Platonist Confusion

Platonist Confusion

Dancing with a Partner, uncertain about who should lead, and the Mystery of the Primeval Darkness, … and the Light.

Rudolf Steiner is said to have spent a day walking the caves and waters of Dornach, before agreeing that this should be the place. I have read that Marie Steiner said that next morning, when he woke up, she had never seen such an anguished facial expression. What did he dream? The Burning of the Goetheanum? The Christmas Conference? His own death? World War Two?

The failure of all that he had striven to accomplish?

Did he have a meeting with Ahriman?

Without the darkness, there is no light, yet in the Prelude to the John Gospel we read: “And in the darkness the light is shinning, and the darkness never got hold of it.”

My friend, Stephen Clarke, early on in our relationship, suggested to me that in Genesis, the word Dark has two meanings. The first more “primeval”: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; the earth was waste and void; the darkness covered the abyss, and the spirit of God was stirring above the waters.”

then: “God said, “Let there be light: and there was light. God saw that the light was good. God separated the light from the darkness, calling the light Day and the darkness Night. And there was the evening and morning, the first day.”

“… the earth was waste and void; the darkness covered the abyss, and the spirit of God was stirring above the waters.”

That’s the Primeval Darkness. Ordinary darkness comes after the light was created. “God saw the light was good. God separated the light from the darkness.”

The Mayan priests counted “Days”, because that change from Day to Night was the primary cyclic event. The Emerald Tablet has these words (translation by Issac Newton):

“It is true without lying, certain and most true.
That which is below is like that which is above
and that which is above is like that is below
to do the miracles of one only thing
And as all things have been and arose from one by the mediation of one:
so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.

The Sun is its father,
the moon its mother,
the wind hath carried it in its belly,
the earth is its nurse.
The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.

Separate thou the earth from the fire,
the subtle from the gross
sweetly with great industry.
It ascends from the earth to the heaven
and again it descends to the earth
and receives the force of things superior and inferior.
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
and thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.

Its force is above all force.
For it vanquishes every subtle thing and penetrates every solid thing.
So was ye world created.
From this are and do come admirable adaptations
where of the means is here in this.

Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist,
having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world
That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished and ended.”

Shamans study both the Primeval Dark, and the ordinary dark. When we meet the Mother face to face, She is Primeval Darkness, co-creatrix with the Son, who is the Light without the darkness.

This ordinary darkness sings in our appetites, the three chakras below the heart. The corresponding light is the trans-rational seeking of the three chakras above the heart.

Knocking on my mind is the image from the workman at the Goetheanum, of the “masters” gliding in colored veils, in and around the hills and open spaces Dornach. Whispering in my heart is the riddle of whether any of the workers were gypsies, people of the sight, and predicting the future via cards, and crystal balls.

People closer to the wild, the earth, and the passions.


Can we understand the world in which we live, and not seek to understand the darkness as well? Can we “own” the own darkness? Do we need to own this mystery, as it appears right before us every day and night?

When I first started hanging out in a large anthroposophical community, Fair Oaks, CA, where Rudolf Steiner College is, and the Faust Branch manifested, I noticed certain odd phenomena.

Common social rites of Americans, such as the cocktail party, or backyard barbecues, did not happen. Once, at the end of a Faust Branch meeting, where only one European was the leader, and rest were Americans, who had just had remarkable conversations, such that one red-headed man suggested we hold hands. Rene Q, the “leader”, spoke and said, “No, we don’t do that here”.

Then there were the Holy Nights events, were we Americans were taught how to sing German Christmas songs, in German.

When I returned to Fair Oaks, after being absent for 21 years, the same people were running the Branch, and were doing the same things.

I was then with Kelly Sutton, MD, and I helped her give rebirth to Raphael Medicine, which was somewhat in disarray given that Dr. Christa had returned to Holland.

During this process we had a lot of conversations with Americans who had lived in this community for some time. We were frequently told that they were told by Europeans, that they were under the influence of Ahriman, and needed help for that condition.

Then there is the tale of the founding of Rudolf Steiner College. This was in the 21 years before

Carl Stegmann, author of “The Other America”, a retired Christian Community priest, had stood up in a Branch meeting, and spoke with inspiration that the anthroposophical community should build a Center for Anthroposophical Studies, part of which should be basic anthroposophy, but a second and equal part needed to be America Studies. He wanted to inspire Americans toward gaining spiritual insight into their own souls, and the nature of the lands on which we lived.

This task was taken up, money raised, property acquired, and to lead the Anthroposophical Studies Rene Q was hired to for that aspect. Carl and some of his students, would oversee the America Studies aspect.

When the political dust settled, Rudolf Steiner College became a teacher training center, and the American Studies work – at least on the scale hoped for, was dead. Carl did keep going the Emerson Study group, which published in German and English, twelve issues of the magazine: “America in the Threefold World”. I wrote some articles for that publication.

There was planned a celebration of 35 years of the Branch, and in meditation I was experimenting with Goethean thinking applied to the social. So I gathered in my mind what I knew of the tale of the College. At which point I was blessed/cursed with an Imagination.

There were two sides to the image, … simple lines, which had a quality of movement in stillness. The left side was blue, and there was a figure – like Rene – floating above the ground, and around him, yet below, three Americans, who were also pulled up off the ground, while expressing adoration on their faces.

The right side was living red lines, and in this picture there was a half-built brick wall, on which was sitting a Carl-like figure, posed akin to Rodin’s “the thinker”. Lying on the weedy grass, or leaning against some of the incomplete walls, were three Americans, looking a bit puzzled.

I have visited this mystery many times, and the first intuition remains the deepest.

The Europeans came to a place where there were powerful earth forces, streaming up. Their souls lacked the necessary density, to live in that ethereal field, with the consequence that they didn’t know how to teach real soul knowledge to those more bound to the earth, and the darkness.

Nobody was at fault for anything. Americans, when made aware of the staggering volumes of works of Steiner, needed guidance, … until we didn’t.

I could easy tell dozen’s of such stories, about the meetings between people who wore their heart on their sleeves, and folk, who have two words for “you”, one more formal, the other more intimate.

… another time, perhaps …

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