Anthropo-Sophia and the Blessed Virgin Mary

The following article is an excerpt from my most recent publication entitled: Mary and the Divine Sophia: The Salvation of Universal Wisdom (2016), and now available from Amazon.com.  

Sacred Heart of Mary (2) - Copy

It is very unfortunate that in the present day there are a great many authors who write with such “esoteric” authority and conviction, but who have had little or no direct spiritual experience about what they write. Predictably, the information they convey with such weight and command is rife with error and falsehood.

Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than when they emphatically expound on the “being” of anthropo-sophia. If these pseudo-authorities had actually experienced the “lesser guardian of the threshold” for themselves, they would have a much clearer understanding of what Rudolf Steiner means by the “being” of anthropo-sophia.

For those who may be unfamiliar, the lesser guardian is a fearful astral figure that is objectively materialized out of an individual’s collective karma; that is, out of the accumulated effects of good and bad deeds that were performed throughout an individual’s incarnational history. The lesser guardian is invisible to ordinary sight; and only becomes visible to supersensible sight when an individual attempts to consciously cross the threshold into the spiritual world. The lesser guardian, then, is a spectral apparition, a personal astral creation. As figuratively described by Rudolf Steiner in Chapter 10 of Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment ( 1986):

But now all the good and evil sides of thy bygone lives shall be revealed to thee. Hitherto they were interwoven with thine own being; they were in thee and thou couldst not see them, even as thou canst not behold thine own brain with physical eyes. But now they become released from thee; they detach themselves from thy personality. They assume an independent form which thou canst see even as thou beholdest the stones and plants of the outer world. And . . . I am that very being who shaped my body out of thy good and evil achievements. My spectral form is woven out of thine own life’s record.

It will be gathered from the above that the Guardian of the Threshold is an (astral) figure, revealing itself to the student’s awakened higher sight …

So, if the lesser guardian is simply an astral materialization of accumulated karma, why does Steiner refer to it as “that very being” in the above quotation (and elsewhere)? The reason is to disclose and emphasize the supersensible fact that objective materializations in the astral world which issue from human activity are more than just ephemeral, inanimate creations that quickly disappear without effect.

Instead, these astral materializations will often assume a distinct human-like form; and being composed of astral substance, they possess a certain vitality as well as a degree of elemental mentation and sentience. Moreover,  these humanly-generated astral formations will very often detach themselves from their human creator, and lead an independent existence in astral space; thereby affecting other astral formations in the superphysical environment.

While it’s important to recognize that astral materializations such as the lesser guardian exhibit a “being-like” quality of existence, it’s equally important to understand that these being-like astral formations are not “beings” in the usually-understood sense of existing as spirit-filled “persons,” such as human beings and celestial beings. An astral materialization such as the lesser guardian does not possess an organized assemblage of interpenetrating body and soul vehicles, such as an etheric body or an intellectual soul. Nor is the divine nature reflected in these astral materializations as an individualized spiritual-self. Moreover, a being-like astral creation does not have an extensive evolutionary history belonging to a particular life-wave, such as the angels, or the archangels, or the thrones or the seraphim.

From what has been described, then, it is clear that anthropo-sophia is a “being-like” astral materialization, and not a “being” in the same sense as a “human being,” as an ego-indwelt human “person.”  Even though cosmic wisdom-sophia is as old as the universe, anthropo-sophia is only a recent manifestation.

Anthropo-sophia is essentially an objective materialization of spiritual-truth (cosmic wisdom-sophia) that has been consciously acquired by the human intellect through spiritual scientific means. As such, she only came into existence with the establishment of anthroposophical spiritual science by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900s. Anthropo-sophia began as a personal materialization of the spiritual-truth acquired by Steiner himself; somewhat similar to the personal generation of the lesser guardian. But as more and more of his pupils began to apply the techniques of spiritual science to intellectually acquire spiritual truth as well, anthropo-sophia very quickly transformed from being a personal astral materialization, into becoming a collective one.

Since cosmic wisdom-sophia is a universal feminine-principle, the human-like form assumed by anthropo-sophia is predictably a feminine one. Moreover, even though she only recently came into materialized existence, she assumes the form of a “mature” woman due to the tremendous outpouring of spiritual truth that was acquired and conveyed by Steiner himself. As more and more individuals intellectually acquire cosmic wisdom-truth through spiritual science, anthropo-sophia naturally increases in astral stature, beauty, strength and influence. Moreover, as an astral “being-like” manifestation, anthropo-sophia is imbued with a degree of vitality, sentience and mentation.

Given that anthropo-sophia has only recently come into astral existence, it is somewhat perplexing why some anthroposophical writers have erroneously suggested that the Blessed Virgin Mary (of St. Luke’s gospel) and anthropo-sophia are one and the same being. As recognized by spiritual science, the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first and only physical incarnation of the heavenly-Eve. Since the heavenly-Eve has been a part of human evolution since its very inception, she is a human “being” in the fullest sense of the term, and is not a “being-like” astral materialization like anthropo-sophia..

What is equally perplexing is the assertion by some anthroposophical writers that the heavenly-Eve is not an actual human being but simply a pristine aspect of the earthly-Eve’s etheric body that was preserved from Luciferic corruption (and the resultant “fall” into physical incarnation) during ancient Lemurian times. If this were true, then the incarnation of the heavenly-Eve as St. Luke’s Mary is nothing but the physical embodiment of an uncorrupted etheric body-fragment.

According to this ill-conceived notion, then, the immaculate mother of St. Luke’s Jesus-child would have had no individualized soul or indwelling spirit. As such, she would have been a plant and not a human being! On strictly logical grounds, then, the idea that the heavenly-Eve is simply preserved etheric forces is obviously absurd. If these pseudo-esoteric authorities had taken the time to combine all that Rudolf Steiner revealed concerning the heavenly-Adam, they would have a correct understanding of the heavenly-Eve.

What is strangely ironic in this instance is the fact that it is usually the same self-styled esoteric authorities who claim that the heavenly-Eve―a real human being―is nothing but an etheric materialization, who also assert that anthropo-sophia―an astral materialization―is a real human being! As previously mentioned, this confusion on their part is a clear indication that they “know not of what they speak”; and should therefore keep esoterically silent.

 

 

 

 

 

Divine Love and the Transmutation of Evil

The following article is the Conclusion from my most recent book publication entitled From Darkness to Light: Divine Love and the Transmutation of Evil (2016). For anyone interested in delving more deeply into this important (though little understood) subject, the book is now available from Amazon.com.

(website) From Darkness to Light - Front Cover - Copy

1. Salvation From Supernatural Evil is a Free-Will Choice

IT SHOULD BE esoterically obvious from all that has been written thus far, that without the benevolent assistance of many highly-advanced celestial beings mankind would become easy prey for supernatural evil. The perpetrators of supernatural evil are far too powerful, and far too clever, for unassisted human beings to overcome on our own.

Furthermore, even though Christ-Jesus has successfully triumphed over Lucifer, Ahriman and Sorath, he does not impose his own success on the rest of humanity. Instead, he freely offers his power, capacity and assistance to overcome evil for anyone who sincerely chooses. Unfortunately, many in our day have not chosen to do so. Far too many people continue to happily endorse the atheistic and materialistic world-view of empirical science. Far too many people continue to be mesmerized by the hedonistic technology of secular society. Far too many people continue to evade spiritual reality with escapist movies, books, games, drugs, sports and music. The discerning observer of modern life cannot help but painfully conclude that supernatural evil will continue to plague somnolent humanity for the foreseeable future.

2. The Tragic Irony of Evil: Opposing God is Opposing Our Own True Self

It is still somewhat of a cosmic mystery to understand why otherwise highly-advanced beings such as Lucifer, Ahriman and Sorath willingly choose to engage in evil; that is, freely choose to act contrary to God. The undeniable spiritual fact is that all sentient beings are children of God; and therefore the divine spirit is mirrored in every self-conscious being. Furthermore, the highest self of all self-conscious beings―holy and evil―is their God-self, their true eternal life and reality.

Moreover, according to logical reasoning, the triune God is perfectly free and infinitely happy. So it also logically follows that for all created beings―including the supernatural perpetrators of evil―the highest freedom and happiness can only come from spiritual union with God.

So, when Lucifer, Ahriman or Sorath flee from the divine light of truth and the divine warmth of love, they are truly and tragically fleeing from their own highest spiritual selves. Separating from God through sin is in fact separating from who they are in reality. Moreover, running from this spiritual fact does in no way change it. Only by embracing the truth of their ultimate being, in sincere humility and gratitude, is there lasting salvation from a sorrowful life of evil.

3.   Divine Love is the Best Way of Dealing with Evil

I John 4:18 states in part that “perfect love casts out fear.” What is also implied with this spiritual truth is that “perfect (divine) love casts out evil.” After examining in some detail the nature, genesis and supernatural perpetration of evil, as well as the celestial beings who benefit humanity and oppose evil, what comes into clear intellectual focus is the convincing conclusion that the best way of dealing with evil is through divine love.

The foremost exemplar of divine love in all of human history is, of course, our saviour Christ-Jesus. Through his life on earth, his gospel teachings and his resurrected presence in the Church, Christ-Jesus has provided mankind with a sure path of holiness that will overcome evil and lead directly to God. Our Saviour has taught and demonstrated that we are not to hate, revile or despise the evil enemies of mankind; but instead, to love them. This, of course, does not mean that we are to befriend our supernatural enemies and overlook their evil ways; but rather, to remind ourselves that they too are children of God, albeit lost and mistaken. Hopefully, one day, they will realize the error of their evil ways, and turn back to their true home in God.

Furthermore, regarding the supernatural perpetrators of evil with infinite compassion does not mean that the forces of holiness do nothing about evil in their midst. Since all persons under unwarranted attack have a right to appropriate self-defense, the benevolent celestial beings have every right to resist, repel, disable, disarm, deactivate, neutralize, subdue, contain, incarcerate and imprison the perpetrators of evil who intend to do others (and themselves) harm. Self-defense, in this case however, is not undertaken in a spirit of revenge or retaliation; but in the spirit of Michael―the spirit of divine justice, fairness and doing what is morally right in the eyes of God.

Since all sentient beings possess the divine gift of free-will, perpetrators of evil cannot be forced against their will to be holy. The free-will decision to turn from evil to holiness is what is understood as “redemption.” The will to do evil can only be overcome and reversed through a personal act of redemption. The material or superphysical manifestations of evil, however, can be transformed or transmuted. For example, by raising the vibratory level of etheric debasements, such as electricity and magnetism, these manifestations of evil can be transmuted back into light and chemical ether, for the positive benefit of earthly evolution.

Furthermore, much of modern technology―such as computers, robotics, genetic modification and automation―is a “double-edged sword”; it can be used for the benefit of mankind, or for earthly destruction. Modern technology, then, must be increasingly wrested from the control of Ahrimanic spirits and put into the hands of Michael and other Christ-imbued beings. Similarly, the various forms of artistic expression―such as filmmaking, theatre, painting, sculpture, computer graphics and music―must increasingly be directed away from Luciferic fantasy and illusion; and instead, directed towards the uplifting expression of true spiritual beauty.

In summary, by assisting our planetary-spirit, Christ-Jesus, with the transmutation and transformation of the “old” universe into the “new heaven and the new earth,” the supernatural perpetrators of evil will be increasingly surrounded by the light of divine truth and the warmth of divine love. Consequently, this will increasingly limit the dark places they can hide; and more importantly, it will increasingly limit their ability to debase matter, energy and mind to use as weapons in their arsenal of evil. In time, by increasingly protecting ourselves, and them, in a cosmic cocoon of holiness, this will incite the larvae of evil to metamorphose into the prodigal butterflies of spiritual redemption.

No doubt, transforming the universe to this supernal degree of divine love will take many aeons to accomplish; but after all, this is the divine plan of creation―the destiny of the Logos-Word as the image and likeness of God.

The Slow Befriending of Anthroposophy and Catholicism in Our Time

The following article has been taken from my book publication entitled The Greater and Lesser Mysteries of Christianity: The Complementary Paths of Anthroposophy and Catholicism (2015); and is in fact the concluding chapter. For anyone interested in pursuing this topic more thoroughly, the book is available on Amazon.com.

Carracci - Christ in Glory

EVEN THOUGH FEW present-day anthroposophists and few current Catholics recognize and understand the two-millennial division of Christian teaching into exoteric mystery-wisdom and esoteric mystery-wisdom, there are still noteworthy examples in recent years which show that each side is beginning to amicably learn more about the other.

Even though the anthroposophical leadership in Dornach, Switzerland does not officially converse with the Catholic Church, and even though the Vatican Curia in Rome does not officially converse with the General Anthroposophical Society, individual anthroposophists and Catholics have begun to slowly befriend each other.

It will probably come as a complete shock and surprise, to both anthroposophists and Catholics alike, to discover that Karol Josef Wojtyla (1920‒2005)―before he became Pope John Paul II―was involved with an anthroposophical group in Poland that was studying the art of speech and working with Rudolf Steiner’s mystery dramas. Moreover, before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (b.1927) was the head (or “prefect”) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 to 2005. In this capacity (where he was nicknamed, “God’s Rottweiler”), Cardinal Ratzinger’s primary function was to defend and reaffirm traditional Catholic doctrine. During that time, he was friends with Dr. Martin Kriele (b.1931), a well-respected German constitutional lawyer who was both Catholic and anthroposophist. In an interview given in 1988, Kriele stated:

I don’t withhold [from the Catholic Church] that I’m an anthroposophist and I must say that it’s caused me not the slightest difficulty and even the ultimate arbiter [of the Church], so to speak, Cardinal Ratzinger, knows me to be an anthroposophist. He is today the ultimate defender of the faith and he took no offense from that.

Moreover, in Kriele’s experience, Catholics were much more accepting of him being an anthroposophist, than anthroposophists were of him being a Catholic. As he indicated in the same interview quoted above:

Catholicism, meanwhile, has become much more open. It’s often happened to me that my coreligionists respond not with hostility but with interest when I say that I am an anthroposophist. When, among anthroposophists, I mention that I am a Catholic, however, they act like they are about to cross themselves [as protection from the devil].

In Kriele’s opinion, this fearful and widespread anti-Catholic reaction among anthroposophists is misplaced and anachronistic. As he explained:

It seems to me that those who behave thus are seeing the reality around them not through their own eyes but through those of Rudolf Steiner seventy years hence. Not quite of course―Steiner himself had positive relations with Catholics. He even on January 30th, 1924―after the Christmas meeting!―went as far as to say that the Catholic church is the only important institution that truly presents to the world the mystery of the spirit that has veiled itself with sensory impressions (Mystery Centres of the Middle Ages; GA 233a); awareness of its role, however, usually being absent … Anthroposophists who orient themselves only by Steiner’s explanations of forms of Catholicism of his own time and ignore his favorable expressions mistake the present reality; for example, that the church today recognizes religious freedom as an inalienable right, for other religions as much as itself. Further, supremacy of the conscience over dogma is now officially taught and also that departure from the church need not rank one among unbelievers. (Ibid.) 

While John Paul II and Benedict XVI are certainly two examples of celebrated Catholics who have had an arm’s-length brush with anthroposophy, many other ordinary Catholics have also had similar favourable associations. For example, many Catholic parents have positively enrolled their children in anthroposophically-inspired Waldorf schools, or Camphill communities. Other Catholics have been pleasantly involved with anthroposophically-inspired Biodynamic farming; while others have enjoyably attended anthroposophically-inspired eurythmy performances or Mystery plays.

In other instances, some Catholics in recent years have deliberately delved much deeper into the anthroposophical material of Rudolf Steiner. During the early 1990s, for instance, Vatican scholars at the Institute for Philosophy in Liechtenstein (a Catholic research centre) studied Rudolf Steiner as an eminent spiritual philosopher, and concluded that anthroposophy was reasonably harmonious with accepted Catholic doctrine.

So, has there been a reciprocal interest on the part of anthroposophical groups to study Catholic doctrine and teaching? There doesn’t appear so―but in fairness, it is much more difficult to study a religion than it is to study a science (including a spiritual one). Religion requires emotional commitment, dedicated devotion, communal activity and repeated practice. A science, on the other hand, can be more easily understood in an objective, intellectual way. So for anthroposophists to truly understand Catholicism, they would actually have to practice or apply it for a certain length of time. Nevertheless, present-day anthroposophists can still achieve a much deeper understanding and appreciation of today’s Catholicism just by having Catholic speakers and experts attend anthroposophical group meetings; or by personally attending and observing a Christmas or Easter Mass.

Since the very beginning of anthroposophy, there has always been a small percentage of Catholics involved. One of the founding teachers of the first Waldorf school, for example, was Dr. Karl Schubert (1889‒1949), a Catholic anthroposophist that Rudolf Steiner held in high esteem. Even at the Christmas Conference in 1923, when the General Anthroposophical Society was officially established, Rudolf Steiner was accompanied by a Catholic priest named Father Trinquero.

Throughout the history of anthroposophy, most Catholic members have preferred to quietly practice their religious faith without widespread Society attention or notice. Moreover, they have generally preferred to keep these two areas of their lives separate, without making public efforts to unite or integrate them. There have been, of course, a few exceptions by some present-day anthroposophists who are favorably disposed to Catholicism. Prominent anthroposophical writers, Robert A. Powell (b.1947) and Christopher Bamford, for instance, have attempted to imitate the Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary by instituting the “Hermetic” celebration of the “Virgin Sophia”―the Holy Spirit of Wisdom.

Unfortunately, Powell, Bamford and other like-minded Catholic supporters within anthroposophy have been vocal champions of Valentin Tomberg, the controversial anthroposophical convert to Catholicism (please refer to Chapter 5 for more detail). Not surprisingly, then, those anthroposophists who regard Valentin Tomberg with suspicion and derision very often regard the Catholic-friendly “Tombergians” within anthroposophy with equal suspicion and wariness. Many members have also mistakenly concluded that all Catholic anthroposophists are Tomberg supporters; and this quite naturally raises questions about Catholic inclusion.

Clearly the lesson to be learned from the continuing Tombergian divisiveness is that efforts to interfuse and amalgamate anthroposophy and Catholicism (even well-intentioned efforts) are unhealthy, unproductive and mutually ruinous. Not just institutionally, but even within the sanctity of our own souls, it is vitally important to maintain a healthy autonomy between the religion of Catholicism and the (spiritual) science of anthroposophy. By doing so, these two crucial streams of Christian mystery-teaching will truly complement and elevate each other, now and into the future.

The Riddle of the Knights Templar

Over the centuries, so much frivolous fantasy and fabrication has grown up around the Knights Templar which disregards the obvious fact that they were a Christian militaristic order—established and sanctioned by the Catholic Church—that was instituted in medieval times to protect pilgrims journeying to the Holy Lands. They were not a secret occult brotherhood that later morphed into Freemasonry in Scotland and elsewhere.

In an effort to provide some historical clarity on the Templars from an esoteric Christian perspective, the following article has been excerpted from my previously published book, The Son of Love and the Birth of the New Mysteries (2015), which is available from Amazon.com.

Gustave_dore_crusades_the_discovery_of_the_true_cross

[“The Discovery of the True Cross” by Gustave Dore (1877)]

The Riddle of the Knights Templar    

It is worth clarifying, at this point, the ever-popular misconception that the Knights Templar also functioned as an important esoteric conduit into medieval Europe for the vanishing mysteries of the ancient Middle East. As a Christian, monastic, military order officially endorsed by the Catholic Church at the Council of Troyes in 1129, the Templar mission was to provide protection to European pilgrims travelling at that time to Jerusalem and to the Holy Land. Templar knights were required to take the monastic vows of poverty, chastity, piety and obedience, and to strictly adhere to a detailed code of conduct known as the “Latin Rule” which was established by advocate St. Bernard of Clairvaux and founder Hugues de Payens.

Though the Templars certainly came into armed contact with militant Moslem brotherhoods such as the Order of Assassins, as a fervent and dedicated Christian order, they had no interest in becoming a secret repository for old pagan mystery knowledge. However, since the Order’s headquarters in Jerusalem was the captured Al Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount, which was believed to be the ancient site of King Solomon’s temple, it was later rumoured that the Templars may have unearthed long-forgotten secrets of Solomon, or the Hebrew Ark of the Covenant or the sacred chalice of Christ-Jesus’ Passover meal.

Moreover, the lurid accounts of Templar knights worshiping a heathen idol called “Baphomet” (a mistranslation of “Mahomet” = Muhammad), or engaging in acts of sexual depravity, or conducting ceremonial blasphemy against the crucifix was entirely fallacious information obtained from knights under horrific duress by King Philip IV of France. The sinister king of France was heavily indebted to the Templar Order to help finance a protracted war for control of the English monarchy; so to avoid repayment and to seize their communal wealth, Philip arrested, tortured and executed innocent Templar knights, including the grand master of the order, Jacques de Molay. Philip also falsely arrested and expelled Jewish citizens from French territories in order to seize their assets as well.

When King Philip began to levy unfair taxes against the French clergy in order to continue financing his costly war, he was soundly condemned by Pope Boniface VIII. Whereupon, Philip abducted the pope by surprise retaliation in Italy and installed his own puppet pope, Clement V, in Poitiers, France. Under pressure from King Philip, Pope Clement ordered all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest the Templars and to seize their assets. Further military threats by Philip forced Clement to officially dissolve the order in 1312 and to turn over most of their remaining assets to the Knights of St. John (also known as the Knights of Malta or the Knights Hospitallers).

While some Templars certainly found safe haven in Scotland and Switzerland, which were outside the sphere of papal influence at this time since both territories had been previously excommunicated, many knights simply joined other orders, particularly the equally powerful Order of St. John. The Templar Order in Portugal continued to survive with the assistance of King Denis by simply changing its name and re-instituting as the Military Order of Christ. Some Templars in other countries were arrested and tried, but never convicted. Some knights were even pensioned off and left to retire peacefully. Remarkably, a misplaced document was found in the Vatican Secret Archives in 2002 that records the trial of the Templars and the fact that before dissolving the order in 1312, Pope Clement in 1308 actually absolved the accused Templars of all heresies against them. Unfortunately, that did not prevent the corrupt Philip IV from burning alive at the stake Grand Master de Molay and Normandy Master de Charney in Paris on March 19, 1314.

Templars and Freemasonry

So any modern-day orders, particularly Masonic, claiming to have a Templar connection are clearly spurious. The Templars were a Catholic monastic order established in the Middle Ages to provide military protection for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Lands. This once-essential service is no longer required, and since the Order has been officially dissolved in its original form by the Church, there are no recognized Templar knights remaining today. Without official Catholic approval, any group or individual claiming to be Templar is simply bogus. Moreover, it would be interesting to know if any of these Masonic would-be Templars take strict monastic vows of poverty, chastity, piety and obedience; or faithfully abide by the 72 instructions of the Latin Rule.

Though some Masonic legends claim that Freemasonry was actually started by exiled Templars or that persecuted Templars took safety within certain Masonic orders (in Scotland, for example), such conjecture makes no logical sense whatsoever. Firstly, feudal brotherhoods of stonemasons were in existence long before the Order of Templars was endorsed by the Church in 1129; so the Templars certainly didn’t establish Freemasonry. Secondly, while it is possible that desperate Templars could have temporarily hidden out in the guarded lodges of stonemasons, it is more likely that as Christian warrior-monks they would have sought refuge in any number of sympathetic monastic orders in Europe at the time.

The idea, however, that there was close contact between Templars and stonemasons is certainly logical. Since the Templars established a network of stone temples, castles and fortifications stretching from Britain to Jerusalem, they obviously would have employed an army of talented stonemasons to do the necessary construction. But since one was a military monastic order and the other was a practicing guild of tradesmen, their only commonality was their Christian faith and loyalty to the Holy Church.

The only reason that de-Christianized Freemasonry includes degrees and orders of pseudo-Templarism is the mistaken mystique that the Templars were not dedicated and devout Christian military monks but deceitful purveyors and practitioners of ancient pagan mysteries. Since modern Freemasonry cloaks itself in secrecy and deceit, it quite naturally looks for these qualities in other brotherhoods.

Templars and the Holy Grail

The truth is that the Templars did uncover and safeguard certain sacred treasures that had been acquired in the Middle East; but these were sacred relics associated with Christianity, not fragments of old pagan mystery knowledge. The Templars were documented to have possessed a piece of the true wooden cross of Christ. Also, the mummified head that the Templars were falsely accused of worshiping was actually a relic that the Order was known to possess, the head of St. Euphemia of Chalcedon. Also, the recorded “confessions” of the tortured knights in Paris makes mention of the Order possessing a red, monochromatic, full-length image of a man on linen or cotton cloth. This was clearly a reference to the famous Shroud of Turin, since the first known public display of the shroud in 1357 was by the family of the grandson of Geoffrey de Charney, the unfortunate Templar who was burned at the stake with Grand Master de Molay in 1314.

On a much deeper esoteric level, the Templars did indeed unknowingly stumble across an essential aspect of the mystery of the Holy Grail. Through their intense devotion and enthusiastic fervour as faithful servants of Christ-Jesus, Templar knights were to passionately feel that their entire lives had been turned over to the Risen Saviour. When they thought, it was Christ-Jesus thinking in them; when they felt, it was Christ-Jesus feeling in them; when they acted, it was Christ-Jesus acting through them. Every breath they took was intimately felt to be Christ-Jesus breathing in them; the beating of their heart and the coursing of blood through their veins was experienced as the life of Christ-Jesus in their bodies. As described by Rudolf Steiner in a lecture on 2 October 1916:

The blood of the Templars belonged to Christ Jesus―each one of them knew this. Their blood belonged to nothing else on earth than to Christ Jesus. Every moment of their life was to be filled with the perpetual consciousness of how in their own soul there dwelt―in the words of St. Paul―”not I, but Christ in me”! And in bloody and severe combat, in devoted work such as the Crusades demanded, the Templars put into practice what they had spiritually undertaken to do … to establish more firmly in earth existence the impulse which came from the Mystery of Golgotha. (Published in The Knights Templar: The Mystery of the Warrior Monks; 2011)

By mystically uniting their own blood with the spiritualized blood of the resurrected Saviour in the etheric sphere of the earth, the Knights Templar inadvertently experienced a form of Christian initiation whereby they contacted the real presence of Christ-Jesus in the supernatural realm. By uniquely experiencing the “sangréal” (Spanish for ‘royal blood’) of Christ―the “san gréal” or ‘Holy Grail’―the Templar initiates actually reflected the egohood of Christ-Jesus in their souls; thereby releasing true supernatural light into the world. Once again, as described by Rudolf Steiner:

Something quite remarkable and powerful had thus entered into the circle of the Templar Order without their having known the rules of Christian initiation other than through sacrificial service … This experience of the Templars meant that the Mystery of Golgotha was understood, and also experienced, at a higher stage than before. Something was now present in the world with regard to the Mystery of Golgotha which was previously not there … These external deeds and the enthusiasm that lived in these deeds drew out the souls of the Templars so that these souls, being separated from the body, outside the body, lived with the spiritual progress of humanity and penetrated in soul and spirit the secrets of the Mystery of Golgotha. They then underwent many and deep experiences, and not for the individual soul alone but for all humanity. (Ibid.)

Tragically, however, in spite of its grandeur and sublimity, the unintentional and spontaneously generated initiation of the Templars caused them to become anomalies in progressive human development. Their accelerated esoteric advancement placed them outside the stream of exoteric Christianity to which they properly belonged; but their connection to the medieval Roman Catholic Church excluded them from the normal stream of esoteric Christianity as well.

The Templars, then, became a religious order without a spiritual home. Moreover, since their abnormally rapid attainment prematurely expanded their consciousness beyond the safe confines of the body, the Templars also unknowingly opened themselves to Luciferic assault. Due to his diabolic lust for gold and power, Philip IV became the eager agent of Luciferic powers who sought to destroy the Templars and thereby halt the influx of Christ-light that was pouring into the world through them.

Thankfully, in the great hall of cosmic justice, the cruelly-murdered Templar knights found fair and lawful recompense. Their premature deaths flooded the supernatural world closest to the earth with radiant Christ-light that illumined and inspired the Christian souls descending to birth into Renaissance Europe. Many an enlightened intellect during that period could trace the source of their brilliance to Jacques de Molay and to the Christ-filled Templars on the other side of the veil.

Knights Templar

The “Unutterable” Mystery of the Abyss

According to Rosicrucian initiate, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), there are seven “inexpressible” or “unutterable” mysteries of life which previously have never been spoken of outside the ranks of the hidden, esoteric brotherhoods. It is only in our age that it has become possible to speak of them openly. One of these is the “Mystery of the Abyss.”

In order to clarify this “inexpressible” mystery, the following article has been taken from my book, The Star of Higher Knowledge: The Five Guiding Mysteries of Esoteric Christianity (2015), which is available from Amazon.com.

Crossing the Abyss (long)

Supersensibly perceived, the actual point of death is when the etheric body, astral body and ego-bearing soul together sever all connection with, and permanently exit, the physical body. Once the etheric vehicle has sufficiently withdrawn, what generally occurs is a loss of consciousness; what is esoterically termed, the “soul-slumber.” As described by Yogi Ramacharaka in The Life Beyond Death (2010):

The soul leaving the physical body (in the ‘Astral body’) is plunged into a deep sleep or state of coma resembling the condition of the unborn child for several months before birth. It is being prepared for re-birth on the Astral Plane … This period of soul-slumber is like the existence of the babe in the mother’s womb―it sleeps that it may awaken into life and strength.

Not only is the soul slumber a time of rest and recuperation for a world-weary soul, but it also protects the unprepared soul from consciously experiencing some of the shattering events that occur relatively soon after death.

If full clairvoyant consciousness is present, as was the case with Christ-Jesus, immediately upon exiting the physical body there ominously appears before the discarnate soul a yawning chasm of nothingness that separates the sensory world left behind from the supersensible world yet beyond. This terrifying drop into seeming oblivion is esoterically termed, the “Great Abyss.”

Various ancient cultures were knowledgeable about the Great Abyss, and incorporated their understanding in mythological imagery. The ancient Greeks, for example, referred to this fearful boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead (Hades) as the river Styx. They also believed that newly-departed souls needed to cross this perilous boundary in order to properly live in the afterworld. Also, in ancient Hindu mythology, what separated the earth from the realm of the dead (Naraka) was called the river Vaitarani. Only sinful souls were forced to cross this difficult and terrifying river. In Japanese Buddhist tradition, the dead needed to cross the river Sanzu to reach the afterlife. It was further believed that good souls could use a special bridge to cross the frightening Sanzu, while evil souls had to wade through deep, serpent-infested waters.

To modern-day esoteric understanding, the Great Abyss is simply the large sphere of etheric force and substance that surrounds and penetrates the earth; what can correctly be termed, the “planetary etheric vehicle.” Nevertheless, encountering this etheric region in an out-of-body condition can be a terrifying experience for the unprepared. Etheric substance is clairvoyantly characterized by extreme emptiness. It has a disturbing quality of being “emptier than space,” a sort of negative space. As such, this vacuum of etheric emptiness has a relentless, centripetal sucking action.

When this planetary region of etheric emptiness is encountered after death, or through initiatory development, it is a daunting confrontation―like standing at the precipice of a bottomless pit that is irresistibly drawing the soul in. Moreover, while the sphere of planetary ether that extends above the surface of the earth exudes warmth and light, the levels that extend into the subterranean regions of the earth are comprised of corrupted and debased etheric substance. To the esoteric investigator, electricity is light ether that has been corrupted by Luciferic activity; magnetism is chemical (sound) ether that has been corrupted by Ahrimanic activity; and nuclear energy is life ether that has been corrupted by asuric activity.

Not only does the Great Abyss draw the soul into it, then, but the subterranean ethers also have a strong tendency to pull the deceased’s etheric body downwards. As the various mythological stories indicate, an exemplary soul will predictably pass through (or “cross”) the planetary etheric void in their journey after death, while an evil soul will be drawn in and become tethered to the subterranean earth. Typically, the excarnate etheric body is sloughed off from the astral vehicle after several days, and then dispersed into the planetary and superplanetary ethers. In contrast, an etheric body hardened by immorality or drawn to the earth by strong passion (such as despair, revenge, lust or hatred) will not easily disintegrate, but may instead haunt or roam the earth as a ghostly “spectre” for many years.

Despite never having encountered the Great Abyss before, Christ-Jesus had no difficulty facing the void and passing through it. Similar to his physical levitations on water, crossing the Great Abyss was easily accomplished through the superplanetary forces of the indwelling Christ-ego hypostatically united to the Word and the Son. Moreover, by resolutely focusing on the golden light of the mystic star, attention was “directed to the Father” (that is, trained on his highest, spiritual nature), which provided an etheric sphere of protection around him. By floating in this “bubble zone,” Christ-Jesus was securely ferried to “the other side.”

Temptation of Christ - Tissot[“The Temptation of Jesus” by James Tissot (1895)]

Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Shadowy Occult Deception

The following article about controversial anthroposophist-turned-Catholic, Valentin Tomberg (1900-1973), is an excerpt from my recently published book, The Greater and Lesser Mysteries of Christianity: The Complementary Paths of Anthroposophy and Catholicism (2015). For more information, the book can be ordered from Amazon.com.              

Tomberg Header

 

Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Shadowy Occult Deception

Even though, as an anthroposophist, Tomberg was rebuffed in his efforts to be recognized as the esoteric Christian successor to Rudolf Steiner, he still fervently held on to this vainglorious, egocentric delusion throughout his Catholic conversion. His unabashed praise of St. Ignatius and his Spiritual Exercises was a subtle contrivance needed to position himself (and the Hermetic “spiritual exercises” of his Tarot book) as the Christian successor to St. Ignatius (and thereby, to Rudolf Steiner). What Tomberg had failed to accomplish as an anthroposophist, he was certain he had accomplished as a Catholic esotericist (even “from beyond the grave”).

It’s perfectly obvious to any sincere esoteric Christian (without a hidden agenda) that Valentin Tomberg cannot hold a candle-flame to the sun-burst of supersensible knowledge issuing from Rosicrucian initiate and “master of wisdom,” Rudolf Steiner. Tomberg’s feeble attempt with Meditations on the Tarot is pathetically obvious.

To begin with, the meditative imagery that Tomberg chooses for his “spiritual exercises” are  coloured woodcut designs from Jean Dodal’s early eighteenth-century version of the Tarot de Marseille, a deck of cards purportedly invented in the fifteenth century in northern Italy. So why does Tomberg refer to these images as “Hermetic”? According to some occult historians, tarot cards (particularly the major arcana) were originally derived from the ancient Egyptian “Book of Thoth,” and later introduced into Medieval Europe by migratory gypsies. As explained by occultist, Manley P. Hall (1901‒1990) in The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928):

A curious legend relates that after the destruction of the Serapeum in Alexandria, the large body of attendant priests banded themselves together to preserve the secrets of the rites of Serapis. Their descendants (Gypsies) carrying with them the most precious of the volumes saved from the burning library―the Book of Enoch, or Thoth (the Tarot)―became wanderers upon the face of the earth, remaining a people apart with an ancient language and a birthright of magic and mystery.

Since the Egyptian god, Thoth, is also known as “Hermes” or “Hermes Trismegistus” (the “Thrice-great”), tarot cards are therefore considered by some occultists (such as Tomberg) to be “Hermetic.” However, even granting that tarot cards had an Egyptian origin, the images of the Tarot de Marseille are entirely Renaissance European: the clothing, the architecture, the furniture, the objects and the people―which include an emperor, an empress, a pope and a papess (female pope)―all did not exist during the ancient time of Hermes.

Even in such a “Europeanized” form, it’s still rather bizarre that Tomberg would choose meditative images loosely derived from pre-Christian Egypt to use as Catholic “spiritual exercises”! For all the areas of concern that have been previously identified with the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises (in Chapter sub-section 4.3), at least most of the meditative imagery was safely taken from the Gospels.

Besides, there already exists within the Catholic Church a safe and effective developmental path leading to union with Christ-Jesus, and that is the sevenfold path of Mystic-Christianity. This tried and true developmental system has been successfully practiced within the various monastic orders for centuries, and exclusively employs meditative scenes from the life of Christ-Jesus―not from ancient Egypt or Renaissance Europe.

Rather than meditating on “The Magician, The Hanged Man, The Devil, The Lovers, The Chariot, The Moon, The Wheel of Fortune” and fifteen other non-biblical images, Mystic-Christianity focuses on the Gospel of John and seven profound events in the life of Christ-Jesus:

  • the washing of the feet
  • the scourging
  • the crowning with thorns
  • the crucifixion
  • the mystic death
  • the burial and resurrection
  • the ascension

Why anyone―especially devout Catholics―would think that meditating on the images of the tarot is a superior method of Christian development, instead of that used in Mystic-Christianity, is certainly difficult to comprehend.

And what exactly is the goal, the end result of the Tombergian tarot meditations? It certainly can’t be mystical union with Christ-Jesus. If becoming Christ-like requires that the disciple follow in the footsteps of the Master, it’s not likely that our Saviour would be leading us through the labyrinthine symbolic imagery of a pseudo-Egyptian deck of cards so that we can finally reach him.

Therefore, one does not need to read very much of Tomberg’s Meditations on the Tarot to conclude that the entire enterprise is a blind occult alleyway leading to spiritual darkness, rather than to the true light of Christ.

Even aside from the shadowy occultism and the unsavory appeal to magic contained in the Meditations on the Tarot, it’s also astonishing how unabashedly arrogant and openly heretical Tomberg appears with certain of his written pronouncements.   Once again on page 4, Tomberg wrote:

The seven sacraments of the Church are the prismatic colours of the white light of one sole Mystery or Sacrament, known as the Second Birth, which the Master pointed out to Nicodemus in the nocturnal initiation conversation which He had with him. It is this which Christian Hermeticism understands by the Great Initiation.

For over two thousand years the Catholic Church has celebrated seven sacraments that are unquestioningly held  to have been established by Christ-Jesus himself, and lovingly entrusted to his body the Church: (1) baptism, (2) confirmation, (3) Holy Communion (Eucharist), (4) holy matrimony (marriage), (5) holy orders, (6) penance (reconciliation), and (7) anointing of the sick. Tomberg here astoundingly claimed to have discovered an eighth, overarching sacrament―the sacrament of sacraments―which he termed the “sacrament of the second birth,” which he also called the “Great Initiation”!

Other pronouncements that Tomberg made in  Meditations on the Tarot, which attempt to combine his brand of tarot-occultism with Catholicism, are just plain silly. For example, commenting on “The Pope” meditation (or “Letter”) on page 119, Tomberg wrote:

The post of Pope or the Holy See is a formula of divine magic―just as the post of Emperor is―in the history of humanity. It is what is meant by the esoteric term Petrus (Peter) … Petrus is the term in the Old and in the New Testament designating the divine, immovable ordinance or formula of divine magic.

I’m sure the present pope, Francis I, would be shocked and amused to learn that Tomberg and his present-day Catholic supporters regard him as the “grand magician” of the “Church of divine magic.”

De-Mystifying the “Mystical Stigmata” of Judith von Halle

Stigmata

Since 2004, German anthroposophist, Judith von Halle (b.1972), has publicly claimed that she regularly experiences the “bleeding wounds of Christ”―the mystical stigmata―together with inedia (the ability to survive on very little food and water) and clairvoyant visions. Not surprisingly, these claims erupted into immediate sensationalism and controversy within the anthroposophical community; resulting in a deep, substantial and continuing division between influential detractors and wealthy supporters. Von Halle’s most vocal detractor has been prominent Russian anthroposophist, Sergei O. Prokofieff (1955‒2015); while her most public supporter has been well-known German anthroposophist, Peter Tradowsky (b.1934).

In order to understand this heated and often rancorous intellectual polarization, it is necessary to delve deeply into the curious phenomena known as the “mystical stigmata.” Typically, the mystical stigmata are marks, sores or wounds that spontaneously appear on the physical body of a Christian devotee which correspond primarily with the crucifixion piercings of Christ-Jesus in his hands, feet and side. Occasionally these may also include the forehead (where the crown of thorns was placed) and the back (where the scourging was inflicted).

Though St. Paul may have been the first recorded mystical stigmatist, based on the scriptural statement: “I bear on my body the marks [in Greek: ‘stigmata’] of Jesus” (Gal 6:17), St. Francis of Assisi (c.1181‒1226) is most often given the historical credit in 1224. Since that time there have been well over 300 reliable instances of the mystical stigmata being recorded, of which about 60 can be attributed to various saints. Even though many saints have experienced the mystical stigmata, such as St. Catherine of Siena (1347‒1380) and St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887‒1968), the Catholic Church does not consider the mystical stigmata to be an indication of saintliness, or an incontestable instance of a miracle. In fact, the Church is extremely cautious and reserved about reported cases of mystical stigmata; and therefore conducts a thorough investigation into such claims before any official acceptance.

While there have certainly been numerous instances of fraudulent mystical stigmata (such as self-mutilation), so far in authentic instances there has been no conclusive scientific explanation. While hypnotism and auto-suggestion have produced some mild psychosomatic effects, the force of ordinary imagination does not appear strong enough to produce mystical stigmata. Even so, both Church and science are reluctant to attribute non-physical, supernatural causes to mystical stigmata.

So what does esoteric Christianity and the spiritual scientific (anthroposophical) investigations of Rudolf Steiner (1861‒1925) have to say about mystical stigmata? Basically, that these unusual phenomena are indeed the result of an exceptional psychosomatic process. In this case the disciple of Christ-Jesus passionately identifies and vicariously empathizes with the horrific sufferings on the Cross. These excruciating feelings and emotions are so powerfully aroused and held in the astral body that they forcefully impinge on and press into the etheric or life body. Since the etheric body contains the formative forces that determine the shape and life activity of the physical body, wounds will actually corporeally appear. More than mental imagery, then, it is powerful religious emotion that produces the mystical stigmata.

Furthermore, as was the case of St. Francis, certain dedicated followers of Christ-Jesus have been privileged to interweave a copy of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth into their own astral bodies. As explained by Rudolf Steiner in a lecture given on 6 April 1909 (and published in The Principle of Spiritual Economy; 1986):

In the period spanning the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries the time had come when a copy of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth was woven into the astral bodies of certain reincarnated souls. From the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries many human beings, for example Francis of Assisi and Elisabeth of Thüringen, had the imprint of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth woven into them while their own astral bodies—the source of their knowledge—were formed during reincarnation. This enabled these individuals to proclaim the great truths of Christianity in the form of judgments, logical constructs, and scientific wisdom. But, in addition, they were also able to experience the feeling of carrying the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth within themselves.

Your eyes will be opened if you allow yourselves to experience vicariously all the humility, the devotion, and the Christian love that was part of Francis of Assisi. You will then know how to look at him as a person prone to make mistakes—because he possessed his own ego—and as a great individual because he carried a copy of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth within his own astral body. All the humble feelings, the profound mysticism, and the spiritual soul life of Francis of Assisi become comprehensible if we know this one secret of his life.

Since a replica of the astral body of Christ-Jesus preserves the entire emotional record of the crucifixion, the bearer of such additional astral forces can more easily re-experience the Saviour’s anguish and suffering on the cross. Not surprisingly, then, the mystical stigmata first appeared around the time of St. Francis. It is quite logical to conclude, therefore, that many other Christians who have experienced the mystical stigmata over the centuries did so because of an interweaving with a replica of Christ-Jesus’ astral body.

Also noteworthy in regard to the mystical stigmata is that these phenomena have almost exclusively occurred throughout history within the monastic confines of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. This was because the difficult developmental path of Mystic-Christianity requires prayerful solitude and seclusion from worldly concerns. Though this developmental path differs from Rosicrucian-Christianity, it leads nonetheless to an authentic encounter with Christ-Jesus in the superphysical realm.

According to the research of Rudolf Steiner, the mystical stigmata very often spontaneously occur during the intense meditations of the fourth stage of Mystic-Christian initiatory development, known as “The Crucifixion.”  As described in a lecture given on 27 November 1906 entitled “The Gospel of St. John and Ancient Mysteries”:

[As] a fourth experience he had to develop the feeling that his body was no more for him than any other object in the world. He carried the body with him only as an instrument … In this way the mystic experienced in himself the Crucifixion. He saw himself crucified. The outer symbol was that during the meditation stigmata appeared at the places of the wounds of Christ―in the hands, in the feet and in the right side. This is the blood-trial of the Mystic, the fourth stage of initiation.

From the foregoing information, we can clearly see that the mystical stigmata is an initiatory experience which commonly occurs on the developmental path of Mystic-Christianity that has been historically practiced within the monastic orders of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Moreover, it is also associated with the replicated astral body of Christ-Jesus. It is not an experience that is common to or associated with the developmental path of Rosicrucian-Christianity.

Since the anthroposophical spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner promotes the Rosicrucian-Christian path of initiatory development, not the path of Mystic-Christianity, the stigmatist Judith von Halle is an obvious anomaly within the anthroposophical movement. If in fact her claims of mystical stigmata, inedia and visionary experience are genuine, then obviously she has been following a Mystic-Christian path of development, rather than the Rosicrucian-Christian path as encouraged in anthroposophy. Since Mystic-Christian development is a “path of the heart”―of affective development―not a “path of the head”―of intellectual development―(as is practiced in Rosicrucian-Christian development), von Halle’s connection with anthroposophy is clearly an attempt to cognitively understand and explain her own mystical experiences.

Some overly-suspicious anthroposophists regard von Halle as a Catholic “Trojan Horse”; that is, a covert means of introducing Catholic practices―such as mystical stigmata, inedia and personal visions―into the anthroposophical movement. And even though her early education included attending a Jesuit-run high school in Berlin, this is hardly proof that this Jewish stigmatist is some nefarious Catholic infiltrator seeking to subvert anthroposophy.

Nevertheless, as demonstrated by both science and the Catholic Church, the anthroposophical leadership has a right and a duty to be cautious regarding claims of mystical stigmata within its membership. As yet, there has been no objective scientific or medical investigation into von Halle’s claims. Of the anthroposophical leadership in Dornach, the only one who has seriously challenged von Halle’s various claims has been Sergei Prokofieff. While some anthroposophists have considered many of his statements and conclusions to be overly harsh, no doubt von Halle would be just as critically assessed under a Catholic Church investigation. Without an objective investigation into her claims, most anthroposophists are left to accept these claims “on faith,” which runs entirely contrary to the scientific approach of anthroposophy.

As Prokofieff indicated in numerous instances, based solely on von Halle’s published pronouncements, her veracity as a reliable esoteric teacher is seriously called into question. One glaringly-mistaken assertion that von Halle has made is that her “alleged” mystical stigmata is the result of incorporating the “phantom” or “resurrection body” of Christ-Jesus. As Prokofieff correctly pointed out, stigmatic effects have nothing to do with the “phantom” of Christ-Jesus, since this perfected physical form is no longer “wounded” in any way (even from past memory). Moreover, as previously indicated, if any vehicle of Christ-Jesus is associated with stigmata, it is a replica of Christ-Jesus’ astral body, not the phantom.

By associating her “alleged” stigmata with the Saviour’s phantom, von Halle is clearly sending the message that her mystical condition is the result of a special connection with Christ-Jesus; rather than just a predictable effect of Mystic-Christian meditation. This of course lends more weight to her pronouncements by fallaciously “appealing to authority.” Furthermore, is von Halle suggesting that all authentic instances of mystical stigmata are physical effects of the phantom body of Christ-Jesus, or just her own? Even if von Halle’s mystical stigmata proved to be authentic, this does not mean that all her visionary pronouncements and explanations are accurate.

Another glaringly-mistaken assertion that von Halle has made is that Rudolf Steiner is also the Master Serapis. While Rudolf Steiner is certainly one of the twelve bodhisattva-masters of the Great White Lodge, he is definitely not Serapis. Steiner has indicated that Serapis and Skythianos are one and the same exalted individuality, but never once suggested that this individuality was he himself.

While Prokofieff has pointed out numerous other mistaken visionary assertions by von Halle, even the two glaring errors indicated here are sufficient to call into question her esoteric accuracy. This should come as no surprise since von Halle (as did Prokofieff) chose to ignore Rudolf Steiner’s clear esoteric admonition: “I had reached the age of 40, an age before which no one in the sense of a master may openly appear as a teacher of occultism. Everywhere where someone teaches earlier than this there is an error (Correspondence and Documents 1901-1925).” When she began to publicly disseminate her esoteric ideas in book form in 2005, von Halle was only thirty-three. Does she think that this strict esoteric requirement applies only to Rudolf Steiner (a bodhisattva-master), but not to herself because she is somehow more advanced because of mystical stigmata?

While Judith von Halle may be a warm and friendly person (as attested to by others), this does not mean that she is an accurate and reliable esoteric teacher. Even without authenticating her alleged mystical stigmata, von Halle can be reliably assessed on the basis of her published ideas. As biblically expressed: “Beware of false prophets … You will know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:15,16). Unfortunately for discerning anthroposophists, von Halle bears bitter fruit.

The Lesser Guardian: Fearful Spectre, Benign Instructor or Ahrimanic Double?

JesusCastingOut_satanAs many Christian esotericists have discovered, many facts of the supersensible world may appear completely contradictory at first; but after a deeper and more comprehensive investigation, apparent conflicts are entirely reconciled and unified. Such is the case with various descriptions of the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold. Some describe the Guardian as a horrific spectral apparition; some describe the Guardian as a stern but benevolent instructor; while others describe a “double” or “doppelgänger” that is an ahrimanic being who takes subconscious possession of our negative and unredeemed karma. How is it possible to reconcile these three seemingly opposing descriptions?

In Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment (originally written in 1904‒5), Rudolf Steiner states: “the [Lesser] Guardian of the Threshold is an astral figure, revealing itself to the student’s awakened higher sight.” Moreover, it is a “truly terrible spectral being” and “[h]owever horrible the form assumed by the [Lesser] Guardian, it is only the effect of the student’s own past life … [to which the] student’s preparation must aim at enabling him to endure the terrible sight without a trace of timidity.”

It is abundantly clear from Steiner’s research and statements that the Lesser Guardian is initially encountered as a terrifying external apparition. He also states unequivocally that the Christian initiate who intends to consciously enter the superphysical realm in the correct way cannot avoid this fearful encounter with the Lesser Guardian. Nevertheless, the function of the Lesser Guardian is not just to instill gratuitous fear into the unwary initiate, but rather to wisely prevent the unprepared from prematurely and dangerously entering the superphysical realm.

Rudolf Steiner has even remarked that we all unconsciously encounter the Lesser Guardian each time we fall asleep. In fact, it is due to the Guardian’s protective intervention at the threshold of falling asleep that we lose consciousness since we cannot bear the naked sight of our karmically accumulated evil. In a lecture given on 31 August 1913 he stated:

Every night we stand unconsciously before the [Lesser] Guardian. Certainly he is a great benefactor of mankind in not allowing himself to be seen, for very few human beings could endure it … On that borderline the soul has the impulse to see itself as it really is … but this is unbearable. Before the event has become fully conscious, the soul―through its utter loathing―deadens, as it were, its awareness … obliterating its consciousness. (Published in Secrets of the Threshold, 1987)

By encountering the visibly-projected “dark side” or “shadow self” of their subconscious karmic accumulation, sincere Christian initiates are morally impelled to redeem and transform this shameful past-life baggage. By doing so, nascent supersensible perception will not be subconsciously distorted by a veil of invisible evil. It is only after the accumulated evil that comprises the Lesser Guardian’s astral form becomes increasingly redeemed that the hideous features slowly disappear from view and the Guardian begins to assume more and more the role of a benevolent guide and instructor. Should the Lesser Guardian not be redeemed, Steiner records the Guardian’s own stern admonition: “I must become a perfect and glorious being, or fall prey to corruption; and should this occur I would drag thee down with me into a dark and corrupt world” (Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment).

Once the fearful spectral apparition at the threshold has been sufficiently redeemed, the esoteric truth becomes clear that even from the first terrifying encounter, the Lesser Guardian is actually our own higher self veiled in our unredeemed karmic attire. As Rudolf Steiner revealed in the same lecture quoted above (31 August 1913):

There on the threshold our true ego is able to clothe itself in all our weaknesses, all our failings, everything that induces us to cling with our whole being either to the physical sense world or at least to the elemental world. (Published in Secrets of the Threshold, 1987)

Admittedly, there has been some unfortunate anthroposophical confusion regarding the Lesser Guardian by Rudolf Steiner occasionally referring to this figure as the “double” or “doppelgänger,” as in the following instances:

[T]he phenomenon known as the Guardian of the Threshold―the appearance of the lower double of man … It is a form that is sometimes repugnant and terrible, for it is the offspring of his good and bad desires and of his karma—it is their personification in the astral world … This form must be conquered by man before he can find the higher Self. (Lecture 01 June 1906 in Paris called “The Christian Mystery”)

For man’s life in the physical-sensory world, the Doppelgänger’s effect is such that he becomes immediately invisible through the feeling of shame characterized when man approaches the world of soul and spirit. As a result of this, he conceals the entire latter world also. Like a “guardian” he stands there before that world, in order to deny entrance to those who are not truly capable of entering. He may therefore be called the “guardian of the threshold that lies before the world of soul and spirit.” (Outline of Esoteric Science; Chapter 5: Initiation)

The confusion arises because in other instances Steiner has described a different “double” or “doppelgänger” that exists covertly and insidiously within the human psyche well below the level of conscious awareness. Upon investigation, it is quite obvious that this double is not the same as the Lesser Guardian. In describing this other double in a lecture given on 30 August 1913, Rudolf Steiner stated:

When Ahriman has the chance to make these [subconscious] parts of the soul independent and give them human shape, they confront us in the elemental world as our Doppelgänger or double. We have to be aware that everything changes as soon as we leave our physical body and enter the elemental world … In terms of substance, the double is a large part of the etheric body. We retain part of that body, but another part of it separates off and becomes objective. We look at it and see that it is part of ourselves, to which Ahriman has given our own shape. (Published in Secrets of the Threshold, 1987)

From this description we can see that this other double is an etheric formation, whereas the Lesser Guardian appears as an astral apparition. Moreover, this other double has been unlawfully externalized by Ahriman, whereas the Lesser Guardian has been objectified by our higher self. In addition, though the Lesser Guardian initially appears horrific, his motives are helpful and instructive. The Ahrimanic double, however, is a harmful influence and according to Steiner’s research:

Diseases that come spontaneously from within, not those caused by external injuries, do not come from the soul but from this [ahrimanic] being who is the originator of all organic diseases that arise spontaneously from within. (From a lecture given on 16 November 1917 and published in Secret Brotherhoods and the Mystery of the Human Double, 2004)

Rather astoundingly as well, Steiner’s research has revealed that the electrical activity of our nervous system is not a natural incorporation, but rather an Ahrimanic intrusion. As stated in the same lecture as above:

But the scientists are wrong if they believe that the nervous force which provides the foundation for our inner world of pictures and thinking has anything to do with the electrical currents that course along our nerves. Those electrical currents are the forces that are introduced into our being by the [ahrimanic] being I have been describing. They do not belong to our being at all. There are electrical currents in us, but they are of a purely ahrimanic nature. (Ibid)

And just to make the issue of objectified supersensible figures even more complicated, it appears that under certain circumstances Lucifer can also manifest an externalized “shadow-being” by detaching a part of the etheric body and filling it with the unresolved subconscious karma of childhood and adolescence. To this detached illegitimate entity Rudolf Steiner has given the term, “the Spirit of Youth.” In his own words:

We have to say of a great deal of the karma of our youthful years that it cannot be resolved in this incarnation … Unresolved karma of this kind and the looking back at one’s younger self as though at someone else are both inwardly experienced. Lucifer finds entry here; he can take away a substantial part of the etheric body and, as it were, ensoul it with the unresolved karma. It becomes a shadow-being under Lucifer’s influence … the Spirit of [his] Youth. (From a lecture given on 30 August 1913 and published in Secrets of the Threshold, 1987)

In the same way that the Ahrimanic double is the root cause of spontaneous organic disease in the physical body, the Luciferic shadow-being  is “the originator of all neuro-psychological and neurotic diseases, all diseases which are not really diseases at all but merely, as one says, nervous diseases, hysterical diseases and so on” (From a lecture given on 16 November 1917 and published in Secret Brotherhoods and the Mystery of the Human Double, 2004).

From the foregoing we can conclude how important it is for the Christian esotericist to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of the various objectified figures of his or her own nature―both lawful and illegitimate― that are encountered in the superphysical world. Particularly, as Rudolf Steiner has indicated, our physical and psychological health in the future will depend on this spiritual scientific knowledge.

The End of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory

Charles Darwin was wrong eye quote

The Darwinian theory of evolution is proof positive that modern-day scientists may be excellent theorists, clever researchers and brilliant engineers; but on the whole, they’re pathetic philosophers. The fact that evolutionary theory has survived for so long, despite being so obviously flawed as a logical argument is rather astounding.

No critical observer of life on earth would dispute the sense-perceptible fact that life-forms change, develop, modify, transform and alter over time. Life-forms have also progressed from simple to complex; they have unquestionably “evolved.” The fact that life-forms have evolved is not the issue; but rather “how” and “why” did they evolve?

According to Darwinian theory, the “how” is explained by random genetic mutation; and the “why” is explained by natural selection. Random genetic mutation basically means that the evolutionary changes in life-forms are entirely due to blind, chance chemical changes that occur in the complex DNA molecule that is passed on to the hereditary descendants. Random DNA changes that promote or ensure the continued survivability of the life-form species are retained, while DNA changes that decrease survivability naturally die off. This evolutionary process of blind genetic preference is termed, “natural selection.”

Unfortunately, a number of thorny, unanswered questions arise from the concept of natural selection. For one, if life-forms (according to natural science) are only complex arrangements of chemicals (atoms and molecules), why would a blind, insensate and purposeless pile of chemicals strive to perpetuate itself―to survive? Or more specifically, how is it that a DNA molecule is impelled to perpetuate itself, to continue existing? Why is it that other complex organic molecules, such as proteins, aren’t similarly impelled to survive? Where does this evolutionary drive to survive come from since it’s obviously not a recognized chemical force inherent in atomic particles?

Moreover, the term “natural selection” is a scientifically awkward term. Taken literally, it is a bit of an oxymoron. What is implied by the term is that “Nature” is somehow involved in a “selection” or decision-making process regarding life-forms; that Nature decides which life-forms (DNA) will survive and which ones will die off. But if Nature (that is, the natural universe) is simply blind matter and energy, then Nature has no ability, intelligence or reason to select or decide.

The real, philosophical death-blow to Darwinian evolution, however, comes from a statement made by evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins (b.1941):  “propagating DNA … is every living object’s sole reason for living.” (Christmas Lecture Guide; Growing up in the universe; 1991) If there is an evolutionary “reason for living” (albeit a crude, reductionist one), then evolution has a goal, a purpose. Life-forms, then, have order and complexity that have been purposefully established; they aren’t random or chance arrangements. Moreover, since purposeful order and complexity require intelligent activity, the evolutionary changes exhibited by the various life-forms are therefore the results of intelligent causation.

Expressed as a philosophical syllogism:

1.  Purpose can only be established by an intelligent cause
2.  According to Darwinian evolutionary theory, all life-forms have a
singular purpose―to survive and to replicate
3.  Therefore, all life-forms have been established by an intelligent
cause

As long as evolutionary scientists postulate that the purpose of all living-forms is simply to survive and to replicate, then evolutionary change is not random, accidental or purposeless and Darwinian evolutionary theory will remain fatally flawed (illogical).

Furthermore, how can proponents of Darwinian evolution theory realistically believe that the only purpose to their lives is to survive and to propagate their DNA? What a horrid reductionism of the wonders of life and the glories of human civilization. When evolutionary scientists get out of bed in the morning, is it their sole purpose to propagate their DNA? Do they truly believe that this is the sole purpose to their lives and their reason for living? Somehow I doubt it.

In summary, then, Darwinian evolutionary theory is a fatally flawed, illogical concept and in real life, evolutionary supporters are ideological hypocrites. At least in Richard Dawkins’ case, he openly admits to this hypocrisy: “I’m a passionate Darwinian when it comes to science, when it comes to explaining the world; but I’m a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality and politics.” (The Science Show; ABC Radio; 2000)

False Spirits of Anthroposophy

WilliamBlake597

It is important for today’s anthroposophists to fully recognize and appreciate the significant fact that the General Anthroposophical Society (established in 1923/4) is the first publically-registered, esoteric Christian institution in world history. In the past there have certainly been other esoteric Christian associations, such as the Knights of the Holy Grail and the Fraternity of the Rose Cross, but these were super-secretive organizations purposely kept hidden from public knowledge and scrutiny.

As an esoteric Christian institution, it is to be entirely expected that spiritual opposition would be vehemently mounted against the General Anthroposophical Society. From the very beginning of Christianity, powerful forces of spiritual darkness have actively opposed the salvational mission of Christ-Jesus to humanity. In the case of anthroposophy, opposition over the years has included the arson-burning of the Johannes-Bau building in Dornach, the non-lethal poisoning of Rudolf Steiner and the Nazi persecutions of the Second World War. Spiritual opposition, however, can also be much more covert, insidious and invisible.

Throughout mankind’s prehistoric past, the various associations and groupings of people were established entirely by archangelic folk-spirits. During that time, there was no such thing as a “free association of people” who would gather together by their own independent initiative. It was archangelic folk-spirits who determined families, tribes, communities and kingdoms based exclusively on hereditary blood-ties. As human beings increasingly developed a strong, individualized sense of self (ego-awareness), the folk-spirits gradually withdrew their organizing astral influence.

Presently, many human beings enjoy the democratic right of “free association,” the unobstructed ability to form associations based on their own free volition. While this appears to be a significant positive advancement in a broad social sense, in a particular spiritual sense, free association can invoke disastrous and detrimental consequences.

To supersensible perception, when groups of people gather together today (large or small), a vacant astral space opens up that was once occupied by a folk-spirit. As Aristotle first noted: “Nature abhors a vacuum;” that is, where there is a void, natural forces will automatically attempt to fill it. In the case of empty astral space, if it is not permeated with a benevolent spirit-being, it will be correspondingly filled with a malevolent spirit-being.

To those familiar with this superphysical state of affairs, then, when groups of people gather together today, the participants must deliberately invoke a benevolent spirit-being to permeate the meeting space, otherwise a malevolent spirit-being will automatically move in. Even though the folk-spirits of the past no longer determine modern-day associations of people, they will, however, continue to permeate the astral meeting space when voluntarily invited to do so. This is the esoteric significance of Christ-Jesus’ biblical admonition: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20)

The astral dynamics of group associations clearly explains why most business corporations today are thoroughly pathological institutions: greedy, self-centred, power-hungry, profit-driven, destructive and ruthless. Since most corporations have been created with the sole purpose of making money, they are predictably permeated with a malevolent ahrimanic spirit-being.

When today’s anthroposophical groups come together, then, it is crucially important that the meeting space is permeated with a benevolent spirit-being―particularly Christ-Jesus or St. Michael―otherwise a malevolent spirit-being will automatically fill the space. Over the years, by repeatedly forgetting or ignoring the important necessity of invoking Christ-Jesus (“gathering in his name”) in their meeting spaces, anthroposophists have unknowingly enabled one particular nefarious spirit-being to gain firm entry into anthroposophy. That being, not surprisingly, is Lucifer.

Lucifer has used this communal ‘doorway’ to ideologically transform “spiritual science” into a “modern-day Mystery religion.” This of course is a regressive step backwards to the pagan past that is intended to thwart the true Christ-impulse of anthroposophy. Luciferic influencing is serpentinely accomplished primarily within the human psyche (rather than externally in the sense-world). Consequently, unwary anthroposophists who fall prey to luciferic influencing in group gatherings are unconscious and unaware of what is taking place. Unfortunately at this time, Lucifer is so pervasive within the anthroposophical community that he has essentially become for many a “false spirit of anthroposophy,” supplanting the true spirit of anthroposophy―Christ-Jesus.

As modern civilization has become increasingly secular and materialistic in the 21st century, a second false spirit of anthroposophy is becoming more active and thereby more noticeable to wary initiates. Distinct from the Lucifer-spirit who seductively influences the human astral body through false imaginations (picture-images), this second false spirit works through the human “double”―the spectral figure formed from our accumulated evil.

This second false spirit of anthroposophy is, of course, Ahriman (Satan). While Lucifer whispers sweet falsehoods into our astral ears, Ahriman openly speaks lies through our subconscious spectral-double. Two ahrimanic lies that are often heard spoken in anthroposophical gatherings these days are: (1) crossing the threshold and obtaining clairvoyant perception is easily accomplished through meditation, and (2) we all have different views concerning supersensible facts that must be encouraged in group discussion.

To anyone familiar with Rudolf Steiner’s clairvoyant research on the future incarnation of Ahriman, these two familiar lies come as no surprise. In the fourth lecture on “Lucifer and Ahriman,” given on 15 November 1919, Steiner presented a clear warning:

When Ahriman incarnates in the West at the appointed time, he would establish a great occult school for the practice of magic arts of the greatest grandeur, and what otherwise can be acquired only by strenuous effort would be poured over humankind.
… by means of these stupendous magic arts he would be able to make great numbers of human beings into seers—but in such a way that the clairvoyance of each individual would be strictly differentiated. What one person would see, a second and a third would not see. Confusion would prevail and in spite of being made receptive to clairvoyant wisdom, people would inevitably fall into strife on account of the sheer diversity of their visions … Human beings would succumb to Ahriman simply through not having acquired by their own efforts what Ahriman is ready and able to give them. No more evil advice could be given than to say: “Stay just as you are! Ahriman will make all of you clairvoyant if you so desire.”

By convincing unwary anthroposophists to believe that clairvoyant perception is easily achieved and different for everyone, Ahriman can further prepare for his future incarnation in the West. Even more disturbing is the possibility that if enough future anthroposophists succumb to these two lies, Ahriman could actually use the General Anthroposophical Society as his “great occult school.”

Needless to say, since these two “false spirits of anthroposophy” have been clearly identified by wary Christian initiates, the benevolent spirit-beings who guide anthroposophy―including Christ-Jesus, St. Michael, Christian Rosenkreutz, Master Zarathas and Rudolf Steiner―are not about to let Lucifer and Ahriman hijack anthroposophy for their own corrupt and iniquitous ends.