reported by John-Peter Gernaat
This talk was given on 25 July 2021 and comprises part 2 to the talk given on 13 June 2021.
In June we looked at the Great Cycles of Time. A sense for these Cycles of Time goes back in recorded history at least as far back as the Ancient Indian Culture, when they carried a strong association with cycles of time rather than linear time. The Great Cycles are also cycles of the Divine in relationship to the earthly. A strong picture of seven Cycles of Time emerges from the Mesopotamians, the Second Post-Atlantean Cultural Epoch. The ancient Sumerians understood the relationship to the mobile stars and set them as an indicator of seven stages of passing time, which became for us the seven days of the week.
We begin this cycle with Saturday and end with Friday. Saturday was named for Saturn, the furthest of the mobile stars that could be seen with the naked eye in the night sky. This gives us the Great Cycles of Time of Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon and now we find ourselves in the Earth Cycle. We know that Earth does not come up as a day of the week because the Earth Cycle is a combination of Mars and Mercury. Esoterically the planet we call Venus is Mercury, so this means that Mars and Mercury are to be found on either side of the Earth in the solar system. Our time now is Mars-Mercury, Tuesday-Wednesday, thereafter Jupiter and Thursday and Venus (the planet nearest to the sun esoterically) and Friday. We have considered six cycles and finally we come to Vulcan that has not yet manifested physically in our solar system. The French astronomer Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier (1811-1877) calculated that there should be a planet between Mercury (what we call Mercury) and the sun. Newtonian physics requires a planet in this location to explain the orbit of Mercury. But because of the proximity to the sun it was not visible. He instinctively called this planet Vulcan after the Roman god of volcanoes and the blacksmiths. Vulcan is the Roman name of Hephaestus, the Greek name of this god.
The mythology of the god helps to understand a quality that exists esoterically for each of these planets. Our Earth Cycle is the combination on either side of us that we call Mars and esoterically what is Mercury.
Vulcan is an off cast of the planetary cycles of time and we have the prominence of the sun which is an entirely different talk. From our perspective on earth we can recognise the inner and outer planets (those between earth and sun and those beyond the sun) and these correlate with Dante’s writings as the spheres we transcend in our journey of Paradise.
Vulcan, in this picture of the solar system, is an inner planet.
A large part of this talk will comprise reading from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner and from the book by Prokofiev’s And the Earth Becomes a Sun.
The Vulcan Cycle is the goal towards which we are moving. The Sumerians recognised that anything dealing with seven had to do with the time cycles. All time cycles revert back, in one way or another, to the number seven. When they looked at the Zodiac they recognised that the number twelve represents an ordering of space, it orders the space in which time can unfold. There is therefore no unfolding of time without an ordering of space.
A future picture of humanity that we are working towards is already in some respects a reality, although not fully realised. It is a reality of humanity living in harmony with the world around us. That is the hopeful picture of today.
Vulcan was a blacksmith of the gods. The best mythology is the Greek mythology of Hephaestus. Athena emerged fully formed from the forehead of Zeus. Hera, Zeus’ wife, is immediately very jealous. As a jealous response Hera gives birth to Hephaestus. He is not fully formed but emerges as a child. The anger Hera feels towards Zeus results in the child being deformed. Hera sees him as ugly and she throw him off Mount Olympus where he falls into the ocean and is rescued by two sea goddesses, Eurydome and Thetas, who take him and raise him. He becomes an incredible blacksmith. He crafts thrones for the gods of Mount Olympus which he gives them as gifts. He creates a throne for Hera, who he knows is his mother, from metals that bind her to the throne as soon as she sits on it. The gods all beg him to release Hera. Eventually Deionises persuades him but he has two conditions. Firstly, he wishes to be instated on Mount Olympus as the blacksmith of the gods where he will in future craft the palace for Helios, chariots for Helios, for Aries and for Aphrodite and eventually he will craft the tripod serving dishes from which the gods will eat. His second wish is to marry Aphrodite (Venus). Esoterically Venus is the physical planet nearest the sun and Vulcan is even nearer to the sun. Together they live in the sun-sphere. Vulcan creates using fire and from this we get volcanoes and those who study volcanoes are vulcanologists, going back to the name of Vulcan. The qualities described in the legend are relevant for a picture of what is to come in the Vulcan Cycle: our ability to harness the full power of the fire element; to be able to really work with it as a creative way that brings about something new and amazing as a consequence of our work. We will also be wedded to all that Venus carries.
In our Earth Cycle the Esoteric Tree that is of true importance is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is the Tree of which we should not have eaten so early, but was always ours to take into ourselves. The Tree that open up for us the future is the Tree of Life, which is the Tree of the Jupiter Cycle. We are currently between the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is the Earth Cycle, and Tree of Life, which will introduce us to the Jupiter Cycle.
Reading from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner on the Seven Esoteric Trees that also brings in the picture that something of all seven of the Esoteric Trees manifests for us. We are now in the fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch. Atlantis was the fourth time frame, the Post-Atlantean Epochs are the fifth time frame. We are already moving, and this is very clear from mythology, we are moving towards our next step, and have as our picture, no longer the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but a picture of the Tree of Life. That is where we are, reimagining what the Tree of Life will be for us in the Jupiter Cycle. That is a lot of the work we as human beings are busy with now.
Berlin, 27 March 1905. Symbols Reflecting Original Wisdom. This lecture establishes what the Esoteric Trees represent, not only in terms of each Tree becoming a symbol of each Great Cycle of Time: Old Saturn, Old Sun; Old Moon; Earth; Future Jupiter; Future Venus and Future Vulcan, but also how the seven Esoteric Trees speak to the development within the seven Great Time Cycles within the Earth Cycle, how they are recapitulations and then the seeding of the future.
What is the Tree of Being in Harmony with God? Where are we going with this Tree? Earth Eons: The Earth Cycle is the fourth Condition of Consciousness of our Cosmos. It consists of seven conditions of life. The first Condition of Consciousness of our Cosmos was Old Saturn, the second was Old Sun, the third Old Moon. The Earth Eon consists of seven Conditions of Life or Rounds of Time. The first is a recapitulation of Old Saturn within the Earth Eon, the second is a recapitulation of Old Sun within Earth Eon and the third is a recapitulation of Old Moon within Earth Eon. The fourth, that we know as the Atlantean times is the actual Earth Condition. The fifth, which we are living through now is an anticipation of the future Jupiter within the Earth Eon. Rudolf Steiner describes it as Jupiter-Earth. We are already in Jupiter-Earth. The sixth great cycle is an anticipation of the future Venus within the Earth Eon which we can call this Venus-Earth. The seventh is an anticipation of future Vulcan within the Earth Eon that we can call Vulcan-Earth. (To read more find it in GA93a.)
Prokofiev brings an important picture of the goal of Vulcan to consciousness in his book. He draws on many sources of Rudolf Steiner and synthesises it in a way that has real value for us. From the very beginning of this passage Prokofiev makes it clear that what we are dealing with is a picture of the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. It is in our end that we find a new beginning, but the end is the reason why it began in the first place. We are working towards the Omega point in our journey. We are on our way towards something, we are in process of becoming something. What we are to become has relevance for us because we are already in the Jupiter-Earth time, where we are working on ourselves in such a way that we are anticipating that which is to come. We are already in these Post-Atlantean Epochs always working with an image, a mythology of the Tree of Life; be it the incredible Banyan Tree on the banks of the River Ganges; be it the Tree of Life planted in the Water of Life surrounded by two Kar-fish which protect it; be it the tree out of which the first man and woman emerged (part of the Egyptian mythology, known as the Tree of Life and Death); be it the Cross, which is the Tree of Death and Life ( a reversing of the Egyptian picture); be it the Tree of Life from Kabbalistic Judaism, these images of the Tree of Life surround us in all our cultures in all of our Epochs because this is what we are working with now, a movement towards that which we will live out in the great Jupiter Cycle.
Quoting from Sergei O. Prokofieff And the Earth Becomes a Sun, The Mystery of the Ressurection:
Fundamentally, through the Mystery of Golgotha we are able to begin living and anticipating all the seeds that will take us through Jupiter, through Venus, finally to being in harmony with God and the Universe on Vulcan.
From Question Time: The New Jerusalem is an incredible picture of our Jupiter Cycle. The picture of the New Jerusalem is still strongly associated with the picture of the Tree of Life, within a crystalline form are the Trees of Life, where we have become the Tree of Life on the banks of the Water of Life. That is the seed picture for the new Jupiter Cycle. Then there is another picture of the Trees that must manifest, which will be the Tree of the Word for the Venus Cycle, where the human beings will be able to hear the inner word and live out of mystic insight. And then for Vulcan it is the Tree of Being in Harmony with God in the Universe.
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