Presented by Rev. Michaël Merle, reported by John-Peter Gernaat
The context for this and the next two talks on the Mystics is related to the description given by Rudolf Steiner on The Second Coming of Christ in the Etheric World on 6 March 1910 in Stuttgart, and the picture below tries to put into an image the content of part of Steiner’s lecture.
Humanity had a natural clairvoyance which was lost in the Third Post Atlantean Epoch. Abram responded to the call of YHWH (Yahweh of the Elohim) not because of a clairvoyant recognition of this mighty being, but because of his brain-based thinking, that allowed him to decide to follow because he had thought through the decision. His was able to take action of his own accord. Moses senses in the depth of his soul what is required. Solomon was admired for his ability to make deductions through thinking. After the Mystery of Golgotha there are three periods of each a thousand years that mirror the previous periods, although these were longer. In the first one thousand years of Christian thought we were graced with the pictures of a new theology that has not yet been fully penetrated. As an example, we came to a full awareness of the Hierarchies. The following thousand years was a period of a new mysticism, a new understanding of spirituality. Meister Eckhart is the preeminent example to this new mysticism. We are now entering the new era of Abraham where we develop through our inner activity a new spiritual sight that arises from our conscious thinking.
Meister Eckhart was born Eckhart von Hockheim in in the village of Tambach, near Gotha, in the Landgraviate of Thuringia, perhaps between 1250 and 1260 and he died around 1328. He was a theologian, an ordained priest and belonged to the Dominican Order. He died in Avignon, France, where Pope John XXII had moved his court. Eckhart was there because he was accused of heresy and had been brought up before the local Inquisition, and was now appealing his case to the Pope. He died before receiving the verdict of his appeal and the Catholic Church cleared him of heresy only in the 1992.
A source of work for this talk is a book by Reiner Schürmann translated as Wandering Joy, Meister Eckhart’s Mystical Philosophy. The French title of the original German work translates directly as: Master Eckhart and the wandering joy.
The wandering of Meister Eckhart, his itinerancy, was three-folded and had four stages. The three movements were:
The four stages described by Meister Eckhart are not progressive, i.e. we do not reach them as we reach different stages of our life, but rather that we are busy with these four stages all the time. This is a path of renunciation or isolating. Meister Eckhart coined a word: “Abegescheidenheit” that refers to the process of renunciation where one dies to the self and becomes one with God.
In brief, this path of four stages is:
The three movements relate to the four stages as follows. Between dissimilarity and similarity we reach detachment; between similarity and identity we reach releasement and between identity and dehiscence we reach dehiscence.
Much of what we know about the mysticism of Meister Eckhart comes from his written sermons. Michaël quoted from these sermons to ensure that each concept was brought exactly as Meister Eckhart had articulated it. This summary is presented as the essence of an understanding of each concept.
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