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Cosmic Christianity

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The Manifestation in World History of Cosmic Events during the Three Years

We have repeatedly pointed out in this course that all the events, with which we have been working, in connection with the Three Years are with us again since the middle of this century. They are effective in history. That this is so is due to the Presence, or Parousia, of the Christ from our present age on into the future. Therefore we shall make it our task, in this connection, to demonstrate how the Presence is evident in cosmic chronology.

When we human beings pass over the threshold of death into the spiritual world, we first lay the physical body aside. Then, during the first three days after death, we still live in our etheric body. This etheric, or formative, body is a time organism. This means that it is like a chronicle in which all the events in the life of a human being are inscribed. They are present, so to speak, side by side, although in time they may have happened apart. Thus the past life appears as a great tableau; and our souls are confronted with this tableau during the first three days after death. However, after three days this ether or tableau body is dissolved into the planetary world, because that is the world from which it was taken at incarnation. Now, we can well imagine that in the moment of death on Golgotha this did not happen in the same manner. The ether body of Christ Jesus did not dissolve. As a matter of fact, even the ether bodies of the great initiates do not, as a rule, dissolve. They may remain intact. This has happened in history over and again, and these ether bodies may then work all the more in human history. Nevertheless, that ether body which was freed from the physical body of Jesus on Golgotha went through a tremendous evolution. It was taken up into the cosmos, that is, to the limit of the etheric cosmos. In other words, the ether chronicle of the Deed of Christ was communicated to the entire universe. But at a certain moment it returned, just as an echo would return, and since the middle of the thirties of the present century it has come back. Now it is again in the neighborhood of the Earth, in the aura of the Earth. In order to get an idea of how this worked, we must realize that we are here confronted with certain mysteries with regard to the dynamics of time. We experience time here on Earth as a definite ratio of sequence, of things happening one after the other. We make the day of 24 hours and the year of 365 days the basis of our time concepts. The day is made by the rotation of the Earth around its axis, which causes the phenomena of day and night and the interval of 24 hours. The year of 365 days is caused by the movement of the Sun, or apparent movement in the sense of modern astronomy, around the Earth and its return to the same position in the ecliptic. This takes a time of 365.25 days. Now, we can well imagine that time in the cosmos is something totally different from earthly time. There, different time ratios must be the foundation of chronology, because the rotation of the Earth, for instance, does not directly concern the cosmos. The question now is, what could be a universal time ratio, and can we have access to it? Rudolf Steiner made some suggestions. In a lecture on December 3, 1916, he pointed out that in the spiritual world time is 30 times longer than here on the Earth. So, what we experience as a year here on the Earth would appear in the cosmos like an interval of 30 years. Why should this be so? Time, as we said, is founded on certain rhythms of celestial entities, like the Sun or the Earth, with regard to time on the Earth. However, in the cosmos a number of different rhythms prevail. One should expect that one of the most archetypal rhythms would be one that was associated with the edge of the entire solar system. In a classical sense (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are newcomers from a certain viewpoint), the orbit of Saturn, or the sphere of Father Chronos (as it was called in Greece), may provide the ratio of time we need. This planet was conceived as Omnipotent Father Time, also as the Omnipotent Father of History. He indicated time in a divine-spiritual sense, by its rhythms. The revolution of Saturn through the Zodiac takes about 30 Earth years, or precisely 29.4577 years. Saturn needs this much time in order to complete a sidereal orbit around the Sun, which means that it comes back to the same fixed star in the Zodiac in the course of such an interval of time.

The ether body of Christ Jesus was taken up into the cosmos, and we must now imagine that it was into the time that prevails in spiritual-cosmic space. On Earth it contained a time quantum of 33 years. If we calculate precisely, that is, if we start from the birth of Jesus according to the Gospel of St. Luke and go right up to the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, we actually have a period of 32.28 years. Golgotha happened in the course of 33 AD. This means that 32 years had passed since the New Era started. To this we add the fraction of a year up to Golgotha, and also the few days immediately before the turning to the New Era, from the 25th of December to the end of the year zero. Thus we have a time complex, a time being one might call it, of 32.28 years. And these we transpose into spiritual-cosmic years. That means we multiply these 32.28 years by 29.4577 (the figure for a Saturn year), which brings us to 950.895 years (Fig. 7.1). Seen from the Earth, 950.895 years after Golgotha, the ether body of Christ, the time-organism of the Deed of Salvation, has arrived at the periphery of the solar system. Now it is completely spiritualized and elevated to cosmic magnificence and power. But it is far away from the Earth.

Figure 7.1

One Saturn orbit = 29.4577 Earth years x 32.28 (Life of Jesus Christ)

= 950.895 years

   

+ 33.25

984.145

Golgotha, April 3, 33 AD

+ 950.895

Return-cycle of 29.4577 x 32.28

1935.040

January 6, 1935

   

We started out from the year 33.25. The time from the year zero up to the beginning of April, when Golgotha took place, would add just one quarter of a year. The 33.25 plus 950.895 years (see above) would bring us to 984.145 AD. We had then arrived at the end of the first millennium, and now this Time Being flows back toward the Earth, as an echo comes back. This takes the same time ratio as the going out. The ether organism of 32.28 years in Saturn terms, that is, after another 950.895 years, arrives in the neighborhood of the Earth. Thus, 984.145 plus 950.895 brings us to the year 1935, or precisely, 1935.040. This is the time between the 6th of January, the day of Epiphany, and the 26th of January, the day of St. Paul at Damascus, in the year 1935. At that moment this Ether Being was back in the environment of the Earth. It has always been present in the cosmos since Golgotha, and therefore certain individualities who had gone through extreme experiences and preparations realized the Presence, that is, the Christ in an ether body. For instance, St. Francis of Assisi was in such a position. He could thus experience the Christ and even receive the stigmata. Others had similar experiences. But it was only in 1935 that it was back and close to all humanity, at least potentially. The year 1935 is precisely the date that Rudolf Steiner indicated as the commencement of the age when increasing numbers of human beings would be able to perceive the Christ in the ether garment. This will be accompanied by the development of a natural clairvoyance. The ether body of the human being, which in past millennia had become more and more submerged in the physical body, will gradually lift itself out of the head region. Thereby the human being will be able to perceive similar by similar, to perceive Christ in the ether body through their own emancipated ether bodies. This is the reason for many of the things that manifest at present, right down to so-called psychiatric problems. More and more, human beings have been speaking of experiences such as St. Paul had at Damascus. These experiences are with us and they have been noticed. But the danger is that a materialistically oriented humanity characterizes them as sickness. This may be the reason why we hear very little about such experiences. People who have them may remain silent with good reason. It needs a spiritual science to understand this development, and it also shows our responsibility. Knowing the facts, we could guide people.

The ether body of Christ, which we said is close to the Earth, contains all His words and deeds during the Three Years. They are present in it as activating, living memory, not only mere reflection. Thus they will manifest through the Presence of Christ in them, in present and future humanity. It has happened, and it can even be proven, in a certain sense.

Whenever planets return in the course of their orbits to the positions at the time of the events in Palestine, the original perspectives of Christs deeds become manifest. He full-filled the star-configurations that accompanied the Incarnation with new spiritual meaning, representative for the future. This is reactivated and can enter human lives, from now on into the future, as a challenge whenever planets return to the original positions, or when transits take place.

For instance, at the beginning of the present century Saturn was opposite the places in the Zodiac that it had occupied during the Three Years. From 31 to 33, it moved through the ascending node of Jupiter, its own ascending node, the perihelion of Venus, and the ascending node of Neptune. In 1901-03 Saturn moved through the opposite positions, that is, the descending node of Jupiter in 1901, and so forth. Rudolf Steiner gave then, starting in October 1901, a significant course of lectures, which were later published as the book, Christianity as Mystical Fact and the mysteries of Antiquity (full title). In the introduction, Steiner makes it quite clear that the concept mystical must not, and cannot, be confused by an objective reader with mysticism. Rather, he already then maintains that a true science of nature needs a spiritual insight, a science of the spirit, to fully comprehend the phenomena that present themselves to humanity. In this sense, he describes in the book the mysteries of ancient times, particularly in Greek civilization, and their rebirth in the mysteries of the Christ Events.

With this course of lectures Rudolf Steiner set an example of how a modern humanity can respond freely to the challenges that occur in connection with the return, for instance, of the planets to the positions at the time of the inauguration of Christianity. He set similar examples on many other occasions, but this one is particularly significant, because it stands out as a guide with regard to the perspectives of the Second Coming, which we are now discussing.

On a later occasion during Rudolf Steiners lifetime, in 1915-1918, Saturn moved into the actual positions that it took up during the Three Years, that is, it moved then through the ascending node of Jupiter, its own ascending node, and so forth. Again he set an unprecedented example, or rather, a road sign for a humanity on the threshold of the Second Coming. During those years it was the time of the First World War he carved and worked at his statue of the Representative of Humanity. This statue exists and can be seen in the Goetheanum, the central building of the anthroposophical movement, in Dornach, Switzerland. We know that it represents the Christ as Rudolf Steiner perceived Him by his clairvoyant, spiritual insight. It shows the Christ in a situation that is particularly significant for the human being of the present age. His left arm and hand are lifted up, as it were, to cosmic heights. The gesture is rather one of bringing down those heights to Earth reality. The right arm is directed toward the Earth below, in a protective attitude. Above in the heights we see Lucifer, falling down, as it were, from realms of Earth-estranged cosmic being where he lives in immeasurable pride and rejection. He is one of the two adversaries against whom we must exercise determined recognition and our own power of protection. Below the Christ, in depths of subterranean caverns, Ahriman is bound the other adversary who attempts to fetter us to the material world and to its exclusive recognition.

Of course, these adversaries were not idle either at such times when the living memory of the Christ Deed was activated by the cosmic occurrences into the realization of His Presence. For them it is a matter of the frustration of their intentions with regard to the future of humanity. Their reactions we can well recognize in history; for instance, just toward the end of the First World War, when Saturn moved through the ascending node of Neptune in 1917-18, there was such an occasion. Rudolf Steiner himself was then urged to respond to human anxieties in his environment with regard to the burning social problems that arose, particularly in Central Europe. He suggested then the idea of the Threefold Commonwealth, by which he gave far-reaching details with regard to healthy solutions concerning all spheres of human community life. Had these ideas been realized, they would have inaugurated a true, practical Christianity, right down into concrete details of our earthly existence and without any sentimentality. As soon as it was pronounced, it was combated by the cohorts of the adversaries with all possible might. At the same time, an active counterstroke was created in the social sphere. That was the introduction of Leninist communism into Russia (Nov. 9, 1917). Built into dialectical materialism was the idea that the human ego had to be eliminated, because it was the culprit that created the social crises. The elimination of the ego is just the impulse that the anti-Christian forces perpetrate. In Christ the greater, the cosmic, Ego appeared, which alone can lift us out of the narrowness and destructiveness of the small ego and egotism. This, however, the adversaries cannot accept for the sake of their own existence.

When the thirties of this century approached and with them the year 1935 the commencement of the Second Coming the adversaries became particularly active. They spoke and worked through people like Hitler and his associates. Through them they promised work and bread to a desperate humanity in Central Europe, but at the price of discarding the ideas and impulses of a true Christianity. In that moment, during the first half of 1933, Saturn moved through the descending node of Neptune, opposite the configurations of 33 AD. Before that, the adversarial forces, one could say, prepared this situation very carefully. With the crisis in the world economy, initiated by the events in October 1929, they tried to throw a weakened humanity back into the bondage of matter and its preponderance over anything of a spiritual nature.

The following events in world history show how these forces use the instrumentality of apparent external pressure and fear to try to achieve their ends. One of the results of the takeover in Central Europe by Hitler and his associates was World War II. It started in 1939, and even with all the fierceness by which it was conducted, it dragged on endlessly. Eventually, on August 6, 1945, as we know, the U.S.A. used the atom bomb at Hiroshima. Since that time humanity has been living in a kind of perpetual anxiety about the cataclysmic perspectives that then opened up. Fear is one of the prominent whips that the adversaries use, apart from promises, to hold humanity down and to frustrate any traces of world hope in the sense of a genuine Christianity. On that date, Saturn had returned to a position between the ascending node of Jupiter and its own ascending node, as in 31-33 AD. Apart from this, Pluto was in the ascending node of Neptune.

We have so far been speaking almost solely of the transits of Saturn. However, we must realize that all the other planets also return in rhythmic cycles to the original configurations. It would lead us too far to discuss all these details, but we can be certain that all these events also work as challenges into the life of modern humanity in connection with the Second Coming. They are also connected with the experiences of individuals in this context, though they are mostly kept in the secrecy of personal soul life. We have, though, a good number of reports of such experiences, particularly during those years beginning with the thirties and right through the war. So, the Second Coming is not just a fictional story of what some people may be inclined to attribute to religious mystics, but it is a sphere of concrete experiences and events. The counterattacks of the adversaries draw attention away from their reality. Yet they have by no means won the Great Battle, which can give us justified hope.

The facts presented in the foregoing description can give us the confidence that the study of the stars in connection with the life of Christ is not just a matter of curiosity. It brings with it deep and vital implications with regard to the very existence of humanity in a historic sense, particularly concerning the present age. The connection of Christ with the cosmos that Rudolf Steiner mentions in The Spiritual Guidance of Mankind (Lecture III) He made no step without this working of the cosmic forces into and in Him .... The forces active within Him, however, were cosmic forces, coming from the Sun and stars is of greatest significance, even beyond the mere Three Years during which it happened. We can, for instance, ask: Why did John the Divine write the Book of Revelation, the story of the Apocalypse? He did it because this is an essential part of the very Being of Christ, of Him of Whom John says (Revelation, I: 74): Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him... I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending saith the Lord.

In this sense it has also revealed itself, in the course of many years of research that the Presence of the risen Christ will not only make itself apparent in connection with the so-called contemporary transits of the planets that we described above. For in the very configuration of the stars during the actual Three Years, the past and the future of the present universe is contained. In the sense that with immeasurable love Christ identified Himself with those configurations, He is the Being of the Apocalypse. There are in a number of ways that this can be demonstrated. One way is to again take Saturn, the organ of cosmic memory, and work with it according to a certain transmutation of time, similar to that which we employed for the mysteries of the Second Coming. Saturn, as representative, can know the will of the heavenly Father. In the Acts of the Apostles, I:7, we hear: It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.

We take one degree of the movement of Saturn in the Zodiac as representing one Saturn year, that is, 29.4577 Earth or Sun years. Thus we find an Apocalypse of the Earth and the universe. To illustrate, a movement of Saturn 67.5 forward from its heliocentric position at Golgotha brings us to 180. This can be converted into the equivalent of the present age and the near future, i.e., to 2021 AD (67.5 X 29.4577 = 1,988 years, plus 33.35 years = 2021 AD). We have chosen this deliberately to illustrate a remarkable incident. This alone, and we could add to it all the positions of the other planets, describes our present, and the near future, in perfect apocalyptic terms. It tells us that we have entered an era of weighing, of decision in the highest sense. Because Saturn in 180 relates itself to that part of the ecliptic in which, in the geocentric perspective, the Sun appears at the commencement of autumn, in the sign of Libra. A careful study of all the problems and vistas that this present humanity-civilization has created can give us the vivid impression that we are moving fast toward a moment in history in which the fundamental spiritual and ethical principles of being human will have to be reviewed and corresponding decisions taken on this basis. Many have already come to the conclusion that this present humanity is slowly drifting toward the edge of abysmal self-destruction. There is a certain truth in this, and fundamental changes are required to avoid it. Therefore, radical reappraisal of all human values, both moral and also in very practical connections, has to be effected. This is indicated in that progression of Saturn from its position on April 3, 33 AD to 180 of the ecliptic.

We must ask: What can be the means, so to speak, the objective gauge, for a decision of such major dimensions? Here, the Star-Apocalypse in connection with Golgotha can give an answer too. Earlier, before Saturn was in 180, it had a conjunction with Uranus at about 158.5. This was about 40 beyond the position on Good Friday, 33 AD. This brings us to the time around 1380 AD. Before this happened, Saturn was in the place where Uranus actually stood on April 3, 33 28 forward from the heliocentric location of Saturn at Golgotha. This refers us to the middle of the 9th century AD, or 858 AD (28 x 29.4577 = 824.8 yrs. + 33.25 yrs. = 858.25) (140.7 [Uranus] minus 112.5 [Saturn in April 3, 33] = 28).

It is now a matter of comprehending the historic meaning of these dates. During the 9th century an event occurred that is of archetypal significance for humanity of the present age. The personality who is known to us only through the tradition of the poetry and literature of the story Parsifal, about the Holy Grail , is described to us as a human being who at one time beholds the Holy Grail, the most sacred presentation of the higher meaning of human-hood. However, he does not recognize its significance, and consequently he has to go through a long spell of outer and inner battles, of despair and utter loneliness. Finally, he is again led by circumstances into the presence of the Holy Grail. Now, after his trials, he can comprehend its significance and can even become King of the Holy Grail. The road that Parsifal had to take, his long preparation and catharsis, can become for present humanity something like a shining archetype, a message of hope, above all religions and denominations.

This great beacon of human hope was then transformed in the Middle Ages. Around 1380 a human being entered the world who became known under by name Christian Rosenkreutz. The movement that he inaugurated, and particularly the uniting sign of the Rose Cross, is an expression of the earlier Grail motif, but in a form appropriate to that age. The black cross that carries the roses, the symbols of life, is a transformed image of the Holy Grail. It was to be the guiding beacon for the pupils of Christian Rosenkreutz, who had resolved to redeem humanity from the descent of evolution into material existence, and to put, thereby, the house of humans on Earth in order. Thus the progressions of Saturn in connection with the stars of the Three Years reflect the Apocalypse of later ages. On the one hand we read in it that present humanity is moving quickly, motivated by contemporary events and catastrophes, toward great decisions. On the other hand, we can also discern in it the prerequisites, as it were, which can lead us to recovery and redemption. It is simply a new spiritual comprehension of the being of our humanness, where we come from, where we go to, what the meaning of our existence is. Of course, all this is tied up with an understanding of the evolution of the entire universe in which we live. In other words, we need a science of the spirit in order to cope with the burning problems of our age. The Grail Movement and Rosicrucianism brought this science to their contemporaries, in a language that they could comprehend. Our present age saw the endeavors of Rudolf Steiner, who did not discard those earlier messages but who translated them through his Science of the Spirit, or Anthroposophy, into a language that modern humanity can comprehend. He regarded, for instance, his work Occult Science as a science of the Holy Grail, and Anthroposophy altogether as a presentation of genuine Rosicrucianism in a form congenial to the mind of modern humanity (see his, Theosophy of the Rosicrucian).

Constructive solutions in this sense would not only have significance for the present age. Here, too, the Saturn progressions of the living cosmic Apocalypse can inform us unmistakably. After having traversed 247.5 of the ecliptic, from its position at Golgotha 112.5, Saturn moved into the place where the Sun appears to be at the commencement of spring, 360 or zero degrees. This is opposite the position referred to earlier as the present Age of Decision. This leads us to about 7325 AD (247.5 x 29.4577 + 33.25 years), which is close to the termination of the present Fifth post-Atlantean Epoch, i.e., the cycle of seven civilizations starting with the Ancient Indian, after the destruction of Atlantis. That time, the eighth millennium AD, will again see unimaginable destruction, the man-made termination of this entire Epoch, just as Atlantis was destroyed by nature catastrophes. On the other hand, a part of humanity, however small, will have to affect an Exodus in order to reinstate the course of human evolution, under whatever circumstances. This is already present in the contemporary great crisis demanding decision. The solutions, if they are found and accepted now, will also affect that apparently far future.

   



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