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Cosmic Christianity

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Roads to a Modern Cosmology and Astrosophy

In the first chapter of this series we spoke about the destiny of astrology as humanity moved toward the modern age. It is a fact that in modern times, about the end of the last century and the beginning of the present, astrology was regarded as utter superstition, as something with which a reasonable person would not be occupied. However, this is not so any longer. Full evidence exists which proves that science has discovered, or one may say rediscovered, astrology. Some university professors go so far nowadays as to say that perhaps there is something in this astrology after all. Science is on the road to rediscovering astrology on its own ground of statistics. In the following we provide a few examples.

Already in the thirties of the present century, a paper was published in the United States in which Arthur Fund describes the discovery by Fernando Sanford at Stanford University in California of a correlation between the frequency of visible sunspots and the conjunction rhythms of Venus. It is simply this (Fig. 3.1): We look at it from the heliocentric point of view. At some distance from the central Sun the planet Venus is moving along its orbit. Next to Venus is the orbit of the Earth. Fernando Sanford discovered that during a period of 14 years, from 1918 to 1932, whenever Venus was behind the Sun (seen from the Earth and which one technically calls a superior conjunction), maximum numbers of sunspots were observed. On the average it was a maximum of 714. At the times when Venus had moved into the position between the Sun and the Earth (an inferior conjunction), there occurred a minimum number of sunspots; the average was as low as 405. This is an enormous difference. Sunspots appear in a telescope like holes drilled into the surface of the Sun. Of course, the unaided eye sees at best only black spots on the surface of the Sun.


Figure 3.1


In these reports, and I shall have to quote a few more in other fields of research, one usually finds one statement, which says: No explanation can be offered for this or that correlation; it just is so. This we do not find surprising. In order to find explanations in this field, we must take recourse to spiritual science, as founded by Rudolf Steiner, which leads us to the following astronomical conception. The Sun is regarded in astronomy as a body that exerts gravitation on its environment; thereby it pulls objects toward its surface, and also holds all the planets of the solar system in their orbits. Rudolf Steiner did not agree with this idea. He regarded the Sun, so to speak, as a hole in space, a place where positive space comes to an end, reverting into negative space. This may appear to be a very difficult proposition, but we cannot go into these cosmo-physiological problems here (see chapter 6, The Workings of the Planets and their Spheres). Thus the Sun would act like a super pump. The principle of the pump is to create a space that can be emptied of its air content. In this way we can suck, for instance, water into and through such a pump. In a somewhat similar sense the Sun, as empty or minus space, would draw in from all sides substance from the far distant spaces of the universe toward itself, even from beyond our solar system. This essence or substance is gradually condensed, until it reaches the highest degree of densification on the Earth and on its Moon. Then, as this substance moves on toward the Sun, it is dissolved again. It disappears, as it were, into that emptiness, into that complete reversal of all positive space, which is, according to this idea, the nature of the Sun. So, up to the Earth we would have to expect an increase and beyond the Earth a decrease of that essence or substance coming from the depths of the universe.

Going along with such concepts, the planets Venus and Mercury, which are closest to the Sun, appear then as stages in the gradual dissolution of space-substance as we move toward the face of the Sun. On its surface, the final process of dissolution of all positive space into negative space then takes place. Hence we get the phenomenon of the Sun, as we see it in the sky. We have the impression that it is a ball of fire, a place of combustion. The question is where the fuel needed for this combustion process comes from. Science has made strenuous efforts to explain that the Sun is fueled from within. These explanations are not wholly satisfactory. Another explanation would be that the fuel is that space substance, which is accumulated and finally dissolved on the surface of the Sun. As Venus and Mercury would also be stages on the road of this dissolution, they act as filters that sift the substance coming from the Earth. They filter and prepare it so that when it reaches the surface of the Sun it can more easily be dissolved. Now, we have mentioned above that strange coincidence of a low frequency of sunspots when Venus is in line with the Earth and between the Earth and the Sun. The planet then acts like a sieve and prepares the heavy substance coming from the Earth for final dissolution on the surface of the Sun. If Venus is in superior conjunction, behind the Sun as seen from the Earth, this cannot work. In this case the space-essence, which has gone through the Earth and has reached a high degree of crystalline densification, cannot be absorbed by the Sun. It cannot be completely dissolved by the Sun. We can even think that it hits the Sun, as it were, unprepared, not sufficiently broken down. Therefore it would cause impacts in the outer layers of the Sun and cause the sunspots that then appear as black spots. This would also explain the fact that the sunspots clearly appear in the telescope like holes drilled into the Sun, which would be effected by the gross impacts hitting it.

Figure 3.2

Another fact that was discovered is the correlation of radio disturbances, of the so-called radio-weather, the changing clarity of radio reception. For a long time the reasons for this phenomenon were sought. Up to a certain limit an explanation was found in those sunspots of which we have been speaking. But they covered only a low percentage of the radio disturbances. Finally, J. H. Nelson, a researcher for RCA (Radio Corporation of America) one of the top promoters in the field of radio communications, found that the angular positions of the planets of the solar system, seen heliocentrically, are responsible for the radio disturbances (Fig. 3.2). We have here the orbits of the planets. At a certain time we may find two or more planets, say Saturn and Jupiter, at a right-angle position. This invariably causes radio disturbances. There is, of course, the possibility for many such angular positions between the planets. In our present diagram we have an angular relationship of 90. Naturally, we ask, why should such an angle of 90 influence radio waves on the Earth? In the papers that present the statistical evidence, we find again that one sentence: No explanation can be offered. However, we were bold enough to offer an explanation in another context when we spoke about the rhythms of the planets in Chapter 1. We tried to find the foundations of the ancient occult symbols that have survived into our age; and we discovered that the cosmic facts which underlie the angle of 90 were always well-known to astrologers as the square aspect. They also maintained that this is a bad aspect. In ancient times this arose out of a real spiritual insight; whereas the modern age has frequently only the tradition left. But why should the square aspect be bad? This can be answered on the basis of the movements of the planet Mars, the aggressor, who has the task of being the aggressor in our solar system. Its conjunctions with the Sun are distributed in the Zodiac approximately forming an octagon, or as we earlier described it, forming a double square (Fig. 1.3c). Therefore squares are liable to cause conditions and disturbances, as described, that fill the entire solar system. We often call such aspects bad, but this is an unscientific expression. We should develop a more qualified concept, and then we will know what we are handling.

Hence, this was the discovery of Nelson. It was described in the RCA Review of March 1951, and again in an article in the periodical Electrical Engineering, in May 1952. Afterward there occurred an avalanche of discoveries of similar correlations, all verified on the basis of statistics. For instance, one thing that is rather remarkable was the discovery of the interconnection between the phases of the Moon and widespread precipitation. The statistical evidence was collected during the years 1900 to 1924 and then again from 1925 to 1949, from 1,544 weather stations in the U.S.A. They collected 16,057 maximum precipitation records representing 6,710 individual data. The evidence was published in the form of diagrams, showing the phases of the Moon, from New Moon, to first quarter, Full Moon, last quarter, and so forth. Thereby it was established that, indeed, the phases of the Moon are invariably connected with widespread precipitation.

This is a remarkable discovery. Anyone who has lived with these things knows how, even in the beginning of the present century, an earlier science scorned and ridiculed this idea, which was regarded as the superstitious belief of simple shepherds and peasants in the Middle Ages. And now, this very science is obliged to rehabilitate those old shepherds and peasants. On the surface this looks wonderful. But again, there is contained in the corresponding publications that one sentence: No explanation can be offered. We are left in the dark with regard to the causes. (The official New Zealand Weather Bureau was involved with 50 stations in similar research and obtained the same evidence.) So the avalanche of research went on. A lunar influence on ice nuclear concentrations in the upper layers of the Earths atmosphere was discovered, as well as a lunar effect on the incoming meteor rate. Then it was detected, by similar methods, that the Moon had an influence on geomagnetic disturbances. A good number of papers exist, mostly published in the course of the last decade. Finally, Professor H. S. Burr of Yale discovered (again by statistical evidence) that the lunar phases were connected with the life in living organisms, or rather, and this is a very important point to notice, with the electrical potentials within the living organisms. That is how it is described. Another professor, Dr. Leonard T. Ravitz, also at Yale (all this was published in Life magazine), had measured the electrical potential in human beings and detected a 14-day rhythm, which often coincided with the lunar phases. Furthermore, New York State statistics at one time seemed to prove that coinciding with the phase of Full Moon there were more admissions into lunatic asylums than otherwise.

We see here also danger signals. The cosmologist might at first rejoice: At last they are coming to reason, they are rediscovering the correlation between the cosmos and the earthly and the human world. But there is the grave danger that all these things are interpreted in terms of material mechanics, electricity, and magnetism. In the end the human being would be regarded as an insignificant and absolutely dependent part of the big mechanism, the big machine and computer, called the universe. And everything, down to the minutest detail of life, would be computed and determined by being injected into this universe.

I should mention another discovery, which was reported in a German periodical. It concerns mongoloid children, a special category of retarded children. A medical doctor in Czechoslovakia, who was originally very skeptical toward the whole idea, eventually decided to cooperate with an astrologer. They worked out the birth charts of 50 mongoloid children and 150 of their brothers and sisters who had the same mothers. First, the geocentric approach gave hardly any clues, but in employing the heliocentric approach they were stunned by the results. They discovered that in all 50 of the charts of the mongoloid children Mercury was in bad aspects, according to astrological concepts, for instance, in square (90 distance) to Venus. At the same time such bad aspects showed up between Neptune and the Earth. The brothers and sisters charts did not display any such configurations.

In this publication we also search in vain for a satisfactory explanation. Yet, it is very disappointing if one has to work with something that one does not understand, and it can be misleading, too. The question arises: Where can we find guidelines toward a satisfactory understanding? Rudolf Steiner spoke abundantly about the interrelationship between the human being and the cosmos. There is first of all the lecture cycle Christ and the Spiritual World, in which he describes, among many other things, the spiritual meaning of the Parsifal story according to the Eschenbach version. The latter clearly indicates cosmic correlations. In another context Steiner points out that Wolfram von Eschenbach speaks of Saturn as standing in the constellation of Cancer when Amfortas, the sick Grail King, whom Parsifal meets in the Grail Castle, goes through his great suffering. In actual fact Eschenbach says that Saturn was then in the heights of heaven, which is an indication that it was in Cancer. We have mentioned another transit of Saturn through Cancer elsewhere (see Cosmic Christianity, chapter 1). This happened during the three years of Christ's ministry. There it was also connected with suffering. In the Grail story, Parsifal comes and witnesses the suffering of King Amfortas. Instead of asking him for the cause of his illness, he remains silent. Consequently, he is ejected from the Grail castle. Only after long wanderings and long soul-suffering and dejection does he come back, at the moment when Amfortas is going through the culmination of his great suffering. Now Parsifal asks him and thereby redeems and heals him. The element of compassion and love, that which entered the world through the Deed of Christ, accomplished the healing of Amfortas. It was at the same time a redemption of Saturn in the constellation of Cancer.

Steiner points out in Lecture 5 of Christ and the Spiritual World that after long years of spiritual research he came to the conclusion that we face in our age a kind of rebirth of the ancient astrology of the Third that is, the Egypto-Chaldean Age of civilization, of course, on entirely new foundations. That Third Age was the time in the history of the human race when that astrology was developed, which has reached right into our present age as tradition. Rudolf Steiner maintains that this new astrology cannot go along those ancient paths and approaches any longer. It can grow only on the basis of a Christian cosmology and perspective of humanity. In this sense, Parsifal is like the prototype of a new humanity, who through his own soul-catharsis grows up to live with the stars, in order to bring healing and redemption to a suffering humanity.

In others of his lectures, Dr. Steiner describes the descent of the human soul from the cosmos into incarnation, and how it is born out of the totality of the universe. It brings down the essence of the Zodiac as a form body, which forms the matter that a soul is offered on the Earth through the parents, and compresses it into a human physique. The Zodiac represents the great divine image of the human form, which was founded in the most remote past of evolution. (Compare also with Genesis I:26.) Into this amalgamation of cosmic form-body and physical matter the forces of the planets are inserted as foundations for the physiological functions. Thus life, movement, and functions are infused into the human organism. As human beings descend step by step into incarnation, moving through the celestial spheres, they receive from the Zodiac the form body and from the planets the ether or life-body. And these elements are then finally united with that which the Earth offers. We humans of the present scientific age must learn to comprehend these facts consciously and to realize that we carry the gifts of the entire universe through our incarnations. We have received these gifts in order to transform them, and to increase our talents (see also Matthew, XXV:14-30).

Through these correlations with the cosmos, humanity is involved in an activity similar to a ritual. As a priest takes the ingredients of bread and wine and offers them up to the divinity for transubstantiation, so must the human being grow up inwardly to a spiritual priesthood with regard to the ingredients that are present in the bodily organization. Rudolf Steiner describes this in the lecture cycle Man and the World of Stars: The Spiritual Communion of Mankind, Nov.-Dec. 1922. We, as the present human race, might still appear to be very far away from its realization. But here is a vision of the future when we will be able to handle this. Then, we will take that which is given to us at the moment of incarnation as the bread of our physical body and the wine of our etheric, or life, body and offer them up for transubstantiation by the conscious evolution of our relationship to the divine. (The physical body, in view of its mineral substance, can be likened to the bread, the etheric body to the wine, on account of its working in the water, the fluids of the body.)

As we said, the time of the realization of this cosmic ritual may still be far away from us in the distant future; but as a kind of very first, inaugural beginning, Steiner gave at the end of the lecture, which we mentioned two mantras for meditative work. Eventually, we will need the inner realization of the Christ impulse, because Christs three-year ministry is the great archetype of this cosmic ritual (see, Cosmic Christianity). The purely intellectual capacities that we have developed in the course of evolution are insufficient for this work.

Through meditative exercises, such as Dr. Steiner suggested, we will be able to raise ourselves to imaginative cognition, not only to perceive the world abstractly in intellectual terms but to comprehend it by pictorial/symbolic perception. (See the basic books of Rudolf Steiner: Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Theosophy, and Occult Science.) From there we can raise ourselves, by certain spiritual exercises, to inspiration, where we perceive things not only in a kind of symbolic realization. There we will be able to listen, for instance, to what divine beings have to convey to us. At a third stage, we can raise ourselves still higher to the capacity of intuition, by which we will be enabled to identify ourselves in full consciousness with beings of the invisible world.

Through the development of these capacities, especially inspiration and intuition, humans of the future will be able to meet that which is present in their own bodies, essentially, as the essence of the entire Zodiac and the forces of all the planets. At present these are dormant, as it were, in the human organism. But humans of the future will, by their own efforts, develop inspiration and intuition and be able to lift the cosmic ingredients out of their dormant state. Humanity will, in the far future, transform and restore what is at present lowered, as it were, into the grave of the corruptible body to a realization of that which the Christ re-established as the resurrection, or cosmic-dynamic, incorruptible body.

Toward the end of his life, Dr. Steiner described in Letters to the Members (of the Anthroposophical Society) in precise terms our new connection with the world of the stars, as he saw it. (English translation, The Michael Mystery, Chapter 6.) First he recalls how the world of the stars was experienced differently by humanity in the dim past from today. In the very first beginnings of Creation, the stars did not actually exist. Spiritual hierarchical beings were, so to speak, in their places in the heavens (see, for instance, Occult Science, chapter on Ancient Saturn). Then came a time long ago, when this World of Being withdrew and left the first indications of a starry heaven as the revelation of the divine hierarchies. In the end the divinity withdrew so far from the starry heavens that only a memory of the glorious golden past was left in the stars, which even became objects for sense perception. During this modern age, whenever we proceeded to incarnate on this planet, there would be no need for us to take recourse to the stars. However, now the Archangel Michael, who is called The Countenance of Christ, has stepped in and insists that we incarnate time-wise so that our individual destinies coincide with the cosmic memories represented in the courses of the stars. And these coincidences are impressed and formed right into our physical and etheric organizations. By his insistence, Michael achieves the reconnection of the dormant but potential spark of the divine presence in the human being, and through this spiritual potential, eventually restores the stars to their divine ascendancy. Michael indeed endeavors to raise, through this potential correlation, the redemptive power of the Christ to new cosmic heights. Thus we all have next to us this silent companion, our own relationship to the world of the stars, who participates in all our endeavors, labors, achievements, and possibly also our failures.

At first it is difficult to see how humanity should be able to transform and redeem the stars, even if it is only a matter of the relatively very limited participation of the individual at the moment of incarnation. This perspective changes at once if we take into account the opposite end of humanitys association with the stars, one that is manifest at the moment of death. We can also find an understanding of Dr. Steiners additional description in the letter mentioned above. He mentioned that in modern humanity an entirely new relationship to the stars has developed. Through the evolution of potential spiritual culture in ourselves we feed that silent star-companion of whom we spoke. Thus do we penetrate the cosmos. In the dim future we will completely transform the present universe, and a new one will come into existence. How can this practically be possible, that the human being this tiny being, sometimes appearing so miserable should be able to transform the cosmos? Yet, we can offer some explanation. At the moment of incarnation we receive as human beings the ingredients that we need and of which we have been speaking. From the Earth we receive the mineral substances that are formed into a human body by the cosmic-physical form-body, sometimes called the spirit germ of the body. Furthermore, we receive from the cosmos, at the last moment before incarnation, the ether body or life-body. In the mineral substances the Earth gives us a gravity body, which is bound to the Earth by gravity. But the ether body, which is born out of the totality of cosmic life, infuses levity forces into the physical body whereby life in the human sense is made possible. We are usually not aware of how we constantly overcome the down-pull of gravity. This is the work of the ether body, which prevents us from being a lifeless, static, and heavy rock. It gives us the opportunity of growth and development, eventually of experience in the sequence of time, or life.

This experience in time, or life, of a human being is not lost. The entire biography of a human being is written down, so to speak, in the ether body. And at the moment of death we give back what we had, so to speak, on loan. The mineral physical substances we give back to the Earth. Likewise, the ether body goes back to its origin in the cosmos, that is, the realm of the planets. Now it is filled and permeated by our life experiences, by our living biography. During the first three days after death, when the physical body is laid aside and we are still united with our ether body, we experience a great tableau of our entire life. What in Earth-life was spun out in time is now integrated in one coherent picture. This is the ether body, which in this sense one can regard as a time body. After three days this vanishes, because the ether body returns to its origin. It separates from the soul. Still, in it is contained all that we have lived through on the Earth. Thereby it goes back to the cosmos and permeates the planets. It does not vanish but lives on in the planets, possibly getting ready to inspire other souls who descend into incarnation. In the course of these deliberations we shall take an opportunity to demonstrate how certain individualities, whom we know historically and also with regard to their spiritual endeavors, may have permeated the planetary world with their ether bodies, or etheric biographies. They were taken up by definite planets, rested there, and were preserved. Eventually other souls descended, perhaps centuries later, who were possibly inspired by the earlier etherized motives. They took them up, incorporated them into their own ether bodies, and evolved them further in their incarnations.

Hence we can indeed say that we are transforming the stars. Through our ether body, we infuse an element into the domains of the planets that was not there before, which matured in our spiritual-moral endeavors. Thereby the planetary world and the cosmos in which we live are gradually transformed. At the end, in the dim future, a new cosmos will have come into existence through the potential evolution of the human race. At present this happens at the moment of death. There will come other times, when we will be able to do this during our sojourn on this planet. Then we will be able to speak to the stars, to respond with spiritual creativeness to their courses. The power to do this we will gain from our soul-union with the Christ Impulse. This will come when we have risen to the reality of the St. Paul experience: Not I, but Christ in me. Thus can the Second Creation be born. The cosmos around us of the First Creation is moving toward its own exhaustion. It is waiting for that renewal which must come through us, through our new relationship to the stars, which we have tried to outline.



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