List of articles
In his book The Nature of Substance, Rudolf Hauschka presents a picture of Scorpio and the chemical element associated with it: Carbon. This is then placed in the context of the Atmospheric Cross of Elements. In bringing the forces of Scorpio to mind in this context, Hauschka says:
“Antiquity had another name for this constellation: the Eagle. This picture was an image of cosmic formative forces operative not in the crudely physical, but on the highest level, that of thinking. It depicted the eagle’s power to soar into the sun and survey the scene below from a great height. This symbolized the divine capacity given to man to reflect sublime facts in the thoughts he forms. Materialism was responsible for the eagle being forgotten and replaced by the symbol of death, the scorpion.
Carbon, the last manifestation of the scorpion-eagle forces, also appears in several modifications. The shining diamond is as high above the level of black coal as the soaring eagle is above the crawling scorpion. Indeed, the eagle—qualities noted above have, as it were, been materialized in the diamond’s substance. The constellation Eagle—Scorpion possesses a double nature: death in the scorpion, a soaring to loftiest heights in the eagle. We have here a sort of phoenix-motif. But natural death can be looked on in the Goethean sense as a return to essential being, to the disembodied state. When a plant dies and becomes a carbon skeleton, its being withdraws from the material condition into a world we cannot see.
So every death frees a being into higher life. When nature’s being remanifests in spring, there is already a seed of death in all its germinating sprouting growth, for without this seed there can be no such thing as shape or form. Involution and evolution, being and manifestation, death and resurrection: all these polarities, which are in turn but a single unity, belong to the nature of the Scorpion-Eagle, the cosmic home of the forces from which carbon issues.
Goethe expressed it:
Your soul will stay forlorn
Until you come to know:
To die and be re-born,
Is Spirit’s way to grow.
A study of these four cosmic principles which breed the material substances hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon shows hydrogen and oxygen to be polar opposites in nature, like the constellations Leo and Aquarius. Similarly, nitrogen (motility) and carbon (fixity) belong to the opposite cosmic poles, Taurus and Scorpio. The four together form a cross
It will be obvious from the above that the four substances described are reflected in the four Aristotelian elements, fire, water, air and earth. And we should notice the remarkable fact that all four substances are found in our atmosphere, and are indeed, the elements of all the organic kingdoms:
The cosmic cross: Leo, Aquarius, Taurus and Scorpio, could thus be called the atmospheric cross, or the cross of the organic cosmos.
These considerations may suggest a possibility of explaining relationships between earth and universe, microcosm and macrocosm, in a way suited to modern consciousness. It is right to repudiate the old, unintelligible conceptions if one cannot arrive at comprehensible, reasonable new ones. New methods of investigation must work at this task… In the work of the great men of our past we find the germs of a new understanding of these interrelationships.
The four constellations chosen for mention in the [section] above always enjoyed a privileged position. It is they who give the essence of their being physical expression in hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon. Their harmonious interaction produces the substance protein, the basis of all the more highly organized forms of life.
The various properties of protein seem marvellous indeed as one considers how it is formed of these four elements. Each has its own well defined and extensive sphere of action, while together they form a matrix for the development of the three kingdoms, endowed with life (plants), soul (animals), and spirit (man). We came to know oxygen as the element that carries life into physical manifestation, nitrogen as the force that permeates life with feeling and motion, hydrogen as the strongest power of ascent from the material to the spiritual, carbon as the crystallizing agent that brings what is endowed with spirit, soul and life into physical manifestation.
These four substances in various combinations and permutations enable the Creative cosmos to become effective for the earth and to continue reproducing miniature likenesses of the universe in earthly matter. This capacity is most apparent in the seed. Its protein provides the material that brings the prototypal image of the plant into physical manifestation.”
The Old Testament Study
reported by John-Peter Gernaat
The day the sun stood still (Joshua 10)
YHWH (Yahweh of the Elohim) had an intention that the Israelites should meet the spiritual forces of Canaan and in a sense marry with these spiritual forces and thereby bring about a transformation and a fructification. The people of the city of Jericho closed themselves off to others and so did the people of the city of Ai and both cities became anathema to YHWH and were annihilated. Gibeon made peace and Israelites lived together with the Gibeonites. To understand these spiritual forces better Michaël elaborated on the history that led to these spiritual forces arising in Canaan.
Having the history of the mythology of Egypt and Phoenicia in mind transforms the understanding of Joshua 10. What is presented becomes visible as a great cosmic picture of the spiritual forces that are at play in human evolution and destiny. The importance of the marriage that YHWH intended becomes clear. It is also possible to understand what blocked the peoples of Jericho and Ai to the invitation that the Israelites share in the space they inhabited. In Joshua 10 the story becomes subordinate to the spiritual picture that it presents. The earthly story is a reflection of a greater spiritual interchange.
Osiris was a great Egyptian god who married his sister and they have a son. The myths that exist about Osiris come to us from the Greek and Roman myths and stories and represent their understanding of the stories that were held religiously by the Egyptians and the Phoenicians. We can discern from these myths something of the journey of Osiris. There are several different myths about the death of Osiris. He is then resurrected and fathers his son after his resurrection. His resurrection is more of a revitalisation for a short period in order to father his son, Horus. One myth tells of Osiris being sealed in a coffin and the coffin being set adrift on the Nile which is a story we encounter again with the infant Moses who was placed in a basket of reeds that was sealed and termed a coffin. The theme of death leading into life is part of the human mythology from the earliest time. It finds its fullest expression, a true lasting reality for the human condition, in the death and resurrection of the Mystery of Golgotha. The coffin of Osiris disappeared, and Isis searched for it. The coffin had become lodged in a tree and the tree had grown around it encasing it completely. This tree was then cut down to become one of the pillars in either the temple or the king’s palace in Byblos in what would have been Phoenicia. When Isis finally found the coffin in the pillar, she released Osiris from the coffin and revitalised him in order to become the father of Horus. Osiris then returned to the Underworld, the world of the dead, to become the new ruler of the Underworld, ruler of those who had died, in place of his brother who has caused his death.
The Egyptian had seen Osiris as a god in the sun. The light of the sun, sun wisdom, had inspired the Egyptians to see Osiris, to recognise the quality of Osiris and inspire the myths that they would tell of Osiris’ life. They cast the mythology into earthly reality in order that it could be understood. Osiris is then the great pharaoh. In most traditions of Osiris he is depicted as green skinned. This colour of green is strongly associated with the Sumerian goddess connected with the planet Venus, gifting us with copper. She then becomes the goddess Isis for the Egyptians and Venus for the Romans. Botticelli, in his depiction of Venus, shows her coming ashore on the island of Cyprus which was the main source of copper in the ancient world. Green became associated with the colour of sacrificial love, the reality of which is found on Good Friday in the sacrifice on the cross. Green therefore has a strong association with the Christ-like sacrificial forces. Osiris as a pharaoh is depicted with a green skin and his lower half is mummified. He is half alive and half dead. This provides a sense of death into life.
There came a time when the Egyptians could no longer see Osiris in the light wisdom of the sun. One could say that he had left the sun-sphere. The being of Osiris then reappears in the legends of the Phoenicians as another sun god, Adonis. He disappeared to the sight of the Egyptians in the sun-sphere and reappeared to the sight of the Phoenicians in the sun-sphere. Adonis had many of the qualities of Osiris. Adonis was also connected to the island of Cyprus. There was a king on the island of Cyprus who had a daughter, Myrrha. Her mother describes her as more beautiful than Aphrodite. Aphrodite is displeased and cursed Myrrha to fall in love with her father. Her servant helps her trick her father into sleeping with her and she falls pregnant. Her father banishes her and while fleeing across Arabia asked the gods to hide her. They transform her into a tree, the myrrh tree and in this form she gives birth to Adonis. The baby was found by Aphrodite who gave him to the daughter of Demeter, on whose festival the pregnancy occurred, Persephone to raise. Persephone spent part of her life in the Underworld and she choses to raise Adonis in the Underworld. When Adonis became a man Aphrodite came to see him and fell in love with him, but so did Persephone. There are different versions of the legend as to how Adonis becomes the full-time lover of Aphrodite.
Osiris as a sun-being for the Egyptians re-emerged as a sun-being for the Phoenicians. Adonis means “the Lord”. He was the Lord of the sun and a central figure in the Phoenician religion and mythology.
The Israelites found themselves under the protection of a mighty spiritual being who was God’s agent. In the Jewish scriptures he is described as Yahweh of the Elohim and his name is the tetragrammaton YHWH. The Elohim were seen as beings of the sun, they carried sun-like wisdom. YHWH of the Elohim leaves the sphere of the sun for the sphere of the moon to be nearer in the hierarchical, angelic, celestial spheres to humanity. He makes a certain sacrifice to his development as a sun-being and he appears to the Israelites as a moon-being. We translate Elohim as God but the actual meaning is ‘the strong ones of God’. El is the Almighty, the Originator, the Great Creator, the Almighty Oneness of Divinity. El is a Canaanite language word. El therefore comes out of the Canaanite / Phoenician stream. It is still used today in names where it denotes ‘of God’, such as Michael, Gabriel, etc. But the Hebrews could not say the name of YHWH because it was too holy to speak, they read it as “Lord”. Hence the translation in the King James Bible as “the Lord God” of what was written as “YHWH of the Elohim”. YHWH was called “the Lord” and they spoke of him as Adonai. The word Adonai comes from the same language source as Adonis.
When the Israelites come with a sense of Adonai they meet a culture that knows Adonis. One Lordship comes into contact with another. This was the marriage that YHWH, Adonai, was asking; a meeting of the counter image.
The Israelites also experience this in the way in which the land is divided among the 12 tribes. Each area is given to the family of a son of Israel because the geography marched the character of that son of Israel. It reflected something of who they were and the qualities and characteristics they brought to their descendants. Each tribe met in the land in which they settle a counter image; in the sense they saw only one side of themselves and facing them was the other side of themselves which they have not seen and must embrace and which must embrace them in order for something new to come. It was to be a fertilisation of culture, a fertility cult. One culture was an image of the other. When the two images married something new could come.
Adoni-Zedek, the lord of justice, was a descendent of Melchizedek who was the king of peace and justice. Adoni-Zedek was king of Jerusalem, city of peace. The king of justice has a descendent who was no longer a master of himself (no longer a king), but rather a servant of Adonai, the Adonai we know as Adonis. He was the lord of justice or the ruler of justice as understood in the rulership of the lord, Adonis. Where Melchizedek was a ruler in his own mastery, following El, a priest of El. He was master of himself and directly responding to El. The descendent of Melchizedek responds to an agent of El, one of the many mighty spiritual beings. In this case to Adonis, a version of Osiris, rather than YHWH, the Adonai of Israel.
With this background it is possible to read Joshua 10. Joshua and his army could travel by night because YHWH (Adonai) is a moon-being, while the Amorite kings felt able only to operate under the sun because Adonis was a sun-being. When the Amirite kings fled they encountered a hailstorm in the maintains that the story attributes to Adonai and we have an early story of natural disasters being attributed to the gods. Joshua felt that he could charge the power of Adonis a sun-being represented in the physical realm as the sun, and the power of Adonai, a sun-being now operating from the moon-sphere, represented in the physical as the moon – two lordships working in partnership with each other – to hold their position. It is an extraordinary cosmic picture. The forces of sun and moon stood still, and it was written in the “Book of the Just”, the Book of Joshua. This was the right way it should have happened, a marriage, as chosen by the Gibeonites. But now the sun and the moon held still while justice was done on the earth. The earth is the place where true justice can take place, the place where we can find the right balance and discernment for the justice that must come. It is a great picture. The sun stood still; time stood still for a day. In a cosmic picture this means the earth stood still for a day. The entire cosmic script stood still for a moment. What is depicted was a real experience on the earth of a mighty spiritual tussle and for the people who experienced it, they experienced time standing still while these two mighty spiritual beings, Adonai and Adonis stood opposite each other and held their positions. They had to learn to work together and the way they work together was to move again in their normal rhythms and cycles.
There has never been a day such as this where the Adonai of Israel listened to a man. This was a real experience for the Israelites, even if the earth had not stopped turning on its axis. With the full might of the spiritual worlds behind them the Israelites now have full possession of the land.
Then we have a picture of what it means to die without the possibility of resurrection. There was no life possibility after death. It is the opposite of the stone being rolled away from the tomb on Easter Morning and the tomb is empty. The tomb is not a place of death any more, it is a place of possibility and life is not in the tomb. The grace of the Divine is in the tomb in the form of an angelic being that instructs the women that Jesus is not there. They must leave the tomb and go out into life to find the life force that has come from death. In the story in Joshua 10 we find the opposite, the sealing of the living in a tomb with great stones and bringing them out to kill them and then placing them back in the tomb and sealing it again. This is a strong picture of death without the possibility of life. What was required was for the Amorites to extend themselves towards the Israelite’s coming in order to complete something for them, otherwise they, like the citizens of Jericho end up being annihilated. This must be seen in a metaphorical sense.
The killing of the Amorite kings by stepping on their necks was a gesturing to the Elohim who have the ability to turn and face a new reality, in this way the neck allows the head to turn and face another perspective. The thinking of the kings was fixed and therefore they were already dead spiritually. They were brought down from the trees on which they were hung at nightfall, at the time of the rulership of YHWH, to be returned to the caves where they had hidden and to be sealed in with stones.
This story is the meeting of YHWH with Adonis/Osiris and taking over the rulership/lordship, but from the position of the realm of the moon, not from the realm of the sun, which was his original home. The tale of the day the sun stood still is probably not known by many people.
Adonis was also worshiped as Baal, the great Lord. In the marriage of the two cultures the Israelites often forgot who their Lord was and turned to worshipping the overthrown Lord. In the book of Judges this was the cyclical life of the Israelites and each time a new Judge was called to judge the situation for the people and set them back on the path of YHWH.
In completing the book of Joshua we read Joshua asking the people of Israel whether they could remain faithful to YHWH for he “is a holy god”. Joshua does not describe him as the Holy God, recognising YHWH as being of God Almighty, an agent of God, of El. Joshua recognised YHWH as greater than the other gods that were appearing as the leaders of other peoples whom the Israelites encountered. Joshua does not dismiss the other gods, but recognises that they have missions that are different to the mission of YHWH and that, were the Israelites to follow any of these other gods, they would be straying from their destiny. Later in scripture there is a shift and the Israelites begin to identify YHWH as El, God Almighty.
We encounter the importance of witnessing when the Israelites confirm that they can remain faithful to YHWH. The act of witnessing to something remains important and in the New Testament it is clear that the real mission of John the Baptist was to be a witness to the Spirit descending and remaining united to Jesus so that the Christ could incarnate. The witness is able to relinquish their own interests and report on behalf of another that the events unfolded is a certain manner which they beheld. One cannot be a witness without having seen the events.
Together with YHWH, whom Joshua describes as the Elohim of Israel, the Israelites receive another angelic guardian who works with YHWH. He is the archangel Michael who is a servant of the task of preparing the human being who can bear the Christ. He becomes the angelic folk spirit of Israel in this mission for Christ.
At this time Joshua wrote down the Law to help the Israelites remain on track and the Old Testament Study will look at sections of the Law in due course. He placed a stone as a witness, a constant reminder, to all that YHWH said to the Israelites.
By this time the land had been divided between the families of ten of the sons of Israel, and to the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, was each given a portion of land while to the family of Levi, because they were consecrated to work in the tabernacle and the temple in the service of YHWH, were given towns in each of the lands together with the fields that surrounded the towns for the grazing of livestock. This stems from the sinning of Reuben against his father Jacob with his father’s concubine through which he loses his birth right. The leadership portion of his birth right was given to Judah and the rights of the firstborn were given to Joseph. Hence, Joseph received two portions of land in the name of his sons because Jacob had blessed Joseph’s sons as his own. The land of Canaan is very diverse in character and the portion that was given to each family matched as aspect of the character of the that son of Israel to whom it was given. They were given that land that they could truly take hold of because it was a reflection of their being. They could become one with the land.
Joshua died at the age of 110. Moses died at the age of 120, a spiritual number. Moses lived a full complete cycle (10) of twelve. He had accomplished everything by the time he died. Joshua was a leader almost as great, but he was not Moses and therefore could not live to that number. He died one cycle short of the period of Moses.
Eleazar, son of Aaron, also died. Eleazar was a priest and Joshua was a prophet and a leader. Together these two oversaw the division of the land of Canaan between the tribes of Israel. This unity of prophet and leader continued through the book of Judges but with Samuel became split when he was led to anoint the first king. Thereafter the prophets were no longer leaders. Then we have the three foldness of prophet, priest and king.
The Old Testament Study
reported by John-Peter Gernaat
The book of Judges is the story of how the Israelites fail twelve times to remain faithful to YHWH. These twelve judges were called by YHWH to judge the Israelites for their unfaithfulness and the lead them back into faithfulness. They heard the message, they were a prophet, and they led the people.
The twelve judges are:
The cycle of events described at the start of the book is as follows:
The Angel of YHWH described in the story could be the Archangel Michael.
The story starts with Gideon threshing wheat in the winepress. It is a sign that he was to be a leader. This is a sacramental celebration.
When YHWH addresses Gideon after the Angel of YHWH has spoken, Gideon recognises his lordship and calls YHWH: Lord. (Today we recognise Christ as our Lord. The lordship changes over time.) Gedeon expresses that his family is the lowliest in their tribe and he is least in the family. Here we have a reference to “the last shall be first and first shall be last”.
We are then presented with an extraordinary situation in that Gideon asks YHWH to wait while he prepares an offering and YHWH agree to wait. When we read the preparation of the offering we realise that YHWH waited for a significant period of time. The offering consisted of bread and broth (of a goat). The religious ceremony in which we found Gideon continued. Gideon was a man who recognised that which had to be done. (We begin to understand the importance of what lives in the African Traditional religious life. An animal sacrifices its life in order to provide spiritual nourishment. These concepts live on in many religious traditions, even in Christianity, but the sacrifice on the cross of the Lamb of God, alleviates our need to sacrifice an animal.) A sacrifice must happen for communication, for communion, to happen. Gideon wished to commune with the Angel of YHWH. The sacrifice of a living animal is a deep desire to communicate with the spiritual world. It is not primitive. The angel of YHWH caused the sacrifice to burn completely to ash as a sign that the sacrifice had been accepted. Now something new could emerge.
The instruction YHWH gave to Gideon was to take a complete complement of servants (a full household) and destroy the altar of Baal (Adonis, the wrong lord for the Israelites to worship) and a seven-year-old bull. He must sacrifice a time in which they were unfaithful for a time in which they will be faithful again. He must sacrifice the bull with the wood of the sacred pillar of Baal to YHWH. They did it by night under the light of the moon of YHWH.
When the enemies came to invade, Gideon gathered the tribes and then asked for a sign for their victory. He placed lamb’s fleece on the ground and the dew fell only on the fleece. Two great signs of the Zodiac: the fleece of Aries and the water of Aquarius. Both of these symbols were significant to the peoples of Sumeria. Aquarius as servant of the god Enki and Aries as the hired man. These symbols are reimagined in the John 11 as the Good Shepherd, where the sheep run away from the hired man who flees at the first sign of danger. These powerful imaginations continued to live on for the people. Then the dew fell only on the ground. The dew is a blessing, firstly on the lamb and then the earth is blessed.
Gideon had too many people with him, so YHWH send home those with fear. 22 000 returned home while 10 000 remain: a thousand times a complete picture. Then YHWH selected based on how the men drank water. Three hundred lapped the water and they become the army of Gideon. These men took with then the horns of those who return home. The symbol of being horned speaks to a power that connects with something higher, beyond themselves. Three hundred is a three-foldness of 100 which a completeness 10 times over.
Deborah (and Barak)
After the death of one of the judges – scripture scholars are not certain whether the judges in the book of Judges are mentioned chronologically or are random, therefore it may be after the death of Shamgar (who gets only one verse in the book of Judges) – the Israelites strayed from their fidelity to YHWH (Yahweh of the Elohim). A Canaanite king oppressed them for twenty years, half the period of full spiritual development, who had an army of 900 chariots of war, not a full army of 1000, under the command of Sisera. Deborah was a prophetess who dwelt under a palm tree and the tree was named after her: the tree of Deborah. There, she acted as a judge for the complaints that the people of Israel brought to her.
She is described as “the wife of Lapidoth”. The original Hebrew described her as a woman of Lapidoth, but as there was never such a place name the assumption was that she must have been married to a man of that name. Wife can also be interpreted as simply woman or female, as it is comes to us in English words like midwife, not a spouse. However, lapidoth is derived from an ancient Hebrew word that meant a torch or lightning, fire. Therefore, it is more likely that Judges describes her as a fiery woman.
She sent for Barak and told him what YHWH had instructed her. He, Barak, must assemble an army from certain of the tribes, 10 000 men, a complete army, and face the Canaanite army under Sisera. Barak felt that he could do this only with her at his side. Deborah prophesises that should she accompany Barak Sisera would not be killed by Barak or his army, but by a woman. And so it happened. YHWH “discomforted” the Canaanite army and the Israelites defeated them. Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled on foot until he found an encampment of Kenites. These were people friendly to the Canaanites and he was welcomed into the tent by the wife of household, Jael. However, when Sisera was asleep she betrayed him and drove a tent peg through his temple into the ground. Jael came out to meet Barak and displayed Sisera to Barak.
Samson (and Delilah)
Samson is the last of the judges. We did not begin the story with his defeat of the Philistines, but rather at the story of Delilah.
Samson was a Nazarite who remained connected to the pure cosmic sources through his hair. It is worth considering that horns are made of hair. In not ever cutting his hair, Samson gained great physical strength through this connection to the cosmic forces. In a time of peace Samson loved Delilah. Delilah was offered eleven hundred pieces of silver (not a completeness of 12, falling short by 1) by each of the leaders of the Philistines to discover the source of Samson’s strength. Three times she asked Samson and three times he told her what was required to subdue him and each time when she did as he had instructed, he breaks free. She used the ruse “the Philistines are coming” to test whether she had been successful and each time he broke free from the bonds. He did not encounter the Philistines in any of these attempts although they were watching from a safe vantage point on the first occasion. Samson therefore did not suspect her treachery, thinking her only curious. When he told her the true source of his strength Delilah immediately recognised that he was being honest and she called the Philistines. They cut his hair and subdued him.
The story of Samson ends when the Philistines offered a sacrifice to their god Dagon, a god with a fish tail from Ancient Sumer, who was the father of Baal. Samson is brough from prison, so weak that a boy could subdue him, and led him to be the amusement of the Philistine leaders. Samson asked to rest against the pillars of the great house where the feast was being held and calling on YHWH he pushed over the pillars bring down the roof and killing all who were in the house, including himself. In that act he killed more people that during his defeat of the Philistines that brought peace to Israel.
Through this story we can learn that in times of weakness a new strength is always growing, as Samsons hair grew back in prison. There is always an abb and flow, never a consistent holding in time.
Talk by Rev. Michaël Merle: Deepening our understanding of the inner working of the Trinity
reported by John-Peter Gernaat
Rudolf Steiner gave this insight in a private instruction that was found in his notebooks and permission was given for it to be published.
There are seven relationships within the Trinity. In each of the great cycles of time one of the relationships comes to the fore in terms of the influence experienced during that cycle of time. The other six relationships continue but express themselves less directly onto the cycle of time.
Rudolf Steiner speaks of the entities in the Trinity as principles, therefore he refers to the Father-principle, the Son-principle and Spirit-principle. He says that these can equally be referred to as the Logos and he sometimes speaks of the First Logos, the Second Logos and the Third Logos.
In these relationships within the Trinity there is an act of revelation occurring. One aspect of the Trinity reveals itself to another aspect of the Trinity. These relationships do not differ from other relationships in that in all relationships the entities concerned reveal themselves to each other.
The fourth relationship is the Turning Point.
Turning to the relationship that dominated our Earth Cycle, Plato recognised four cardinal qualities that make us human (cardinal means hinge, our humanity hinges on these qualities):
In Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Rudolf Steiner speaks of a trial by fire, by air and by water, but he does not speak of a trial by earth. The trial on Earth is to act with Justice. Justice required discernment; it is not a blind justice for all. Each situation and person is treated according to what and who they are. The same justice is not meted out equally to all, that is not Justice.
The first six relationships depict a triangle in a circle, which is the usual picture used to depict the Trinity. The seventh relationship adds to this usual picture the three-leafed clover image used by Saint Patrick of Ireland.
It is in the relationship of the Father-principle veiled in the Son-Principe revealing Himself to the Spirit-principle that we begin to understand ourselves. Think of our Trinity Epistle: “We grasp the Spirit …” and everything we behold is “drenched with His Spirit Light”. This is the Spirit Light the Father-principle sees through the Son-principle in revealing Himself. The most significant passage in scripture about this revelation is John chapter 17, the high priestly prayer.
Excerpts curated and presented by Evan McGillivray and Robyn de Klerk
In 1917, during a series of lectures, Rudolf Steiner said, “It ought to be clear that religion in its vital life, its living practice within the human community, enkindles the spirit-consciousness of the soul. If the spirit-consciousness is to be quickened within the human being, he cannot stop short at abstract ideas of God or Christ, but must ever anew be engaged in religious practices and activities which in different people may take different forms; he must live in a religious atmosphere, in a religious milieu which speaks to him”.
After attending a Students Conference in the spring of 1921 some of the students discovered that they had the same question on their minds. In a little café one of them produced a transcript which had been made of the series of lectures in Berlin on “Cosmic and Human Metamorphosis”. The spark flashed and set minds ablaze. It was decided there and then to approach Steiner with a short memorandum. “We, the undersigned, are convinced that the unfolding of Spirit-consciousness is what humanity today is wanting above all to achieve; and we are convinced moreover that ‘religion in its vital life, in its living practice within the social life, enkindles Spirit-consciousness’”. This document, in which the historian will not fail to recognize the great reserve and respect with which these young people approached Rudolf Steiner, was the first formulated initiative towards that which in due course was born as The Christian Community.
Rudolf Steiner responded at once. Many revolutionary points were put forward with complete matter of factness. The Movement should form free congregations, women were to work on a basis of complete equality with men, the sacramental Mysteries of Christianity were to be renewed. Rudolf Steiner gave the name “The Christian Community” to the new Movement. He said “The name must be simple and challenging”. He also gave the name to the new Communion Service: The Act of Consecration of Man. All this was given with the greatest naturalness in a few sentences.
During the following winter 1921-1922 an event of supreme importance put the whole enterprise on a safe basis. Dr Friedrich Rittelmeyer resolved to throw in his lot with the new Movement.
In August 1922 a much sifted and reduced group gathered for a final retreat on the shores of lake Ammersee at the foot of the Bavarian Alps. On the 4th September the final number of 45 founders crossed the lake at sunrise in little boats to catch the early train which would bring them to Dornach. It was a crossing of the Rubicon. On the 16th September 1922 the first celebration of the Act of Consecration of Man was completed and we have since counted this day as the birthday of The Christian Community.
On the first Sunday in Advent 1922 the Act of Consecration of Man was celebrated in a number of towns for the first time in public. Now the community had to make its way.
The ordination of Andreas van Breda in Cape Town on 26 March 2022 is well described in the article to follow by Sonnya Holtz. Unfortunately, none of the Circle of Seven (the priest’s leadership circle) were able to attend, and as a result Rev. Vicke von Behr (our former Erzoberlenker) came at very short notice to ordain Andreas. Vicke is currently serving as lenker for Japan and South Korea. It was fitting that he should not only be present but also celebrate the ordination. Vicke ordained the previous two priests in Southern African: Kine Voigts in Windhoek in 2009 and Michaël Merle in Johannesburg in 2017.
Ordination Celebration Weekend
by Sonnya Holtz
Southern Africa’s third Christian Community priest ordination took place on the weekend of 25 to 27 March 2022 in Cape Town. Andreas van Breda was ordained in a very uplifting, reverent service on Saturday morning, amid much community participation and support. Congregants, families, and priests (partly, completely different ones than had been planned, due to Covid!) arrived from England, Germany, USA, Namibia as well as from around South Africa. The Karakashians and Van Breda family members made up a large contingent.
A new altar picture was hung in the church, painted by the wife of priest in Germany. A large marquee tent appeared in the garden of The Christian Community Church in Plumstead, and became filled with tables, chairs, and the coming together of community members was soon taking place in its shade- whether renewing old friendships, catching up, or getting to know new friends, having important conversations, sharing insights and memories.
The first gathering inside the church on Friday afternoon filled it to bursting, and we had a wonderful four part preparation for being present and participating in the ordination service the following morning. There was also time to workshop some questions to bring awareness around the Being of the Community, the Angel of the Community, and how we meet this. When it was time to share the workshops the picture of a magnifying glass was given- with its ability to focus sunlight, for instance, into a point ever smaller and more intense, until something new appears - a flame, which needs to be nurtured and tended if it is to burn bright.
And with all that, the Angels certainly were on hand to carry Rev. Vicke von Behr, Rev. Andreas van Breda, and the congregation through a most beautifully reverent ordination service, flanked by nine priests, including the ordinand’s father. It was very moving to hear people speak to Andreas during the celebratory festival that followed – my impression was that everyone was deeply touched, in ways that connected us all far beyond the personal. There were musical offerings and circle dancing as well.
We gathered anew on Sunday morning to witness and carry the first Act of Consecration of Man as celebrated by our newest priest – another moment that felt imbued by the Spiritual World around our community. After church, Rev. Vicke von Behr spoke about the founding, 100 years ago, in 1922, of The Christian Community Church, which was not founded on old traditions, but rather on free participation, and on the striving for the human being to become aware of and work from the Christ-given capacities within each of us. He gave us verses from Revelation, and spoke about the Spiritual World both giving us the roles of priests and kings in our individual capacities, and also needing the nourishment of our future oriented spiritual deeds as earthly humans.
Meals and teas were served in the marquee tent in between events, and to close there was another workshop centred around the coming 100 years in The Christian Community. All left uplifted, and enriched, knowing we had participated in a truly inspired community happening, and that we were joined not just by the Beings connected with our congregation, but by members who could not attend in person from around the world, as well as by the enormous efforts especially, of Rev, Reingard Knausenberger and the community of Cape Town in the planning and organization.
More photos may be found on our regional website as they are received from various photographers at the event.
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