Prophet, Priest and King: Understanding Ourselves as the New Community of the Christ, a series by Rev. Michaël Merle
reported by John-Peter Gernaat (This is not a transcript of the talks but a report drawing in the main themes of the talks.)
This is a report on the third part of a three-part series. The first two parts were reported in the February newsletter (the emailed version) and can be found on the community website at this shortened link http://bit.ly/ProphetPriestKing. It is strongly recommended to read the first two parts before reading this report.
We can recognise in the three gifts brought by the Magi – initiated priest-kings of the Zarathustran religion – that the Magi recognised in the royal child born in Bethlehem (Gospel of Matthew): a prophet, a priest and a king. These are three expressions of our initiated humanity that require a process, an anointing.
Prophets were called by the Divine to remind humanity that they were straying from the source that had created them and was still guiding them. Once the Christ had incarnated the “I” into the constitution of the human being, the external message from the Divine is no longer relevant. The message of the Divine must now reach us individually through our “I”-penetrated thinking. The gift to the child Jesus that recognised him as prophet is also the substance of embalming indicating that this was the end of something. The book of Revelation describes us now as a priestly, kingly people.
The development of the human being as a priestly being focuses on the development of the sixteen petalled lotus flower of the chakra of the throat of which eight petals were developed through the upwards energy path that culminated in the enlightenment of the Buddha and is now developing through the downward drawing in of the Spirit into the chakras to develop the remaining eight petals. Through these eight steps we can exercise a priestly way of being. The seven-step path of development of the chakras will again be described in a talk on 7 February and will be reported separately in the article The Old and the New Path of Chakra Development this newsletter.
Our current work is the developing of the twelve petaled lotus flower of the charka of the heart of which six petals were enlivened by the upward energy path and we are enlivening the remaining six petals to spin counter to the previously enlivened six. The steps of this path are described by Rudolf Steiner in various lectures as the Six Subsidiary Exercises. Through these exercises we are finding our new way as kings.
We live in the season of Whitsun, one might say, as recipients of the gift of the Holy Spirit and now Christ lives in us. Our Christ-centred “I”-ness has now permeated us so that part of our full Ego-hood lives in our bodily constitution as our earthly “I”. This gives us the capacity to become our own king, where our kingdom is in ourselves. We no longer rely on or need the capacity of another to lead or guide us from without, for we have Christ within as our guide and leader. Whatever decision we make, we make for ourselves and can no longer apportion blame for our decisions on another. But this means that whatever we rely on to make our decisions, be that the guidance of another, we must make our own. The only true leader of humanity is Christ and with the “Christ-in-me” I can lead myself as a king through the capacity of my thinking. It means that in our interactions with others we are required to recognise the kingship of the other. There is no longer the possibility to subjugated others to our (kingly) thinking. We must listen and learn to cooperate with others and learn to articulate our perspective, standing strongly in our “I”. (Hence the title given to the publication in the English speaking world of The Christian Community: Perspectives.)
The six exercises can be divided into two groups, as will be revealed. Each exercise can be described in a number of ways.
It is possible to view these exercises in a way that the first exercise has a lot do with past; the second exercise of will has a lot to do with present; and the third exercise of mastery over our feelings as beginning in the present and moving into the future.
Rudolf Steiner explained how the six exercises align with the components of the human constitution. The control of thinking allows us to develop the ability to come to terms with our physical reality, so that our thinking of the physical reality of things gives us a true picture, preventing illusionary thinking not grounded in the reality of life. The second exercise develops our ability to work out of conscious action not just out of habit through the development of our etheric forces. The third exercise is an ability to take hold of our astral being. We can do this because we have an inborn “I”.
The next three exercises take us into our future development. They align with what will be transformed out of our astral, our etheric and our physical as a consequence of the activity upon that body. As the “I” works actively with the astral we begin to develop the next level of our development: Spirit Self. As the “I” works more deeply into the human constitution and works on the etheric of the human being we develop Life Spirit. When the “I” works on the physical constitution of the human being we develop Spirit Human.
This clarifies how the exercises align from thinking, willing, feeling to then an exercise of thinking in feeling, thinking in willing and finally thinking in thinking. There is a mirroring in the second set of exercises of the first set of exercises.
The purpose of these exercises is to become master of our soul capacities. Once we have mastered our soul capacities we develop these into the capacities of the future: Spirit Self, Life Spirit and Spirit Human. In order for these new capacities to develop the “I” must be active on the astral, the etheric and the physical. This is only possible now that our “I” is firmly part of our human constitution.
A man by the name of John Davey aligns the qualities of the first five exercises with the five stages in death and dying recognised by Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. The exercises are a preparation to obviate the need to go through the five stages of death and dying so that we can fully accept the reality of death and dying.
The five stages are:
In conclusion we can say that prophecy is gone; priesthood is in the now – negotiating the sacrifice, the offering and the engagement required of all of us; and our full kingliness is in the future. These talks are given as an encouragement to work with Knowledge of the Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner.
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