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Lectures from 1966

On-line since: 31st August, 2016

Contemplation of the 33 Years Rhythm - 17 July 1966



The thirty-three year rhythm in history is very important but not as it is immediately found in the cosmos, for it is not so obvious. Its origins are embedded in the events at the beginning of our era. Let us take the time from the Annunciation, 1 BC:


1 BC 3 April 33 AD - Passover

This included the whole pre-natal development of the Luke Jesus.


There is the event of the birth of the human being, and also the impulse up to the time of realization, or Resurrection. There is also another viewpoint. Christ Jesus was 33 years old at the time of the Crucifixion. This is approximately half a lifetime, for one might imagine that He could have lived until 65-66. This is a fact that belongs to the tremendous experience of Golgotha. His ether forces were not entirely expended, not having fulfilled their natural cycle, and this remainder, or second half, was sacrificed for humanity.

Paul was the first to receive the benefit of this gift. As Saul he had thought the Christians to be a troublesome sect that venerated Jesus. He was brought up in the Jewish esoteric tradition and highly educated. The Hebrews had expected a Messiah. At that time, their oppression had distorted this hope into the expectation of an earthly overlord who would bring political relief to some extent.

This was the tradition of Saul, who opposed and persecuted the Christians, including St. Stephen. But it was the latter experience that sowed in him the seed of a tremendous change, which was fulfilled at Damascus when he became Paul. This resulted in a fundamental inner change that led him to become the Apostle of Christianity wherever the olive tree grows, from a geographical viewpoint.

We do not know the exact year of his decapitation (about 67), but this would give him approximately 33 years from his conversion to his death, which included a tremendous number of journeys and epistles, etc. He lived on the unexpended life forces of Jesus, for from his conversion to his death, we recognize another 33 year cycle.

We have to bear in mind that 1933-1966 need not mean a repetition of 1900-1933, but it might reflect something similar to the conversion and missionary activity of Paul. Likewise, 1966-1999. What does Easter 1900 to Christmas 1900; Easter 1933 to Christmas 1933; and Easter 1966 to Christmas 1966 mean? This is a kind of embryo development, or a time of painful processes and conversion, which is now offered to all of us.

Let us take those next 33 years more to 1999. This brings us to the end of the century, which is significant. We can make it so; not in attitude of expectancy, but acting individually out of freedom.

This rhythm is in a ratio of 30 to 33 30 years of Jesus, and 3 years of Christ. Its association with Saturn referred to the 33 year rhythm. In 1900 Saturn was in the constellation of the Archer. In 1930 it returned to Archer, and in 1933 it was in Goat. In 1966 it was in Waterman, but will move into Fishes during the year. In 1999 it will be in Ram. This is the background of one of the cosmic rhythms. The 1966 constellation refers back to the 15th century, when this same progression of the present Saturn last occurred there; that is in 1400, 1433, 1466, and 1499, when it was also in Fishes. From 1413 onward, there came the impact of the vernal point of Fishes upon civilization.

We must make some attempt to read this cosmic background, especially at a time when so much depends on the inner development of a human being. We know that the Archer represents the Centaur, half horse, half human the slow development toward the human form until finally it reaches the head. It represents a kind of cosmic chronology of the ancient development of the human ancestry a recapitulation of the cosmic form. The Centaur rides the cosmos and the firmament, and the Earth is its head. Here we have the whole vast background of the road toward self-realization, not for the comfort that self-consciousness can bring but for other divine purposes.

In Goat we find an attitude of receiving and of reaching out for the cosmic forces to pour down to the watery Earth element, for its ancient symbol was of an ibex with a fish tail. Humanity, having achieved egohood, must bring the cosmos into our feelings. We are not standing in front of a dominating cosmos, but we are developing through the community of brotherhood.

With Waterman we find a symbol in which the waters of heaven and of Earth correspond as above, so below. These waters are cosmic and earthly rhythms, both of which human beings experience on Earth. Above this constellation is Pegasus, the winged horse, to which we have referred in our star journal. The horse in mythology is associated with intelligence. Pegasus was a divine force bringing inspiration.

The Fishes represent the fulfillment, against great odds, of which we have already spoken. Andromeda is in the same neighborhood, exposed to the Monster, and rescued by Perseus a Michaelic figure, which is situated near Aries, the Ram. Female figures always relate to the soul; thus Andromeda represents the Soul of the great universe an integral citizen of the divine. There is a star at the center of her forehead, near to the pituitary gland, or third eye, known as an organ of clairvoyance and insight. The star on Andromedas forehead also belongs to Pegasus, as though that winged intelligence rises out of her head.

The Ram we have known as the Ram of God, or Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. It is the Christ in the highest spiritual principle and essence as Lord of the Kyriotetes the Hierarchy of the Spirits of Wisdom. This suggests what is expected of the human race. But this is only one perspective. These 33-year rhythms work out in individual lives also, and there are historical examples of this.

Rudolf Steiner was born in 1861, and 33 years later he published Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, which is the foundation of Anthroposophy. It is actually the first step to Anthroposophy, and it leads over to what was given later in his lifetimes teaching. In it he speaks of Intuition as a gift to bring in and combine with the perceived world through spiritual activity, that world of conception which makes the world whole and gives it meaning. Intuition brings into natural perception the true meaning through the process of thinking. This Philosophy of Spiritual Activity was the primary realization of what carried him into incarnation. It took 33 years to establish this, and then he sent it out into the world.

Michelangelo was born in 1457, and 33 years later he started the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; a tremendous work that depicted the genesis of the human race. It brought out all that was dormant in him.

Raphael was born in 1483, and 33 years later he painted the Sistine Madonna, which was the crowning achievement of his life. Here he was able to present humanity with one of the deepest secrets of the human soul (see Rudolf Steiners The Fifth Gospel).

There are many such examples of this journey from the annunciation to the resurrection. But there is yet another cycle that is manifested. This is the St. Paul rhythm the second half of the life of Jesus, which was not expended. In Tolstoys life, for instance, there came a great change in 1877, which he called a conversion, and his letters expressed all that came out of the depth of his being in the ensuing 33 years, until 1910, when he died. In the life of Rudolf Steiner, again, we find that the 33 years following the publication of Philosophy of Spiritual Activity were followed by that same urgency as impelled St. Paul, to give the gospel of anthroposophy to humanity before he died in 1925.

The background of 1966 is prepared by these examples. We can unite consciously with this rhythm when we think of the Saturn implication of 1966, which can carry us through those 33 years to 1999. It is a rhythm like the ever-recurring birth of a child. Such results arent really important to the individual life, but the Birth of the Child Who went through Golgotha and Resurrection can be of permanent companionship to us all. We should always be aware of the opposing forces that were there with the Matthew Jesus not the Luke Child. The persecution, the massacre by Herod, the exile in Egypt, the many strange and shattering experiences mentioned by Rudolf Steiner in his Fifth Gospel, and the manifold disappointments. He became aware that the Hebrew people had lost their inspiration, and when he crossed the Palestinian border, he encountered the demonic forces on the heathen altars.

Finally, he realized that even the Essenes held no redeeming message for humanity but had withdrawn into seclusion, leaving the adversaries outside and unopposed. At last the ego of Jesus died at the Baptism in the Jordan, which marked his departure as he gave his Body as a Vessel for the incoming Christ Spirit. These great archetypal patterns accompany us into the future, and we must expect to experience much pain and suffering before fulfillment.

Let us look again at the position of Saturn in Archer in 1900. This is a root position. In 1914 Pluto stood in Twins exactly opposite the place where Saturn stood in 1900, as a reminder of the importance of that position. This opposite aspect is always one of tension, even of attack. In this case, it was similar to the attacks in the life of Jesus. Pluto is our outermost planet, even beyond Neptune and Uranus. These three do not belong to our solar system but joined it at a later date. They represent an element in the solar system that is opposed to the ordered setting in which it operates. They can also be a spiritualizing element, breaking into our hardened physical world, if we develop them consciously. They work in our mind of Imagination (Uranus), Inspiration (Neptune), and Intuition (Pluto); thus, Pluto can be the strongest opponent if not recognized. However, if we work with Pluto spiritually, it will be very helpful.

In the Middle Ages, the development of the Rosicrucian stream was advanced by Pluto. Its stages of development can be traced with the help of this planet. Even the Chymical Wedding (spiritual alchemy insofar as humanity can take it) is in the Pluto setting. But if humanity digs in to perpetuate the past, then Pluto breaks in to break up what has hardened, with catastrophes and revolutions. The Russian Revolution in 1917 and the Revolution in Germany in 1933 were thus precipitated. Standing opposite Archer, Pluto cuts the knot of humanity, so to speak.

At Easter 1933 Saturn was in Goat, and Pluto then stood in Twins. In 1945 Pluto stood in Crab, in opposition to Saturn as it was in 1933, and in 1945 was the bombing of Hiroshima. Pluto always strikes into that which has become dense. It belongs to the 33 year rhythm also. It creates an awareness of the inevitable oppositions that humanity must face.

The 33 year rhythm can start any year, but the ones we have mentioned seem to fit into the edifice of the 19th century, with 1966 as the crucial point. We can realize these 33 year rhythms in our lives by a recognition of the impulses that made us incarnate. We enter incarnation with a definite will. The 33 year rhythm can make us aware both of the mission and the obstructions. We know, for instance, that Pluto was in Twins in 1914. What started that war? The lack of equilibrium in humanity between East and West Twins.

1n 1945 Pluto was in Crab. In that year matter was rent by nuclear fission to create an abyss through which destructive forces poured. We can bear witness to these defeats. The point for us, if we are awake through anthroposophy, is that we should find a tangible message that will help us to evolve our dormant capacities. We must learn to think of what should have been done to avoid that catastrophe.

Another 33 year rhythm begins in 1966, which will take us to the end of the century. It might bring developments that could upset the forces of nature, plunging the world into turmoil. Whatever the catastrophes, we can at least understand the background. Then we are never defeated, and ultimately we might even be asked to step in and help with that understanding.

Saturn finds itself in Fishes in 1966, from where it will move toward Ram, and Pluto will step into Virgin, the opposite place, in 1967. This should awaken our sense of responsibility, for the Virgin stands on the Moon, wearing a crown of stars in the heavens. This is an Imagination confronting cosmic events, which could prevent much that might otherwise happen.



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