The Holy Spirit

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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. –Genesis 1:1-2

We firmly believe and simply confess that there is only one true God … the Creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporeal; who from the very beginning of time by His omnipotent power created out of nothing [de nihilo condidit] both the spiritual beings and the corporeal. –Fourth Lateran Council of 1215

Rudolf Steiner, speaking of ethereal or ‘negative’ spaces in regard to the understanding of the laws of living processes, uses the idea of “nothingness” – ein Nichts – and he brings together with this concept the word chaos…[Chaos] used in it’s ancient sense – the Greek word Xaos…describes a region empty of formed matter, but ready to receive new, living growth or development, such as is to be found in a seed or any other germinating process….An embryo is actually such a receptive, ethereal space – a realm of empty nothingness into which new formative process can work… -Olive Whicher, “The Heart of the Matter”

To attempt to explain the Holy Ghost is to attempt image building of something altogether different from any manifestation. To try to say what “it” is not, is to say that the “Holy Ghost” is not the precise opposite of everything in manifestation, but is different from and equal to it because “it” empowers, contains, and is the all-pervading medium. The only “thing” one can liken to “it” is space – that of space which is not its fields, is not energy, but is the “manifestation of nothing,” paradoxical as this statement is, that allows energy’s manifestations to operate within it and matter to exist in it in discrete state. It both encompasses and involves energy’s dual nature that gives rise to the trinity in being: negative, positive, neutral. -Preston Harold, “The Shining Stranger”

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Hopefully one can see the parallels contained within these four citations. The concept of the Holy Spirit seems to leave many of us bereft of a hard and fast definition. How does one hold onto “spirit?” Once you try and grasp it, it slips right through your fingers. Preston Harold concurs:

A scientist would be as hard put to explain what space itself is as a theologian is to explain what the Holy Ghost is – both can only discuss what takes place through it….The all-pervading space that contains Einstein’s motionless ether may be likened to the Holy Ghost of God, a priori, that which cannot itself be examined because the ether, motionless, stands between it and all manifestation within it. The ether alone as the seat of the electromagnetic fields may be likened to the being of God, the Father, one’s refuge, that allows him to “Be still and know…” The Son may be likened to the elementary particle, endowed with the “electric charge”: I will be. Jesus speaks of the Son ‘sitting on the right hand of the power,” and His teaching points to the Father as the seat of the power that is being given over to the Son.

We will continue discussing the relationship between the Holy Spirit and space in our next installment. Until then, peace.

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A Gathered Radiance

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Sir Arthur Eddington said that the conflict between the quantum and classical theories of physics becomes sensitive in the problem of the propagation of light. It comes down to a conflict between the corpuscular theory of light and the wave theory. In defining how large a quantum of light is, he said it must be large enough to cover a 100 inch mirror, but small enough to enter an atom. Paradox and contradiction abound! He also goes on to say…

“We must not think about space and time in connection with an individual quantum; and the extension of a quantum in space has no real meaning. To apply these conceptions to a single quantum is like reading the Riot Act to one man. A single quantum has not travelled 50 billion miles from Sirius; it has not been 8 years on the way. But when enough quanta are gathered to form a quorum there will be found among them statistical properties which are the genesis of the 50 billion miles’ distance of Sirius and the 8 years’ journey of the light.”

Reflecting on Eddington’s statement above, Preston Harold meditates on how it parallels a particular teaching of Jesus:

An ancient symbolizing h in terms of “I” might convey that when the “statistical requirements are met” – that when a “quorum of quanta are gathered” – light will be there, by saying: “…where two or three have gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Jesus’ summary statement is not a riot act, unmeaningful to an individual thinking of himself in connection with light, space, and time. He simply says that God is Father, is love, that with God all things are possible – as He, Himself, symbolized that of each man which is like h, one totally committed to action, an indivisible unity that overleaps time and space, an “unbroken glory” as Jesus was upon the cross, a “gathered radiance,” as He was in life and death.

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It is notable here that Harold mentions Jesus on the cross as an “unbroken glory.” According to Rudolf Steiner in his lectures on the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus’ words while on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani), can also be translated from the Aramaic as “My God, my God, how you have glorified me!” The word “sabachthani” is very similar to the Aramaic word “shevachthani,” which means “elevated,” or “glorified.” In his “The Return of the Mother,” Andrew Harvey tells of a German scholar of Aramaic who was researching the possibility that Jesus “may have been punning on the cross.” An ancient speaker of Aramaic could have heard these words from Jesus in both ways, therefore understanding that there was something special happening while Jesus was dying a terrible death. It does make sense to interpret the “light of the world” being glorified in death. After all, after Judas had left to hand Jesus over, Jesus said,

“Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify the Son in himself – and will glorify him immediately.” -John:13:31,32

On the cross, the “I” of humanity was glorified in Jesus, He Himself leading the way for the rest of us to follow. “If one is to be my disciple, he must pick up his cross and follow me.” Until next time, peace.

The Power of a Seed

How does a sage from a past civilization which hasn’t developed advanced mathematical equations and concepts describe unseen reality? How does one communicate simultaneous truths which on the surface contradict one another but beneath the surface depend each upon the other? Preston Harold asks:

How could the ancient describe the measure of the random element – spreading, increasing? The concept of entropy is enfolded in a mathematical formula, and mathematics may be thought of as the language of size. Descriptions which fit the incomparable size of entropy’s shoe, as well as the nature of it’s measure, and its significance, are found in Jesus’ words pertaining to the reign of God, the realm of heaven, the coming of the kingdom. He likened its “smallness” and its “largeness” to a mustard seed – “less than any seed on earth,” which grows “larger than any plant.” He invoked the working of the reign of God with the shuffling, spreading, and action of energy throughout the whole… He said, it is “like dough…buried in three pecks of flour, till all of it was leavened.” Jesus said this working is begun: the seed is sown, the dough is buried. And the kingdom of God, which involves the concept of the end of the world, will come – just as the physicists envision the heat death of the universe when nature’s supreme law is fulfilled.

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One must remember here, though, that in order for there to be increase of the seed or leaven, that death is a necessary factor. “Unless a seed falls into the earth and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” –John 12:24 Which leads me to ponder that if the earth and universe are on their way to heat death, what is the mission of the planet earth? Why do we exist at all?

In a letter to the Anthroposophical Society in January 1925, Rudolf Steiner asks just such a question. I will quote the letter at length…

The question must arise: What is the significance of the earthly realm for the macrocosm (universe)?… In the far distant past, the macrocosm so lives that there ceases to be any question of “calculating” the manifestations of its life. Out of this living condition man is then brought forth as a separate being, while the macrocosm enters more and more into the “calculable” sphere. But in this it undergoes a slow process of death… In the present cosmic time, a dead macrocosm is existing…we have grown accustomed to focus our attention on the spacial magnitude of the Universe, and to look on the earth as a speck of dust, insignificant compared to the great universe of physical space. Hence it will seem strange, to begin with, when spiritual vision unfolds the true cosmic significance of this so-called “speck of dust.”

Consider the world of plants… In spring and summer, forces of growth show themselves in plant life. In the growing, sprouting process, the seer’s consciousness perceives not only what brings forth the abundant blessing of the plant life for the given year, but a surplus of germinating force. The plants contain more germinating force than they expend upon the growth of foliage, flower and fruit. This surplus of germinating force flows out into the extra-earthly macrocosm… Now in the same manner a surplus of force streams out from the mineral kingdom… Likewise there are forces proceeding from the animal nature…It is thus the spirit-seeking consciousness beholds the essence of the earthly realm, which stands as a new, life-kindling element within the dead and dying macrocosm

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The life of all this earthly realm becomes clear and transparent when we feel at its foundation the germ of a new Universe. Every single plant and stone appears in a new light to the soul of man when he becomes aware that each of these beings is contributing by its life and by its form to this great fact: that the Earth in its unity is an embryo – the seed of a macrocosm newly arising into life.

So according to Steiner, the earth itself is a seed for a whole new universe. That’s a pretty great thought for sure, and makes one deeply contemplate the power contained within a seed.  What thoughts does this kindle in you? Until next time, peace.

Enter Empathy

“For every step in spiritual development, three steps are to be taken in moral development.” – Rudolf Steiner 

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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In man’s struggle with good and evil, enjoining them in his every battle, he has reaped the reward of finding the key to all but unlimited power in the material realm. But this will be of no profit to him unless he also achieves self-dominion and self-control such as will prohibit his doing evil, or himself reaping its destructive force – and he must achieve this in such a way that he, himself, does not become mere “vegetable,” living a life that has lost its spice, satisfactions, and meaning.

So how is this to be done? How will mankind as a species find self-dominion, self-control; how will we find our way? In what way is our moral sense developed? Preston Harold continues with an answer:

Does controlled fusion of nuclei cast a clue – which is to say, is there a word to describe a psychological reaction in which passion is both loosened and controlled? Consider the word empathy. Ludwig Binswanger sees that it depends upon the possibility or impossibility of understanding – that it costs more, means more, than sympathy – that it is as yet beyond definition:

In the case of “empathy”…we would have to examine to what degree it is a phenomenon of warmth…or a vocal or sound phenomenon, as when the poet Hoelderlin writes to his mother that there could not be a sound alive in her soul with which his soul would not chime in; or a phenomenon of touch, as when we say, “your sorrow, your joy touches me”: or a phenomenon of sharing, as expressed by Diotima in Hoelderlin’s Hyperion – “He who understands you must share your greatness and your desperation”: or a phenomenon of participation, as in the saying, “I partake of your grief”: or lastly, a phenomenon of “identification,” as when we say, “I would have done the same in your place”….All these modes of expression refer to certain phenomenal, intentional, and preintentional modes of being-together…and co-being…which would have first to be analyzed before the total phenomenon of empathy could be made comprehensive and clarifiable.

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Empathy; that ability to put ourselves in another’s place, to “walk a mile in their shoes.” In our next post we will begin to analyze the meaning of empathy and how it is the fulcrum on which turns the proper, intentional development our species. Until then, peace.

Lucifer Rising

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“Lucifer Rising” by Elvinia DC

Why must evil be resurrected along with righteousness? What purpose does it serve?

…Lucifer, the devil, means “light-bringer,” and light is primordial energy – but Lucifer is not himself the light he brings. It must be that if “your father, the devil” is resurrected in man causing him to express evil, this expression brings in its wake a necessary enlightenment. If man’s evil is wed to his very being, his good, life must be recasting his evil into a measure of “something” indispensable to him, and this “something” must be flesh over which consciousness has full dominion: flesh man can in truth call his own and keep. To have it, man must have knowledge of evil, of matter itself, and he must have dominion over evil. That is, he must learn to live without corrupting his flesh and abusing life itself in evil doing; he must complete the task begun in Eden, which is to acquire knowledge of good and evil.

Ah, a necessary enlightenment! Many people, including great philosophers and theologians throughout the ages have looked into and considered the possibility of redemption not just for human beings, but for Old Scratch himself. Origen said that nothing is beyond being healed by its maker.  Rudolf Steiner postulates that through resisting and balancing the extreme forces of spirit (Lucifer) and matter (Satan) we redeem evil. In his early lectures on the Bible, Valentin Tomberg says that Lucifer experienced an inner metamorphosis through the Mystery of Golgotha, and that at the crucifixion he recognized the nature of the sacrifice of Christ. Gregory of Nyssa said that the originator of evil WILL be healed. At the heart of these interpretations seems to be a deep intuition that there is a reason for the existence of evil, that it is serving a greater purpose which could not be accomplished without it’s resistance. Preston Harold would say that reason is “flesh man can in truth call his own and keep.”

One here must also consider here the role that Judas played in Christ’s drama. In his “Cipher of Genesis,” Carlo Suares reminds us that the Gospel of John has Judas following Jesus’ instructions to the letter.

I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfulled. He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it comes that when it is come to pass ye may believe that I am he. Verily, verily I say unto you: He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent meVerily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall HAND ME OVER (OR, DELIVER ME)…He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

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So Satan enters Judas, Jesus then sends Judas. In essence, Jesus has sent Satan. So it must follow, according to Jesus’ own words, that he who receives Satan receives Jesus, therefore in the process receiving God. Once again we must ask ourselves, “Does this offend us?”

The lesson in all of this? Suares tells us:

In terms of gnosis it is the statement of a simple fact: there is only One energy, only One life, only One movement. All is one and one is in all. The One is the one game of life and existence, of energy as energy and of energy as its own physical support, which is its own resistance to itself, without which nothing would be.

Until next time, Peace.

Life Between Death and a New Birth

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The great philosopher Immanuel Kant said, “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me.”   The spiritual scientist Rudolf Steiner combined these two “wonderful/awesome” ideas of Kant to explain what happens to the unconscious human soul between death and a new birth. Steiner gave many lectures on life between death and rebirth in which he speaks of the human soul traversing through the planetary spheres with each sphere playing a significant role in taking stock of our previous incarnation and preparing us for our next one. Our moral and spiritual victories and shortcomings are accounted for while the angelic hierarchies begin preparing us for the new tasks we must undertake in our upcoming earthly sojourn.

From a lecture given on May 13, 1913 Steiner explains that what was outer space to us while incarnated becomes inner space to us after death, and vice versa:

Here on the earth we are situated at a point on the earth’s surface. Our organs are within us, whereas the starry heavens are outside. The opposite is the case after death. Then man grows to a cosmic dimension. When he has expanded up to the Moon sphere, the spiritual that belongs to the Moon becomes an organ within him. It becomes after death what the brain is for us on earth as physical human beings. Each planetary body becomes an organ for us after death inasmuch as we have expanded to its orbit. The Sun becomes a heart for us. As here we bear the physical heart within our body, so there we carry the spiritual part of the Sun within us. There is only one difference. We are perfect physical human beings when, after the embryonic evolution, all the organs have formed; They are simultaneously present. After death we acquire these organs little by little, one after another…. After death we grow into that of which the physical part has been discarded, and the spiritual part of the cosmic organ is now inside us. What is then our external world? What at present is our inner world, what we have experienced by means of our organs that make us into physical, earthly beings, and what we have done by means of these organs.

As far as the angelic hierarchies are concerned, Steiner adhered to the traditional Christian teaching expounded by Dionysius the Areopagite when proclaiming his spiritual research. Here is one way in which Steiner explains the role the hierarchies play in human development after death:

It is with the Hierarchy of Angels, Archangles and Archai that a man is essentially concerned during his Moon existence after death, while the higher Hierarchies are still beyond his knowledge. The judgements of the Angels are especially important for the deeds of individual men, and it is from the Angels that a man learns the value his own deeds have in the cosmos as a whole. From the Archangels he learns more about the value of what he has done in connection to the language he speaks, with the people to whom he belongs, and from this source also come impulses which work into his further destiny. From the Archai he learns what value his actions during a given period on Earth will have for the time when he has to descend once more into earthly existence…. In the Moon sphere he comes to know what he is destined to be in his next earthly existence, though the actual preparations cannot be made for it at that stage. For this he has to rise to the sphere of the Sun…

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On coming into the vast sphere of the Sun, where our interests are substantially widened, we are able to work with the Exusiai, Dynamis and Kyriotetes on preparing the spirit-germ of a physical body which can then be born for us from suitable parents… Our essential work there…is to concern ourselves together with beings of a higher degree, with all that takes place among these beings as spiritual events, just as here there are natural events; with all that takes place in them as art of the spirit, just as here we have the art of nature. All this enables us to bring together what has thus been worked at into a great, spiritual, archetypal picture which is the spirit-germ, the foreshadowing, of what will later be born on Earth as our physical body.

Although Steiner explains these excarnate experiences as though we were conscious of them, of course we are not! We lead ourselves into all sorts of errors if we imagine we are.

We’ll return to TSS in our next installment. Until then, peace.

The Word, our Larynx, and Creation

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In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  And God said, “Let there be…” Genesis 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were created; without him nothing was created that has been created.  John 1

We step aside now to consider Harold’s quote from our last post, “If man is child, he will outgrow his present garment, his mental and physical vesture.” ImageTo do so we will again turn to look at what Rudolf Steiner had to say about this possibility. In a previous post here we considered what Steiner had to say considering the past conditions of humanity. In this post we will look to see where his spiritual scientific imaginings lead him in ruminating on man’s future.

The quotes from Genesis and the Gospel of John at the beginning of this post, telling us that everything that exists came into being through the word, point the way for Steiner’s understanding of humanity’s future. I will let Steiner speak for himself. From his lecture on June 28, 1907 in Kassel, Germany:

Imagine that we can transform air into a liquid and then into a solid. Already today, it is possible to solidify air. You know that steam, the gaseous form of water, liquefies when it cools and is transformed into solid ice when it freezes. Now imagine that I pronounce the word “god” in air-filled space. If you could solidify the air at the very instant these sound waves are present, a shape –perhaps a shell-like shape, for example – would fall to earth. The word “world” would produce a different shape. You would be able to capture my words, and each word would correspond to a shape made out of crystallized air.

This analogy was used in the Christian (esoteric) schools. Each object first exists as a thought concealed within a being, a thought that is then spoken and solidified. Christians imagined that the creation of the universe began with the thoughts of things, which were then pronounced by the divinity and sent forth into space. The plants and minerals you see are divine words that have solidified. Everything we see… is a divine word become solid…

If you bear all this in mind, you realize that the word was once a creative force. Today, we human beings are still mere beginners at what our forefathers once did. Today’s sexual procreation, whether by plants, animals,
 or humans, is simply a transformation of the divine creative word of former times… Our most nearly finished aspect is sexuality, while the beginning of a new means of procreation exists in the human larynx… The larynxImage we now use to produce words will become an organ of procreation that brings forth increasingly denser and more exalted creations. In the future, what is now air will be the substance of beings… In future evolutionary stages of the earth, what we can now only say, will then emerge in forms that endure. Ultimately, the larynx will become the organ through which human beings reproduce their own kind.

Steiner also suggests that the transformation of the larynx is just the tip of the iceberg:

Much more could be said about such organs, which we have incorporated into our respiratory system here on Earth but which actually belong to the heart system. They are present in the body as mere potentials now, but will gradually evolve further.

So what will the future human garment look like, which Harold posits we are growing into? If Steiner is right and earthly conditions will change so a new biology and subsequent forms are needed, what will they be? What will be the actual appearance of a human who can reproduce via the larynx? Whose cardio vascular and respiratory systems are transformed? One hint I’m getting from Steiner in this quote is that what are now involuntary functions within us will in the future become voluntary. But I’m afraid there can be no rock-solid answers at this point. Only our imaginations can suggest what we might become. I’ll leave that to each of us!

Until next time, peace…