Christ and the Mystery of Golgotha

From Anthroposophy

Where to start?

Where to start, when one wants to get an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha (in short: MoG)?

Rudolf Steiner, as a 'spiritual scientist', or 'scientist of the invisible', touched on it from almost any context in thousands of his lectures, and devoted hundreds of lectures dedicated to the subject of the Christ impulse as a cosmic phenomena. There are so many possible angles to shed light on this, that it becomes intimidating trying to study, lecture or cover the topic. Here's just a first grab of some full cycles (not considering the cycles on the Gospels, or the many standalone lectures with titles focusing on the subject):

  • GA097 in 1906/7 - The Chrystian Mystery
  • GA116 of 1909-10 - Christ Impulse and the development of ego consciousness
  • GA131 of 1911 - From Jesus to Christ
  • GA152 in 1913/14 - Approaching the Mystery of Golgotha
  • GA165 in 1915/16 - Unifying Humanity Spiritually through the Christ Impulse
  • GA175 of 1917 - Building stones for an understanding of the MoG
  • GA187 of 1918-12 - How Can Humanity Find the Christ Again

One would think - reading the titles of these cycles - that, to get the 'essence' of the MoG, one 'just' has to read one or more of these cycles to 'get it'. This is not the case. Quite on the contrary. One can read lectures for many years, and still not see the forest through the trees or have gained an in depth understanding of the Christ Impulse and Mystery of Golgotha.

The more one reads and studies Rudolf Steiner's lectures, the more one comes to appreciate the breath and depth of the coverage presented in the Gesambtausgabe (or Collected Works). But at the same time this becomes a challenge to integrate, assimilate, incorporate, .. and conceive to order, structure, represent this in a clear and didactic way. See more on Notes on the study process.

Christ and the event at Golgotha are positioned and studied as a cosmic event in both a scientific context of physics and evolution, as an explanatory theological context relating to religious documents.

This site represents a prototype pilot exercise in support of people who want to gain an understanding and more insight into the Christ Impulse and the Mystery of Golgotha. I thereby assume you are familiar with spiritual science and its foundation works and concepts.

The approach is in stages, each step deepens the understanding and is more demanding, not only in time invested but, much more importantly, mental-emotional and intellectual energy. This site provides guidance in that it gives structured study modules with scope and boundaries, as well as lecture references and supporting insights. That way you can work the subject matter in breadth and depth at your own pace, without getting lost or discouraged.

Staged approach

  1. As a first step one can read a first Christ introductory statement .. a real short and concise introduction.
  2. After this, the proposal is to study the top or best introductory lecture(s) by Rudolf Steiner. A starting point of the single best lecture has been selected, complemented with some flankers for a total of five of the best introductory lectures to get started. This already covers a tremendous amount of information and material for further study. See the Guided study approach to Christ that proposes a proposed segmentation in study modules
  3. The next step or phase is to initialize one's understanding with the 'Christ - base Study Modules 1 to 7'. This requires a serious commitment from the student, but provides a thorough foundation.
  4. In the next phase, a selection of advanced Study essays is proposed. Here we are 'guided' by various authors who take us along a journey or story from different perspectives, whereby the different author styles and views enrich our study.
  5. Building on the above, Christ - study modules 8 to 14 are about gaining insight by studying additional topics that are at a deeper level such as the resurrection, the trinity, and the relationship with adverse influences or 'evil'.
  6. What is missing in the above then still, is how to relate all this to our own life. In Christ - study modules 15 to 21 we cover 'the human Christ experience', quite practically, from a human experiental perspective (both between birth and death, and between death and a new birth). This necessarily comes after the other modules because otherwise one could not relate to the multitude of meaningful dimensions, or understand impact and dependencies. It links to the study of spiritual science and the various ways of initiation.
  7. Finally, as the last and seventh stage, the intention is to 'come full circle' and go through the gospels, with special focus for John's Gospel and the Fifth Gospel, and revisit all we have learned. This is a future stage of study modules to be developed.

About the illustration

Schema FMC00.054 above represents the blackboard drawing by Rudolf Steiner in the lecture of 1919-10-17-GA191. It depicts, on the left, the old mystery wisdom and clairvoyance dying out. In the middle in orange, the Mystery of Golgotha? On the right, the new beginning through the Christ Impulse of spiritualization and the new clairvoyance and wisdom.

Some introductory quotes

  • 1911-12-03-GA130

.. the deepest lesson — the mission of earthly love in its connection with the Mystery of Golgotha — has not yet been grasped

  • 1916-01-09-165

.. when spirits from other planets look down upon Earth and ask what the meaning of this earthly evolution is, they will understand it when they learn about the Mystery of Golgotha. Everything that happens in the course of earthly evolution has its meaning only through the Mystery of Golgotha. The Mystery of Golgotha radiates out into the cosmos and imparts to everything else that radiates out from the earth its meaning, its central meaning.

  • 1917-12-23-GA180

An understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha demands the highest powers of wisdom of which the human being is capable. It must be experienced by the deepest forces that can stir the soul of man. When he searches its depths for the light kindled by wisdom, when he does not merely speak of love but is enflamed by it through the union of his soul with the cosmic soul that streams and pulses through this turning point of time, only then does he acquire insight and understanding into the mysteries of existence.

  • 1922-08-27-GA214

.. it will be indispensable to turn attention in our time once more to this the greatest question of mankind, inasmuch as the essence and meaning of the whole evolution of the Earth lies in the Mystery of Golgotha

  • 1923-07-05-GA224 (SWCC)

The impulse of Christ was realized on Earth in the Mystery of Golgotha ​​.. only to be understood by the forces of spiritual knowledge. No materialistic cognitive ability, no materialistic science is capable of understanding the Mystery of Golgotha.The soul must take in the power of spiritual understanding, the power of spiritual looking, the power of spiritual sensation in order to understand the impulse of Christ

  • 1923-05-17-GA226

    .. when, prepared by spiritual science, men again seek out the spiritual world, they will find it in a way that is needful for the present age, and they will also truly find the Christ as ever present with them. If in this age men do not turn to spiritual knowledge the Christ will be lost to them.

  • 1923-05-17-GA226 (SWCC)

.. through spiritual science we desire to seek the way to the living Christ. Let us feel that .. the mystery of the first Pentecost may be renewed and the knowledge of the Christ may dawn in our heart, that one may feel himself enwarmed and enlightened through the flaming tongues of universal Christ-like knowledge. May our way to that which is spiritual, through spiritual science, be at the same time our way to Christ through the Spirit.
If a handful of men earnestly make this knowledge their own, the mystery of Pentecost will take root ever more firmly among them at the present time and still more so in the future. Then that will come which is so badly required for the healing and health of humanity, then it will be possible for the Spirit to speak to a new human understanding, the Spirit that heals the sickness of the souls of men — the Spirit sent by Christ. Then will come that of which humanity has so great a need — the Pentecost of the World.
... such knowledge as will lead all men to the spiritual world .. and through this knowledge the Christ can again be known, but in such a manner that when anyone has true spiritual science (anthroposophy) he will be able to represent the Christ in a way that will be comprehensible to all men.

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