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.
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.