Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity
GA 144

Steiner gives a sketch of the evolution of the Mysteries from ancient Persia, through Egypt and Greece, to the Christian Era and the present day with the modern initiation of the Holy Grail.

This translated is from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer. The German text of the following lectures is published with the title Die Mysterien des Morgenlandes und des Christentums in the Complete Edition of the works of Rudolf Steiner. (Bibl. No. 144.)

Lecture I February 03, 1913
Everything belonging to the Mysteries is founded on the experiences of Initiates in the higher worlds. The principles of Initiation change in the successive epochs. Attainment of Initiation in the present age is possible without personal guidance, but the experiences must be carried through in the right way. Sense-impressions become merely a means of experiencing what lies behind them. “Opinions” and “points of view” must be transcended. The moral qualities of courage and fearlessness. Certain experiences are common to all Mysteries, whether Eastern or Western: contact with death, passage through the elementary world, seeing the Sun at midnight, meeting with the Upper and Lower Gods. The path into the higher worlds is bound up with a strengthening of the soul's inner powers.
Lecture II February 04, 1913
Natural laws and moral laws intermingle in the spiritual world. The fate of morally irresponsible souls after death is to become the servants of terrible beings. Untimely deaths, also epidemics and illnesses, are caused by forces and beings of the spiritual world. Love of ease a widespread attribute. Souls subject to it become servants of the gods of opposition (under the rulership of Ahriman), after death. Suitable and unsuitable characteristics for the development of seer-ship. A seer has direct perception of the interaction of influences from the Earth and those from stellar space. Experience at a definite stage of the Mysteries is that in respect of the higher members of his being (astral body and ego) man belongs not only to the Earth but is also at home in the Cosmos.
Lecture III February 05, 1913
Ascent into the spiritual worlds is accompanied by certain unavoidable experiences. Possibility of a retrospect into the far past, a reading of the Akashic Record. In the higher worlds a seer is able to discern the activities of beings associated with the Sun and the Moon in engendering the physical and etheric bodies of men. How the astral body and ego are brought into being is veiled in secrecy. The Zarathustrian Initiation. The Hermes Initiation. Two phases of the Isis Initiation, separated by the point of time when Moses lived. When Moses led his people out of Egypt he took with him the part of the Egyptian Initiation which added the Osiris Initiation to that of the mourning Isis. “Sons of the Widow”. In the later Egyptian Initiation the candidate experienced the dying of a God in the Heavens in order to descend into another world.
Lecture IV February 07, 1913
The Being formerly known spiritually as the Creative Word first became manifest in physical life when Moses heard the “Ejeh asher Ejeh”. Candidates in the later Egyptian Mysteries felt that the Creative Word was disappearing. When it reappeared, belonging now to Earth-evolution, it was spoken of as the “Holy Grail”. Repetition in every epoch of the earlier experiences of humanity. Secrets of the Egypto-Chaldean epoch were related to the inpouring forces of the Zodiac and planets, particularly of the Sun and Moon. In the fifth epoch these secrets must work right into the Consciousness Soul, into that which constitutes human personality. Inspirations from the twelve directions of the Zodiac flowed into the Twelve Knights of King Arthur's Round Table. Something in the human organism is now dead, withdrawn from the sovereignty of the soul; it must be made living again through the new wisdom of the Grail. “Montsalvat.” Teaching is now no longer tied to particular localities. Hostility to the Grail. Klingsor. The fastness known as Calot bobot. Chastel Merveille. Dual nature in Goethe and in many men of the modern age still under the influence of the Intellectual Soul. Parsifal: the ideal of later Initiation. Present-day Mysteries are an after-effect of the Grail Mystery. The Amfortas nature in man must be recognised before the forces of Parsifal can be developed in human nature.