Monday, May 31, 2010

Psalm 118

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.

They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.

They compassed me about like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.

Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.

The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.

The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.

I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.

The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:

This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.

I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.

Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.

Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

In Memoriam: Saint Sebastian

The details of Saint Sebastian's martyrdom were first elaborated by Ambrose of Milan, in his sermon (number XX) on Psalm 118. Ambrose stated that Sebastian came from Milan and that he was already venerated there in the fourth century.

According to Sebastian's fifth-century Acta Sanctorum, still attributed to Ambrose by the seventeenth-century hagiographer Jean Bolland, and the briefer account in Legenda Aurea, he was a man of Gallia Narbonensis who was taught in Milan and appointed as a captain of the Praetorian Guard under Diocletian and Maximian, who were unaware that he was a Christian.

Sebastian was known for having encouraged in their faith two Christian prisoners due for martyrdom, Mark and Marcellian, who were bewailed and entreated by their family to forswear Christ and offer token sacrifice. His aura was said to have cured a woman of her muteness, and that the miracle instantly converted 78 persons.

According to tradition, Mark and Marcellian were twin brothers and were deacons. They were from a distinguished family and were both married, living in Rome with their wives and children. The brothers refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods and were arrested. They were visited by their father and mother, Tranquillinus and Martia, in prison, who attempted to persuade them to renounce Christianity.

Sebastian ended up converting Tranquillinus and Martia, as well as Saint Tiburtius, the son of Chromatius, the local prefect. Nicostratus, another official, and his wife Zoe were also converted. According to the legend, Zoe had been a mute for 6 years. However, she made known to Sebastian her desire to be converted to Christianity. As soon as she had, her speech returned to her. Nicostratus then brought the rest of the prisoners; these 16 persons were also converted by Sebastian.[2]

Chromatius and Tiburtius became converts; Chromatius set all of his prisoners free from jail, resigned his position, and retired to the country in Campania. Mark and Marcellian, after being concealed by a Christian named Castulus, were later martyred, as were Nicostratus, Zoe, and Tiburtius.

Diocletian reproached Sebastian for his supposed betrayal, and "he commanded him to be led to the field and there to be bounden to a stake for to be shot at. And the archers shot at him till he was as full of arrows as an urchin (hedgehog),"[4] leaving him there for dead. Miraculously, the arrows did not kill him. The widow of Castulus, Irene of Rome, went to retrieve his body to bury it, and found he was still alive. She brought him back to her house and nursed him back to health. The other residents of the house doubted he was a Christian. One of those was a girl who was blind. Sebastian asked her "Do you wish to be with God?", and made the sign of the Cross on her head. "Yes", she replied, and immediately regained her sight. Sebastian then stood on a step and harangued Diocletian as he passed by; the emperor had him beaten to death and his body thrown in a privy. But in an apparition Sebastian told a Christian widow where they might find his body undefiled and bury it "at the catacombs by the apostles."

Of the miraculous effect of the example of Sebastian, the Golden Legend reports,

"And Saint Gregory telleth in the first book of his Dialogues that a woman of Tuscany which was new wedded was prayed for to go with other women to the dedication of the church of Sebastian, and the night tofore she was so moved in her flesh that she might not abstain from her husband, and on the morn, she having greater shame of men than of God, went thither, and anon as she was entered into the oratory where the relics of Saint Sebastian were, the fiend took her and tormented her before all the people."

Sebastian was also said to be a defense against the plague. The Golden Legend transmits the episode of a great plague that afflicted the Lombards in the time of King Gumburt, which was stopped by the erection of an altar to Sebastian in the Church of Saint Peter in the Province of Pavia.

Because Sebastian had been thought to have been killed by the arrows, and yet was not, and then later was killed by the same emperor who ordered him shot, he is sometimes known as the saint who was martyred twice.


Meditative Bookends

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah 6:1-8

"Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, "Peace be unto you."

And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.

Then said Jesus to them again, "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

John 20:17-23

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."--George Orwell

"Michaelangelo's Secret Message in the Sistine Chapel"
by Dr. Douglas Fields

At the age of 17 he began dissecting corpses from the church graveyard. Between the years 1508 and 1512 he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Michelangelo Buonarroti, known by his first name the world over as the singular artistic genius, sculptor, and architect, was also an anatomist, a secret he concealed by destroying almost all of his anatomical sketches and notes.

Now, 500 years after he drew them, his hidden anatomical illustrations have been found -- painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, cleverly concealed from the eyes of Pope Julius II and countless religious worshipers, historians, and art lovers for centuries -- inside the body of God.

This is the conclusion of Ian Suk and Rafael Tamargo, in their paper in the current issue of the scientific journal Neurosurgery. Suk and Tamargo are experts in neuroanatomy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

In 1990, physician Frank Meshberger published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association deciphering Michelangelo's imagery with the stunning recognition that the depiction in God Creating Adam in the central panel on the ceiling was a perfect anatomical illustration of the human brain in cross section. Meshberger speculates that Michelangelo surrounded God with a shroud representing the human brain to suggest that God was endowing Adam not only with life, but also with supreme human intelligence.

Now in another panel The Separation of Light from Darkness, Suk and Tamargo have found more. Leading up the center of God's chest and forming his throat, the researchers have found a precise depiction of the human spinal cord and brain stem.

Is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a 500 year-old puzzle that is only now beginning to be solved? What was Michelangelo saying by constructing the voice box of God out of the brain stem of man? Is it a sacrilege or homage?

It took Michelangelo four years to complete the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He proceeded from east to west, starting from the entrance of the Chapel to finish above the altar. The last panel he painted depicts God separating light from darkness. This is where the researchers report that Michelangelo hid the human brain stem, eyes and optic nerve of man inside the figure of God directly above the altar.

Art critics and historians have long puzzled over the odd anatomical irregularities in Michelangelo's depiction of God's neck in this panel, and by the discordant lighting in the region. The figures in the fresco are illuminated diagonally from the lower left, but God's neck, highlighted as if in a spotlight, is illuminated straight-on and slightly from the right. How does one reconcile such clumsiness by the world's master of human anatomy and skilled portrayer of light, with bungling the image of God above the altar?

Suk and Tamargo propose that the hideous goiter-disfigured neck of God is not a mistake, but rather a hidden message. They argue that nowhere else in any of the other figures did Michelangelo foul up his anatomically correct rendering of the human neck. They show that if one superimposes a detail of God's odd lumpy neck in the Separation of Light and Darkness on a photograph of the human brain as seen from below, the lines of God's neck trace precisely the features of the human brain.

There is something else odd about this picture. A roll of fabric extends up the center of God's robe in a peculiar manner. The clothing is bunched up here as is seen nowhere else, and the fold clashes with what would be the natural drape of fabric over God's torso. In fact, they observe, it is the human spinal cord, ascending to the brain stem in God's neck. At God's waist, the robe twists again in a peculiar crumpled manner, revealing the optic nerves from two eyes, precisely as Leonardo Da Vinci had shown them in his illustration of 1487. Da Vinci and Michelangelo were contemporaries and acquainted with each other's work.

The mystery is whether these neuroanatomical features are hidden messages or is the Sistine Chapel a Rorschach test upon which anyone can extract an image that is meaningful to themselves. The authors of the paper are, after all, neuroanatomists. The neuroanatomy they see on the ceiling may be nothing more than the man on the moon.

But Michelangelo also depicted anatomical features elsewhere in the ceiling, according to other scholars; notably the kidney, which was familiar to Michelangelo and was of special interest to him as he suffered from kidney stones.

If the hidden figures are intentional, what do they mean? The authors resist speculation, but a great artist does not merely reproduce an object in a work of art, he or she evokes meaning through symbolism. Is Separation of Light from Darkness an artistic comment on the enduring clash between science and religion? Recall that this was the age when the monk Copernicus was denounced by the Church for theorizing that the earth rotated around the sun. It was a period of struggle between scientific observation and the authority of the Church, and a time of intense conflict between Protestants and Catholics.

It is no secret that Michelangelo's relationship with the Catholic Church became strained. The artist was a simple man, but he grew to detest the opulence and corruption of the Church. In two places in the masterpiece, Michelangelo left self portraits -- both of them depicting himself in torture. He gave his own face to Saint Bartholomew's body martyred by being skinned alive, and to the severed head of Holofernes, who was seduced and beheaded by Judith.

Michelangelo was a devout person, but later in life he developed a belief in Spiritualism, for which he was condemned by Pope Paul IV. The fundamental tenet of Spiritualism is that the path to God can be found not exclusively through the Church, but through direct communication with God. Pope Paul IV interpreted Michelangelo's Last Judgment, painted on the wall of the Sistine Chapel twenty years after completing the ceiling, as defaming the church by suggesting that Jesus and those around him communicated with God directly without need of Church. He suspended Michelangelo's pension and had fig leaves painted over the nudes in the fresco. According to the artist's wishes, Michelangelo's body is not buried on the grounds of the Vatican, but is instead interred in a tomb in Florence.

Perhaps the meaning in the Sistine Chapel is not of God giving intelligence to Adam, but rather that intelligence and observation -- and the bodily organ that makes them possible -- lead, without the necessity of Church, directly to God. The material is rich for speculation and the new findings will doubtlessly spark endless interpretation. We may never know the truth, but in Separation of Light from Darkness, Michelangelo's masterpiece combines the worlds of art, religion, science, and faith in a provocative and awe inspiring work of art, which may also be a mirror.

Photo credit: I Suk and RJ Tamargo, (2010) Concealed neuroanatomy in Michelangelo's Separation of Light From Darkness in the Sistine Chapel, Neurosurgery 66, 851-861.


Brethren and Cistern

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof


The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

--Psalm 19

The Happenings of the Day

Bumper Sticker of the Day:


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.



The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Behold your mother!" Ave Eva!

Today is my mother's 88th birthday.

"What is this love that moves between us?"--John 2:4

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Follow Me"

Matthew 16:21-28:

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stations of the Cross

"The third fall led to the destined encounter with Simon of Cyrene. Like the murderer on the right hand of Christ who only perceived and acknowledged Christ as he was being crucified, Simon only turned inwardly to Christ after picking up the Cross. It is only through suffering, through our own involvement and entanglement in the threads of destiny, that we develop the capacity to gain knowledge and insight. If, despite or because of such situations, we turn to the world of spirit, we may pass through the gateway into the world beyond, and are accepted there in love."
--Judith von Halle, Secrets of the Stations of the Cross and the Grail Blood, pp. 125-26

Friday, May 21, 2010

Christ Triumphant, Christ the Lord of Karma

"The highest pinnacle of supersensible observation consists in recognizing Christ as the directing power in the spiritual world. The more the soul develops supersensible powers of knowledge, the nearer one comes to the Christ being."
--Rudolf Steiner, Seeing with the Soul, pp. 36-37

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Disciples of Christ

"The appearance and sacrifice of the Logos on the physical Earth is all about bringing the impulse to selfhood in human beings to the highest perfection. And because we today may call ourselves inner Christians--with this is not meant the belief in some form or other of institutional religious group--because we today can become His disciples by freely committing ourselves to Him, we are already participating with this decision in His revelation as well as in His path of sacrifice, which is the prerequisite for the revelation of his Mystery. We have opened our hearts to what this beloved Being underwent in a human body of flesh."
--Judith von Halle, And If He Has Not Been Raised..., pp. 94-95

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Christ the Source of Love, the Eternal Majestic Fire

Judith von Halle, "An account of the events between [Jesus Christ's] Death and Resurrection (The Descent into Hell)" in And If He Has Not Been Raised..., pp. 89-90:

Christ will reveal to mankind the secret of his remaining macrocosmic bodies on the Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan incarnations of the Earth [the future fifth, sixth, and seventh incarnations of the Earth], when mankind will put on the phantom of Christ. The coming of the Antichrist while the human is still in the [present] fourth incarnation of the Earth is then inevitable if he wishes to have these fifth, sixth, and seventh bodies. The way Lucifer woos the human soul is by blinding him with the light of his grandiose delusions so that for many humans a world of illusion appears before their eyes and it becomes clear to them: 'Christ only gives me what belongs to the fourth incarnation of the Earth. Lucifer is actually much higher than Christ, as I can reach the goal faster with what he gives me.' That is the temptation! It is a temptation to believe that fundamental steps in development must not be worked for by the human being, that he is given these as a gift from beings he does not know and through processes of which he cannot become aware. This is an eminent way of preventing the development of the self.

That is why, one day when you are so tired of all the problems, tired of praticing the exercises, and expecting quicker results from yourself in the field of spiritual science, it is of great help to consider the immense path of sacrifice of the Christ Being and to let the realization flow through you that results only arise through steadfast faithfulness to the spirit. These results will be impressed--and here the human being has to bring himself to look beyond his current incarnation--like a seal into the substance of one's being. This can also be read in [Rudolf Steiner's book] An Outline of Esoteric Science.

Faithfulness to the spirit can and must mean sacrifice. Comfort has to be sacrificed to the spirit, but the human being must also be prepared for a much more serious sacrifice. A sacrifice is always something one is prepared to make for an altruistic purpose. This is why a true increase in awareness will never result in a purely personal sense of satisfaction in someone. Only the hard path, with the readiness to help others as well as oneself and the deeply felt aspiration of wanting to advance the evolution of the Earth, will extinguish the sickness at the root of the desire to increase personal awareness in order to attain the goal ahead of someone less spiritually developed. A wholly selfless kind of joy arises through this readiness to make a sacrifice of love.

Christ gives Himself totally to this path of sacrifice for the Earth and for mankind. When He reaches the lowest point at the physical and spiritual core of the Earth He reaches the culmination of His sacrifice of love. The consequence of this journey through Hell is the Resurrection. The human being lives from it, we all live from it. The Resurrection conquers death--all the forces of becoming are created from it.

At dawn on the first day [Easter Sunday] a light shone, rose up out of the grave and permeated all earthly matter. It is Christ Himself who merged with the Earth and became the source of love, became the eternal majestic fire. He is with mankind and will remain with it in a constantly metamorphosed form till the end of its days.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Ineluctable Future

Judith von Halle, "An account of the events between [Jesus Christ's] Death and Resurrection (The Descent into Hell)" in And If He Has Not Been Raised..., pp. 84-85:

Whoever is able to consciously penetrate the spiritual world through intensive meditation or through 'waking in sleep' (cf. How to Know Higher Worlds, chapter 8) knows that what awaits him beyond the Guardian of the Threshold is no subjectively colored, pleasant experience but an objective one. He also meets the 'accumulated debts' of mankind. He learns to recognize that the spiritual world--one is reminded of the Akashic Chronicle--contains not just his own abyss, which he definitely meets first, as the door to the spiritual world is to be seen in his own being. He also learns to recognize that everything essential is contained in the spiritual world, even that which is called bad when seen from a moral point of veiw. This has been 'deposited,' in the truest sense of the word, in the spiritual layers of the Earth. When the neophyte has been permeated by this bitter realization (it is bitter, since to see what is lying and active in these layers is a true test of the neophyte) something even more terrible is revealed to him: in these abysses are not only the accumulated crimes and failures of humanity but also the karmic necessities to be met for balancing these crimes. These necessities consist of events in the future, which up to a certain point have to be considered inevitable, and which as a consequence must happen in order to achieve karmic balance. This includes not simply the small, individual karmic necessities but above all the wider karmic interconnections of groups, nations, and the world. These future karmic necessities will have devastating consequences for the fate of millions of people, and the highest integrity of soul and spirit is needed to withstand this 'vision' without being extinguished by it. The guardian entity warns strongly again and again of this danger. Only the awareness of being in the objective course of world karma, and of bearing the suffering of others in the spirit of Christ in love and devotion, can carry a light into these abysses and impart the necessary strength to the neophyte for the ascent.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In the Beginning the Word Was an Ocean of Flame

"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."--John 17:24

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture delivered in Berlin January 27, 1908. The Influence of Spiritual Beings Upon Man, pp. 22-24:

It is a truth of cosmic evolution that when a planet like our Earth has risen to Sun-existence, when it has gradually achieved union with the Sun and even Sun-existence is transcended, there arises, as a still higher stage of evolution, something that in a certain sense you can perceive in the heavens: there arises what we today call a "Zodiac"--it is the stage higher than that of a fixed star. Thus when beings are no longer restricted to the form of existence belonging to a fixed star but have expanded their evoltion so powerfully that it extends beyond fixed stars and the fixed stars lie like bodies embedded in it--then a higher stage is reached, the stage of Zodiac-existence. The forces which work from a Zodiac upon a planetrary system themselves evolved, in former ages, in a planetary system and have advanced to the stage of a Zodiac.

And now cast your mind back to the old Saturn evolution, the first embodiment of our Earth. This Saturn once glimmered, as it were, in cosmic space, as the first herald of the dawn of our planetary existence. You know, too, that on this old Saturn the first germinal inception of our physical body was brought into being. Even at its greatest density this Saturn was not nearly as physically dense as our Earth. It was a condition of utmost rarefication. That which today permeates all beings as warmth--known in occultism as "fire"---was the matter of Saturn. We may picture to ourselves that around this Saturn, this first, dawn-condition of our planetary system, there were the constellations of the Zodiac--but not yet as they are today. The single stars composing the Zodiacal constellations around that ancient Saturn were scarcely to be distinguished from each other. They glittered only very faintly, like beams of light streaming out from Saturn. The best way to picture this is to think of ancient Saturn encircled by beams of light, just as our Earth is encircled by a Zodiac. And in the course of Earth evolution itself these light-masses developed into the present star clusters comprised in the Zodiac. So that the Zodiac--to use an abstract expression--has differentiated out of that original ocean of flame. And from what did this ocean of flame itself arise?

It arose from the planetary system which preceded our own. Saturn itself was preceded by planetary evolutions in an age which, speaking in the sense of occult astronomy, can by no means be described as "time" as we understand time, for its character was rather different. But for the human mind today the concept is so fabulous that we have no word with which to express it. Speaking in analogy, however, we can say that the forces which preceded our planetary system in an earlier cycle of planetary existence went forth in the light-streams, and out of a small portion of matter gradually gathering together at the center, this first, dawning condition of the Earth arose: this was ancient Saturn and the forces contained in the Zodiac radiated down upon it from the cosmic All.

Monday, May 3, 2010


"The more the ego strives for the highest point of its evolution, the more it works into the Zodiac. There is nothing that happens in the innermost core of the ego that has not its consequences right up to the very Zodiac. And inasmuch as man with his ego lays the foundations for his development to Atman, or Spirit Man, he develops, stage by stage, the forces which enable him to work upwards into the sphere of Libra, the Balance, in the Zodiac. He will attain full power over Libra in the Zodiac when his ego has developed to Atman, or Spirit Man. He will then be a being from whom something streams out, who has passsed out of the sphere of Time into the sphere of Duration, of Eternity."

--Rudolf Steiner, The Influence of Spiritual Beings upon Man, pp. 31-32

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Evolution of the Sun and the Earth

"It is true that for a certain period of its cosmic evolution our Earth has been separated from the Sun. The Sun and its beings advance along a more rapid evolutionary path. Our Earth and the beings belonging to it take a different couse. But these beings, and the Earth as a whole, will one day have progressed to the stage where union is again possible with the Sun--after a separate existence has enabled them to complete and perfect their present phase of development. For our Earth will again unite with the Sun. During the stage of Earth-existence itself, the Earth will reunite with the Sun, just as during the same phase of evolution it separated from the Sun. But during the Jupiter stage [the next incarnation of the Earth] there must again be a separation. The Earth beings must again be separated from the Sun during the Jupiter condition. Again there will be a reunion, and during the Venus-condition [the incarnation of the Earth following Jupiter] our Earth will be united permanently with the Sun, will have been taken up for all time into the Sun. During the Vulcan-condition [the incarnation of the Earth following Venus] our Earth will itself have become a Sun within the Sun and have contributed something to the Sun evolution, will have added something which, in spite of their higher rank, those beings who have always remained in the Sun could never themselves have achieved. Earth existence was necessary in order that human beings might evolve as they have evolved, with a consciousness that alternates between waking and sleeping. This is connected with the separation from the Sun. Beings who live always in the Sun do not have day and night. The sense-consciousness which we call the clear light of day, and which in times to come will evolve into higher conditions, carries with it into the Sun evolution the fruits of experiences connected with the things of outer physical space. In this way the Earth beings give something to the Sun, enrich the Sun. And out of what is thus acquired on the Earth, augmented by what is acquired on the Sun, the Vulcan existence comes into being. This Vulcan existence is actually a higher condition than that of our present Sun existence. The Earth evolves, the Sun evolves, until they can unite to constitute the Vulcan existence."

--Rudolf Steiner, The Influence of Spiritual Beings upon Man, pp. 21-22