Category Archives: Mystery of Golgotha

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?

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.

Christ and Our Bloodline

In ancient times, one’s bloodline was critical to one’s fate. The profession of the father became the profession of the son(s). Of the twelve tribes of Israel, only from the Levites could a priest be selected. After Abraham came the line of kings and concept of royal blood. If we proceed far back we come to a time when, according to Rudolf Steiner, even the father’s memories were passed through the blood to the son. When the Bible says this person lived 700 years, it is referring to how long the memory lived on as a part of successive generations collection of memory.  This was supported and protected by those spiritual beings who do “the good”.

But the bloodline begins to fail from the 7th century BCE onwards. This was especially noticed in the Mystery Centers where the bloodline could no longer support the development towards initiation into priesthood for neophytes. At the Turning Point in Time, Christ said to his disciples “this (wine) is my blood” and then on Golgotha, when a spear was thrust into his side, out ran blood and water and entered the earth. With this the bloodline ended.

Christianity was for all of humanity, regardless of bloodline. All could become, inwardly, a priest. Although kings would continue to claim succession rights to their bloodline, history shows that the bloodline was indeed unfit for the position. Similarly, when popes were to be selected, at one point, family lineage (and wealth and power) played a destructive role.

Rudolf Steiner points out that a reversal occurred on Golgotha concerning the good and evil beings support of bloodline (this statement is a gross simplification – apologies). Afterwards, the good beings move to support the universality of the human being. Steiner also associates the ability of people to form memory with the Archai (above arch-angels who are above angels).

One might ask “what happens to the memory once carried by the blood?” The ancient mysteries of Egypt could, in their heights, trace back to Lemurian times while those of Greece could trace back to Atlantean. As this memory capability faded, so did their associated mystery. Until the Renaissance, people had remarkable memories. Epic stories, told once, were remembered! The so-called Fairy Tales were handed down until the Grimm brothers realized that our memories were failing and these tales needed to be written down before they were lost. Today, social media is replacing our memory of our lives storing pictures and other memorabilia. Students no longer need to learn the times tables with that memorization replaced by calculators. Where is this going?

A new memory is needed for new mysteries. This new memory, it seems to me, will be akin to what’s going on “in the cloud”, namely a seeing of memory, a seeing of the Akashic Record.

From Ancient Mysteries to Rome, Part 2

A study of history can, however, bring to light something else in this connection, that is of very great significance. Into the external exoteric culture of Greece flowed much of this threefold teaching of

  1. Zarathustra, teaching of the spiritual Sun
  2. Osiris, the elemental Sun and
  3. Anaxagoras, of Zeus, the Sun-flooded ether environment of the Earth.

The world would never have had such a sublime Greek art, nor such a wonderful Greek philosophy, nor a Plato or an Aristotle, were it not that into the art and philosophy of Greece flowed streams from this ancient wisdom.

A time came, however, when the initiation truths that were handed down from past epochs were no longer sufficiently protected from profanation. Many teachings that had their source in initiation wisdom passed into the hands of distinguished Romans, more especially the Roman emperors. Among them all, perhaps of Augustus alone can it be said that he still knew how to value the initiation wisdom that was imparted to him. In the Roman world there was, generally speaking, no understanding for the esoteric factor in Greek art and Greek wisdom, no recognition that these contained elements which could be traced back to the very most ancient wisdom teaching. Consequently, the hopelessly prosaic, the semi-barbarous civilization of Rome took over what we may call the surface brightness, the sheen, of Greek culture, but was quite incapable of handing on, in its true form, to later generations what lived at the heart of this culture. And so when Roman influences began to permeate the Christianity that had, ever since the Mystery of Golgotha, been making its way into the world, there was no possibility for Christianity to receive, along with all that came from Rome, the true essence of the ancient culture.

Because Rome did not know how to value and guard initiation, the genuine initiation truths of earlier times have been prevented from finding their way over to the West. We must realize that we, as human beings possessing the ordinary consciousness of modern times, have been debarred from the sacred truths of olden times because Rome was unable to understand these truths. As we know, it was a man who hailed from Rome that drove out of Europe the last remaining Greek philosophers and obliged them to seek refuge in the East.

Now, there was in a later time a man who came as near to the teachings of initiation as it was possible to come in the time in which he lived, and who was acquainted with the teaching o£ these three aspects of the Sun — the aspect of the Sun according to Zarathustra, the aspect of the Sun that is associated with Osiris, and the aspect of the Sun as seen and understood by Pythagoras and Anaxagoras. This man was Julian the Apostate. He was not able himself to behold the Sun in all three aspects, but he knew of the teaching; he knew it as a tradition that had come down in the Mystery Schools. And so impressed was Julian the Apostate by this teaching of the three aspects of the Sun that to him that which Christianity brought seemed small in comparison. For he still knew of the inexpressible glory and splendor into which Zarathustra had gazed; he had learned to know also of the activities of fire and of light, of the cosmic chemical forces, and of the cosmic life-forces, as man had been able to behold them in the ancient Mysteries. Of all this he, Julian, could in his time still learn, albeit only by tradition.

This whole teaching seemed to him so sublime, so mighty, that he found himself unable to accept Christianity. The thoughts and purposes of his mind were, in fact, turned in quite another direction. He seized with the desire to impart to mankind the ancient Mysteries into which he had himself been initiated up to a certain degree. And this, my dear friends, was what led at last to the unsheathing of the dagger that brought his life to a violent end. The hand that lifted the dagger belonged to one of those who counted it a sin to communicate the lofty teachings of initiation to the general run of mankind. Julian’s murderer wanted that people should hear of the Sun spoken of in an external manner only.

Julian the Apostate declared that the Sun has three aspects:Bust of Julian the Apostate

  1. its influence on the Earthly ether
  2. its heavenly light that is behind the Earthly ether, the warmth, the chemical, and the life forces
  3. the aspect of pure spiritual Being.

For this he was put out of the way arranged by one of his own soldiers (tradition says John Martyr the Warrior). And indeed it must be admitted that the moment had not yet come when mankind in general was ripe to receive such weighty and solemn truths. That time has now come.

From Ancient Mysteries to Rome, Part 1

[The following relies on insights from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner in London, 24 August 1922]

Let’s go back to the Ancient Persian civilization when the teacher of mankind during the height of this civilization was Zarathustra (aka Zoroaster). It was a common custom for the pupils of a great and lofty teacher to continue for a long time to bear his name.  Thus, the Zarathustra we read of in history is in reality the last of a succession of pupils of the great Zarathustra. This great teacher of mankind was initiated in a most wonderful and remarkable manner into the secrets of existence, and he could stand before the men of his time and teach them as an eminent and sublime initiate.

When we look at the Sun, we see it through our scientific education. Through his initiation, Zarathustra knew that in that place in the heavens where we see a mere Sun, he knew there lives a great and all-embracing Spirit. In fact, Zarathustra did not see the physical Sun at all; rather he beheld a great and omnipresent cosmic Spirit that influenced him in a spiritual way. Zarathustra knew that with the sunshine came also spiritual rays, rays of divine-spiritual grace and bounty, which enkindle in the soul and spirit of man that ‘higher man’ to which the ordinary man in us must continually aspire.

Zarathustra, Zoroaster means the Radiant Star as this is what his pupils called him. They perceived that he received from the radiant Godhead the rays of wisdom. When Zarathustra looked upon the spiritual cosmic Sun, he was looking into the source of all the forces through which all things became. Forces that make the stones on the Earth to be hard and solid, forces that make the plants to come forth from their seeds and grow, forces that make the animals to spread abroad over the face of the Earth in their different kinds, and forces that make man to flourish and thrive upon the Earth. The first and oldest of the Zarathustras, the original Radiant Star, had knowledge of everything that took place on the Earth because he was able to experience the Spiritual Being of the Sun whom he called Ahura Mazda.

As mankind evolved, so did these Ancient Mysteries. When we get to the Chaldean and Egyptian era,  initiates were no longer able to penetrate so deeply into the Mysteries of the worlds. Mankind still looked up to the Sun, but he no longer saw it as radiant, as sending forth rays; rather, he saw it now as shining, as illuminating the Earth with its light. Sun-radiance was replaced with sunshine. Ra signified for Egyptians the Sun that moved round the Earth, giving light and Osiris was his representative on Earth. Some of the secrets from Persia had been lost. For example, the initiate was no longer able to see with full inner clarity the radiant cosmic God, as had the Persian initiates of an older time. He could only see how the primal astral forces descend from the Sun. Zarathustra saw in the Sun a Being, he was still able to see in the Sun a Being. The initiates of Egypt saw in the Sun the forces that come to the Earth.. What they saw were deeds, forces of light, forces of movement but not a spiritual Being. And the Egyptian initiates spoke of One who represents, on Earth, the forces of the Sun that man carries within him, namely Osiris.

When we come to the age of Greece, we find that by the eighth, seventh, fifth century before the Mystery of Golgotha, man had lost all power of looking into the Mysteries of the Sun. He could see only the effect of the Sun’s influence in the environment or the Earth. Man beheld the working of the Sun in the ether that fills all the space around the Earth. And this ether, that spreads out around the Earth and permeates also man himself, this the Greek initiates such as Anaxagoras called Zeus.

We see three descending stages in the cultural evolution of mankind. First there was the stage when the initiates beheld in the sun a divine-spiritual being; followed by a second stage when the initiates beheld the sun’s forces; and finally a third stage, when the initiates beheld only the influence of the sun being in the earth’s ether.

Whitsun: what is this festival anyway?

What is Whitsun? Why is it Important?

Whitsun is a shortened version of Whit Sunday which may derive from White Sunday or from Whit as in wit, wisdom, or both. This name is used in countries with Anglican religious heritage or connections. Whitsun is the seventh Sunday after Easter. It is another name for Pentecost which is the fiftieth day after Passover (the Saturday before Easter, or at least it was supposed to be but differences between the Gregorian, the Julian, and the Hebrew calendars cause Western Easter, Eastern Easter, and Passover to often unalign.) Another way to describe this is that Ascension Thursday happens 40 days after Easter and Whitsun/Pentecost ten days later. While Christmas is a fixed holiday, Whitsun/Pentecost is “movable” as it falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon that follows the spring equinox. The early Christians tried to establish Easter as a cosmic event with Christmas as an earthly event.  Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavuot, a prominent feast of ancient Israel that celebrated Moses receiving the Law on Sinai. Perhaps the name Whitsun, or Whitsunday, was an attempt to distance or distinguish this Christian festival from the Jewish one.

Whitsun and Ascension go together. The time from Easter to Ascension is a time of intense teaching from Christ to the disciples. All present were initiated into the deep Mysteries of Golgotha.  Then comes the proving of the training – ten days alone (or becoming all-one).

The festival of Whitsun commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s disciples. This is described in Acts 2:1-4, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all together in one self [place is often used]. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong rushing wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”

Normally our mental image is tongues of fire on the 12 disciples but note this 6th century Rabbula Gospels from Syria (now in the Laurentian Library in Florence, Italy). It shows Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, in the middle. Thus present, in one self, were more than just the 12. Some traditions claim as many as 120 were present as one.

To understand Whitsun/Pentecost, we need to understand what is here called the Holy Spirit. There are two mentions in the bible of descents of the holy spirit. The first is [John 1:32-34] at the baptism of Jesus,  “Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit descend down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’” The second ‘descent’ is Acts 2:1-4 as quoted above. I bolded the words “and remain” to emphasize that this spirit was not in Jesus of Nazareth until this moment of baptism. Theologians often miss this important point.

‘Spirit’ is mentioned in other passages, notably John 19:30, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit [pneuma, πνεῦμα].” Pneuma is the same word for wind in Greek, not the moving air but what moves the air. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states that pneuma also means “breath as in the nostrils or mouth, often in Greek writings from Aeschylus down.” Now read Genesis 2:7 (ASV) “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” And in John 1:4 “In Him is life [zoe, ζωὴ] and that life is the light of mankind.” “Him” is the Word, the Logos. When a human being speaks a word, they must use their breath. Breath is of the airy element in which light can freely exist. Note the strong association of the Word with life, zoe. Much more could be said on this tangent.

How are these two descents of the Holy Spirit alike and how are they different?

Let’s start with the day of the Ascension. Gazing upwards, the disciples of Christ Jesus  see Christ vanishing in the clouds. The usual conception of this scene is that Christ went up into heaven and so departed from the earth leaving not only the disciples to their own resources but the rest of mankind as well. This feels like a spiritual reneging on the promise of Easter! Did not Christ, through His deed on Golgotha, resolve to unite His own Being with the earth, that is to say, from the Mystery of Golgotha onwards to remain forever connected with earth-evolution?

Next, ten days after this Ascension, tongues of fire descend upon the heads of all of those assembled as “one self” so that they are inspired “to speak with other tongues.” What this actually means is that from this moment forward those gathered were able to impart the secrets learned from their time with the resurrected Christ, of the Mystery of Golgotha, to the heart of every human being, irrespective of race, gender, religion, or ethnicity. This was a cosmic deed accomplished for the whole of humanity.

Christ fulfilled his deed for all mankind on Golgotha. But now mankind must come to grasp this deed. The permeation of the human spirit-and-soul with the power to understand the Mystery of Golgotha is the sending of the Holy Spirit. This is the picture of the Whitsun festival, the festival of Pentecost.

Christ sent the Spirit after ten days of working on their own so that the individual being of spirit-and-soul may have access to the effects of The Deed that was accomplished for all men in common. Through the Spirit man must learn to experience the Christ Mystery inwardly, in spirit and in soul. The Holy Spirit is available to each human individual in order that he or she may be able to understand this cosmic Deed.

Looking a bit deeper (there are always more depths!), we can come to see that the Ascension tells us: The Deed on Golgotha was fulfilled for the physical body and the etheric body in the universal human sense while Whitsun tells us: The single human being must make this Deed bear fruit in himself by receiving the Holy Spirit. Thereby the universal Christ Impulse becomes individual in each human being.

Materialism and Christianity

Easter was THE important Christian festival. St. Paul said, “If Christ be not risen, then is your faith vain.” A key purpose to the Council of Nicaea was to set the date of Easter (as calendars in those days had insufficient leap years to prevent the spring equinox from sliding in March towards February). The festival of the birth of Jesus was not at all celebrated. Christians felt that Jesus (both of Matthew’s gospel and of Luke’s) was born as a man and Christ entered this body at the baptism. As full of mystery as birth and baptism may be, for early Christians the important new mystery was what happened from Golgotha to the grave to the resurrection.  With the early Christians, we do not find symbols of the suffering of Christ; rather we find their focus is on the resurrection.

Later, after 325 when the Council of Nicaea took place, materialism began to set in; even Christianity succumbed. The symbolic emphasis moved to the suffering Christ on the crucifix, to the bodily suffering of Christ. The crucifix is the expression of the transition to materialism taking root in Christianity. Spiritual reality is expelled by materialism. This comes to full reality with the 8th Ecumenical Council (Fourth in Constantinople). Here, by majority vote of the bishops, 27 canons were passed. The eleventh canon states “Though the Old and New Testaments teach that a man or woman has one rational and intellectual soul [compare to Aristotle], and all the fathers and doctors of the church, who are spokesmen of God, express the same opinion, some have descended to such a depth of irreligion, through paying attention to the speculations of evil people, that they shamelessly teach as a dogma that a human being has two souls, and keep trying to prove their heresy by irrational means, using a wisdom that has been made foolishness. Therefore this holy and universal synod is hastening to uproot this wicked theory now growing like some loathsome form of weed. Carrying in its hand the winnowing fork of truth, with the intention of consigning all the chaff to inextinguishable fire, and making clean the threshing floor of Christ, in ringing tones it declares anathema the inventors and perpetrators of such impiety and all those holding similar views; it also declares and promulgates that nobody at all should hold or preserve in any way the written teaching of the authors of this impiety. If however anyone presumes to act in a way contrary to this holy and great synod, let him be anathema and an outcast from the faith and way of life of Christians.”Diagram of body soul spirit

Photius, who is revered as a saint in the Eastern Church but despised in the West, had argued that Aristotle indicated that each person has two aspects to their soul, one aspect focuses on the senses of the physical body and is thereby liable to error while another aspect focuses on the spiritual and is thus immune to error. With this decree, however, the human was reduced; no longer body, soul, and spirit, but now only body and (one) soul. One could be excommunicated from Christ’s Church for stating anything differently. When Christianity reaches the twentieth century, few theologians use or understand the term ‘soul’ anymore. Materialism reigns supreme.

Following this Ecumenical Council, the Eucharist was altered. Only the ‘prepared’ priests could receive the wine while all received just the body, the bread. For the congregation, this meant only the body matters. The troubadours then come to this drama to sing about the search for the Holy Grail. Where has the blood of Christ gone? Spirit triumphant over death, over the physical fades away replaced by portrayals the pain-racked soul of Jesus. Who guards and sustains mankind? Replacing the Triumphant Son of Man is the Man of Sorrows.

The Knights Templars dash onto this scene two hundred years later. In their initiation ceremony, one was led to understand why they rejected the crucifix as a symbol of their Christianity. Supposedly, during the initiation process, the elect was to spit on a cross that had an image of the suffering savior.

Western culture where materialism is most deeply rooted must find a renewal of the Easter experience. The renewed Easter thought should lead one to be lifted into the Spirit.  Christ then becomes ‘visible’ as a super-sensible, super-earthly Being who entered into the stream of earthly evolution.

At the tomb that is the body, do we see only the stone? When we enter the tomb (Oh Man, Know Thou Thyself — Delphi) can we see the Kingdom within? Will we find “The One you seek is not here” or will we find “The One Who is here now,” the one Who from the spirit calls you to your spirit-awakening.

“In this Easter mood we shall also be able to find the strength with which our will must be imbued if the forces of decline are to be countered by those which lead humanity upwards. We need the forces that can bring about this ascent. And the moment we truly understand the Easter thought of Resurrection, this Easter thought — bringing warmth and illumination — will kindle within us the forces needed for the future evolution of mankind. Easter must become an inner festival, a festival in which we celebrate in ourselves the victory of the Spirit over the body. But we need the Christ for Whom we can seek in our inmost being, because when we truly seek Him, He at once appears.” — Rudolf Steiner,The Festivals and Their Meaning II, Lecture 4, March 27, 1921.

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