Christ Module 20 - After death

From Anthroposophy


This is the first of two modules that study the impact of the Christ Impulse on Man during death and a new birth.

Temporarily, aspects for Module II are already put on this page in the interim.

Aspects

  • impact on etheric tableau:
    • Man can observe his life and the nature of its impact in the etheric tableau after death. The ether body contains two sorts of forces, those that sustain the mineral Earth and body and will perish with the end of the Earth stage, and those that sustain the spiritual and will be the fertile seed for the Future Jupiter stage. The latter are part of the Earth's ether body permeated with the Christ Impulse since MoG. This "is a moment of paramount significance after death" and has an important impact on the soul:

      This ‘fertile’ part of the ether body can only be perceived .. when the human being has established a certain relationship with the Christ, the Christ Impulse. Our connection with the Christ Impulse .. enables us to perceive the fertile seed of the future within our ether-body. ... When a human being who has attained I-consciousness .. as is the case in the West today - gazes upon his ether body after death, he must not find this ether-body devoid of the forces flowing from the Christ Impulse. ... Man's blessedness after death depends upon the realisation that the Christ Impulse is present in the ether body; whereas he is doomed to tribulation if he can perceive in the ether body only that which must inevitably perish with the Earth.

      (see further description and context in 1914-02-10-GA148 quote D on Laying off the etheric body after death)

the Sun sphere

  • Christ as a guide to the Sun sphere and the spirit world, and the faculty of remembering and the soul's relation to MoG
    • spiritual fact: at a certain point after death, consciousness can only be maintained by remembrance of Christ and the MoG (1912-10-26-GA140 main, with recap in1912-10-27-GA140). This is reiterated consistently, eg in 1922-11-19-GA218, 1923-08-28-GA227 below
    • explanation: When we die, we are confronted with the elementals we created as thoughts during incarnate life. But it is different for feeling and will (mapping to lower and higher spirit world), these still give us a remembrance of our previous life on Earth. (1914-04-13-GA153). Now the astral world and spirit world interpenetrate, and to pass to the spirit world we need to be guided and attracted. How does it work? The study of the Christ Impulse and spiritual science changes our soul in feeling and will, so it’s not about intellectual knowledge, but about how it affects our soul state also sub/un-consciously. This actually is a faculty or capability that we need to interact with the spiritual surroundings, make our way into the spirit world, and then learn and develop there. This is explained extensively in 1914-04-12-GA153. This is to be positioned in the process of Man going through the astral world and kamaloka, but at the same time the spirit world fully interpenetrates this world .. so the transition from soul to spirit world is a gradual one. As Man reaches the point of the astral reverse rewind corresponding to birth, the part of the astral that has been transformed combines with the causal body and spirit-self, all the rest is cast off as the astral corpse. Hence, it’s all about how much of the spirit has developed in the soul. Not thoughts, but feelings and will. “How can one approach the Christ impulse, how does one come near the Being of Christ? .. All the impulses of feeling and will which stir within us when we contemplate the Mystery of Christ are actual means by which we draw near the Christ. It is through feeling- and will-filled contemplation of Christ that we have reason to hope we may find Him. (1917-08-28-GA176)
    • further references oa 1922-09-14-GA215, 1922-09-15-GA215, 1922-11-05-GA218
  • the Sun sphere: importance of a living connection with and soul experience of Christ during incarnate life, which has an impact on our development as human beings and the future incarnation(s), as:
    • we can only find Christ after death in the Sun sphere, by understanding the entries in the Akasha Chronicle, and this requires gaining an understanding of the Christ on Earth, understanding he left the Sun sphere and united himself with the Earth (1913-04-27-GA140)
    • "through the Akashic picture we have a living relationship with Christ, and for Christ to stimulate the forces in us necessary to pass through the Sun sphere in the right way" (1912-11-26-GA140)
    • "we experience in the surrounding Akasha picture-world the Christ in his manifested glory as the element in which we live and dwell" (1912-11-28-GA140)
    • These condensed statements are given here as pointer, require study of the whole lectures, see extracts below)

For module II

  • pendulum around midnight hour (1914-04-13-GA153 and 1914-04-14-GA153)
    • with 'pendulum' is referred to the amount of the Christ Impulse that Man takes with him after death, so as to work not only for the remembrance of the 'I' upto the Midnight Hour, but even afterwards, the surplus being carried as spiritual forces into incarnation
      • it is at the Midnight Hour that the Holy Spirit impulse re-awakens us for our descent ("changes our longing into a kind of soul-light"). Upto that point we should retain our 'I'-remembrance. That Man is able to do this in our age depends upon the fact that Christ brought into the Earth's aura the power by which we can maintain our memory up to the Midnight Hour.
        • Before MoG Man could retain a connection/remembrance with that which gave a feeling of 'I' through the forces of inheritance, and this both in periods of solitude and companionship (the typical rhythm)
        • Now, after MoG, this can only be accomplished through the fact that the soul-content, which we may have through Christ having entered into the Earth aura, remains connected with that .. which we have released from us, as the treasure we have brought from the earth, which we perceived withdraw immediately after leaving the physical body. This is the permeation with the Christ-substance, which after death gives us the power to maintain the remembrance of our ‘I’ up to the time of the world-midnight, in spite of all expansion and in spite of all the contraction into solitude.
  • lord of karma

Some starting quotes

1918-10-06-GA184

only after death is man able to come to a right conception of the Mystery of Golgotha .. .. [dangers of falling prey to Luciferic influences] .. a real devotion to the Mystery of Golgotha is a protection against all these things.

Illustrations


Lecture coverage and references

1908-09-13-GA106 [note: in RSL015]

[Influence MoG for spiritual life between death and a new birth]

It is primarily from the standpoint of this 'beyond' that today we shall consider the mighty event of the Christ's appearance on our Earth. We shall approach in a much deeper way the question:

What significance has the advent of the Christ on our earth? What significance has the Christ's appearance for the dead souls, for the life on the other side, the spiritual side, of existence?

1912-10-26-GA140 is the lecture where Steiner talks about the importance of remembering MoG to maintain consciousness after death,

... This is the reason why the more Man seeks the divine within himself, the more he will lose the understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. The whole tendency of modern thinking is to seek the reflection of the divine exclusively in Man. Because of this, ever greater obstacles prevent recognition that the divine was incarnated within one personality. This has real consequences for the life between death and a new birth. If already in the Greco-Latin age, Man was not able by his own strength to maintain his consciousness in the third period after death, then it is all the more difficult in our time due to the general and philosophical egoism that prevails. In our present age, during the third phase after death the soul creates even greater obstacles for itself in its cloud of visions than during the Greco-Latin epoch.

If one considers the evolution of humanity in more recent times without prejudice, one must acknowledge that St. Paul said, “Not I, but the Christ in me.” But modern Man says, “I in me, and the Christ as far as I can admit Him. The Christ is only valid inasmuch as I can acknowledge Him through my own powers of reasoning.”

[Present period: an understanding of MoG (Mystery of Golgotha)]

In our present period there is only one way of maintaining a clear consciousness during the third phase after death, that is, by carrying certain memories from the previous life into our existence after death.

In fact, during this period we would have to forget everything unless we were able to hold on to one particular recollection.

If we have experienced on Earth an understanding of Christ and the Mystery of Golgotha and have established a relationship to them, this will implant into us thoughts and forces that maintain our consciousness during this period after death.

The facts clearly show that there is the possibility of remembering after death what has been understood on the Earth in relation to the Mystery of Golgotha.

Once we have gained ideas and feelings about the Mystery of Golgotha, we shall be able to remember these after death, and also what is connected with them. In other words, after death we must carry our consciousness across an abyss, and this is done by means of the understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha that we have gained on earth. With this knowledge gained out of our memory during this period, we shall be able to cooperate in the correction of the faults that we bear in our soul as a result of our karma.

If, however, we have not developed an understanding and deep realization of the words, “Not I, but the Christ in me,” then our consciousness is extinguished and with it the possibility of improving our karma. Other powers must undertake the correction of our defects that ought to be corrected by us in accordance with our karma.

Naturally, every man returns through a new birth to earth, but it is of importance whether the consciousness has been extinguished or whether it has remained intact across the abyss.

If we reach this period after death with a knowledge of the Mystery of Golgotha,

  • we are able to look backward and remember that with all that is essentially human in us, we have come from God.
  • We also experience that we have been able to save our consciousness because of our understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, and that we can develop our consciousness further as we behold this Spirit now drawing near to us.

Then we reach a point during this third phase after death when we can remember and say to ourselves that we are born out of the Spirit, ex Deo nascimur. One who has reached a certain stage of initiation never experiences the truth of the words, “I am born out of the Divine Spirit,” as powerfully as when he transposes himself to this particular point. At this moment every soul who has developed an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha experiences it.

The significance of the words, ex Deo nascimur, is realized when one knows that their full depth will only be experienced when the soul has reached the middle period between death and rebirth.

When one knows these facts objectively, one would wish that more people in our time knew that the essence of these words can only be understood as characterized above. This saying has been made into a motto within our spiritual-rosicrucian movement precisely in order to awaken what should live within the soul between death and a new birth.

[Impact + How MoG is looked at currently]

It would not be difficult to interpret this explanation as a preconceived opinion in favor of the Christian way of life. If this were the case, such a view would be entirely unanthroposophical. Spiritual science takes an objective position towards all religious creeds and studies them with equal interest.

The facts that have been given here about the importance of the Mystery of Golgotha have nothing whatever to do with any form of denominational Christianity. They are simply objective occult realities.

Yet the accusation has been levied against our Western spiritual movement that we speak out of a marked preference for Christianity as compared with other religions. Here, however, the Mystery of Golgotha is treated in the same way as any tangible fact in natural science.

...

We are concerned with objective facts, and if you should ask why I will never modify in the slightest the importance attached to the Mystery of Golgotha, then the above reasons will provide the answer.

We do not study spiritual science for the sake of curiosity, nor from an abstract desire for knowledge, but in order to provide the soul with a necessary form of nourishment. By means of an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, we give the soul the possibility of developing those feelings that it will need in order to cross the abyss between death and rebirth as just described.

One who has understood that the soul after death can suffer a loss of consciousness, so heavy to bear in all future cycles of time, will seek every opportunity to bring the Mystery of Golgotha to the understanding of his fellow men.

For this reason the understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha is one of the most important facts that we must learn through the study of spiritual science.

...

You will notice that in our considerations we have reached the Mystery of Golgotha although our starting point was the conditions between death and rebirth. One can give but a few indications in relation to an area such as we have dealt with here, but I wished at least to impart to you some of the results of my most recent research.

1912-10-27-GA140

Our considerations have led us to the point where consciousness after death can only be maintained by remembering the Mystery of Golgotha. Until this moment existence after death consists of recollections of life on earth by means of visions, not through the senses. During this period also, the realities of the spiritual world can only be perceived through visions.

Gradually the soul finds it more and more difficult to retain the memories of earthly life and a condition of forgetting sets in. If after death one meets a person one has known, one will at first readily recognize him. As time goes on this becomes more difficult, and later the connection can only be recalled by relating oneself to the Mystery of Golgotha. The more one is permeated by it, the easier it is to recognize one's surroundings.

On reaching the stage where the recollections of the Mystery of Golgotha is needed in order to maintain consciousness, however, a great transformation begins. We are then no longer able to hold the previous visions. For example, until this phase we can speak in terms of astral color phenomena in this realm and of the visionary images of beings surrounding us.

Midway between death and a new birth visions and recollections fall away, we lose our connection with them, and they separate themselves off from our being. To characterize this phase more accurately let us consider the following, which upon first hearing might be quite shocking.

At this stage one feels oneself drawing away from the Earth. The Earth is far away below one, and journeying into the spirit world one feels that one has reached the Sun. Just as during earthly life we feel ourselves linked to the Earth, so now we feel at one with the Sun with its whole planetary system. That is why in our modern occultism such stress is laid upon understanding how Christ came to earth from the Sun sphere. It is essential to grasp how Christ leads us to the Sun through the Mystery of Golgotha. Occultism shows that Christ is a Sun Being who can lead us back to the Sun.

Now comes what may cause a shock. It is imperative not only to understand our relationship to the Christ. We must grasp something further. The time now comes that we confront, and need to understand, the being known as Lucifer. The sensation in the Sun is not one of being surrounded by streaming physical light, but of dwelling in the pure light of the spirit. From this moment onward, one experiences Lucifer no longer as an antagonistic being. On the contrary, he appears more and more to be fully justified in the world. One now senses the urge, in the further course of the life after death, to recognize Christ and Lucifer side by side as equally justifiable powers. However strange the equal importance of Christ and Lucifer may appear, this insight is reached from this stage onward and one comes to see these two powers more or less as brothers. The explanation for this is to be sought in experiences that the soul has to undergo in the further course of life after death.

I have often described the conditions of life on Old Saturn, POld Sun and Old Moon, and in them you have the spiritual path covered after death. The remarkable thing is that one does not experience the events in the order of cosmic creation: Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon, but first comes the Old Moon-existence, then the Old Sun-existence, and finally the Old Saturn-existence. When you read the descriptions I have given in Cosmic Memory and then proceed farther back from the Old Moon, you will find the realm that the soul experiences on its backward journey after death. Beholding this directly in the spiritual world gives the impression of a recollection of life before birth. In the realm just characterized the moral element is of even greater importance for the further course of life. In Cosmic Memory, the “Akasha Chronicle,” we described how one loses interest, which up to this stage was very strong, in all earthly experience. Our interest in men with whom we have been connected wanes, and we lose interest in things. We realize that the recollections we still have at this point are carried forward only by the Christ. Christ accompanies us, and as a result we are capable of remembering. If Christ were not to accompany us, our recollection of earthly life would vanish because it is the experience of uniting ourselves with Christ that beyond this point connects us with the Earth.

1912-11-26-GA140

Of what should we be capable during this period between death and rebirth?

We come now to a fact that is exceedingly important for modern occultism.

Those human beings who lived on Earth before the Mystery of Golgotha (what I am now saying is in essence correct, though not in detail) found the throne of Christ in the Sun sphere with the Christ upon it. They were able to recognize him because the old legacy of the common source of all religions was still living in them.

But the Christ spirit came down from the Sun, and in the Mystery of Golgotha he flowed into the life of the earth. He left the Sun, and only the Akashic picture of the Christ is found in the Sun sphere between death and rebirth. The throne is not occupied by the real Christ.

We must bring up from the Earth the concept of our living connection with Christ in order that through the Akashic picture we have a living relationship with Him.

Then it is possible for us to have the Christ also from the Sun sphere, and for him to stimulate all the forces in us that are necessary if we are to pass through the Sun sphere in the right way.

[Lucifer as a guide beyond the Sun sphere]

Our journey between death and rebirth progresses still further. From the earthly realm we have derived the power, through a moral and religious attitude of soul, to live, as it were, into the human beings with whom we were together on the earth, and then into the higher hierarchies. But this power gradually vanishes, becomes dimmer and dimmer, and what remains is essentially the power that we derive on the Earth from the Mystery of Golgotha.

In order that we may find our way in the Sun sphere a new light-bearer appears there, a being whom we must learn to know in his primal power. We bring with us from the Earth an understanding of the Christ, but in order to develop a stage further so that we may proceed out into the universe from the Sun sphere to Mars, we need to recognize the second throne that stands beside the throne of Christ in the Sun. This is possible simply by virtue of the fact that we are human souls. From this other throne we now learn to know the other being who, together with the Christ, leads us onward. This other being is Lucifer. We learn to know Lucifer, and through the powers that he is able to impart to us we make the further journey through the spheres of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

1912-11-28-GA140

At a certain stage of the period between death and a new birth we behold as an outer cosmic painting what we are in our innermost being. There is no better painter than these forces, and the firmament after death is filled with what we truly are in heart and mind. We behold this innermost tableau just as here on earth we behold the firmament of the heavens. Thus we have a firmament between death and a new birth, and it remains with us.

It is conditioned by whether we have received the Mystery of Golgotha into the innermost depths of our soul in the sense referred to previously as expressed in the words of St. Paul, “Not I but the Christ in me”.

If we experience the Christ within us,

then we have the possibility during our Sun existence to experience in the surrounding Akasha picture-world the Christ in his most wondrous form, in his manifested glory, as the element in which we live and dwell.

This thought need not merely have an egotistical significance. It may also be of objective significance because in our further existence this outspread picture is again taken into the soul and is brought down into our next incarnation. As a result, we do not only make ourselves into better human beings, but also into a better force in the evolution of the earth.

So the efforts we make to transform our heart forces are intimately connected with our faculties in the next life, and we see the technique that is at work in transforming our heart forces into a great cosmic panorama, a cosmic firmament between death and a new birth that is then again incorporated into our being, giving us stronger forces than previously. Thus an all-around strengthening process is the result of the fact that we behold in the period between death and a new birth what has been experienced inwardly in life.

1913-04-27-GA140

.. this is the phase during life between death and rebirth when we have also expanded our astral body so far as to become Sun inhabitants. We enter into the Sun realm. We do in fact expand into the entire macrocosmos, and reach the Sun being when we need the capacity for brotherly love. The encounter with the Sun is shown by the following.

Firstly, we lost the possibility of having understanding for all human beings unless we have gained a connection to the words, “Wherever two are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” Christ did not mean wherever two Hindus or one Hindu and one Christian are gathered together, there he is in the midst of them, but wherever two are gathered who have a genuine understanding for his impulse, there he is in the midst of them.

This being was within the Sun sphere until a particular period. His throne was also there. Then he united himself with the Earth. Therefore we must experience the Christ impulse here on Earth and thus also carry it upwards into the spiritual world.

For if we arrive in the Sun sphere without the Christ impulse we are faced with an unintelligible entry in the Akasha Chronicle.

Since the Christ has united himself with the Earth, we have to gain an understanding on Earth for the Christ. We have to bring a Christ understanding with us because otherwise the Christ cannot be found after death.

As we approach the Sun sphere we understand the entry in the Akasha Chronicle if we have gained an understanding for the Christ on Earth. For he left this behind in the Sun sphere.

That is the important factor: that the understanding of the Christ must be stimulated on the Earth. Then it also can be preserved in higher worlds. Things only become clear if they can be viewed in a certain configuration.

1914-04-13-GA153

[Before and after MoG]

But to this end one thing is necessary in our present age. I have said that during the whole of the first half of our life between death and rebirth we alternate between inner life and outer life, between solitude and spiritual companionship. At first the conditions in the spiritual world are such, that each time we return to our solitude in the spiritual world, to our inner activity, we call up before our soul again and again what we have experienced in the outer world. Thereby a consciousness is aroused which expands over the whole of the spiritual world; with the swing of the pendulum this again contracts during the period of solitude.

There is one thing, however, which exists there and which we must retain, no matter whether we expand into the great spiritual world, or withdraw into ourselves.

Before the Mystery of Golgotha took place, it was possible, through the forces connecting man with primeval times, to preserve a connection with that which gave him the feeling of ‘I’. It was possible not to lose this connection, for he could preserve a clear remembrance of one thing in the previous earthly life, namely, that in this life on the earth he had lived as an ‘I’; and this remembrance continued both through the periods of solitude and of companionship. Before the Mystery of Golgotha the forces of inheritance took care of this.

Now, it can only be accomplished through the fact that the soul-content, which we may have through Christ having entered into the Earth aura, remains connected with that .. which we have released from us, as the treasure we have brought from the Earth, which we perceived withdraw immediately after leaving the physical body.

This is the permeation with the Christ-substance, which after death gives us the power to maintain the remembrance of our ‘I’ up to the time of the world-midnight, in spite of all expansion and in spite of all the contraction into solitude.

Thus far does the impulse proceeding from the power of Christ extend, that through it we do not lose ourselves. Then from our longing must spring a new spiritual power, a power that only exists in spiritual life and by which, through our longing a new light may be kindled.

In the physical world there is nature and the divinity which pervades nature, from which we are born into the physical world. There is the Christ-impulse which is present in the Earth's aura, that is, in the aura of physical nature. But the power which draws near to us in the Midnight of the World, through which our longing is enabled to illumine the whole of our past, this power exists only in the spiritual world where nobody can live.

When the Christ-impulse has brought us as far as to the Midnight of the World, and when the Midnight of the World is experienced by the soul in spiritual loneliness, because the soul-light cannot yet stream forth from us, when world-darkness has come upon us, when Christ has led us thus far,

then in the Midnight of the World there emerges something spiritual from our desire, creating a new world-light which illuminates our being and by means of which we enter anew into worldly existence. We learn to know the Spirit of the spiritual world which awakens us, because out of the Midnight of the World a new light shines, the light which illuminates the whole of our human past.

[What is meant by Holy Ghost]

In Christ we have died; through the Spirit, through the bodiless Spirit for which the technical expression Holy Ghost is used, i.e., the Spirit that lives without a body - (for this is meant by the word Holy, namely, a spirit without the weakness of one that lives in the body) - through this Spirit we are reawakened at the Midnight of the World.

At the World-Midnight we are awakened by the Holy Ghost: PER SPIRITUM SANCTUM REVIVISCIMUS

1914-04-14-GA153

[Christ impulse pendulum & Holy Ghost]

One thing is of very special importance which I mentioned in the last lecture. When our longing for an outer world has reached its greatest intensity because we have entered most deeply into solitude, then it is that the Spirit, which only lives and moves in spiritual worlds, approaches us and changes our longing into a kind of soul-light. Up to this point we must keep our connection with our ‘I’. We must, as it were, preserve the remembrance: Upon earth thou wast this ‘I’; this ‘I’ has to remain to thee as a memory.

That Man is able to do this in our age depends upon the fact that Christ brought into the Earth's aura the power by which we can maintain our memory up to the Midnight Hour, when we again have this ‘I’. Otherwise this could not at the present time have been brought over from our earthly life.

If the Christ-impulse had not entered the Earth, an interruption would have occurred, a break, in the middle of the period between death and rebirth which would have made our existence inharmonious. Long before the Midnight Hour we should have forgotten that we were an ‘I’ in our last life; we should have felt connection with the spiritual world, but we should have forgotten ourselves.

We have to develop our I so powerfully on Earth, that we gain this I-consciousness ever more and more. This has become necessary since the Mystery of Golgotha. But because on Earth we attain to an ever great consciousness of our I, we thereby exhaust the forces we have need of after death in order that we should really not forget ourselves up to the Midnight Hour of existence. In order to be able to retain this remembrance, we have to die in Christ. For this the Christ-impulse is necessary. It preserves for us up to the Midnight Hour of existence the possibility of not forgetting our ‘I’.

Then at the Midnight Hour of existence the Spirit approaches us. We have now retained the memory of our ‘I’. If we carry this on into the Midnight Hour of existence, to where the Holy Ghost approaches and gives us the vision and the connection with our own inner world, as if with an outer world, if we have kept this connection, the Spirit can then lead us further to our re-embodiment, which we bring about through having formed our archetype in the spiritual world.

In reality, however, things do not take place in such a way that one does only what is necessary, but just as a pendulum never rests, but swings to one side so as to swing again to the other (and as it is right this should be so), so is it also with the spiritual life.

The Christ-impulse supplies us with more than barely sufficient force just to make the connection, it gives us sometimes so much, that if the Spirit should not come to us, the Christ-impulse would be able to bear us quickly over. We should not be able to make the connection with our memory, but the Christ-impulse would carry us over.

This is of great importance; and as we develop on into the future, it will be increasingly necessary for Man that he should receive more than merely a bare amount of the Christ-impulse.

Even at the present time, it is necessary that Man should experience during his earthly life not merely what is absolutely necessary regarding Christ, but that the Christ-impulse should enter into his soul as a mightier impulse, so that it will sweep him rapidly beyond the Midnight Hour of existence. For the force of the Spirit is strengthened through the impulse of Christ, and we feel the force of the Spirit more strongly throughout the second half of our life between death and rebirth, than would be the case if the Christ-impulse were not there.

...

The surplus of the Christ-impulse that remains with us, strengthens the impulse of the Spirit. Otherwise the Spirit would only be active for the Spirit, and it would cease working when we were born.

As we fill ourselves with the Christ-impulse it strengthens the impulse of the Holy Ghost, and thereby such a spiritual impulse is introduced to our souls that, when we enter earthly incarnation, it is not exhausted in this incarnation as are the other forces we bring with us at birth.

I have already mentioned that we

  • transform the forces we bring over from the spiritual world into our inner organisation,

but

  • the surplus which we gain in this way through the Christ-impulse strengthening the impulse of the Spirit — this we bring over with us into existence, but it does not need to be transformed during our life on Earth.

The further we advance into the future, the more necessary will human beings be for the development of the Earth, human beings who, because they are filled with the Christ-impulse and the impulse of the Spirit, bring something into earthly life with them when they enter their new incarnation. The Spirit must work with greater power, so that it does not only work up to the time of birth, when everything that is brought from the spiritual world is transformed, so that only the tiny amount of consciousness endures which informs us of our physical environment, and of what can be understood by the intellect connected with the brain.

If, as we develop towards the future we did not gradually bring with us as human beings a surplus of spirit, as has just been described, humanity would gradually reach the point where it would have no idea that there was a Spirit, then during earthly life only the unspiritual Spirit, Ahriman, would rule, and humanity would only be able to know of the physical world that is perceived by the senses, and of what is comprehended by the intellect that is connected with the brain.

In the onward development of mankind, all these things are even now being experienced to a certain extent, even now humanity is in danger of losing the Holy Ghost.

But it will not lose it. Spiritual Science will be the watcher which will see that humanity does not lose the Holy Ghost, this Spirit which approaches the soul at the Midnight Hour of existence, in order to waken within it the longing to see itself in its past and recognise its value.

Spiritual Science will have to speak more and more impressively of the Christ-impulse, so that more and more Spirit shall enter into physical existence through birth, in more and more human beings, and so that in this physical existence there shall be more and more human beings who feel: ‘I have certainly within me forces which have to be transformed into organising forces, but there is something also dawning in my soul which need not be transformed. I have brought with me into this physical world some of the Spirit which appertains only to the spiritual worlds, although I am living in my body.’

This is the Spirit which will enable people to see what is spoken of by Theodora in the Mystery Drama, The Portal of Initiation, namely, the etheric form of Christ. The power of the Spirit which thus enters people's bodies will open spiritual eyes through which to see and understand the spiritual worlds. First, people will have to understand them, and then they will begin with understanding to behold them; vision will come, because the Spirit so lays hold of people's souls that they will be able to bring this Spirit into their bodies, and the Spirit will shine out even in their earthly incarnations; it will dawn first in a few, and then in a larger number.

So we may say: Through the Spirit, through the Holy Ghost we are awakened in the great Midnight Hour of existence. So also from another side we may say, when we bear in mind what the Spirit provides for earthly evolution in the future: the best part of the soul, that by which we are enabled to see into the spiritual worlds, will be awakened more and more by the Holy Ghost even when in the physical body.

As Man is awakened by the Holy Ghost in the Midnight Hour of existence, so also will he be awakened while living in his physical body on the physical plane. He will waken inwardly through the Spirit rousing him out of the sleep of sense; otherwise through mere sense-perception and through the intellect that is connected with the brain, man would always remain asleep. The Spirit will shine into this human sleep, which as it developed toward the future would otherwise gradually overcome humanity. The spirit in man will shine into this sleep even during physical existence. In the midst of the decline of spiritual life, in the midst of spiritual death, caused by an outlook based merely on sense-perception and a brain-bound intellect, the souls of men will be awakened by the Holy Ghost - even now during physical existence: PER SPIRITUM SANCTUM REVIVISCIMUS (PSSR)

1917-08-28-GA176

Because the human body, during its life between birth and death, overcomes a now comparatively weaker life of soul, it had to be made possible for the human soul to live again in a body which is subject to birth and death. This became possible only because a Being from the spiritual world, the Christ Being, united Himself with those earthly forces which came to dominate man's consciousness.

What kind of forces are they? They are death forces, the very forces to which man now owes his consciousness!

You will understand the far-reaching meaning of the Rosicrucian saying: In Christo Morimur, in Christ we die. These words express in a sense the very meaning of man's existence. They express what entered human evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha. They express what united itself with the death-bringing forces enabling them to become henceforth the basis for man's consciousness.

It may be asked why in these circumstances such a great number of people still do not acknowledge the Christ? All one can say about this is that so many and so far-reaching secrets are connected with this question that at present it is not yet possible to speak about them in a general way. But what I have just described is a fact of human evolution.

[MoG – why the death was necessary]

Let us now connect what has been said with the Mystery of Golgotha: Christ had incarnated in the body of Jesus of Nazareth; i.e., in a body subject to the same conditions as those to which human bodies in general were subject at that time. As a result of the pure hereditary conditions the body of Jesus of Nazareth was subject to conditions in which consciousness was gradually to emerge from the forces of death. What had to happen to give evolution so mighty a jolt that it would cause an equally mighty impulse to stream as a force into mankind's evolution, making consciousness arise from forces of death?

The Christ-being, that lived for three years in and through the body of Jesus of Nazareth, spoke the secrets connected with human consciousness to this body. This could be done only at the moment of death, for it is only then that the entire secret connected with human consciousness is drawn together.

Did not the Christ have to lead Jesus through death in order that this whole impulse of consciousness could stream into mankind? Indeed, it did!

[Moment of death]

And death is also that moment when we too may hope to attain an intensified comprehension of Christ. This is because at that moment all the forces are present which have sustained our consciousness throughout life. We are adapted at the moment of death to absorb what is in fact the secret of our consciousness and to absorb with it the Christ Impulse. We are preparing ourselves to receive it when we seek not only to understand but to experience the reality of the Christ Impulse. However what meets us at death we can understand only when our organ for understanding is set free. That means that while the moment of death does indeed provide the condition for union with Christ, it is only when we are free of the etheric body that the astral body and ‘I’— the organization for understanding — can actually perceive this union.

Something else had to take place at the Mystery of Golgotha to bring about these conditions:

After Christ had — in dying on Golgotha — entrusted to Jesus as it were the secrets of man's future consciousness, a momentous event had to occur: Jesus, in whom the Christ dwelt, rose to new life through the force of death. In other words, the Resurrection had to occur in order that we could understand that Resurrection when, a few days after death, we experience our ether body separating from us as explained by anthroposophical science. In this more inward death — i.e., the separation from the ether body a few days after death—we relive in a certain sense the Mystery of Golgotha.

For it was life, that is, consciousness, which rose out of death: a living consciousness. At no time before the Mystery of Golgotha had this ever happened; life had always risen from life. Never before had there been a necessity to understand how life can come from death, only how life comes from life.

This is one of many approaches to the Mystery of Golgotha.

The fundamental issue of Christianity is the Resurrection. Anything calling itself by that name without having as its center a living concept of the Resurrection is no true Christianity. It is absolutely essential to understand that Christ, who united Himself with the forces of death, is the living Christ. Nothing else provides a true understanding of Christianity. Modern so-called Christianity which avoids the concept of the Resurrection is not Christianity. The essential need in mankind's evolution was the Death and Resurrection. The other events which took place at the Mystery of Golgotha are all an integral part of what has just been described.

...

It is not without meaning that the same time span elapsed between the death and the resurrection of Christ Jesus as the one that elapses between our leaving the physical body and our leaving the ether body in death.

There is an intimate bond between Christ's life on Earth and the Man of today living after the Mystery of Golgotha. It is now possible to say with greatest conviction: Christ came in order that Man should not be lost to the Earth. Had the Mystery of Golgotha not taken place Man's body would have become larva-like, directed from above by his soul. Death would gradually have removed Man from the Earth altogether. Through the Mystery of Golgotha man's connection with the Earth was restored. Through the Mystery of Golgotha the possibility of consciousness arising from death was created.

1918-10-05-GA184

There were contemporaries of Christ, His disciples; they went about with Him; through the traditional primeval wisdom they could acquire so much wisdom about Him that later they were able to produce the Gospels — but they could not really understand Him. Right up to their deaths they certainly never reached an understanding of the Christ Impulse. When was it, then, that they could achieve this? After their death, in the time after death.

...

We are touching here on a very important secret which we must bring with all exactitude before our souls. The contemporaries of Christ had first to go through death, had to live in the spiritual world until the second or third century; and then, in the life after death, knowledge of Christ could dawn upon them, and they could inspire those who, towards the end of the second century, or from the third century on, wrote about the Christ Impulse. Hence the writings about the Christ Impulse from the third century onwards take on a special character, for through the Church Fathers they received inspiration, more or less clear or more or less clouded. Thus Augustine, whose authority prevailed throughout the Middle Ages, falls into this period. Hence we can see how the only way in which people could be given an understanding of the Christ Impulse was to be inspired on Earth by the Venus wisdom, if I may so call it, which at present Man can experience only after death and in subsequent centuries.

...

You see, the working of the Christ Impulse into mankind during the centuries of Christian development was bound up with numerous mysteries. And anyone wishing to seek for it again to-day finds the most important elements in knowledge about the Christ Impulse only by achieving supersensible cognition. For the first actual teachers of mankind concerning the Christ Impulse were really the dead, as you have been able to see from what I have now been saying — persons who were contemporaries of Christ, and only in the third century became mature enough to gain a full understanding.

1918-10-06-GA184

When you take the other matter of which I was speaking yesterday, that only after death is man able to come to a right conception of the Mystery of Golgotha, then, if you reflect a little, you will no longer find it inconceivable that through the gate of death Man enters a world where he cannot be tricked into thinking that death belongs to the world of the senses, for he sees death from the other side — I have often described this — and from this other side he learns increasingly to study death.

And by this means he becomes ever more fitted to contemplate the Mystery of Golgotha in its true form. Thus we have to admit that had the Mystery of Golgotha not come about (but what is said in this connection can be understood only through super-sensible knowledge), death would have taken possession of man. Evil also would be in the world, and wisdom also. But since men through their evolution had to fall into a corrupted view of nature, they were bound to have a false view of death. In wishing for immortality they turn to Lucifer, and in wishing to turn to the spirit they fall victim to Lucifer. If they do not turn to the spirit they become like dumb animals, and if they do turn to the spirit, they fall into Lucifer's grip. Looking to the future implies a wish to be immortal in Lucifer; looking towards the past means interpreting the world in such a way that inherited characteristics, which are super-sensible, are viewed in terms of morality, thereby inventing the medieval blasphemy of original sin.

A real devotion to the Mystery of Golgotha is a protection against all these things. It brings into the world a true conception of birth and death, gained on a super-sensible path. By a true conception of this kind men should be healed from the effects of the corrupted conception. Thus Christ Jesus is the Healer, the Saviour. And therefore — because men have not chosen to follow a corrupted conception of the world because they are good for nothing, but have come to it through their evolution, through their nature — therefore the Christ works healingly; therefore He is not only the Teacher but the Physician of mankind.

1922-11-19-GA218

[Passage from soul-world to spirit world] By turning now in heart and mind and feeling to the Christ and to the Mystery of Golgotha, already here upon the Earth, Man receives power that will enable him to get beyond the spheres of Sun and Saturn, so to gain entry into Spirit-land, — in other words, into the world of Stars.

1923-08-28-GA227

The Sun is a gathering of those Beings who point to the future of Earth-evolution and now also to the present, and whose great representative is the Christ, who passed through the Mystery of Golgotha.

Through as much as human beings absorb on Earth in their relation to that Mystery, so will their entrance into the spiritual land of the Sun be facilitated, so that they are enabled to take up inwardly the Mars organ in the sphere of Mars, the Jupiter organ in the Jupiter-sphere, and in the sphere of Saturn the corresponding Saturn organ. This is accomplished in threefold circles which take their course far more slowly than that of the Moon; yet this also underlies world-evolution. The complete fulfilment of what I have just been describing — the development into Mars man, Jupiter man, Saturn man — will come about only in the future.

During our present epoch we can make only the circle of the Mars region after death, through the activity of world-forces; after that we are unable to do more than touch on the Jupiter region. We have to go through many earthly lives before being able — between death and rebirth — to enter fully the Jupiter region and, later still, that of Saturn.

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