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The Movement of Venus During the Three Years

   

Today we look at Venus during the Three Years (Fig. 5.1). On the 6th of January 31 AD, Venus was in Aquarius. From there it moved through the ecliptic and made a loop in Leo, around August 31. After that it came into superior conjunction, which means it was behind the Sun, out in space. This happened in June 32. At the time of Golgotha, just a few weeks before, it made a loop close to the vernal point, just between the constellations of Aries and Pisces. We shall insert two more features that were actually outside the Three Years. Before the 6th of January 31, a superior conjunction took place in the constellation Libra close to Scorpio. Venus was then again beyond the Sun. That was on October 22, 30. After 33, there was a superior conjunction in Capricorn on January 8, 34. Both events were outside the actual Three Years but are still connected in a deep sense with the Mystery of Golgotha. Thus we get a definite and most important pattern. We simply mark the places in the ecliptic where superior conjunctions Venus being beyond the Sun and inferior conjunctions or loops occurred Venus in front of the Sun and thereby we get a pentagram. This weaving pattern is quite distinct. Certainly, the triangle of the great conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter is an integrated geometrical symbol; but the pentagram is a weaving symbol. It is a symbol of integration in a more thorough sense. For instance, it is connected with the balance of substances in the human organism. Also, it works in the function of the glandular system. By secretion, so to speak, it establishes a balance in the body, and even works as a balancing power between the cosmos and the earthly forces. Apart from physiological functions, its rhythms are associated with the mysteries and initiation. This too is a matter of integration in a much higher sense. We can receive initiation when we are integrated as self-conscious beings in the universe, when we have found our true position in the universe. Therefore Venus is in a much deeper sense connected with the mysteries. Above all, with regard to its rhythms and functions, it is an image of the second half of Earth evolution. Thus it is distinct from Mars, which is an image of the first half of Earth evolution. Mars works along the pattern of the square or 90 angle (Fig. 5.2). Against this, Venus insists on loving integration, which is expressed in the weaving pattern of the pentagram.

   

Figure 5.2

   

First, we will chiefly consider the three events within the Three Years and the other two events later. All the time we should bear in mind that they are associated with the mysteries, the old mysteries and the new mysteries. The old mysteries, we shall see, had come to an end. Through the Christ Event the new Christian Mysteries were instituted. Thus was the inferior conjunction in Leo (August 31) associated with the beheading of St. John the Baptist. We read about it, for instance, in Mark, Chapter VI. What did it mean? The loop (inferior conjunction) of any planet, particularly of Venus and Mercury, signifies the termination of a cycle of individual or historic evolution. Such a cycle rises out of a loop, moves through the following superior conjunction, and comes to an end in the succeeding loop. St. John the Baptist was, in the words of Christ Himself, the greatest of all human beings (Luke VII). Once the disciples asked the Christ: We hear the scribes say that Elijah was supposed to come again before the Messiah. He replied: Elijah has come again; he was John the Baptist (Matthew XI:14, XVII:10-13). In other words, in John the Baptist was incarnated the individuality who was also present in Elijah. Elijah was surely one of the greatest of all human beings. Earlier we demonstrated and worked over the fact that the human head is the concentrated residue of a past incarnation of course, not in a material but in a dynamic sense. So, we imagine that everything weve heard about that powerful individuality Elijah, as the outstanding figure in the line of the Prophets, according to the Old Testament, was present in the head of John the Baptist. And the head of John the Baptist carried the essence of the mighty being who must have been deeply associated with the mysteries to know of the Advent of Christ and to be able to work toward the Mystery of Golgotha. This head was sacrificed in the beheading of St. John, and we venture to say, seen from a higher level, that John the Baptist himself sacrificed his head. Herod had John imprisoned because he had reproached Herod for his deeds. Behind Herod worked the ancient mysteries, particularly those of Phoenicia. His wife Herodias and her daughter Salome were the soul-element, so to speak, in the environment of Herod and were of Phoenician descent. While in prison, John did not recant, and eventually the two women asked for his head. Herod had to give in; he had promised Salome a gift, whatever she asked. Thus John the Baptist was beheaded, and his head was carried into the hall on a platter. This gives us an idea where the ancient mysteries had arrived. They had become utterly decadent. We are confronted here with the picture of the black counter-Grail. The Holy Grail is the cup that carries the Holy Host, the healing and ever-nourishing Spirit substance. Against this, the head on the platter is the imagination of Black Magic Art.

The ancient mysteries, which had run their course, were sacrificed in the head of John the Baptist. In Elijah, who was present in John, the ancient mysteries had reached their final culmination, the last evening glow. John the Baptist, as the Forerunner, spoke of the coming of Christ. He prepared the people who came to him for this coming by baptizing them. Though he baptized them with water, he said that the One coming after him would baptize with fire. At the moment of the Baptism of Jesus, he saw that the promise was fulfilled. He called out: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John I:29). He then realized that indeed the Lamb of God, an occult expression meaning the Head of the Kyriotetes, of the Hierarchy of the Spirits of Wisdom, had descended into the body of Jesus. His task was now fulfilled in the preparation for the Christ Event, from all that which he had done as Elijah, and even earlier. The termination and decadence of the ancient mysteries came home to him in the painful experience of his beheading.

This development culminated in the loop of Venus in Leo. The symbol that we use for Leo indicates a movement of involution from the periphery, which is then concentrated into what we see represented by the circle. Thus Leo leads us from the wide spaces of the universe down to the Earth and into ego-experience. At the time of Christ, the means of integrating the human being in the ancient mysteries of the cosmos had come to an end. The human being now had come to live in the ego. This was the great crisis of Leo. It found expression in that loop of Venus and in the simultaneous events. In connection with the following conjunction, we shall indeed see that this was also associated with Phoenicia and with the decadence of the ancient mysteries. This next conjunction of Venus was a superior one. It happened in Gemini on May 30, 32AD. This was soon after the feeding of the five thousand. The sequence of the description of the feeding of the five thousand in the Gospels of Matthew XIV, Mark VI, and Luke IX, which must be regarded as an important key for the comprehension of the esoteric meaning of these events, indicates that the spirit of St. John the Baptist was connected with this stage of Christs manifestation during the Three Years. The apostles were thus able, through Johns spiritual presence, to make the preparation for the feeding. Christ tells them to gather the multitude, to seat them, and to provide the food an imagination, in fact, of what must happen during the Age of Pisces if humanity is to survive. The two fishes are an indication of the two fishes of the constellation Pisces, which inspire the present age. The five loaves are an imagination of five of the constellations that are particularly connected with the human being. John the Baptist, in cosmic space after his decapitation, is able to help the apostles to provide the cosmic food that the present humanity of the Fifth Age and future humanity will need, in which it must find a real, spiritual nourishment: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Sagittarius, Scorpio, and Libra.

Then, in the following chapter we hear of the only occasion, according to the Gospels, of the Christ departing from the Jewish territory and entering the land of Phoenicia: From thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the childrens bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the childrens crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying, go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed (St. Mark VII:24-30). It happened in Syro-Phoenicia, just that domain where the ancient mysteries had survived in a very decadent, one might say, in a black magic form. The woman herself was Greek and Syro-Phoenician by nationality, an indication of an accumulation of all that existed in that age as ancient heritage. Her daughter is possessed by a demon. It is a procreation of that dark, decadent side of what had become of the ancient mysteries. In the conversation that takes place between the mother and Christ, the woman is tested, as it were. Those ancient mysteries were often carried by a sense of arrogance, pride, and passion for power, because in becoming decadent and sliding into the wrong hands, the necessary and strict moral catharsis was more and more neglected. The sense of great humility in the woman, when she said, yet the dogs under the table eat of the childrens crumbs, had, in a sense, already cast out the devil who had possessed the offspring of the ancient mysteries. At least, it facilitated it. For this healing the Christ had to go outside of the Jewish territory, to Phoenicia, where the ancient mysteries were still extant, though decadent, in connection with the cults of the Gods Baal and Astarte, or Ashtoreth.

From the heliocentric point of view, we get still more information. This conjunction of Venus occurred close to the nodal lines of Venus and Uranus. Also the perihelion of the Earth was close by. The association with the sphere of Uranus is an additional indication that this event is concerned with the mysteries. The essence of the classical planets, from Saturn down to the Moon, is incarnate in the physical form of the human being. Uranus is already above the head, in the aura, and invisible to sense-perception. Therefore it is the gateway to the occult, connected with initiation and with the mysteries. The perihelion of the Earth, the point where the Earth comes closest to the Sun in its yearly orbit, is associated with the Fall in Paradise. We have already referred (Chapter I) in detail to the perihelion-aphelion element, or line of apsides, and their manifestation in the human form. As a consequence of the Fall, the human being developed into a corporeally polaric entity: head and limbs. One could also say that human beings developed within themselves the two trees: the Tree of Knowledge, as head-formation, and the Tree of Life, all that which is connected with the metabolism and with the limbs, particularly with the sphere of propagation. The two poles were separated. Actually we hear in the third chapter of Genesis (III:22-23): And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. It did finally happen, when the mysteries became decadent particularly in Phoenicia, that man put forth his hand, to take from the Tree of Life, and eat, using that fruit for purely egotistical purposes.

The nodal lines of Venus and Uranus actually coincided toward the end of the 14th century AD. Shortly before, when they were almost identical in 1314, there was a conjunction of the two planets Uranus and Venus in the descending nodes, which is extremely rare. This was just a few days prior to the final extinction of the Order of the Knights Templars. On March 18, 1314, the last members of the Order, together with Jacques de Molay, their last Grand Master, were burned at the stake. The Templars had carried, on the one hand, the tradition and mysteries of Grail Christianity. On the other hand, they also had a kind of commercial connection with the Asiatic Middle East. They had many castle-fortresses in Palestine, Syria, and so forth. Thereby they established international trade connections, and became the first bankers. They had tremendous possessions and riches, which excited, in a certain moment, the demonic egotism of King Philip le Bel of France. Once upon a time, kings were initiates, but later on this ceased to be so. Philip le Bel was certainly not an initiate any longer; in fact, he was more voracious than the average human being. He decided to destroy the Order of the Knights Templars in order to acquire their treasures. So deep had the last faint shadows of the ancient mysteries sunk. The demons, who had long before invaded their holy precincts, fought the new Christian Mysteries successors of the Holy Grail with all available might. They worked with the forces in the human being that were associated with the aphelion of the Earth. These forces were liable to combine in the human being with passion, lust, and the tenacity to hold on with all possible means to the perpetuation of the physical-material element.

However, this need not be accepted as the inevitable fate of the ancient mysteries. In order to get some clarity into this we will use some more cosmic information. The perihelion of the Earth and the node of Uranus coincided in 382 BC. It was the time of Socrates and of Plato. Socrates died in 399 BC, just a few years prior, and Plato in 347 BC. In order to get an idea of what happened then, we had best study Rudolf Steiner's Christianity as Mystical Fact. In Chapter 4 we find an illuminating description of Greek civilization at that time. The Greeks harmoniously transformed the experience of the ancient mysteries into philosophical teaching. So, the Greeks effected the transition in a healthy fashion.

We come to the last loop within the Three Years. The inferior conjunction took place exactly at the vernal point, just a few days prior to the Mystery of Golgotha. At the time of Golgotha, Venus was actually still retrograde. So it was still in the loop. This was connected with the raising of Lazarus. The raising of Lazarus became one of the foundation stones of the new Christian Mysteries. Lazarus was John the Divine. He probably had some association, even if it was not the same individuality, with the writer of the Revelation of St. John, or the Apocalypse. The latter is indeed a manifestation of esoteric Christianity. We hear that Lazarus was supposed to have died and lay in the grave for three days. This is exactly what happened in the event of an ancient initiation. In Egypt, for instance, the neophyte lay in the sarcophagus for three days and was then raised. Thus, we must see the raising of Lazarus as an initiation. There is, however, one difference. On this occasion the initiation was performed openly. The entire world, whoever was present, could witness it. Initiations in the ancient mystery places took place in strict seclusion. All the so-called profane human beings then had to leave the temples. Now, here in the case of Lazarus, an initiation was performed in front of the entire world. This was the reason why the Pharisees came to the decision that this man Jesus had to die, because he had betrayed the mysteries and violated the severe oath of secrecy pertaining to the mysteries. A traitor had to die. This was the law, and this was the reason for the decision to have Christ Jesus crucified. This event and the openness with which the Christ performed the initiation describe the character of the new mysteries. They are open and yet secret. They are open in the sense that there is no external closing of the doors any longer. The protection of the esoteric element lies in the spiritual understanding. Only such a spiritual understanding can penetrate to the inner realm. This is the change that was introduced as the road to the new mysteries.

We come to the two conjunctions of Venus outside the Three Years. The first one was in October 30 AD. To understand this, it is advisable to study Rudolf Steiner's lectures in his book The Fifth Gospel. They give a description of the events leading up to the Baptism. Jesus was associated with the Essenes, the order of the Essenes who had settlements near the Dead Sea. They lived a secluded life of extreme purity and abstinence. Thereby they tried to keep out the evil influences. They even insisted on using their own special gates into the cities. These gates were impenetrable to the adversaries, Lucifer and Ahriman. Jesus had a terrible experience at one such gate. He saw that Lucifer and Ahriman were indeed rejected from them, but he also realized that they then fell upon the rest of humanity. He saw that the Essenes bought, so to speak, their purity and their holiness by putting the burden of evil on the humanity outside their order. It was then that Jesus realized that this was no longer the way to salvation for humanity. He was shattered by this discovery and went back to his mother. They had a deep conversation; after which, with his last strength, he went down to the Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist. This was for Jesus a kind of death experience, because he offered up his body to the Christ he, as an ego, withdrew. All this happened on or before the 6th of January 31 AD. So, we presume that these events happened at the time of that superior conjunction, or in its aftermath. It occurred in the constellation Libra, almost at the ingress to Scorpio, which is another characterization. Indeed, we see Lucifer and Ahriman, who were fleeing from the gates of the Essenes and falling upon the rest of humanity, coming back after the Baptism and the 40 days in the desert. They came to tempt the Christ. They knew that Jesus had recognized their presence earlier. Now they made a last attempt to frustrate once and for all this deed of the spiritual world to save humanity from their attacks. So, one would expect this to be present in this Libra-corner of the pentagram.

After the Three Years, about three-quarters of a year after Easter 33, we come to the event at the last or fifth corner of the pentagram. It was a superior conjunction of Venus, which happened on January 8, in the year 34. It was in Capricorn, which was considered in Greek mythology to be the gate to the divine-spiritual world, opposite Cancer, building the bridge and opening the doors. Hercules ascended through it to the heavens after his death. What happened then? In the Christian Calendar we find the 25th of January dedicated to St. Paul at Damascus, that is, the Conversion of St. Paul at the city gate of Damascus. Paul, or Saul as he was then still called, was present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr (Acts VII & VIII). The death of St. Stephen is commemorated in the Christian calendar on the 26th of December. After that Saul went, so to speak, as the authorized persecutor of the Christians to Damascus. He did this because he was convinced that the cause of Christianity was detrimental, particularly to the Jewish tradition. First, there was the accusation against Christ Jesus that He had betrayed the mysteries. Then there was the miserable death on the cross, which could not evoke the confidence of Saul that this was really the expected Messiah, who would free the Jews from the Roman yoke, and so forth. This was impossible it could not be. And then there was the claim of the Christians that the Christ had risen from the grave. All this was too much for Saul, who had been brought up, so to speak, in strict Hebrew esoteric tradition. Therefore he felt urged to persecute the Christians. After the execution of St. Stephen, he had papers made out, according to the Acts of the Apostles, by the councils in Jerusalem so that he could go to Damascus, to continue there with the work of eliminating the Christians. And then at the gate of Damascus he had that shattering experience of his conversion, when he heard, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? All this happened very probably in the neighborhood of the last, fifth Venus event along the pentagram. Now, the new Christian Mysteries were re-established. This last event laid the foundation for a new experience of spiritual reality by the ever-possible awareness of the Presence of the Risen Christ, who had confronted St. Paul and convinced him of the truth of Christianity. The conversion of St. Paul prepared the Second Coming, the manifestation of the Christ in the ether body. Thus we can also understand that these things are essential for our present age. The pentagram of Venus is of a perpetual nature. For instance, we find that the conjunction of 34 was followed after eight years, in 42, by another similar event in the very same corner, that is, in Capricorn. Likewise the loop of 33 was followed by another loop in 41, close to the vernal point. Thus all five points were occupied by repetitions. However, we always notice a slight difference, as they all fall back between two and three degrees in the course of eight-year intervals. It doesnt seem much, but it makes all the difference. Over centuries and longer times it simply means that the pentagram is very slowly turning backward in the ecliptic. We can now say, for instance, that the inferior conjunction of 33, around the time of Golgotha, has at present arrived in the constellation of Leo, after a complete rotation through the Zodiac. About the beginning of the century, in 1903, it had entered Leo, coming from Virgo. As an inferior conjunction it recurred in that constellation in 1911, 1919, 1927, 1935, 1943, 1951, 1959, and 1967. During the first half of the next century, it will enter the constellation of Cancer. Likewise, the other four points of the pentagram move backward through the Zodiac.

A study of these events and these rhythms can bring home to us that our contemplation of the happenings in the heavens during the Three Years is not only of historic interest. By their rhythmic return, an activating commemoration is effected, and in this we see the significance of our studies. We can thereby gauge where we stand in history and what kinds of facilities are offered. By no means do we suggest that things must happen in the sense of unalterable fate. Actual experience and work with these rhythms refute this idea. But a gentle cosmos offers them as tools, so to speak, for use by the spiritually free human being. Of course, their refutation is not without consequences, not in the sense of any kind of revenge, but rather as denial, and eventually a dissolution of self.

   



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