Whitsun: the Festival for Our Time

Pentecost Acts 2-2-4 by Anthony Falbo (via Pixels)

I was born into a non-churchgoing family and while I was growing up did not pay much attention at school to the Religious Knowledge lessons; so by the time my formal education had finished, I had acquired only the haziest notion of the Christian festivals and their significance.

Since becoming profoundly inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner and learning of the absolute centrality Steiner gave to what he called the Mystery of Golgotha, I’ve regretted my lack of knowledge and have been trying ever since to catch up on the meaning of the various Christian terms that are used in his lectures. I’ve learnt, for example, that what Steiner meant by the Mystery of Golgotha was Christ’s crucifixion and death, his descent into the underworld (“the Harrowing of Hell”) and subsequent resurrection.

Rudolf Steiner in Europe in the early days of the 20thcentury was of course secure in assuming that the vast majority of the people listening to his lectures would have immediately understood terms such as ‘Resurrection’, ‘Ascension’, ‘Pentecost’ or ‘Whitsun’. I suppose there was a time up until the 1950s or ‘60s when most people in many parts of the world would have shared a common culture based on a knowledge of the Bible.

There were still remnants of this shared culture when I was growing up; but those days have now largely gone and today, to use a reference deriving from the Christian story will be to leave many of one’s audience in the dark about what is meant. Worse than this, some people will jump to the conclusion that, to use Christian terms of reference somehow belittles or marginalises people of other faiths, or those of no faith. But even if one is familiar with the Bible, the esoteric Christianity taught by Rudolf Steiner can come as both a shock and a revelation if you are new to it.

For these reasons, I am now approaching with some hesitation the task of making the case that the Christian festival of Whitsun is of huge relevance at this particular time for each one of us, whether we are Christians or not.  I did not previously have much awareness of Whitsun, certainly by comparison with Christmas or Easter. Yet I’ve discovered that Whitsun has a special relevance for us today because it is the Festival that celebrates the birth of the free human being as we attempt to overcome the desires of the lower self and surrender to the Higher Self. It has also become clear to me that there are fundamental connections between Christmas, Easter and Whitsun of which I was previously unaware.

Perhaps a good starting point for those who, like me, did not have a formal Christian upbringing and may be a little bit vague about the meaning of Ascension and Whitsun, would be to clarify some terms. Whitsun and Pentecost are two names for exactly the same Festival, which is the commemoration of the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ (‘Pentekostos’ is the Greek for 50). It was at Whitsun when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and they began speaking in tongues. Ten days before Whitsun (and forty days after the Resurrection and always on a Thursday) is the Feast of Ascension, which marks the day when the disciples witnessed the physical departure of Christ as he ascended into the presence of God in Heaven.

But what does this all mean, and why should it be highly relevant for every one of us today, irrespective of whether we have some religious belief or none?

To answer that, I have found it very helpful to refer to what Rudolf Steiner has said about the reasons for the incarnation of Christ the Sun Spirit within the human body of Jesus of Nazareth during the last three years of his life and why Steiner saw this as the most important event not only in human history but also in the evolution of life on Earth.

The Son-Aspect of God made the stupendous sacrifice of experiencing human death through crucifixion. A stupendous sacrifice, because according to Steiner, beings of the higher hierarchies have never experienced birth and death in their own worlds; in the divine worlds, there is no birth or death, only transformation or metamorphosis from one state of existence to another. Steiner has described in his lecture ‘The Etherisation of the Blood’ how Christ’s divine blood ran into the earth from the body on the Cross and in so doing transformed the whole etheric field of the Earth. The Resurrection occurred three days later, and has been commemorated by Christians on Easter Sunday ever since.

But I suspect that most Christians will find Steiner’s comments on aspects of the Resurrection to be astonishing and controversial. I personally find these comments deeply moving and they help me to understand part of what the Resurrection was really about. I can recommend here that one should read the lecture cycle ‘From Jesus to Christ’ and especially Lecture 6 for some truly mind-expanding concepts of the meaning of the Resurrection and in particular, the nature of the Resurrection Body. (As an aside, it is striking that in his 1924 lecture series on The Book of Revelation (not online but available from Rudolf Steiner Press), Rudolf Steiner says that the words of St John must be taken literally – and he explains in great detail how these are to be understood.) But of course, at our present stage of development, we can only understand a tiny part of the significance of the Resurrection for humankind, the Earth and the Cosmos. As St John put it in the last sentence of his Gospel, if all the deeds of Christ were to be written down, ‘I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.’

For six weeks after the Resurrection the Risen Christ showed himself to the disciples in the Resurrection Body, able to come and go and be in more than one place at a time. Then came the Ascension, when the disciples appeared to lose Christ as he was taken ‘up to heaven’.  According to Steiner, this is where the Christ moves into the realm of the etheric field and thus disappears from physical view; but from now on and into our own times, the Christ is everywhere and within the etheric body of every plant, tree, animal or human being. On Ascension Day, further conditions for Whitsun were created.

Why did the Christ need to incarnate in a physical body and then experience death? The form in which the physical forces of Christ appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection was not, according to Rudolf Steiner, a body of flesh and blood, but a spirit body perceptible to the eyes of the soul of the disciples and women who had been prepared to perceive it. This Resurrection body, which Steiner calls the ‘phantom’, was the archetype of the physical body existing in the external world, with all the attributes of the physical body. It was this phantom body or archetype of the physical human being which had been under systematic attack by the adversarial forces; by the time of Christ’s incarnation these forces had so advanced the hardening and condensing processes on Earth that it was becoming likely that human beings would have lost all touch with their spiritual origins.  Part of what the Deed of Christ brought about was to rescue the physical-etheric nature of human beings from the clutches of those beings who wished to destroy it. Steiner spoke more about this here.

So the Mystery of Golgotha was for all human beings and for all life on Earth, not just for Christians. Just as the physical sun shines on everyone on Earth, so has the Deed of Christ affected every single one of us ever since.  The irony of course is that in modern times, as Wikipedia’s article on the Ascension of Jesus puts it: “a literal reading of the ascension-stories has become problematic, due to the differences between the pre-scientific cosmology of the times of Jesus, and the scientific worldview that leaves no place for a Heaven above us.”

Despite this, let us press on to Whitsun, even though we may lose some scientists along the way. Ten days after the Ascension came the event of Pentecost at Whitsun, and the descent of the tongues of fire upon the heads of the disciples. Here the Holy Spirit came in the form of the Gifts of the Spirit on the first Pentecost. Before he was crucified, Christ had told the disciples: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”. John 14:16–18

That promise was fulfilled when Peter and members of the early Church were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks:

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them”. Acts 2:1–4

Emil Nolde 1909 via MutualArt

Pentecost by Emil Nolde (1909) via MutualArt

The apostles were inspired to talk in tongues when the Holy Spirit descended on them as they prayed together. Upon hearing the unfamiliar language spoken, the gathered onlookers in Jerusalem believed them to be drunk. But, Peter explained, they were in fact inspired by the spirit. He then delivered the first Christian sermon, which led to the conversion and baptism of 3,000 people. It is this sermon that many believe was the birth of the Christian church as an official movement.

Whitsun is, in fact, the completion of Easter and the completion of Christ’s mission on Earth. At Whitsun the spirit of a community or of a humanity based on the will of free individuals prevails, rather than that of a group soul or a bloodline. For an understanding of the Whitsun event from an esoteric perspective, I can do no better than urge you to read Judith von Halle’s lecture, ‘The Whitsun event at the time of Christ’, which is to be found in her book And If He Has Not Been Raised…  Here are some quotations from that lecture:

“With the completion of Christ’s mission every human being was given the possibility of comprehending the Trinity without having to leave his body. The mission of Christ, the plan of the Gods, encompassed the festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun. On Christmas Day the body was prepared into which the Father God could send His Son. The power of the Father God is expressed in this event: Ex deo nascimur. Since then the human being can feel that he as well is born out of the immense Godhead and into his earthly body.

There then follows the Easter festival, in which the human being can know the Son of God while on Earth. The human being has to become aware that of course he inhabits a body but he is not just a body. The human being can understand that in death his soul can rise again in Christ: In Christo morimur.

Rudolf Steiner once said: ‘From the moment of this inner experience of Easter, if we now suffuse the spirit which has become centred within itself with meaning that is not from this world but from the spiritual world, we will experience Whitsun. It depends on this inner experience of Easter whether we experience Whitsun’. This is why Whitsun is firmly linked to the movable feast of Easter”.

Judith von Halle continues:

“The Father sends the Son to the Earth. The Son experiences earthly death, He penetrates the body of the Earth, and the Resurrection takes place. From now on, through the Holy Spirit, the human being is able to bring about the return to the Father. This is the basis for understanding karma. You can only understand the idea of karma when you have first come to an understanding of the idea of Whitsun, for Whitsun is not a ‘passive’ festival of grace like Easter, for which the human need do nothing, Whitsun is rather a festival where the human being is active. Here the human being can work positively on his karma if the Rosicrucian saying lives within him. He knows that he is at home in the spiritual world: Per spiritum sanctum reviviscimus. Reviviscimus means, we will live again. The human being must take this step himself within evolution on the Earth: the fully conscious step of returning to the Father, developing himself through all his incarnations. The possibility of taking this step has been given to him by the Son of God (‘No one cometh to the Father, but by me’ – John 14:6). But it is up to the human being to carry it out.”

The Pentecost event at Whitsun gave us the possibility that the individual soul who is willing to ask for help out of his or her spiritual striving could be flooded with Christ Power. Each one of us has his or her Higher Self or spiritual principle, which is Christ-filled.  But it does require our individual effort.  Steiner puts it like this:

“…because this essence and meaning can be fully grasped by spiritual knowledge alone, not by material knowledge, it follows that the truth of the Whitsun festival can be grasped only when men realise that the sending of the Holy Spirit is the challenge to humanity more and more to achieve Spirit-knowledge, through which alone the Mystery of Golgotha can be understood”.

Steiner also said:

“Thus we now understand what the power of the Holy Spirit is: it is the power which will raise each man ever more and more above all that differentiates and separates him from others, and makes him a member of the whole of humanity on the earth, a power which works as a bond of soul between each and every soul, no matter in what bodies they may be”.

This is why Whitsun is the festival for our age, the epoch of the Cosmic Whitsuntide. It gives us the possibility for the community of the future, in which each one of us is able not only to move into full individual consciousness but also to develop a sense for universal brotherhood – but only if we can find it within ourselves to resist the dangers inherent in this emphasis on the individual – which are selfishness, egoism and materialism.

The Christ impulse pours in at this time but it needs the inner initiative of the individual soul to lift and open itself to that impulse. To end, here is another quotation from Judith von Halle:

“Whitsun is the birth of the conscious and free fourfold human being, is the birth of the free human being not only in the way it has given the fullness of grace of the Easter event to each human being, regardless of how he stands in relation to Christ, but is also the birth of the free human being in his astral body and in his individual self, in his soul and in his spirit.  Because every human being must and above all can create by himself this connection to Christ in his soul and in his self, it is also clear that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is not only intended for the disciples at the time of Christ, but can be for every person who is presently in the world.”

43 Comments

Filed under Pentecost, Whitsun

43 responses to “Whitsun: the Festival for Our Time

  1. jaromer

    Thank you Jeremy. The deep consideration and study behind this essay is timely reminder of my own laziness.
    The Anthropopper blog has been a repeated source of inspiration and study. So many contributors have shared fruits of study and understanding.
    Perhaps each such thought could be a flicker of the Whitsun Flame.

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  2. Demetrios Peroulas

    Jeremy,

    Rudolf Steiner’s 1924 lecture series on The Book of Revelation [and the Work of the Priest] (GA 346) does exist online:

    https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA346/English/UNK1995/Apocal_index.html

    In Christ,

    Demetrios
    (Athens, Greece)

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  3. Ton Majoor

    A very careful story.

    Avoiding a miraculous bodily resurrection belief, Steiner (1911) combined the narrative of the Matthean earthquake with the lost body concept, in the lecture you cite. This concept had previously been formulated by the German theologian J.C. Edelmann:

    see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_body_hypothesis
    cf. von Halle (2007), google CKu3MSJwVAAC

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    • It’s very well worth reading another lecture by Judith von Halle, also available in her book And If He Has Not Been Raised… This is the lecture called ‘The Easter event at the time of Christ’, a truly astonishing tour de force, which has some wonderful insights into what happened to the corpse in the tomb, and much more besides.

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      • Ton Majoor

        For von Halle (2005) also compare her inspirational source:

        Emmerich/Brentano (1862), The Dolorous Passion (books.google o7g6AQAAMAAJ, p.340 ff.), who however seems to describe an earthquake and a bodily resurrection.

        Strangely enough, in von Halle’s account (p.133) the eartquake didn’t wake up Peter and John.

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        • Steve Hale

          “Strangely enough, in von Halle’s account (p.133) the earthquake didn’t wake up Peter and John.”

          This is strange because Peter and John are noted, along with James, as not being able to stay awake and vigilant at the critical hour when Jesus enters the Garden of Gethsemane in order to pray to remove the Cup. This is where these so-called ‘inner three’ are seen as not being able to stay awake as Jesus goes to pray for the removal of the Cup. After the third prayer, Jesus says, “no matter; it is finished. The betrayers are at hand.”

          So, what Judith von Halle might have had in mind was long gone by the time of the earthquake. Does she acquaint her visions and testimony with A.C. Emmerich? That would be interesting to hear about.

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          • Ton Majoor

            Compare on the internet Emmerich (o7g6AQAAMAAJ, 1862):
            “Some of the disciples were still sleeping, and those who were risen were conversing together. Peter and John opened the door … I then saw Magdalen re-enter the garden, and direct her steps towards the sepulchre; she appeared greatly agitated partly from grief, and partly from having walked so fast. … She looked anxiously around.”

            and von Halle (CKu3MSJwVAAC, 2005):
            “Meanwhile Mary Magdalene had arrived at the house of the Last Supper, woke Simon Peter and John up and told them everything. … Mary arrived at the tomb quite out of breath … As she was running up and down in front of the tomb searching in despair and totally beside herself … Etc.”

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            • Steve Hale

              The Gospel of John, chapter 20, indicates Peter and the disciple whom the Lord loved as running to the tomb:

              Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first;

              https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+20&version=NASB

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    • Steve Hale

      The massive earthquake was prepared by a total solar eclipse from noon to 3 pm, as described here:

      45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. Matthew, 27

      33 When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. Mark, 15

      44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. Luke, 23

      Thus, the body went into the interior of the earth because it bore the sun forces that accrued with the seven attesting miracles that only the Gospel of St. John describes. Steiner describes these miracles, and their effects in GA 112.

      I personally had an interesting experience some nearly 29 years ago, when at Christmas in the year 1991, I was walking with some friends/ coworkers around the peripatetic where we were employed, and I casually said that there was no so-called “historical resurrection” because the body was received by an earthquake, and that is why it disappeared. They all judged me as a heretic from that point on, which hurt my feelings, but also proved to be very revealing of how much fundamentalist Christianity holds sway today. I think that we are still very much within this bind of an exoteric Christianity, with little relieve in sight except for the courageous that speak out. The future is still to be had.

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  4. David

    Appreciate your attempts to grapple with this subject that defies logic. I too come from a not-so religious family; had no clue about religious holidays, etc. I liken our situation to what Paul describes as being a wild olive branch grafted into a cultivated olive tree (Romans 11:24). This was an important part of the work of the Christ, to bring together the two lines, Jew and Gentile (Gentile being everyone outside of the chosen people).
    The Spirit’s work now is to take us beyond “comprehending the Trinity” that von Halle mentions; she goes on to say that the human being “can know the Son of God while on earth”. And Steiner emphasizes this word “know” in the Biblical, ancient sense of the word as being an intimate relationship, such as the way in which husbands “knew” their wives, and not merely a logical comprehending, as many intellectuals today are wont to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeremy in his beautifully crafted post says:

    “Worse than this, some people will jump to the conclusion that, to use Christian terms of reference somehow belittles or marginalises people of other faiths, or those of no faith.”

    As a person who is familiar with the Christian narrative from childhood I can only rejoice in the most encouraging events of Whitsun as recounted in the Bible, the flames, the sudden capacity to speak foreign languages and the togetherness in determination. I have a question about Whitsun today. How to realise “universal brotherhood” (or maybe “community”) as Jeremy mentions in a plural world. I am part of a non-Christian culture now in later stages of my life, and I wonder how to overcome this alleged “sense of belittlement and marginalisation”, which can be such a serious obstacle in realisation of the universality of the community we are striving towards. It seems to me that people who are deeply immersed in belief, worldview or particular philosophy equally perceive “universality” as something that belittles and marginalises their “terms of reference”, instead of embracing it as pathway to the common dedication we need in this era.

    Here I wonder why Rudolf Steiner pre-viewed and predicted a second incarnation of the Christ on Earth, not as a person but as a renewing impulse in the etheric, the realm of the life forces in our bodies, the Earth, the community of life; foretold as commencing to work from 1930 onwards? Why is the Christs presence in the flames of Whitsun, in his blood united with the Earth at Golgotha, no longer enough? Others who know Steiner’s works better than I do, may be able to quote the answers Steiner gave. I couldn’nt.

    My own answer is that the message of the Christ and his actual influence in the etheric realm needs urgent universalization. This is not devaluation, belittlement or replacement of the existing stories and personal experiences of the Gospel or communication with the Christ in inner life: it is an extra enlivening dimension to these, and part of the fulfillment. The re-appearance of the Christ in the etheric should be directly accessible for people of all cultures, languages, across diversity which we celebrate. Not so much as a “right” but without that these forces will not be able to flourish. The universal essence – in my opinion, and I am aware how controversial this may be for many – of this renewal of the etheric forces of humanity and the Earth (in order to counterbalance industrialization, technology, wars, extractive business, climate change, corona crisis, over medication) is not the Christ for all, but the etheric itself. Like, after 100 years, the essence of anthroposophy is no longer Rudolf Steiner, but his unique message among other messages. And the essence of Buddhism is mindfulness. Essence does not eliminate other parts of the whole but strengthens completeness.

    Whitsun in 2020, in my opinion, is no longer only defined by the beautiful stories in the Bible, the conquering of the world by the message of Peace through the Christ, personal enlightenment by reception of the Spirit, and the establishment of the church. In addition, It is the festival of genuine universal community and re-awakening of life united forces towards the wellbeing of future generations. From this platform we all can exchange and inspire each other with the richness of our culturally embedded narratives and visions.

    For the true experience and build-up of engagement with the concrete, here & now, universal (reinforcing our cultural diversity) we need, I believe, what jaromer in the thread on the Corona virus indicated as “pure perception”. Jaromer wrote:

    “The restoration of that ability to experience the moment of ‘pure perception’ is something that I treasure and can use as a test of my mental state. Thus I am repeatedly aware of whether a flower, a cloud or a tree branch moving in the wind ‘speaks to me’ or not.”

    With that clear view we can both enjoy our personal and cultural narratives, however also by communion with the Earth contribute to the constitution of active “universal community” and to the so much needed restoration of the life-forces in the ether.

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    • Thank you Hans, not only for your kind words but for articulating the question of our age: how can we realise universal brotherhood in a plural world? On this Whit Sunday and for the rest of time, may the Holy Spirit so live in each one of us that we will find ways to build community across the whole of the Earth!

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    • Ton Majoor

      For Steiner, the wisdom of the Bodhisattva’s or Holy Spirit can be contrasted with the Logos as an object, source of life or objective act (GA0113/19090831, and GA0131/19111013 on the phantom body)

      “… the Being whom we may designate as the great teacher, who in the different ages manifests Himself in the most various ways — the Being who as is natural, at first remains entirely concealed from external vision — is designated, by means of an expression borrowed from the East, as the totality of the Bodhisattvas. The Christian conception would designate it the Holy Spirit.” (GA0113/19090831, annotated by Steiner).

      Also according to Steiner (1909), the apocalyptic experience of the Second Coming of the Son of Man (Rev. 1) and Paul’s Damascus Experience of the Messiah both concerned the human physical form, the phantom body.

      “The writer of the Apocalypse … saw the “Son of Man” as the spiritualized, purified form of the physical body, not only the etheric body, but the spiritual-physical form of “Man”, the human being, now purified and sanctified. In this way he places before us the same being that Paul beheld outside Damascus. Etc.” GA0104a/19090509

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    • Steve Hale

      Hi Hans,

      I know that we have had this conversation before now, and I will consolidate it here:

      https://anthropopper.wordpress.com/2020/03/12/coronavirus-what-is-its-significance-for-humanity-at-this-time/comment-page-2/#comment-55128

      Even before, we have had important conversations in which Buddhism needs to meet Christianity. The active impulse is already there. So, why not accept it and go forward? In other words, see the impulse as an active and engaged Buddhism working in the world with you as its leader. Just consider Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, and how much they still subscribe to meditation and contemplation for their results.

      Now, today we have a certain concentrative effort which adds very much to the equation. Intensified thinking. This is the Steiner equation, and it brings a lot forward to meet the objective. And what is that?

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  6. Hans

    I opened only now the intriguing lecture on Whitsun which is hidden behind “Steiner puts it like this” in your post, Jeremy. Takes me time to reflect on such rich and challenging content, in particular the crosfertilization beteen Buddhism and Chritianity regarding reincarnation and eternity …

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  7. Ton Majoor wrote ” … the totality of the Bodhisattvas. The Christian conception would designate it the Holy Spirit.” (GA0113). This is a groundbreaking quote!! This is a real flame descending upon us … Thank you Ton! (Another lecture I still have to read).

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  8. Steve Hale

    Hi Jeremy and Ton,

    I very much appreciate these comments, and especially how much Judith von Halle acquaints with Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions from the early 19th century. One of our previous discussions concerned the belief on Judith’s part that she was the rather quick reincarnation of Edith Maryon, who died in 1924 after spending several years in working with Rudolf Steiner on the Goetheanum building, as well as the sculpture of the Representive of Man. I know that Frank Smith, and we haven’t heard from Frank for some time now, was/is a huge fan of A.C. Emmerich, and also Judith, but disavows that she has ever thought or said she was the reincarnation of Edith. But, what is important is that RS himself said in a certain place that he, as well as many of his faithful flock, would reincarnate by the end of the 20th century. So, it is possible that Judith is one of these, and especially if she suffers from stigmata, which Anne Catherine also did.

    One thing Judith has written about is that Lazarus actually did die, and this is a true fact. I don’t know if it is contained in that book, “And If He Has Not Been Raised”, but she has an interesting theory about how Lazarus dies and somehow the disciple John comes forth to replace, In reality, it was John the Baptist who was returned to earthly life in the body of Lazarus, and leaving Lazarus, as the forerunner through death as the human sacrifice before the Mystery of Golgotha, to reincarnate later as Christian Rosenkreutz in the 13th century.

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  9. Steve Hale

    She wrote a book which is apparently out of print titled: The Mystery of Lazarus and the Three Johns, which contains some extraordinary assertions. I have carefully and intensively studied the miracle involving Lazarus over several years now. Steiner solves the mystery in his final address here:

    https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/InEJRN_index.html

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    • Ton Majoor

      See Last Address (1924):
      “For the being of Elijah appeared again in Lazarus-John — who [Lazarus and John] are in truth one and the same figure, as you will have understood from my book “Christianity as Mystical Fact.””

      Cf. Prokofieff (2005), google 3X_ORW9vpaUC

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      • Steve Hale

        Yes, exactly. John was resurrected in the body of Lazarus.

        Prokofieff describes its significance for the advent of Lazarus to Christian Rosenkreutz here in chapter 6:

        https://books.google.com/books?id=7TJ888LyxacC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage

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        • Ton Majoor

          Here Prokofieff (p. 298 and p. 856 n.29) described the two streams of Abel and Cain, Baptist and Lazarus, Elijah and Moses (birth and death), and a stream of the middle that unites the two polarities, i.e. Anthroposophy according to Steiner (see CW 265).

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          • Steve Hale

            Also, on pg. 388, in the tenth century before Christ, the incarnation of Hiram Abiff who worked on Solomon’s Temple. He comes out of the Cain stream, as well, possibly as Tubal-Cain, last son of Lamech of this old stream, who would then beget Noah of the Adamic stream of generations.

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      • Ton Majoor

        The very problem with von Halle’s Lazarus account (2009) seems to be a miracle belief of a sort, based upon her direct perception (‘one could even say sensory’) of past events, that a new physical body for the deceased Lazarus could be created in a very short time:

        “… the etheric body of the Zebedaeus son [John] created a physical body in John-Lazarus, which was shaped by the etheric characteristics of this Zebedaeus son, ..”

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  10. Steve Hale

    Yes, now I am remembering this theory of JvH. Yet, when we consider the raising of Lazarus as the last of the seven attesting miracles which are uniquely described only in the Gospel of John, and Rudolf Steiner’s careful description of what these seven miracles mean with regard to “The Cup”, which Jesus of Nazareth possessed, ref. GA 112, we find that this last miracle had to penetrate the very physical body itself with the Sun forces of the Christ. This is why Christ is concerned about arriving after four days, when He has been told of the sickness of Lazarus. He waits two more days, and then goes to Bethany.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+11&version=NASB

    Lazarus has died, and this is clearly indicated by the sisters. Yet, as long as the etheric body remains close to the physical body before dissipating into the cosmic ether, which is four days, then the physical corpse can be resurrected by the Power of Christ. What is needed is the return of the Spirit, and this is brought about when the Elijah-John stream, having been beheaded in an evil and unrighteous act, returns to take up this body of Lazarus, and become the Disciple Whom the Lord Loved, and eventually Saint John the Evangelist.

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  11. Steve Hale

    Dear Demetrios,

    What an awesome display of love and commitment to the Science of the Spirit, and especially considering how much reverence Rudolf Steiner had for the Greek culture that developed Deductive Reasoning. He said that the Greeks wore their togas better than the Romans, and likely that had something to do with winning the Trojan War. At least, they got to make the start in subtracting and bringing down the cosmic elements into their earthly equivalents: water, air, earth, and fire. And, of course, so many great Greek philosophers who were involved in this process.

    Sadly, today we have the standard Greek Orthodox Church, which is much like any other church working in the world in which Ahriman still rules. Now, there was an important point in time in which it appeared that Ahriman was about to be vanquished in favor of the Christ, and it is written about here in the Gospel of John, chapter 12:

    Greeks Seek Jesus
    20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. 23 And Jesus *answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

    Jesus Foretells His Death
    27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 34 The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+12&version=NASB

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    • Ton Majoor

      “The writer of the Apocalypse [John] … saw the “Son of Man” as the spiritualized, purified form of the physical body, not only the etheric body, but the spiritual-physical form of “Man”, the human being, now purified and sanctified.” GA0104a/19090509, see above.

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      • Steve Hale

        Jesus of Nazareth was the first to embody this “Son of Man”. And, he received glorification at the Last Supper, and not on the Cross of Golgotha.

        Christ Predicts His Betrayal
        21 When Christ had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” 22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23 There was reclining on Christ’s bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter *gestured to him, and *said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” 25 He, leaning back thus on Christ’s bosom, *said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Christ then *answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He *took and *gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Christ *said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Christ was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

        31 Therefore when he had gone out, Christ *said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’
        https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+13&version=NASB

        This is why Jesus prays to remove the mysterious “Cup” when first entering the Garden of Gethsemane, as depicted in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

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  12. Demetrios Peroulas

    Dear Steve,

    Your words give me (us) strength to continue. Thank you!
    We work on this project (of translating Steiner’s GA’s) without any financial support (myself being under a tremendous economic pressure because the bookshop in the center of Athens I was working closed due to the economic crisis).
    Another great problem we face has to do with the spiritual-social situation. Here, there is no free spiritual life as it is under the yoke of the State (that controls almost everything – the public sector has corrupted the Greek Soul), the Church (that is stuck in the past), the “free” market economy (that does not help initiatives of this kind) and the parties of the Left (that are highly materialistic and non-individualistic and still exercise a very big influence).
    On the other hand, the esoteric societies either use Steiner without any reference to him or just they ignore him because they are not in a position to understand him.
    As far as anthroposophical groups are concerned, the situation is very disheartening . Every attempt we made in the last 30 years to establish a Society, a School, a Threefold Order failed. We couldn’t even succeed in creating a publishing company for the edition of Rudolf Steiner’s books.

    This is, my friend, the situation in modern Greece. A country that “lives” parasitic on the body of Europe and the West. But if you search deeper inside the Folk Soul you’ll find out a strong faith in Christ and Sophia. Only that the cultivation of the Science of the Spirit (that is the alpha and omega for modern Greek society) is prohibited by the all above mentioned reasons.

    Together in the love of Christ,
    Demetrios

    PS. I join my voice with that of Jeremy: May the Holy Spirit so live in each one of us that we will find ways to build community [sobornost] across the whole of the Earth!
    Let us make, my friends in the West, the Foundation Stone Meditation a living reality:
    ………………………………….
    At the turning point of time
    The cosmic spirit-light stepped
    Into earthly evolution;
    Night darkness
    Had ended its reign;
    The bright light of day
    Streamed into human souls;
    Light
    That warms
    The poor shepherd hearts
    Light
    That enlightens
    The wise kings’ heads.
    Light divine,
    Sun of Christ,
    Warm
    Our hearts —
    Enlighten
    Our heads,
    So that good results
    From what
    Our hearts beget,
    What we
    By thinking
    Forcefully will to do.

    Like

    • Steve Hale

      Dear Demetrios,

      I believe this is the first time that you have actually written to me, and I appreciate it very much. This blog is starting to show signs of ‘tired blood’, but that is to be expected in this era wherein a kind of “new normal” is being proffered, and even foisted on us all. And yet, haven’t we been living a kind of New Normal ever since finding our way to the Science of the Spirit? By this I mean the development of a higher consciousness owing to a true Self that stands above the merely temporal and material existence.

      Today’s concept of a “new normal” is really a kind of back-handed slap at humanity to ‘wake up!’ and see how much we take too much for granted. We need to see how much danger lurks when so much of humanity allows thinking to reside in the body below the head. You see, the head which sits atop the shoulders is really an expression of what has gained independence from the body, and therefore stands to access the supersensible dimensions of the higher worlds. We are free in our thinking only when it is unbounded from the bodily organism, and yet just look at how much exists today that demands a thinking that exists only for temporal values. Thus, a true and honest re-valuation of all values held, is of paramount importance today. If people would do this in all sincerity, they would see how much junk they could throw out that they presently hold near and dear.

      And, once they do this, they could find out how simple and direct a path it is to being human, and accepting our temporal limits, and its materialistic dimension. This in itself creates freedom from the established ‘norms’ of what is really only the necessities of nature. On a higher level, a true trans-valuation of all values leads to the Moral World Order, which is of God the Father, and shows how true freedom has already been factored into our destiny from the beginning. As such, nature necessity is only a stepping stone in the progress of transition.

      So, indeed, we have all suffered the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in our lives in the temporal dimension, and some of us come out more bruised than others because we stand up for something higher and more eternal. But the Guardian recognizes that kind of sacrifice immediately, and submits us across the threshold. As well, there is always the Christ, Lord of Karma, Who takes it on the chin in accepting us all; the weak and the strong.

      Kind regards,

      Steve

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  13. Thank you, Demetrios!

    Like

  14. Demetrios Peroulas

    Jeremy, Steve and Hans, I thank you!

    For the time being, I translate two books that are not only so dear to my friends and I but constitute my (our) karmic way, too:

    1. https://www.het-imo.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Saturn-Path.pdf

    2. http://www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org/pdf/Creating-Social-Sacraments.pdf

    3.https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LwKBseZu_p77w4ZsQZs6Qou3jijordCQ/view

    Thank you!
    Together in the Truth and Love of Christ,
    Δημήτριος

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  15. Demetrios,

    I read through the book of Dietrich Bruell on ‘Creating Social Sacraments’, creating a “Uriel path”. And started in Adriaan Beekman on the Saturn Path of Rudolf Steiner. Adriaan mentions as the core theme of his book:

    “The Question we will explore. How can we renew the anthroposophical impulse in our society and bring this impulse to a fruitful working in the wider society, specially for new generations to come”.

    Would’nt that be an appropriate question in light of our reflections on the contemporary meaning of the mystery of Whitsun?

    Like

    • Steve Hale

      “Would’nt that be an appropriate question in light of our reflections on the contemporary meaning of the mystery of Whitsun?”

      Indeed, it would. Now, we are entertaining this very question on Hazel’s blog, Reverse Ritual, and so I would suggest going over there and listening.

      Like

      • Demetrios Peroulas

        Steve,

        Thank you for introducing me to Hazel’s blog! I didn’t know it.
        I completely agree that a reverse ritual is urgently needed. An upside down (social) pyramid. Christ is not a king (of this world) but a servant (that came from the Sun). He is not to be found on the top of us but below.

        Like

        • Steve Hale

          Demetrios,

          This is very true. There is a reason why Christ washed the feet of His disciples.

          Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
          5 Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8 Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

          12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’
          https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+13&version=NASB

          As well, you will find that Rudolf Steiner had this very act in mind when he approved the forming of the so-called “esoteric youth circle”, as described recently in the previous thread. Thus, the Michael Meditation was formed for all.

          Like

    • Demetrios Peroulas

      Hans,

      This is exactly the reason why I proposed (and started to translate in Greek) these two books (that are coming to us from the future).

      Like

  16. Ton Majoor

    Also, avoiding onesidedness, Steiner (ca. 1923): ‘The summer way is the way of The Christian Community in memory of a community (pre-natal) in the spiritual world (Abel’s way). The winter way is the way of Anthroposophists through cold solitude to knowledge (Cain’s way).’

    Like

    • Steve Hale

      The story of Cain and Abel has many implications, and none more so than that it represents the first pre-earthly deed of Christ. Just consider the story in which Cain, made with the help of the Lord, has a brother born out of procreation between Adam and Eve. This is the affinity that Jahve has with Abel and his offerings over Cain and his offerings. Cain slays his brother and is banished to the land of Nod, where a race of people exist that need to be brought forth from their rather “neolithic” origins into the stream of Adam, which is eventually accomplished when Abel is replaced by Seth.

      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis+4&version=NASB

      Ton, I must ask about where you get your ideas about the summer way and the winter way. Steiner was critical of the Christian Community as early as 1923, ref, GA 257. And, of course, we know how much hope he held for the anthroposophical movement to make it on their own inherent strength after leading them for ten years under the banner of the German Section of the Theosophical Society (1902-1912). It was an experiment that he would only completely reveal after the refounding of the General Anthroposophical Society at Christmas 1923.

      Like

      • Ton Majoor

        The quote is from Wohlbold in books.google (_QAcmtkkCvcC).

        German, GA 265, p.454:
        Sommer-Weg ist der Weg der Christengemeinschaft in Erinnerung an eine Gemeinschaft (vorgeburtlich) in der geistigen Welt. (Abel-Weg)
        Winter-Weg ist der Weg der Anthroposophen durch kalte Einsamkeit zur Erkenntnis. (Kains-Weg)

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  17. Demetrios Peroulas

    A declaration of the rights of the spiritual human being is urgently needed.
    In the past, the advanced part of humanity succeeded in abolishing slavery. Now, it’s high time for the abolishment of salaried (paid) slavery. For the declaration of the fundamental human right that human beings are not commodities. But that they are free spiritual human beings that do not live only one life on earth but many. That they have unshakeable karmic and vocational rights. That the purchase and selling of the human labor is unacceptable.
    All this presupposes the formation and existence on earth of a sufficient number of ethical individualities that have as their center not their lower selves but their Christ-filled higher ones which are to be found in their fellow men, in the other Anthropos.
    “When we meet another person and something connected with our karma takes place between us, then some impulse of our true ego enters into us. But what in us we call our ego, what we designate by that word, is only a reflection. And through the very fact of experiencing this ego merely as a reflection in this fifth post-Atlantean epoch, we are being made ready to experience the ego in a new form in the sixth epoch. It is characteristic of this age of the consciousness soul that the human being has his ego only as reflection, so that he may enter the coming age of the Spirit-Self and be able to experience the ego in a new form, a different form. But he will experience it in a manner that now in our time would be unpleasant. Today he would call it anything but “ego,” what is going to appear to him as his ego in the coming sixth post-Atlantean epoch! People in the future will seldom have those mystical inclinations that are still experienced by some individuals today, to commune with themselves in order to find their true ego — which they even call the Divine Ego. They will have to accustom themselves to seeing their ego only in the outer world. The strange situation will come about that every person we meet who has some connection with us will have more to do with our ego than anything enclosed in our own skin will have to do with it. We are heading toward a future age in which a person will say to himself: My self is out there in all those whom I meet; it is least of all within me. While I live as a physical human being between birth and death, I receive my self from all sorts of things, but not from what is enclosed in my skin. This seeming paradox is already being indirectly prepared by the fact that people begin to feel how little they themselves really are in the reflection which they call their ego. I remarked recently that anyone can discover the truth about himself by reviewing his own biography — factually — and asking himself what he owes since birth to this person or that. In this way he will gradually resolve himself into influences coming from others; and he will find extraordinarily little in what he usually considers his real ego (but which is really only its reflection, as has been said).” Rudolf Steiner: https://wn.rsarchive.org/GA/GA0187/19181227p01.html

    This is the main precondition for the epoch of the Cosmic Whitsuntide to occur on Earth.
    This is why a declaration of the rights of the spiritual human being is urgently needed. We must take the first step.
    In the past, the advanced part of humanity succeeded in abolishing slavery. Now, it’s high time for the abolishment of salaried (paid) slavery. For the declaration of the fundamental human right that human beings are not commodities. But that they are free spiritual human beings that do not live only one life on earth but many. That they have unshakeable karmic and vocational rights. That the purchase and selling of the human labor is unacceptable.
    Of course, all this, at the same time, presupposes and leads to the formation on earth of a sufficient number of ethical individualities that have as their center not their lower selves but their Christ-filled higher ones which are to be found in their fellow men, in the other Anthropos.

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