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Isis Sophia I

On-line since: 31st January, 2017

The Nature of the Planetary World

The Sun II

Modern astronomy regards the Sun as a more or less gigantic ball of fire. There exist many theories about the nature and the source of its activity, yet none of these can really provide a satisfactory answer to the manifold problems connected with the various phenomena of the Sun.

According to all these theories, the Sun is a body of gaseous or even of solid matter. Rudolf Steiner indicated a different conception with which we can solve many riddles of the nature of the Sun and our whole universe. He gave us the conception of negative or “anti-space”, and according to this anti-space, the Sun that we see in the sky exists because the space of our universe disappears and anti-space is created. Thus the Sun is something like a hole in universal space, and the activity of the Sun is a kind of sucking power drawing the substance in space into the realm of anti-space. Such an activity was referred to when, in the last letter, we spoke of the Sun drawing the astral substance of the universe toward itself.

However, before it reaches the Sun, this astral substance goes through an evolution into densification that obviously reaches its culmination on Earth. This does not exhaust the activity of the Sun, which can be compared with the process of digestion within a human being. In order to digest, a person must eat. However, one cannot say that the ultimate goal of digestion is to make people eat. The final goal of digestion is the dissolution and decomposition of the food. In order to achieve this, people have to take in the food, which they experience with their senses. Similarly, the Sun's impulse is to dissolve the universal substance in order to create the etherized foundation for the spiritual progress and the renewal of our universe. The Sun is the organ of “digestion” of the great cosmic Being of the universe in which we live. The Earth is the realm within this universe where the “food” — the substance — is taken in and realized by the senses.

Thus the Earth and also the creation of the individual human form, as it was described in the 13th letter, are only, so to speak, an indirect result of the Sun's activity. The final goal is the dissolution of the human form in order to transform the inherited forces and substances into the ethereal germ of a future universe. We call this process of the dissolution of the human form, death. Therefore, the Sun is the gateway of the dead or, we can also say, the gateway to the dead.

The position of the Sun at the moment of death is of great importance for the life in the spiritual world after death. We shall have to say much more about this when we study the “horoscope of death”. The position of the Sun at the moment of birth is also very significant for it shows the connection of the human being with the world of the dead in a very peculiar way.

We must accustom ourselves to the fact that the single details of a nativity are the indicators of events that took place during the life in the spiritual world before birth, or they may be the key for an understanding of spiritual events or influxes into the life after birth. In order to find the key for an understanding of that which is thus hidden behind the Sun of the nativity, we must discuss some astronomical peculiarities of the paths of Sun and Moon.

If we could mark the movement of the Sun as a white streak upon the background of the blue sky, we should detect that its path appears as a complete circle in the course of one year. Furthermore, if we could observe the Moon in the same way during a period of 28 days and draw its path as a line upon the sky, we should find that it also appears to be moving in a circle around our globe. Yet if we were very accurate, we should discover that the Moon does not move in the same circle as that in which the Sun appears to revolve, seen from our standpoint upon the Earth. It is a different circle lying within the other, but it is slightly deviated, therefore it intersects the circle of the Sun in two points that are opposite each other.

These points of intersection are called the Moon Nodes. Of course, we cannot see them in the sky, we could only see them if we were able to draw the two circles of the movements of the Sun and Moon upon the sky. However, we can calculate their position. We must now imagine the path of the Sun as a huge circle around our globe within which lies another circle, that of the Moon with a deviation of 5 degrees. Now, further on we must imagine that the two opposite points of intersection — the Nodes — are moving, or in other words, the second deviated circle slowly moves counter clockwise and thus moves the points of intersection, or Nodes, upon the first circle of the Sun. A complete revolution of the inner circle of the Moon path at the points of the Nodes takes place in about 18 years and 7 months. Then the Nodes have returned to their original position upon the circle of the path of the Sun. Within this period of 18 years and 7 months, the Nodes move though the entire Sun circle, which is indicated through the daily positions of the Sun in the course of one year.

Diagram 1 and 2

In the two diagrams above, the solid circle represents the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth, and the dotted circle is that of the Moon around the Earth in the center. The drawing shows the two circles as if seen from a standpoint outside and above the sphere of movement of Sun and Moon. If, therefore, we can place ourselves into the center, where the Earth is indicated, we can create the proper imagination. Diagram I shows the position of the path of the Moon and the Nodes at a certain moment. Then after some time (diagram 2), this circle and the Nodes have moved backward and are in a different position.

These Nodes are of great spiritual significance. They show how the sphere of the Sun and that of the Moon are interlaced at a certain moment. The Nodes are the points where the sphere of the Sun touches the sphere of the Moon and thus provide a kind of gateway from one sphere into the other. The Sun represents, as we have said, a kind of “digestive” activity in our universe. When the soul leaves the body at the moment of death, it is drawn toward the Sun. The Moon and its sphere bring about an activity that can be compared with the inhaling and exhaling of the human body, but not the processes which take place in the lungs and which depend upon the breathing. It is an activity that stands between the head of our universe, which is represented by the Earth, and the “digestion”, represented by the Sun. It is a balancing activity between the taking in and the dissolving of the cosmic substances.

Thus the Moon Nodes — the gateway from the Sun to the Moon — provide a connection between the dead, who are in the sphere of the Sun, and the Earth. Therefore, if we look at the position of the Sun in the nativity, we can recognize it as the individual connection with the realm of the dead. Yet in order to make this connection effective within the earthly life of a human being, there must be established a gateway from the Sun to the Earth through the Moon. This is possible through the movement of the Moon Nodes.

An example will make this clear: Goethe was born on the 28 August 1749. The Sun was then in 5 degrees of the sign of Virgo. The first aspect of this Sun position is that which we have expounded in the 13th letter. Besides this, we can recognize Goethe's connection with the realm of the dead in this position of the Sun. However, this connection could only be realized at the moment when the Moon Nodes opened a gateway from the realm of the Sun sphere to the Earth. It was not possible at the moment of Goethe's birth, because the Nodes were not there where the Sun stood, but it happened some time before Goethe's birth, when this soul was still in the spiritual world. In the year 1747 one of the two revolving Moon Nodes came to the position in the path of the Sun where the Sun stood two years later, on the 28 August 1749. Thus the link between the Sun and the Earth was established. It does not matter that the birth-Sun of Goethe was at this spot of the ecliptic much later. The gateway between the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth can be opened already long before birth and in some cases even after birth. In this realm we are confronted with different time conceptions from those we are accustomed to on Earth.

The position of the planets in the time when this gateway is open reveals something of the individual connection that Goethe had with the dead in his later life. In the year 1747, at the beginning of March, we find, for instance, Saturn in the constellation of Virgin, exactly in the position where it stood when Paracelsus died on the 23 September 1541.

We must now imagine that into this position of Saturn in Virgin there flowed all the striving of Paracelsus, especially the spiritual essence of his deeds as far as they concerned the progress of the whole of humanity two hundred years before Goethe was born. In Goethe's “Sun-gate-horoscope”, as we might call it, Saturn has returned to the same position as is connected with Paracelsus in the realm of these deeds in the past.

What is the spiritual essence of the deeds of Paracelsus? He was a famous physician of the 16th century who courageously opened the road to the development of modern medicine. He demanded, and himself fulfilled his demand, that the physician should no longer read the antiquated treatises about medicine any more, but read the “great book of Nature” in order to find the cause of illnesses and the remedies for their cure. However, he could still read the “great book of nature” in a different way from that of modern natural science. His striving was to find in the meeting with nature the way to the roots of its existence. If we read, or at least try to read his books, because it is very difficult to understand their language, we discover that he really had a deep knowledge of the spiritual roots of nature. This was his grand deed for the sake of humanity. He stood like a guardian at the threshold from old wisdom to the new age of science as one who reminds us of the spirit that works in the kingdom of nature. This gift to humanity was taken up by Goethe and developed further. Goethe was striving to find the spiritual roots of nature, and he succeeded. The supersensible perception of the archetypal plant, as the spiritual Mother-Being of all existing plants and of which Goethe spoke very clearly, is the proof that he was strongly connected with the great impulse that had been alive in Paracelsus. Therefore, Dr. Steiner was able to call Goethe the Father of spiritual science, i.e., the science that recognizes the working spirit behind the phenomena of the world of the senses.

Here we can conceive that one personality in his age may be allowed to develop a certain idea or impulse only up to a certain point. Then another individuality may take on this impulse long after the first has died and through a real connection with the dead, carry it further. And indeed Goethe had a real connection with Paracelsus. We find in Goethe's biography that at a time of deep inner crisis in his life he intensively studied Paracelsus.

The famous philosopher Spinoza was born on the 24th of November 1632. The Sun was then in the sign of Sagittarius. This “Sun-gate” was opened by the Moon Nodes two years before Spinoza's birth, in 1630. Saturn was then in the constellation of Scales. This leads us back to Giordano Bruno who died 30 years before, on the 17th of February 1600, when Saturn had also been in Scales.

Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake by the Roman Inquisition. In the earlier part of his life he had been a monk, but his enthusiasm for the truth and his attachment to the new scientific outlooks, as illustrated for example in the Copernican system, brought him into conflict with his ecclesiastical superiors. He fled from his monastery and made long journeys through Europe and taught the new ideas of science. Then he was caught by the emissaries of the Roman Church and, as he did not recant his teachings, he was burnt alive. In Spinoza this spirit of unshakable enthusiasm and devotion to the truth and freedom of philosophical conception was also present. Truly we can say of him that, like Giordano Bruno, he was a martyr of this fight for spiritual freedom. His whole life was a series of persecutions by all kinds of institutions that were anxious to preserve obsolete spiritual traditions. He died at an early age in misery caused by the livelong misunderstanding of those around him.

Another famous philosopher and mathematician, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, was born on June 21, 1646 o.s. [Julian Calendar]. The Sun was then in the ecliptic sign of Cancer. This Sun-gate was opened by the Moon Nodes in the year 1647, one year after his birth. We find Jupiter in the constellation of Lion where it had been when the already mentioned Giordano Bruno died. Thus we can also find a connection between Leibniz and Giordano Bruno, but here it was Jupiter that established the link. Therefore, the quality that Leibniz, so to speak, spiritually inherited was of a different nature. It was the thought-world of Bruno that came to life again in Leibniz and which was developed further. The kernel of Bruno's teaching is his idea of the monads as the fundament of all existence in the universe. The original universal unity, which he calls the Monas Monadum, sunders itself into the multiplicity of single beings or monads that are living beings, and each of them is a universe in itself. The soul of a human being is a thinking monad. Leibniz based his philosophical teaching on his “monadology” and the idea of the “pre-arranged harmony” (praestabilierte Harmonie). Like Giordano Bruno, he imagines God as the Monas Monadum. The single monads derived from the Monas Monadum have various degrees of consciousness. They are, so to speak, the souls of things and of beings, but, also for Leibniz, each monad is in itself a representation of the universe in degrees.

The Events in the Sky

Already in April the planet Mars has entered the constellation of Fishes. It moves through this constellation during the whole of May. An unusually great number of historical personalities have Mars in this position, either at the moment of birth or death.

If we look more closely at this gathering, we can detect that there are the greatest contrasts among these people. It seems more like a gigantic fight between people who are solely devoted to the spiritual life of humanity and others who had deeply descended into the world of matter and political action.

Among them is one great personality who can teach us much about this spiritual fight. It is the Pope Nicholas I. When he died, the 13 November 867, Mars was in Fishes in the same position where it will be at the beginning of May. This Pope, who sometimes is called “the Great”, was deeply involved in the causes of separation between the Western and the Eastern Church, which then arose. They led to the schism between the Church of Rome and the Greek Church. His great opponent was the Patriarch Photius at Constantinople.

This schism is much more than the difference of opinion of a few ecclesiastical dignitaries. It is a problem of humanity, and since those days its importance has not decreased but increased. Humanity in our time has to find the right solution or else face tremendous catastrophes even greater than those we have so far had to endure. Therefore, the individuality of whom we speak can teach us a great deal about these gigantic tasks.

We know that he was again incarnated in a physical body during the 19th and 20th centuries and again he was confronted with a problem for humanity similar to that which had come into appearance when he was Pope of the Roman Church. But this time he was faced with the world situation that had evolved from the separation and enmity between the East and West.

Pope Nicholas I had to face the situation that in the East — in Greece, Asia Minor, and Egypt — a Christianity was followed that was still deeply connected with the ancient mysteries and with the old wisdom, which had survived the downfall of the culture of the old temples. The Greek Church was only a kind of outpost toward the West and there were many others that have survived to this day. Standing behind it spiritually was the huge continent of Asia, which was regarded as the mysterious domain of the Gods. The highlands of Tibet are still today experienced as the very seat of the Gods. Western Christianity went a different way, coming to Rome at a very early date. Political Rome was strongly opposed to the Christian faith in the beginning. After the age of the persecutions, Roman Christianity and the life of the Roman State amalgamated more and more. Hence, there developed the practical and colonizing Christianity that possessed the inheritance of the Roman Empire. It went forth into the wilderness of the north beyond the Alps and founded the monasteries that became the centers for agriculture and learning. Nicholas was strongly connected with this western development. Almost with the perception of a seer, he beheld the necessity of western Christianity preparing the path toward the cultural development of the West in which the modern age of natural science of the great discoveries and of technique should develop. The West had to look down upon the Earth and take it into its hands. The East did not want to descend from its spiritual heights but preferred to renounce the conquest of the physical Earth. Therefore, Pope Nicholas saw the great schism between East and West coming as historical necessity. He could not avoid it. It had to come for the sake of the evolution of humanity.

However, this schism has evolved since the 9th century into a gigantic problem for humanity. Humanity in the West has achieved almost complete mastership over dead matter. The human being has become, in the course of its historical evolution, an individual and an emancipated being. The individual has become so emancipated that it can doubt or even deny the existence of a spiritual world. The machine is the ideal. Therefore, the ideal of the social organism is also more or less a machine. The human being in the East stayed behind. The center of life there is still today the worship of the Gods, involving submission to the Will of the spiritual world. One's existence as a single human being does not count. Death is more or less a welcome transition. The social organism or state-life is built up according to this spiritual conception. It is guided by religious impulses; the representative of the state is even regarded as of heavenly origin. But the single member of the social organism cannot experience itself as an individual being. The individual member is more or less an insignificant part of the whole.

These widely opposing concepts of human existence must sooner or later lead to a tremendous conflict between western and eastern humanity unless the true Imagination of Our Being is found and practiced. Both concepts are far from this imagination: in the West, spiritual emancipation leads one to a point where earthly existence becomes senseless and ghostlike, and in the East, the single human being is drowned in an uncontrollable flood of religious or racial fanaticism. In both concepts, humanity ultimately eliminates itself. Both concepts will fight for their existence, the one against the other, and humanity will be destroyed between them if the true Image of Our Being, the cosmic Christ, remains unrecognized — not the simple person of Christian tradition of the 19th century, but the God Who entered bodily existence and Who came to remind earthly humanity of its cosmic citizenship. Christ did the Will of the Father, represented the whole universe in the full consciousness of a body-bound earthly existence, and showed the path to the attainment of this representation of the fulfillment of the Will of the Father. The first Christians experienced Christ when they drew their secret symbol, the Fish. Thus we should find Christ again as the representative of humanity, the Fish who is the cosmic Image of Humanity in the sea of the ether clouds around the Earth. Then we will not find ourselves confined solely to earthly reality any longer, nor will we be submerged into group-soul-domination, but we will experience ourselves as having descended from cosmic heights in order to transform the Earth into the Image of the Spirit-Man (Essence), as Novalis, Rudolf Steiner, and others have done. This is the language of Mars in Fishes.

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