Christ on Old Sun
On Old Sun, the most advanced being of the order of the archangels went through a special sacrifice and received a cosmic initiation from or through 'the twelve world initiators' (the beings of the first hierarchy, and beyond: the Logos).
From that stage on Christ developed quite differently from all other beings, from a microscopic individual I to a Cosmic I (see 1912-01-09-GA130).
Lecture coverage and references
There are three main lectures from the period 1911-08 to 1912-06, the main one is 1912-06-12-GA137
1905-10-25-GA093a describes Christ as a Solar Pitri; also: (Winged) Lion-Nature, Solar Hero
Now there came a Sun Hero, similar to those who appeared in the Hyperborean Epoch, represented by Ezekiel as the Winged Lion. This Hero, Who gave the second impulse, is the Christ, the Lion out of the tribe of Judah. The representative of the Eagle will come only later; he represents the Father Principle. Christ is a Solar Hero, a Lion-Nature, a Sun Pitri.
1911-08-25-GA129 talks about the sacrifice of Christ on Old Sun
But towards the middle of the Sun evolution something stupendous happened.
A Being developed forces not in accordance with the finer, rarer etheric elements. Side by side with the Mystery of Golgotha which we call the great Earth-sacrifice we can speak of a Sun-sacrifice in that a Being who had chosen to dwell among the gods who only wanted to live in the finer elements nevertheless developed powers of densification adequate to the Earth elements. And so, since the Sun evolution, we have had in the ranks of the Beings equipped only with forces adapted to the etheric spheres, a Being who, within the cosmic ether, has an inner relationship with the earthly element.
From the time of the Sun evolution this Being waited for the right moment to introduce the forces He had developed into the Earth itself. It was Zarathustra's great merit to recognise ‘In the sun in the heavens above us something remains from the old Sun evolution. For the present this Being is in the sun. But the moment is drawing near when He will also bring down to earth his form that is suited to the earthly elements.’ Then came the time when humanity, though still not mature enough to recognise this Being who had become part of the etheric world in Himself, was nevertheless able to recognise Him in reflection; that was a stage on the way.
Thus in course of evolution, for reasons which we shall speak of tomorrow, this Being showed Himself to humanity to begin with not directly, but in a reflected form, which we can describe as related to reality as moonlight, which is reflected sunlight, is related to the direct light of the sun. That Being who began to prepare Himself for His great deed on Golgotha during the old Sun evolution, was first shown to humanity in mirrored form. And this reflected form was called by the ancient Hebrew people, Jahve. Jahve or Jehovah is the reflection of Christ; he is really the same as Christ, only seen in a mirror, so to say, seen aforetime, prophetically — prefigured until the time was ripe for Him to show Himself not merely in reflection, but in His own, His pristine form.
Thus we see the most important event for the Earth was prepared in the old Sun, we see humanity prepared for the Christ through the ancient Hebrew civilisation. We see the Being who once separated Himself from the Earth and went to the Sun return to the Earth again; but we see too that He first revealed Himself to man in a mirrored image, so to say in a representation. Jahve or Jehovah is related to the real Christ just as the upper gods are related to the lower ones, he is the representation of the real Christ, and to those who see through things, resembles Him completely. Hence in a certain way we can speak of Jehovah-Christ, and in doing so light upon the true sense of the Gospels, which relate that the Christ Himself said: ‘If you would come to know Me, then you must know how Moses and the Prophets have spoken of Me.’ Christ knew well that when, of old, people spoke of Jehovah or Jahve, they were speaking of Him, and that all that was said of Jahve applied to Himself, as the mirror-image is related to its archetype.
.. whereas the upper gods, those who, in the sense we explained yesterday, were the representations of the others, only wished to live in the finer elements - in the warmth, light, chemical and life elements - [the Christ], who later through the Baptism by John in the Jordan descended to Earth, out of the most profound wisdom took with Him the forces to which our Earth evolution had already advanced on the Old Sun. .. the condensation of the warmth element to air (warmth being the essential feature of the Old Saturn stage) had already taken place during the Old Sun stage. Whereas the other beings among the upper gods refused to take the air element with them when they withdrew from development as a whole into cosmic space, this being did take the air-element with him, so that he remained related to the Earth. Thus through this being there was outside in cosmic space all the time for all future evolution an clement akin to the Earth, the element which had already on the Old Sun condensed to air or gas. If we gaze up into space to the sun, as though with the eye of Zarathustra of old, we have to see it primarily as a survival of the Old Sun, so to say as the Old Sun planet come to life again, repeating in the present what existed during the Old Sun stage of evolution.
- Thus, expressed in terms of spiritual science, we have in the first place to see in the sun the dwelling place - or part of it at any rate, for this dwelling-place extends to the other planets as well - the most essential part of the dwelling-place of the upper gods, whom we designated yesterday as one stream of the divine world. But if you look at this whole sun with the clairvoyant eye, you see that everything in it which is those upper gods is there only in etheric form, from the warmth ether upwards to the light ether, the chemical ether and the life ether.
- But the sun as it moves in space today is not only there for clairvoyant sight as an etheric structure, it is also a globe of gas, it is condensed to the state of air. The sun would never have condensed to the state of air had not the being who descended to Earth with the dove in the baptism by John in the Jordan, during the Old Sun stage [editor note] detached himself in a body of air and not merely in an etheric body. Thus when we look up at the sun we have to say: ‘The warmth, light and chemical impulses in the sun are connected with the other Beings, those who are only the ideas or representations of the lower gods; but the gaseous element in the sun is actually the body of Christ.’
Our modern materialistic science will one day come to learn once more the ancient doctrine of Zarathustra, will one day have to say to itself: ‘The sun as a globe of vapour outside in space is not merely what our astro-chemistry makes of it, not merely what our spectral-analysis reveals, but the sun as a globe of air or vapour there outside in the heavens is the pristine body of Christ, who was associated with the other upper gods, but was also connected with the being of the Earth.’
Our modern materialistic science will one day come to learn once more the ancient doctrine of Zarathustra, will one day have to say to itself: ‘The sun as a globe of vapour outside in space is not merely what our astro-chemistry makes of it, not merely what our spectral-analysis reveals, but the sun as a globe of air or vapour there outside in the heavens is the pristine body of Christ, who was associated with the other upper gods, but was also connected with the being of the Earth.’ — That is what Zarathustra perceived when he expressed the Mystery of the Christ in the sun by the word Aura or Ahura Mazdao — the great wisdom-filled Spirit, the great wisdom, the great aura.
And then what up to that time had existed solely in the sun, and yet was akin to the nature of the Earth, did in fact take possession in the mysterious moment of the Baptism by John in the Jordan, of the physical, etheric and astral bodies of Jesus of Nazareth. In the body of Jesus of Nazareth for the first time upon our Earth, the purified stream from cosmic space united with the newly arising etheric body streaming from the human heart to the brain. During the Baptism by John in the Jordan there took place a union between what was indeed a real stream that came from without, from cosmic space — being moreover permeated with airy substance — and the stream which rises upwards continuously as the finest etheric constituents of the heart-blood towards the head. This is what first gave to every human soul the possibility of permeating itself with that element out of cosmic space which is represented to us in the sign of the dove at the Baptism by John in the Jordan. In fact, through that event an intercourse was created between the entire universe, so far as it is accessible to us, and its purest extract, which previously, provisionally we might say, had co-operated in what is called esoterically the eagle-stream. It was a communication, an interaction, between all that streamed from the Earth and formed the human body from below upwards and what as macrocosmic stream worked into man from without. From this you see how we can enter ever more deeply into the Mystery which took place in Palestine. The more we ourselves advance in knowledge of what the world is, the better we come to understand the Mystery of Palestine.
And now we will turn aside from these spiritual beings whom we regard as Luciferic, and consider the nature of Christ.
The Christ is quite radically different from other beings who share in the Earth evolution. He is a Being of quite another order; He is a Being who remained behind, not only during the Moon evolution, as the Luciferic spirits did, but who, foreseeing the Moon evolution, actually remained behind still earlier, namely, during the old Sun evolution; and it was from a certain assured wisdom far above the human that He remained behind during the Old Sun evolution.
We cannot regard this Being as microcosmic in the sense which applies to the other beings we have been considering; for we have to regard as microcosmic beings those who were connected with this Earth evolution from its beginning.
The Christ was not directly connected with the Earth evolution, but with the Sun evolution.
He was a macrocosmic Being from the beginning of the Earth evolution on, a Being who was exposed to entirely different conditions of evolution from those of the microcosmic beings.
And His evolutionary conditions were of a special sort; they were such that this macrocosmic Christ Being evolved the macrocosmic ego outside earthly conditions.
When we go back to the time of the old Sun, we do not find there any story of the Temptation! We find the Sun still as a planet among the seven planets, we find Venus with Lucifer as her ruler; and these two, the Sun Spirit and the Venus Spirit — in other words, Christ and Lucifer — appear at first sight like brothers. Only by straining to the utmost our powers of perception are we able to remark the difference between them. For the difference between Lucifer and Christ, in the time of old Sun is not apparent to an observation of their external being, it requires a more inward observation and study. It is indeed extraordinarily difficult to find outward means of demonstrating wherein the difference lies. Please, therefore, take what I am now going to say as no more than an attempt to characterise, as well as may be, the difference that clairvoyant consciousness can perceive between Christ and Lucifer in the time of the ancient Sun.
When we direct our gaze now to Christ, now again to Lucifer, a new perception begins to dawn upon us. Lucifer, the ruler of Venus, appears in a form that is extraordinarily full of light, — I mean, of course, spiritual light. We have the feeling that all the glow and brilliance we can ever experience on Earth in looking upon a manifestation of light is weak and dim in comparison with the majesty of Lucifer in the old Sun time. But then we notice, when we begin to perceive his intentions — and we are able to see through these—, that Lucifer is a Spirit endowed in his very nature with infinite pride, so great a pride that it can prove a temptation to man. For, as is well-known, there are things which up to a point are not temptations for man but become so when they grow majestic in their proportions, and pride is one of them. When pride is majestically great it tempts man. Lucifer's proud greatness, Lucifer's pride in his majestic figure of light — these contain a seductive element. “Unmanifest light,” light that does not shine outwardly but has immense, strong power in itself — that Lucifer has in full measure.
And how does the Christ figure look beside Lucifer?
The Christ figure in the time of old Sun — the Lord and Ruler of the Sun planet — is a picture of utmost devotion, entire devotion to all that is around Him in the world. Whereas Lucifer looks like one who thinks only of himself — we are obliged to clothe it all in human words, notwithstanding the fact that these are quite inadequate — Christ appears as wholly given up, in devotion, to all that is around Him in the great wide world.
[ed: The zodiac - twelve world initiators]
The great wide world was not then as it is now. If we were to transport ourselves in these days to the present Sun, then, looking outwards in all directions as from the centre of a circle, we should perceive in the first place the twelve Signs of the Zodiac. These were not then externally visible; but instead, twelve great Forms, twelve Beings were present who let their words ring forth from the depths of the darkness, — outer space being of course not then filled with light. What kind of words were these? They were words — the word “word” is again only a makeshift, to indicate what is here meant — they were words that told of primeval times, of times that even then were in a remote and ancient past. The twelve were twelve World-Initiators. Today we behold standing in the directions of these twelve World-Initiators the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, but from them resounds, for the soul that is open to the whole world, the original being of the Unspoken Word of Worlds, that could take form in the twelve Voices.
And whilst Lucifer alone — I must now begin to speak more in pictures; human words do not in the least suffice — whilst Lucifer had the impulse to let stream out upon all things the light that was present in him and therewith come to a knowledge of all things, the Christ on the other hand, gave Himself up to the Impression of this Word of the Worlds, received It in its fulness and entirety into Himself, so that this Christ Soul was now the Being that united in Himself all the great Secrets of the World that sounded into Him through the inexpressible Word. Such is the contrast that presents itself, — the Christ Who receives the Word of the Worlds, and the proud Lucifer, the Spirit of Venus, who rejects the Word of the Worlds and wants to found and establish everything with his own light.
All subsequent evolution is a direct outcome of what Lucifer and Christ were at that time.
- The Christ Being, as we saw, received into Himself the great and all-embracing secrets of the Worlds.
- The Lucifer Being, having what I can only describe as a “proud figure of Light,” lost thereby his kingdom, lost his Venus kingdom.
- On other grounds, to enter into which would take us too far afield, the other Spirits of the Planets lost also their kingdoms, or rather changed their natures. But they need not concern us here.
What is important for us here is the contrast between Christ and Lucifer. It came about that Lucifer lost more and more of his rulership; the kingdom of Venus gradually fell away from him. Lucifer with his light became a dethroned ruler, and the planet Venus had thenceforward to do without a proper ruler and was consequently obliged to undergo a backward evolution.
The Christ, however, had during the old Sun time received the Word of the Worlds, and this Word of the Worlds has the quality of kindling itself to new light in the soul by which It is received; so that from that time forward the Word of the Worlds became in the Christ Light, and the planet of which the Christ was ruler, the Sun, became the centre of the whole planetary system, the other planets being brought into subjection to It. The same is true also of their spiritual Rulers.
We must let these scenes live before us, we must learn to see the divergence that came about during the old Sun time between the path of Lucifer and the path of Christ. Lucifer went downward, he had to remain behind in his evolution, and he remained behind also during the Moon time. Christ went forward. The Christ Spirit, the Sun Spirit, became a Spirit evolving ever forward until at length He was able to appear on Earth in the Form we have often described. Through His devotion to the World All, through His having received and identified Himself with the Divinely Creative, Inexpressible Word, through His having rejected every sort of pride and put always in its place devotion to the Word of the Worlds, — Christ, from being Ruler of a single planet, as He was in the ancient Sun time, became Ruler from the Sun over all the planets, the other planets being reckoned as part of the realm of the Sun.
When you know this — I am speaking here more particularly to those who heard my lectures in Helsingfors — knowing this, you will not feel it as a contradiction that Christ is spoken of in those lectures as a Sun Spirit of a higher kind than the Spirits of the planets. For there of course we were speaking of the present day. Christ is far above the other planetary Spirits. He is the Spirit of the Sun. Here, however, where we are not merely describing how the individual planetary bodies are quickened to life by their Spirits, but where our task is above all to describe the several states of consciousness, we have to show how Christ through His own special character and nature has, during the course of the evolution that has taken place between old Sun and the present time, passed through an upward evolution, and from having been a Spirit who was of like nature with the planetary Spirits has become the Ruler or Regent of the whole solar system.
Note on Christ's body of air
1911-08-26-GA129 states that during the Old Sun stage the Christ detached himself in a body of air and not merely in an etheric body, and he thereby remained related to the Earth.
1/ It appears likely that there may be confusion or a misunderstanding in the lecture text, see the underlined sections in the extract above, and that this happened as the Sun withdrew from the Earth, see:
Whereas the other beings among the upper gods refused to take the air element with them when they withdrew from development as a whole into cosmic space, this being did take the air-element with him, so that he remained related to the Earth. Thus through this being there was outside in cosmic space all the time for all future evolution an clement akin to the Earth, the element which had already on the Old Sun condensed to air or gas.
In the next paragraph it is mentioned, explicitly but only once, that this happened during the Old Sun stage. It may be that the intended meaning was that the element of air was created during the Old Sun stage, because this contradicts the paragraph above. Also, it does not make sense to consider the current Earth (and Christ's relation to it) when considering the Old Sun stage, as this was a preceding stage when the Earth had not condensed yet.
2/ The question becomes: what is the interpretation of Christ having a 'body of the mineral element air' , why would this be and how do we need to understand it?
Could it be there is a link with Christ's approach of the Earth, and his presence in the elements of nature and in the atmosphere? As in Moses and the burning bush, the pagan and Arthur's stream.
As we know, this Godhead revealed itself in the age of Moses in the burning bush as the God of the elements. It was a great advance when the World-I, as the Godhead, was experienced in such a way through the teachings of Moses that one said to oneself: the elements of existence - what we see with physical eyes, lightning, thunder, etc. - are, in the last analysis, emanations, deeds of the World-I, of the single World-I.
What did these revelations to Moses signify?
They signified that the Christ Being, while approaching the Earth, was revealing Himself - in reflection to begin with - as if in a mirror-image. Let us consider, in its spiritual aspect, the process in evidence at every full Moon. When we look at the full Moon we see the rays of the Sun in reflection. It is sunlight that streams towards us, only we call it moonlight because we see it reflected by the Moon.
What Being did Moses behold in the burning bush and in the fire on Sinai?
He beheld the Christ! But just as the sunlight is not seen directly but reflected from the Moon, so did Moses see the Christ in reflection. And as we call the sunlight ‘moonlight’ when we see it reflected from the Moon, Christ was called at that time, Jahve, or Jehovah. Jahve or Jehovah is the reflection of the Christ before He Himself appeared on Earth. Christ announced Himself thus indirectly to a humanity as yet unable to behold Him in his immediate reality, just as the sunlight manifests itself through the rays of the Moon in the otherwise dark night of full Moon. Jahve or Jehovah is the Christ — but seen as reflected light, not directly.