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Cosmic Christianity

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Turning Points in History I

The last two chapters will be devoted to an estimation of the situation in which we stand. First, we will take wider historic perspectives over the centuries, even millennia. In the last chapter we shall look at this present age, the present century, and the preparation for the future when the vernal point will enter the constellation of Aquarius.

   

   

Figure 7.1

Figure 7.2

   

One rather simple, though not easy, method is to compare pre-Christian stages of evolution with phases in post-Christian times. For this purpose we will take the Mystery of Golgotha as the turning point. If we go back from 33 AD (the year of Golgotha) 1,967 years into the past (Fig. 7.1), i.e., to the approximate time of Abraham, then we arrive at 1934 BC. Now if we go forward from 33 AD into post-Christian times 1,967 years, we come to the year 2000 AD as the exact point of reflection of the earlier time of Abraham. What is the historic significance of Abraham? He lived in Mesopotamia, more precisely in Ur. This was probably not the Ur that has been dug up in recent decades; nevertheless, it belonged to that entire cycle of ancient civilizations in the valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris. These civilizations were predominantly built on the ancient star wisdom that was then prevalent. In those valleys, there still can be found the so-called ziggurats, or step pyramids of various heights, usually with seven terraces one built on top of the other (Fig. 7.2). As a rule, staircases lead up to the top. On the top terrace was built a small sanctuary, which seems to have been used for astronomical observations. Of course, those astronomical observations, though very precise, were different from ours. The Chaldeans had a very thorough knowledge of the rhythms in the cosmos. Thus these town civilizations were guided according to a highly cultivated star wisdom. It was brought down more and more into mundane uses. Finally, it was used for personal human purposes. This was the time of the birth of predictive astrology, as we know it in a modern sense, which was used more and more for egotistical purposes. It purported that the human being was dependent on the stars. The stars of birth expressed ones destiny. Thus, by investigating the rhythms, the movements, and the positions of the stars, one hoped to get information about the course of expected events in a human life. Originally, it was the destiny of the total community that this star wisdom was supposed to discern on this basis. We actually possess documents of that time in which one of the kings of such a community said: Today I have been to the temple of Ishtar, which is the same as Venus, and she gave me indications and inspirations to do certain things in the interest of the city-community.

These temple towers were attached to the temples, the mystery centers of ancient times. Abraham moved away from such places. He perceived, already in his time, that decadence was setting in with regard to that ancient association of humanity with the world of the stars, and that these civilizations were no longer in line with healthy evolution. He experienced it as his task, his divine commission, to prepare a different humanity, different from that which existed in this large valley. That decadence which rose in those localities did not leave any room for evolution toward human freedom and eventually spiritual freedom. Human beings had come to be regarded as being dominated by the stars. To speak of human freedom, even of evolution and the development of spiritual initiative, seems senseless in these contexts. The human being can only execute and demonstrate what is imposed from without. Thus a star wisdom that once belonged to the highest degrees of the mysteries was slowly debased and misused for egotistical purposes and for chaining the human being to fate. This is the reason why a new star wisdom, congenial to the needs and conditions of modern humanity, must be careful and reserved to the utmost. Therefore we make it so unapproachable and hang it as high as the stars themselves, so that it cannot be torn down into mundane distortion and degradation.

Abraham moved away from that part of the world (Genesis XII). His task was to build a humanity that was supposed to learn to stand on its own ground. One of the first steps toward this was the development of thinking and the brain-bound intellect. So, Abraham went first to Canaan and from there to Egypt. But in Egypt things did not work out very well (Genesis XII). He returned to what we call Palestine, and there he founded the new line, the new humanity. Neither Egypt nor Chaldea were suitable any longer for the new impulse that had to come. It was possible only in a land between them.

We are living at present in a kind of reflection of that age, and one can say that Abraham, of course figuratively speaking, should now return to Ur, to a new Ur, to a new Christian star wisdom. This can be developed only on the foundation of the modern consciousness of humanity, by a humanity that has realized the perspective and significance, for instance, of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (or The Philosophy of Freedom), which Rudolf Steiner published in 1893. We have the ways and means to move toward that human future which will again find the stars on the foundation of freedom and love. We will again experience, but with full consciousness, the star companions beside us. However, we will realize ourselves to be free, not dominated by the stars. Eventually, in the distant future, we must rise to become a free cooperator with the stars. Rudolf Steiner inaugurated the very first steps toward the attainment of this, especially toward the end of his life. He described then the new creative relationship of the human being to the stars; and this is the foundation on which we must build as we go toward the future.

Thus we can go through history in pre-Christian times and find corresponding post-Christian reflections. For instance, the Gautama Buddha died either in 544 BC (version of the Ceylon Buddhists), or 483 BC. This reflects itself into the post-Christian times of 516577 AD, which saw the glow of Celtic Christianity, as it was represented by such a great personality as St. Columba and others.

Apart from these historic reflections, certain cosmic rhythms are important in order to form concepts concerning the interrelationship between human history and the heavens. One such event involves a long rhythm. It is created by the conjunction of Pluto and Uranus. Pluto was discovered in the thirties of the present century. It needs nearly 250 years to go once through the Zodiac. Its orbit is highly elliptical. Thus in one portion of the Zodiac it moves very slowly, whereas in the opposite part it moves more quickly. Uranus is almost three times as fast. It needs 84 years and only a few days more, and therefore it sticks almost precisely to the seven-year rhythm, or 12 x 7 years. In other words, it needs seven years to move from one constellation of the Zodiac to the following one. Naturally, because of the slow movement of the two planets and the difference in velocity, they meet rarely. In fact, conjunctions take place in only two points of the Zodiac. However, these points where they meet, and also the opposition points, are rather illuminating with regard to chronology and history. As a rule we study them only in post-Christian times, because the elements of the orbit of Pluto are still a bit vague from an astronomical point of view.

Two points of the Zodiac were activated by these planets during the present century (Fig. 7.3). In the beginning, around February 8, 1902, an opposition took place between Pluto and Uranus. Pluto was here in the sidereal constellation of Taurus. (The symbol for Pluto is a combination of P and L. It didnt exist in classical, mythological times, so one had to invent a symbol for it. Uranus still carries the initial of Herschel, its discoverer, that is, the letter H.) In 1902 Uranus was in sidereal Scorpio (Fig. 7.3). Then, just a few years ago, actually on January 6, 1966, a conjunction occurred between these two planets in sidereal Leo.


Now we want to know how this worked out in history. In order to find our way, we first go back from the opposition in 1901-2 to the preceding conjunctions and oppositions of the two planets. One conjunction happened in 1850, in sidereal Aries. From there we can move still further back in history, and discover interesting correlations. We thus have actually two rows of conjunctions and oppositions, always at intervals of about 253-4 years:

PLUTO AND URANUS (All Sidereal)

OPPOSITIONS

CONJUNCTIONS

1902 - Pluto in Taurus, Uranus in Scorpio

1850 - in Aries

c.1648 - Pluto in Taurus, Uranus in Scorpio

c.1598 - in Pisces-Aries

c.1395 - Pluto in Taurus, Uranus in Scorpio

c.1344 - in Pisces

c.1142 - Pluto in Taurus, Uranus in Scorpio

c.1091 - in Pisces

c. 889 - Pluto in Taurus, Uranus in Scorpio

c. 837 - in Pisces

c. 583 - in Pisces

c. 330 - in Pisces

(A second row of conjunctions and oppositions converges on

different parts of the Zodiac. We shall discuss these later.)

All these dates are a wonderful description of historic developments in humanity. In fact they are connected with esoteric Christianity, which eventually developed into Rosicrucian Christianity. We go right back to the years around 330 AD. There we find remarkable events taking place that were deeply connected with esoteric Christianity. Around that time, what Rudolf Steiner described as the so-called Black Sea meeting must have happened. In the preceding century the great Mani, the founder of Manichaeism, which spread far to the East and to the West, had lived and worked. Finally, he went through an extreme experience of martyrdom in Persia. In the following century he gathered, while he was in body-free, spiritual existence, the great initiated leaders of humanity for a decisive meeting. Among them was the Gautama Buddha, who no longer incarnated since he had reached Buddhahood. Also, Scythianos the great initiate of the West, and the great Zarathustra of the East were present. They discussed the situation in which humanity found itself then and decided on what had to be done to safeguard a healthy evolution toward the future. The year 333 AD is exactly the center of the so-called Fifth, or post-Atlantean Epoch, which started with the Ancient Indian Civilization and will last until the end of the Seventh civilization that will terminate this Epoch in the War of All against All (conclusion in 7893 AD). Out of this meeting eventually developed the Christian Mysteries of the Rose Cross, or medieval Rosicrucianism. It was well known in the Middle Ages, among those who were concerned, that the latter was built on those great events at the Black Sea during the 4th century. [Ed. Note: For details of the epochs and ages of civilization, see Dr. Steiner's The Apocalypse, 12 lectures given from June 18-30, 1908 at London in 1943.]

The conjunction of about 583 AD was connected with Celtic Christianity, which was a sublime manifestation of esoteric Christianity. In 837 a conjunction took place, and about 50 years later, in 889 AD, an opposition. Both were associated with the unfolding of esoteric Grail Christianity. It was the century of Parsifal. All this was connected with those great decisions that had been taken during the 4th century by the great spiritual leaders of humanity. The conjunction in about 1091 AD was soon followed by the foundation of the Order of the Knights Templars, in 1119. The Templars were, in a spiritual sense, direct descendants of the Grail Knighthood. Another conjunction took place in 1344 AD, which was accompanied by an opposition 50 years later in 1395. This was also an age of tremendous spiritual decision. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Order of the Knights Templars had been extinguished through one of the cruelest and most atrocious deeds in history. The last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake in 1314. This was the end of a certain stream of the Christian Mysteries. Something had to be done in the spiritual world in order to continue the stream of esoteric Christianity. During the 14th century, that mysterious personality whom we know only as Christian Rosenkreutz was born (about 1378), just between the conjunction and the opposition. He lived to a very old age. He is said to have been more than one hundred years old when he died toward the end of the 15th century. He was the one who took upon himself the task of carrying esoteric Christianity further by founding the Brotherhood of the Rose Cross, which became spiritually very active in the following centuries.

We come then to the conjunction in about 1598, which was seconded by the opposition of the two planets in about 1648. Those 50 years seem to be connected with the commencement of the mission that the Buddha took up on Mars. Rudolf Steiner revealed that Buddha was the great friend of Christian Rosenkreutz, who realized the tremendous danger that beset humanity through the decadence that had taken hold of the Mars sphere. Constant and severe wars raged on Mars, through whose sphere human souls had to pass when they descended into incarnation. If this situation had carried on, a tremendous split would have occurred in humanity. One part of it would have retired into a purely spiritual, Earth-estranged hermit existence. The other part of humanity would have completely submerged itself in the development of materialism. In order to prevent this split, Christian Rosenkreutz implored the late Buddha to go to Mars to Christianize, pacify, and harmonize Mars, bringing it back, so to speak, into line with evolution as it was visualized by the divine world. Of course, we do not see great results on the surface in our time. Materialistic natural science and the resulting technology seem to be ever stronger, particularly in the last few decades. However, we must not forget that such an impulse needs time for realization. Christianity itself is an example. It is now nearly 2,000 years since Christianity was inaugurated on this planet, and yet we dont seem to see too many results. On the other hand, at present during the last third of the 20th century a surging tide appears to be rising against the prevailin materialism, though it is often misunderstood and misguided.

Finally, we come to the conjunction in 1850 and the opposition in 1902. During that interval another great decision took place. This time it was Rudolf Steiner who took upon himself the task of inaugurating a Science of the Spirit, Anthroposophy. Thus he offered to humanity the means that are necessary to move toward the future, toward a very practical and yet spiritual-cosmic realization of Christianity.

Now we shall look at the second stream of events, which is associated with the conjunction in 1966. The ancestral conjunctions and oppositions happened as follows:

PLUTO AND URANUS (All Sidereal)

OPPOSITIONS

   

CONJUNCTIONS 1966 - in Leo

c.1793 - Pluto in Aquarius

Uranus in Leo

c. 1711 - in Leo

c.1539 - Pluto in Capr.-Aquar.

Uranus in Cancer-Leo

c. 1456 - in Leo

c.1286 - Pluto in Capricorn

Uranus in Cancer

c. 1202 - in Cancer

c.1031 - Pluto in Capricorn

Uranus in Cancer

c. 949 - in Cancer

c. 777 - Pluto in Sagittarius

Uranus in Gemini

c. 695 - in Cancer

c. 522 - Pluto in Sagittarius

Uranus in Gemini

c. 441 - in Gemini

c. 267 - Pluto in Scorpio

Uranus in Taurus

c.187-8 - in Gemini

   

After a series of earlier events, which we cannot discuss here, we come to the conjunction of 1202. The years around 1202 are marked by two totally different developments. Altogether it seems that the conjunctions of this order are, as a rule, accompanied by contradictory historic events. About 1202 saw the culmination of the movement of the Troubadours. It was the time of Wolfram von Eschenbach, of Robert de Boron, of other troubadours who wrote about the Holy Grail and thereby brought it to the knowledge of later humanity. Then we come to the conjunction of 1456. A little over two years later, in 1459, the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz took place. The document that speaks of it one of the fundamental writings of medieval Rosicrucianism bears the addition Anno 1459. On the other hand quite different things happened. About 1206, which is very close to the first conjunction (we must, of course, imagine that these planets are moving very slowly and stay close to each other for a long time), developments occurred in the interior of Asia. It was the time when Temuchin was elected by the Kurultai (the assembly of the nobles of his territory) to be Genghis Khan, the perfect warrior and the ruler of the world. In Europe the Troubadours worked in remote corners collecting and preserving the story of the Holy Grail, of Parsifal, of esoteric Christianity. In the East the counterblow was prepared. The Mongols under Genghis Khan and his successors conquered a great part of Asia and even broke into central Europe. They came as far as Liegnitz in Silesia. A European army that opposed them was actually completely defeated at the battle of Liegnitz in 1241. The road into central Europe and to the West was wide open to the Mongols. Then something happened for which history has no real explanation. The invaders turned back and disappeared toward the East. One suggestion is that the reigning Khan at home, the successor of Genghis Khan, had died and that it was necessary to elect a new Khan. A legendary explanation is that, although the armies of the Europeans had been defeated and there was no longer any resistance, a few nuns in a monastery went into deep meditation and prayer. Thereby a wall of spiritual resistance was erected against this invasion. A few years prior to the conjunction in 1456, in 1453, there came again an invasion from the East into Europe. The Turks then took Constantinople and thereby established their rule in Europe. Earlier, during the seventh and eighth centuries, something similar happened. In 711, shortly after the conjunction in 695, the Moslem Moors from Africa crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and defeated the Visigoths in Spain. Thus, step-by-step, they took possession of the Iberian Peninsula.

We see how there were constant attempts made from the Asiatic continent, from an Old World, to destroy the integrity of Europe. In the case of the Mongolians, it was even the oldest, the last shadows of Atlantis, which manifested themselves through that race. From the Moslem world came first the grip via the north of Africa into Europe, via Spain. Several centuries later, in 1453, came the blows on the eastern flank, via Asia Minor into Europe, by the taking of Constantinople and most of the Balkan Peninsula.

In 1711-12 the last but one of these great conjunctions took place. It was accompanied in history by the birth of J. J. Rousseau (June 28, 1712). On the other hand it also had a deep connection with J. W. Goethe. Goethe was born 37 years after this event, on August 28, 1749. Thirty-seven years corresponds to two cycles of the moon nodes, i.e., they returned a second time to the position that they had occupied in 1711-12. The fact that he had a deep connection with 1711, even while he was still unborn, is demonstrated by the events in his life 82 years later, in 1793, when the succeeding opposition of Uranus and Pluto took place. Around that time Goethe wrote down the Legend of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. This is essentially a Rosicrucian legend. Goethe had indeed a deep connection with the Rosicrucian impulse, which is also evident in his poem The Secrets. The legend speaks of the bridge that is to be built between the land of the Beautiful Lily and the mortals who live across the river, on the earthly plane. Finally the bridge is established by the sacrifice of the Green Snake. By spanning the gap above the river with her own body, she reconnects the land of the Spirit with the realm of the Earth. Thereby people can again find access to the world of the spirit. This was genuine Rosicrucianism. It is already expressed in the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, Anno 1459. In a deeper sense, it is a description of how a western humanity can again find its way to a direct cognition of the spiritual world. (The principal symbol of Rosicrucianism, the Rose Cross, is a witness to this and a road sign to its achievement.) The black cross stands as a signum for all that which appertains to a physical-material world, to that world in which we human beings, and in the end everything in nature, experience death and decay. But death can, and must, become the portal to resurrection. The attainment and power of resurrection are signified by the glowing red roses on the cross. They are symbols of life, even eternal life. Thus is Rosicrucianism, indeed, esoteric Christianity. Goethe took it upon himself to call upon humanity through his legend, through a kind of fairy tale. He thereby described the great task and responsibility of modern humanity, to build again bridges from the world of the visible to the world of the invisible, to cognition of and living with spiritual reality. The events in Goethes life around 1793 were indeed the result of the earlier occurrences, accompanied by Uranus and Pluto, in 1711 and 1456-59.

Next we come to modern times, to the conjunction in 1966. This will be followed by an opposition that will take place around 2047. It will fall into the 12th seven-year period after 1966. We can expect that the approach of this event will be a most crucial time, which the experiences and the evidence we have so far confirmed. Of course, our question must be; did the conjunction in 1966 have any connection with the Rosicrucian impulse? Our impression is that it again took a decisive step forward in preparing the future of humanity, even preparing the Aquarian Age, which, in our opinion, is not yet. Rudolf Steiner painted, in the smaller cupola of the first Goetheanum, a remarkable picture that seems to be significant in just this context

(reproduced in Wege zu einem neuen Baustil, by Steiner, published 1926). At the lower part we see a representation of Slav humanity, which will eventually lead the Aquarian Age of civilization. Sideways above it appears a modified Rose Cross. The seven roses are replaced by seven pentagram-stars. What does this signify?

The rose is built on the principle of five petals, or multiples of five. They form a pentagon (Fig. 7.4). The pentagon, like the pentagram, is a cosmic symbol. It is associated with the movements and rhythm of Venus, the planet of love and compassion. (The conjunctions of Venus with the Sun inscribe a pentagon-pentagram into the space around the Earth (see Chapter I). In a true sense it is even connected with the Gautama Buddha, who brought to humanity the teaching of love and compassion as preparation for the Christ Event. This can be verified by a

historic cosmography. Figure 7.4

The symbol of the roses on the Rose Cross is the sign of the power of resurrection, as we said earlier. They replace the corpse on the crucifix and thereby can lead

over from the Good Friday experience to Easter Sunday morning, to the experience of the Resurrection. (In this context it is essential to study Rudolf Steiners extensive description of these matters in his Occult Science, chapter 5.) The Pentagram Cross can lift this experience still a stage higher. The plant in this case, the rose is a pure and undeviated manifestation of cosmic forces working on Earth. With some imagination one could say: the roses great ideal is the planet Venus, or rather the sphere of Venus. It works in the cosmos on the foundation of the pentagon-pentagram. And we have the impression that Rudolf Steiner replaced the roses in that painting by pentagram-stars because he wanted to intimate that future humanity, eventually the humanity of the Aquarian Age, must rise to this Pentagram Cross, in order to realize the cosmic impulse of love and compassion on Golgotha in social deeds. In the midst of the events of the last third of the 20th century, we seem to experience that this dramatic development is already with us, in the very depths and secrets of modern human-hood. Of course, we also realize that the anti-powers are doing their utmost in trying to prevent this impulse from entering human consciousness. It will need great spiritual strength and perseverance by the individual if he or she decides to join in with what appears to be a new step forward inaugurated by genuine Rosicrucianism. In fact, this implies that we no longer need to imagine ourselves to be helpless creatures, constantly subdued and dominated by the stars. We can learn to become spiritually free cooperators with the cosmos. This was one of the last, great deeds of Rudolf Steiner, to point out ways and means by which we can move toward a future in which we will take the mighty ingredients of the cosmos, fulfill them spiritually during a lifes experience, and eventually hand them back to the cosmos, enriched and renewed. Humanity, seen from a long-range view of cosmic evolution, will eventually help to build a new cosmos. And present humanity seems to be called upon to enter the very first stages of such similar responsibilities.

To such a level of realization, a modern cosmology and cosmography can, and should, raise itself.

   

   



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