusion that during the final events the two planets were in the two constellations of Cancer and Gemini (Fig. 3.1). In the latter constellation we found the ascending node of Jupiter. The node of Saturn was still in Cancer. Furthermore, we found that Saturn moved between the perihelion of Venus and the aphelion of Mars. During the Three Years there is one more thing that is important, the node of Neptune. We must also include the spheres of those outermost planets that were discovered only during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, that is, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. They joined the solar system late, but we can assume that they were already present at the time of Christ. Saturn and Jupiter moved through the zodiacal region of these planetary elements during the Three Years. Both planets return to these positions periodically. Saturn returns there every 30 years and into the opposite point we must include these too every 15 years. Jupiter is faster, and every 12 years it would return to the original position. To this we now add one particular feature that is important for the life of the cosmos. These are the so-called Great Conjunctions. They happen every 20 years in three points of the Zodiac, which are equidistant. Thus they form a big triangle in the Zodiac in the course of 60 years, and this triangle rotates in time. Take, for instance, our present age. In 1901 there was such a Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation of Sagittarius. The two planets were then close to the descending node of Jupiter. Sixty years later, in 1961, the Great Conjunction happened again, and in 2020 it will repeat itself. But we discover that the latter two conjunctions have, or will have, moved deeper into Sagittarius, away from the descending node of Jupiter. The one in 1961 was in the descending node of Saturn, and in 2020 it will be close to the aphelion of Venus. So, there is movement, and therefore the entire triangle, which is inserted in the Zodiac by these conjunctions, moves. It is like the hands of a clock. Thereby we can define and gauge time in a historic sense.

   

Figure 3.1

   

This triangle needs about 2,500 to 2,600 years to go around once through all the constellations of the Zodiac, during which these Great Conjunctions are, at certain times, either moving through the places of the ascending or descending nodes of Jupiter and Saturn, and through the perihelion or aphelion of Venus. In 1901 when the Great Conjunction took place in the descending node of Jupiter, such a cycle of events began. In such a moment the heavens are, so to speak, open to an activation of Earth events by a cosmic commemoration of the Christ Event, which was very active in history around 1901. In 1899 the 5,000 years of Kali Yuga, the Dark Age, had come to an end. (At least it should have come to an end. Sometimes one can have the impression that we have dropped even deeper into darkness since.) In 1900-1901 Rudolf Steiner started to communicate his message of Anthroposophy to humanity. At that time he laid the foundation for a spiritual understanding of Christianity when he gave a cycle of lectures in Berlin, which were then collected in the book Christianity as Mystical Fact. Thus do these cosmic commemorations work in history and become reality on Earth. So we can indeed speak of a return, of a presence, of the Christ in some form. Now we can go on to 1961 and ask what it might have meant for humanity. A very objective observer could discern a continuation of that which was started in 1901, and would detect that at the end of 1930, a heliocentric Great Opposition had taken place with Saturn near the descending and Jupiter near the ascending node of Jupiter. (These are halfway houses in the cycle of 60 years.) One would then also discover that around that time humanity entered a kind of move toward a World Golgotha. We need only think of the events in Central Europe during the thirties. During the years since 1961, this seems to have accelerated markedly. Yet, in all the gravity of external developments, we can all the more hope that a World Good Friday will be followed by a World Easter Sunday, by a revelation of the power of Resurrection.

If we go through history we find similar occasions earlier. Already during the first centuries after the Mystery of Golgotha, about 134 AD, and then at intervals of 60 years (that would be 193, 253, 312, and 372), Great Conjunctions occurred. They took place in the opposite part of the Zodiac to where the two planets were during the Three Years. In the opposition they worked all the more as activating commemorations but then rather in individuals. The conjunction in 312 AD is associated with the Emperor Constantine. It was the moment when he was converted to Christianity. The era of the persecutions of the Christians came to an end, and Christianity became a state religion. Surely a kind of Christianity, thereby, was inaugurated that was not always conducted in the spirit of the original, esoteric Christ Impulse. Behind this development there stood faint experiences, at least, of the reality of the Christ Impulse.

Later, starting in the 6th century, the Great Conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter occurred in the ascending nodes of Saturn and Jupiter, also in the other planetary elements that we mentioned. These were the places in the Zodiac where the two planets actually moved during the Three Years. In 590, and after that at intervals of 60 years, the Great Conjunction arrived in these positions, in 650, 709, and 769 AD, right into the 9th century, in 829 and 888. These were very important moments in the history and development of Christianity. Around 590, actually in 597, Augustine of Canterbury arrived on the island of Thanet, in the estuary of the Thames, from where he started to convert the population of the British Isles to Roman Christianity. This was essentially founded on the tradition of the other Augustine, Augustine of Hippo. He taught on the basis of the realization that all direct insight into the Christ Events, which the first Christians had, had been lost. All that was left, in his mind, were the Scriptures. This was the beginning of dogmatic Christianity, and the Roman Church increasingly evolved its existence and its work on this attitude. The second, later Augustine founded Canterbury. Soon after that a war of extinction was started against the Celtic Church in the north. It lasted many years, but eventually the Celtic Church, which had come from Ireland and had its center at Iona, was extinguished. It was a kind of Golgotha event for esoteric Christianity, because Celtic Christianity was an esoteric Christianity. It was able to live in that Presence of which we spoke earlier. Many stories exist that seek to describe this fact. St. Bridget of Iona is one such example. The story relates that she is supposed to have traveled in a spiritual form to Palestine, at the time of the birth of Jesus. She relieved the mother of Jesus for one night, and in the morning she received from Mary her mantle, in thanks. Into this mantle, stars were woven, which obviously wants to emphasize the cosmic background of the birth of Jesus. Then there is the story of a king of Ireland who had a visitor. He went with that visitor for a walk in the woods. Suddenly the King rushed up against trees, hitting about him as if he had gone mad. When he was asked, he said that in that moment the most atrocious deed in humanity on this planet had been performed. It was the moment of the Crucifixion, and that event had enraged him fearfully. These stories attempt to tell us that the Celts were able to fellow the events in Palestine clairvoyantly; and it was on this that Celtic Christianity, the Christianity of St. Columba and the other Celtic Saints, was built. This was extinguished externally. It was a type of Golgotha Event, followed by a Resurrection Event. Such examples in history can give us confidence that however dark a certain age might be, there can be hope for the future.

Rudolf Steiner spoke, on the basis of his spiritual investigations, about the elimination of Celtic Christianity. He pointed out that in this moment the Celtic Folk Spirit performed a sacrifice and renounced its task as Folk Spirit to become the guiding spirit of esoteric Christianity. This is evident from a careful observation of the corresponding historic events. In 709, one of the Great Conjunctions of this series occurred. Soon after, in 711, the Islamic Moors from North Africa broke into Europe via Gibraltar. They completely conquered Spain and proceeded to invade the realm of present-day France. About that time the foundation of a true antidote against the spreading militant Mohammedanism was established with the Order of the Holy Grail. Charibert of Laon, the grandfather of Charlemagne, traveled to the East. And from the East he brought the message of the Holy Grail and all that it concerned. In the Holy Grail, the essence of esoteric Christianity is indeed present, in which now the Celtic Folk Spirit could dwell and work. This is the background of the stories of King Arthur and the Parsifal events. These events took place during the 9th century, and the Great Conjunctions of 829 and 888 seem to be connected with it. They were indeed activating commemorations in the cosmos of the Resurrection and Whitsun events.

Another set of Great Conjunctions, carrying a similar power of commemoration, occurred during the 11th and 12th and right into the 13th centuries. At that time in Christianity, great disputes raged on the matter of the Transubstantiation. For instance, a personality such as Berengarius was involved in these disputes. He was unable to conceive of the Transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at the ritual of the Holy Mass. Then we come to the 15th century, and there we again find Great Conjunctions appearing close to the nodes of Saturn and Jupiter, and to the perihelion of Venus and the aphelion of Mars. The node of Neptune is also involved. The dates of these conjunctions are 1444, 1504, 1563, and 1623. This was a time in history when esoteric Christianity, which had been re-established by the movement of the Holy Grail, took another step forward. One can find a definite, historic sequence in the establishment of esoteric Christianity. The Holy Grail is a vessel that had been made, according to tradition, out of a jewel that fell from the crown of Lucifer in the heavens. It fell to the Earth, and out of this was formed the dish that was used at the time of the Last Supper. It was then kept hidden for a long time, and its destiny was told by Robert de Boron, one of the French troubadours. According to the story, this vessel actually stems from the domain of the adversary, Lucifer, who opposed the Christ during the Temptation and tried to divert Him from His deed of salvation. However, just this very substance of Lucifer is taken and transformed into the carrier of the holiest that Christianity possesses. The story says that every Good Friday a dove descends from the heavens and puts a Holy Host into that Vessel of the Holy Grail. It is the ever-feeding nourishment of the Grail knights. We find a transmutation of this principle in the Order of the Knights Templars. They founded the Order on the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It is a motif similar to that of the Holy Grail. The grave of the Earth, of the dark Earth, out of which the Resurrection took place, is made the foundation. It is a kind of transformed Grail motif. The Order of the Knights Templars was founded in 1118-19. It was destroyed, chiefly through the insistence of King Philip le Bel of France, at the beginning of the 14th century, finally in 1314. These dates are close to Great Conjunctions and oppositions near the descending node of Saturn, and between the descending node of Neptune and the perihelion of Mars. Again we see here a cosmic commemoration of the Three Years.

A further transformation of Grail Christianity took place in the development of Rosicrucian esoteric Christianity. In 1444 the Great Conjunction occurred in the ascending node of Jupiter, and 15 years later Saturn was opposite in the descending node of Jupiter. This brings us to 1459. These dates are intimately connected with the development of the Rosicrucian impulse; for instance, 1459 is the date that is connected with The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, Anno 1459, which was published early in the 17th century. It reveals several profound aspects of a Christian occultism. In one sense it is the story of a great initiation into esoteric Christianity. Above all it confirms that Rosicrucianism is in perfect keeping with the principles of Grail Christianity and the principles of the Knights Templars. The black cross (of the Rose Cross) stands as a symbol for the dark Earth, for death, for all that we inherit from the material world. This is redeemed and sanctified by the wreath of seven glowingly red roses, the symbol of eternal life, of resurrection. Also in this imagination we can conceive of the transformation of the vessel by carrying the most holy, spirit essence, which humanity received through the Christ Event.

Eventually we come to modern times, to the Great Conjunctions that we mentioned in the beginning. Again esoteric Christianity takes a new step forward. What Rudolf Steiner offered to modern humanity as Anthroposophy was not just a repetition or imitation of the Rosicrucian impulse, but a further development of Rosicrucian Christianity congenial to modern stages of human consciousness. Indeed, we can see that a study of the cosmic implications, as we try to present it with regard to Saturn and Jupiter, leads us to historic characterizations of the advance of the Christ Impulse in humanity. It leads us also to a comprehension of the great trials, the great Golgotha experiences, through which a humanity on this road must by necessity go, for the sake of its catharsis. In 1623 a Great Conjunction took place, close to the perihelion of Venus and the ascending node of Neptune. This happened at the beginning of the 30 Years War. The position of the great opposition in 1930 in the history of modern humanity was mentioned earlier in this chapter.

We will carry on with the study of what Mars was doing during the Three Years. The very concept Mars implies the warlike attitude of this planet: aggression and confrontation. We need this, apart from the other gifts offered by the cosmos, in order to meet the Earth when we incarnate. When we look at objects, mostly unconsciously, we push that object back into perspective and into a certain distance. Thus we maintain our integrity as individual selves. Through this process we are able to say: There is the object, here am I. Otherwise, we might amalgamate with the object to such an extent that we could not recognize its independent existence. We need Mars in order to come to a clear perception of the physical-material world and to formulate speech. Mars is concerned with the development of speech, which is the highest manifestation of the forces of this planet in humanity. Hence there is always an attitude of confrontation connected with this cosmic heritage. For instance, the gall bladder is also associated with Mars. This organ does something similar in the digestive process. Foreign substances, such as food, enter the body. Mars then works through the gall bladder to confront, to attack what entered the body, at first as uncongenial substance. Otherwise the substances might poison our organism.

This attitude of Mars can go, of course, to the extreme and threaten damage. This has happened in the course of history. Mars was deeply connected with the development of perception in the human race and therefore with the first creation; that is, the creation of that world which we now have around us as nature, including our own physical nature. But that first creation is now superseded by the impact of the Christ Event. St. Paul recognized this when he spoke of the second creation, of the Second Adam. In the course of the first creation, humanity entered ever deeper into material existence through sense perception. This was a necessary development in order to lead us to independence. However, if this were to carry on beyond what is necessary, it would submerge us completely in matter. The Second Adam-person follows the Venus principle, the realization of love and compassion. As a teaching, it was already prepared in humanity by the Buddha. For instance, the Eightfold Path of Buddha is one such means of preparation and redemption of a Mars that might have gone too far and become detrimental. This is the danger of the Mars capacities: if they persist for too long they can become forces of obstruction, of opposition against evolution. They want then to maintain their own existence. Therefore they may also develop opposition to all that promotes the new spiritual creation, the New Adam.

On the 6th of January 31 AD, Mars had just entered Aries (Figure 3.2). From there it moved around once through the Zodiac and came back to Aries, where it went into a loop. That happened in the autumn of 32 AD. Then it moved on into Gemini where it was on April 3, 33 (at Golgotha). Thus, right in the beginning Mars was in Aries. What does that mean? Mars tears down, as it were, the forces of Aries, leads them down, deep down even into the material world. Aries is the archetypal region of the human head in the cosmos. The ancient symbol that we use is . It corresponds exactly with that which is inscribed in the physiognomy of the head. The brain rests horizontally on the base of the skull, above the eyebrows. From there a vertical line works down into the lower part, into the movable part of the head. This is present in the downward trend, starting along the nose. If Mars works into this too strongly and too long, it may adulterate the cosmic image of the head. There may then be too strong an emphasis on sense perception and particularly reliance on the brain exclusively.

Figure 3.2

Mars was in this position around the time of the Temptation. The Christ was then confronted with the ancient heritage contained in the body of Jesus. This body of Jesus, like the corruptible body of any other human being, carried the involvement of being born into the realm of sense perception, into the material-physical world. It had to participate, by nature, in the consequences of the Fall in Paradise. During the 40 days in the desert, the Christ faced that which Lucifer had inflicted upon humanity in Paradise. He insisted that this material-physical world was his domain and that it must not be disturbed. Therefore he tempted the Christ, tried to lure Him away from the intended mission on the Earth of bringing redemption even into this sphere of humanitys relationship to the physical-material world. Every human being is exposed to this temptation; mostly we dont notice it and fall. This is just a fact. By the Deed of Christ, by His rejection of the tempters, He laid the foundation for our return to our cosmic image, to our preordained position in a cosmic evolution. We had lost that and instead had to live in a corruptible body. In that moment of the rejection of the tempters, a seed was implanted, so to speak, into the Earth, and the example was set which was to prove that redemption is possible for every human being who would follow Him. Thereby that Mars in Aries was given the potential for a new meaning, which can be enacted in the course of individual human endeavor.

After that we see Mars move through the Zodiac. It came back into Aries in autumn, 32 AD, around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, which is described in St. John VII, and performed a loop. Another test, similar to that which we described, took place: We read that Christs brethren had gone up to the Feast of Tabernacles at Jerusalem. He stayed behind, at first, but then we hear that He also went up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret (St. John VII:10). He went in an invisible form into which He could draw Earth matter, at His will, to make it visible. This is the first glimpse of the resurrection body, or the phantom body, which the human being had lost through the Fall in Paradise. By overcoming the tempters earlier, He had taken a further step toward the re-establishment of humanity's cosmic dignity and potential.

We hear, however, in this Chapter VII of St. John, also of the growing fierce opposition by the old Mars-Aries forces. He says to the Jews (Verse 19): Why go ye about to kill me? It was the voice of the adversaries, whom the Christ had overcome, who spoke through the Jews. With all their might they wanted to hang onto the old Mars order and keep humanity in the bondage of perishable material existence. Finally we see Mars at the time of Golgotha. Here the constellation Gemini appeared, through Mars, as an image of the two adversaries, Lucifer and Ahriman. Lucifer had tempted Adam and Eve in Paradise, and he had succeeded. Thus also Ahriman found the door open. He had introduced death, and the fear of death, into humanity. Now, at the moment of Golgotha he again stood there, demanding his toll. However, by the event of the Resurrection he was defeated. The old death had lost his power. Thereby the gate of hope was thrown open for all peoples of good will, so that Ahriman and his impact on humanity can be overcome. Thus also was Mars in Gemini potentially redeemed.

If we could go into the details of the career of Mars during the Three Years, we would find many more such instances of the redemption and salvation, which were performed as potentials by the Christ.

   

   



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