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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Christian Mystery
GA 97

Notes of 31 lectures and six question-and-answer sessions given and held in various locations from 9 February 1906 to 17 March 1907

Organized into four general themes: (1) The Language of Truth in the Gospels; (2)Lucifer and Christ; (3) Ancient Esoteric Teachings and Rosicrucianism; and (4) Insights and Life Fruits Gained in the Science of the Spirit.

English translation by A. R. Meuss, FIL, MTA

The Language of Truth in the Gospels
I. The Christian Mystery February 9, 1906
Christianity and the dogma of reincarnation and karma. Need to live one life without knowing of this, so that the significance of the earth may be understood. Hidden knowledge of this in esoteric Christianity—transfiguration, Elijah and John. Mission of wine. Marriage at Cana. Adam and the Christ. Cain and Abel. Bread and Wine. The seven stages of Christian initiation and preparation for them by means of four virtues.
II. The medieval view of the world in Dante's Divine Comedy February 11, 1906
Divine Comedy can only be understood if we know the medieval view of the world. The earth as the centre of a world system in which different spirits live; interaction of matter and spirit. Dante student of scholasticism. Divine Comedy as vision of strictly Catholic initiates— she-wolf, leopard, lion; Virgil as guide; the three levels of the other world seen in a view that does not include reincarnation and karma; hell, purgatory, Eden; the heavenly hierarchies; guidance given by Beatrice; the trinity.
III. The Gospel of John as an Initiation Document I February 12, 1906
First 12 chapters of John's gospel—experiences gained in the astral world. World arising from the divine Word. Human evolution in relation to old and new covenants. John the Baptist and the Christ. Morality and technology of the future. Marriage at Cana. Talk with Nicodemus. Meeting the Samaritan woman. Healing the man born blind. Raising of Lazarus.
IV. The Gospel of John as an Initiation Document II February 13, 1906
John's gospel from the 13th chapter onwards. Experiences gained on the devachanic plan. Washing of feet. Words of bread and vine. Twelve apostles reflecting 12 sub-races. Judas both betrayer and martyr.
V. The Gospel of John February 3, 1907
John's gospel not understood by modern theologians. Importance as a book of meditation in the Christian mysteries. Seven stages of the passion and seven stages of Christian initiation in John's gospel. Sevenfold human being. Transformation of the human bodies into mans, buddi and atma with the help of the holy ghost, the Christ and the father. Meaning of terms 'going up the mountain9, 'temple'. Sophia, mother of Jesus. Marriage at Cana. Lazarus—John.
VI. The Mystery of Golgotha December 2, 1906
Sacrifice made by Jesus of Nazareth in his 30th year. Descent of the Christ to an earth that has gone through different incarnations. Role of sun and moon spirits in human evolution. Human development from common origin in the spirit to tribal relationship and the dawning of the I, with future unity gained in being brothers in Christ. The Christ as the spirit of the earth. Ancient mysteries and Christianity. The first words in the gospel of John. The last supper. Jesus on the cross. The blood of Christ. Transformation of the earth's astral atmosphere.
VII. The Significance of Christmas in the Science of the Spirit December 15, 1906
The Christmas light as a sign of the earth's future. Gifts of the three kinds. The deed of Christ as it was presented in the lesser and major mysteries of antiquity. The seven stages of the old initiation. Tree of paradise, wood of the cross; legend of tree of paradise.
VIII. The Origins of Religious Confessions and Set Prayers February 17, 1907
Everyday and imaginative conscious awareness. States of consciousness in Atlantean and Lemurian times. The Lord's Prayer in its original language and as a thought mantra. Original wisdom and science of the spirit. Individual awareness and universal consciousness.
IX. The Sermon on the Mount January 19, 1907
Meaning of occult key terms 'going up the mountain, and 'love'. Significance of individual beatitudes—meaning of pain; egotism and love; the heart as organ of the future; Christianity and the other religions.
X. The Lord's Prayer February 4, 1907
Meditation, prayer, magic formula. Basic mood of Christian prayer. Genesis of the different bodies of man; man's lower and higher natures coming together in Lemurian times. The seven elements of essential human nature and the seven petitions in the Lord's Prayer.
XI. The Lord's Prayer March 6, 1907
Personal nature of Christian prayer, accepting the divine will. The first three petitions of the Lord's Prayer and the higher spiritual nature of man. The other four petitions and the lower members of the human being. Power of the Lord's Prayer in the human soul.
XII. Adept Schools of the Distant Past March 7, 1907
Initiation ofAtlanteans through the language of nature. Bringing down cosmic wisdom in thought the mission of post-Atlantean civilizations. Mission of our time. Decline and fall of Post-Atlantis in the war of all against all. Egotism being overcome by developing the science of the spirit. Mysteries of the spirit—guidance through the powers of a superhuman guide; future mysteries of the father; guidance by human beings based on trust and open acceptance. Transition through the mysteries of the son.
XIII. The Promised Spirit of Truth March 8, 1907
Teaching given to the disciples at Pentecost. Development of human I and becoming selfless in full awareness. Father—son—spirit. Holy spirit first poured out in Lemurian times. Effect of I-development on the blood—transformation of perceptive faculties; organ development; blood bonds; tribal I; transition from intermarriage to distant marriage. Significance of Christ's blood for individual awareness of self. Egotism and materialism. Overcoming them through Christianity and the spirit of truth it promises.
XIV. Early Initiation and Esoteric Christianity March 17, 1907
Exoteric and esoteric Christianity. The three lower bodies of man and how the I transforms them into manas, buddhi and atman. The relationship of these to holy spirit, son and father. Pre-Christian initiation in trance state; priestly authority; intermarriage—Christian initiation in full conscious awareness; authority based on trust; distant marriage. Egotism arising as freedom is gained; overcoming it in the spirit of truth which leads to peace and to grace.
Lucifer and Christ
XV. Lucifer, Bearer of light—The Christ, Bringer of Love March 30, 1906
The serpent as a symbol for Lucifer; original view of Lucifer guiding us to knowledge; light bearer. Luther and Faust. Mineral, plant and animals worlds separating out from the realm of wisdom, life and love. Interaction between realms of nature, human beings and the gods. Love and instinctual drive. Light the gift of Lucifer; love the gift of Jehovah. Transformation of light into love by the Christ. Law of Sinai and the inner law of grace.
XVI. The children of Lucifer, Love in the Spirit Taking the Place of Blood-based Love April 4, 1906
Dim conscious awareness on ancient Atlantis. Rational mind first awakening at end of Atlantean age, starting in Ireland. Connected between somnambulant clairvoyance and intermarriage, nascent powers of judgement and distant marriage; the Dionysian principle. Human evolution recapitulated in the first seven years of a child. Principles of education. Two streams among humanity—search for light of insight deep within and adherence to belief in revelation.
XVII. The Rational Mind the Gift of Lucifer and its Future Transformation into a New Kind of Clairvoyance April 29, 1906
Rational mind beginning to develop around 600 BC. Connection between both intermarriage and distant marriage and brain development. Relationship between gods and humans. Lucifer fanning into life higher independence of mind and spirit. Law and grace.
Ancient Esoteric Teachings and Rosicrucianism
XVIII. The Three Ways of Initiation. (Address for the opening of the Paracelsus Branch) September 19, 1906
The spiritual scientific view of the world serving the ideal of humanity—brotherhood of all. Seven stages of the yoga way and preparation for these; obedience to gurus. The seven stages of the Christian gnostic way; the Christ as the guide; instruction gained by study of John's gospel. The seven stages of the Rosicrucian way, suitable for present-day Europeans; details now in written guide; free decision.
XIX. The Yoga Path, Christian Gnostic Initiation and Esoteric Rosicrucianism November 30, 1906
Three ways of gaining higher insight—different roads to the same truth. Need to chose way that it right for a pupil's natural starting points. The seven stages of the yoga, Christian gnostic and Christian Rosicrucian ways.
XX. How do we Gain Insight into the Higher Worlds in the Rosicrucian Way? December 11, 1907
Goethe's fragment 'The Secrets5 showing the spiritual scientific view of the world. Rosicrucian initiation as the right way for our age. Its seven stages: 1) study; schooling one's thinking; 2) imagination; man as part of the earth organism; the grail; 3) reading the occult script; vortex sign; signs of zodiac; triangle; 4) life rythm; preparing the philosopher's stone; breathing; carbon; 5) correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm; 6) entering into the macrocosm in a living way; 7) godliness. The rose cross.
XXI. Who are the Rosicrucians? February 16, 1907
Academic view of the Rosicrucians. Valentin Andreae. Our materialistic and technological age and the Rosicrucian way. The seven stages of this (via parables and symbols; cross, grail, vortex, zodiac; carbon).
XXII. Christian Initiation and Rosicrucian Training February 22, 1907
Different ways of initiation for people of different types. Translation of prologue to John's gospel. The seven stages of the Christian gnostic way. The seven stages of the Rosicrucian way (via cross, grail, vortex, zodiac; carbon. Paracelsus). Dangers of initiation; avoiding these by means of six preliminary exercises.
Insights and Life Fruits Gained in
the Science of the Spirit
XXIII. Karmic Law as Outcome of Active Life. Causes of Sickness and Heredity March 14, 1906
Karmic law and the three bodies of man. Physical activity and the configuring of outer destiny for the next life. Effect of events and changes in the astral body on the configuration of the next ether body. The four temperaments. Inclinations and habits and the health or sickness of the next physical body. Disposition to develop infectious diseases. Individual karma and national karma—leprosy consequence of Mongol invasions. Materialism and nervous anxiety.
XXIV. The Secret of the Grail in the Works of Richard Wagner July 29, 1906
Richard Wagner presenting the reincarnation idea in his play The Victors. Idea of Parsifal as ancient mystery wisdom came alive in Wagner. Knights of the grail and of Arthur. Trott and druid mysteries. The secret of the cross, grail, blood lance. The Christ transforming the blood. Three stages of dumbness, doubt and godliness. Wolfram's and Wagner's Parsifal.
XXV. The Supersensible Brought to Expression in the Music of Parsifal January 16, 1907
Occults truths coming alive in Wagner's mind. Man as inverted plant. Chalice of flower and of the grail. Connection between the Christ's sacrificial death and the plant. Reincarnation idea in Wagner's The Victors. Magic of Good Friday. Goethe's Secrets. Legend of tree of paradise. Parsifal, dramatic form in music.
XXVI. The Three Aspects of the World December 4, 1906
World of the senses, inner world, world of thought. Sensory perception of the world; sentience of the world in the soul; man united with the world in thinking. Evolution from oneness of physical world to manifold nature of soul world and oneness in world of the spirit.
XXVII. The Inner Earth April 21, 1906
Seven layers of the earth, possibility of exploring them in connection with the seven stages of Christian initiation. End of Lemuria. Interaction between man and fire earth.
XXVIII. The Reasons for the Existence of the Theosophical Movement April 25, 1906
Evolution of materialism. Spiritualism as an attempt at a counter move. Failure of this. Science of the spirit as the new way of finding the spirit in the age of materialism.
XXIX. Precious Stones and Metals and their Relationship to the Evolution of Earth and Man October 13, 1906
Development of moral sentience in relation to animal, plant and mineral worlds. Minerals developed as desire-free counter images of sense organs which arose from desire. Effects of lead and copper on humans.
XXX. Education—the Spiritual Scientific Point of View January 12, 1907
Education and upbringing out of knowledge of the fourfold nature of man. triple birth of human bodies. Education in first 7-year period: developing the organs by influencing the senses. Imitation. Second 7- year period: nurturing the ether body; authority, trust, reverence; memory development. About nursery rhymes and children's songs, parables, fairy tales, legends. Nurturing the element of art. Religious teaching. Third 7-year period: developing powers of individual judgement.
XXXI. Animal Soul and Human Individuality March 16, 1907
Soul nature and wisdom in the animal world (beaver, ant hill). Human biography and physiognomy; capacity for development. Human soul becoming part of the enveloping physical form in Lemurian times. Life of group soul and individual death. Developmental stages that have remained static going into regression and becoming animals.
General Notes
Indian Theosophical Terms