I may have mention here that I am writing a new book, in the form of a diary. The title is “the meditating scholar”, and it concerns what Steiner students call “The Return of Christ in the Ethereal”.
The work of six personalities is discussed … three dead and three living. Rudolf Steiner, Valentin Tomberg, and Franz Bardon, have passed on, yet left us with books to study. They wrote for a European culture, and should be honored with the term: Initiates.
The three living – yet aging – are Americans, Stephen Clarke, Catherine MacCoun, and myself. We are students of the Holy Mother – Earth Mother, i.e. the Platonists of which Steiner warned. Shamans, mystics, magicians, and pagans.
Right now I am mostly writing of what I call: the three magi – Steiner, Tomberg, and Bardon, who in different ways spoke of Christ on the cusp of His Return given that Mystery Wisdom does not put all its eggs in one basket.
People like to read books. If you just study one of these initiates by itself, you will end up with a one-sided understanding of the truth of this Event of the Return.
A bit ago, I wrote of these three magi using an observation of Steiner’s, … that we are more awake in our thinking, more dreamy in our feeling, and more asleep in our willing.
Steiner gifts us with a science of knowing, a matter almost lost to the world, because most Steiner students do not study these two books of his: “A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception”, and – of course – “The Philosophy of Freedom.” He is the archetypal “thinker”, teaching us how to be awake in that realm of the soul.
Steiner’s inspiration led to other treasures, of which the most significant are the works of the Goethean scientists. Right now the world is dying on the cross of scientific materialism – all is matter, there is no spirit. The healing for this is found in Steiner’s science of knowing, and the work of the Goethean scientists.
Our age is the Age in which the principle Way of Knowledge is Science. Those readers of far too many Steiner lecture cycles, become true believers of Steinerism, which like scientific materialism has begat a world filled with people who mistake scientific theory for scientific fact. Among anthroposophists is a similar flaw: to treat the material in the books and lectures as fact.
The science of knowing can help here. In “Theory” Steiner writes of thinking and experience. In “Philosophy” he writes of concept and percept. When we treat as fact what we read in Steiner, we have then a concept without a percept, or thought without experience. This is why in the introductions to both “Theosophy” and “Occult Science – an outline”, the introductory material speaks of “understanding”, not knowledge.
Steiner has pointed to this situation by suggesting we read one book fifty times, instead of fifty books once. If we work with a single work, and try to create the thought stream (train of thoughts) in the own mind, over and over again, we are drawn near to the percept/experience which Steiner had, and from which he wrote and spoke.
Tomberg is a dreamer. In his Russian soul are deeply felt roots, as regards religion. His “Meditations on the Tarot – a journey into Christian Hermeticism” is a remarkable work of written art. In this book he writes deep studies of the 22 major arcana of the Tarot. There is beauty there, should we wish to see it with our own heart’s mind.
Bardon is in some sense the teacher of the hidden, of the secrets of the will. His three volume study of the secrets of the four elements stands alone. At the same time, the books have this magic quality already. In the lore of the true Magus, we may hear that such books contain hidden wisdom, in plain sight.
This has been my experience.
For example, if you look at the first book – Initiation into Hermetics – in a conventional sense, reading one sentence, then another, through a great deal of detail, the mind can have a pile of practices, almost too much to even begin to undertake. We might just put the book down, for it is written to appear harder than it is.
Secrets are being revealed.
This book consists of ten Steps, and each is laid out in such a way that we feel we must work through it like a mason who has to make the bricks, then the wall, after which there just might be a house there.
It is better to see the first seven Steps in the form of a circle, where the last rejoins the first, illuminating it beyond what we may have thought from our first reading. In fact, if someone is going to take up a study of this work, I recommend they read Step I, then Step VII, then Step II, then Step VI, and so forth.
When end up with three pairs of ideas, which has a middle: Step IV. The point of this is to grasp the basic idea of the work to be undertaken.
Most who read this will already have worked at their own spiritual development. Each has spiritual skills won through trials and errors.
This means, for anthroposophists, these skills help ease the study of Tomberg and Bardon. You are not starting from ground zero.
“the meditating scholar” then reads books, not too many, trusting that the Mystery will guide you through these mazes and labyrinths to precisely what you can gain, by being a kind of spiritual generalist. Not a specialist, but something richer.
Most of those who read this, will have already studied many Ways, and all those talents already won, are enriched by reading, and then meditating on a particular phrase or sentence.
There is no hurry, as all of us are right where we need to be. Trust your karma. Trust the Mystery. All are the people for which we have been waiting.