Christ Module 17 - The experience of the year
Maybe the best concise introduction to this topic is the following: Friedrich Rittelmeyer refers to a conversation with Rudolf Steiner whereby he asked what one could do to prepare one-self for a 'damascus-like' Christ experience, and Steiner answered
This is only possible when/after one experiences Christ in the course of the year.
Christ has become the spirit of the Earth after the Mystery of Golgotha, and also lives in the Earth aura.
This module is about Man's conscious soul experience of the cycle of the year:
- and the alchemy of the seaons.
- This links to the Rhythm of a year for the earth but also for all spiritual hierarchies as we witness in the process of the seasons in nature. The four seasons can be linked to the work of the four archangels.
- When nature explodes in spring and summer, this can be compared with Man's sleeping state; whereas wintertime can be compared with Man's daytime consciousness. Christmas in wintertime is the period where Man has a subconscious connection or 'meeting' with the archangel at the level of his life spirit, but the thirteen holy nights are also a special period for the spiritual hierarchies and meditations.
- the four festivals of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Michaelmas
- .. as points of celebration for the phases of the seasons, as connected to the Earth's organism and the processes of nature.
- Note there are also:
Aspects for study
- The earth’s process and the seasons in nature in the rhythm of a year, as per 'Golden Chain' interaction between spiritual beings
- The relation with the four festivals,
- this includes
- the four archangel imaginations (1923-10-GA229, see below)
- four platonic values (1923-05)
- the anthroposopical year
- Virtues (per month)
- Calendar of the soul (per week, see Schema FMC00.358)
- Thirteen holy nights
- various other aspects:
- notes on the calendar: why does the year start on 1 Jan, actually Easter, and Xmas (there is a cosmic clock reason, it is not just arbitrary)
- the second of the Three meetings
- the single yearly period of end December to the start of spring when souls come down to earth before incarnating in the next year
1923-10-05-GA229 (read more):
.. when a man accepts Anthroposophy in the right sense .. then he gradually educates his heart and soul to experience all that goes on outside in the course of the year .. by taking to heart anthroposophical ideas .. we can prepare our souls to become receptive to the activities that go on outside in the course of the year
See: Rhythm of a year for the explanation of how archangels and elementals work in the alchemical process in nature
The four archangels and four imaginations (pictures)
Schema FMC00.106 provides an overview of the seasons and the connection between the work of the archangels, how we can see that work in nature in the cycle of the seasons, the alchemical process in Man (middle), and what it means for the experience of Man (right). For the archangels above and below, see Schema FMC00.104.
For an illustration of the first midsummer St-John's imagination, see Schema FMC00.445 below.
Schema FMC00.104 gives an image for contemplation of the statement 'the golden buckets interchanging' (see Goethe's Faust and the Golden Chain) and the work of the archangels and nature's four seasons as per 1923-10-13-GA229
Schema FMC00.445 represents the mid-summer Saint-John's imagination described in 1923-10-12-GA229 as one of the four great imaginations for the cycle of the year. The description from the lecture in the middle, and the blackboard drawing on the right, are linked to the 'Druid Stones' painting by Rudolf Steiner made after his visit to Ilkley Valley in Yorkshire (UK). On the right, picture from the book by Frank Teichmann who describes this correlation between the painting, the landscape of Ilkley, and the Saint-John's imagination in context of the importance of Rudolf Steiner's visits to the Druidic mystery sites in the UK (2002 in DE, 2020 in EN).
Schema FMC00.358 shows the course of the year and the calendar of the soul, by George O'Neil.
FMC00.023 shows the three meetings, and the yearly meeting at life spirit and archangel level
Lecture coverage and references
Rudolf Steiner spent at least some 39 lectures on the importance of the Cycle of the Year and the Festivals.
Why? What made it so important .. what is the key message he wanted to get across?
As an introduction, starting 1904 already some lectures, however eg 1910-1912 lectures cover how in ancient times Man was able to feel and experience changes through the year cycle.
From these 39 lectures some 15 are in 1923 and mostly on the meaning of the festivals in three main cycles:
- 1923-04-GA223 - The Cycle of the Year as Breathing-Process of the Earth - 5 lectures
- 1923-05 covering 5 more lectures on the festivals
- 1923-10-GA229 - Four Seasons and the Archangels - Experience of the Course of the Year in Four Cosmic Imaginations - 5 lectures
This covers first how the Earth breathes in and out in the cycle of the year, the elementals, and how the 'summer and winter'correspond to 'a dreaming and awake state'. In ancient times men felt and lived along with this rhythm.
(in evo) describes how the year symbolizes in small, the journey of Mankind also in it’s development
1907-12-13-GA101 - DE version
describes the experience and 'feeling along with nature' of Man during the seasons of the year.
contains a good introduction for 'living the year consciously' called 'the inner path followed by the mystic - experience of the cycle of the year'
talks about new elementals arising in the yearly process of nature, related to the appearance of natural clairvoyance and Christ in the etheric:
.. Those men whose spirit is awakened will be able to see beings of a new order in the processes of nature. Whilst the human being who has not yet become clairvoyant will increasingly be able to experience that despite all his melancholy feelings concerning the continual death process, there is something of a rejuvenating quality in nature, the human being whose clairvoyant faculties have awakened will see new elemental beings issuing out of dying nature.
Whilst in outer physical nature relatively little will be seen of the great change at the turn of the twentieth century, the spiritually awakened soul will feel: times are changing, and we human beings have the task of preparing spirit knowledge. It will become more and more important to observe such things and carry them in our consciousness. For men are free either to take up such things for the salvation of humanity or to let them pass them by, which will lead to disaster.
.. at the turn of the century a relatively new kingdom of nature-beings will come into being, arising from nature like a spiritual spring, and human beings will be able to see and experience this. And though it would show great apathy of soul if a person were unable to perceive the sprouting forth of springtime, there is more to come. Those people who will grow able to experience as a fact of nature what has just been described, will preserve these impressions in quite a different way than through ordinary memory.
They will carry beyond the threshold the new elemental spirits that stream towards them, as the seeds carry their life through the winter into spring. What was experienced in spring and what was experienced in autumn, this bursting forth of nature in the spring and this melancholy in autumn, had no connection one with the other in the past. What the cosmos gives out from its memory enables us to carry over something of what we have experienced in the autumn into the spring. If we let the elemental forces of autumn work in us, then we can feel in a new way what will be given us in the future.
Everything will acquire something new in the future, and it is our duty to prepare ourselves through our knowledge of the spiritual to understand it. For Spiritual Science has not come into the world through the personal whims of men, but because new things are happening in the heavens, that can only be perceived when men take up the results of spiritual research. This is why the theosophical movement has come into being.
In the quick rhythmic repetition of the seasons of the year, the Divine-Spiritual Being which descended into the depths of Earth to permeate Nature's process with the Spirit, accomplishes this process. It is the ensouling of Nature with the Forces of the Beginning and of Eternity which must remain at work; even as Christ's descent is the ensouling of Mankind with the Logos of the Beginning and of Eternity, whose working for the salvation of mankind shall never cease.
Friedrich Rittelmeyer - quote
... refers to a conversation with Rudolf Steiner whereby he asked what one could do to prepare one-self for a 'damascus-like' Christ experience, and Steiner answered
This is only possible when/after one experiences Christ in the course of the year.
The experience of the year is a soul experience, feeling with what happens to nature in the seasons.
However we can also make links from a spiritual scientific perspective as follows:
- see Schema FMC00.249 on Rhythm of a year: it captures the alchemy that takes place in nature
- connect to this the extract from 1923-10-15-GA229 on Blood is a special fluid, and how the iron in Man counters the sulphuric Ahrimanic animal lower nature.
What takes place in nature also takes place in Man, it is a yearly alchemical process that we can connect to in our soul.
References and further reading
- Fred Poeppig: 'Das Jahr der Seele - Ein Begleiter durch den Jahreslauf' (1958)
- Heinrich Ogilvie: 'Aarde-jaar Christus-jaar' (1967)
- Geert Suwelack (1920-2003): 'The New Dialogue with the Spirit of the Earth'
- Charles Kovacs: The spiritual background to the Christian festivals
- Roger Druitt: Festivals of the Year: A Workbook for Re-enlivening the Christian Festive Cycle (2014)
Calendar of the soul
- Karl König:
- The Calendar of the Soul - A Commentary (2010 in EN)
- An Inner Journey Through the Year - Soul Images and The Calendar of the Soul (2010 in EN)
- Roland Schrapp: The anthroposophical soul calendar and the incarnation cycle of Man (2018)
Various translations exist, complemented with reflections and annotations:
- The Soul's Calendar by Rudolf Steiner, a new translation annotated with commentary by Adrian Anderson (2020)
- Kolisko Institute: Calendar of the Soul, with new translations and Eurythmy forms
- Weekly Meditations: Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul with accompanying reflections by Patsy Scala (2008)
Monthly meditations on the Twelve Virtues
- Robert Sardello: The Power of Soul: Living the Twelve Virtues (2012)