Mystery School tradition
This covers the tradition in the ancient Mysteries and Mystery Schools from the Atlantean epoch through the various cultural ages of the current epoch, with a distinction of Initiation before and after the Mystery of Golgotha, as also covered in the Mysteries of the Spirit, the Son and the Father and related to the Michaelic Stream.
The initiatory processes, rituals and traditions have always been tuned to the specific maturity of Man's bodily principles in each time period, and and very much related to the culture of the age and it's natural state of consciousness influencing the state of soul of 'how Man stood in the world'. For more context see also the Development of the I and the Current Postatlantean epoch.
The goal of the Mystery Schools has always been to establish, maintain and develop the link between humanity and it's spiritual guidance. This to assure Mankind is aware of the origin and future goal of evolution (see also Occult Atom). This therefore requires a deep connection with the spiritual reality, hence the focus on initiation as the various and evolving ways for Man to connect, reach into this spiritual reality and communicate with spiritual beings.
- The Michaelic stream connecting the thread of Mystery School teachings across the ages
- Sources of spiritual science providing a concise view on sources of the last 2500 years, from the Greek culture onwards
- The purpose of ancient initiation was also to get the people over the fear of becoming mortal in their soul. Because of the prevailing group soul, the initiation of single person sufficied to have an effect on their surrouding (1921-06-28-GA205)
- Atlantean oracles
- Turanian mysteries
Current Postatlantean epoch
- Persian Mysteries: Mythras cult and bull mysteries
- Egyptian Mysteries: Isis and Osiris cult, Hermes initiation
- ancient Northern European Mysteries: Hibernian, Druidic, Trottic mysteries
- (1904-09-30-GA093, 1909-05-06-GA057, 1910-03-26-GA119 ,1923-09-10-GA228)
- Greek Mysteries:
- Ephesian, Eleusian, Chthonic, Samothracian mysteries
- black sea area (current Georgia, location see Colchis)
- Colchis or Colchean Mysteries (see 1912-05-29-GA155 on the initiation of Francis of Assisi in an earlier incarnation; and notes Ita Wegman below)
- current Anglo-German cultural age:
- situation before the MoG
- school of St. Paul and Dionysius the Areopagite in the 1st century in Greece, tradition upto the 6th century
- the school of Mysteries of the Holy Grail
- School of Chartres in France around the 12th century (1924-07-13-GA237)
- Rosecrucian schooling
- contemporary spiritual science after 1879
Lecture coverage and references
The cycle 1923-12-GA233 is called 'World History in the light of Anthroposophy'
- Ephesian Mysteries of Artemis (1923-11-30-GA233, 1923-12-02-GA323)
- Hibernian Mysteries (1923-12-07-GA323, 1923-12-08-GA323, 1923-12-09-GA323)
- Mysteries of the Samothracian Kabiri (1923-12-21-GA232)
- Chthonic and Eleusinian Mysteries (1923-12-14-GA323)
Furthermore the Karmic Relationship lectures 1924-GA23x discuss the School of Chartres.
Furthermore 1924-01-GA233A 'Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation' complementary covers:
- middle-ages (1924-01-04-GA233A, 1924-01-05-GA233A)
- 18-19th century schools (1924-01-12-GA233A)
covers the Druidic or Drottic mysteries
is about the Esoteric School of Paul and Dionysius the Areopagite
If we have now understood this properly, we come to a deeper comprehension of the present human being and we are in a position to repeat and to understand better what has been taught in Esoteric Christianity from the beginning. This Esoteric Christianity has always been fostered alongside the outer Christian exoteric teaching.
I have often pointed out that Paul, the great apostle of Christianity, used his powerful, fiery gift of eloquence to teach Christianity to the people, but that at the same time he founded an esoteric school, the director of which was Dionysius, the Areopagite, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. In this Christian Esoteric School at Athens which was directly founded by Paul himself, the purest Spiritual Science was taught.
And now, having brought together the necessary material in the above observations, we shall be able to place before our souls what was taught there.
This school also taught that …
is on the Trottic mysteries
is on experiences of initiation in the northern mysteries
On the shores of the Black Sea there existed an occult school which lasted far into the Christian era. This school was guided by certain human beings who set themselves as their highest ideal that part of the teaching of Buddha which we have just described, and through their having taken into themselves the Christian impulse along with it, were able in the early centuries of Christianity to throw new light upon what Buddha had given to humanity. If I were to describe to you this occult school on the Black Seas as the occultist or spiritual investigator sees it — and you will understand me best if I do this — I must do it in the following manner: —
People, who to begin with had external teachers in the physical world, came together there. They were instructed in the doctrines and principles which had proceeded from Buddhism, but these were permeated by the impulses which came into the world through Christianity. Then, after the pupils had been sufficiently prepared, they were brought to where the deeper forces lying within them, the deeper forces of wisdom could be brought forth, so that they were led to clairvoyant vision of the spiritual world and were able to see into the spiritual worlds. The first thing attained by the pupils of this occult school, was, for example, the recognition of those who no longer descended to the physical plane. But this they could only do after they had been accustomed to it by the teachers incarnated in the physical body. In this way they came to know Buddha. Thus, these occult pupils learned to know Buddha face to face, if one may so speak of his spiritual being. In this way he continued to work spiritually in the occult pupils and thus his power worked down to the physical plane, although he himself no longer descended to physical embodiment in the physical world.
Now the pupils in this occult school were grouped according to their maturity into two unequal divisions, and only the more advanced were chosen for the smaller division. Most of these pupils were able to become so clairvoyant that they came in touch with a being who strove with all his might to bring his impulses through to the physical world, and although he himself did not descend into this world they learned all the secrets of Buddha and all that he wished to have accomplished. Most of these pupils remained as such, clairvoyants, but there were some who, in addition to the qualities of knowledge and of psychic clairvoyance, had developed the spiritual element to a remarkable degree, which cannot be separated from a certain humility, a certain highly evolved capacity for devotion. These, then, attained to where they could receive the Christ-impulse in an advanced degree precisely in this occult school. They could also become clairvoyant in such a way that they became the specially chosen followers of Saint Paul and received the Christ-impulse directly in life.
Thus from this school proceeded two groups, as it were, one group which possessed the impulse to carry the teaching of Buddha everywhere, although his name was not mentioned in connection with it, and a second group which, in addition, received the Christ-impulse. Now the difference between these two kinds did not appear very strongly in that particular incarnation, it only appeared in the next. The pupils who had not received the Christ-impulse but who had only gained the Buddha-impulse, became the teachers of the equality and brotherhood of man; on the other hand the pupils who had also received the Christ-impulse, in the next incarnation were such that this Christ-impulse worked up further so that not only could they teach (and they did not consider this their chief task) but they worked more especially through their moral power.
One such pupil of the occult school on the Black Sea, was born in his next incarnation as Francis of Assisi. No wonder, then, that in him there was the wisdom which he had received, the knowledge of the brotherhood of mankind, of the equality of all men, of the necessity to love all men equally, no wonder that this teaching pulsated through his soul and also that his soul was permeated and strengthened by the Christ-impulse.
Consider the life of Francis of Assisi; notice what a remarkable course it took. He was born in the year 1182. We know that the first years of the life of a human being are devoted principally to the development of the physical body. In the physical body is developed chiefly that which comes to light through external heredity. Hence there appeared in him first of all that which originated through external heredity from the European population. These qualities gradually came out, as his etheric body developed from the seventh to the fourteenth year, like any other human being. In this etheric body appeared primarily that quality which as the Christ-impulse had worked directly in him in the mysteries on the Black Sea. From his fourteenth year, at the dawn of his astral life the Christ power became particularly active within him, in such a way that there entered into his astral body that which had been in connection with the atmosphere of the earth since the Mystery of Golgotha. For Francis of Assisi was a personality who was permeated by the external power of Christ, owing to his having sought for the Christ power, in his previous incarnation, in that particular place of initiation where it was to be found.
We may say that Francis of Assisi heard these three things expressed very very often; they were continually in his mind during his initiation in the Mysteries of Colchis, on the Black Sea. And we may also say, that in the life he had to lead as Francis of Assisi, he preached very little about faith or love, but was himself their embodiment. Faith did not work, hope did not work; one must indeed have them, but only love is effective. It stands in the centre, and it is that which, in that single incarnation of Francis of Assisi, really carried the actual development of humanity forward in the moral sense towards the divine.
How did this love — which we know was the result of his initiation in the Colchis Mysteries — develop in St. Francis? We have seen that in him appeared the knightly virtues of the ancient European spirit. He was a valiant boy. Valour, bravery, was transformed in his individuality, which was permeated by the Christ-impulse, into active practical love. We see the old valour, the old bravery resurrected once more in the love manifested in Francis of Assisi. The ancient valour transposed into the spiritual; bravery transposed into the spiritual is love.
is on the sun initiation of the Druid priest and his moon science
talks about the evocation of the kabiri in the Samothracian Mysteries. The same is also stated in 1922-12-04-GA218: a picture of the godhead appeared in the sacrificial smoke. See also evocation in
Then the pupil understood why on the altar there were placed before him three symbolic vessels or jars.
We once made use of a copy of these vessels here in an Eurhythmy presentation of Faust, and as you saw these three vessels, so they were seen in the Samothracian Mysteries, the Northern Greek Mysteries; but the essential thing was that through these vessels, these pitchers, in their whole symbolic form, a sacrificial ritual, a ritual of consecration took place.
A kind of incense was put into these three vessels, which was then kindled, and when the smoke poured out, three words of which we shall speak further tomorrow were uttered with mantric power by the celebrant. These words were uttered [sung] into the smoke which rose up above the vessels, and then there appeared the forms of the three Kabiri They appeared because the human breath breathed out through the mantric words, fashioned itself, and then imparted its form to the rising smoke, the incense arising from the substance which was incorporated into these symbolic vessels. While the pupil learnt to read in this way what was written in the smoke by his, own breathing, he learnt to read, at the same time, what the mysterious planets spoke to him from out of the great universe.
Now he knew that
- the form assumed by the first of the Kabiri through the mantric word and its power represented the reality behind Mercury; in
- the form assumed by the second Kabiri he learnt the reality of Mars; and
- in that of the third Kabiri he learnt the reality of Apollo, the Sun.
Note: in a verse exchanged by Rudolf Steiner to Ita Wegman about their earlier incarnations together, it is mentioned
relates the way how students were taught in the past, with a narrative describing various aspects such as how students were taught to 'feel' the meaning of the six pointed star and the two etheric streams with their body, see the link between their body and the macrocosmos (eg nerves relation to the moon and sun), etc.
Then came the mysteries which are reflected in the modem mass. The Catholic mass, the Armenian mass and other masses arose from the half new mysteries in a very complicated way, and even though they have become externalized, they still contain the complete initiation principle. What man can perceive when magical words awaken within him began to be present in these half new mysteries, instead of the god's presence in the ancient mysteries and the presence of forces which the gods sent in the semi-ancient mysteries. These words enable one to acquire very profound knowledge of the inner nature of sound, and intense feelings resound in them.
During the time of the half new mysteries human language and cultic language were two different things, and remnants of the latter are still present in individual religious confessions. In this cultic language everything depends upon rhythm, a deep understanding of sounds and an understanding of the way that sounds from the priest's mouth penetrate human hearts. The intonation of magical cultic words in sacred places enabled people to ascend to the forces of the gods for the first time.
- The first human period — ancient mysteries — the gods descend.
- Second human period — semi-ancient mysteries — the gods send their forces down.
- Third human period — half new mysteries — man learns a magical language and begins to ascend to the forces of the divine world through the intonation of magical words.
This is why words were intoned during the third period of acts of consecration of man. The Kabiri element lived in all religious cults which arose during this third period. For the Kabiri services and sacrifices which were celebrated in Samothrace were brought into all of the half way new ceremonies in the act of consecration of man and into all the ceremonies which belong to This.
Let's place the Kabiri altar at Samothrace before our souls. The Kabirs who stood upon it as external relics were sacrificial urns that contained no ferments, but substances which men find if they can penetrate the inner spiritual aspect of matter. The sacrificial urns contained such substances. The sacrificial substances in the urns were ignited, and smoke ascended. The magical language created an Imagination of the intoned words in the rising smoke. Thus the way up to divine forces was outwardly visible in the sacrificial smoke. The priests who were surrounded by this smoke knew that they were in the right atmosphere for carrying out a transubstantiation.
As Aristotle explained to Alexander, the substances were mixed in such a way that a sacred Imagination emerged from the sacrificial smoke, and this showed one the way to the, gods. If people found this way, the priest's transubstantiation was a right one and the act of consecration of man was executed correctly. Those who celebrated and participated in it knew that it was an organ of cognition. For when the ceremonially shaped, magical words and prayers flamed up in the sacrificial smoke and streamed up to the gods, an apocalyptic revelation came down from above as a gift of grace. This was the third stage in the development of apocalyptic things and of an act of consecration of man.
is on the School of Chartres. For an illustration of the four areas listed below, see Schemas FMC00.260B (table) and FMC00.260 (BBD illustration)
- .. from the 6th, 7th or 8th century onwards — there was no direct connection with the spiritual world, nevertheless a certain awareness of this connection still found a haven of refuge, if I may put it so, in isolated centres of learning. In isolated centres of learning men still spoke, in knowledge, in the way they had spoken in the first Christian centuries. Nay more, it was possible for single, chosen human beings to receive deep inner impulses from the way in which the spiritual world was spoken of, — impulses enabling them, at certain times at least, to break through into the spiritual world. There were indeed isolated centres where teachings were given in a manner of which the people of today can have no conception.
- This only came to an end in the 12th, 13th century .. Human beings on the earth had lost, to some extent, the connection with the spiritual world. And in those who lived above — who, while on earth, had still experienced such a connection, — the earthly conditions which they now beheld called forth a strangely painful feeling. They saw the slow death of what they themselves had still experienced on earth. Then from the super-sensible world they enthused-inspired-inspirited — certain individualities in the world of sense, so that here or there at any rate there might arise a home and centre for the real connection of man with the spiritual world.
- Even until the 7th or 8th century — in a kind of echo of pre-Christian Initiation — Christianity was taught in centres that had remained as the high places of knowledge, relics of the ancient Mysteries. In those centres human beings were prepared, not so much by way of instruction, but by an education towards the Spirit — a training both bodily and spiritual.
- 1- They were prepared for the moment when they might have at least a delicate vision of the spirituality that can manifest itself in the environment of man on earth. Then they looked outward to the realms of mineral and plant-nature and to all that lives in the animal and human kingdoms. And they saw, springing forth like an aura and fertilised in turn out of the cosmos, the spiritual-elemental beings that lived in all Nature. Then above all there appeared to them as a living Being, whom they addressed as they would address a human being — only it was a being of a higher kind, — the Goddess Natura. She was the Goddess whom they saw before them in her full radiance, in full reality of soul. They did not speak of abstract laws of Nature, they spoke of the creative power of the Goddess Natura, working creatively in all external Nature. She was the metamorphosis of Proserpine of antiquity. She was the ever-creating Goddess with whom he who would seek for knowledge must in a certain way unite himself. She appeared to him — appeared to him from every mineral, from every plant, from every creeping beast, from the clouds, the mountains, the river-springs. Of this Goddess who alternately in winter and in summer creates above the earth and beneath, — of this Goddess they felt: She is the hand-maid of that Divinity of whom the Gospels tell. She it is who fulfils the divine behests.
- 2 - And when the seeker after knowledge had been sufficiently instructed by the Goddess about the mineral and plant and animal natures, when he was introduced into the living forces, then he learned to know from her the nature of the four Elements: — Earth, Water, Air and Fire. He learned to know the waving and weaving within the mineral and animal and plant kingdoms of the four Elements which pour themselves in all reality throughout the world: — Earth, Water, Fire, Air. He felt himself with his etheric body interwoven with the life of the Earth in its gravity, Water in its life-giving power, Air in its power to awaken sentient consciousness, Fire in its power to kindle the flame of the I. In all this he felt his human being interwoven, and he felt: This was the gift of instruction from the Goddess Natura — the successor, the metamorphosis of Proserpine. The teachers saw to it that their disciples should gain a feeling, an idea of this living intercourse with Nature — Nature filled with divine forces, filled with divine substance. They saw to it that their pupils should penetrate to the living and weaving of the Elements.
- 3 - Then when they had reached this point, they were introduced to the planetary system. They learnt how with the knowledge of the planetary system there arises at the same time the knowledge of the human soul. “Learn to know how the wandering stars hold sway in the heavens, and thou shalt know how thine own soul works and weaves and lives within thee.” This was placed before the pupils.
- 4 - And at length they were led to approach what was called “The Great Ocean,” — but it was the Cosmic Ocean, which leads from the planets, from the wandering stars, to the fixed stars. Thus at length they penetrated into the secrets of the I, by learning the secrets of the universe of the fixed stars.
Mankind today has forgotten that such instructions were ever given; but they were:
- A living knowledge of this kind was cultivated until the 7th or 8th century in the last relics of the ancient Mysteries.
- And as a doctrine, as a theory, it was still cultivated even until that turn of the 14th and 15th centuries of which we have so often spoken. In certain centres we still see these old teachings cultivated, though with the greatest imaginable difficulties. They were well-nigh shadowed-down to concepts and ideas; yet the concepts and ideas were still living enough to kindle, in one man and another, the upward vision of all the realities of which I spoke just now.
●In the 11th and especially the 12th century, reaching on to the 13th, a truly wonderful School existed. In this School there were teachers who still knew how the pupils in preceding centuries had been led to a conscious experience of the Spirit. It was the great School of Chartres. Here there flowed together all the conceptions that had issued from the living spiritual life which I have described.
Ita Wegman in 'The Mysteries' (Nov/Dec-1929)
on The Colchian Mysteries
(to be shortened still)
To the south - east of the Black Sea may be found the home of a special kind of Mysteries, in which the pre-Christian impulses were united to Christian ones. A wonderfully enchanting natural character and a certain remoteness in these places brought it about that people could withdraw there from the world, wholly given up to a striving for cleanliness, purity and sacrifice courage. The tale of the Argonauts, in which heavenly and earthly elements are united in a marvellous fashion, refers to these Colchian Mysteries. For the ship in which the Argonauts set out was built by the ancients under the star - signs.
In primeval times the human soul was once in intimate association with the Macrocosm. What still lingers on in the detonation of a soul - being as astral body or steller body was then still direct experience. One felt in the Colchian Mysteries that what was shining in golden light from thousands and thousands of stars was something which in its magnificent glory must be reattained by man, who had become entangled in the earthly element.
The sublime ideal of these people was to become one with this golden fleece, to acquire a golden soup and go through a transfiguration. Not only by carrying out exercises for the virtues but by finding the path to real clairvoyance one perceived a soul's disposition in the colours of the aura. The soul's path appeared as a transformation of metal, for the copper - coloured psychic aura had to be transformed into the soul's chaste, pure, silver bride through the conquest of the dragon. To know one's own soul in bridal array was itself a certain stage.
But the goal of this development was the marriage of a soul's silver bride with the golden king. This took place when the inner man became ruler over body, soul and spirit, and a real sense of sacrifice had developed out of true humility and purity. At the same time a large part was played in these Mysteries by a being whose task it was to marry the soul's pure, chaste bride to the golden king. This means bringing a purified human soul into line with the macrocosm from which it originates.
In different Mysteries this intermediary being bears different names. He is a guide to all souls, leading a soul down from the macrocosm into earthly existence, and leading an earthly being from stage to stage up to its cosmic origin.
The being was called Hermes or Mercury and the Egyptians called him thrice great because he guides the transformation of a soul through three stages.
To the Greeks too came tidings of this wonderful cult. Jason was the hero who undertook to carry news of this initiation over to Greece, after being willing to pass through the initiation himself. He had to find a way across the surging sea of the passions to the tree which bears the soul of man within him, and which today we call the nervous system. Starting out from this tree, a person who can conquer the ever - wakeful finds the Golden Fleece. The dragon is never entirely asleep, for it has as many thousand eyes as the starry heaven has stars, and if one puts half of his being to sleep, the other half is then awake. And so indeed it is within the macrocosm, whose steller eye the bright day can never close entirely, only half. The dragon was overcome by Jason through his microcosmic initiation.
Near the Mystery - centre in Colchis was a sanctuary, situated on the Phasis. There, in silvery moonlight, people worshipped Artemisia, virgin fighter and pure goddess. She is mistress over animal figures because she is raised above the passions, which she spiritualizes. The house in which she is worshipped has no roof, for her statue has to stand in a courtyard, poured over by silvery moonlight and shone over by the golden gleam of stars. To this sanctuary of Artemisia also belonged a place where people worshipped the goddess who was always called the threefold transformation, or Hecate.
Where her sanctuary stands one obtains access to the Underwood, since she is ruler over the changes experienced by a soul when descending into the sheaths which of human nature, into man's threefold corporality. From his parents a human being only has the grosser body, while his folkhood puts around him a finer garment, the life - body, and the macrocosm the most delicate and radiant, the soul - body.
So whoever sought this macrocosmic initiation and allowed himself to be led put through Artemisia in silver moonlight into pre - natal existence had, when returning into his body, be let himself be guided into Hecate's magic garden. It was well protected and no one was allowed to step into it who was not initiatated. For in this garden were grown many poisonous plants, bringing death and disaster to uninitiated persons and yet begetting pictorial vision and healing for the initiated. These later had a pure heart and a knowing spirit, and understood how death and disaster might be transformed into revival and ensoulment In this garden also grew the plant "Colchium autumale", our meadow saffron, which has its name from the Mystery - centre of Colchis.
This was planted together with the white asphodel plant, above which one saw dead people hovering, and Minos holding his judgement of the dead. For as Rudolf Steiner told us, poisonous plants are poisonous by drawing into their life organism that element in a plant which otherwise remains outside and is cosmic, starry, astral. A poisonous plant draws to itself that same world in which dead people may be found, and it therefore belongs within Hecate's garden . The shades, that is human souls directly after their passage through the gate of death, before they have been purified, are also living in this world of Hecate.
They were perceived in certain conditions of consciousness into which people were brought in different Mysteries by moral exercises, but also by taking substances from metals or plant juices. To perceive souls who are still unpurified and copper - coloured, particular use was made of copper or, in Colchis, the meadow saffron.
This method of uniting more closely — for the purpose of initiation — man's psychic or astral body with his etheric - body or human life - organism by administration of poisons was feasible in earlier times. Today, however, the consequences of such a measure would be illness, for the human organism has changed fundamentally in the course of the centuries. Life - processes are today more strongly bound to the physical organs and and psychic activities are increasingly bound to the innermost, moral centre of man's being, the ego.
That is why as regards the path of knowledge it is today more in keeping with the times to purify the soul through moral exercise from out of the ego, and gain more control of the life - organism or ether - body by allowing psychic exercises to become a habit. Administration of substances would by contrast work too strongly onto the physical body. For the nature of initiation is based on a soul's imprinting into it's life - organism what it has worked out for itself. Virtue becomes a self - evident habit of life, but vice must become apparent as a disturbance of the life - processes.
For this reason the cleansing and purification of the soul must precede initiation as a preparatory step. If anything here were omitted, illness would result. Healing of illness is as it were a reversal of this process, in that a life - organism asserts its inherently health against the astral and psychic element. The path of initiation lies in a balance between life, which is ever again restored, and knowledge, which leads towards death. If a person is so strong that he can overcome what is unpurified not only in himself but also in another person he then becomes a healer. The training of the Colchian Mysteries was designed for this purpose.
The symbol of the purity that can even carry the sin of the world, and develops healing powers thereby, was the Golden Fleece. Hecete's garden in which poisonous plants are growing may be considered a counter - picture of the Golden Fleece: it is like a symbol of those unpurified soul - forces which, if not guided and cleansed in the right way, can only bring man disaster.
The operation of administering substances obtained from poisonous plants was in Colchis a kind of healing art. This could only be practiced by knowledgeable people, because by means of it one could achieve death, disaster, madness and infirmity, but also healing from serious illnesses, or knowledge ( ibid )
Mention may also be made of the most important plants from Hecate's garden ( apart from "Colchicum autumnale" and "Asphodelus ramosus", which we have named already ): deadly nightshade, "Atropa belladonna", which has the capacity to produce or heal madness, call up visions or drive them away, according as the medicament has been applied and the preparation has taken place; then "Solanum insanum" the root of which, suitable prepared, calls forth fantasies lasting for days on end, a kind of dampening of consciousness, leading to experiences of the supersensible world in a semi - conscious condition ( excess of this medicament brings death ): also "Mandragora officinarum", mandrake, a popular means of dampening consciousness down, whereas it works in precisely the opposite way if applied by means of healing, e.g. alleviating pain; or "Lavandula stoechas", a good plant that was used as an antitoxic medicament.
Many other plants might be named in this way, but let these few examples suffice to show that what was hidden in Hacate's garden has significance right up to the present time.
See Samothrace temple complex for map and pictures of the important religious temple on the Greek isle of Samothrace
Chthonic, in Greek; "in, under, or beneath the earth", literally means "subterranean", but the word in English describes deities or spirits of the underworld in the ancient Greek religion; and refers to the manner and method of offering sacrifices to a specific deity or deities such as for example Persephone and Hades in classical mythology.
In Greek mythology, the Cabeiri or Cabiri also transliterated Kabeiri or Kabiri, were a group of enigmatic chthonic deities. They were worshiped in a mystery cult closely associated with that of Hephaestus, centered in the north Aegean islands of Lemnos and possibly Samothrace—at the Samothrace temple complex—and at Thebes.
Kabiri or Cabeiri are described in Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine as a generic term for the gods or pitris that were the rulers and instructors of the primeval races, the benefactors of men that gave the very early impulses to civilizations.
More on kabiri
In 1919-01-25-GA188, after a scene from Faust, the Cabeiri are explained as Man's bodily principles. The first three being the physical, etheric, and astral bodies. The fourth 'I' was not developed at the time of the Samothracian mysteries. The three Cabeiri still to come are the spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man.
in 1915-10-10-GA254 names of four Cabeiri are given as Axieros, Axiokersos, Axiokersa, and Kadmillos.
1921-06-28-GA205 explains that there are four Cabeiri and three of them kill the fourth, meaning that Man's lower three bodily principles are transient and mortal in the sense they are dispersed after physical death in the journey between death and a new birth. If the I does not take part in the spiritual, it is killed and drawn into mortality by the three others.
As an example, see also the 'state of avichi' on Eight sphere for an explanation of an illustrative case where this happens. In general, see also Human 'I' and Man's higher triad for schemas that show how the true spiritual Individuality starts with the spirit-self (also called 'causal body' or book of lives).
- Initiation before and after the Mystery of Golgotha
- Christ Module 5: Initiation and spiritualization
- Mysteries of the Spirit, the Son and the Father
- The Michaelic Stream
- Free Man Creator school
References and further reading
- Guenther Wachsmuth: 'Mysterien - und Geisteschichte der Menschheit' (1938)
- with over 130 illustrations
- Ch. 1: Ireland, Malta
- Ch. 2: Mexico, Toltecs
- Ch. 3&4: Egypt
- Ch. 7: Druids, Mithras cult, northern and southern mysteries
- Bernard Lievegoed: Mystery streams in Europe and the new mysteries (1982)
- Rene Querido: 'The Golden Age of Chartres: The Teachings of a Mystery School ' (1987)
- Ita Wegman: The Mysteries (1995, compiled and translated by Crispian Villeneuve)
- Frank Teichmann:
- 'The Origins of the Anthroposophical Society in the Light of the Ancient Mysteries' (2020 in EN, in DE as 'Die Entstehung der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft auf mysteriengeschichtlichem Hintergrund')
- 'The Sacred Mysteries of Egypt. The Flowering of an Ancient Civilisation' (2016 in EN, in DE in 1999 as 'Die ägyptischen Mysterien. Quellen einer Hochkultur')
- Die griechischen Mysterien: Quellen für ein Verständnis des Christentums
- Der Mensch und sein Tempel
- Megalithkultur in Irland, England und der Bretagne (1983)
- Griechenland (1980)