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Lectures from 1955

On-line since: 31st August, 2016



LECTURES TO MEMBERS - Willi Sucher: from 1 Oct. ‘54 to 1 Apr. ’55

(All drawings by Willi Sucher)

Rudolf Steiner House, London, England

(Notes from lecture, unrevised by author)


MARS 2 - Conjunctions and Loops ~ 18 FEBRUARY 1955


We started last time to speak about and to work with Mars, and we came to the conclusion that first we must know something about the Zodiac, and getting to know something about the Zodiac can be a very difficult matter. I have tried to approach it in Isis Sophia II, especially in Part II, and from that we can gather how difficult the task is. We tried last time to see if perhaps we could take a short cut, and the short cut was the symbols. The question is whether we can find an approach that gives us the symbols of the Zodiac in such a fashion that they mean something to us. Usually they are used by people without their knowing what they really mean or where they came from. We started already last time, and perhaps it is quite good if we start from the beginning again today. I ought to say that the Zodiac of the twelve constellations can be regarded as an element of inner evolution, of inner development. Twelve stages of inner development can be read in it, either in the evolution of the human being, or also in connection with cosmic evolution. Now we shall try to find a middle way.

First there is nothing, nothing at all: emptiness and the condition of duration, it would be better to say. Then there comes an impulse; let us imagine it like lightning coming out of the blue. We can imagine it as an arrow, but this is not sufficient; it makes a sort of indentation in space, in time, or whatever it is. And that would be the constellation of Ram: A the very first beginning of anything, of any development of any evolution.

This impulse, which has now been given, is a provision that must last into the future, whereby it establishes itself as a kind of microcosm in the greater macrocosm, as a kind of smaller world that is still related to the greater world from which it came. First we would have just an indication of a microcosm, or whatever it is, a world in itself but a world that is still closely connected with the higher world. Just like the horns of the cow or of the bull reach out, or rather, are streaming down, so to speak, into the organism of the animal; thus the higher, original world, or universe, reaches down into that which is, to a certain extent, now integrated in itself — this is Bull: B.

Then there comes a further step of evolution, which we can only understand on the foundation that this process is really meant to lead somewhere, namely, to the evolution of that which is not quite emancipated yet but which one day — or in one moment, or at a certain stage — will have to be emancipated. The next step would be that there is still on the one hand the indication of the upper world, of the greater world, or whatever we call it, and another is approaching, so to speak — that which may point to the future, which indicates already that realm where the emancipated being can then live. It is the higher world and the lower world together, or we can also consider it from a different angle. One thought would be if we left everything open, so to speak, and made a symbol such as this:³. I know it is not quite orthodox, but what I mean is an upper world and lower world, right and left, somehow a polarity; a contrast comes into the picture, and that is the first step toward the intended evolution of self, the independent evolution. That is then Twins: C. I just use the traditional symbol as this gives us a better opportunity to read it. That is what we really want to do tonight, to create an opportunity, to show you the possibility of seeing how one can read these symbols so that they are not just signs, like the ciphers on a watch that have a certain shape, though very few people know where they come from and what they really mean.

The next would then be the real emancipation, and that is, what is here still united in Twins somehow comes apart, and then we have Crab D. There is a gulf between the two. We can say that Crab is that from which this impulse descended and that which leads, or which is supposed to lead into the future — involution, evolution, however we employ this sequence of evolution in the sense of the constellations of the Zodiac. Here I would like to mention something else that is perhaps quite useful. This gap, which is there, carries a real danger, as everything can fall into pieces; it is something like a constant danger of an atomic explosion. Of course I am speaking pictorially, but we can understand that there is the danger that two things, originally belonging together, fall apart to such an extent that evolution just cannot go on. However, this gap, which has always existed in humanity and which came to a head just about the time of Christ, was bridged over by the events in Palestine. Before the time of Christ, it was quite obvious in humanity that human beings had moved away and emancipated themselves from the spiritual world to such an extent that they were in danger of losing all connection with that spiritual world; and what is more, not only losing the connection but also losing their own self, because we cannot cut away from the origin without having established the equivalent, so to speak, of that motherly sheath of protection that the creature still has when it is still contained, as it were, in the greater cosmos. That gulf was bridged over by the events that took place in Palestine. As a matter of fact, it was clearly indicated in the sky that there was the grave danger that the time had come when this gulf had to be bridged over, or else humanity would be lost. Saturn was standing in the constellation of Cancer/Crab, during the years 32-33. Then through the Deed on Golgotha, this gap was bridged over.

We may know something of the geography of Jerusalem where the Mystery of Golgotha took place. It has been described by Dr. Bock in one of his books, The Three Years. The position and the geographical and the geological situation at Jerusalem are unique. There is actually something like two hills. There is, or there was in pre-Christian times, a deep sort of cleft or gorge. It is said that the gorge probably had some connection with subterranean volcanic activities — steam and smoke and vapors were coming up. Later this gorge or cleft was filled up, but it was still there as a kind of, I should say, spiritual cleft. This gorge went right up to the hill of Golgotha, starting in the south of Jerusalem — the place where later on Jerusalem was built — and it led right up to the hill of Golgotha, which was in the north. So in the background there would be the hill of Golgotha, and we see there the event on Golgotha taking place. The gap between the two elements was quite apparent here; it is bridged over by that which took place on Golgotha in a spiritual sense. That is Crab.

The next constellation would be that of Lion. Here in Crab we had the contrast of this splitting up. Of course this gap here is where something new must be developed. We can say that the future can only come into existence if human beings take hold of the present, but the present rests on the past. So the present — that which is in between — is the connecting link. Something must come and must be developed, which is our own nature. That is the task, and we saw it in the symbol that we used for Lion: E. We are coming from the periphery, and we are moving in this fashion toward that which is then really the center. Just as the heart of the human being is the center of the whole organism, in that sense, the intent which is to be developed out of the periphery — out of the coming away from the periphery — that is the essential thing for the future. It is like a germ which is sown for the future; but now it must ripen, and in order to ripen, in order for a seed to germinate, it must be put into the soil and be given an opportunity to go through a very complicated process of decomposition: a chaos must be created, and only then can the new develop.

Lion is only the seed, and the complicated process that follows Lion can be seen in the picture of the constellation of Virgin: F. It is as if the process that we could imagine as taking place in the dynamic capacity of lemniscatory activity in the universe, where we have plus and minus activities working together in order to bring into existence that which ought to come, is somewhere contained in this indication of a lemniscate in the symbol for the constellation of Virgin: F∞.    Of course there is also something still contained of that curve of Lion, but the mystery takes place behind three doors, as it were, behind three veils closed away from the profane world, one might say, in some kind of laboratory of the Gods. On Earth it is the soil, it is the Mother Earth, it is Virgin Earth that takes the seed; and then, in complicated processes, the matter of the seed is broken down to such an extent that the cosmos can work into that chaos and can bring about or create a micro cosmos.

After this stage we would come to Scales. The traditional sign for Scales is this: G. Of course it has some similarity to scales, but I never found it very satisfactory. Rudolf Steiner, however, in the Soul Calendar employed another symbol:. I believe a symbol like this is much more adequate — something like a setting sun. It need not be a setting sun but something that is about to descend to unite with a lower world. Until now, coming from Ram to Virgin, we had a development that was still more or less closely connected and associated with the greater world. Actually it was much more a world where we receive forces from the extraterrestrial world, from the cosmos, and now it remains to be seen how those forces become our own forces, our individual forces. In Virgin we are much more receptive and much more exposed, as it were, to the great cosmos. But now there comes the task to descend, so to speak, into our own world, into our own being. We come to a crossroads; we must descend into the depths, just as the Sun at sunset seems to descend to the lower world below the horizon. This would then be Scales.

We now enter the world of the deed, of our deed. Until now it was the deed of the cosmos; going through Scales we would enter the world of our own deed. As a matter of fact, all these constellations up to Virgin and Scales are also the archetypal regions of the human form-body, starting from the head down to the hips. Beyond that which we see as the constellation of Ram in the sky, spiritually beyond that constellation, we would see the archetypes — actually the spiritual beings — who form the human head, especially the brain; in Bull we see divine beings who in the past formed the organism of the larynx; then Twins is the region that has to do with the arms; Cancer, the enclosure of the chest; then within the chest the heart and the circulation is Lion; Virgin with the entire digestive region; and then in Scales the hips. So we see here, in this upper zodiacal region, that we are still more or less in a realm where we are receptive beings, especially as far as the head is concerned. However, once we go across this threshold of Scales, we enter the sphere of our own activity — our limbs.

The first thing we meet when we enter this sphere of activity is Scorpion: H. Its symbol is, in a sense, similar to the symbol of Virgin. Here we also have an indication of three doors, but the ending of the symbol has quite a different character. This is also undoubtedly connected with mysteries that take place, as it were, behind three closed doors. What are these? They are the mysteries of the deed, which is not so simple. I mean, we go out into the world and are active, but we are usually not very well aware of what really takes place. All activity is only possible by the counterbalance of another thing: dying, as it were. Activity rests on death. For example, if here within the human realm something new comes into the world, such as someone inventing something or making a discovery, it can upset the whole world, as we know. For instance, technological discoveries and inventions may upset the whole world within a time of, say, ten years. We know what a revolution was brought into the world when the atom bomb — atomic fission — was discovered. And so it is, whenever something new comes into the world it upsets something of a previous status, of a previous standing; it can upset a whole previous world. Thus the first thing is death. Something dies if we enter the realm of activity; such as, if we just walk across the earth, we don’t know how many living beings we really squash — insects and all that — and yet it has to be. Life really stands on the foundation of death. That is only the external, the facade, so to speak, of the mystery of activity, but it shows us the direction in which activity and individual creation lies. That is Scorpion. Of course one can draw Scorpion in various fashions — H sometimes like this, pointing upward and sometimes downwarde, which is in line with that descent. Such tiny alterations can mean a lot in a symbolical sense; it all depends on what we want to express.

The next constellation would be Archer. The symbol for Archer is this: I. We have now really gone into the realm of activity, which is indicated in the arrow of Archer, and it is quite a good thing to have the arrow upright. We could also do it in this fashion:     , as we have with Scorpion, but in this upright position of the arrow we have an indication. If we connect some kind of inner consciousness with it, then it means something, and therefore there is a need to know what one is doing if one is using such symbols. We know that in occultism the danger is always that one does things and uses symbols and performs practices which, if they are not fully comprehended, may lead to disaster. Therefore it is good to know about the symbols if one wants to use them.

Next we have the constellation of Goat. What does that mean? Actually the symbols here should follow deeper and deeper down into the world of action. We have entered a world where it is dim, where there is not much light, as it were, where things may even be chaotic, and what we need then is enlightenment from above. Ultimately we need guidance from a divine world; otherwise our deeds and actions will be chaotic. This is expressed in the symbol of Goat: g. How can we see it? On the continent they use the symbol a bit different (top figure). What is really contained in this symbol is the figure on the bottom. Imagine that the being is enclosed, as it were, in its own shell. Here it is involved, so to speak, in its own being, but it wants to create something like organs of perception for that which takes place outside, namely, that which ultimately takes place in the spiritual world, because it is from there that we must receive our guidance. Thus Goat is a constellation that is always connected with this kind of equilibrium between a higher world and the Earth; but now it is different. For these signs, of which we speak, stand just opposite of the upper signs that came before Scales. Goat is the opposite of Crab, also Twins. In the upper signs, something was given to us. We were put, so to speak, into the position of facing that contrast, that dual world; but here we recover, so to speak, from that individuality, because we have come to ourselves. In Virgin, in the sanctuary of that temple, which is guarded by three doors, there is a Virgin birth taking place. Then we descended into the world of will-action. We went through the crisis of action (Scorpion), and then our forces were loosened, so to speak, and we became active in the world; but still we needed spiritual guidance. We are involved in our own being, and what we need now is a “spiritual eye” that can look up to the spiritual world in order to find that guidance which we need after experiencing the abyss of Crab. In Goat we find that world again from which we have separated here (Crab). Therefore Goat is opposite.

The next thing would be that we find ourselves in a world of flowing spiritual activity. In Goat we are looking out; we are just peeping out, so to speak, out of our own shell and trying to again get a glimpse of the spiritual world. In Waterman we are supposed to be successful. I mean, if we look out, we expect that we shall find that guidance, and that is expressed in Waterman: K. The waters — that which echoes in the cosmos — reflects itself then in the lower world. The waves of the spirit, of the ether in the heights, reflect themselves in that which lives in the lower nature. Therefore two lines; I believe that is essential. The two lines of waves, the lower one as a reflection, as a response, as it were, to that which takes place above.

Finally we are now able, that is, we want and we must come into a position where we find the origin again, where we find again what we have left behind, but we must find it again in a new fashion. Here in Twins it became obvious that we were confronted, or, rather, that we were living in a world of contrast — higher world, lower world. Through this evolution in the human being — and it is typically the human evolution — we have the most remarkable manifestation of this inner evolution. We also find it in the kingdoms of nature, the evolution of the world, but in the human kingdom it is remarkably pure, this inner path. For as we have to go or as we move in any sphere of life through these twelve steps of evolution, we must in the end come into a position where we find, so to speak, the heavenly brother, but not now in the sense of above and below, but rather in the sense of brotherhood. That is the meaning, ultimately, of Fishes: that which has been lower becomes a member of that great cosmic family from which it descended. The traditional symbol of Fishes is this: L; we have the two fishes and then the connecting link. If we translate it, if we make it a bit different, then we have, so to speak, the reverse sign of Twins:. In Twins it is hierarchical, the relationship of the being to the cosmos — higher-lower. In Fishes the lower and higher now stand side by side. This is the principle of brotherhood.

We can verify that if we think of what is expected of the human race. It is expected that we should become a member of the hierarchical family, to become the fourth hierarchy which will represent something quite unique. It is not just an addition, so to speak, to the three hierarchies who live in the cosmos. The fourth hierarchy will mean something tremendous for the other hierarchies, too. The fourth hierarchy will not stand, so to speak, at the bottom of this hierarchical order. One might almost say it will stand in the middle of the three. If we imagine the three, we can imagine the three hierarchies in this fashion at right: with the fourth not added, so to speak, down here but standing here in the middle. Then we have Fishes. If that happens in the future, the expectation of Fishes will be fulfilled. In fact, all of the constellations are not yet fulfilled. They stand like question marks in the cosmos. Only if we as the human race fulfill that which is expected from us, then these constellations will be fulfilled. They are in constant transition; it is amazing to see how in history the constellations have been transformed.

In this connection, I’ll just mention one more thing about Twins. In ancient Persian times the vernal equinox was in the constellation of Twins. Generally speaking, that was an age in which we experienced the contrast between the forces of cosmic light, Ahura Mazdao, and of cosmic darkness and heaviness of gravity, which was Ahriman. Those were the Twins in ancient Persian times. However, when Ahura Mazdao moved away from the Sun and descended to the Earth, leaving the Sun deserted, Lucifer took sole possession of the Sun. Lucifer was always connected with the Sun, but when Christ moved away, as Rudolf Steiner puts it, the throne of Christ was left empty, and the other throne — there are two thrones — is occupied by Lucifer. So we have then another “twin” expressed in the constellation of Twins, that of Lucifer in the Sun and Ahriman in the depths of the Earth. But that didn’t last very long. In the moment when Christ incarnated, after the Baptism in the Jordan, He was confronted at once, as we know, by the adversaries Lucifer and Ahriman, and that moment is depicted, as it were, in the wooden statue that Rudolf Steiner carved. There Christ steps in between the Twins. Through this mighty gesture, which we observe in the statue, Christ holds Ahriman down and Lucifer away from the human soul. There Twins had changed again. They are actually, if one wants to be quite correct, not twins any longer; they are three, like those three in the statue of Rudolf Steiner. That is only one attempt to show how the constellations are constantly changing and are changing on account of the evolution of humanity. The symbols are a kind of foundation on which to read the dynamic manifestation of these constellations of the Zodiac. We shall need this in the course of time as we go on speaking about the events in the sky.

We now come to Mars. Last time I already mentioned that we can expect a conjunction of Mars with the Sun in August of this year. It will take place in the constellation of Lion. Then in the following year, 1956, there will be a loop of Mars almost in the opposite part of the Zodiac, in Waterman. The conjunction — that means Mars behind the Sun, far out in cosmic space — that will be here in Lion in August 1955, and the loop — where Mars comes close to the Earth — will take place in 1956 in autumn. So you see, these loops and conjunctions alternate. I said already last time that one must imagine the Earth in the center, the Sun about here, and Mars somewhere far out in the cosmos. Of course Mars is not beyond the Zodiac. Imagine now that one would have to expand the Zodiac. Somewhere out there would be Mars in this Lion position. In the opposite case, when Mars will make a loop, then the Sun will also be there in Lion, and Mars may be in a position over here in Waterman. Instead of going forward in the Zodiac, it makes a loop and moves against its normal course.

Now let’s have a close-up of all these loops and conjunctions of Mars, because that is most interesting, and it will really provide us with a picture of the nature of Mars. Of course one knows quite a lot about Mars and how it works, for instance, in the human being. Rudolf Steiner has spoken about it a good deal; but there is something else, and I believe that something else can be well understood by sincere anthroposophists. I will give you the conjunctions and loops over a certain period of time. There was a loop here in Goat in 1939; the next conjunction was in 1940, and that was in Lion; in 1941 there was a loop here in Fishes; in 1942 there was a conjunction in Virgin; in ’43-4 — that was just at the time of the transition from one year to the next — the loop was here (Bull), the next conjunction was in ‘44, and that took place in Scales; in ’45-6 there was a loop in Twins; then in ‘47 there was a conjunction here in Archer (it jumps one year because this was just in the transition from one year to the next, so it was early in ’47); then in ‘48 the loop was between Crab and Lion; and in ‘49 the conjunction was here in Fishes; in ‘50 the loop was in Virgin; in ‘51 it was in Bull — a conjunction; in ‘52 there was a loop in Scales; and in ‘53 there was a conjunction in Twins. We can use the one which will come in the summer of ‘55, which will be here in Lion; then we have eight, but the eighth is almost back, almost in the same position where the one of 1940 was. Also the loop in ‘54 — the eighth — is almost back to the place where the loop was in ‘39. After 1954 we would again have the loop somewhere here; as we can see it starts another cycle: eight such loops and eight such conjunctions obviously constitute a cycle; after that the same is more or less repeated.

In 16 years, eight conjunctions, eight loops, and, dear friends, this is something wonderful, because we can now see that we have here something like a flower: eight petals in the inner — they are much nearer to the Earth, so we can really speak of inner petals — and eight petals which are in the outer circle. It is a sixteen-petalled flower, a sixteen-petalled lotus of cosmic dimensions. Now, we know from the indications, which we can find in anthroposophy, that Mars is connected with speech in the human being, with this realm of the larynx. However, that is only an external statement, so to speak, an external manifestation of the power of Mars in the human being. The reality is that the spiritual aspect of Mars is connected with that lotus here in that invisible organ of higher perception which is connected with this larynx region, the sixteen-petalled lotus or chakram. It is there in the cosmos, where it is connected with Mars, and it is also in the human being, where it is connected with the development of speech. You see how wonderful it is in this cosmos!

Here we have a direct approach to that secret about which we speak so often: that a human being is a micro cosmos within the macro cosmos, and all that we find in the macro cosmos is also contained in the micro cosmos. It is not contained in the micro cosmos in order that it may just be there a second time in a minor edition, so to speak, an abbreviated, an abridged edition; rather, it is contained here in order that this microcosm may develop it further, may make something new of it. This great chakram of Mars in the cosmos has been born into the human being in just the same sense as we worked out the Zodiac in connection with the symbols. Thus it had been born in past ages of evolution into the human being so that something new might come into existence, namely, that which ultimately can and should be permeated by the Christ impulse, by self-awareness, by the Ego, by the I AM. That is really the meaning of the repetition of the great cosmos in the small cosmos, in the micro cosmos.

Of course it’s not so very clear here, but you still can see it: on the right side the conjunctions and also the loops are much closer together than they are on the left side. That mustn’t disturb us; this is not static, this chakram of Mars, it rotates. Actually, the sixteen-petalled chakram of the larynx is also in movement, and we see the simple fact that here on the right side the movement is slowed down, so to speak, and here on the left it is accelerated in the cosmos. That is the secret behind it. That is again something wonderful. It is not just a constant movement, but it is a rhythmic movement, a slowing down and then an acceleration again. Now we can imagine that this is connected with the development of the eightfold path. As we know, Rudolf Steiner describes in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds that eight of the petals, in that Mars in us, must be developed now. And they must be developed by that which is contained in the eightfold path of Gautama Buddha. We shall speak next time about it, because I believe these things are most essential. Eight of these petals must be developed now; the eight others, meaning the outer petals, were developed in ancient times. In a similar sense we can speak of Mars in the cosmos, and that eight of those petals must be developed now, and they must be developed by the Christ-permeated human being, because only we can do it. Eight of those petals of Mars were also developed in the dim past, but in the planet Mars it is reversed. I should say, with regard to the human being, that it is the inner petals which must be developed now, and the outer petals were developed in the past. But in the cosmos it is different, for it is the loops that point to things which were thrown into and developed in this world in which we live, in the dim past. The loops stand for that. Furthermore, the superior conjunctions are that which we, the human race, must develop in the future. Next time we shall carry on with this, and we shall see how this can indeed be found in connection with the working of Mars and that which human beings make of these workings of Mars.


Answers to Questions

Question concerning the three or nine hierarchies.

We can speak of nine hierarchies: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Kyriotetes, Dynamis, Exusiai, Archai, Archangel, and Angel. Thus we come to nine, and humanity would be the tenth; but very often Rudolf Steiner speaks of three hierarchies, and he means that the highest — the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones — form one hierarchy of three. We have three such hierarchies of three, and we would then have a fourth hierarchy consisting of the human race in the future. That is expected; but then we would also have three within this fourth. Lately, I came across something in which Rudolf Steiner said that essentially the future fourth hierarchy would be threefold, but I cannot remember where it was. I suspect that the threefoldness would be connected with a classification, in a sense, of humanity into something like Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

How can one understand the name of the sign Fishes?

The fish symbol of the early Christians had a close connection with the letters of Christ’s name; however, it must also have some very ancient background. That whole part — Fishes, Waterman, Goat — in ancient times must have been something like a huge sea. We have, for instance, the southern fish below Waterman, and above are the birds. It was a huge sea with monsters in it, and there were the two Fishes, which were just one part in it. I am quite sure that in the future, when we have developed the corresponding capacity, we will not invent but shall find new names for the constellations. It is already beginning now. In some constellations one can see quite clearly that they represent already something different from that which the ancients saw in them.

Question about the sign of Sagittarius.

The cross in Sagittarius should be a circle, I think, with the lower part eliminated, representing the breaking out of an enclosure, creating the circle, which relates to the movement of the thigh.

Question about Buddha on Mars.

The development of the Mars organ, in the throat as speech, is a Mercury (occult Venus) impulse, and Buddha is Mercury. Buddha was sent to Mars in 1603 by Christian Rosenkreutz to take the impulse of love and compassion, as in history the Mercury (occult Venus) impulse was brought to the Mars sphere in the human being through the eightfold path. [Ed note: In Changing Countenance of Cosmology, Willi clearly describes the new symbols he suggests, which is in accord with his views of our changing relationships to the constellations. See the section, “Symbology and Cosmology”, in which there is an expanded account of this lecture on the symbols of the constellations.]


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