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Cosmic Christianity

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The Movement of Mercury During the Three Years

We will now work out details concerning Mercury. This will be somewhat more complicated than the other planets. It is particularly the rhythms of Mercury that interest us. In the course of one year it performs three complete cycles, or orbits. In Fig. 6.1, which gives the heliocentric point of view, the Sun is in the center. Mercury moves around the Sun. Next would follow Venus. In the outer circle we see the orbit of the Earth. It can happen that at one time the Earth is in position A and Mercury in point A of its orbit. This is a superior conjunction (called an opposition heliocentrically) with Mercury being behind the Sun, far out in space, as seen from the Earth. Both move on, and in the course of 116 days the Earth would move into about the position B. Mercury completes an orbit once in 88 days and comes back to position A. During the remaining 28 days (up to 116 days), it goes still further and moves into B. We find it again in superior conjunction with the Earth. This we call a cycle. From the geocentric view, this presents itself somewhat differently. For this we need to look at Fig. 6.2. There the Sun is moving around the Earth and we visualize the Sun in position A and Mercury behind it, as seen from our planet. From there Mercury goes around the Sun, moves on, and finally finds itself in position B, again behind the Sun. Thus it has completed a cycle, but something happened midway in the cycle. Mercury, on its orbit around the Sun, would have arrived in this position A1. It is obviously in front of the Sun, seen from the Earth. This movement appears from our standpoint, according to the laws of perspective, as a loop.

   

Figure 6.1 Figure 6.2

   

Of course, Copernicanism will say that this is an optical illusion, caused simply by the relative positions of Sun and Earth and planet. Nevertheless, we take it as a significant cosmic symbol, which vividly describes what is happening in such a moment. In more than a metaphorical sense, we can say that in position A Mercury gathers up cosmic substance from space beyond the Sun. After that Mercury goes into a phase as evening star, though it may be difficult to observe on account of its smallness and nearness to the Sun. (Copernicus never in his life saw Mercury.) After that the planet moves in front of the Sun and comes much closer to the Earth. One can say that it hands over to our planet what it had gathered in cosmic space, while it was behind the Sun. This is, however, not the end (Fig. 6.3). Again Mercury moves on, into B, the next superior conjunction, followed by a loop in B1, a superior conjunction in C, and finally a loop in C1; after which Mercury approximately moves back into the position A. These are the three cycles of the planet in the course of one year.

   

Figure 6.3

   

It is obvious that we thereby get two triangles, whose corners are indicated by the superior and inferior conjunctions. However, on account of the relative distance of the planet from the Earth, the inner triangle of the loops is much smaller than the triangle made by the superior conjunctions. They are not quite equilateral, which is due to the apparently varying speed of Mercury. When it is moving through its perihelion it appears to move faster, whereas in its aphelion it appears to move slower on account of its furthermost distance from Sun and Earth. The movement from one superior conjunction to the next takes about 116 days, we said. Three times 116 days makes 348 days. So there are still 17 days left in one year of 365 days. Thus it happens that the triangles constantly shift backward in the ecliptic. For instance, it takes about six years for the point A (Fig. 6.3) to get into the position of C, and of course, the others fall back correspondingly. It takes about 20 years that is, not quite three times seven for the corners of the triangles to come back to the original positions. Thus this double triangle or hexagram, with some imagination, moves rather fast compared with that of Venus. The movement of the Venus pentagrams takes about 1,200 years to go through the entire ecliptic. The geometric patterns that the planets inscribe in the heavens are, with reservations, the real stars. What we see in the heavens is, in a sense, only the pen that indicates the real star.

If we take the hexagram of Mercury realistically, what does it convey to us? It comes close to the symbol of Figs. 6.4 and 6.5. It means that the big triangle is always connected with certain cosmic substances or elements that are being collected.

Figure 6.4 Mercury is associated with intelligence. In the sense of the bigger triangle, this would be cosmic divine intelligence, because then the planet is right out in cosmic space. The small triangle would then be an image of cosmic intelligence being received on Earth, for instance, into human intelligence. We could translate this into the attempt of an imagination in Figure 6.5, bottom right. The greater triangle depicting a cosmic being who spreads its cloak over the smaller being, represented by the inner triangle. The latter lifts up its arms, as it were, in a gesture of supplication and reception. This can give us quite a good idea of the nature of Mercury, of how it is connected with the background of human intelligence, and how this intelligence works into the will and can perform deeds out of a realization of cosmic intelligence. Thus Mercury is always associated with this twofold action, which is also expressed, for instance, in human breathing. We take the air that is all

around us in space into our organism by inhalation. We transform it in the body, and then we exhale it again, of course, in a different composition. In this sense, the Mercury cycles play a most important part in the events of the Three Years.

During the two and one-third years, between the Baptism and Golgotha, we find seven cycles of Mercury. Each one displayed the gesture of going far out into cosmic space, even beyond the Sun. The inferior conjunctions, the loops, signified a bringing down of cosmic forces into Earth reality, and earthly deed. Thus, for instance, it might not appear to be farfetched if we connect these seven rhythms with the so-called Signs in the Gospel of St. John, where we hear of seven great deeds of Christ. The first is the wedding at Cana, which is right at the beginning, then the healing of the noblemans son of Capernaum, the healing of the sick man at the pool of Bethesda, the feeding of the five thousand, the vision of Christ walking on the sea, the healing of the man born blind, and the seventh was the raising of Lazarus. As far as one can speak of chronological evidence, it appears that the superior conjunction was connected with a kind of gesture: the gesture of reaching out into the cosmos, of using Mercury as a tool, so to speak, to gather up certain cosmic substances, or ingredients, and then to bring them down into one of the seven signs at the time of the inferior conjunctions.

This is described from another angle in the Gospel of St. Mark. In the first chapter (32-39) we hear that in the evening many sick people came to the Christ and were healed. And in the morning He went out to a solitary place and prayed. We can well imagine what it meant when Christ prayed: by bringing down cosmic forces, as an ordinary man would pick up his tools. He is the great Ego, the Self of the cosmos, who can use the ingredients of the cosmos in independence. By no means do we suggest that it was a matter of the Christs being dominated by the stars. Rather it is a matter of being in command of the cosmos, just as the ego of the human being can be in command of the body. Thus He reached out into the universe, and then brought the ingredients down onto the Earth, to use them for His deeds. According to the Gospel of St. Mark, the healings in the evening were made possible by the morning forces brought down to Earth in praying. This is a reality. The descriptions in the Gospels are by no means belletristic paraphrases. They carry tremendous reality, which must from now on into the future be taken very seriously if humanity decides to follow Christ.

We venture to mention in this connection the experiments and achievements of Dr. Hauschka in Germany. He discovered that indeed the morning and evening forces can have a tremendous influence on substances. Normally, substances like plant juices and also medicines in liquid form decay because of the natural chemical reaction in liquids. Therefore alcohol or chemicals have to be used in order to preserve substances, which is not always desirable. So, Dr. Hauschka looked for different means of preservation. He came to realize that when he exposed such substances, juices, or medications, to the moments of the rising and setting of the Sun, shielding them during the rest of the day against environmental impacts, that he could preserve the liquids up to seven years. This was a remarkable achievement. He used the power of the Sun.

In connection with another context, we came to the conclusion that the Sun, although it ultimately dissolves space and the elements therein, nevertheless creates space by the suction it exerts on its environment, deep within the cosmic-sidereal spheres. Thus, as much as it seems to dissolve substances on its own surface, indirectly it has an effect on the substances on the Earth. This is accelerated at the moment of the rising or setting of the Sun. With regard to the Moon, a different effect is probably connected with rising and setting. The Moon is, among all its other correlations, also associated with growth, wherever life becomes manifest in the kingdoms of nature. Thus all the planets establish their particular functions, possibly in connection with such rhythms as their rising and setting. It was from these rhythms or similar forces of nature the cosmic forces that Christ brought down to the Earth for the sake of healing and redeeming the consequences of the Fall. Sooner or later we will have to understand and to apply such principles for the sake of our survival.

At present we still rely on nature and the cosmos to provide us with everything that we need in order to conduct our life on this planet. Yet we are slowly coming to realize, partly by gigantic catastrophes in the making, for instance, concerning nutrition and many other things that we must learn to find new standards of existence on our planet. It becomes more and more obvious. The pollution in all spheres of the Earth, such as soil, water, and particularly air, will reach such a level that we will not be able to rely, as a matter of course, on that which nature has given us, so far anyway. We will have to learn to do the jobs ourselves and not solely rely on and passively accept what nature and the cosmos have given to us so graciously until now. Otherwise, one day we may no longer be able to incarnate as we have up to the present. When we incarnate, we go through an embryonic process. We receive from nature the material and from the cosmos the formative forces. Out of the combination of the two, the body in which we dwell for a lifetime is built up. This may well come to an end. For instance, Rudolf Steiner has indicated such developments. He spoke of times to come when the present kind of propagation of the human race will cease. By then humans will have learned new ways of associating spiritually with the world of matter in order to build up and conduct life on this planet. That which human beings of the future must evolve in themselves as spiritual faculties was set out in great archetypes, or examples, by the events of the Three Years. So, looking at Mercury we must always bear in mind that the taking up of cosmic-divine intelligence, and bringing it down into earthly deeds of healing and redemption by the Christ was not done for the sake of producing miracles. These deeds call for the eventual Imitation of Christ, of which the medieval mystic, Thomas Kempis, spoke.

In order to clarify matters, we draw two diagrams containing the seven cycles of Mercury during the Three Years (Figs. 6.6 & 6.7). About 40 days after the Baptism, a superior conjunction took place at the ingress into Pisces (Fig. 6.6). After that, Mercury moved into a loop in the constellation Aries. That was around Passover, 31 AD. Thus Mercury started, just in the transition from Aquarius to Pisces, with a superior conjunction. Now we imagine that through this the Christ reached out with a mighty gesture to receive from the cosmos divine intelligence from the direction of Aquarius and Pisces, and that He brought it down at the time of the loop in Aries about Easter of that year. This would stand behind and be the cosmic source of the first Sign, the wedding at Cana. Water was then transformed into wine. This miracle was enacted out of the secrets of heavenly and earthly water. The wine is an indication that this was an ego-provoking deed, which it still was in those days. By knocking, so to speak, against the organism of the body, it could still bring down the ego into a human being, which it no longer does. The power to do this came from the Aquarius-Pisces region, above which we find the constellation of Pegasus, the Winged Intelligence, as against earthbound, stagnant intelligence. Above Pisces is the constellation of Andromeda, an image of the soul of humanity that has been elevated to cosmic heights. In this we can discern the background of the conversation between the Christ and Mother Mary at the wedding (John II:3-5). According to Rudolf Steiners information, the translation should be: Woman, what weaves between thee and me? Heavenly Virgin-forces of doing enter His being. The water of Aquarius is part of the Great Sea beneath this constellation. It is an image of the etheric, formative forces of the cosmos. The water on Earth is the carrier, or vessel, of these cosmic ether forces, which regenerate and replenish all living beings.

Figure 6.6

All this is then brought down during the loop of Mercury into the Aries region. In that first sign the Christ presented Himself to humanity, at least to that small circle at the wedding, as Aries the Lamb of God, the head of the Kyriotetes, Who takes away the Sin of the World, Who offers to humanity a new spiritual activation.

Next we come to the superior conjunction in the constellation of Gemini, which is then resolved into a loop in the constellations of Cancer and Leo. This is the second loop, which is connected with the healing of the noblemans son at Capernaum according to John IV:46-54. If we carefully read all the details of that healing every word is significant it can give us an idea of what happened, of how the Christ brought down forces from the region of Gemini. This region was then still an expression of the cosmic archetypes of the prevailing hierarchical order of the human community. In connection with the fact that it is a noblemans son, the hierarchical social order is especially emphasized. This fact, together with the redeeming humility that rises up in a centurion, is connected with a similar story of a healing, also at Capernaum, described in Matthew VIII:8-13. The corresponding loop took place in Leo, which symbolizes a development from the periphery to the center-point, to the ego that must be evolved on Earth and whose advent must become the sole criterion of social order.

We come to the next superior conjunction in Virgo, which is a rather elongated constellation. At the time of Christ, it reached across the point of the autumnal equinox into the area of the ecliptic sign of Libra. This superior conjunction was then resolved in a loop at the point of transition into Sagittarius. This can be associated with the healing at the pool of Bethesda (John V:1-16). A festival took place, and the Christ went up to Jerusalem, and there at the pool was a man who had an infirmity, as it is said, for 38 years, and he was healed. Why is the fact that he had an infirmity for 38 years especially mentioned in the Gospel? There must be a meaning in this, because in the Gospels every detail and every word is significant. These 38 years contain deep mysteries of the Christ Event. The healing happened in 31 AD. If we go back 38 years, we come to 7 BC, and in that year the Spiritual Nativity took place of the Jesus of whom the Gospel of St. Luke speaks. There is the possibility, as far as we can see, that it was also the Spiritual Nativity of the Jesus of the Gospel of St. Matthew. Jesus, according to St. Luke, was born just a few days prior to the turning point of time from BC to the AD era. This means that he was born at Christmas of the year zero, in an astronomical sense, or 1 BC, in the calendar sense. For astronomical calculations we must bear this in mind. If we are concerned with a date in 7 BC, we take the zero position minus six and a fraction of a year. Likewise, a date in 31 AD is 30 plus a fraction of a year away from zero. The sum total is then 37 years. This does not seem to agree with the 38 years of the Gospel. However, with regard to these indications in the Gospels, we must take things from a different angle. For instance, we hear of the three days that passed between Golgotha and Easter Sunday morning. He rose after three days it says. This does not mean that it was three days in quantity of time. It was a little more than 36 hours from Good Friday afternoon until sunrise on the following Sunday. But we must see it as an event on three consecutive days, or an event during 38 consecutive years, and so on. In this sense the Spiritual Nativity took place six years and a bit more before zero. Thus we come into the year 7 BC according to the calendar.

Now, we have slipped in a totally novel concept: the Spiritual Nativity. This seems very complicated and confusing; however, the world and its inhabitants are not as simple as some people may want to have them. We are used to looking at nativity as the moment when a human being enters the physical world by birth. This is certainly a significant moment, but it does not exclude that other events around the incarnation may be equally if not more important, particularly if one realizes the fact of reincarnation and the existence of the soul before birth. In this sense the Spiritual Nativity is, so to speak, the spiritual birth of the human being in the cosmic world, while possibly still years away from incarnation. This Spiritual Nativity can therefore take place years before birth, or years after birth. As it is a spiritual birth connected with our higher being, which only shines, as it were, from cosmic heights into the physical incarnation, it is not bound to the laws of physical space and time. However, there exist ways and means of finding this event as a mathematical-astronomical fact, connected with the physical nativity. For this purpose we take the Moon at the moment of the birth of Jesus according to the Gospel of St. Luke. We regard that Moon as the last stage on the descent into incarnation.

The Moon is closest to the Earth; therefore it indicates the last step down onto the Earth. Next we take the Moon node and calculate the time when the node was standing in the place of the Moon at birth. Thus we find the Spiritual Nativity, which Rudolf Steiner describes in Human and Cosmic Thought, a lecture cycle given in January 1914. The calculation of the Spiritual Nativity of Jesus leads us back to one possibility, which is in the year 7 BC; and we have good reason to accept this one date as being appropriate.

This point in history gives us very interesting and pertinent perspectives. It was apparently one of the signals for the Magi the Three Kings who came to visit the Child (Matthew II). We have come to the conclusion that the star of the Magi was not one of those tiny twinkling things in the heavens. The Magi were initiates and astrologers in the noblest sense. The traditions of the mystery schools had taught them to watch out for such events as a great conjunction like the one that occurred in 6 BC, and more. That was the first signal, and by their wisdom of the smaller cosmic cycles they could know when the birth of Jesus would take place. The great conjunction of 6 BC occurred in Pisces, which, in one sense, is as much as saying, The time is fulfilled. Pisces is the grand finale of the 12 constellations; Aries goes in front as the leader of the heavenly host. In the image of Pisces, which is connected with the cosmic archetype of the feet, the human being comes down to stand in the reality of Earth existence.

The great conjunction had also played into the life of that man who had been sick for 38 years. Through some circumstances, he must have known of the great prophecy connected with that star event, and he had lived since that time in expectation of the great redemption of the Messiah to come. He could not find him, and that was the deeper cause of his sickness. In the moment when Christ stood in front of him, a remarkable cosmic rhythm came to completion. We mentioned earlier that the event of 6 BC in its function as the Spiritual Nativity of Jesus was associated with the position of the Moon node at that time and its correlation to the Moon at Jesus birth. In 31 AD, after 37.2 years, the Moon nodes had returned, after two orbits, to the original position. The Moon nodes open the gates to the higher spheres of the cosmos; they are gateways from the Moon to the Sun sphere, or the astral world. Thereby that moment in 31 AD, for the sick man, was an important stage of his long life of expectation. When he was healed he did not yet realize that the Messiah was standing in front of him. Only later, when Jesus found him again in the temple and said to him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee (John V:14), does he recognize Him. The sin was the incapacity of spiritual recognition of the Greater Ego of the cosmos. This is a typical Sagittarius situation. We remember that the healing took place in connection with the loop of Mercury in that constellation. The aiming of the centaur with bow and arrow, and the tremendous evolution indicated by the horse body being resolved into the human form, are vivid imaginations of this. Figure 6.7

We come now to the fourth cycle of Mercury. That would then be the year 32 AD (Fig. 6.7). This one was somewhat similar to the first one in 31 AD, only it had fallen back by a few degrees. The corresponding superior conjunction was in Aquarius, followed by a loop in Pisces, close to the ingress into Aries. It was shortly before Passover in 32 AD. We read about the events that took place then in John VI:1-15, and also in the other Gospels. It was the feeding of the five thousand. Again, the region of cosmic sustenance, Aquarius, was involved, similar to the changing of water into wine, and also Pegasus and the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan. The presence of the spiritual world is indicated in these constellations. Out of those regions the Christ brings down cosmic forces at the time of the loop that takes place in Pisces, where the vernal point was to be in following centuries. One year earlier it was the wine; now five loaves and two fishes are multiplied to feed five thousand. It was a feeding with nourishment. The two fishes are those of the constellation Pisces. To this is added Aquarius, Capricorn, Sagittarius, Scorpio, and Libra.

It all referred to the future of humanity. At the time of Christ the vernal point had just about passed over, astronomically speaking, from Aries into Pisces. The future will see the vernal equinox in Aquarius, Capricorn, and so forth. Thus the feeding implied feeding a future humanity: first that of the Age of Pisces, the Fifth post-Atlantean Age. It is a great Imagination that contains not only pictorial conceptions but concrete spiritual realities, which a future humanity will have to live up to.

We move on to another superior conjunction in Taurus, followed by a loop in Leo. This is associated with the fifth Sign, the apostles vision of Christ walking on the sea (John VI:15-21). According to the description in the Gospel, this appears to have taken place immediately after the feeding of the five thousand. However, in the sense of sequence in the Gospel, this need not be taken as that. There is a strange coincidence reported in three Gospels, St. John, St. Matthew, and St. Mark: When they saw Him walking on the water, they were afraid, saying, It is a spirit. Why should they be afraid? Following the feeding of future humanity, they saw Him as He would appear to that future humanity, in an etheric, or spirit, form. They experienced Him as He actually appeared to them after the Resurrection. This was a manifestation of Leo, and Saturn entered Leo later, after Golgotha. The apostles had a pre-vision of what was to come. The preceding superior conjunction in Taurus indicates that Christ had brought absolute mastership of the physical and even of the material world from the cosmos. Taurus is an image of and connected to the Logos, the Creative Word, who was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made (John I:1-3). We note also the reference to water, which we take as an inference to the appearance of Christ in the etheric.

We come now to the sixth cycle, still in the year 32, with a superior conjunction in Virgo, followed by a loop in the constellation of Scorpio. This is connected with the sixth Sign, the healing of the man born blind, according to John IX. Scorpion is a cosmic image of the blindness from which all the human race increasingly suffered, particularly in our present age. It is also a vivid expression of the heavy arguments that went on after the man was healed, between him and his parents and the Jews (John IX:8-38). In the conversation between Christ and this man, after his arguments with the Pharisees, we can see a redemption of Scorpio (John IX:3538). All this was done out of the cosmic essence of the preceding superior conjunction in Virgo and carried into Earth reality by the power of the Ego of the cosmos, or the Sun. This means to say that the answers to these Scorpio-queries can be found in the attainment of divine wisdom, the wisdom of Isis Sophia, or Virgo. It is there also that answers can he expected to such problems as heredity, and so on, which are implied in the story (John IX:2-3).

Finally we come to the year 33 AD and to the seventh cycle of Mercury. There was first a superior conjunction in the constellation of Capricorn, which descended into a loop in Pisces. This is connected with the last Sign, the raising of Lazarus, which must be regarded as an initiation (see chapter 5). According to ancient wisdom, Capricorn is the portal to the spiritual world, through which the soul of the human being proceeds at the moment of death. Christ brings these cosmic imaginations down into Earth reality. When the loop takes place in Pisces, this last constellation is made by Christ the cosmic cipher of the first and highest, of the initiation perspective contained in the Gospel of St. John, and eventually in the Revelation of John the Divine.

   

   



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