In the sepulchre

When you took me down from the cross
And out me into the sepulchre
It became the altar on which will put
Those who will sacrifice me.
The cloth in which I was wrapped
Will be called the corporal.
This vessel into which you put my blood,
When you gathered it from my body,
Will be called the chalice.
The pattern which will lie on top of it
will signify the stone
Which was sealed over me
When you had put me in the sepulchre.

Robert de Boron, Joseph of Arimathea

A foolish girl

match_girlI see a great building, one enormous mass. In the front wall is a narrow arch with open doors; behind them, dark mists. In front of the high threshold there is a young girl… a pretty Russian girl.

A breeze comes from the dark and icy mists, a current of freezing air, bringing with it from the depths of the building the sound of a slow and muffled voice.

‘You who aspire to cross this threshold, do you know what awaits you here?’

‘I know,’ answers the young girl.

‘Cold, hunger, hate, mockery, scorn, injustice, prison, illness and even death?’

‘I know it.’

‘Do you expect to be shunned by everyone? Do you expect to be totally alone?’

‘I am ready. I know it. I shall bear all the suffering and all the blows’.

‘Even if they do not come from enemies, but from parents, from friends?’

‘Yes… even from those…’

‘Good. Do you accept the sacrifice?’


‘An anonymous sacrifice? You will perish and nobody… but nobody will evenknow whose memory to honour?’

‘I have no use for recognition and pity. I have no use for a name.’

‘Are you ready for crime?’

The young girl bowed her head. ‘Even for crime.’

The voice which was questioning her did not continue right away. At last it started again: ‘Do you know that one day you will believe no more in what you believe in now, and come to think that you have been a dupe and that it was for nothing that you have lost your young life?’

‘That too I know. Well though I know it, I wish to enter.’ The young girl crossed the threshold. A heavy curtain fell. Gritting his teeth, someone uttered behind her:

‘A foolish girl!’

At which, from another place, a voice replied:

‘A Saint!’

I. S. Turgenev, Poems en prose

When time is rolled away for us like a scroll

4402The perfecting of our faculties hereafter, requires the sacrifice of all here

When our covering of a day is dissolved, when time is rolled away for us like a scroll, then we shall more fully enjoy the spirit of life, and drink, with the Redeemer, the fresh juice of the eternal vine, which will restore our faculties to their perfect fulness, to be employed as it may please Him to ordain.

But, in vain should we promise ourselves such enjoyment hereafter, if we have not faithfully performed all our sacrifices here below, not only those belonging to our personal renovation, but those which concern the voluntary offer of our whole earthly and mortal being, by a daily care, on our part, to become orderly victims, without spot and blameless. For, in that invisible region which we enter on leaving this world, we shall find no more earth to receive those different kinds of blood, which we must necessarily pour out, to recover our liberty;and, if we carry with us the corruption, which these different kinds of blood may contain, there would remain nothing for us but suffering and anguish, since the time and place for voluntary sacrifices would be past.

Man:  His true nature and ministry, Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin

Renunciation of Higher Knowledge

My dear friends, we have reached an event in human history that is of the greatest imaginable importance. Human beings are making the resolve: We will renounce knowledge! It was in one of those simple gatherings of Rosicrucians that, on the occasion of a ritual arranged for the purpose – during the latter half of the fifteenth century – people’s knowledge of the stars was, in deeply solemn manner, offered up.

People stood before a kind of altar and said: “We resolve to feel ourselves at this moment responsible not for ourselves alone, nor for our community or our nation alone, not even for the people of our time alone; we resolve to feel ourselves responsible for all people who have ever lived on Earth, we resolve to feel ourselves belonging to the whole of humankind.

And we feel that what has really happened with human beings is that they have deserted the rank of the fourth hierarchy and have descended too deeply into matter. [ for the ‘Fall’ was understood in this sense.] And so that humanity may be able to return to the ran of the fourth hierarchy, may be able to find for itself of its own free will what in earlier times gods have tried to find for it and with it, let now the higher knowledge be offered up for a season.

And certain beings of the spiritual world, who are not of humankind, who do not come to Earth in human incarnation, accepted the sacrifice in order to fulfill therewith certain purposes of the spiritual world. Thereby was the impulse for freedom made possible for human beings.

Everything that takes place in the external life of the physical senses has its spiritual counterpart; we merely have to look for it in the right place. For it can happen that such a ritual, enacted – I will not say, in this instance, with full knowledge, but enacted by persons who stand in connection with the spiritual world, can have very deep meaning; from it can radiate impulses for a whole culture, for a whole stream of civilisation.

It is a fact that if we want to come to a clear knowledge of the fundamental colouring and tone of a particular epoch of history, we must look for the source in the spiritual; the spiritual spring whose forces stream through that epoch of time. Whatever, in the years that followed, showed itself to be of a truly spiritual nature was a kind of echo sounding on of this creative working out of unknown spiritual worlds. Side by side with external materialism that developed in the succeeding centuries, we can always find here and there individuals who are living under the influence of that renunciation of higher knowledge.

The Secret Stream, Rudolf Steiner


O heart of me, much-enduring heart, O right arm, now indeed must you show what son was born to Zeus by Alcmena, the Tirynthian, daughter of Electryon! For I must save this dead woman, and bring back Alcestis to this house as a grace to Admetus.

I shall watch for Death, the black-robed Lord of the Dead, and I know I shall find him near the tomb, drinking the blood of the sacrifices. If can leap upon him from an ambush, seize him, grasp him in my arms, no power in the world shall tear his bruised sides from me until he has yielded up this woman.

If I miss my prey, if he does not come near the bleeding sacrifice, I will go down to Kore and her lord in their sunless dwelling, and I will make my entreaty to them, and I know they will give me Alcestis to bring back to the hands of the host who welcomed me, who did not repulse me from his house, though he was smitten with heavy woe which most nobly he hid from me! Where would be a warmer welcome in Thessaly or in all the dwellings of Hellas?

Alcestis, Euripides