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by Rev. Michaël Merle
It is good for us to consider that the Apostles may very well have come to know that the role of betrayer was, in fact, a very great and necessary role and that none of them knew who would be capable or willing to take on this difficult role. When the disciples sitting at the Last Supper become aware that Judas Iscariot is the one who will betray Jesus, they do not pounce on him and bind him. They are acutely aware of the significant and difficult role he is to perform. It may be that there questioning: “Is it me, Lord?” and “Not I, Lord, surely?” is a reflection of the process of discovering if they are worthy, so to say, to undertake such a very arduous task that will inevitably involve the sacrifice of their development.
At the Temptation of Jesus after the Baptism there is unfinished business, the changing of the stones to bread. The Spirit sends Jesus into the desert to face the masters of the earth who create separation. At the Last Supper before Jesus consecrates the bread, he dips a piece in the broth and gives it to Judas saying: “Do what you need to do”. At that moment the devil enters into Judas and Judas becomes the servant of Ahriman whom Jesus did not directly answer during the Temptation. When Judas goes out from the meal at this point, before the first eucharist is celebrated, the scriptures describe the night-time as follows: “And it was dark”. Judas experiences spiritual darkness. In leaving the twelve at the Last Supper Judas is alone. This aloneness and spiritual darkness is the experience of current humanity of whom Judas was the forerunner. Judas could not have fulfilled his task without the community of the twelve. It is through this that Ahriman has entered all of humanity in a deeper way and why all but one of the disciples are not at the foot of the cross.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas kissed Jesus for the love he bears him. This may strike us as being the very opposite of what we have thought and reflected upon previously. Judas does betray the Son of Man for the love that he does bear and the mission he feels compelled to undertake.
It is possible to contrast the mission of Judas with that of Lazarus. The chief priests wished to kill someone who had become a true follower of the Christ. They set their sights on Lazarus. John 12, which depicts the anointing of Jesus and records the intention to kill Lazarus, provides us with a ritual akin to that which we undertake at an altar. Lazarus (who becomes John – the one at the cross) has been called forth from the grave of his “temple sleep” (initiated) and so is able to resist the influence of Ahriman on the disciples. Lazarus, as a fully initiated follower, is identified by the chief priests as someone to kill, while Judas, who does not go through an initiation, is identified as deserving of a reward.
Judas intends to take on the mission of the betrayal. Judas was the treasurer among the twelve, and this placed him in a connection to Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector and would have been, perhaps, a more natural choice to be treasurer. Judas undertakes the task (appropriating it for himself) and also appropriates from the purse what is not his to take. This is the dilemma for Judas. He took on the mission within the twelve that we could rightly say belongs to him who replaces him, the disciple Matthias (whose name is so similar to Matthew). The position Judas held we could say was that of Matthias and was not his own alone.
Matthias had followed Jesus from the Baptism to the Ascension and was committed even though Jesus did not give him a mission during the three years of the incarnated Christ. Matthias is connected to Simon the Zealot and to Judas Thaddaeus (Jude). There is a brotherhood between these three men that may stem from their following Jesus from the Baptism to the Wedding Feast at Cana. They understood the event at the Wedding Feast of the forces of the sun that turns the water in the vine to wine. They recognised the forces of the Sun in the man Jesus and thereby the Being of the Son become flesh.
The thirty pieces of silver that were paid to Judas for the betrayal reflect the thirty years of Jesus before the Baptism. He received nothing for the three years of Christ in Jesus. The thirty pieces of silver are not kept in a purse as would be the case for payment of a job. Rather they are either scattered or used to purchase a field.
The act of betrayal required Judas to relinquish his will; he must become self-sacrificing and, ultimately, he cannot live with the sacrifice. It was as act of bravery that was greater than he could carry. He must make himself pure by sacrificing his will. When Judas kills himself there is still a mission to be accomplished. Matthias can take on the purity of Judas’ self-sacrifice and thereby fulfil the mission that he shares with Judas. Therefore, Matthias is the disciple elected to fill the place of Judas.
In killing Jesus, the life of Lazarus-John is spared so that John can become a witness to the Christ. Lazarus dies twice, once in the tomb to be called forth to a new consciousness by Jesus and a second time on the Isle of Patmos when he enters the Spirit in full consciousness. This dual death earns him the peace of a quiet final end to his life.
The stone connected with Judas is the Virgo stone which has no iron in it – no will in it. It is chrysolite. It is the iron-free form of forsterite containing magnesium and silicate. Chrysolite comes from the Greek “chrysolithos” or golden stone.
Chrysolite is connected to the human ability to perceive. Our sight is a free sense that serves us. This sight came about through a sacrifice of the Christ before the current Earth cycle of time. Without this sacrifice our eye would appropriate the light of sight.
The soul quality connected with chrysolite is courtesy. This soul quality must be transformed to the spiritual quality of a virginal heart or heart’s tact. Judas had to consider the needs of the whole and sacrifice his own mission.
The attributed Coat of Arm of Judas Iscariot with thirty pieces of solver and rope with which he hanged himself.
On Youth Day, 16 June, Rev. Michaël Merle showed a movie called “Mindwalk”. The details of the movie have appeared in previous newsletters advertising the event. After a short introductory talk in which Michaël explained the various conversations that would be taking place between the three characters in the movie, a group of almost twenty people watched the movie. Our conversation afterwards was very lively, as the characters, and what they represented, made a significant impact on everyone. Michaël then explained how we could view the characters as one operating from his will, the other from his feeling and the third from her thinking. We split into groups of three to experience what it might be like to converse from one’s will, one’s feeling and one’s thinking. The topic was to continue a conversation about the movie and how we had experienced it. We came to understand that it is takes a certain discipline to place oneself in only one realm of experience and to maintain it. Each one of us probably has a default sphere from which we approach the world, but to become conscious of it is quite a challenge. The movie was beautifully filmed on the island of Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy coast.
The island of Mont Saint Michel as one approaches.
Images taken on the island.
report by John-Peter Gernaat
This talk was presented on 13 June 2021 and a second part of the talk was presented on 25 July 2021.
The description given by Rudolf Steiner of the human being at the time of the Garden of Eden was of a fiery being. The human form may have resembled a fire-cloud. The human being would have experienced an inner life with the soul slumbering in the cloud. By the time of Atlantis, the human being would have had a cartilaginous structure. Bones would not yet have developed. The atmosphere, also, was watery in constitution, and we would have swum through the atmosphere. In the Post-Atlantean Epochs the human form developed to what we would now recognise as human, but the way that humans related to each other began to develop only in the Second Cultural Epoch. This was the Epoch when being human developed. When archaeologists look at sites their interest in human beings is for evidence of musical instruments (bone flutes), art (including shell necklaces) and the burial of the dead.
Humanity has always included rituals. The Act of Consecration of Man is a ritual that is relevant for today. But everyone, even atheists practice rituals, which may be as mundane and everyday as a morning coffee ritual.
The Sumerians were the first human culture to record their star gazing. They looked up and saw a whole world speaking to them. They had a very particular relationship to the night, a consciousness that was heightened by the night. They were able to observe the planets, picking them out from among the stars. Their perception was in some way guided. Their experience was of the earth as central to the cosmos. This reality remained through to the time of Dante.
The Sumerians observed the Moon as nearest to earth, followed by a planet they called Mercury that we now name Venus, followed by Venus that we now call Mercury, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and then Saturn. Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier (1811-1877) mathematically predicted the existence of Neptune, which was eventually observed in 1846. He also 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. Einstein said that there was no need for a planet based on space-time relativity. However, the existence of a planet that has not yet materialised but exists as a spiritual reality, was already a subject of esoteric study. The planet was named Vulcan. Vulcan worked with the power of the sun to forge for the gods. He was the consort of Venus.
When we study the activity of the sun we observe hydrogen atoms fusing (nuclear fusion) to form helium. Hydrogen exists in plasmatic state on the sun that in the collision forms atoms. This material process is a representation of a spiritual reality. These processes were intuited as gods. There were three principal gods and lesser gods.
Rudolf Steiner has been able to place existing information into a comprehensive system. As the Divine creates, beings appear. The first of these beings were the Seraphim, that appear as a fire cloud, the seven flaming torches described in Revelation, beings of love. They came into being before space and time. The first appearance of space and time was Old Saturn. Old Saturn was not a planet that could be “seen”, rather one could feel it to perceive it.
The creative beings of Old Saturn were the Thrones and the development was focused on the Archai.
The creative beings of Old Sun were the Kyriotetes and the development was focused on the Archangels.
The creative beings of Old Moon were the Dynamis and the development was focused on the Angels.
The creative beings of Earth are the Elohim and the development was focused on the human being.
The foundation for a physical body was already developed on Old Saturn. By the time the evolutionary cycles have progressed to Vulcan the human being will have fully developed Spirit Human, the highest of the Spirit bodies that we develop though the Ego working into the lower bodies of the Astral, Etheric and Physical. By the end of the Vulcan Cycle the human being will have become the 10th Hierarchy.
When Jacob falls asleep he sees angels ascending and descending.
Jesus tells Nicodemus that no being can ascend who has not descended.
In the Jupiter Cycle the creative forces will be the Beings of Personality (the Archai).
In the Venus Cycle the primary creative beings will be beings we know as Archangels.
In the Vulcan Cycle we will experience the Angels as the creative agents.
In the Act of Consecration of Man we hear that the Christ receives from the Father and fulfils through the Spirit in all cycles of time.
We are currently in the 5th Age of the Earth (the Post-Atlantean Age) and in each Age there are 7 Epochs. We are in the 5th Post-Atlantean Epoch.
The experience of the Earth Cycle of time is a duality of violence from Mars and the racing of time from Mercury.
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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