At the turning point of time
The cosmic spirit-light stepped
Into earthly evolution;
Had ended its reign;
The bright light of day
Streamed into human souls;
The poor shepherd hearts
The wise kings’ heads.
Sun of Christ,
Our hearts —
So that good results
Our hearts beget,
Forcefully will to do.
Foundation Stone Meditation, Rudolf Steiner
As soon as dusk fell the witness peered into an antiquated telescope positioned by Mysteries’ upper-back window and focused it on the perfect half-moon above the star-crossed landscape.
The portents were all there; love really was in the air.
For starters, Mars had just moved into a visually stunning conjunction with Aphrodite’s blue-white ball of ferocious energy, as the shyly radiant moon made up the third part of a most compelling, cosmic love-triangle.
Mercury hovered expectantly, waiting for the precise moment to convey his timeless message to the lovers and their watchers.
The Day of Transformation was truly dawning and the witness could only wonder if the consciousness of the human race was strong enough to survive the impact. Would the collective mind be blown – short-circuited by the influx of cosmic energy – or would humanity rise to the occasion by using it to accelerate a collective metamorphosis into a higher dimension?
*William Butler Yeats, The Cap and Bells
The setting midsummer sun found the witness in a distinctly prayerful posture, shrouded by heady masala incense and calling Earth to witness. Venus had emerged, triumphant as a diamond on her band of gold, heralding the rising moon and guided to the altar by a vast and dominant Jupiter.
Pondering this crystal-clear sky, the witness could see how the dazzling quintessential force of the even-star was polarised by the glowing pharos of Mars, beckoning his paramour as he bequeathed to her the dark and endless night. The imperator of war was in a state of surrender at the temple of beauty.
The witness wondered about the effects of Mars’ conjunction with Venus, Jupiter and Mercury beyond the perfect moon, at that very instant deflecting onto captivated Earth the magnified potential for an alchemical wedding. This compelling planetary event was irresistibly conspiring with the precession of the equinoxes to create the most potent cosmic conditions that had ever been witnessed from Earth – at least since the Star of the Magi heralded the turning point of history.
Or so it seemed.
How can such a sign be ignored? thought the witness.
The answer was that it could not!
That the divine plan might remain unfulfilled was inconceivable, but how, precisely, it was to manifest would remain the Mother of all Mysteries.
The spiritual history of Christianity is the history of successive resurrections of that which is valuable from the past, worthy of eternity. It is the history of the magic of love reviving the dead. It was thus that Platonism became resuscitated and will go on living for ever – thanks to the vivifying breath of he who is the resurrection and the life (“Ego sum resurrectio et vita” – John xi, 25). It is thus that Aristotelianism will participate in eternal life. And it is thus that Hermeticism, also, will live until the end of the world and, perhaps, beyond the end of the world.
Moses and the prophets will live on for ever, for they have acquired their place in the eternal constellation of the Word of resurrection and life. The magical poetry and songs of Orpheus will be resuscitated and will live for all eternity as colour and sound of the Word of resurrection and life. The magic of Zarathustra’s mages will be revived and will live as the eternal human endeavour of aspiration towards light and life. The truths revealed by Krishna will join the retinue of the ‘recalled to eternal life’. The ancient cosmic revelations of the Rishis will live again and will awaken in humanity anew a sense for the marvels of the ‘blue, white and gilded….’
All these souls of mankind’s spiritual history will be resuscitated, ie, will be called to join the work of the Word that became flesh, that died and rose again from the dead – so that the truth of the promise – “I have come so that nothing should be lost but that all should have eternal life” (John, vi, 38 – 40) – will be accomplished.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VIII, Justice
Christians expect this manifestation to be clothed in the form of Jesus. Muslims anticipate the return of their own great Prophet. The Jews are looking forward to the arrival in their midst of a modern manifestation of Jehovah. Followers of other oriental faiths are imbued with similar expectations, in accordance with the prophetic tenets of the religion to which they belong. Expectation is world wide and by no means confined to any one section of the human race. The Bahais are convinced that this universal ‘Coming’ has already happened and that the founder of their faith Baha’u’llah, arrived among us last century, in fulfillment of the Promise made by Jesus, the Christ, nearly 2,000 years ago.
I should like to turn your attention to a wider and more extensive concept of the ‘Coming of the Lord’ in these latter times. I do not interpret this coming as a single event, fixed immutably in history for a particular moment in time and space.
In my view this Advent consists of a long series of cosmic and mundane happenings, that may well extend over a period of at least 100 years of our ‘time’. I have touched upon this thesis in ‘A Man Seen Afar’ in relation to the incarnation of Jesus in Palestine to herald the birth of the Christian era. His Coming had been in process for the best part of a century, before his bodily arrival on earth. During this period, cosmic and spiritual movements were taking place in regions beyond our ken, preparing the way and the conditions for hte personal arrival of the Master. Details of these preparations cannot be defined in human terms – they included the release of a particular and specific wave of spiritual energy, which was destined to bring a measure of enlightenment into human consciousness: to create a leaven of a kind that would enable the Christ Spirit through Jesus, to carry out its mission, when the time came for Jesus to walk bodily among us. In my view, similar happenings have always preceded the descent to earth levels of great messengers from the mind of the Creator and from time immemorial.
Now let us return to our times. I have spoken of what Christians refer to as the Second Coming, adding that, in my view, it is already here. By this I mean that the influx of a fresh wave of cosmic energy is now among us, available for immediate use in our daily lives.
The Coming is gradual, unrelenting and still far from its culmination. The first evidence of its presence and influence is to be seen in the mighty fermentation now so apparent in the hearts and minds of many millions everywhere, and especially among the younger generation. Fermentation of this kind is a cleansing process, involving, to use a trite phrase, the shattering of many old bottles and formal outworn beliefs. It is a process which causes unrest, tribulation, revolution and in so doing, its Divine purpose is obscured from the eyes and minds of all those who are ‘Asleep in matter’. Behind and within all this turmoil, the discerning can perceive that a ‘Coming’ is now in process of manifesting here and now. The vast movements influencing human consciousness inwardly herald the dawn of a new Era and cannot be stayed, or prevented from ultimate fulfillment.
The culmination of this coming may well be already on the horizon – beyond time and space conditions this culmination has in fact reached its fulfillment, but we who are at present confined in time and space, are aware of this and await mundane events to prove it concretely and to our limited understanding.
Wellesley Tudor Pole, God is Love
The Grade of Exempt Adept, associated with Chesed, is perfected when the power of the sphere of Mars, Geburah, has been drawn along the 19th path back to Chesed. In doing this one places oneself in Chesed, for the knowledge of the Great Arcanum, of the Secret of all spiritual activities, is not open to him who has risen no higher than the Grade of Major Adept. That is to say, the 19th Path is not open so long as we are no further along the Way of Return than Geburah, and the power from Geburah must be brought over from the side of Severity on the Tree of Life to the side of Mercy, by a process initiated from the point-of-view afforded by Chesed.
When all the desires of the seeker for light have been unified in the one desire to be a free, unobstructed vehicle for the manifestation of the cyclic activities of the cosmos, he has traversed the first path leading to the Grade of Exempt Adept, the path of the letter Kaph, corresponding to the Wheel of Fortune in the Tarot. After this, by a supreme effort of imagination, he sees behind the mechanistic expression of the Life-Power in the cosmic cycles the operation of a Living Will, and through the 19th Path he transmutes the activities of the serpent-power, and this transmutation is pictured in the Tarot by the woman taming the lion.
You will remember that lion (in Hebrew), the name of the zodiacal sign Leo, is the number 216, and that this is the number of Geburah, one of the names of the sphere of Mars. Note, too, that 216 is 9 by reduction, and 9 is the number of Teth, the letter corresponding to the 19th Path. 216 is also the number of [the Hebrew word for] Sight, the function assigned to the 15th path, and of wrath or excitement, which is the function of the 25th path, that of Probation or Trial. The path to which Sight is attributed is that of Aries, ruled by Mars. And the path to which excitement is attributed is that of Sagittarius. It thus becomes evident that all these [Hebrew] words – strength, the lion, Sight, and excitement, are related to the fiery power which we have learned to associate with the Mars-vibration.
This vibration, you will recall, is especially active in self-consciousness, and the feeling of strength which it gives is misinterpreted by people who have not progressed beyond self-consciousness. The misinterpretation arises from the illusion of separateness, which engenders the feeling of ‘myness’, and this feeling is the root of belief in personal will. This is why the Sephirah Geburah is said to represent personal will, which is merely the misunderstanding of the power of undeviating cosmic law in its manifestation through personal centers of expression.
The Major Adept still feels the illusion, although he has overcome the delusion caused by it. But the Exempt Adept, having in his union with the One Self so identified himself with the cosmic memory that he never forgets his relation to the Sources of All, is almost wholly liberated from even the illusion. Almost, I say, because there are times when even he who perfectly remembers the Self (Chesed is the Sephirah of Memory) must identify himself with the relative states of being in order to serve, in order to perform the actions necessary to his part in the Great Work. And at such times he feels the illusion of separateness as much as anybody else.
Paul Foster Case, Esoteric Secrets of Meditation and Magic
Wisdom is the that streams out from the interior of a being in many directions. It is what dwells, actively present, in the interior of the being itself, comprehending its surroundings not in a one-sided way, but many-sidedly. If we wish to represent this schematically, we draw a point – for wisdom is contained within the human being. Out of the point, wisdom issues forth in many-sided forms. Thus we have the sign of the Sun. This is the expression of wisdom – which is inner and, at all the same time, comprises everything. It radiates forth equally in all directions – it is universal. The life force is in fact this striving of the inner being outward towards universality.
And the struggle that wisdom, as well as life, must endure in existence consists precisely in the fact that a power must be developed out of wisdom that can put up a resistance to one-sidedness, to impact from without, from right and left. For wisdom is the condition of a being that is capable of relying upon itself, of not needing any point of support, whether from right or from left, of relying upon nothing save its own inner strength of being, and of not being drawn into one-sidedness.
This is the power that lives in the principle of wisdom. It was shown in the Gospels in deeply moving portrayal when Christ Jesus was scourged by his fellow human beings. The ability to be centred in oneself – to stand, out of the power of one’s own inner being, in spite of all assaults from without – this is the power that is developed through scourging. What constituted the essential heart of the old Sun, what caused the planet to shine forth, was the same power that manifests and endures in the scourging. The planet of the scourging was the old Sun.
And if we now move on to the old Moon, we find the astral element being poured out into existence through the Spirits of Movement. At the same time, this astral element was taken hold of by Lucifer, and a battle then took place in the the heavens. Human Karma began on the Earth, but cosmic karma began on the old Moon. We can also put it this way: If the human fall into sin took place on Earth, then the cosmic fall into sin took place on the old Moon. And as a guardian was placed on Earth to guard the threshold, so also – when the spirits fell – a guardian was placed on the old Moon, one who took karma onto himself. This guardian was the realiser of spiritual karma.
By remaining true to themselves, spirits received the dignity of the guardian of the divine intentions. The dignity of the guardian is what is expressed by the crown of thorns. The crown of thorns symbolises a dignity that indeed corresponds to a state of being crowned, but at the same time it wounds the one who is crowned. For the power that the guardian, the representative of karmic necessity, must unfold from within is the power of inexorableness. It is the principle of taking a oral stand so that the Truth and the Law will be fulfilled. Pity must be overcome by the being who assumes this guardian’s mission.
And so the spiritual beings who had to represent the karma of the worlds needed, on the one hand, to look upon the Luciferic being with the greatest pity, and on the other hand they had to repeatedly overcome this pity in order to stand unshakably on the cosmic threshold. The power that reveals itself in being crowned with thorns is that of being obliged to judge while experiencing an inward pity that must, however, be constantly controlled and overcome. Thus this crown pricks the wearer himself. And that is what happened in the cosmos during the time of the old Moon that during this time the crown of thorns came into being in the Cosmos.
If we now pass on further to the development of the Earth, we find earthly existence represented by the cross. The carrying of the cross is the fundamental note, the fundamental motif, of earthly existence, and every being connected with the Earth has to experience it in some form or other. During the development of the Earth, humanity must, on the whole, reach the stage of carrying the cross; again and again individuals will have to take the cross upon themselves and learn to bear it through the whole cycle the whole circle, of their experiences. The symbol of the Earth itself expresses bringing to fulfillment of the carrying of the cross.
Valentin Tomberg, Indian Yoga in Relation to the Christian-Rosicrucian Path
The other ones, they strive
To take from cosmic waters
What will extinguish flames
And pour paralysis
Into all inner being.
O joy, when human being’s flame
Is blazing, even when at rest.
O bitter pain, when the human thing
Is put in bonds, when it wants to stir.
To forget is to dismiss the things which do not interest us to the darkness of latent memory; and to recall things is to call anew to active ego consciousness – because t hey interest us – from the same darkness of latent memory. It goes without saying that it is not the images and concepts which come to birth when we recall them, or perish when we forget them; rather, they are present in our mind or are removed from it.
to be endowed with good ‘concentration’, therefore amounts tot he faculty of chasing away swiftly and completely all images and concepts which are not useful for action. It is mastery of the art of forgetting.
To be endowed with ‘good memory’, in contrast, signifies mastery of the mechanism of recall – of that which renders present the images and concepts which one needs. It is mastery of the art of recalling.
There is therefore a continual coming and going between ordinary consciousness of the waking state (or cerebral consciousness) and the domain of memory. Each ‘going’ corresponds to the action of falling asleep or dying. Each ‘coming’ corresponds to awakening or resurrection. Every representation that goes from the field of cerebral consciousness experiences an analogous fate to that stated by the saying: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep…Lazarus is dead.” And every representation that one recalls has a fate analogous to that which took place when Jesus cried with a loud voice: “Lazarus, come out!
Memory therefore supplies us with a key of analogy which allows intelligence not to remain simply taken aback in the face of the problem of resurrection. It renders it intelligible. Indeed, the analogy between the ‘loud voice’ which called Lazarus to life and the inner effort which evokes a memory reveals, mutatis mutandis, the essence of the magic of Jesus’ ‘loud voice’ and of the ‘sound of the trumpet’ of the Angel of the resurrection – as the following shows.
Experience teaches us that we easily forget, and recall with difficulty, the things to which we attach no value – that we do not love. One forgets what one does not love and one never forgets what one loves. It is love which gives us the power to recall at any desired moment the things that our hearts preserve ‘warm’. Indifference, in contrast, makes one forget everything.
It is the same with the ‘awaking and resurrection of the dead’. Here it is not cosmic indifference (what we call ‘matter’) which will effect anything, but rather it is cosmic love (what we call ‘spirit’)which will accomplish the magical act of resurrection, ie, the reintegration of an inseparable unity – the unity of the spirit, soul and body – not by way of birth (reincarnation) but by way of the magical act of divine memory. What can one say about divine memory?
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XX, The Judgement