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THE NATURE OF SUBSTANCE
Taken from the book The Nature of Substance, Rudolf Hauschka.
We must now try to dispel some of the confusion prevailing on the subject of zodiacal signs and constellations. At the start of our era the sun rose on the first day of spring, March 21, in the constellation Aries. This point on the horizon is called the vernal point. In our discussion of nitrogen we mentioned the fact that it takes the vernal point one Platonic year (25,920 sun-years) to complete one round of the Zodiac. Thus far, in the approximately 2,000 years that have elapsed, the vernal point has progressed far enough to rise in the constellation Pisces. The spring sun in the northern hemisphere no longer rises in Aries, as it did, but in Pisces. Astrology, however, continues to place the vernal point under the sign of Aries, and to say that Aries is to be called the spring sign for all future reference. Looked at in this way, the vernal point becomes a mere convenient device for anchoring a system of coordinates. The division of the Zodiac into twelve equal segments, called by the traditional names of the twelve zodiacal constellations, made it necessary to distinguish constellations from the so-called ‘signs’ thus arbitrarily created. This explains why the ‘signs’ of the Zodiac are already one whole constellation behind the real positions of the stars and will fall still further behind as time goes on.
We must take into account the fact that the zodiacal constellations vary considerably in size and that the heavens are not divided into twelve equal segments. When in the following pages we associate the twelve months with the twelve constellations, we have only a very rough correspondence in mind.
We showed above how cosmic forces interact in the formation of starch:
Starch is the product of cosmic fire, cosmic life and cosmic formative forces. Three substances, hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, are the end-products of its dissolution. We sought traces of their cosmic origin in their physical and chemical behaviour. Protein may similarly be described as the product of an interweaving of four cosmic principles:
Now where are these cosmic signposts pointing? What is the origin of these substances which seem to be the basis of all organic nature?
If we follow the activity of hydrogen in the living kingdoms through a whole year’s cycle, it obviously reaches a maximum in high summer. The most intensive etherealization of plant substances takes place at this warmest time of the year. Seeds start to ripen, and oil, materialized cosmic fire, begins to form in them.
High summer comes in August in the northern hemisphere, the month when the sun passes through the constellation of the Lion, which has always symbolized flaming courage and all such fiery attitudes of soul. Old Oriental picturings of lions express this characteristic in a flaring mane which surrounds the head like a golden sun-aura. It may be assumed that the representations of zodiacal figures found in old calendars retain something of the ancient wisdom hidden in pictures. These were the work of priests of olden times, and were never arbitrary, but rather pictorial records of what they knew about the Zodiac. Naturally, these pictures are not to be grasped by a trifling approach, nor are they meant to portray physical animals. They are to be thought of as depicting processes and activities in artistic and pictorial, but at the same time real, images. They were a very real experience to men of old.
The cosmos was recognized by the ancients to have twelve distinctly different phases of activity, and they therefore ascribed twelve characteristics to these heavenly forces. And though we have lost the capacities that conceived these images, we can still feel the truth they symbolize if we approach them with artistic and unprejudiced sympathy.
Leo, the lion, is in this sense the representation of fire-related forces raying from his segment of the universe into all levels of activity and manifestation: the soul-spiritual, the biological, the mineral. Their final manifestation is in hydrogen and its activity; here the sublime process comes to rest. One cannot help thinking of the adage, ‘Matter is the last step on the path of God.’
Oxygen, on the other hand, reaches the climax of its activity in nature when the earth is saturated with the fertile moisture of melting snow or mild spring showers, the season when sap begins to stream through roots and stems and there is stirring and germinating everywhere.
This is the moment just before the coming of spring in the north, toward the last part of February, when the sun is passing through Aquarius, ‘the water-carrier’. Here is a picture of fertility, the ancient symbol of an activity that blessed and fertilized the earth. Streams of quickening water drench the land and summon into earthly appearance all manner of living forms. This is the opposite pole to Leo’s fire-process, and is therefore more to the fore at the opposite season. Oxygen is active at the time when all through nature life is being carried over into physical form with the inflow of fertilizing, saturating water. High summer is the season of oxygen’s polar opposite, hydrogen: a subtle fire-process, which everywhere dissolves form and etherealizes matter. These two processes are as opposite in character as the two zodiacal figures Leo and Aquarius are in space.
An objection everyone is sure to raise is that in the tropics, the southern hemisphere and at the poles, plants go through their various life stages at a quite different season. In this connection, let us consider the following.
What might be called the classical cycle of the seasons is a phenomenon of the temperate zones. … And this normal cycle depends on a balance being kept between terrestrial and cosmic forces. This leads to a harmonizing rhythm between the changing relationships of earth and sun (as cosmic representative). Where earth forces gain the upper hand, as at the poles, or where life is dominated by cosmic radiating forces, as at the equator, …, one-sided conditions result.
Goethe gave the key to a quite new way of looking at all the phenomena of nature with his theory of colour, which cannot be too highly valued. Between the poles of light and darkness live the rhythms inherent in colour; between cosmos and earth arises the wealth of rhythmic life-phenomena of the earth’s surface; between poles and equator the rhythmic alternation of the seasons comes into being. The Goethean concept of the two poles and a third new element, rhythm, which reconciles these two extremes, throws fresh light on everything in the organic kingdom. Light and darkness create the rainbow; earth and cosmos create the living kingdom of the earth.
The earth itself is a living organism — a fact still familiar to Kepler. The zone between the poles and the equator is the scene of manifold rhythmic phenomena that mirror cosmic rhythms.
For the earth, the regular succession of the seasons is like human breathing. We have shown how cosmically regulated this breathing rhythm is — a reflection of the sun-rhythm of the Platonic year. But the head and the metabolism of man, which correspond to the earthly polarities of pole and equator, have their own independent rhythms. Therefore cosmic rhythms are mirrored only in the middle region of both man and earth.
Details of such interrelationships are very complex. But if one approaches them with a feeling for the whole picture, many phenomena of earth and cosmos will disclose their secrets.
Now let us return to the question: Where is aerogen (nitrogen) most strongly active? We recall the description given earlier of the forming of protein. It begins with visits of butterflies, bees and beetles to the flowers, where nitrogen’s mobility enables seeds to form. This process coincides with the blossoming of plants, the swarming of insects, with the wind carrying pollens of grass and blossoming grain over the countryside.
Such are the main events of the end of May in the north, when the sun is passing through the constellation Taurus. Again, all this is in keeping with the ancient view, which used the Bull as symbol of the forces of motion. Nowhere do we find an old portrayal of a bull lying still and peaceful in a meadow; he is always depicted charging, or otherwise most active. In none of the twelve zodiacal images is movement as much emphasized as it is in Taurus. This sign is clearly the image of universal, all- inclusive forces of movement, which are active at all possible levels, down to the final one: the forming of nitrogen. Thus the zodiacal region from which forces of movement issue is called Taurus, the Bull.
Now the opposite pole of motion is fixity. just as we showed nitrogen to be the carrier of motion, so carbon was described as the carrier of form. Carbon is nature’s great stabilizer. It forms the scaffolding in plants, animals and man.
The Old Testament Study - Samuel
reported by John-Peter Gernaat
In April the Old Testament Study took a further step: to the book of Samuel. Many of the stories of the Old Testament become a prefiguring of the great story of the incarnation of the Christ and the three years leading to the great Mystery of Golgotha and the Resurrection. We have encountered this in the name of Joshua. His name in the original language is the same name as Jesus: (from Wkikpedia) “Yeshua or Y'shua (ישוע; with vowel pointing Hebrew: יֵשׁוּעַ, romanized: Yēšūaʿ) was a common alternative form of the name Hebrew: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, romanized: Yəhōšūaʿ, lit. 'Joshua') in later books of the Hebrew Bible and among Jews of the Second Temple period. The name corresponds to the Greek spelling Iesous (Ἰησοῦς), from which, through the Latin IESVS/Iesus, comes the English spelling Jesus.” The name means: the one who saves, that was Joshua’s role. Michaël provided a list of so many of the stories that are a pre-figuring.
Names in this story reveal a lot of the story. Samu-el is a reference to El or God. In Hebrew it meant ‘request from God’ when Samuel’s mother named him or ‘gift from God’. But, fundamentally it had come to mean ‘a son from God’ or even ‘a son of God’. Samuel’s name is son of God, a great prefiguring. Samuel’s father, Elkanah (El-kanah means ‘God has purchased’ or ‘made it his own’) had two wives, one named Penninah meaning ‘pearl’ (physical beauty) and Hannah meaning ‘favour’ or ‘grace’ (spiritual beauty). Elkanah favours Hannah, meaning that he favoured grace from God over a precious pearl. Annually they go to Shiloh (meaning town of tranquillity or peace). The priest in Shiloh is Eli (El-I, ‘ascend to God’ – he lifts the people to El through YHWH: Yahweh of the Elohim) with two sons, Hophni (boxer) and Phinehas (brazen of mouth).
Hannah had no children while Penninah had children. The story can be read in 1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2. Hanna petitions YHWH for a son. The word is Sha-al or sha-ul which is also the name Saul, the first King of Israel whom Samuel will anoint. Before the King of Kings walked the earth the people request a prefiguring, a king. Hannah is graced with a son and when the boy, whom she names Samuel, is weaned she fulfils a promise that he will serve YHWH. The presentation of Samuel to YHWH is done with three offerings: a three-year old bull: the death of the strong bull, flour (bread) and wine. She promises that he will be a Nazir or Nazirite which meant that he would take the ascetic vow described in Numbers 6:1-21. Michaël described beautifully how the petition of Hannah to YHWH is reciprocated by the petition of YHWH to Hannah for the child to bring about the salvation of the nation of Israel. There is a working together of the mighty angelic being YHWH and the human being. Hannah praises God with a song and we hear a version of this song when Mary meets her cousin Elizabeth and realises she is pregnant. Mary has a feeling that she is carrying a Samu-el (a son of God) when she magnified the Lord in song.
We continued to read the calling of Samuel and the Ark of the Covenant falling into the hands of the Philistines and the events that led to the return of the Ark.
Then the people of Israel demanded a King and Samuel, through YHWH, agrees that they should have a king. We then read the story of the calling of Saul. Samuel anoints Saul with oil. This is the first anointing of a king. Samuel tells Saul what he will encounter on his journey following their meeting, which events are all to confirm the message from YHWH, and thereafter he can “do whatever seems good to you”. Saul must decide through his own Ego what is good for him to do. This is an anointing of kingship into the human family of the consciousness soul experience. Then Saul must wait seven days to receive instruction from Samuel. Saul must wait out the days for a new creation to land in him (seven days of Creation). Saul experiences that ‘another heart’ enters him as he leaves Samuel, he becomes another man. When Samuel brings all the people of Israel together he uses the casting of lots to confirm for the people that Saul is chosen by YHWH and the people chant “God save the king”. This is the first time that a king has not arisen out a genealogical line but by an anointing brought about by YHWH as the representative of God.
When we consider the Christ-in-me and ourselves as king through the indwelling “I” the question may arise: “How do I save myself?” We may be lowly, as Saul describes himself as the lowest person in Israel, but we can each help co-create our salvation.
Now anointing is given to king as well as to priest and prophet. We receive the anointing before death for the three roles after death. The anointing provides the strength to cross the threshold and to ‘become another man’ and also to return across the threshold.
Holy Week theme talk
Talk by Rev. Michaël Merle: Finding the Inner Balance Point, The outer and inner aspects of the moods of the days in Holy Week – Initiative
reported by John-Peter Gernaat
Holy Week is an extraordinary week because it begins on Palm Sunday and it goes up to, and draws into itself, Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is the first day of a new week and equally the eighth day of Holy Week. The eighth day is a completion that also begins something new. It gives a sense of an octave of what unfolds towards Easter.
Sunday is a day of the sun and the rising of the sun. There is a rising on Palm Sunday and again on Easter Sunday with the Resurrection. Each day of any week begins with a reflection on the previous day, a reflective mood as befits Monday, the day of the moon. Then the business of the day begins and we are into the mood of Mars, Tuesday. The day invariably requires that we become flexible which is the mood of Mercury, Wednesday. But the day does not end before we organise everything, knowing that we have met the unexpected. This is the Jupiter time of the day, Thursday. When we realise that day has been good and we feel good about what has been accomplished we experience the Friday mood of the day. By evening we go into rest and sleep, the Saturday time of the day. In this way the moods of the week are expressed in a single day.
This talk is about taking initiative. In John 1:35 we read that John the Baptist says: “See the Lamb of God” and two of his disciples leave to follow Jesus. What prompted this? On the previous day John speaks of the Lamb of God which prepared his disciples to take an initiative. There was a capacity in the disciples to do something out of themselves. They needed some preparation and the words of John on the previous day would have been sufficient: John 1: 29-34. In these words John speaks about the Lamb of God as: “he it is who baptises with the Holy Spirit”.
This baptism of the Holy Spirit that occurred on the first Whitsun is a baptism of which we are the inheritors. We have received this baptism of the Holy Spirit. As a result of this great event, possible only through the Resurrection, something became integrated in us. The earthly “I”, the capacity to organise ourselves, became integrated into the human being. Before this we were not truly able to take true initiative.
Initiative comes from Latin meaning to start. Initiative starts from me, an “I” response. An initiate can initiate something. An initiate is someone who is anointed for a task. In taking initiative we recognise that some aspect of ourselves has been anointed by the Holy Spirit and through this anointing a part of ourselves is integrated within us. Before we could take initiative from our true self human beings did things, but what they did was out of need. What they did was a reaction to their situation, not a response, and therefore it was an instinct – an appropriate human instinct. In time, drive and desire caused human beings to act. Initiative occurs out of freedom. It is an ability that arises in us through motivation. Motivation is entirely self-generated. The word comes from ‘to move’.
Initiative requires an “I” which is more than a physical body, the etheric life force or an astral capacity. This capacity wakes up on Palm Sunday. It is the first step. Not yet the completion. The ability to motivate ourselves out of our own freedom is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Prior to this the activity of human beings was driven externally and therefore not yet free. Humanity was under a condition that may be described as ‘The Fall’.
The disciples of John acted out of themselves because this ability was dawning for the human being.
Jesus turns to these two disciples and asks: “What are you seeking?” They are seeking out of their own sense of something of importance. They answer that they wish to know where they can find him. It is clear they have not yet found themselves, their own home. Jesus responds with an invitation. It will be revealed to them. This generates a new initiative in their freedom to go out and invite others to also come and find it as well. This next step in their initiative is vital. They send themselves out to find others.
Modern initiation, in the time of the Consciousness Soul, is leaning to get on with other people. We are all modern initiates because we are capable of beginning something, of taking initiative.
This talk was followed on each evening of Holy week with a contemplation at the altar that spoke of the mood of each day as described in a word in the second paragraph of the report above.
a reflection by John-Peter Gernaat
Once a year Reingard presents a profound talk that very few people who read this newsletter attend. It is the preparation for confirmation talk to the parents and family of the confirmands.
Each year the circumstances are different, the audience is different and Reingard has spent a year developing a new insight into realm of the spirit. Each year, therefore, these talks reveal something new about our human existence. Because this sacrament is one that is available only once in a person’s life and the parents are in a space that they will only experience it once, no matter that the confirmand has siblings, the hour must prepare those present in a very particular way. Over the years, these talks provide a very unique insight into our human path on earth, that is otherwise not presented in this profound a manner. Here are a few reflections from the talk given on 23 April 2022.
When we are born we receive a body that is a blueprint from our parents. During the first seven years of life we use all our energy to develop this body and to make it our own. We replace every cell that was given us from our parents, even our teeth, to make this body our own. We continue to replace the cells of our body in the successive cycles of seven years, but never again as fully as in the first seven years. It is because we are not able to repeat what the first seven years were able to do, that we age.
We were reminded that puberty is a type of new birth. The parents have been witness to the physical development of the child. They have noted every milestone and achievement of the child. No two children develop in the same way or follow the same timetable. Each individual is unique and the physical development provides clues. Youth is the time of the development of the soul. This development is in some ways very similar to the physical development, except that it is invisible. The parents can accompany it in the same manner as they did the physical development, but it may be difficult to realise that the body, that almost resembles an adult, is as fragile within as the baby and toddler was whom the parents cared for in childhood.
A child looks up to its parents and in many ways views its parents as God: the people who can achieve everything for them. In youth the young person expects something different from the parents. The young person expects to see the parents working at their own inner development. The parent who portrays themselves as complete, loses the respect of the youth. Youth is a time of great soul turbulence and great soul strength. It is finding itself. No parent can stand up to the soul forces of a teenager with only soul strength. The adult can only stand up against these forces from a place of their “I”-forces, their integrity, their inner alignment with themselves.
The transition from the Sacrament of Confirmation to the Act of Consecration of Man, when the celebrant is devested of vestments to be vested again is a very real picture. The vestments of the Sacrament of Confirmation stand as an image of childhood. The celebrant is then devested down to the black cassock, before being vested with the white alb, an image of the overcoming of death. Thereafter the celebrant is girded as an image of taking hold of oneself, the stole as an image of the connection of the head to the heart, and the loose chasuble as the vestment that does not yet belong to the individual but reminds us that we are still in becoming and part of a larger human community. This transition is a clear picture to the confirmand of the changing organisation they are experiencing and with which they are expected to face the world.
This moment in the life of a human being is profound on a deep level. It empowers the youth with a new force. A seed is sown and a wellspring open on which they can draw throughout life, even if not always consciously.
When a baby is baptised, three substances are used to guide the soul into earthly existence in a human body. These substances are water, salt and ash. Each substance has a very specific quality. Water is fluid and permeating; salt is structured and provides carrying form; and ash is the remaining minerals that cannot be consumed by fire to dissolve into whence they came before becoming part of the plant that is burned to ash. In itself ash is nothing but placed into proximity to a seed it is nourishment to stimulate new growth. These substances inform us of physical qualities we can then work at developing in our soul and in our spirit as refined human capacities. We can contemplate what these qualities are in each sphere of our being. From youth and through adulthood we are able to take hold of the impulse ourselves that is gifted in baptism, and we do so by inscribing three crosses, one over each point where the baptismal substances are inscribed, during the Act of Consecration of Man. This activity serves as a stimulus for the journey we are on as human beings.
This month we turn in Growing Points to part of the formulation of The creed and what it says to us about the very heart of the meaning of Church and of Community:
Today all our ideas about ‘the Church’ must be recast. The time for monopolistic claims and monopolistic organisations is over. No single body can, in reality, be the sole possessor of the truth. Every honest attempt to observe the facts will make this clear. But there is no need for Christianity therefore to disintegrate into a number of warring sects. If we adjust our ideas, we can well conceive of a more living and organic ‘unity’ in which a great variety of ‘diversities’ can form a brotherly community.
The distinctive contribution of The Christian Community to this process of rethinking can be most concisely illustrated by the sentence in which ‘the Church’ is referred to in the ‘creed’ which is said in the Act of Consecration of Man. In the place of the traditional credo in unam sanctam catholicam etapostolicam ecciesiam (I believe in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church), it states ‘Communities whose members feel the Christ within themslves, may feel united in a Church to which all belong who are aware of the health-bringing power of the Christ’.
Whole centuries must have breathed a sigh of relief when this sentence was formulated. … If nothing else were left of Rudolf Steiner’s work than his recasting of the Apostles’ Creed, of which this sentence is part, it would establish his fame as a religious genius. Characteristically, in this rebirth of the creed, communities are taken as the basic units of the Church. The fact that the Christian Church consists of differentiated branches is taken as fundamental. The Book of Revelation comes to mind, which describes seven churches as typical patterns of Christian communities with their characteristic virtues and shortcomings. But the ideal Church in which individual ‘Communities whose members feel the Christ within themselves may feel themselves united’, is broad enough to embrace spiritually ‘all people’ as belonging to it ‘who are aware of the health-bringing power of the Christ’. It has room for the solitary disciples, too, although it is somewhat unnatural and almost a contradiction in terms to be a Christian and not to be within the fellowship of a community. (Whether the various ‘Communities’ which ‘may feel themselves united’ in this ‘Church’ form a World Council of Churches or some similar body on the level of physical organisation is another matter, and perhaps, then, of secondary importance. If such a Council is inspired by the organic idea of a free and living union of Communities, it can be a very important interdenominational meeting place, and a means of speaking with an influential voice on world affairs. If, on the other hand, it sees itself as a pacemaker for a ‘reunion’ in terms of a universal, streamlined organisation, it is in danger of serving the ghosts of the past.)
Nothing has greater power to form community than common worship. And sacramental worship in which time and again the same sacred procession of words, symbols and acts passes through the souls of those present, is the most uniting form of worship. In it also ‘the health-bringing power of the Christ’ is active in purest form.
In a true Eucharistic service the true selves of the worshippers are united with Christ. When we remember him, he remembers us, for he has promised to do so. But his memory is not tied to a mortal brain which allows only mere shadows of the past to arise. His ‘memory’ is a true ‘re-membering’. He is there where he sends his thoughts, he becomes a real ‘member’ of the congregation at the altar, and he can be in many places at the same time. When he told his disciples at the Last Supper, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’, he did not suggest a pale commemoration of a past event, but a re-living of his real presence in which he will truly co-operate. ... Bread and wine carry Christ’s healing forces into us in order to include even the body in the process of redemption, and to impress upon it, stage by stage, the incorruptible perfection of Christ’s body of resurrection.
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