Mysteries of the Spirit, the Son and the Father

From Anthroposophy

The topic title is also the title of a lecture by Rudolf Steiner, about the distinction between:

  • The Mysteries of the Spirit refer to the Mystery centers in the Atlantean epoch, upto last pre-Christian centuries. Candidates for initiation were put through trials and the teachers were spirits higher than Man, who had completed their development on earlier planets. The proces typically included the process of detaching the etheric body for three days.
  • The Mysteries of the Son refer to what changed for initiation after the Mystery of Golgotha. Reference is made to the school of Saint Paul and Dionysus the Areopagite in the first century (see also School of Athens, eg 1907-03-25-GA096), a tradition carried further by John Scotus Eriugena (815-877).
  • The future Mysteries of the Father will be characterized by the fact that the teachers will be fully human, individuals that developed faster than the rest of humanity and will be called the Fathers.The guidance of humanity will be in the hands of human beings themselves. (1904-10-24-GA090A).

The schemas FMC00.100 and FMC00.183 below show the link with the two main changes: the first is the Mystery of Golgotha, the second is the development of the human threefold soul and consciousness soul. See also schemas FMC00.047 and FMC00.013 on the Current Postatlantean epoch.


  • initiation before and after Mystery of Golgotha (1907-11-20-GA100, see also Schema FMC00.100 and Schema FMC00.397)
    • in pre-Christian times, the candidate for initiation was brought into 'a kind of' sleeping state, whereby the etheric body was for a short time separated from the physical body. Through the etheric body being separated, it was possible to lead it into the higher worlds, in order to undergo experiences which could afterwards be imparted to the physical brain.
    • after the MoG, "an entirely new kind of initiation came in", through the Christ it became possible to imprint the life-spirit directly onto the life body; and the experiences undergone in the higher worlds could henceforth be embodied in the physical brain without the necessity of a previous separation of the etheric body.
  • spiritual guidance of mankind consists of three classes that were esoterically called Holy Ghosts, sons of God, and Fathers. The first two were superhuman beings, the Fathers are the most developed human beings. (1904-10-24-GA090A)
    • these three types of leaders are expanded on on Three classes of Buddhas
    • In the current fifth epoch some of these Fathers reach the level of the beings above. The Sixth epoch will be led by a human Manu or leader, and in the latest ages of that sixth epoch there will be a larger group of 12 groups of souls (see the 144.000 in the Book of Revelation, discussed on D00.004 - Book of Revelation) that reach a level of spiritualization that they constitute the beginning of a new group soul referenced by the Mystical Lamb (re Second Adam).
  • see also: Mystery School tradition


Schema FMC00.397 captures the essence of the Christianity and the statement 'blessed who believe without seeing'. Seeing refers to the astral experience during the initiation process, a tradition for many thousands of years, since the Atlantean mysteries and the millenia before Christ.

What happened in the three years of Christ Jesus was a public enactment of what the pupil lived through during the old initiation processes, and these are also the stages in the life of Christ to be found in the Gospels.

Note: the schema is based on early lectures on the Book of Revelation. See also Schema FMC00.100.


Schema FMC00.100 comes from Christ Module 5 - Initiation and spiritualization. The new initiation in the age of the consciousness soul relates to the Parsifal story and the stream arising from the Individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz.


Schema FMC00.185 is a drawing by Rudolf Steiner in a letter to Marie von Sivers (GA262).

Regarding the Father impulse, see Discussion area note '[2] - About the Father impulse'

Schema FMC00.183 on the left has the blackboard illustration to "not I but the Christ in me". Reference 1922-03-25-GA211 gives a concise summary of the evolutionary stages of the 'natural' Christ experience in nature (which we find back in the Arthur stream and pagan Christianity), to 'the Christ in me' after MoG (which we find back in the Parsifal stream: Man needs to look inside of him instead out in nature to find the Christ). On the right is the link with Old and New Mysteries, see 1918-12-27-GA187 quote on Christ Module 6 - principle in image and story

Schema FMC00.481 is a pamphlet or poster that concatenates a number of excerpts from Rudolf Steiner's lectures to elucidate the meaning of various terms related to what is most important for humanity: selfless love.

As a cosmic principle in the higher spirit world this was called Christòs in ancient Greece, in ancient India and theosophy it was called buddhi, and Rudolf Steiner coined the term life spirit in anthroposophy.

This cosmic principle lives in archangelic beings that went through the human stage on Old Sun, on Earth these are called solar pitris or fathers (in theosophical terminology). These were able to incarnate in the early earthly conditions in the Hyperborean epoch and constituted what is called the Sun men or Apollo men. In more recent times and the language of the ancient myths such descending solar pitris are called Sun Heroes. As leaders of mankind, especially the beings part of the White Lodge are called Bodhisattvas in ancient Indian and theosophical terminology. And besides these descending beings there is also the ascending path upwards: a human being who reaches the sixth degree in initiation was called Sun Hero in the ancient Mysteries.

What all these have in common is that they are the carrier of the life spirit, buddhi, or Christ principle, which is a universal cosmic soul principle that is no longer individual but a higher feeling of the universal soul of mankind, and in that sense representing humanity (and it's future) as a whole.

Christ is the Cosmic Sun Hero who came down to unify with the whole of humanity as the spirit of the Earth. Through the Mystery of Golgotha, the buddhi principle was planted as a latent seed in each human soul. This higher principle will develop in millenia, epochs and even planetary stages to come. In this context, Christ will be with Man until the end of the Earth, and represents the future group soul of humanity also called 'Second Adam'.


Lecture coverage and references


states that in the old mysteries, no books existed. Since the middle of the Lemurian epoch, the guidance of humanity is in the hands of great leaders called 'Manus', a Manu gives an impulse in a certain race through which the race develops. See White Lodge.

Such a Manu is at a higher stage of development than normal human Individualities, and has reached this development even before mankind on Earth received the impulse of the spirit. These were therefore superhuman beings, and these teachers of humanity were of two types, called:

  • the holy ghosts (who were already at such a stage that mankind will only reach in a very far future)
  • the sons of God (who were still superhuman beings, but stood closer to mankind

The third group of beings were then normal human Individualities, but even though men were still like children, under these there were also the ones who were furthest along in their developed, these were called 'pitris' or 'fathers'. Hence the third type of leadership were and are these most advanced souls of humanity, called pitris or 'Fathers'.

So there were and are three groups of Individualities on Earth that take part in the spiritual guidance of mankind.

Now the Logos or the Word was first spiritual, then it became flesh (in Christ-Jesus), and then it becomes the 'Father' in men. Reference is made to Gal. 3,12-21 and Joh. 14,6: no one comes to the Father except through me. In other words: Man can not develop the spirit-man principle except through the life-spirit principle (or budhi) given by the Christ Impulse. For the latter, see also Kundalini.

So we see three steps, in the two occasions. First spirit and holy ghosts, then flesh and son of God, then father.

During the fifth epoch, something remarkable happens, as some of these souls in the third human category of Fathers reach the level of the superhuman beings above them.

See also: D00.004 - Book of Revelation#1904-10-24-GA090A


(one of the top 3 lectures used for the initialization of the Christ topic on this site) explains the change from the 'Mysteries of the Spirit' to the 'Mysteries of the Son' (SWCC)

If we consider evolution on earth, we find that in early times, before the Christ principle entered into human souls, the Mysteries of the Spirit were profound centres of teaching and ritual.The more the Christ came into the world, the more did the Mysteries of the Son unfold; and in future the Mysteries of the Father will be important. We are told of them in the Book of Revelation.

The Mysteries of the Spirit were initially established in the Atlantean epoch. Nursery of the great adepts was founded there, inaugurating the Mysteries of the Spirit that have continued into our age. The mystery centres would accept people had given evidence of having achieved maturity and who had been adequately instructed and purified. There they would receive the teachings, the theosophy that is the basis of all religions, teachings we receive today through spiritual science. They would have purified their instinctive drives, trained to bring order into their thinking, and then have learned not only to love people who were blood-related but to embrace the whole of humanity in love. They had become 'homeless people'. This process which occurs at the highest levels of human development is one that points to the future.

Initiation at the ancient mystery temples continued on into the last pre-Christian centuries, eg evidenced by the Egyptian pyramids. There the disciple who had come so far that he who was able to love the whole of humanity would be put to sleep for three days. His physical body would be as if dead, in total lethargy. The initiator would be able to draw his spirit forth from him the way your spirit is drawn from your body every night when you're asleep. Just as it is true that this spirit is unconscious in ordinary sleep, so it is true that it would be conscious in disciples who had been fully prepared. The interference that comes from the physical body would no longer be there. But in those three days the disciples would be able to remember everything they had learned before; they were able to take this into their body.

Because the candidate had been learning, taking in the necessary concepts and feelings, the initiator was now able to let him experience as a spiritual reality everything he had previously worked for and taken in by way of inner feelings. The soul would wander through the astral and spirit world during the three days that it was out of the body.

lt would encounter the reality of what it had previously learned, and the individual thus came to know, to be initiated. The theosophical teachings ceased to be mere theory; now they were something in which he himself had been, as though in a living element. When he woke again in his body and looked at his physical surroundings, a sound would come to his lips that must wrest itself from the soul of its own accord when alter wandering through the world of the spirit for three and a half days the soul found itself back in the physical world again. The soul was then aware that the I had become a citizen of higher worlds, that it had been in those worlds and could now speak to people about its experience in those worlds. Speaking of the world of the spirit from experience, he had become a herald of the spirit in the physical world, a missionary of the spirit. And this comes to expression in the words: 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani' which means: 'Oh God, my God, you have indeed glorified me!' These were the words one would have been able to hear from every individual who had been initiated in this way.


gives further coverage on The Mysteries of the Spirit, the Son and the Father

The teachers of the Atlantean adept school were not human beings but spirits higher than man. They had completed their development on earlier planets. These teachers, coming from ancient planetary evolutions, taught the Mysteries of the Spirit to a small select group.

In the Mysteries of the Son, Christ Jesus himself would appear as the teacher on special occasions. He, too, was a teacher who was not human but a god. ..

.. Between the Mysteries of the Spirit and those of the Father we thus have the Mysteries of the Son, with the school of St Paul its planting site, the school put in the care of Dionysius the Areopagite. The school had its flowering under him, for Dionysius taught those mysteries in a very special way, whilst Paul spread the teaching exoterically. ..

.. It will not be until we have the Mysteries of the Father that the teachers will be humans. Individuals who have developed faster than the rest of humanity will be the true Masters of Wisdom and Harmony. They will be called the fathers. In the Mysteries of the Father, therefore, the guidance of humanity will be no longer in the hands of spirits who have come down from other worlds, but in the hands of human beings themselves. This is the important point.

In the same lecture Steiner also positions the mission of spiritual science in this context:

We are now moving towards a future that will hold the Mysteries of the Father and have to make every effort to see that every individual is wise.

Will this help against egotism and being shattered?

Yes! For human beings can only be united if they gain the greatest wisdom, a wisdom in which there are no personal vagaries, opinions or standpoints but one common view. If people were to continue in the way of being different, having points of view, and so on, they would again and again go their separate ways. The most sublime wisdom, however, always creates the same view for all people. True wisdom is one wisdom that brings all people together again in the greatest possible freedom, with no coercion or authority. As the members of the great white brotherhood are always in harmony among themselves and with humanity, so will all human beings be united in this wisdom at a future time. This wisdom alone will create the true idea of brotherhood. The mission of the science of the spirit therefore need be no more than to guide humanity towards this idea, now in the unfolding of the spirit self, later of the life spirit. The great goal of the spiritual science movement is to make it possible for human beings to be free and truly wise. Its mission is to let this truth and wisdom flow into human beings.

In the modern movement for a science of the spirit, one began with the most elementary teaching. Much that is important has been unveiled in the years since the movement started, and even more important things will be gradually unveiled. The work of the movement is therefore to let the wisdom of the great White Brotherhood that had its origin in Atlantis flow out gradually. Such work has always been preceded by a long period of preparation. ..

.. To prepare people to be a core group for this goal, to prepare them for a common wisdom, for authority based on trust, and to develop understanding, initially for a small core group of people—that is the mission of the science of the spirit.


So you see, the spiritual movement has a quite definite goal, namely, to mould future humanity in advance. And the goal can be reached in no other way than through the acceptance of spiritual wisdom. This is the thought that lives in the mind of one who conceives spiritual science as the great task of mankind. He thinks of it as inseparable from evolution and he regards it not as an object of desire but as a task and duty that is laid upon him. And the more we acknowledge this, the more rapidly do we approach the future form of humanity in the Sixth epoch. As at that time in ancient Atlantis, in the neighbourhood of modern Ireland, the advanced human beings were drawn to the East in order to found the new civilisations, so have we now the task of working towards the great moment in the Sixth Age, when humanity will undertake a great spiritual ascent.

We must endeavour to come out of materialism again, and societies with a spiritual aim must undertake to guide humanity, not from motives of arrogance and pride, but as a task and duty.

So a certain group of people must join together in order to prepare the future. But this union is not to be conceived of geographically. All ideas of locality have then lost their meaning because it is no longer a question of racial relationships. The point will be for people over the whole earth to find each other spiritually, in order to fashion the future in, a positive way. For this reason, 400 years ago, when our epoch plunged the deepest into matter, the Rosicrucian Brotherhood emphasised that practical spiritual science which contains an answer to all problems of everyday life.


In the occult schools it was said of one who, of his own inner power, is able to raise himself into this relationship to all his fellow-men, that “he bears Christ within him.”


There were occult schools in pre-Christian times, where pupils were trained, so that they were able to look into higher worlds; but this vision only existed among the true pupils in the most hidden occult schools, and even they only at the actual moment of initiation, when the etheric body was separated from the physical body . The raising of a human being, so that he might be able to see in the spiritual world, was called Initiation. In all initiations of pre-Christian times the one who was to be initiated had to be brought into a kind of sleeping state. This sleep of initiation was distinguished from ordinary sleep by the fact that in the latter the etheric body remains united with the physical body, whereas in the former the etheric body was for a short time separated from the physical body. During this time the hierophant had to keep the body alive. Through the etheric body being separated, it was possible to lead it, together with the other parts, into the higher worlds, in order there to undergo experiences which could afterwards be imparted to the physical brain. That was the method of initiation in pre-Christian times.

Through the advent of Christ Jesus an entirely new kind of initiation came in. Imagine that a man has transformed the whole of his astral body into spirit-self. This Spirit Self then impresses itself into the etheric body, as a seal impresses itself into sealing-wax, and gives it its imprint. The etheric body is thereby changed into Life Spirit. When this has come about completely, the Life Spirit then imprints itself in the physical body and makes it into Spirit Man.

Now it was only through the appearance of Christ Jesus that it became possible to imprint the Life Spirit directly into the life body; and the experiences undergone in the higher worlds could henceforth be embodied in the physical brain without the necessity of a previous separation of the etheric body.

Thus all the pre-Christian initiates had undergone the experiences of initiation outside the physical body; they had then descended again into the physical body and could from that time forward, out of their own experience, announce what had taken place in the spiritual world.


discusses the difference between pre-Christian and Christian mystery schools.

  • Earlier: experiences of pictures and sound matras
  • Today: experience of meaningful words (example: 'in pure rays .. ') - see Meditation texts

sketches the old Mysteries of the Spirit and how they were affected by the MoG. The following lines illustrate the importance of the teacher. This can be put in perspective with the current situation as explained through the story of Parsifal, that Man no longer depends on a teacher but on his own inner development.

.. you can imagine the depth and intensity of veneration in such a pupil when he knew that a Divine Being, a God — not a human being — was speaking to him through the lips of his Teacher ..

.. discipleship itself consisted in this: the pupil gave himself up to his Guru in utter veneration and devotion; the Guru was the link connecting him with the spiritual worlds; this Teacher was regarded as the one and only channel for the Divine. The pupil felt that whatever qualities he himself possessed, whatever powers he unfolded were due to his Teacher; he felt that he owed everything to his Teacher ..

.. The Teacher or Guru was regarded as the channel by which the Divine streamed down to the Earth and as the one who, in turn, guided into the spiritual world the feelings of devotion and reverence in the human heart.


[1] - 'New Mysteries' of the Son vs the 'Old Mysteries' of the Spirit: the change since the Mystery of Golgotha

The 1922-11-18-GA218 quote illustrates the important element of 'surrender' of the human being towards his 'super-human' teacher. The important change is that, with the age of the consciousness soul, Man is autonomeous and free and is expected to be 'self-driven' in his development. That is: to 'ask questions' (see Parsifal story) and come to an inner path of development (see rosecrucian development) for which spiritual science is the contemporary starting point because it speaks the 'language of the time' being intellectual thinking (see the reverse ritual). This can be mapped to stages of:

  • the new teachings and the start of modern thinking and, the new teachings start with John and Paul; here is referred to school of Paul and Dionysus upto 6th century, and Scotus Eriugena in the 8th century. See also the christian initiation, the use of the Gospel of John.
  • the start of the age of the consciousness soul in the 15th century, here is referred to the initiative and preparations of the White Lodge and Christian Rosenkreutz and the rosecrucian path of initiation
  • the start of the Michael age and the new infusion of spiritual science, see Rudolf Steiner and specifically the essence of the reverse ritual

The above timeline can also be followed:

  • through the story of the Grail and Arthur, Christ in nature's elements 'outside' (how two streams of old pagan christianity and the new christ impulse meet around 869, see 1924-08-27-GA240)
  • moving over into that of Parsifal, Christ in our inner nature 'inside' .. the struggle with the new intelligence now human and no longer cosmic
  • the story of the supersensory Michael School from the middle ages to the 19th century, and the new initation knowledge offered. We point to the consistency of the proposed exercises of meditation and especially concentration in Steiner, Bardon, Daskalos, Sivananda Saraswati.

Last, the above also puts the frame for the pivotal change between the 8th and 15th century and the work of the hierarchies:

  • the descent of cosmic intelligence into man around the 9th century (1924-07-28, 1924-08-01, 1924-08-08)
  • the work of the SoF around the year 1250
  • the cosmic storms of the First Hierarchy working on the constitution of Man in the first third of the 15h century (1924-07-28)

[2] - About the Father impulse

This note is accompanying Schema FMC00.185 higher on this page. In this drawing, Rudolf Steiner mentions something as 'the Father impulse'.

The goal of this section is to pull together various clues about the nature of what is meant with the Father impulse in the Sixth epoch on this drawing by Rudolf Steiner, which is unique in its nature.

1/ First, from 1904-10-24-GA090A quote on this page and on D00.004 - Book of Revelation#1904-10-24-GA090A we gather about the concept of the 'father', the most advanced cohort of humanity

The third group of beings were then normal human Individualities, but even though men were still like children, under these there were also the ones who were furthest along in their developed, these were called 'pitris' or 'fathers'. Hence the third type of leadership were and are these most advanced souls of humanity, called pitris or 'Fathers'.

During the fifth epoch, something remarkable happens, as some of these souls in the third human category of Fathers reach the level of the superhuman beings above them.


.. the part of humanity are not yet ready but only understand the word at the end of the current fifth epoch ..

.. the twelve apostles are the oldest ("Die zwölf Jünger sind die Äldesten")

.. regarding becoming 'father', reaching this stage: only a third of the population reaches the developmental goal at the end of the fifth epoch (a second third will reach this later) (72* 1/3 = 24). RS states that 72 of the elderly were called to step into this process of development, and so only 24 of the elders will be there when the seven seals are opened.

2/ However, from Luciferic beings and their influences#1905-10-25-GA093A

The representative of the Eagle will come only later; he represents the Father Principle.

The third impulse will be represented by an Adept who was already an adept on Old Saturn. Such a one cannot as yet incarnate on the Earth.

When Man is not only able to develop his higher nature upwards, but working creatively is able to renounce completely his lower nature, then will this highest adept, the Old Saturn adept, the Father Principle, the Hidden God, be able to incarnate.

Discussion and interpretation

a) The Fathers cohort that makes up the first 'purely human' group of spiritual leadership of mankind is developing during the fifth epoch, and will reach a certain stage by the end of this epoch - whereby the sixth cultural age is bound to play an important role.

As outlined in the Aspects above on this page, there is a logical line of development leading upto the sixth age in the sixth epoch, and the 144.000 (see D00.004 - Book of Revelation).

b) The above however does not; the Schema FMC00.185 and 1905-10-25-GA093A references, that clearly speaks of a Father Impulse related to an Old Saturn adept "that can not incarnate yet". Whereas the basis for the Christ Impulse on Earth was formed by an archangel that reached this adept stage during the then-human stage CoC=4 on Old Sun, the same reasoning would imply that here is meant an archai from the Old Saturn stage. Schema FMC00.077 and variants show that such spiritual entity would now lie at CoC=7 level, and Schemas FMC00.023 on Three meetings indeed show that this is the spirit-man or atma level at which Man has a once-in-a-lifetime 'father' connection around mid-life. All this is however is today subconscious, as this highest principle is still latent and un(der)developed: Man is currently working on the spirit-self (manas) principle.

c) Now from the Schema FMC00.185, this Impulse is timed for the Sixth epoch. Until further notice we are not aware of a specific description by Rudolf Steiner of this Father Impulse during this epoch, other than linking it to the Book of Revelation lectures of 1904-5 in GA090A/B where the sequence of cultural ages or subraces in the sixth epoch is discussed. (1904-05-XX-GA090A, 1904-11-01-GA090A; and maybe 1905-03-19-GA090B depending on how the cosmic fractal nature reasoning is applied).

There is discussed that the first four are repetitions, just as in the Current Postatlantean epoch, and are very important for the development of the Father cohort who will use and benefit from especially the first three for their development, which comes to fruition in the sixth age.

d) Hence, the only element we can relate to currently, lacking other more explicit descriptions, is one description of a 'spiritualization impulse' described as follows (taken from D00.004 - Book of Revelation). The two statements (quotes from lecture references above) are rephrased below, focusing on essential meaning:

  • 1904-05-XX-GA090A: In the sixth epoch .. meteoric appearances will be awakened, that have materialised, and through which certain souls will spiritualize.
  • 1909-05-21-GA104A: In the sixth epoch something like a shower of meteorites will occur, caused by increasing materialism, and some human beings will ascend to a spiritual state. What these spiritualized human beings will have acquired through their efforts in the Postatlantean epoch will completely permeate them from within.

Note there are other descriptions referring to this more implicitly, and the process is to be approached from different angles, not just descriptions as the above but also physiologically and with regards to the inner forces of the soul in Man:

  • 1907-06-05-GA099 (in context of the future of Man, also physiologically] the great moment in the Sixth epoch when humanity will undertake a great spiritual ascent
  • 1911-09-21-GA130: the Christ Impulse is connected with the future ascent of humanity to morality .. it is an actual power which works as such and to an increasing degree imbues mankind with moral strength
  • 1921-09-23-GA207: .. Man has enclosed within him a fiery centre of destruction, and in truth the forces of decline can be transformed into forces of ascent only if he becomes conscious of this fact.


e) Appendix note do d) above (for the sake of easy reference)

The workings of 'Michaelic iron' were described as follows, here for contemplation. Quotes taken from:

Man must learn to experience this meteoric shag of the blood-iron into the blood-sulphur as freedom, or initiative, as the strength of his will. What precisely constitutes our becoming [a] human being in soul and spirit is that we grasp the processes which go on in us, such as this iron-sulphur process, with our soul and spirit, that we send the soul and spirit into them as an impulse. Just as when we have made an instrument and know how to handle it properly, we are able to perform something by means of it, so can we turn to the service of our will what works and lives in us as does this process of iron and sulphur, when once we know how to handle it; when, as human beings, we can handle and make use of what goes on as living processes within our body.


.. the August meteor showers stream down into the human shining in the astral light .. trigger a change that occurs in the human blood.

This human blood is in truth not such a material thing as present-day science imagines, but is permeated throughout by impulses from soul and spirit, is rayed through by the force which is carried as iron into the blood and wages war there on anxiety, fear and hate.

The processes which are set going in every blood-corpuscle when the force of iron shoots into it are the same, on a minute human scale, as those which take place when meteors fall in a shining stream through the air. This permeation of human blood by the anxiety-dispelling force of iron is a meteoric activity. The effect of the raying in of the iron is to drive fear and anxiety out of the blood.

... While the sulphur-phantom rises in clouds from the lower part of Man towards his head, the iron-forming process rays out from his head and pours itself like a stream of meteors into the life of the blood.

Note, the fact that Iron maps to moral impulses can also be seen from Schema FMC00.005 (see row for mars and iron, on the right).

Related pages

References and further reading