Wulfila and the Conversion of the ‘Barbaric’ Northern Tribes to Arian-Christianity

Ulfilas (Wulfila in Germanic), A.D. 311–383, missionary to the West-Goths in the Balkan region; founder of Arianic-Germanic Christendom, who translated the Bible into Gothic.

Page of the Codex Argenteus

Codex Argenteus

location: Uppsala, Universitetsbibliotek [Sign. DG. 1]
size: 187 leaves (originally 336 leaves)
content: Parts of the Gospels in the order Matthew, John, Luke, Mark.

Splendid manuscript written in silver and gold ink on purple parchment, also known as the Silver Bible (Swedish Silverbibeln). Presumably written in Italy in the early 6th century. First discovered in the sixteenth century in the monastery of Werden (Germany). Subsequently taken to Prague (Rudolf II), captured by the Swedes (1648) and brought to Stockholm, taken to Holland by Isaac Vossius and finally bought by Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie, who donated the manuscript to the University of Uppsala (1669).

Anyone who follows the spread of Eastern Christianity and the spread of Arianism can see a Mithras element in it, even though in already quite weakened form. Any translation of the Ulfilas-Bible into modern languages remains imperfect if one is unaware that Mithras elements still play into the terminology of Ulfilas (or Wulfila). But who pays heed nowadays to these deeper relationships in the linguistic element? As late as in the fourth century, there were philosophers in Greece who worked on bringing the ancient etheric astronomy into harmony with Christianity. From this effort then arose the true Gnosis, which was thoroughly eradicated by later Christianity, so that only a few fragments of the literary samples of this Gnosis have remained.

What do people really know today about the Gnosis, of which they say in their ignorance that our anthroposophy is a warmed-over version? Even if this were true, such people would not be able to know about it, for they are familiar only with those parts of the Gnosis that are found in the critical, Occidental-Christian texts dealing with the Gnosis. They know the quotes from Gnostic texts left behind by the opponents of the Gnosis. There is hardly anything left of the Gnosis except what could be described by the following comparison. Imagine that Herr von Gleich would be successful in rooting out the whole of anthroposophical literature and nothing would remain except his quotations. Then, later on, somebody would attempt to reconstruct anthroposophy based on these quotes; then, it would be about the same procedure in the West as that which was applied to the Gnosis. Therefore, if people say that modern anthroposophy imitates the Gnosis, they would not know it even if it were the case, because they are unfamiliar with the Gnosis, knowing of it only through its opponents.

So, particularly in Athens, a school of wisdom existed well into the fourth century, and indeed even longer, that endeavored to bring the ancient etheric astronomy into harmony with Christianity. The last remnants of this view — man’s entering from higher worlds through the planetary sphere into the earth sphere — still illuminate the writings of Origen; they even shine through the texts of the Greek Church Fathers. Everywhere one can see it shimmer through. It shines through particularly in the writings of the genuine Dionysius the Areopagite. This Dionysius left behind a teaching that was a pure synthesis of the etheric astronomy and the element dwelling in Christianity. He taught that the forces localized, as it were, astronomically and cosmically in the sun entered into the earth sphere in Christ through the man Jesus of Nazareth and that thereby a certain previously nonexistent relationship came into being between the earth and all the higher hierarchies, the hierarchies of the Angels, of Wisdom, the hierarchies of the Thrones and the Seraphim, and so on. It was a penetration of this teaching of the hierarchies with etheric astronomy that could be found in the original Dionysius the Areopagite.” — Rudolf Steiner, Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, lecture 4, 15Apr1921, Dornach, GA 204

We must realise the importance of this world-historic event. Ancient culture is still alive in Augustine’s environment, but it is already decadent, has passed into its period of decline. He struggles bitterly, but to no purpose, with the last remnants of this culture surviving in Manichæism and Neoplatonism. His mind is steeped in what this wisdom, even in its decadence, has to offer, and, to begin with, he cannot accept Christianity. He stands there, an eminent rhetorician and Neoplatonist, but torn with gnawing doubt. And what happens? Just when he has reached the point of doubting truth itself, of losing his bearings altogether along the tortuous paths of the decadent learning of antiquity in the fourth century of our era, when innumerable questions are hurtling through his mind, he thinks he hears the voice of a child calling to him from the next garden: ‘Take and read! Take and read!’ And he turns to the New Testament, to the Epistles of St. Paul, and is led through the voice of the child to Roman Catholicism.

The mind of Augustine is laden with the oriental wisdom which had now become decadent in the West. He is a typical representative of this learning and then, suddenly, through the voice of a child, he becomes the paramount influence in subsequent centuries. No actual break occurs until the fifteenth century and it may truly be said that the ultimate outcome of this break appears as the change that took place in the life of thought in the middle of the nineteenth century.

And so, in this fourth century of our era, we find the human mind involved in the complicated network of Western culture but also in an element which constitutes the starting-point of a new impulse. It is an impulse that mingles with what has come over from the East and from the seemingly barbarian peoples by whom Roman civilisation was gradually superseded, but whose instructors, after they had mingled with the peasantry and the landowning classes, were the priests of the Roman Church. In the depths, however, there is something else at work. Out of the raw, unpolished soul of these peoples there emerges an element of lofty, archaic spirituality. There could be no more striking example of this than the bock that has remained as a memorial of the ancient Goths — Wulfila’s translation of the Bible. We must try to unfold a sensitive understanding of the language used in this translation of the Bible. The Lord’s Prayer, to take one example, is built up, fragment by fragment, out of the confusion of thought of which Augustine was so typical a representative. Wulfila’s translation of the Bible is the offspring of an archaic form of thought, of Arian Christianity as opposed to the Athanasian Christianity of Augustine.

Perhaps more strongly than anywhere else, we can feel in Wulfila’s translation of the Bible how deeply the pagan thought of antiquity is permeated with Arian Christianity. Something that is pregnant with inner life echoes down to us from these barbarian peoples and their culture, to which the civilisation of ancient Rome was giving place. The Lord’s Prayer rendered by Wulfila, is as follows:

Atta unsar thu in himinam,
Veihnai namo thein;
Quimai thiudinassus theins.
Vairthai vilja theins, sve in himina, jah ana aerthai.
Hlaif unsarana thana sinteinan, gif uns himma daga.
Jah aflet uns, thatei skulans sijaima, svasve jah veis afletam thaim skulam unsaraim.
Jah ni briggais uns in fraistubnjai, ak lausei uns af thamma ubilin.
Unte theina ist thiu dangardi, jah mahts, jah vulthus in aivius. Amen.

Atta unsarthu in himinam, veihnainamo thein; Quimaithiudinassustheins. Vairthai viljatheins, sve in himina, jah ana aerthai. — The words of this wonderful prayer cannot really be translated literally into our modern language, but they may be rendered thus:

We feel Thee above in the Spirit-Heights, All Father of men.
May Thy Name be hallowed.
May Thy Kingdom come to us.
May Thy Will be supreme, an the Earth even as it is in Heaven.

— We must be able to feel what these words express. Men were aware of the existence of a primordial Being, of the All-sustaining Father of humanity in the heights of spiritual existence. They pictured Hirn with their faculties of ancient clairvoyance as the invisible, super-sensible King who rules His Kingdom as no earthly King. Among the Goths this Being was venerated as King and their veneration was proclaimed in the words : Atta unsarthu in himinam.

This primordial Being was venerated in His three aspects: May Thy Name be hallowed. ‘Name’ — as a study of Sanscrit will show — implied the outer manifestation or revelation of the Being, as a man reveals himself in his body. ‘Kingdom’ was the supreme Power: Veihnainamothein; Quimaithiudinassustheins, Vairthai viljatheins, sve in himina, jah ana aerthai.

‘Will’ indicated the Spirit shining through the Power and the Name. — Thus as they gazed upwards, men beheld the Spirit of the super-sensible worlds in His three-fold aspect. To this Spirit they paid veneration in the words :

Jah ana aerthai.
Hlaif unsarana thana sinteinan, gif uns himma daga.

— So may it be on Earth. Even as Thy Name, the form in which Thou art outwardly manifest, shall be holy, so may that which in us becomes outwardly manifest and must daily be renewed, be radiant with spiritual light. We must try to understand the meaning of the Gothic word Hlaif, from which Leib (Leib=body) is derived. In saying the words, ‘Give us this day our daily bread,’ we have no feeling for what the word Hlaif denoted here: — Even as Thy ‘Name’ denotes thy body, so too may our body be spiritualised, subsisting as it does through the food which it receives and transmutes.

The prayer speaks then of the ‘Kingdom’ that is to reign supreme from the super-sensible worlds, and so leads on to the social order among men. In this super-sensible ‘Kingdom’ men are not debtors one of another. The word debt among the Goths means debt in the moral as well as in the physical, social life.

And so the prayer passes from the ‘Name’ to the ‘Kingdom’, from the bodily manifestation in the Spirit, to the ‘Kingdom’. And then from the outer, physical nature of the body to the element of soul in the social life and thence to the Spiritual.—

Jah aflet uns, thatei skulans sijaima, svasve jah
veis afletam thaim skulam unsaraim.

— May we not succumb to those forces which, proceeding from the body, lead the Spirit into darkness; deliver us from the evils by which the Spirit is cast into darkness. Jah nibriggaisuns in fraistubnjai, aklauseiunsafthammaubilin. — Deliver us from the evils arising when the Spirit sinks too deeply into the bodily nature.

Thus the second part of the prayer declares that the order reigning in the spiritual heights must be implicit in the social life upon Earth. And this is confirmed in the words : We will recognise this spiritual Order upon Earth.

Unte theina ist thiu dangardi, jah mahts, jah vulthus in aivius. Amen.

— All-Father, whose Name betokens the out er manifestation of the Spirit, whose Kingdom we will recognise, whose Will shall reign: May earthly nature too be full of Thee, and our body daily renewed through earthly nourishment. In our social life may we not be debtors one of another, but live as equals. May we stand firm in spirit and in body, and may the trinity in the social life of Earth be linked with the super-earthly Trinity. For the Supersensible shall reign, shall be Emperor and King. The Supersensible — not the material, not the personal — shall reign.

Unte theina ist thiu dangardi, jah mahts, jah vulthus in avius. Amen.

— For on Earth there is no thing, no being over which the rulership is not Thine. — Thine is the Power and the Light and the Glory, and the all-supreme Love between men in the social life.

The Trinity in the super-sensible world is thus to penetrate into and find expression in the social order of the Material world. And again, at the end, there is the confirmation: Yea, verily, we desire that this threefold order shall reign in the social life as it reigns with Thee in the heights: For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the revealed Glory. — Theinaistthiudangardi, jahmahts, jahvulthus in aivius. Amen.

Such was the impulse living among the Goths. It mingled with those peasant peoples whose mental life is regarded by history as being almost negligible. But this impulse unfolded with increasing rapidity as we reach the time of the nineteenth century. It finally came to a climax and led on then to the fundamental change in thought and outlook of which we have heard in this lecture.

Such are the connections. — I have given only one example of how, without in any way distorting the facts, but rather drawing the real threads that bind them together, we can realise in history the existence of law higher than natural law can ever be. I wanted, in the first place, to describe the facts from the exoteric point of view. Later on we will consider their esoteric connections, for this will show us how events have shaped themselves in this period which stretches from the fourth century A.D. to our own age, and how the impulses of this epoch live within us still. We shall realise then that an understanding of these connections is essential to the attainment of true insight for our work and thought at the present time.” — Rudolf Steiner, European Spiritual Life in the 19th Century, Lecture 1, 15May1921, Dornach, GA 325

 

Christmas Symbolism: Ox and Ass

During the Age of Taurus (roughly from 3000 BCE to 800 BCE), the bull and the calf were venerated. As this Age transitioned to Aries, the Mithraic Mysteries arose where the cosmic Christ was sought as one overcame the bull within:Mithras

Note the symbol of the snake. Mithraism apparently grew out of Persia and became popular throughout much of the Roman empire just before the spread of Christianity.

Many of the Old Testament books have the expression ox and ass. For example, in Job 1:14 it says “and there came a messenger unto Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them,”

adelphia sarcophagus

Andrew Graham-Dixon of the Independent writes in his Arts column from December 1992, “The first reference to the ox and ass at the Nativity comes several centuries after the fact, in a book that is not much read these days: the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, written [down] some time in the eighth century [most researchers date this to 600 AD]. The author of this apocryphal text is unlikely to have invented this detail on his own. It seems probable that the early church fathers had also placed the ox and the ass at the Nativity because of what seemed a suggestive reference to the two animals in the Book of Isaiah: ‘The ox knows its owner and the ass its master’s stall; but Israel, my own people, has no knowledge, no discernment.’” The Adelphia Sarcophagus relief (to the left) is from roughly 330 AD; note the ox and ass in its nativity scene.

Giotto also places the ox and ass in his nativity scene. GiottoScrovegniChapel_Nativity 1305In his Escape to Egypt and the triumphant entry of Christ Jesus to Jerusalem includes an ass for travel (frescoes by Giotto).

19-flight-into-egyptIn Luke 13:15 we read “The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?”

A bit later in Luke, 14:5, it says “And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?”

OK, lots of other references are possible – you likely are aware there are many such references in the Bible and other related ancient texts. I have had a question about the symbolic or mystical purpose of these two beasts. In reading David Ovason’s book The Two Children, I found a treasure! “The ox was intended as a reference to the bull of Mithras, and perhaps even to the bull of the Egyptian god Apis – both important cults still offering initiation at the time of the birth of Jesus. … Just as the bull would have been familiar to the early Christians as being emblematic of the Mithraic cult, so the ass would have been familiar to them through the writing of the 2nd century AD African writer Lucius Apulcius.” Apulcius’ esoteric book The Golden Ass, is the story of a “human who had been metamorphosed into the body of an ass” but finds liberation through the “initiation rites of Isis”. David goes on to say that Gnostic deities were depicted with the head of an ass.Giotto Scenes_from_the_Life_of_Christ_-_10__Entry_into_Jerusalem

The gospel books are full of passages where the event could be happening in the physical or in the spiritual world or both (typically both).  I find it plausible that both the bull (ox) and the ass each represent a stream of the ancient mysteries. Linking the bull to Mithras and Egyptian Apis mysteries makes sense. And I can be persuaded that the ass represents the Osiris-Isis mysteries of Egypt but I’ll need more persuasion. Anyone want to persuade me?

Return of HephaestusTo close I’d like to add one more image. When Hephaestus returned to Mount Olympus, many years after his mother, Hera, threw him off because his foot was deformed and thus ugly, he rode on an ass. Christ did not copy this; rather he fulfilled the myths and the prophecies. What does this riding into Jerusalem or onto Olympus truly mean?

Our Debts and Our Debtors

I have long wondered about the phrase from Matthew 6:12, the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” It does not say “forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors.” What could be meant by the collective “our debts”? Who are “our debtors” as distinguished from “my debtors?” Could there be a “cosmic” explanation?

Let’s explore this cosmic possibility. When Rudolf Steiner discussed the previous planetary condition that esotericists call Old Moon, he mentions that the beings who are now Angels were then at the human stage. Seven spheres trimmedRoughly mid way through Old Moon’s times, evolution continued but devolution took precedence. This is similar to how during one’s life the forces of youth give way to the forces of old age when we reach the downhill part of our lives. At this point of cosmic devolution, higher beings of the heavenly hierarchy who have completed their mission are able to progress to the next level of the hierarchy and, at the same time, those beings who will be human at the next planetary condition begin to weave into life. During Old Moon, those next humans were us! And Steiner mentions that during this descending times on Old Moon, we were ‘troublesome’ for the angels.

What was the outcome of this trouble that we gave to those who are now angels? They became our guardian angels! As our individual angel, they will stay with us, for better or worse, to rise or fall with us. They truly are our guardian who guides us from death to rebirth through the vast spheres of the spiritual world. They are known as the Sons of Twilight. Through their senses they observe the lightness and the darkness, the colors, of our thinking.

In Steiner’s book Knowledge of Higher Worlds, we are introduced to a being one meets when they attempt to enter the spiritual world. The Guardian of the Threshold protects us from entering this world unprepared for the experience. For being unprepared will likely make the experience “shattering” thereby negatively affecting one’s ability to carry on with daily life in a healthy way.  This Guardian first meets us on our side of the abyss of existence; that is, on the side where our everyday consciousness can extend up to where the twilight of the abyss exists. I have come to the conclusion that the Guardian of the Threshold begins as our guardian angel when we begin our meditative activity. As one progresses in becoming aware of the spiritual world, the Guardian of the Threshold’s guidance continues.

Eventually, as Steiner describes, when one is near the point where one’s ability to fully and healthfully participate in the spiritual world, then one finds that the Guardian has become the Christ. This incorporation of Christ within our guardian angel is significant not only for us but also for our angel and for the work of Christ.

“Our debt” began on Old Moon. By taking up meditation seriously and effectively now, we pay back this debt. Our guardian angel is united with us. Whether we, in freedom, choose to unite with Christ or take another path, our angel will go with us – for better or worse. Through meditation in harmony with the Guardian of the Threshold, we unite our angel’s destiny as well as our own destiny with Christ. In doing so, we can pay off “our debt”.

But what about “our debtors”? The Earth planetary condition is now well into devolution and so those beings who will be at the human stage in the next planetary conditions, Jupiter, are now, invisibly, among us. As we were troublesome  to today’s angels when they were at the human stage on Old Moon, so will the Jupiter-humans be troublesome to us. They become “our debtors” and we will need to forgive them. Because they are thrust up from below, they pass through the realm of Ahriman and take on his character. Such Ahrimanic beings are definitely among us, challenging us to become strong in spirit. Our debtors will inherit a human stage for their development; a stage we help to build with the love we learn from the Christ. Thus, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” has not only personal significance but also cosmic.

Our Debts and Our Debtors

I have long wondered about the phrase from Matthew 6:12, the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” It does not say “forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors.” What could be meant by the collective “our debts”? Who are “our debtors” as distinguished from “my debtors?” Could there be a “cosmic” explanation?

Let’s explore this cosmic possibility. When Rudolf Steiner discussed the previous planetary condition that esotericists call Old Moon, he mentions that the beings who are now Angels were then at the human stage. Seven spheres trimmedRoughly mid way through Old Moon’s times, evolution continued but devolution took precedence. This is similar to how during one’s life the forces of youth give way to the forces of old age when we reach the downhill part of our lives. At this point of cosmic devolution, higher beings of the heavenly hierarchy who have completed their mission are able to progress to the next level of the hierarchy and, at the same time, those beings who will be human at the next planetary condition begin to weave into life. During Old Moon, those next humans were us! And Steiner mentions that during this descending times on Old Moon, we were ‘troublesome’ for the angels.

What was the outcome of this trouble that we gave to those who are now angels? They became our guardian angels! As our individual angel, they will stay with us, for better or worse, to rise or fall with us. They truly are our guardian who guides us from death to rebirth through the vast spheres of the spiritual world. They are known as the Sons of Twilight. Through their senses they observe the lightness and the darkness, the colors, of our thinking.

In Steiner’s book Knowledge of Higher Worlds, we are introduced to a being one meets when they attempt to enter the spiritual world. The Guardian of the Threshold protects us from entering this world unprepared for the experience. For being unprepared will likely make the experience “shattering” thereby negatively affecting one’s ability to carry on with daily life in a healthy way.  This Guardian first meets us on our side of the abyss of existence; that is, on the side where our everyday consciousness can extend up to where the twilight of the abyss exists. I have come to the conclusion that the Guardian of the Threshold begins as our guardian angel when we begin our meditative activity. As one progresses in becoming aware of the spiritual world, the Guardian of the Threshold’s guidance continues.

Eventually, as Steiner describes, when one is near the point where one’s ability to fully and healthfully participate in the spiritual world, then one finds that the Guardian has become the Christ. This incorporation of Christ within our guardian angel is significant not only for us but also for our angel and for the work of Christ.

“Our debt” began on Old Moon. By taking up meditation seriously and effectively now, we pay back this debt. Our guardian angel is united with us. Whether we, in freedom, choose to unite with Christ or take another path, our angel will go with us – for better or worse. Through meditation in harmony with the Guardian of the Threshold, we unite our angel’s destiny as well as our own destiny with Christ. In doing so, we can pay off “our debt”.

But what about “our debtors”? The Earth planetary condition is now well into devolution and so those beings who will be at the human stage in the next planetary conditions, Jupiter, are now, invisibly, among us. As we were troublesome  to today’s angels when they were at the human stage on Old Moon, so will the Jupiter-humans be troublesome to us. They become “our debtors” and we will need to forgive them. Because they are thrust up from below, they pass through the realm of Ahriman and take on his character. Such Ahrimanic beings are definitely among us, challenging us to become strong in spirit. Our debtors will inherit a human stage for their development; a stage we help to build with the love we learn from the Christ. Thus, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” has not only personal significance but also cosmic.

Cosmic Caduceus

The Cosmic Caduceus was erected on Golgotha. There with Christ Jesus in the middle were two others representing the white and the black Crucifixion Peter Gertner Walters Art Museumsnake. The serpent represents intelligence, one of above and one of below. These two tempters are the Light Bearer, Lucifer, the white snake, and the Prince of Darkness, known to Zarathustra as Ahriman and in some Christian writings as Satan, the black snake. Later Christian writers lost this notion of dual tempters and combined them into one and called it Satan. Today we see this on the sign on ambulances – a single snake only – showing how medicine has become materialistic and lost the necessary balance for humanity. Hermes (Greek, Mercury-Roman) is the archangel of healing and carries the Caduceus meaning that Hermes knows how to balance these two and in the balance one becomes healthy. Golgotha was for not only the healing of Humanity but also for the healing of the Earth. Note that Lucifer was redeemed by Christ on Golgotha but Ahriman was not for Lucifer, who continues his work, is redeemable by each human but we still must face Ahriman who challenges our free spiritual development so that it will be strong for the future. The times we live in now are the times foretold by the story of Prometheus, and Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty). We have pricked our finger on technology (the spinning wheel) and our soul has fallen asleep. Will we awake?

Upcoming Events

(scroll down for previous events):

Currently on a working vacation to write the long-promised book on Technology and the Evolution of Mankind.

An earlier book, the children’s book Dance of the Elves, is now in its second edition and available from Mercury Press for $15.

Dance of the Elves

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If you would like to arrange for any (or all) of these lectures to be presented in your local library or other venue, let me know.  Please use this form to contact me:

 

Recent Events

Secrets of Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks Revealed, Springfield, MAVirgin of the Rocks - Louvre

Dec. 3 (Thursday), Noon-1 pm Lecture slides

The Springfield Art Museum, 21 Edwards St. Springfield, MA. 413-263-6800 

Enjoy an artistic investigation together in time for Christmas! Andrew Linnell, an experienced lecturer and researcher of the Ancient Mysteries, will lead us through an entertaining discussion of the mysteries revealed in the original Virgin of the Rocks. Why were there two paintings? What was da Vinci attempting to depict? Who are the characters? Are they the two Messiahs anticipated in Essene-lore? Did any other artist paint similar scenes? If so, what might this mean to our Christian theology? Many fun questions to explore with a heavy dose of beautiful Renaissance art. Note: this is not a religious lecture, rather an unusual and entertaining art history talk meant for public and academic enrichment. New findings will be shared. Dan Brown fans will enjoy this! 

Link the Springfield Art Museum’s calendar for this event

 

 

 

Spiritual Science and the Role of Technology in Evolution, Kimberton (PA) Branch of Anthroposophical Society in America

Sept. 27 (Sunday), 2 – 4 pm, no slides – this will be a daytime talk.

Venue: Rose Hall, 1601 Pughtown Rd., Phoenixville, PA.

Michael’s battle with Ahriman as manifesting in machines, robotics, and Human-Machine hybrids. What can we learn from artificial intelligence and the predictions of a Singularity. What picture of our human future is emerging? The Western Path.

Ancient Warnings of Our Destiny with Machines, Beaver Run (PA) Branch of Anthroposophical Society in America Return of Hephaestus

Sept. 26 (Saturday), 8:30 – 10 pm, possible Lecture Slides

Venue: Rainbow Hall, 1784 Fairview Rd., Glenmoore, PA

Hephaestus, the God of Technology. Automatons. Zeus, Prometheus, Epimethius, and Pandora. Sleeping Beauty. The Western Path.

 

 

 

Mankind’s Destiny with Machines, Princeton (NJ) Branch of Anthroposophical Society in America

Sept. 25 (Friday), 7 – 9 pm, possible Lecture Slides,

Venue: The Princeton Waldorf School, 1062 Cherry Hill Rd, Princeton, NJ . Check back for more info.

Human-Machine hybrids are already here. From simple software to artificially intelligent robots: what does it say about the Human?  Why must we deal with machines for our evolution? The Western Path.  Will We Become Creators?

Spiritual Science and the Role of Technology in Evolution, NY Branch of Anthroposophical Society in AmericaMan Machine final

Sept. 24 (Thursday), 7 – 9 pm, Lecture Slides, Flyer

Venue: 138 West 15th St, (between 6th & 7th Aves), Manhattan NYC 212-242-8945. Check www.asnyc.org for more info.

Will We Become Creators? From robotics to Human-Machine hybrids, artificial intelligence, avatars, and the Singularity: is this a human future? Why must we deal with machines for our evolution? The Western Path.

The Holy Trinity – The Logos – The Elohim – Christ – and Jesus (phew!)

It was a great debate in Early Christianity: is the Father of the Old Testament the same as the Father Christ referred to? For many the God who says and eye for an eye is different from one who says love thy enemy, turn your cheek. Eventually, a majority vote decided that these were the same Father. But this does not settle Truth. Most Christians continued to have a different perspective until the Roman army was used to get them to agree.

The matter becomes much more deep when we look at the work of the School of Athens under Dionysius the Areopagite (which Justinian had shut down). Here we find a Heavenly Hierarchy defined where the Elohim are equated with the Exusiai. The Christ is from this hierarchy but he carries within himself, united, the Logos who is the Son in the Holy Trinity. That is why John’s Gospel says In the Beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with the God. A God was the Logos. This same one (a god, an elohim) was with the God in the beginning. The Greek adjective ton should appear whenever the definite article ‘The’ is meant.

Now all this grows profoundly in depth when we consider the Rosicrucian interpretation of Genesis. “Let us create Mankind in our image.” One (of the 7) Elohim creates Eve as an asexual human. She is fertilized from the spirit – from knowing. Another Elohim, Yahveh, creates Adam (both are Adam in that they are Mankind). From Eve without Adam comes Cain. From Eve with Adam comes Abel. Then Eve liberates herself through Lucifer from Yahveh by eating from the Tree of Knowledge. And by getting Adam to also eat from it, the process of sexuality begins – humanity moves from being asexual to being a sexual duality and this process continues through Cain and Abel until Seth is born. Seth represents the first humans who are the result of sexual relations, of the woman being fertilized by a man as he is the first whose likeness is that of his parents. Heredity begins as does reincarnation.

It is important to study why Freemasons look back to Cain as their founder. Abel tended sheep while Cain tilled the soil. Profound. Look at the difference in the verbs to tend and to till. Cain sought to spiritualize the earth. Abel accepted the abundance given by God. Abel, during the time before the duality of sexes was established, represents feminine wisdom. Cain represents masculine wisdom. For Freemasons, in doing their work, they had to be kept free of feminine wisdom. With the advent of the 20th Century, this came to an end.

Dionysius the Areopagite listed the Heavenly Hierarchy as follows:

Holy Trinity: Father – Son (Logos) – Holy Spirit

  1. Seraphim
  2. Cherubim
  3. Thrones
  4. Kyriotetes
  5. Dynamis
  6. Exusiai / Elohim
  7. Archai
  8. Archangeloi
  9. Angeloi
  10. Mankind to become this hierarchy

Much earlier in evolution, the being known as the Christ, through his development, became united with the Logos. When evolution was working on Mankind, Christ was at the level of an Elohim. Jesus from Matthew’s Gospel and Jesus from Luke’s Gospel are from the tenth. They make an incredible sacrifice to merge when the Luke-Jesus is 12 in the Holy of the Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. This boy is now Jesus of Nazareth who will again make a sacrifice to offer his sheaths to the Elohim known as the Christ at baptism.

Although many Gnostics thought this was an example of an avatar incorporation, for early Christians this was a God becoming Man – penetrating all the way into the body so that even the physical body could be resurrected for all humans. Note that the physical body and its mineral/ash are not the same thing. At Easter, the stone was removed.

Who is Working Now?

John 5 is about a healing of a man by the Pool of Bethesda. Many of those afflicted awaited there for an angel to stir the waters believing the tradition that at that moment someone could be healed of their affliction. One man had been there 38 years hoping to be healed. Jesus approaches him and asks him if he has the will to be healed. The man replied that he does but he does not have someone who could carry him quickly down to the waters in time to be the first to catch the stirring and thus be healed. Jesus says to him, Arise, take up your mat and walk! Moments later, those adhering to Hebraic laws concerning the Sabbath, told this man that he was breaking the law that bans work by carrying his mat. Later Jesus “finds” this man “in the temple” and says to him, “Behold (Ide), you have become well. Sin no more lest something worse be generated in you.”  This man then tells the Jews that it was Jesus who healed him. So now the Jews confront Jesus about performing work, a healing, on the Sabbath. Jesus answers them by saying My Father once was working, now I am working [John 5:17]. The rest of chapter 5 is remarkably deep and a topic for another time. But what can we make of this passage?

Taking this in reverse order let us first focus on 5:17. Various translations include [NASB] “My Father is working until now, and I myself am working.” [KJV] “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work”, or [ASV] “My Father worketh even until now, and I work”.  The Greek says “working until now” using the word “arti” to mean that the Father’s work is being or has been suspended, and now Christ is becoming or is the one at work. A turning point in time was occurring then.

The healed man is not betraying Christ-Jesus by revealing who it was who healed him. We find this word “ide” translated as “behold”. In a prior blog concerning the mysteries revealed in John 20 (at the tomb) we found three Greek words that are often translated to merely “see”. But “ide” implies a seeing that is higher than that through the senses. “In the temple” can mean literally in the temple rebuilt by Herod or it could mean in a holy place within the body (soma) or both! It is here that Jesus finds him. The healing the man just went through changed him deeply, not just his lameness. Now he could truly inhabit his body and thus Jesus could find him there within.

Lastly we come to the 38 years this man has been waiting. The passage does not say he waited a long time; rather it is explicit how long. What else takes 38 years? The Hebrew calendar was based on the 235 full moons it took for the sun, earth, and moon come back into the same relative position, or every 19 years. Two such cycles this man had waited. Jesus had asked him what might seem to be an obvious question, “Do you have the will to get well?” The lame man, one would think, would be irritated when Jesus then says: “Take up your mat and walk.” That is exactly what he cannot do. But, deeply, he has understood what Christ-Jesus meant: through Him comes the power of inner adaptability, a soul-force that overcomes one’s adversity, a lame body. We can no longer allow ourselves to be carried by our fellow human beings – we must carry our own cross. Moreover, we must become those who are able to carry others. By developing our soul-forces, we become the masters of our environment (in a broad sense of the word environment).

Mithraism and the Cosmic Christ

When religions of old pointed to the God found in the sun, they were speaking about the Logos through whom all things became. Different names were given to this being. One religion that immediately preceded Christianity tried to prepare the way for the coming of this God, namely Mithraism. Once Christianity was established, it lost this connection to the cosmic Christ in favor of the earthly Christ. But the mosaic shown here, from St. Peter’s Basilica, shows the cosmic Christ as the charioteer of the Sun.

The approach of this God was experience in the ancient mysteries. Preparation meant overcoming one’s “Bull”. These ancient priests had an incredible knowledge of the stars and a sophisticated knowledge of the fixed and moving stars. They knew that if one followed all the majestic forces that flow from these sources and from the earth as well, one can grasp not the human but the bull. Only with the additional forces of the sun, could they grasp the meaning of the true human being. Meaning, of course, comes from the Logos.

To overcome one’s bull, involved inner strength to overcome the body’s influence on one’s soul (and lower self). Associated with this bull, we see in this sculpture three creatures. What do these represent? MithrasRemember that Christ was crucified with two others through whom individually both Lucifer and Ahriman spoke. Lucifer, in ancient art, has typically been depicted as the serpent while Ahriman is the hound. But who is represented by the scorpion? This completes the unholy trinity and its name is confusing as some traditions revere those spiritual beings with this name: Asuras. What is meant is those beings who are of the Archai level but have not met their own progress in past planetary conditions and thus act as a hindrance in our Earthly planetary condition. As weights are a hindrance to lifting objects, they strengthen us in our spiritual forces.

So Mithraism intended to make straight the way to the Cosmic Christ. Arius brought this cosmic Christ perspective. But by the 4th Century, Western Christianity had focused entirely on the earthly Christ and rejected the way of using the ancient mysteries to understand the Mystery of Golgotha.

Fear of Spiritual Death

As the Ancient Mysteries were fading, especially from the 4th century BC until the 1st century AD, the priests were very aware of a decline in their mysteries. No longer could their initiates reach back to the times when mankind and their gods interacted. No longer could their rituals invoke their folk spirits to descend and participate and guide. Traditions and knowledge passed down alone kept the people and their mystery center together. The priests feared what was to come. For them it appeared that without a renewal of their spiritual connection, all would be lost. Humanity would experience a spiritual death.

Christ entered and through the Mystery enacted on Golgotha, the new path, the new human became possible. Thus, Grunewalde depicts John the Baptist as saying at the cross “He must increase and I must decrease”.

This was what early Christianity was about.

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