SEVENTH LETTER - October 1944
The Spiritual Nature of the Fixed-Star Zodiac (continued)
The readers of these letters
may sometimes wonder what to make of the indications that are given
in the Calendar. [The Calendar events of 1944 are not included here,
but these words are germane to the reason for the letters.] Some of
the main events that take place during the respective months are selected,
but it is not possible to follow the subject far enough to give them
all. The question is often asked: what does this or that event or aspect
between two or more planets mean or signify? It is my intention in these
letters to give some guidance so that readers may be able to live more
intimately with the Calendar and its indications.
It was, of course, the aim of the
previous letters to give a fundamental knowledge of the constellations
of the Zodiac; however, we must not only learn to know something about
the starry universe but also how to live with it, and there are indeed
possibilities of living with the events in the universe as we live on
Earth among human beings.
Connection between the Human Being and the Universe
In olden times, humanity
was still really able to live with the stars. We experienced spiritual
beings behind the stars who guided life on Earth. But all this beautiful
wisdom has come to an end in our days in a kind of fatalism. We have
lost the perception of those spiritual beings, and all that is left,
which is known today as astrology, is the experience of being exposed
to unknown powers in the universe that rule the destiny of human beings
on Earth. As the nature of these powers cannot be penetrated any longer
by a true knowledge, the study of astrology can lead only to fatalism.
It has often been said that
we must create a new conception of our relationship to the starry universe.
However, we can only do this if we find ways to a new perception of
the spiritual beings who are connected with the stars.
Previously, we have tried
to indicate that we can really see the gigantic outlines of the archetypal
human form in the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, but this archetypal
form is more than an image. One who lives with it for a long time finds
that it is the visible form, or one can even say the body of a spiritual
Being who is very near us, because it bears the features of the human
form. It is a spiritual Being who goes before and beside us and who
can be of comforting help to all those who really seek it. It can be
felt as the guiding and healing hand of an older Guide or Teacher. It
is the great representative of humanity, to whom we can lift up our
hearts and who will never fail to give us help when we are in need.
Human beings on Earth have
to live within a physical body. It is the expression and the means of
existence within the world of the senses, but it is also a limitation,
and sometimes it may even be experienced as a hindrance. This limitation
and hindrance reveals the story of the Fall. Our physical body has fallen
into the fetters of matter. Quite different is the “body”
of that heavenly Being who goes before us. Its body is the starry universe
itself with its eternal depths. Whereas the human body on Earth is limited,
the body of that Being has the capacity of never ending expansion and
uncountable possibilities of transmutation.
We have tried to “sketch”
the forms of this Being — an Angel-like Being with mighty wings.
But even so, we must imagine that the inner dynamic powers of this form
are of a different intensity from those in the physical form of humanity.
We look at the head of the human being. It gives our physical appearance
its individual countenance. It is the root of our day-conscious existence
within the world of the senses. Yet it is closed by the mighty helmet
of the skull. This is its limitation, and very often this enclosure
is a mighty barrier for a universal understanding and penetration of
the facts by which we are confronted on Earth. If we look at the “head”
of that heavenly Being, at the constellation of Ram, and if we want
to gain a true image of it, we must form a different conception. Just
as the earthly head is closed by the skull, this “head”
is open as if the skull were turned upside down, forming a kind of vessel.
And into this vessel flows the wisdom of the universe, the cosmic wisdom
of the Spirits of Wisdom whose visible expression we have found in the
constellation of Ram. It is the wisdom that has since flowed into the
existing forms and objects of the Earth; the cosmic ingenious wisdom
that we experience if we look at the structure of the skeleton or the
incomparable ingenuity of the organism of a plant. The horns of the
Ram reach out into the cosmic spaces and bring this cosmic wisdom through
the spiral form down into existence, and the shining white fleece of
the Ram is the image of the vast sea of this all-penetrating and life-giving
wisdom. Thus we must learn to imagine the “head” of the
cosmic Forerunner of humanity. (Later on it will be shown how we can
find this image in connection with star events in Ram,)
In the human body we then
find the larynx. It is the instrument with which we produce sound and
speech, but this organ is also very limited, especially in our age.
We can speak about objects, but in forming words we can only reflect
the nature of the objects around us. The human language is divided into
many languages, and this process of division and estrangement has steadily
increased. In our time it is even difficult for those who speak the
same language to understand the meaning of one another's words.
If we look at the “larynx” of that heavenly Being, the constellation
of Bull, we experience that its words are creative and universal. The
Bull is the outer expression of the Spirits of Motion who founded the
one archetypal creative language of the universe that has its expression
in the vowels and consonants of the starry movements from which the
human languages derived their origin. The alphabet is the earthly representative
of the Zodiac and the planets. Only the cosmic “alphabet”
in the composition of the language of the starry events is still creative
and uniform in the events within the kingdoms of nature. This is how
we should imagine the “larynx” of that cosmic Being when
we look at the constellation of Bull — it is still a “magic
Then we find the arms in
the human form, which are related to the constellation of Twins of our
heavenly Guide. The human arms are surely mighty organs with which we
can enter actively into the world, and yet, how often does the activity
that flows through our arms into the world divide and estrange us from
each other. Human beings fight and even kill one another with the arms.
This organ of our arms, with its tremendous incorporated capacities,
very often becomes the instrument of destruction. The arms (Twins) of
the heavenly Being whom we want to approach are different. They are
like mighty wings that can be experienced by the inner senses of the
human being as a protective silver garment around those who really seek
the help and the guidance of their heavenly Forerunner. The “feathers”
of these wings stream down, as it were, to each single human being and
thus to each single ego, and although we may feel separated from the
others on Earth, we can experience our spiritual union with all humanity
within the Being of our heavenly Guide. And these wings can be felt
not only as a protecting power but also as an inner reality that can
uplift and free the soul, as though it were to rise on wings.
In previous letters we have explained how the upper arms are related
to the constellation of Archer. In our human form on Earth the upp
continue and experience,
so to speak, the split that goes through both the individual human being
and humanity, of which we have spoken above. The Archer of that cosmic
Being again is different. The silvery “feathers” of the
wings reach down to each single human being on Earth, and when individuals
in earthly darkness are touched by these feathers, we can say —
if we wish to express it poetically — that they find the experience
of their own Angels and are reminded of their own task on Earth or,
perhaps, the soul is warmed or comforted.
There the manifoldness of
humanity becomes Oneness. The picture of the wings streaming into each
single human being may also be put into another imagination, which Christ
created with these words, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”
The single sweet, and juicy grape can feel itself united in the vine
that gave its life to the grapes. Thus we may learn to imagine the Twins-Archer
organ of the cosmic Teacher of humanity.
If we follow up the structure
of the arms, the human form then shows us the elbows and in the lower
limbs the knees. Their cosmic counterpart is the constellation of Goat.
However, this part of the human organism has fallen too deeply into
the fetters of matter, so far that we can hardly see its cosmic origin.
In the fourth letter, this was described in more detail, especially
how Goat is connected with the creation of the archetypes of the sense
organs, and indeed if we try to find the features of our cosmic Forerunner
in the Zodiac, we detect that each single “feather” of the
wings, in the end, becomes a very “sensitive” organ implanted
into every human being on Earth. The wings of which we have spoken are,
as it were, covered with millions and millions of sense organs —
like eyes. As these eyes are implanted into the single earthly being,
our cosmic Guide wants to perceive the world from countless individual
viewpoints. Each human being, whether good or bad, with his or her attitude
to life, philosophy, and outlook, becomes an “eye” of the
heavenly Being. We are not very often aware of the fact that our thoughts,
our feeling, and our willing are not only existent for our own sake
but also for the sake of God. If we are aware of this, then our soul
life must, necessarily, change considerably. That is where our heavenly
Teacher with its “Goat-organ” may also go before us, if
we truly read the language of the starry events in this constellation.
The lower arms are connected
with the constellation of Waterman. Whereas Goat is the region where
the differentiated thought world of humanity flows together into one
gigantic panorama of the world situation, the “lower arms”,
or Waterman of the Angelic world above us, pour forth healing and comforting
forces of warmth. We know that Waterman is connected with warmth, as
is described in the fourth letter. There the heavenly wings touch human
beings especially in the world of feeling. They ask each one of us to
direct our striving toward healing, compassion, and love and against
the dark forces of hate and destruction that often spring up simultaneously.
There we find that the heavenly Being can become a very strict and severe
judge of humanity or of its single members.
We have shown in detail
that the hands are connected with the constellation of Fishes. There
we have found the realm of humanity's destiny and will. This world
cannot yet be penetrated by our full consciousness. We are still deeply
asleep in this realm, although the full cosmic consciousness of it is
alive in the “hands” of the Fishes of the godlike being.
Like unseen hands they reach down into the depths of the human will.
They guide each of us through our individual destiny. They lead us along
our individual path of life and work on Earth. These ways may appear
strange and impenetrable to us, yet by those wing-hands, the course
of life is ordered according to the all-overlooking wisdom of the cosmic
Guide. It is here that the hand of the Judge, of whom we spoke, sometimes
has to recall its erring sheep on Earth by catastrophes in nature and
amongst humanity. This unerring Will then leads humanity to decisions
from which no one can escape, for each has to find an individual answer
for or against the evolution of the world. Thus this Being is not only
a Guide of earthly humanity but also a pedagogue on a grand scale.
We have now tried to approach
one step nearer to the image of the cosmic Guide of humanity in relationship
to the spiritual background of the constellations of Ram, Bull, Twins,
Archer, Goat, Waterman, and Fishes. We must be aware that we have found
only its countenance but not yet its “inner life”. This
is revealed by the other constellations of the Zodiac: Crab, Lion, Virgin,
Scales, and Scorpion. Before we can approach these, we must do some
more strenuous work of cognition; therefore, we have to wait until we
have achieved this knowledge in future descriptions.
Many readers may now say,
“This is an outlook that we can accept as more or less beautiful
in a poetic description” (though even this is doubtful owing to
the handicaps of the writer). “But”, they may continue,
“how can we find this outlook realized in the realm of the visible
starry world?” This is justifiable and the writer of these letters
has devoted much time to finding an answer to the question. He must
confess that, for him, this cosmic image appeared for years without
any proof, and only very much later, he found that the star events reveal
this image if only we know how to look at them in the right way.
We shall now look at a certain
event in the starry world that repeats itself in short intervals. It
is the conjunction of the two planets Jupiter and Mars that takes place
about every second year. On Earth we then see these two planets very
near each other. It can even happen that Mars covers or occults Jupiter.
This event takes place at intervals of about two years, only in different
constellations. In between this rhythm is another rhythm of the opposition
of Mars and Jupiter that also takes place, roughly, every two years.
If we then see Jupiter in the sky, we must imagine that Mars is exactly
opposite, that is, at the other end of an imaginary line from Jupiter,
through the center of the Earth and toward the other invisible half
of the heavenly sphere. Thus it happens that we have, roughly speaking,
every year either a conjunction or an opposition of Mars and Jupiter.
We have not spoken in detail
about the character of either Mars or Jupiter, but it may suffice at
this moment if we imagine that Jupiter is the representative of cosmic
wisdom and Mars that of cosmic strength.
In February 1819 AD, a conjunction
of Mars and Jupiter took place in the constellation of Goat. If we now
follow up the sequence of these conjunctions in the following years,
we find, among many others, another conjunction in 1848 AD in Twins.
Let us leave these for now and go on to an opposition in June 1914,
where we find Jupiter in Goat/Waterman, a conjunction taking place in
Crab in September 1919, an opposition where Jupiter was again in Waterman
in September 1938, and a conjunction in Fishes in January 1940.
Thus we have a sequence
of these events in the constellations of Goat (1819), Goat/Waterman
(1914), Waterman (1938), and Fishes (1940). Now we are in that sphere
of the Zodiac where we have drawn the wings of the heavenly Being as
it touches the human soul in its thinking, feeling, and willing. It
is the realm where it perceives the situation upon this planet through
the soul organs of humanity and acts according to these perceptions.
It is obvious that those
cosmic “perceptions” and “conceptions” are connected
with the first and Second World War. So, why do we start in 1819 AD?
We could also start earlier and find the most astonishing things. However,
in 1819 the Congress of Carlsbad took place, where the representatives
and princes of all the German states, which then were not yet united
in the “German Reich”, met in order to introduce measures
for the suppression of the revolutionary activities in their states.
The result was an unbelievably severe limitation and restriction of
the activities of the universities and strict censorship of the Press.
This was one of the reasons that led to the revolution of 1848, which
broke out in all the countries of Central Europe. We can almost perceive
how that heavenly Being looked down on Earth through the souls of humanity
and saw the struggle for spiritual freedom. This impulse appeared again
and again in many historical incidents after the year 1819 — all
in connection with the rhythms of Mars and Jupiter. It was manifest
again in the catastrophe of 1914, and in 193 8 it fully entered the
sphere of Waterman. The impulse penetrates the world of human feeling
and calls for the awakening of the forces of healing, compassion, and
love against the ever-increasing wall of hate and destruction. When
everything seemed to have been in vain, the conjunction of Mars and
Jupiter in Fishes on the 6th of January 1940 revealed the unerring cosmic
Judge who could not, from what it experienced on Earth, do otherwise
than educate and recall humanity to the straight path of positive evolution
through one of the greatest catastrophes that this planet has ever seen.
Thus the cosmic Will fulfilled what the human will could not fulfill.
If we now ask, what does
the world of the Gods demand from humanity?, we can find the answer
if we follow another sequence of the Mars-Jupiter rhythm. In September
1916, an opposition of both took place when Jupiter stood in Ram. In
the following year, in June 1917, a conjunction appeared in Bull and
in November/December 1918 an opposition when Jupiter was in Twins.
These events took place
during the last years of the First World War in the constellations of
Ram, Bull, and Twins. If we try to imagine in these constellations the
features of that spiritual Being who goes before us, we find in them
the head, open for the all-embracing wisdom of the universe; the larynx,
the organ for the creative Word in the universe; and the wings that
reach down to the single human beings, trying to inspire and uplift
them to ideals that strive to lead them toward the creation of true
Christian brotherhood. And what happened on Earth as the expression
of the activity of the spiritual world?
In September 1916, Rudolf
Steiner spoke about the spiritual background of human history. There
we can already find the fundamental ideas of the image of the threefold
human organism, which he elaborated more in detail in his book Von
Seelenraetseln (Riddles of the Soul). Behind this, the
idea already dawned of the threefold commonwealth. At the same time,
the Jupiter-Mars event took place with Jupiter in Ram. It is as if at
this moment a gateway was open from the “head” of the Godhead,
from the world of the all penetrating, all overlooking wisdom of the
spiritual universe. This healing jewel of cosmic wisdom, the idea of
the threefold commonwealth, came down to Earth, was conceived by the
individuality of Rudolf Steiner, and was born as the social idea that
was the answer to the striving and fighting within the depths of millions
and millions of human beings.
Then we can see how during
1917, in June/July, this idea that strove to become the solution of
the burning social problems, gained definite forms more and more in
conversations of Rudolf Steiner with his friends and even in a printed
memorandum. Mars and Jupiter were then in conjunction in Bull, and spiritual
beings spoke with mighty and creative words to humanity.
The year 1918 (November)
brought the end of the First World War and with it the rise of the hidden
social problems and revolutions in Central Europe, which had hitherto
been artificially concealed. Immediately afterwards, we see Dr. Steiner
in the midst of a gigantic activity, speaking in many lectures and meetings
to thousands and thousands of people about the manifold social questions
and means for their solution through the idea of the threefold commonwealth.
Here we can see how the wings of the cosmic intelligence — Twins
with Jupiter — touch the single human being in order to bring humanity
further on the road toward a social organism that can become the bearer
of true Christianity.
We see how these events,
which bear more the imprints of the revelation of our cosmic Forerunner,
are interwoven into the events of the other sequence of Mars-Jupiter
connections in Goat, Waterman, and Fishes. Humanity did not listen to
this revelation of the true form of its own social organism. After the
fall of human feelings into the abyss of extreme nationalism in Central
Europe, there was only one way out — the cosmic judgment beginning