Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Holy Week

A Transformative Meditation to Begin Anew

The Resurrection of Christ by Liane Collot d'Herbois
The Resurrection of Christ by Liane Collot d'Herbois

March 22, 2024

In preparation for Easter this Holy Week, we invite you to join us in contemplation of the last verse of Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul (GA 40). The complete work offers a verse for each week of the year, with week 52 intended for Holy Week. Each verse is a meditative riddle, guiding us through the seasons on a path of soul development. Easter, the Sunday following the first full moon after the equinox, begins Week 1 in the springtime of the Northern Hemisphere. Since it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, Week 27 is the starting point.

Emil Bock provides deep insight into the events of Holy Week in Chapter 10 of his book, The Three Years. He compares these seven days leading to Easter to the twelve days of Christmas. While right living during the twelve days before Christmas strengthen us for the New Year, those who inwardly participate in the mystery drama of the Passion the seven days of Holy Week are bestowed with "new forces for the whole of their future destiny."

The Calendar of the Soul verse given by Rudolf Steiner for week 52 offers a profound practice for Holy Week. It was kindly translated for us by John Riedel MD as follows:

When from depths of soul
The spirit wends to worldly course
And beauty springs to life on earth,
Then drawn from heaven afar
The force of life moves in human flesh
And unites, with mighty effect,
Spirit ways with mankind’s core.

Not only does this verse reflect the coming of spring, but its individual lines also play out the drama of Holy Week. Emil Bock describes Holy Week as "a complete artistic whole" revealing secrets of planetary influence on the events leading to the Mystery of Golgotha. Building upon this thought, we add the Calendar of the Soul verse for Holy Week, Week 52, to this study. We hope the following outline will spark interest and inquiry in the minds of our readers. As always, our goal in sharing such insights is simply to encourage further research and practice.

Day & Date Verse Cosmic Influence Biblical Events
Palm Sunday 3/24Begin Week 52 verse—When from depths of soulSun/Sol - freedom, generosity, wisdom, enlightenmentChrist the Sun God enters Jerusalem humbly riding on a newborn colt. Ecstatic crowds gather in a frenzy of old pagan palm waiving symbolizing the Sun. (One-week later they will shout, “Crucify him!”)
Monday 3/25The spirit wends to worldly courseMoon – density, lunacy, confusion, materialismJesus overturns the tables of the vendors and money-changers in the Temple, spirit overturning worldly, material pursuits.
Tuesday 3/26And beauty springs to life on earth,Mars – war-like; knightly discipline, courage & orderliness or cruelty and lawlessnessChrist’s power brings attack and outrage from the high priests, elders, Pharisees, and Sadducees. He counters them with parables and love.
Wednesday 3/27Then drawn from heaven afarMercury – active power, temperamental, ability to divide and recombine like quicksilverThe turning point – Mary Magdeline anoints Jesus’ feet with precious oil and Judas becomes enraged and makes plans to betray Him.
Maundy Thursday 3/28The force of life moves in human fleshJupiter – tragic splendor, kingliness, magnanimity, festal joyThe last supper. Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. The bread and wine are given as the body and blood of Christ.
Good Friday 3/29And unites, with mighty effect,Venus – love, union, beauty, creativityJudas betrays Jesus. Jesus submits to arrest and flagellation in peace. The disciples hide and Peter denies Him. The crucifixion – the greatest love of God for humanity, Christ’s blood is united with the earth. Solar eclipse and earthquake.
Saturday 3/30Spirit ways with mankind’s core.Saturn – death, treachery, sorrow, pestilenceEntombment and descent into hell to overcome the dragon. He who died on the cross entered the kingdom of the dead.
Easter Sunday 3/31Begin Week 1—When from afar the Sun breaks forth; To warm the hearts and minds of men...Sun/Sol rises anew as the Son of God—The Etheric Christ—ultimate freedom, generosity, wisdom and enlightenmentThe resurrection – a new spiritual Sun is born in Man. Christ unites His "I" with the Earth so we may raise our egos and become one body of human brotherhood in Christ. Just as Mary Magdeline mistook the risen Christ for a gardener, the soul now beholds Him as the cultivator of a new Earth.

Our automated COTS tool presents pairs of 26 "corresponding verses" for greater insight. The sum of the corresponding verses is always 53. Thus, the corresponding verse for week 52 (Holy Week) is verse 1 (Easter) as illustrated below. Traveling the path of a lemniscate, the spring and autumn equinoxes lie at the center where the corresponding verses cross at Easter and Michaelmas.

COTS Lemniscate

During the Summer and Winter Solstices (and then St. John's Tide and Christmas), the corresponding verses land farthest from each other. They reflect the opposing Luciferic impulses of summer, on one hand, and the Ahrimanic forces of winter, on the other. The Christ is centered in the middle, balancing these opposing forces as depicted in Rudolf Steiner's sculpture, The Representative of Man.

Like two dancing partners in mirrored polarity, the corresponding verses reflect two sides of an infinity pattern. The planetary influences shine through the lines of each verse revealing esoteric wisdom. By meditating on The Calendar of the Soul verses throughout the year, we can attain higher consciousness and greater insight into our role in the universe.

We welcome you to join us on this journey, beginning with verse 52 this Great and Holy Week and its corresponding verse 1 for Easter.


From Jesus to Christ

originally posted on March 30, 2023

This Eastertide, we highlight two lectures Steiner gave on 10-11 October 1911 pertaining to Christ’s resurrection. These are contained in GA 131, From Jesus to Christ, lectures VI and VII. There, Steiner masterfully explains the biblical account of the resurrection as a historical fact and discusses:

  • The death and resurrection of Christ Jesus as the ‘highest initiation,’
  • Christ as the ‘second Adam,’
  • The rescue of the human Ego, and
  • How mankind may be saved from continued devolution and ultimately, death itself.

Read more →

Easter and the Mystery of Golgotha

originally posted on April 10, 2022

We invite you to read some of the many lectures Steiner gave regarding Easter. In his discussions about what he terms “the Mystery of Golgotha,” he shares the cosmic significance of the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. You can find some of his selected works under the Festivals topic on the left-hand side navigation of our website. The excerpts presented here cannot begin to capture the profound teachings of Steiner on this topic. We merely share them as highlights to encourage you to explore the full lectures yourself.