Some of the comments on the recent thread “An Open Letter to Frank Thomas Smith,” about the online publication of the lessons of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science, have caused me to think quite hard about my own position on making the lessons and mantrams available to any who seek them. Is there today still a justification for keeping them only for Blue Card members (ie members who have applied and been accepted into membership of the School of Spiritual Science)?
I was struck by the contribution from Daniel Perez, who said:
“Rudolf Steiner expressed to Marie Steiner that if the society became sectarian, or the Class Lessons were a source of personal power, that the Lessons would have to be made public. I recently was dismayed as my local class reader expressed both traits. The individual wondered if a recently departed soul could participate in the earthly reading of the Class Lessons without a blue card! I was surprised at the conception that a spiritual being needed a ticket for entry. I wished to give my card to this poor soul at the moment I heard this. My aunt, Baptist fundamentalist, would say the same about the gates of heaven. Only Baptists had the ticket to the gates of heaven. I never understood such thinking, but I know now why the Lessons are public.”
Some other people said that they, too, had experienced sectarian attitudes within the Society, while Tom Mellett sought to draw us off-topic by revealing the existence of a secretive body within the Society called The Circle, Youth Circle or JugendKreis, which he alleges to wield unseen and unspoken power in a number of anthroposophical institutions. I had never heard of the Kreis before, so was intrigued to learn something about it. It does appear to exist, and a number of anthroposophists said that they had been disturbed by its hidden influence in their local Steiner Waldorf school or among First Class readers.
Anthroposophy, of course, has a long and often tragic history of human frailty. I’m inclined to feel that, at least since 1935 and the mass expulsions of members, the spiritual world may have simply stopped regarding the Anthroposophical Society as a vehicle for progress of any kind. And yet the Society has continued to regard itself as the earthly body of the School of Michael, and believes that it is only through anthroposophy that one can continue this connection between Michael and his human disciples.
I was reflecting on all of this when a Buddhist friend came to visit, and I told her something of what I was thinking. She in turn told me about Bön , which is Tibet’s oldest spiritual tradition. Followers of Bön receive oral teachings and transmissions from teachers in a lineage unbroken from ancient times until the present day. In addition, most of the scriptural texts also have been preserved. While much in modern Bön is similar to Tibetan Buddhism, Bön retains the richness and flavour of its pre-Buddhist roots.
Until very recently, the ancient teachings of Bön were offered to very few students of any generation. But now it seems that its lamas are reaching out to teach Western students about the rich Bön spiritual tradition and its practices. In particular, my friend told me about a teacher called Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, who is making these teachings very widely available to many thousands of students via books, YouTube and the internet. Here is what Tenzin has to say about making the teachings accessible:
“Some Tibetan masters might find it strange that I teach these practices to Westerners who have not done certain preliminary practices or who do not have certain understandings. The teachings were traditionally maintained as secret teachings, both as a sign of respect and as a protection against dilution through the misunderstanding of unprepared practitioners. They were never taught publicly nor given lightly, but were reserved for individuals who had prepared to receive them. The practices are no less efficacious and valuable than they ever were, but conditions in the world have changed, and so I am trying something different. I hope that by teaching what is effective, openly and simply, the tradition will be better preserved and more people will be able to benefit from it. But it is important to respect the teachings, both to protect them and to further our own practice.”
Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal. The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep (p. 15). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
And in this passage, Tenzin enlarges on his reasons for stopping the secrecy, and his belief that the teachings in some way contain their own protection:
“Some of the teachings in this book, particularly those related to dzogchen and tantra, were until recently held in strict secrecy both as a sign of respect and as a protection against their being diluted through the misunderstanding of unprepared practitioners. They were never taught publicly or given lightly but were reserved for individuals who had prepared to receive them. In times past, suitable vessels were willing to travel far on foot and endure other great hardships to access these teachings. But this is seldom the case now; and to preserve the teachings we are challenged to bring them to a new, global audience. My teacher Lopön Sangyé Tenzin Rinpoche advised me that it is time to teach openly. I believe there are some people who simply will not understand, no matter how clearly you teach, and that the goddess is keeping the teachings secret from them. We must trust that the teachings will inevitably reach the right vessels and that what is meant to be kept secret will remain so.”
Wangyal Rinpoche, Tenzin. Tibetan Yogas of Body, Speech, and Mind . Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.
I was intrigued by this, since one of the reasons I had given for opposing the online publication of the lessons of the First Class was that the lessons are steeped in esoteric knowledge and require much background preparation from the student – and yet here was Tenzin, from a similarly secretive spiritual tradition, saying that, after centuries of secrecy, it is now time to teach openly. I was also struck by the last two sentences of the quotation above: “I believe there are some people who simply will not understand, no matter how clearly you teach, and that the goddess is keeping the teachings secret from them. We must trust that the teachings will inevitably reach the right vessels and that what is meant to be kept secret will remain so.”
My friend then introduced me to the concept of the ‘Dharma Protector’.
Dharma is a Sanskrit term to denote law or doctrine. Dharma also means the teachings, code of conduct and philosophies that belong to a certain religion or belief system. Therefore, we can have Hindu Dharma, Christian Dharma and so forth. However Dharma is usually used in the Buddhist context, which is Buddhadharma or just Dharma in short.
The word ‘Protector’ literally means one who stands guard to protect. Therefore, ‘Dharma Protector’ refers to the one who protects the Dharma in you. This is a being who acts as a guardian angel to safeguard our spiritual path and our general wellbeing.
A defining feature of a Dharma Protector is his or her wrathful appearance. In Buddhism, wrath reflects the innate quality of extreme compassion. Dharma Protectors often have blue, black or red skin, and a fierce expression with protruding fangs. Though they have a terrifying appearance and countenance, they are all bodhisattvas or buddhas, meaning that they are embodiments of compassion that act in a wrathful way for the benefit of sentient beings. Perhaps it is these Dharma Protectors who are keeping the Bön teachings safe and away from those who are unable to understand or become “right vessels,” while allowing thousands upon thousands of genuine seekers worldwide to find their way to Bön.
Why, I ask myself, is this not happening with anthroposophy and the School of Spiritual Science? What is it about the Society and its ways of being that hinder Steiner’s teachings from going around the world to all those who are hungering for spiritual sustenance? Why do we not have teachers like Tenzin, able to speak to the needs of thousands of ordinary people?
Whatever the reasons, I have now changed my mind about the necessity of keeping secret the lessons and mantrams of the School of Spiritual Science. That particular horse bolted long ago and shutting the stable door now is worse than useless. The situation has changed utterly since 1924 and it is possible that we are now in a post-anthroposophical world. At a time of such huge turmoil for humanity, it almost seems frivolous to fret about these matters.
Yet that which has been experienced in the School of Spiritual Science and transformed within the student’s own inner life can never be taken away. The lessons and mantrams retain their power for those who wish to work seriously and sincerely with them. Let us now stop this futile pretence of secrecy and fling open the doors that have been hiding the teachings. I’ve no doubt that the First Class has its own dharma protectors, who, should the need arise, will wheel into action to protect it from the “misunderstanding of unprepared practitioners.” What is meant to be kept secret will remain so. What is meant to reach many thousands should be allowed free passage into the world.
42 responses to “Anthroposophy, the First Class and the Dharma Protectors”
How prescient of you! Your timing could not be more serendipitous, as I learned of this news article just after reading your new posting here.
Could Steve Bannon be one of those Dharma Protectors you are talking about?
Steve Bannon, Dharma Warrior: Hindu Scriptures and the Worldview of Trump’s Chief Ideologue
Steve Bannon’s appreciation for the Bhagavad Gita makes more sense than you might think.
Tom, I’m sure I’m not the only one here who is becoming bored and irritated by your constant malicious silliness. If you have anything worthwhile to contribute, then please do so – otherwise please do us all a favour and stay away.
Ah, Jeremy, please! I’m not malicious; I’m Irish! And my silliness is not constant; it is intermittent.
Perhaps I can redeem myself by reverting to my original nickname, one given to me on the Steiner Internet in 1996 — that’s 3 x 7 = 21 years now, a full anthroposophical cycle of culmination and potentially, atonement.
A woman named Catherine MacCoun, who — in light of this posting’s topic — was an intimate and close associate of famous Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado in the 1980’s, was more than my intellectual and spiritual match on the early Steiner Internet mailing list called “Lefty’s List,” and she sized up my early cyber antics quite accurately by calling me: “Tom, Lord Blarney.”
Then, two years later, the great Michaelic Anthroposophist from Michigan, now living in Alberta, Canada, Emmanuel Blosser, aka, Manny, subjected himself to the bombastic, sometimes scatological tomfoolery I was perfecting on my infamous Steiner98 website. It did not take Manny long to perceive and designate my spiritual worldview as “Blarneyosophy.”
I thus throw myself on the mercy of your British court. And, if you so stipulate, I will even confess my sins to his Eminence, Archbishop Francisco Tomaso Smith, and do whatever penance he assigns me.
Hollywood Tom, Lord Blarney
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I have to say I really enjoy Frank Thomas Smith’s kindle version of the class lessons. His translation, as are many of the American ones, is accessible, clear and very helpful. I read from it when I am at the class.
I find the readers still use “thee” and “thou” kind of language and am disturbed by that. Frank’s script appeals to my wish for a voice that speaks to my mind of today and not to some older form.
When I was at Emerson in the seventies, the Circle was known, spoken of, and offered as an option. The origins in the Youth Group had honour and distinction. It’s goal, to carry a meditation which would always be sounding around the world as so many people from different parts of the world were speaking it seemed to be of service and had dignity.
Since then some of the members seem to treat it as secret, which does not serve it well.
Being a member of the circle should just be an option for the way people want to work.
Thank you for your interesting and informative writing.
Thank you, Robyn. I’m quite sure that the Circle is not as Tom Mellett has described it – but, as you suggest the “secret society within the Society” aspect does no favours to anthroposophy generally, and only serves to feed the trolls.
Thank You, Jeremy. I very much appreciate your well-balanced approach to this issue.
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche seems to be a wise teacher.
I wonder now if Steiner intended the mood around the contents of the First Class and The Circle to be discretion rather than secrecy. It seems to me that his followers often misinterpreted his intentions according to their own predilections.
Re/Robyn, ‘When I was at Emerson in the seventies, the Circle was known, spoken of, and offered as an option. The origins in the Youth Group had honour and distinction. It’s goal, to carry a meditation which would always be sounding around the world as so many people from different parts of the world were speaking it seemed to be of service and had dignity.’ This matches well what I had understood of the nature of the circle.
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I have long appreciated the difference between “anthroposophist” and “anthroposopher.” Similarly, I see the difference between a teacher and a researcher.
Tenzin Rinpoche is a great, modern teacher but he didn’t say in his statement that all of the secret teachings of Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche (the founder of Bon or Bonpo) were now available. In fact, very very few teachings of Shenrab are available in English – or any other language. The only full set of Bonpo teachings in English in America is with Tenzin. I highly recommend everything about Bon. I have studied everything I could find in English outside of Tenzin’s monastery. The Dalai Lama has now accepted Bon teachings as another of the classical schools of Tibetan Buddhism, with Bon being given a primal place.
One of the main reasons that Bon scriptures are still secret is that Bon was persecuted by Buddhists for a very long time. They were almost driven out of existence and the Bon literature was hidden for centuries. These texts are called termas, or “found treasures.” These scriptures demonstrate that Bon was much older than Tibetan Buddhism. The “secret” Tibetan teachings of dzogchen come from Bon and is found strongly in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism (other schools are the Kagyu, Skaya, and Gelug).
Protector deities or “dharma warriors” or guardians are indicative of Bon shamanistic practices that acknowledge and “work with” elemental beings. Often, the raging elemental beings of mountains and rivers could only be tamed by Shenrab through creating a “protector deity” that could calm the wild elemental forces of the Himalyan Mountains and the high valleys of Gilgut, Hunza and Nagar.
Some of the Tibetan schools do not believe in or work with protector deities because they believe it is shamanistic and not cognitive mind training. There are great debates about protector deities and the greatest Lama in the Gelug school who worked with protector deities was the father of my root guru, Gelek Rinpoche – a close friend of the Dalai Lama.
The First Class already has the Guardian of the Threshold as a protector being who makes sure that no “unworthy” candidate is allowed across the threshold. The candidate must first d confront their astral body of desires – three evil beasts. That is what the First Class is all about. Plus, the Archai Michael and his mother, AnthropoSophia guard the Class Lessons as we have heard Steiner say. In Tibetan Buddhism, Michael is the deity Manjushri, who like Michael, holds a sword to slay ignorance. Michael is the keeper of the Cosmic Wisdom found in the First Class. And like Tenzin says in the quote above, “the goddess is keeping the teachings secret from them” — that is the job of AnthropoSophia.
In the laying of the corner stone of the First Goetheanum we find Steiner calling on each of the nine hierarchy one at a time to “guard” the stone and the work of Anthroposophy. Again, at the laying of the Foundation Stone Meditation in the heart’s of members, AnthropoSophia and Michael were “present” in the room. Thus, we have many guardians of the First Class, even beside the Furies (Conscience) who defend the secrecy of the rites.
As Tenzin said, he can teach the secret material but that doesn’t mean that anyone will understand it. Thus, no secrets have been revealed.
I love Bon and Shenrab and I believe he is Scythianos reincarnated and was repeatedly a student of the Manu in the Central Asian Mystery Initiation Center that Steiner speaks about frequently. Shenrab bred horses and was considered the father of modern horses, just as the Scythians revered horses. As a matter of fact, Shenrab first came to Tibet, even before the teachings of Buddha, to get his stolen horses back. Shenrab was the teacher of Gautama Buddha and his predecessor.
Protector deities and guardians are nothing to mess with and the elementals that they work with have no mercy.
The real protectors now are the Kalki Avatar and the Matreya Buddha. The Kalki Avatar also has a sword to cut off the heads of the ignorant. Vajrayogini, the female Buddha, who is the consort of the ten thousand Buddhas, also carries a curved blade to cut off the heads of unworthy souls who try to do the secret practices without the proper preparation. She wears a necklace of 108 severed heads of these ignorant aspirants.
So, I would not mess with these elemental beings who protect secret spiritual practices.
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@ Jeremy: an great article. You touch upon many important and also complex questions.
„In Tibetan Buddhism, Michael is the deity Manjushri, who like Michael, holds a sword to slay ignorance.“ Can you elaborate on that, please? I m not a specialist in Tibetan Buddhism and I m afraid there are very few people who know Tibetan Buddhism and Anthroposphy really well; it looks like you, anonymous, are one of them.
What I know of Manjushri is this: There are 12 Bodhisattvas who, after a long journey, a long preparation, each become a Buddha. There are always 3 of the Bodhisattvas already in a process of incarnations, the next Buddha will be the Maitreya, and the 2 following Bodhisattvas are also already on their journey here on earth. The one that follows the Maitreya is the Manjushri. There are a lot of tales around the Manjurshi, of course. So this doesnt match with your interpretation.
Sure it is not possible to „translate“ one esoteric, religious and philosophical „system“ into another. So it is difficult, if not impossible, to give a direct equivalent of one being, here Michael in 2 different esoteric systems. So when there is no convergence, but we could and should try an approach, of course. „Michael, holds a sword to slay ignorance“ is just one aspect of Michael, as we know; there is the archangel, the time spirit, the Volksgeist – the leading spirit of a people, and the servants of Michael, not only on earth but also in heaven.
As a side note on pre-Buddhist religion:
‘Though some people call the old pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet ‘Bon’, it is unlikely that before Buddhism the Tibetans had a clear sense of practising a religion as such, or a speciﬁc name for these practices. In fact, the Bonpo religion only started to take shape alongside the revival of Buddhism in the eleventh century’ (van Schaik 2011). Wiki/Bon
Steiner considered Anthroposophy as a new ‘Geisteswissenschaft’, comparable to the scientific revolution in the natural sciences since Copernicus and Galilei (Mission of Spiritual Science, 1916) . So, it was intended as a new research method but not as a new religion, like Buddhism.
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Ottmar. I sense that your “question” was really an answer and an accusation. Again, you say you have no experience and then begin to speak as if you do. I don’t really consider your question to be sincere but I will still answer it.
Manjushri is already a Buddha but will, in the future again, return to the earth as a Bodhisattva to help mankind. Just like Micheal, Manjushri is the being of cosmic wisdom and his sword “guards” holy wisdom – Sophia.
Eastern traditions have completely different systems of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Bon believes there are three Buddhas. Other sects believe there are 10,000 Buddhas and many more Bodhisattvas. It just depends on what system you study. There are no hard and fast rules between groups.
I know of no Eastern reference to a group of 12 Bodhisattvas – except for Steiner.
Bon started in 16,000 BC not the disinformation that it was started much later. Just reference the original writings and you will see that the disinformation created by Buddhists is a false story. The Dalai Lama recently made all these things quite clear. As I said above, the termas (teachings-termas) were found by tertons around the 11th century. I have spoken with the top Tibetans in the Skaya and Gelug traditions and Tenzin himself on these issues. That is why references are incorrect- the recent information from the Dalai Lama has not been added. The Dalai Lama really upset the other schools when he acknowledged the primacy of Bon. Many archeological digs have now confirmed the history that Bonpo has been teaching since before Atlantis sunk.
Bonpo is the classical “atavistic” religion that is based in pre-Christian shamanism where women and children were also practitioners. The Tibetan “male only” monasteries are the opposite of what Shenrab taught. There are totally female monasteries in Tibet that are more aligned with Bon than Tibetan Buddhism.
The original cult of Bon was probably matriarchially based. When the men took over, Bon was suppressed. Again, secret knowledge gone underground until in our age it comes to light. The age of Michael brings forth this ancient wisdom – Sophia.
Sorry, Ottnar, but Manjushri and Michael are basically the same being.
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‘Sorry, Ottmar, but Manjushri and Michael are basically the same being.’
Unless you are clairvoyant, this seems an outlandish statement to make. I think anyone who has studied anthroposophy over a number of years builds an inner picture / relationship to Archangel Michael that is so unique and individual, it cannot be compared to any other religion or school of thought….
and why are you ‘Anonymous’?
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Unless you are clairvoyant, this seems an outlandish statement to make.
Well, gc, he is clairvoyant.
. . . and why are you ‘Anonymous’?
He answers why in this comment from the other thread.
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Oh dear… another misinformed comment.
“Beam me up, Scotty.”
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Here is what my „experience“ is: it is a book by Karl-Heinrich Meyer-Uhlenried, called Rudolf Steiner und die Bodhisattva-Frage. It a thorough study on the Bodhisattvas, not only along the lectures of Rudolf Steiner, but also on the Eastern material and he is quite good at bringing these 2 sources together. Of course he also mentions your quote of Manjurshi „with the flaming sword“, he says it comes from Vajrayana and Manjurshi is a Dhyani-Bodhisattva. And he talks of Manjurshi in other sources and contexts. That is what I know about it.
„Manjushri is already a Buddha but will, in the future again, return to the earth as a Bodhisattva to help mankind.“ A Buddha returning to earth as a Bodhisattva? A Buddha returning to earth in whatever form, isnt that an impossibility for Buddhist or even an insult? Can you give a source for that statement, please?
It seems that you are writing from the perspective of one particular „school“/spiritual tradition, which one is not clear to me. In Bechert, Gombrich, Die Welt des Buddhismus, Munich 1984 you read, that the preparation of a Bodhisattva to become a Buddha takes 3 eons or three asamkhyeya kalpa. I only give that as an example that it is not only Rudolf Steiner who talks about the development of a Bodhisattva to a Buddha. So when the Gautama was on his way, also in former incarnations as a Manushi-Bodhisattva there was already the Maitreya on his way and further „behind“ the next, the Manjurshi. Anyway, this is what another oriental tradition or school says, that is not an „invention“ of Rudolf Steiner or Meyer-Uhlenried.
Perhaps you should say: In the doctrine of x, it says ….. and in the doctrine of y, it says….
And can you give more „prove“ to the statement, that Manjurshi is Michael beside the attribute „with the flaming sword“. He has other attributes, too, hasnt he? He is also a padmapani, a bearer of the lotos and there are other aspects when he is depicted in art.
There are more statements in your text, where I would like to ask for more details, but I think this Michael statement is most interesting for anthroposophists and it would be great to work that out in detail. What you say sounds to me like: In the school or spiritual tradition which I follow and believe in it is as follows…. and that would be okay for me. Presenting it as a fact you have to give more convincing details.
I think one of the problems with Manjurshi and Michael is, that in the east you dont have this 9-fold hierachy from angels to seraphim. Devas in the east can be nature elementals or spiritual beings from one of the hierarchies. So there is a lack of structure in the east in respect to spiritual beings.
Rest assured, Ottmar. RS gave us all the definitive rendition of how Buddhism relates to Christianity. As such, a Buddha, like Gautama, will never incarnate in a physical body again. He was born to be the last of the Bodhisattva’s in the chain of the 6th Buddha, who achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree at the age of 29. As such, he brought the Eightfold Path of Righteousness into existence that would help lead to the Christ.
He has also served a mission on Mars related to the absolving of the war-like influences coming from this Planet. This was made possible because of receiving the cosmic astral sheath of the Nathan Jesus child, which helped renew the forces of the Buddha for further evolutionary work. Here is the fundamental text:
All other accolades and embellishments are likely coming from the side of the Freemasonic stream, which likes to weigh-in the modern Tibetan perspective, which still lacks the necessary detail in order to comprehend an organized, systematic and functional spiritual evolutionary system [Logos], but, as well, the Freemasons and their Jesuit acolytes, are also far short of the mark in its comprehension.
Gelug (yellow) and Sakya (red) are hardly neutral:
… the Yellow Caps are connected with the Luciferic element, the Red Tassels more with the Ahrimanic. These traits come to expression not only in their doctrines but also in their deeds: the Luciferic element is predominant in the doctrines and deeds of the Yellow Caps, the Ahrimanic element in those of the Red Tassels.
Ton. If you read the lecture you posted above you will realize Steiner is speaking about a story found in a “NOVEL” – not in reality. There was a battle of sorts between the Yellow and Red hats in Tibetan history. But the Novel is a made up story that is not true. Steiner was using it as an example not as history.
The Teshu Lama is the Tishi Lama or Panchen Lama, as he is usually called now. Steiner speaks of the Panchen Lama and Blavatsky in relationship to the Voice of Silence and Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. The Panchen Lama is the senior tutor to the Dalai Lama and his true identity has been somewhat hidden for decades. Let’s just say that the “speech” aspect of the Panchen Lama incarnated into a Yellow Hat lama that is my root guru. I have been initiated and trained in all five Tibetan schools – with Bon being the oldest and deepest.
As Tonpa Shenrab Miwo (founder of Bon) has said:
Within our hearts there is a fire that burns all our lives. Its light and heat is deeper than us if only we stopped to feel it. If we look through the great forest of our minds, we can see the fire in the deep darkness of our hearts. We can travel towards it to discover it is a flame that burns forever without fuel. Its light is clear, its light is formlessness, its light is Presence (thinking), its light is Gesture (willing), its light is Essence (feeling). It expresses all that we are in the making of a day.
Note that Shenrab describes the threefold soul.
“Ton. If you read the lecture you posted above you will realize Steiner is speaking about a story found in a “NOVEL” – not in reality. . . Steiner was using it as an example not as history.”
It sounds to me as if Steiner is pretty clear that he does see the book as having in some sense historical value. Steiner refers to the “profound insight” of the author’s descriptions, and says that the author “divines” that a “caricature” is preserved in many Tibetan customs of something present in “quite different form in the Atlantean world.”
“The novel is a . . . a work in which a comparatively young man describes with profound insight, customs prevailing in the strange (merkwürdigen) country of Tibet. These customs are relics, surviving in the fifth Post-Atlantean epoch, of many things that existed in quite different forms in the Atlantean age, that is to say, the fourth main period of earth-evolution. . . . One man in Europe at all events divines (ahnt) that in this strange country, in many Tibetan customs (Einrichtung) seeming to us so grotesque, there is preserved more faithfully than anywhere else — in caricature, of course — what was present in a quite different form in the Atlantean world.”
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In From Beetroot to Buddhism (GA 253, 20 May 1924) Steiner described the mischief done in the election of the Dalai Lama. He is part of the religious battle, including claims of primacy.
Cf. http://www.trimondi.de/SDLE/Contents.htm (Part II.1)
„I’m inclined to feel that, at least since 1935 and the mass expulsions of members, the spiritual world may have simply stopped regarding the Anthroposophical Society as a vehicle for progress of any kind. And yet the Society has continued to regard itself as the earthly body of the School of Michael, and believes that it is only through anthroposophy that one can continue this connection between Michael and his human disciples.“
I m inclined to feel…. Yes, here we enter the realm of feeling, guessing, not of given facts that can (easily) be proven. However, our feeling or judgement can be based on long study, meditation, work, experience with other people and perhaps occult experience. This can be a basis for ourselves, to form a round „picture“, come to a balanced conclusion.
In personal contacts we have more trust to some individuals than to others. Our inner picture of the participants on this list is much weaker of course. In real life as here on the blog there are the simple minds, those who repeat the same point again and again, the optimists and pessimists, the educated, materialistic, coarse and so on.
After this long introduction I want to express my thoughts on the quote above. „a least since 1935“ yes, but the deepest cut was the death of Rudolf Steiner. Ever since anthroposophists then and now must find a way between the two sides: 1 the Christmas Conference is history now, the esoteric truth, expressed by Marie Steiner and 2 I am in favour of going on/proceeding, the practical judgement of Ita Wegman. This path between the 2 sides would mean to go on with what we have, in a positive manner, but without esoteric illusions about the Christmas Conference and the first class.
Meanwhile there is much more realism about the esoteric side of the Chr.Conf. and the Class, but the narrative of late Prokofieff and Peter Selg, just to name two, is still: we must strengthen the AS and the Michael school. But then, of course, it is in the nature of a doctor to help the sick, here and now.
The anthroposophic movement (Bewegung) and the AS became one in the Chr.Conf. So it is clear, the AS and the movement (Bewegung) are 2 different or separat „things“ and this is most often forgotten. And I d like to add, they fell apart again with the death of Rudolf Steiner. What is the anthropsophic movement? This term is often used in the sense of: the total of all anthr. activities. No, I think the anthroposophic movement means something more esoteric: a group of individuals who are or were prepared for anthropsophy, together with a certain responsibility, attitude in and to life, plus a certain occult force or drive both in men and in the spiritual world.
When you accept this it is easy to see or accept that Michael and the anthroposophic movement can appear, be active outside the AS as well. I think the AS should have transformed itself long ago, leaving behind all esoteric presumption and pretention. Frank T Smith could add to this, I think.
Steiner intended the CC of 1923 to bring a kind of administrative control into what had formerly been a very esoteric ritual conducted in 1913 and involving two combined headstones, made of copper and sunk in a nine-foot deep ditch.
Then he invoked the first words from the Fifth Gospel, which concerned the experience that Jesus had when he was 24 years old. He [Jesus] was made to realize that not only had the Bath Kol occurred, but also the pagan mysteries were worthless. They had all lost their power. Then, he found out that his surrogate father, Joseph the Carpenter, had also died at this same time.
Now, the CC of 1923 was designed to make a formal society meant as the protective kernel of the anthroposophical movement; thus active and mobile, and seen throughout the world. This fact seems to have been largely forgotten, but it remains the fundamental force of the original incentive. Also central was the importance of recognizing personal initiatives, and the need to sponsor and encourage these.
None of this ever took place after Steiner’s death. It was all ditched. And that is why the purge of 1935 took place. Why? Because people wanted to continue with the force and dynamic that Rudolf Steiner laid with the CC of 1923, and the 21 years beforehand. Remember please, Steiner in the last lecture of GA258 said that 21 more years would be needed in order for anthroposophy to be made a worldwide movement. Thus, 42 years in all. He even made it his first fundamental course of 1924, ref. “Anthroposophy as the Summation of the first 21 Years”.
Yet, what did Marie Steiner do when RS died? She declared it all a matter of history. It was over as far as she was concerned, and only the legacy remained. IW was for going forward.
Well, what about Carl Unger? What was he for? Maybe Frank knows, as you suggest on this whole issue. Frank Thomas Smith, come upon us with your kind words on this issue. Please.
The Christmas Conference of 1923 apparently has been meant to be a reunion on the physical plane between AS and Movement as laid down by Steiner in 1905: a balance between priestly and worldly wisdom, Abel and Cain etc.:
“Because we have seen why these spiritual currents run parallel to each other, we will now also understand the significance of the theosophical movement. It is preparing, in the spiritual realm, what will later happen on the physical plane — the reunion of the sexes. The divided wisdom must likewise flow together again in the one Divine wisdom. Through theosophical wisdom, a balance must be found in man, between the religious priestly wisdom and the wisdom of Freemasonry.”
A reunion of the AS and the movement? Let there be no misunderstanding, they were „married“ for the first time during the Chr.Conf.. Before they were 2 separate bodies: The AS as an outer organisation say for the teaching of anthroposophy and for anthr. activities on one side and the esoteric/occult stream on the other side, represented in the person of Rudolf Steiner, who had only been the teacher and not even been a member of the AS before. Now he became not only a member but the president of the Society. (Of course you know all that.)
After Rudolf Steiner s death the first illusion began: that the movement and the AS were still „married“. Of course the separation was not a single cut but a long process, with many incidents and culminations, one in 1935.
You speak of the reunion, of what once had been one and must become one again, the streams of Kain and Abel. I can see a certain analogy in the reunion above, but I cant identify the reunion of the anthr. movement and the AS with the reunion of the Kain and Abel stream. (Did you mean the AS as the Kain stream and the movement as the Abel stream? I cannot see this.)
I think Marie and Ita were right in their respective field: esoteric and pragmatic.
There was never a stocktaking or review after the death of RS: What have we got, what can we do, where do we stand? What have we lost, what cant we do? What is covered by spiritual reality, where does illusion begin?
Of course, on the practical side, the study of the lectures, the schools, medical work etc. had to be continued.
The second illusion began not with the continuation of the first class as such, but the illusion was, that the first class was still the same as it was under the leadership of Ita Wegman AND (Marie Steiner and) Rudolf Steiner. That is what I tried to explain above, that the first class was only complete with the invisible presence of the second and third class.
I admit that this is a new aspect in the discussion about the Class, which shows to me, that it was not understood then by Ita Wegman and by later anthroposophists. I must take the criticism or laughter for making this statement, claiming to understand this point better than others. (RS gave us this picture: Dwarfs, sitting on the shoulders of giants, can see a little further than the giant.)
Ita: „I am for continuing“ she is right in continuing to read and lead the class (and the medical activities of course, but she was referring to the first class in this remark), but she was wrong in insinuating: Nothing has changed, I am the declared leader of class one, let s go on, the Michael School is here in the 19 lessons and mantras of the Class and I am the leader.
Marie was right in her esoteric judgement, piercing 2 esoteric pretentions, she was wrong in hindering further esoteric research („In the work of Rudolf Steiner we have enough for the next 1000 years.“) and initiatives.
The inner Abel stream would be the AS (best reflected in the first seven years), the outer Kain stream the anthroposophical movement in the sense of the daughter movements developed in the third seven years, the CC in 1923 their unification:
“Abel was a shepherd and occupied himself with the life that was already there. He is the symbol of the inborn divine force which works in man as the wisdom which he does not acquire for himself, which flows into him. Cain creates something new out of what the world offers. He represents the passive masculine wisdom, which must at first be fertilised from outside, which goes out into the world to gather wisdom and to create from what has been gathered.” GA 93
In 1923 Steiner once again had mentioned the Abel and Cain streams and their reunion in a new ‘stream of the middle’, and the continuation of the middle stream in anthroposophy (Freemasonry and Ritual Work, GA 265).
Cf. Prokofieff (2002), May Human Beings Hear It!, 7TJ888LyxacC, p.297 f. and 720 f.
Keyserlingk (1924, IhKwMKcExV8C, p.92) additionally noted: “Parsifal, the Son of Light (=Abel) and Feirefis, the Son of Fire (=Cain)”, i.e. the two currents, Grail Moon knights and Arthurian Sun knights, were united.
In connection with the priestly-esoteric Abel and worldly-exoteric Cain streams, Prokofieff has written excellent short biographies of von Sivers and Wegman (google 7TJ888LyxacC, p. 325-333) Prokofieff considered the Last Address as the beginning of the second class as an incorporation of a spiritual being (p.347 f.), in the way von Sivers was described by some. Wegman, in contrast, personified the first class and the reincarnation lectures.
The two streams (in 1923 AS and Movement) crossed or temporarily united in the middle (GA 113 and 202), and then split again, like a lemniscate. We in AS and Movement thus represent the diverted new kings and new shepherds.
Ton, it is possible to consider that standing midway between the Cain and Abel Streams of old, is the ‘Being’ that Steiner explains here at the midpoint of 1923.
The Being Anthroposophia is *that* Being working specifically in Anthroposophy and its movement to bring about the awakening of the slumbering soul-spiritual organs for supersensible perception. This is the goal of “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Is Attainment”. The Divine/Virgin Sophia is the fully 12-fold Astral Body, which has seen division in our time. We work to re-member it through these exercises of meditation/concentration, and acquiring the knowledge of Spiritual Science.
About the “Being Anthroposophia”, in the 7th lecture of GA258. This is interesting:
“Anthroposophists today must not think that they have only the same commitments which future anthroposophists will have when they exist by the million rather than the thousand. When limited numbers are active in the vanguard of a movement they have to show commitment of a much higher order. It means that they are obliged to show greater courage, greater energy, greater patience, greater tolerance and, above all, greater truthfulness in every respect. And in our present third stage a situation arose which specifically tested our truthfulness and seriousness. It related in a certain sense to the subject matter discussed at one point in the lectures to theologians. [ Note 5 ] Irrespective of the fact that individual anthroposophists exist, a feeling should have developed, and must develop, among them that Anthroposophia exists as a separate being, who moves about among us, as it were, towards whom we carry a responsibility in every moment of our lives. Anthroposophia is actually an invisible person who walks among visible people and towards whom we must show the greatest responsibility for as long as we are a small group. Anthroposophia is someone who must be understood as an invisible person, as someone with a real existence, who should be consulted in the individual actions of our lives.
Thus, if connections form between people — friendships, cliques and so on — at a time when the group of anthroposophists is still small, it is all the more necessary to consult and to be able to justify all one’s actions before this invisible person.
This will, of course, apply less and less as anthroposophy spreads. But as long as it remains the property of a small group of people, it is necessary for every action to follow from consultation with the person Anthroposophia. That Anthroposophia should be seen as a living being is an essential condition of its existence. It will only be allowed to die when its group of supporters has expanded immeasurably. What we require, then, is a deeply serious commitment to the invisible person I have just spoken about. That commitment has to grow with every passing day. If it does so, there can be no doubt that everything we do will begin and proceed in the right way.”
Lecture 12 of GA103 is about the Virgin Sophia and Holy Spirit, attained through Katharsis and Illumination.
As well, the Marriage in Cana was not just the miracle of the turning of the water into wine, but through the conversation between the Divine Sophia, Who is the Mother of Jesus of Nazareth, and Christ, they married and became Christ-Sophia. This is the marriage that is perceived secretly in the Russian Folk Soul, and Soloviev was very close to her. In the future Sixth Cultural Epoch [Philadelphia] the time of this Marriage will be at hand, and we will live in a Christ-Sophia era.
So, again, I see this present “Being Anthroposophia” as an agent working in Anthroposophy (and all of Spiritual Science) as a living being that Rudolf Steiner concretely perceived in looking into individual human souls. After the fire, and he tells of this in some letters from GA262, his etheric-astral alignment was changed, and he could no longer discern the group soul of his audience entirely, but could look more keenly into the physical bodies. This is where the ‘Being Anthroposophia’ was detected; working in individual souls, and proving the success of the anthroposophy work. Awakening organs of perception.
To Steiner (1905) the balanced middle or third current was to be a Cult of Mary in consciousness. In 1923 he seems to refer to it as the Being Anthroposophia. As with the incorporation of the two Johns (see Last Address), an incorporation on the physical plane had taken place with the two Mary’s (GA0114/19090919 and GA0148/19131006, cf. Prokofieff (2006), google V86LXvkonQUC, p.123f.).
“Thus did the Cult of Mary spring out of monasticism. This came to the Church — to the priesthood, and to Freemasonry, that is — as a third current. Etc.” GA0093/19051023
In his Basle course, RS expresses one time only about the so-called “three Marys” here in lecture 5, 20 November 1907, GA100.
This lecture is important for portraying:
The Mother of Jesus and the Spiritual/Consciousness Soul
Mary, wife of Cleophas and the Intellectual Soul
Mary Magdalene and the Sentient Soul
All three stand below the Cross next to each other, with the Beloved Disciple also nearby. Christ in seeing His Mother (the Mother of the Jesus body), and the Son nearby, introduces Mother and Son, and from that day She enters his household (Astral Body). This is the arrangement made for the Saint John – Evangelist – Incarnation.
Yes, that would be the pursued female-male unification in a third rosicrucian mystery stream, the intuitive, conscious result being the CC foundation stone. The contents of a cultic third class, as it were.
I ran into anthropsophy almost 50 years ago in Argentina as a parent in a (German) Waldorf School. I got involved and co-founded another Waldorf schools after my daughter’s beloved teacher was fired due to a war between old Germans (super-anthropsophists) and new ones (post-war refugees of dubious politics). I joined the local Anthropsophical Society after reading about what I thought the AS is. Most people in non-German speaking countries read about the Society without realizing that what is described is what Steiner wanted, not the reality. I also became a member of the Free School for SpirituaL Science thinking it is what is described on paper. Of course I noticed that in Argentina neither the AS, nor the School were what they should be, but I attributed this to the fact that in Argentina nothing works right anyway. My company transferred me from Argentina where a guerrilla war was in progress – to Zurich – from hell to paradise, an hour by car to Dornach, where I went frequently. My kids went to the Rudolf Steiner Schule in Zurich – a Marie Steiner Nachlass nest opposed to the GAS. Anyway, I realized that most people in non-German speaking countries are ignorant of anthropsophy’s history, or if you prefer the AS’s history. Then, after 4 years, I was transferred to Frankfurt where I was about to throw in the anthroposophical towel (in Germany anthropops know a lot, but stay away from branch meetings unless you need a siesta) when I fell in with a small group with whom we studied that history – we even had a Nachlass guy in the group, therefore access to all the documentation. Anyway, we discovcered – proved – that the AS, Christmas Conference, does NOT exist; it ceased to exist in Dec. 1925 without the members’ knowledge. In its stead was anointed the “General Anthropsophical Society”, a run-of-the-mill not-for-profit corporation. That, we decided, was essentially was happened to the AS and, if it really was identical to the AS, the anthroposophical movement. We worked on a “Memorandum” which was issued in 1986. It caused a tumour (a spiritual one, that is) – the Vorstand vehemently denied it, as did everyone else in authority. Finally though, the truth began to seap into blocked heads and around 2000 the Vorstand was forced to admit the truth but tried a stupid, illegal solution which the Swiss court shot down…twice, at a considerable financial cost to the GAS. And the drama ended with resignations by some very good people. Witout doubting the sincerity of many people, having official readers of the Class Lessons is a means of maintaining power by the Vorstand. They have in the readers and the first class members a kind of elite membership who, thinking they are following Steiner’s instructions, are loyal anthroposoph, thatis, to the GAS, i,e, the Vorstand. And until recently they had the secret First Class Lessons
Link to Memorandum http://southerncrossreview.org/memorandum.htm
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Okay, Frank. But you leave out the very well constructed initiative of Wilfreid Heidt in 1997. The so-called, “Initiative to All”. This was the general membership initiative that caused so much angst in the GAS. It even lasted until the CC of 2002, when the Vorstand ruled that the renewal had begun. Even Sergei Prokofieff wrote a book about it, “May Human Beings Hear It!”, c. 2002. Of course, Gennady Bondarev wrote an apologetic about it in 2005, but it was obviously over by then.
So, what are you implying with anything coming from 1986? I heard the name Rudolf Steiner in 1986, but what else took place? No, I think the Heidt initiative 11 years later was the attempt to put the “foot in the mouth”, and yours must have been an afterthought by then.
Frank, you have often talked about something in 1986, which Heidt expanded in 1997 for the full resolution of the difficulties in the GAS. What was yours about, because eleven years means a lot? For example, it is said that the ashes of RS were taken in November 1992 [Michael Time], and buried on the grounds of the cement Goetheanum.
What was that about? Then, seven years later we have the Heidt Initiative of 1997. In 2012, Selg and Prokofieff both gave lectures on March 30th, wherein they both saw a definite crisis in the General Anthroposophical Society.
How about let us get real for a moment. I don’t live in Argentina, but you do. What does that mean for an expatriate like you? I live in the United States, which has a very definite affiliation with anthroposophy, although rather minor, due to world political and cultural events. I suspect yours could even be considered less so. For example, I consider the Brexit situation in the EU very important. What do you think?
Hi Steve. If you read the Memorandum of 1986, you’ll see that Wilfried Heidt was one of its authors. You will also note that I am listed as being in Buenos Aires. That’s because the Memorandum was the result of years of investigation and was published the year I moved back to Argentina. So my participation ended there. But Wilfried and others in Germany and Switzerland continued the battle. Wilfried published his book “Wer ist die Allgemeine Anthroposophische Gesellschaft?” in 1998 – he sent me a copy right away. And of course, his “Initiative to All”, which you mentioned. So you’re quite right in that I was “an afterthought by then”. By 2002 and the Swiss court decisions I considered the battle over, lost, that is. I didn’t read Prokofieff’s book you cited, nor do I intend to. Is Brexit important? Of course. But what does it have to do with it, of is that just the bug up your ass itching again?
The “eventual successor” (para. 7) in the Memorandum would better be translated in the sense of “possible successor” (eventueller Nachfolger).
The “eventual successor” of Rudolf Steiner had already been determined at the CC of 1923, and that is why Carl Unger was NOT selected as a Vorstand member. This was so that the proper configuration of President and five standing Vorstand members could be maintained after Steiner’s passing. As such, Carl Unger was to wait [as General Secretary of the Stuttgart branch] until Steiner named him to succeed. This is expressed in a last letter contained in GA262 to Marie S., just before Steiner’ death. It says that Carl Unger has sold his business, and now needs to be brought into the GAS. and taken care of as its leader.
So, it would seem relevant that Marie, in calling the CC of 1923 after Steiner’s death, “a matter of history”, also accords with leaving Carl Unger out of the loop. so to speak. He would eventually also die prematurely at the age of 50, when he went to Nuremberg on January 4, 1929 in order to give a lecture, and was shot and killed; likely by an assassin. His lecture was: “What Is Anthroposophy”? He never gave it.
In less than four years after the death of Rudolf Steiner, Carl Unger obviously already saw the need of a renewal of knowledge in Germany. Having been spurned by Dornach, he took on his own possible mission in the very place where Kaspar Hauser showed up one day, and where Steiner had given those seminal lectures on the Apocalypse of St. John. Yet, Carl Unger was murdered that day.
He should have been in Dornach, where he would have been protected, and furthering the epistemological principles of spiritual science, as well as naming the 50 fundamental lecture-courses of Rudolf Steiner for further study. That was meant to be the future, sans Steiner, instead of the chaos.
Frank, the “bug up my ass” as you so crudely call it was not to cast aspersions on you by any means. It is amazing how people misjudge communications! My point, likely yours as well, is that this is all over with. 1986, 1997, 2002, all have one thing in common; they are in the past. Dead. If people want to study the First Class lessons that you have provided, there they are. I personally will not because I uphold the original principle upon which they are based. Brexit is a present-moment issue, like our POTUS; that is all it meant.
OK Steve, sorry, I guess it was the bug up my ass. (Don’t quote me.) If you really want to know my opinion of Brexit, here it is: it’s a big mistake, not only because of the economic problems it will caused for the UK, but mostly because it weakens the EU, which was/is a most positive development as a means to eventually eliminate nationalism in Europe and as a model elsewhere. The BIG mistake was the euro, because it involves a huge advantage for more efficient economies, especially Germany and eliminates weaker and less efficient economies’ (southern Europe) ability to manipulate their own currencies to their advantage. I saw this happen in Argentina in the eighties, when the peso was legally pegged (cemented) to the dollar. Inflation was eliminated but, although it took 12 years, Argentine industry was destroyed. A country like Argentina cannot successfully compete with the US in the latter’s own currency, just as the southern European countries (especially Greece, which will probably leave the Eurozone sooner or later) cannot compete with Germany in the latter’s currency. The UK wasn’t in the eurozone anyway, so the only reason they’re leaving is nationalism and general dissatisaction, ala the US and the Trump disaster. Sort of off-topic though.
‘Possibly’ says a lot, Frank. A great deal, in fact, about what you think you know after all these years. That is why we compare “Situation 1986”, with “Heidt Initiative 1997”. The younger generations simply know little to nothing about these matters today. So, it is good to be informative about the storm and chaos, all absolutely unnecessary, after the death of Rudolf Steiner. Unger was left out because the GBA became the incorporated “Association General Anthroposophy”, and duly registered there in Switzerland on February 8, 1925. This is what prompted Marie to call the CC of 1923 a matter of history/legacy after Steiner’s death. Did not someone recently say that she felt anthroposophy could be studied for a thousand years without objection?
Steiner had little recourse but to “sign” at that point. He would eventually turn over on his side when Wegman asked: “who is the successor”? Either he meant her, or the one who spoke up on behalf of spiritual science for all those years! She was shy, and not much of a speaker, which does not bode well for successorship. Yet, Carl Unger had given some 500 lectures on the importance of retaining the epistemics of the science of the spirit to the intended listening audience over many years. He would also continue to extend the so-called “language of the consciousness soul” by referring the Leading Thoughts [Guidelines] to some fifty fundamental lecture-courses of Steiner, which were compiled by his father-in-law, Adolf Arenson, in 1930; the year after Carl Unger was murdered in Nuremberg, Germany, not far from Stuttgart, where he had been GS of the German Anthroposophical Society.