By Ben Cherry
One of the most challenging aspects of anthroposophical spiritual science is the
concept of Christ and of all that this Being has done and continues to do on behalf of
humanity. If we are serious about wanting to bring healing forces into this tired and
struggling world, however, we need the courage to look at these thoughts with the
same level of objectivity as when we are observing a phenomenon of nature or
looking into ourselves. It is the intention of this article to demonstrate that this is not
just a sectarian, personal issue, but one on which our further evolution depends.
Looking with Fresh Eyes
It is extraordinarily difficult to speak of this issue directly in today’s world. Rudolf
Steiner, the initiator of this cosmopolitan spiritual science, did so a century ago, and
it enkindled powerful hostility from many sources – especially from occult societies,
whose interest it was to keep such knowledge away from humanity, so as to maintain
their own spiritual and worldly power. It is still the same today.
Another reason for this difficulty is that the name of Christ has been almost
exclusively connected with a religion, through which terrible, as well as wonderful,
deeds have been done. Moreover, religion for increasing numbers of people is seen
as a thing of the past. Through spiritual science, however, we have the opportunity to
look with fresh eyes at the nature and, above all, the deeds of the actual Being who
bears this name. And in my view, we are at a stage in the human journey at which,
without this insight, humanity will be unable to find its way through the jungle of half-truths,
lies, fear and corruption in which we are at risk of suffocating.
Through Steiner’s far-ranging spiritual experience, we are given glimpses into the
vast processes of human and world evolution, leading from the realm of pure spirit
through four huge stages of transformation towards the material world we know
today. Each stage was initiated by the sacrifice of part of their substance by Beings
infinitely more sublime than we humans have yet become. 1
There is also a fifth great sacrifice, the most recent and perhaps the last one we will
receive, which occurred ‘a mere two thousand years ago’, compared with the aeons
of time needed for the development of humanity and the cosmos. It took place during
the time when, through the developing rational mind, human beings were becoming
increasingly separated from ‘heaven’ and therefore vulnerable to the forces of evil,
which also have their part to play in this never-ending story. 2
It was the self-sacrifice of a Being from the highest level of the spiritual world, who
had accompanied humanity’s evolution from the beginning, and it marked the turning
point in evolution, from the in-streaming of wisdom and guidance from above and
around to the dawning capacity of human beings to lift ourselves, little by little,
towards the spirit again, out of our own free will. 3
What previously had been beyond humanity, pulsing through sun and stars and the
whole cosmos and worshiped through different names by people in many cultures of
the ancient world, was now bestowed as a gift within. Strange as it may sound, one
could say that with this sacred gift of the personalised and increasingly independent
spiritual ‘self’ or ‘true I’, the need for religion has gradually diminished, as the power
of self-determination has grown stronger.
In past eras we hear of avatars who took on human form for periods of time to bring
a teaching or carry out certain actions. When their task was done, they left again, but
their wisdom endures. Many cultures carry memory pictures of such great and
beneficent beings. Names like Buddha, Krishna, Rama, Manu, for example, resound
in human history as true guides and teachers of humanity.
What is different with the Christ is, first of all, that this impulse came into human
existence from even beyond the ‘nine levels of heaven’ known to ancient wisdom,
from the level of the Word or Tao or Son of the Father. And secondly, that it brought a
deed of healing, of Resurrection, through which that Being will continue to be united
with humanity until the end of earth evolution. 4
With unimaginable pain and suffering, the Christ Being sacrificed its own separate
existence and took on the karma, not of individual human beings (for that belongs to
each one of us), but of earth existence as a whole, so that humanity can continue to
evolve. In Ancient Chinese wisdom we hear of Pangu, who separated heaven and
earth, so that life could come into existence between. In Christ we can recognise a
being who brought heaven’s healing impulse down into humanity, so that we can, in
time, become creator beings ourselves. 5
That power to create is gaining momentum every day and night now, but generally
without the matrix of a comprehensive spiritual knowledge, through which our actions
can work harmoniously with the Spirit of our Time. At great peril to the world’s future,
the link between technological and moral development has largely been cut. 6
A Deed of Rescue and its Caricature
The mission taken on by Christ was not only to experience how it is to be a human
being, through fully incarnating during the course of three years into the body of
Jesus of Nazareth, but also to experience death, as a human being does, and
transform it into a new possibility of life.
The essence of the Christ Deed is the rescuing of the human spirit from the
annihilating forces of spiritual death, which were already gaining great power two
thousand years ago and are now infinitely stronger. It is an eternal and unconditional
source of renewal for all who strive to unite their thoughts, feelings and actions with it
– not through religious duty any more or through handing over one’s responsibility for
what one does, but through an inner freedom that is at the same time an act of love.
This renewal of the forces of life has a meaning quite different from being able to live
in physical bodies forever. That loudly proclaimed goal is a dangerous caricature of
Christ’s deed, which is to renew the human spirit so that we ourselves, through many
lives and challenges on this earth, as well as long intervals in the spiritual world to
regain strength and wisdom, can gradually become co-creators of an existence
wrought out of love. Love, however, that can only be born out of suffering. All this
becomes possible because Christ, as the Cosmic Being of Love, has taken on the
cross of becoming the Spirit of the Earth, as an archetype of a completely free and
enduring deed of sacrifice. 7
How differently our environmental challenges appear when one looks at the earth in
this way! Our task is not only to create physical solutions to our many crises, but to
recognise their spiritual dimension, too. So long as we continue to shutter our minds
against the reality of the living spirit in each human being, we also blind ourselves to
the hidden connections between nature’s health and the ways in which we human
spiritual beings think.
Two millenia after this deed of sacrifice began, however, we have reached the stage
at which we can at least begin to comprehend it with the rational mind, as a direct
legacy of the development of scientific thinking in the past few centuries. For this
thinking, in its essence, is a selfless, spiritual striving for truth, that is free from the
soul’s desires and prejudices – despite all the corruption in that process at this time.
This means we are at the beginning of a new stage of the human journey, leading to
the possibility of transforming death – which surrounds us wherever we look (not only
in the environment but our culture and materialistic values) – into a new level of
spiritual life, and evil (which also wreaks havoc throughout contemporary existence)
into the highest good. No outer force or sense of duty can compel or inspire us to
begin this task of transformation, only one’s free decision and love for the action,
continuously renewed. That is why in esoteric science humanity is referred to as the
tenth ‘hierarchy’ (or level of heaven), the Spirits of Freedom and Love.
Anthroposophical spiritual science, therefore, is not a new religion or a new version
of an old religion. It is a science that includes and values material existence, but
does not restrict itself to it. And the deeds of Christ and their enduring legacy, along
with the creative seed-power for the good within our being and the huge risk of being
taken over by evil, can be looked upon (at least potentially) with the same level of
conscious objectivity as every other aspect of reality.
Our world is changing. Life as we knew it in past years is slipping away. We are in
the midst of a very great trial on the pathway of humanity’s initiation. If one is willing
to carry thoughts such as these, however – neither believing nor disbelieving, but
‘living’ them and testing them – a dawning conviction can arise that, through Christ’s
deed of unconditional sacrifice, a source of enduring healing has been offered to us.
But we will only become aware of it, I suggest, through facing the suffering that lies
ahead and all around us, and through learning to embrace it, as if it is our own. 8
Trials of Fire, Water and Air
Healthy paths of initiation into the hidden secrets of existence have always involved
trials in body, soul and spirit to prepare the neophyte for the even greater trials one
will face as a fully self-responsible spiritual being working amidst other beings, both
higher and lower. This journey through the spheres of heaven and hell, vividly
portrayed, for example, through Dante’s poetic trilogy, the Divine Comedy, is also
present, though often in very distorted forms, in many of the violent videos being
watched by millions of young people around the world. 9
In his considerably calmer book, How to Attain Higher Knowledge, written for modern
people on a spiritual path, Steiner writes of three kinds of trial that used to be
endured within the secrecy of the so-called ‘Mystery Centres’ in many regions of the
world, and are now interwoven with daily life, especially in our relationships with
others. We are all, in some way, on a journey towards the deeper aspects of life. And
many there are who feel themselves in front of a deep and perilous ‘abyss’.10
This is portrayed succinctly and beautifully in words, attributed to Adam Bittleston: ‘In
the new mysteries the whole earth becomes a temple. The hidden tragedy and
triumph of the pupil begins to become external fact. Our own friends become for us,
though they may know little of it, the terrible and wonderful actors in the ceremony of
our initiation.’ 11
The first of the trials mentioned is the Fire Trial, whose name speaks for itself. Are
there any amongst us who are unfamiliar with such trials, when, for example, ‘all hell
breaks loose’ in one’s life, and one loses control over one’s emotions, thoughts and
actions. But of the three, I suggest, it is the easiest to overcome, even though it is a
rough journey towards mastering these unruly elements in one’s soul and it may take
years (even a life time) to achieve it.
The second is more sinister. It is known as the Water Trial and reveals itself in
situations in which one feels inwardly lost and unable to find a way through, just as
can happen when the wind dies down on the ocean and one’s sails hang limp. One
knows there must be a solution, but has to find it. Here, too, it may take years (or a
life time) before the energy being wasted in insidious anxiety becomes transformed
into clear action.
Each of these trials, of course, can come several times and, indeed, will continue to
do so, until one achieves the inner changes they are challenging us to develop. They
can happen in a different sequence, too, for everyone’s biography is unique and so
are the specific pathways each of us is needing to walk.
In my experience, it is the third of these existential challenges, the Air Trial, that is
the most difficult, because in this there is no pre-ordained way through. One has to
create it out of one’s own individual presence, resourcefulness and goodwill. And it is
this trial, I suggest, that our world is most of all facing now. What is happening has
no real precedent, because there is really no escape, no hidden corner of the earth
where one can hide away and live completely separately. It belongs to this time in
the human journey and it only ‘makes sense’ to the extent that we ‘bring sense’ into
it. And find and create our ways forward.
I have no doubt that in uncountable millions of souls the question rages: ‘What can I
do to get through this?’ And that in many, too, beneath this cry for help, there is a
deeper resonance: ‘What is it calling on me to change within myself?’ There is no
single answer, for we are all individuals, each with our own backpack of weaknesses
and possibilities. Part of my own response is to try to sort out what I really know and
what is just theory or even delusion. All the arts can help in this process, including
the one of trying to formulate thoughts and feelings in written or spoken words, as I
am attempting now. For art in its many forms cleans and strengthens the soul.
And it is especially important when one is treading a pathway amidst the traps and
deceptions that have attached themselves to the question of the true nature of
Christ, and of the medicine that can bring wholeness in our fractured world today.
Healing’s Cry in the Wilderness
The central task of our time, I suggest, is healing. This is not the same thing as
eradicating illness, though that can indeed be a laudable goal, so long as one is
aware of the overall context within which the illness has come into being, what it is
expressing and what one can develop inwardly through overcoming it oneself.
Healing does not ‘eradicate’, it does not kill or destroy. It renews and builds.
In all areas of modern life, this need for healing is staring us in the face. Healing that
is not simply a ‘fix’ or a ‘reset’, but an enkindling of a way of being which did not
previously exist. It is a ‘making whole’ on a new level. An act of creation, no matter
how small, towards a truly new world, that can only come into being through this
healing. It is a re-creation through self-transformation, that is, at the same time, a
world deed and a creation of new energy and substance!
Without gravity we would be unable to build the living substance of a healthy
skeleton and muscular system, and stand upright. So too, it is life’s difficulties, even
its failures, which can become (if we face them) new strength, energy and capacity.
In illness, therefore, we have a potential catalyst for a new kind of health, which is
directly inspired through one’s own activity, alone and with help from others. Healing,
in that sense, begins essentially as self-healing.
In contemplating such thoughts, one comes to a recognition of the rightful place of
illness, death and even evil in the fullness of world existence – and in the school of
life on earth. In facing up to these ‘adversaries’ as a contemporary human being, one
has a possibility for development that could not exist without them.
We are living in an age during which new illnesses are appearing all the time, not
only on the bodily level but mentally, psychologically, socially, environmentally and
spiritually. How ironic it is that this is happening at the same time as ever more
precise techniques of ‘targeting’ morbidity – whether in the form of viral infections,
cancerous growths, heart disease, depression or whatever – are being developed!
It is as if we are in a time warp. We are actually living in a highly spiritual era of
human evolution, and have the legacy of two thousand years of trials and
achievements (of failures, too) since the bestowal on humanity of the seed for true
autonomy. Yet never before perhaps has there been a more dogmatic denial of our
full nature in body, soul and spirit.
We do not only live and interact on a physical level, as anyone can observe, if one
opens one’s mind to it. We exist actively in our ‘inner world’, too. And it must surely
be self-evident, in the light of modern psychology and one’s own experience, how
much our moods and ways of thinking affect physical health. Laughter and joyfulness
lift the soul and, at the same time, activate life-enhancing processes in the digestive
system, which influence the state of the whole body. Likewise, fear, anxiety, doubt
and antipathy stimulate hormonal and physical processes that weaken one’s
resilience and health.
In that distant past two years ago, before this pandemic of fear took hold of the
world, it was normal in many places for doctors to dress up as clowns and visit
hospital wards to make the patients laugh. This wonderful medicine, I believe, was
first introduced for children, but its healing influence was so clear that it was also
introduced into adult wards. Is it hard to realise that our current ‘puritan’, antienjoyment,
anti-social, anti-community regime, in the name of ‘real’ medical science,
is making people more prone to illness?
In contemplating such phenomena, we have keys for recognising the interaction of
‘soul’ and body, which can, of course, work in both directions. Depression is
influenced by one’s bodily state and, as a soul state, also works into the physical
organs. So, too, with joy – yet it is also possible (though not easy) to be at peace,
even joyful, when one’s body is unwell and in pain. And this gives an indication of a
power greater than that of the soul, but working into it.
In recognising this, one becomes aware of the active nature of ‘spirit’ – of ‘I myself’ as
a spiritual being. Herein lies the power, individualised in each person, that can bring
order and inner change and, through this, influence bodily health. Spirit reveals itself,
too, in the reality of human self-consciousness and even meta-consciousness – the
ability to look at oneself and one’s actions as if from ‘beyond’. It is the instrument for
one’s calm presence, and the active motive force of moral development.
Healing is fundamentally an activity of the spirit. Not in a mediumistic way, but
through conscious perceptions, intuitions, decisions and actions. Only ‘I’ – or, one
could equally say, ‘the spirit in me’, ‘the spirit in each person’ – can overcome the
selfishness that is such a soul illness at this time, and which spawns so many of our
contemporary psychological and bodily illnesses.
This universal need for healing, therefore, that screams into our souls, is ultimately a
question of self-recognition as a spiritual being, whose instruments or ‘sheaths’ are
the soul and the living body. This scream, sounding through seemingly meaningless
expanses of the universe and overpowering our senses, was portrayed powerfully
already in 1893 in the painting by Edvard Munch that bears that name.12
And it is sounding still today, re-enforced by a level of global despair and suspicion,
such as has never been so wide-spread before. How many millions of people feel we
are standing on the edge of an abyss of fear, hatred and doubt, not only because of
the spectres of illness but of environmental catastrophe! What power can console
that scream of the world soul, echoed in the souls of children as well as adults?
An Answer from the Human Spirit
In the spiritual, psychological and physical science of Anthroposophy we have been
given a way of ‘seeing’, that recognises our contemporary, non-religious, scientific
consciousness, but does not limit itself to the materialistic thought forms that restrict
its vision. Research of this kind extends scientific methodology into the realms of life,
soul and spirit, while calling on the same intellectual rigour and objectivity as the
physical sciences. Moreover, though only those who have developed senses that go
beyond physical perception can investigate such realms, their findings can be
understood and evaluated by the rational mind and our normal common sense, so
long as we approach them without any kind of assumption, prejudice or bias.
It is a process of knowledge that is neither sensuously mystical nor coldly
intellectual. A way of thinking, perceiving and making sense that has heart, as well as
crystal-clear attention to details. And it has to be ‘walked’, if one wishes to make a
healthy judgment about it. In this way, the human being is brought back into the
scientific process – whether as a spiritual scientist or student – for no machine can
replace the presence of the individualised spirit, and what it can perceive and do.
Within this holistic scientific paradigm, the thought of Life re-recreated out of Death,
illumines the path taken by the student, until, sooner or later, it becomes experience
in many subtle ways, not through auto-suggestion, but through an insight that has
grown cleaner and less invasive. It is a question of learning to recognise what we
already ‘sense’, but with fresh ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’, through uniting the thoughts and
perceptions of the head with the deeper forces of intelligence in one’s heart and will.
A process also of ‘making whole’ (or ‘healing’) what has been separated into bits as
an essential stage of humanity’s overall development of individual consciousness.
I ask myself, over and again, what our current drastic situation is calling upon in
those souls who are on earth at this time, including those who are still in childhood.
Relying on past habits of thinking is, in my opinion, no longer enough. What matters
is the igniting of a new spirit – of courage, creativity, devotion and unbreakable faith
in the ability of human beings to go through what is threatening to stifle us, and work
together towards a future that embodies our highest possibilities.
Rudolf Steiner gave us the picture already a century ago of humanity standing at a
threshold, leading either towards the grave of all civilisation and moral striving or the
birthing of a new kind of world community, based on recognition of the unlimited
potential that lies dormant within every human being. It is a metaphysical, but real,
abyss, fraught with very specific dangers that reveal themselves as caricatures of
what we can become. Our real fear, hatred and doubt is towards the spirit!
As I see it, the need for this existential knowledge of the abyss is greater now than
ever before, as millions of souls live night and day on this ‘edge’ of psychological,
mental and physical survival, without being fully aware of it. In J.R.R Tolkien’s epic,
The Lord of the Rings, we find it described also in imaginative detail. How many
millions, I wonder, have read that book or seen the film? And how many have paused
to think whether there might be a genuine esoteric knowledge behind it?13
Two details, in particular, I would like to highlight. The first is that Frodo, the central
hero of the whole epic journey, was a very ordinary ‘hobbit’, without any pretensions
or pride, but one who somehow had the ability to be at the right place at the right
time. The second is that the spiritual ‘seer’ of the whole venture, the wise old man
Gandalf, fell into the abyss through fighting the beast that rose up out of it, and, as
far as outer appearance was concerned, died – only to re-appear much later in the
story with a vastly purer and more incisive radiance.
Despite the extreme wealth of a tiny minority – and, indeed, because of it – much of
the world population lives in fear and suffering and with little or no hope for the
future. The ‘hard rain’, foretold by Bob Dylan, is indeed ‘falling’ at this time. It is an
altogether new kind of suffering, as compared with how life was in ancient times,
when people still felt a natural connection with the spirit and sense of their own
destiny. The great suffering of today arises from the abyss of meaninglessness, and
the inner emptiness and confusion it spawns.14
And yet it is that same feeling of being close to the limits of strength and sanity that
is a key for experiencing the reality of one’s own spirit. For self-knowledge does not
come easily. It has to be won through trials of suffering, which teach us to let go of
our neurotic attachments and, most of all, see the the inner picture of one’s own
caricature or ‘double’, with its pervasive self-obsession and self-deception.
Oscar Wilde’s meticulous, relentless description of a soul’s descent into the abyss of
corruption in his Picture of Dorian Gray can become a salutary warning today.
Likewise, the illnesses and aberrations in the outer world that are confronting us so
strongly are reflections of our own inner condition. This, too, one has to recognise
and ‘own’, in order to find one’s way through it all.15
The trash, the social and environmental poisons, the stress and anxiety and the
illnesses that arise from this, all of it becomes a mirror, held up by the stern Witness
of Truth within us. The danger is not only of processes seemingly beyond our control,
such as sun spots and weather cycles, but our own aberrations, building on those of
our predecessors through many generations. But now is a time of reckoning. Our
credit is running out and the bill must be paid. The bill of unbiassed self-knowledge.
All of this reveals itself, too, in a strange phenomenon at this time of heightened
consciousness – the growing realisation that whatever we know of is also a part of
who we are. Outer remedies are essential, but they are not enough by themselves.
What is needed is the bitter medicine of witnessing all that one has not yet overcome
in oneself. For the root of the problem is in our individual souls, that are interwoven
with the world soul – which includes, too, the greatly suffering souls of animals and
other beings on this earth. This earth that is now the body of Christ.
But here, too, we run the risk of yet another caricature of the true healing of our time.
It is the idea that human beings are the real virus and that they – or rather, we – must
therefore be separated from nature in SMART cities, that will essentially be
‘concentration cities’, whose ‘inmates’ will be unable to enter into the huge nature
reserves, that are already being systematically acquired in many parts of the world
by the super-wealthy, who, during this almost global lockdown, have had the
freedom to travel where they please in their private jets. A long sentence! I apologise.
But so will our ‘sentence’ in SMART hi-tech skyscrapers be, too, if we do not awaken
soon to what is being woven around us with increasing technological brilliance.16
The Power of Peace for People of Goodwill
Peace is the central message of Christmas, which is a celebration, not directly of the
birth of Christ but of the human being Jesus, into whose highly purified body the
Christ entered during the event known as the Baptism in the River Jordan thirty
years later. It is the message that fills the whole atmosphere of the stable in which
the child is being born, and even the surrounding landscape where the shepherds
are sleeping alongside their sheep: Peace for people of goodwill.17
Peace which has its being in realms beyond what the dry intellect can understand.
Peace which finds its place in the heart and from there can rise into the head and
even descend as a power of healing into the whole metabolic system. But only to the
extent that one cultivates within oneself the inner power of goodwill towards others
and towards this whole earth existence. The good will of gratitude, of forgiveness, of
devotion, humility and truthfulness.
Experience of this super-sensible peace has been in the hearts of all the great souls
who have brought change for the good in humanity’s long story, whether their names
and deeds are recorded in outer history and whether they have called themselves
Christian or not. For just as the sun, stars and planets bring rhythm and light into life
on this earth, so too the Christ spirit-presence belongs to the whole of humanity,
regardless of ethnicity, age or religion.
One can see this, too, as a kind of ‘open secret’ within much that is happening
amidst the ‘dis-peaceful’ events of our time. For example, in more and more of the
demonstrations taking place in response to the global mandate for the mass injection
of trial substances into the human bloodstream.
I find it deeply moving to witness, for example, through the accounts of others closer
at hand (in contrast to what is usually narrated in mainstream news), the deeply calm
mood of demonstrators in Berlin and of the dock strike in Trieste, despite the
provocations and threats from government officials. Particularly, when one realises
that people, who have received the injections, are standing alongside others who
have not. Like Mahatma Gandhi in India and Peace Pilgrim in the USA, they seem to
be manifesting a power that is beyond normal scientific analysis, and can only be
properly comprehended with the help of a science of the spirit.18
It is a sun-power shining from within the centre of the soul, that has revealed itself in
thousands of deeply caring human beings in all the world’s cultures in the course of
time. A power that does not ‘belong’ to anyone or any corporation, though I have no
doubt many would like to replicate it synthetically and patent it, so as to reap the
power that wealth brings in this materialistic time! But all of that is yet again a
caricature, which in the end will have to die away.
The medicine of the spirit reborn, on the other hand, that has been bestowed as a
seed within the human soul by the Christ Deed of complete self-surrender, cannot be
destroyed by any power that originates in this physical world. Only its outer physical
trappings can, and in time will, die away. But never its essence.
This thought gives me heart in these challenging times of witnessing the ‘abyss of
corruption’, inherent as a tendency in every aspect of contemporary civilisation – in
science and politics, in business and education, in medicine and journalism, in
government, administration, the legal system and in our own personal lives. Yet
again, we stand in front of the mirror of our own souls. I am part of it, and it is part of
me. The ‘that’ outside I cannot directly change, but towards the ‘this’ within I do have
a certain authority. And it is the ‘this’, not just the ‘that’, which will become the future.
The pain in many souls, I suggest, comes from feeling powerless in the face of all
that is being unrolled in the world around. But there are actions one can take and
many are doing so, not only outwardly but within. Including, for example, becoming
conscious witnesses of what is taking place, even from a distance, and internalising
it as clearly and vividly as possible, knowing that beings beyond the physical levels
(including human beings who are no longer in material bodies) can perceive them
through us. And can work in their own ways to bring the gentle touch of healing.
Such also is the practical potency of prayer, carried in the heart’s peace. It becomes
a creating of deliberate patience, of doing fully whatever one can do, each day, each
night, knowing, too, that there is a wise timing in human biography and evolution. I
believe this is what Mother Teresa meant by ‘praying the work’.19
It becomes, therefore, a trial of bearing these deeply shocking experiences with
conscious faith in the power of the seeds for the good in every human soul to reveal
themselves, freshly and truly, when our world ‘winter of dogmatic materialism’ gives
way – as it must and will – to a new era of ‘springtime in body, soul and spirit’. A trial
that can be warmed and enlightened by the sacred flame of peace, that shines most
brightly in times of greatest darkness.
1. This is described in vivid detail in Steiner’s seminal books Esoteric Science (Collected
Works 13) and Cosmic Memory (CW 11), as well as in many articles and lecture cycles,
such as Deeper Insights into Evolution (CW 302).
- Steiner dates the birth of the rational mind during the 8th century BCE and one can see its
first flowering, for example, in the the philosophers of Ancient Greece, the teachings of
Buddha and the work of Confucius and and many other pioneers of this new faculty.
- It is also known as the Turning-point of Time. Five or six centuries before, one hears the
warning cries of souls like Heraclitus in the West and Lao Tsu in the East, both of whom
keenly felt the waning of the earlier pre-rational feeling of connectedness with higher
beings. Through the former we receive the concept of the Logos or Word, and from the
latter, the Tao working creatively throughout existence.
- Chinese culture, among others, still has the concept of nine levels of heaven, though their
interpretation is far from clear for most people. Buddha also spoke of nine levels of the
spirit above our normal state as human beings, and in ancient Gnostic knowledge in
Western Asia these levels were described as ‘hierarchies’ of beings, from the Angels up to
the Seraphim. The word ‘hierarchy’ literally means ‘sacred ruler’ or ‘sacred beginnings’.
- Names such as Pangu are often representative of a whole rank of beings. In Steiner’s
Esoteric Science we are given a picture of the separating of a whole rank of beings, five
levels above the human being, at the time of the sun’s separation from the earth – one
group rising upwards as custodians of the higher self, the other remaining within the
‘earthly’ aspect of humanity which remained ‘below’.
- Another insightful aspect of this spiritual science – and of other streams of wisdom, too – is
of different eras being rayed into by specific impulses. Steiner speaks of seven such ‘Time
Spirits’, each bringing their impulse for three to four centuries. The Time Spirit now is
known as Micha-el. Significantly, ‘his’ previous era was during the so-called Axis Time
approximately 2,500 years ago, a time of cultural innovation along the East-West ‘axis’
from China, through India to Greece. Such times have a strongly cosmopolitan flavour.
- The goal of eliminating illness, suffering and death and bonding humanity with AI is being
most actively promoted through Transhumanism. Among its many wealthy and powerful
protagonists are Elon Musk and the previous CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt.
- Initiation was a life-long process of self-transformation through many trials and teachings,
in order to raise oneself to the direct experience of spiritual realities in their many layers
and forms. Though this spiritual knowledge has influenced cultural development in many
parts of the world, its core content and practice was kept in total secrecy, so as to avoid
the risk of it being misused. The penalty for divulging it was death.
- The Divina Commedia, written by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in three long parts –
Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso – and completed in 1320, a year before he died.
10. How to Know Higher Worlds, also published as Knowledge of Higher Worlds and How to
Attain it (CW 10).
- Adam Bittleston (1911-1989), writer, counsellor & Christian Community priest in England.
- The Scream by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.
- Published in 1955. J.R.R. Tolkien was an active member of the Inklings Society in Oxford
and through this formed an increasingly firm friendship with C.S.Lewis, the Christian
author of many comforting stories for children, and the historian and writer Owen Barfield,
who was a life-long student of Anthroposophy.
- A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, composed and sung by Bob Dylan (released in May 1963).
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by the British playwright Oscar Wilde (published in 1891) tells
the tale of a handsome young man who wanted to remain youthful and charming and live
a life of debauchery. His wish was granted, but his portrait, that was gradually being
painted as the years went by, revealed all the time what was happening to his soul.
- For a glimpse into this future that is being raced towards us, see UN Agenda 2030 and
Klaus Schwab’s The Great Reset. According to an article by Eric O-Keafe in the
LandReport magazine, dated 1 January 2021, Bill & Melinda Gates are the largest owners
of farmland in the USA. See www.landreport.com
- The Baptism in the River Jordan is described from different perspectives in all four
gospels. Steiner spoke and wrote of it extensively in his lectures on the gospels. See also
Emil Bock’s vivid description in The Three Years, published by Floris Books, UK.
- Mahatma Gandhi needs no introduction. Peace Pilgrim was the name taken by an
American lady who took an oath to keep walking until people would recognise the need for
peace. She carried no money or possessions (not even a water bottle, a change of
clothes or a hat) and criss-crossed the North American continent for 28 years until her
death through a car accident in 1981. See www.peacepilgrim.org
- In the refuge founded by Mother Theresa for the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, the call
to ‘Pray the Work’ was written on many walls as a reminder for all her co-workers and an
invocation to the volunteers who came to help.