by Stephen Clarke
This essay, which treats the themes of evil, grace, and human magic as they find themselves on the loose in Apocalyptic America, is intended for two different audiences, but seeks a response within the heart of each and every reader.
One group may find within a deepening of their response to the anthroposophical impulse, and also an explicit challenge. For these, it is intended as a contribution towards the esoteric renewal of the Movement.
Others, working without reference to Rudolf Steiner or Anthroposophy, may find unexpected encouragement and support for their endeavors, even as they say “So what, of course!” to much of the internal analysis.
I have been impelled by the principle of “if not now, when; if not here, where?” At the end of the millennium, I can no longer wait for someone else to do sooner and better the job that I have seen waiting to be done.
This work is an introduction to various topics: the relationship between esoteric work and personal psychology, an expose of the dark alliances between personal and planetary shadow, Holy Advent of bright union of Celestial and Chthonic pathways and beings, and the unique contributions of venerable native American perspectives. Each of these will have further development elsewhere, but they need their connections made within a certain sympathetic context. This essay attempts to present that web of context.
For those readers without anthroposophical training, may the inspiration of the spiritual worlds, which certainly meets you directly as much as anyone else, encourage you to consider this cosmopolitan impulse in the spirit in which it is offered. May this encounter be a first sip at the deep well of spiritual wisdom which continues to inspire and refresh this writer. A full critical respect for my own European Tradition (which only passes through Anthroposophy) has overflowed into a desire to understand and respect – in depth and detail – the Traditions which live in other parts of the world, particularly in this American part of the world in which I have now resided for most of my life. Without explicit instruction, the ‘osmosis’ of decades of living in the Southwest of the USA and with the local people here has deeply informed my sensibilities towards what was both initially “other” and also deeply familiar. I am finding that the rhythm and mood of the earth is now more within than without, and it is with this sense of devotion to “all my relations” that I have attempted to write in a sacred way as one who is American. There is certainly a common inspiration which lives in the hearts, minds, and wills of many of us, who are the “Children of the Sixties”: Many Languages; One Voice, Many Colors; One Rainbow.
Insofar as the substantiating Steiner-sourced material on the subject of Sacred Earth may be as unknown to anthroposophists as it may be of interest to those already in intuitive relationship to the Earth Spirit, I have taken every opportunity to present it within these pages. Abandoned may be the easy lyrical flow so prized in high literature by editors – and readers. Nonetheless, in the stages of Imagination – Inspiration – Intuition, it is easily forgotten that the first steps are actually Information and Interest (which usually follows, if the Information is good!).
In drawing on my professional experience as an automobile mechanic and shop owner, it is clear to me that it is always a mistake to indulge in opinion without first searching out the relevant information. It is that information which I have attempted to collate and reference for the interested reader.
I have found that Rudolf Steiner’s spare references to the subject of Sacred Earth have had the most peculiar and provocative effect upon my own Intuitions. I encourage you, the reader, to ponder them with full attention. They are “loaded” with significance, and it is with the intention of providing maximum context for my unusual observations that I include as many of them as I do. These observations will have to stand or fall for the reader on the basis of his or her reflection on their own internal merit – as they have done for myself.
The perspectives offered here are the result of almost thirty years of hermetic study and reflection upon the stream of wisdom offered to us by Rudolf Steiner, and I take full personal responsibility for whatever I have attempted to relate in the pages that follow. I attempt only to describe my personal perceptions and understandings, not to extrapolate from anyone – including Steiner. My intense practical involvement with the both theory (I read Heisenberg and Gamow as a child, and studied physics and chemistry in college) and the nuts and bolts of modern scientific technology – in addition to diagnosing fuel injection problems and building race motors, I have done analyses for most of the radioactive heavy metals in a variety of sample mediums for a private lab – has given me a unique insight into the workings of the sub-physical energies and beings which form the background of much of this piece.
It has been an uncanny experience for me to find suggestive confirmation for my intuitions in the esoteric literature invariably only after they have been arrived at in an iconoclastic fashion. Hopefully, their individual flavor insulates these views from any dogmatic cast. They are the fruit of a lifetime of existential search and struggle. I owe allegiance to no person, cult, or system.
Broad – and specific – support for these reflections have been found in the work of diverse representatives of various traditions. I am glad to refer to them whenever possible, and it is with gladness and respect that I do so, for bridges need to be built against the modern tendency of “divide and conquer.” It seems that all spiritual streams stand in need of mutual cross-fertilization….
The American muses of Nuestra Senora de Gaudaloupe/Tonantzin and White Buffalo Calf Woman – emissaries from the most sublime depths – have given me continual encouragement in this task, and I thank them for their joy, peace, and generosity. The Dark Lady herself encourages me to share this with you. Even if she is choosing to have me play the Fool, it’s fine by me.
May the great beings that watch and pray over all our affairs bend low to bless us with their breath of life!
The genesis for this piece grew out of Catherine MacCoun’s essay Work on What Has Been Spoiled (cited in the text that follows), and there are many links between this piece and hers. I strongly suggest that you, the reader, consider the views offered here in conjunction with hers.
With glad thanks also to Elana Freeland, who has helped immeasurably with her professional editorial skills and encouraging examples of reckless abandon. Fellow travelers are hard to come by in the Wasteland that surrounds the Grail Castle.
Also for Leon Secatero, for whom less is truly more.
Santa Fe, NM
Sept. 29, 1999
Cosmological Origins of Anthroposophical Dysfunction
A couple of items to get the ball rolling:
Rudolf Steiner’s lecture on Electricity, given in Dornach, Switzerland, on the 28th of January 1923, provides an introduction to several themes that will interweave throughout this article. It provides twice the grist for my mill, in illustrating not only what Steiner had to say about subnatural realms – concerning which anthroposophy has a unique capability – but in also how he chose to present what he had to say. As both aspects bear heavily on our accelerating modern confrontations with darkness, I hope that by exploring them we might come to terms with why he emphasized only a portion of that landscape, that portion having become a complete map in the mind of his followers; a full scripture, to the detriment of Steiner’s intent, which was to facilitate effective engagement with the demands of the times.
“…You see, when we speak of electricity, we enter a sphere that presents a different aspect to the imaginative vision than that of the other spheres of Nature. So long as man remained within the light, within the world of sound, that is to say, in the spheres of optics and acoustics, it was not necessary to judge morally that which appeared in a stone, a plant, or an animal, either as colours in the sphere of light, or as sound in the world of tones; it was not necessary to judge these things morally, because he still possessed an echo, weak though it was, of the reality of concepts and ideas. Electricity, however, drove out this echo. And if today we are, on the one hand, unable to discover a reality in the world of moral impulses, we are, on the other hand, even less able to discover a moral essence in that sphere which is now considered to be the most important constituent on Nature.
“Today, if we were to ascribe a real power to moral impulses, if we were to say that they contain a force enabling them to become sensory reality in the same way in which a plant’s seed becomes sensory reality, we would almost be looked upon as fools. And if someone were to come along today and ascribe moral impulses to the forces of Nature, he would be looked at as a complete fool…. When we enter the sphere of electricity, we penetrate simultaneously into a moral sphere. Those who can experience the whole extent of electricity, experience at the same time the moral element in Nature. Modern physicists have conjured and juggled about with electricity in a strange way, without the least suspicion. They imagine the atom as something electric, and through the general state of consciousness of the present time, they forget that whenever they think of an atom as an electric entity, they must ascribe a moral impulse to this atom, indeed, to every atom. At the same time, they must raise it to the rank of a moral entity. But I am not speaking correctly… for, in reality, when we transform an atom into an electron; we do not transform it into a moral, but into an IMMORAL entity. Electricity contains, to be sure, moral impulses, impulses of Nature, but these impulses are IMMORAL; they are instincts of evil, which must be overcome by the higher world.
“The greatest contrast to electricity is LIGHT. If we look upon light as electricity we confuse good and evil. We loose sight of the true conception of evil in the order of Nature, if we do not realize that through the electrification of the atoms we transform them into carriers of evil; we do not only transform them into carriers of death, as explained in my last lecture, but into carriers of evil. When we think of them as atoms, in general, when we imagine matter in the form of atoms, we transform these atoms into carriers of death; but when we electrify matter, Nature is conceived as something evil. For electric atoms are little demons of Evil.
“….The ahrimanic electricity can therefore overwhelm civilized man only so long as he blandly and unconsciously electrifies the atoms and thinks that this is quite harmless. But in so doing, he does not realize that he is imagining Nature as a complex of little demons of Evil.
“When even the light is conceived of electrically, as has been done in a recent modern theory, then the qualities of Evil are attributed to the divinity of Good. It is really terrifying to see to what a great extent the modern contemplation of Nature has unawares become a ‘demonology’; a worship of demons.”
And a second oddity – Sergei Prokoffief, from 1991:
“In connection with this essential aspect of the earthly mission of Rudolf Steiner, the following observations should also be made. One of Rudolf Steiner’s most important indications regarding the work of his pupils after his departure from the physical plane was that under no circumstances was his work to be separated from his name, an end to which, however, the efforts of the ahrimanic powers would be particularly devoted.… We can feel today how the activity of the Ahrimanic powers in this direction is increasing. By the end of the century this tendency will have become even stronger. Then it will be the essential task of anthroposophists rightly to recognize the activities of the opposing forces in any given circumstances. Three points in particular will have to be considered:
1. If in a certain place someone speaks of the etheric (that is, the supersensible) coming of Christ which begins in the twentieth century without mentioning the name of Rudolf Steiner as His first herald.
2. If in a certain place someone adduces certain facts from the content of the Fifth Gospel without mentioning the name of Rudolf Steiner as the first to initiate the revelation of its Mysteries in the present time.
3. If in a certain place someone spreads the teaching regarding reincarnation and karma in their Christian form without mentioning the name of Rudolf Steiner as the one who first brought this teaching in its Christian form to western man”
How are these two statements connected? What do they reveal about the present predicament and opportunity for the Anthroposophical Movement and its members, which is, in one larger sense, the metamorphosis of the scientific method into a method for creative spiritual encounter?
While his comments on electricity cannot be faulted on technical or occult grounds, the overall tone is shrill and unsettled, and in the emphasis on the negative aspects entirely neglecting of the “silver lining” (or even better: the “golden core”, as will be seen to be most appropriate). He entirely neglects the reality of the benevolent chthonic realms which are an absolutely essential foundation to any esoteric discussion of the complex subject of the inner constitution of the planetary organism and our relationship to it. Perhaps he cannot easily integrate them into his cosmology because he does not also easily acknowledge the full value of their microcosmic counterparts: the infamous “lower chakras.” Neglect of the latter has social disfunction and erratic forms of authoritarianism as its fallout. The demeanor embodied in the phenomenon of “followers” merely multiplies the problem.
In spite of his other fine accomplishments, the quote from Sergei Prokoffief encapsulates perfectly the reactionary mindset of “holding fast” to authority and personality as opposed to “going forward” – which in the context of this essay, means “going down”. Prokoffief’s partial and aggressively intellectual analysis of the Sophia-being demonstrates the sterile theological counterpart of this symptomatic posture. A consistent bit of fallout is his embarrassingly nasty and reactive attack on the work and personality of Valentine Tomberg and Robert Powell. A point-by-point examination of Prokoffief’s Sophiology is outside the scope of this article, but the alternate perspective offered here is a positive response of sorts.
For Steinerites, this observation by John Barnwell is apt (although, it must be
emphasized, it is taken from a completely different context):
“A major shortcoming of the Intellectual-Soul is its intolerance of unconformity in the realm of ideas.”
We should also remember that: “The map is not the territory.”
Scrupulous as Steiner is, his high regard for objective truth guards him from being wrong on matters of fact, and there is always evidence of his broad experience which leavens and inspires, and demands of him from time to time, especially in his final years, to make significant parting references to the broad hints that he offered earlier on. This work is an attempt to pick up where he left off.
The remarks by Rudolf Steiner which are the usual starting point for any in-house discussion of the subject of the “nine subterranean levels of evil” and their macrocosmic context are to be found in a lecture dating from 1906. The details of that presentation are not necessary for this present treatment, but present many dilemmas for one wishing to investigate further. Only spare and partial references were made to the subject by him afterwards. Suffice it to say that his view of the spiritual nature of the earth was not of the “fuzzy bunny” sort; that he saw very profound problems within the history and make-up of the planetary body, ones which I am proposing are closely parallel to the situation of the “Double”, “Shadow”, or “Id” in the human psychology.
While irrefutable on point of fact – and my personal professional and inner experiences confirm him in all details – Steiner yields to the world-view axiom that places “hell” “below”. This is a dangerously simplistic paradigm that is totally false in most of its casual, and usual, implications.
These implications are common, even among the most esoterically educated, and must be decisively refuted if Christ is to work freely in this age.
“Below” is usually “under the rug”, and it is just there, under the rug, that our consciousness must begin to go.
To present a contrast in tone to Steiner’s 1923 comments on electricity, presented initially, here are a few quotes from his earlier (pre-WW I) period:
“No activity serves humanity that does not spring from inner peace. Every activity that stems from an inwardly dissatisfied soul disturbs the healthy human development wherever it makes its appearance.” 1907.
“Only when one has overcome oneself – that is, when one has progressed beyond refinement of one’s vibrations – will peace come about. Then, however, one will not possess more acute vibrations, but rather, simpler ones.” 1906.
“The Masters are not a rampart against evil, but the leaders in absorbing evil. We should not cast out evil, but just take it up and use it in the service of the good. The rage of the lion remains evil only as long as it is used by the lion in an egoistic fashion; if some conqueror could use the rage of the lion to accomplish social service, then it would be beneficial. Therefore, what is evil can be recognized as un-real. There is no evil. Evil is only a misplaced good. Only when one recognizes this fact is spiritual alchemy possible.” 1906.
“In the blood that flowed for humankind at Golgotha we have a symbol of “hatelessness,” through which we are able to transform every feeling of hate into love and offer it at the altar of the creative powers. The magical breath that emanates from brings about the transformation of hate and fear, which are brothers to one another just as Lucifer and the ahrimanic-mephistophelean powers are also brothers to one another.” 1909.
Noticing the change in tone and attitude between the later and the earlier selections (more contrasting selections will be offered in the course of this essay), it may appear that there was an alteration – or even struggle – in the mind of Rudolf Steiner over the subject of evil or about the limits or the manner of its discussion which was not completely resolved by the time of his untimely death. This goes beyond the generous interpretation of “multiple perspectives”, which Steiner was an undisputed master at, to the consternation of many sympathetically inclined students. It raises questions of cosmology as a whole, and one’s basic attitude to the intractable dilemmas of life, whether mundane or esoteric, and the all-important correspondence between them as mediated by the function of the chakras. This latter element cannot be addressed directly within the scope of this article. It is accurate to say, however, that in general the physiology of the anthroposophical microcosm does indeed give short shrift to precisely those elements in our psychology – and in our daily lives – where the “rubber meets the road.”
“In the way of initiation of our fifth epoch [into the experience of evil], however, we become acquainted with the true good in the correspondence of the microcosm to the macrocosm, and evil as the deviation from this correspondence in either direction. Since the way of initiation appropriate to a particular epoch is always bound up with the powers that epoch must develop in connection with the seven Life-Secrets, Anthroposophy must, therefore, necessarily become the science of correspondence – or even the non-correspondence of microcosm to macrocosm. The question regarding good and evil, according to that, must be solved today by means of a knowledge of the proper correspondence.”
It is precisely these correspondences which will be the continuing theme here.
Two 1997 essays that begin the long overdue work of deconstructing the fabulous ideal that minimizes Rudolf Steiner’s outstanding human accomplishments are: Catherine MacCoun’s remarkable essay Work On What Has Been Spoiled (the selection from S. Prokoffief gains much added significance when considered in conjunction with her lucid and penetrating observations), while the progression of Steiner’s general deportment over time and the revealing nuances of his language have been investigated by Robert Lathe and Nancy Whittaker in their essay:
– Catherine MacCoun: Work On What Has Been Spoiled.
– Robert Lathe and Nancy Whittaker: Kraft, the Passive Voice and the Three
The work of Robert Powell – groundbreaking spiritual worker on behalf of the Sophianic Impulse – is fully respected, but this writer has taken it upon himself to arrive at his own immediate experience of what is involved, so that he can speak out of his own knowledge and perspective. In this, he has been able to confirm that Robert Powell’s statements and point of view regarding the Advent of the Divine Feminine within the context of the Etheric Return of Christ at the present time are most accurate and to the point:
– Robert Powell: Chronicle of the Living Christ. Anthroposophic Press, 1997.
: The Most Holy Trinosophia. Golden Stone Press, 1990.
: Sub-Nature and the Second Coming. Shoreline No. 4, 1991,
and as reprinted and revised in The Christ Mystery, Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1999.
and at http://www.vermontel.com/~vtsophia/
in the latter Powell treats the “nine levels of evil” in a completely different way which takes them from the realm of fear into the realm of understanding and the possibility of creative relationship.
I hope it will become apparent to the reader that the problems involved in unraveling the knots in the structure of the Society and in the disfunction of its mission are multiple and overlapping, and that Steiner’s precedent-setting style of handling certain difficult human elements in his retinue had deep roots in his implicit cosmology, in both its micro- and macro-cosmic aspects. Although much of this may have been a “living into” the social milieu of which he was apart, if not part and parcel of his personal psychology, it has become an operating style of the Society which represents the Movement to the world.
The alternative to the proposition that Steiner was human is that he had no unconscious elements in his personal make-up; that he would stand unchanged, even at the end of Vulcan-evolution, just as he stands now in the minds of many of his “devoted and sincere” followers: as a fully completed human being, capable of no partiality, foibles, flaws, mistakes, or defects, never at risk in making time-constrained decisions with incomplete information, and always in infallible control of the all-too volatile situations which sprung up at every hand. In short, as one not very human at all – actually an exact Ahrimanic impersonation – one whose only successful functions are that of intimidating the devotee and repelling the savvy. This implicit assumption has taken an obvious toll on the ability of the Society to act as a representative of contemporary spiritual influence, and this author emphatically rejects that assumption on both theoretical and practical grounds.
The Master speaks:
“And paradoxical as it might seem, we can say that to the occult master his teaching is a matter of little consequence; of least consequence is this teaching – which after all is circumscribed by the limits of his talents and temperament…. Therefore, an occult teacher will never impose upon his age any aspect of his knowledge if he knows that it is unsuitable for this age and might be suitable only for another age.”
“The wise men of the Earth are not yet Bodhisattvas. Even for such a one there always remains things to which he is still unable to orient himself.”
The consequences of such unresolved contradictions are uncomfortable for who follow as followers, as we can see in two examples:
Not so deft as Steiner in attempting an exegesis of strange occult regions is Adolf Arenson in 1914, who, without the benefit of real insight in attempting to elucidate the nature of the subsensible realms by merely parroting the Initiate’s remarks, demonstrates only a Luciferic Theosophical paranoia. Faring only slightly better in 1982 is Friedrich Glasl, who does recount the received catechism accurately enough, but only in juxtaposing it to the social question, a standoff that only rigidifies the stalemate between theory and reality. Most Steiner-informed mentions of this subject fall into one or the other category.
– The Interior of the Earth – as based upon the investigations of
Rudolf Steiner, Adolf Arenson. Lecture of 1914. The Rudolf Steiner
Publishing Co., and Anthroposophic Press, 1944.
– Social Conflicts and the Influence of Sub-Natural Forces, Friedrich Glasl.
Anthroposophical Review, Vol. 4, No, 3, 1982.
Loss of naivete and simplicity of heart has been no salvation for the hyper-educated, for the reactive impulse of the theoretician, when confronted by the reality of the modern Adversary, is to fly up into Luciferic abstraction and denial, which is no longer even a short-term defensive tactic. Even two thousand years ago, the method of “circling the wagons” practiced by the fully adept Essenes had outlived its usefulness. Placing the Nine Beatitudes over against the Nine Layers of Subterranean Evil (as Arenson and Glasl do) is all well and good on paper, but all that is as salt tossed over the shoulder unless the deed can be done out of the gut. Where does the power come from with which fine recommendations can be invested? How does desire become effective? What was missing in the prescription? Steiner himself gives the answer to this, and we will return to his challenge after we have circled through the substance of this investigation, which now plunges into a missing perspective.
Having sketched a preliminary portrayal of a critical esoteric stumbling block: the widespread reluctance in the Anthroposophical milieu to contemplate with affection, even in the abstract, what lies beneath our very feet (and within the gut), it is then necessary to ask:
“What of the of pre-technological cultures still remaining throughout the world who revere the Mother as plainly revealed through Her living bounty? Are they all hopelessly deluded, and hence deserving of their advancing doom, as some would almost have it? Or are the representatives of spiritual science, though recognizing “in the full light of the consciousness soul” the panoply of forces arrayed against the human spirit, hampered by their vast conceptual knowledge of the might of the Adversary and hypnotized into moral paralysis? (Here insert Imagination of deer trapped in headlights or bird hypnotized by snake.) Are they then even worse off than the “ignorant savages” (read here “non-European” or “not like us”) whom they dismiss?”
I propose that the core inadequacy in the conceptual – and perceptual – system of Anthroposophy (and it is only symptomatic of most “white” religious thinking) is a more-or-less complete lack of inclusion of the more humble elements which have always been essential to earth-based traditional spiritual pathways. Under various names, such as Earth Mother, Divine Feminine, UnderWorld, Deep Ancestors, Chthonic Mysteries, and the like, our attention is directed in the general direction of God-from-Below.
In most typical European (not “Western” – which is the Americas – can we please change our language on this???) religious or spiritual formats, “Up” is good, and “Down” is bad. Heaven is above and hell is below. What could be simpler than that?
Time out and cut to some mental weed pulling:
The mathematician Godel proved that in any logical system (he worked in mathematics, but the example applies universally) there are axioms which cannot be proved, but only assumed. It is from these axioms that all subsequent corollaries are developed. (First-generation corollaries are usually termed “laws of nature.”) Axioms consciously assumed can be altered at whim to create new systems. For example, in geometry, if one postulates non-flat surfaces, like one does in hyperbolic and spherical geometry, the included angles of a triangle no longer must add up to 180 degrees, as they always do in traditional geometry. Such an option never would have occurred to a Euclid, who instinctively assumed geometry on a flat plane, and also assumed that that setup would accurately map the real world. But whose real world?
There is no ‘real world’ for a logical system; the only standard of a logical system is that of internal consistency.
Euclid’s first assumption was inescapably arbitrary; the second was flat wrong. Is our world, as actually experienced, ever perfectly flat? Actually, it’s usually uneven and lumpy. But change your operating assumptions, and you change your world. For example, mariners and airline pilots cannot use Euclidean geometry in plotting courses and calculating fuel consumption, for the surface of the earth is quite round over large distances. Hence the Great Circle routes which appear odd when plotted on flat maps!
Assumptions consciously made can be a handy tool. They can simplify and highlight certain chosen aspects of a situation, and being only conjecturally relateable to the real world, they acknowledge the omnipresent entropy; i.e.: friction, between the clean ideal of the intellect and the messy reality of the lived-in world. On the other hand, unconscious assumptions are always trouble, especially when examination of them is prohibited by taboo, custom, habit, or smug, if only unwitting, ignorance. In modern psychological parlance, we call this tendency avoidance and denial when it gets out of hand, as it usually does, sooner or later. Good luck to anyone who wants to play skunk-at-the-garden-party and upset the consensual applecart, especially when, if you’re “wrong” (read original) and offend the wrong people, you might get burnt at the stake.
Thank God that kind of thing is at least temporarily out of fashion, but a spiritual current can be dead long before it resorts to such extreme measures to keep the faithful in line, and subtle peer-group pressure, charismatic punditry by authorities or celebrities combined with the momentum of an established orthodoxy is a potent combination for the faint at heart or the novice who is working for perhaps the first time at the limits of the known. That demands are still being made for offenders to “recant” is self-discrediting and should require no rebuttal. But it does.
Short version of the above: “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
What would an example of an original, non-paranoid, anthroposophically based, earth-honoring belief system look like?
Light and Darkness, the Mother and the Abyss
Light is usually taken as the ultimate token of the divine. This section examines what develops if this axiom is challenged.
Regarding our conceptions of the divine, it must be admitted that any reference to that divine at the same time voids itself due to the hopelessly inferior capability of language. Candor insists that an attempt such as follows can only be an exercise in humility and metaphysical slapstick. Nonetheless, an examination of the analogies and metaphors used in our descriptions of the divine can yield some interesting insights into the mechanism of our thinking, and can even render our concepts more useful: by making them specific and conditional – not universal – in their application.
Uncovering our hidden assumptions can prevent us from taking them as fixed axioms (that is: dogmas), all the more insidious and tyrannical for being unconscious.
The present upsurge of ‘divine feminine’ consciousness requires a reevaluation of some of our cherished stylizations of the spiritual so that we do not put ‘new wine in old vessels’, or round pegs in square holes. On a deeper level, such an examination can help prevent the encouragement of old and new egregors in the developing body of “get-down” spirituality.
“Let there be light!” – the primal utterance, the purest manifestation. In most common traditions, light signifies our home, our origin, the unsullied positive influence of the Creator extending into his creation. And why not? There is nothing to be said against light. The experience of light is, at all times and places, an unqualified positive experience. Isn’t it?
In spite of the number of directions in which reflection on this question can stray, one fact is especially obvious upon only a little reflection: Light is inextricably bound up with darkness.
Before “Let there be Light” there was no light. Does this mean that before the appearance of light there was absolutely nothing at all (the null set)? That cannot be, even if subtle and complicated opinions about the nature of time and ‘before’ are ventured, for the Great Mystery (Godhead) itself was then present in its undivided fullness. To conjecture what this might have been like is certainly a trap for the unwary. Even to try and name it is perilous and futile, as the mystics of all ages and places caution. To veer so closely to our limits here is to have one foot firmly on the banana peel, yet humor me in my musings….
Before there was light, must there then have been only darkness? Not necessarily, for darkness may have come into being at the same time as light. Likewise, it may also be a mistake to assume that this darkness is the same as the place of origin of the evil that we encounter in the world. Perhaps it arises from turbulence in the dynamism between the Light and the Dark. We will return to this theme later. But whether or not Darkness preceded Light at the ‘first moment’ or their initial manifestation was coincident, it is the case that in his history of our local reality, Rudolf Steiner decisively places the warmth-darkness of the Saturn-age before the light-filled era of the Sun-age. So even if it is then only conditionally true that Light appears out of darkness, perhaps it is more true to say that Light arises out of Darkness, Darkness being a full and entire state of being antecedent to Light. Consider that Darkness gives birth to Light, is even displaced by it, but is not replaced by it. Does anything superior ever arise out of what is inferior? Consider all the myriad statements of Steiner regarding the subtle fallacy of materialistic evolution; of the preposterousness of the notion that without a higher organizing principle, lower elements do not self-organize.
These perspectives swing about on different axes depending on whether we view darkness as signifying obstructive ignorance or deep wisdom…. That the same term in English applies to both is a severe semantic problem, one that has conditioned all our perspectives on the matter, from theology to race-relations, and is a disastrous limit in all our translations and understandings from other traditions, especially from ones which do not share this particular liability.
Such ruminations are reinforced by microcosmic experience in meditation: upon closing the eyes, random speckles of light are seen – neuron-noise – but against a dark background. Deeper, blackness. Deeper still, swirls of light-fields – within a dark ground. Deeper still, pure profound illumination. Deeper still, the Abyss of the False Darkness; active objective Lie, then the moral light that leads through it. Then: the deep comforting Night, luminous with warmth, lit by alight all its own. Associations now seen to be arbitrary drop away, and the Beings who source Light and Darkness entwine in a sublime drama. Evil? No, not here, but yes, back in the intermediate level where other beings who, as we, have rather lost their way, attempt to capitalize on the discontinuities which swirl between ourselves and our Benefactors. This last theme is also one to which we will return.
In the physical world from where most of our analogies and metaphors are drawn, light is considered as extinguishing, replacing, and vanquishing darkness; the situation there is generally taken for granted as ‘either/or’. It suits our proclivities for struggle and polarity: “The War of Light against Darkness”, and all that. Apocalyptically, a final Armageddon of some sort is usually proposed, violent in the extreme, with Goodly Light vanquishing the Darkness of Evil and a final Father-god permanently installed upon his throne, the lid firmly screwed down upon the rotting and burning sinners in Hell. (Hell, of course, is always rendered much more imaginatively than is Heaven, torment being more interesting than bliss to the mind still operating according to pre-Threshold habits, e.g.; “the devil always gets the best lines”!) The rest of us get to relax for once, which involves either praising God or doing nothing: ultimate cosmic couch-potato-ism!
A small amount of reflection reveals certain inadequacies in the polarity of this paradigm. To select only a small but revealing inconsistency, in a world ruled by this sort of catabolic friction, effort would be required to generate and maintain the light, with darkness returning without effort when the light exhausts itself. The Second Law of Thermodynamics – which rules this realm by the axiomization of entropy – even says: “Don’t bet on light, darkness will win”; one can only stick one’s thumb in the dike and stall for time by robbing other local micro-environments of their energy-caches. This is, in essence, the philosophy of the Don Juan of Carlos Casteneda’s popular “teachings”; a desperate if brave futility.
I think we have here a case of “the materialization of the concept”; of “misplaced concreteness” (a la A. N. Whitehead) which the use of the polarity paradigm fosters, one which may have had its day in the past but which is in our time rapidly becoming threadbare and retrograde. As we try and outgrow our obviously outmoded ways of thinking in the attempt to be equal to the spiritual realities descending and arising all about us, our estimation of the relationship between light and darkness is yielding.
I suggest that: In the spiritual world, Light and Darkness co-exist, not in opposed polarity, but in spiraling and interpenetrating complementarity. In this perspective, Darkness births and carries Light; loves it, fosters it, and gives it all the room to move that a Mother could possible give her child. Light, in turn, activates the potentials of Darkness’ pure Chaos and elicits various potentials into manifestation. In the realm of the Divine, there is no struggle, but cooperation and glad surrender. Some of which we also could see as a prime operating principle in the natural world and in our own bodies, if we but had the idea for it.
Consider: Darkness does not lord it over Light, but submits and surrenders to it – not cowering either, but sacrificing itself to it so that light might have its play. But Light can forget and Darkness will not assert itself, for Darkness must be wooed and welcomed if She is to appear. If denied, it is not Her, but the False Darkness of opacity, objectified ignorance, fear, and outright terror and panic that rises up out of the False Abyss created by Her exile.
Here we have a clue to the identity and origin of at least many of the so-called “UFOs” and their misnamed “aliens” or “ETs.” Not from a materialized heaven, but from a devolved psychic-spiritual subnatural eighth sphere intermediate in the chthonic realm do they emerge. Their uncanny ability to infiltrate the psyches of normal everyday people is not due to some ancient genetic commonality via ‘ancient astronauts’, but from the overlapping of their metastasizing dysfunctional macrocosmic nature with our individual and out-of-control microcosmic realities of double, shadow, and subconscious – a mutual coincidence of intermediate levels of “lower” consciousness. Hence the nightmare quality of the encounters and the psychologically gutted Stockholm Syndrome aspect of the abductee-devotee. A full examination of the subject is not possible here.
To place the previous possibly unsettling comments in a broader context: A possible reason for both a healthy caution and a reactive fear towards the Underworld in general on the part of those beginning their inner work and for those initiating full encounters with unresolved opportunities there: they know in their own deep inner psyche that this encounter and the self-examination necessary to separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’ will invoke soul- and spirit-threatening elements that cannot be turned away from once engaged. Fear is an appropriate, if only initial reaction to danger!
Once beyond the ‘contemplating the navel’ stage of turning about, real and objective ‘other’ realities and beings are encountered, not all with our best welfare at heart, or with agendas of their own which may be at cross-purposes to ours. (Speaking of which: what is our agenda? “Nature abhors a vacuum”).
It is a disconcerting discontinuity in consciousness to take that tumble down the rabbit-hole, as our playmate Alice found out! It is terrifying to consider that the encounter with Ahriman must be made from the vantage point of one’s own Double! It is triply terrifying to actually do it.
In a slightly different context, but no less pertinent:
“Furthermore, when through his esoteric development man has gradually succeeded in making his astral body free and independent of the other members of human nature, it is necessary that he should arm and protect himself first of all against the possible influences of other astral bodies. For when the astral body becomes free, it is no longer protected by the physical and etheric bodies which are a strong citadel for the astral body. It is free, it becomes permeable and the forces in the other astral bodies could easily work into it. Astral bodies stronger than itself can gain influence over it, unless it can arm itself with its own forces. It would be disastrous if someone were to be able to freely dispose of his astral body; and yet, in relation to the condition of his astral body, were to remain as innocent as Parzival was initially. That will not do…”
For whatever reason, the Celestial (i.e.: “light”) and Chthonic (i.e.: “dark”) poles have separated right smack-dab in the locale of our own world, and, on a smaller scale, within the personal heart of each individual. This writer finds the Lurianic hypothesis of creation (the act of the self-absenting of God from a portion of his interior being as constituting the act of ‘creation’, which actually then amounts to a sort of “decreation”) quite relevant philosophically, but that is neither here nor there for the time being. We do mistake the pockets of noise and turbulence (micro-abysses no matter how large) present in the dynamic field of the partial created realities for the Dark Pole itself and fear the former and forget the reality of the latter but project our fear into it (Her!) and misname Shamballa-Eden Hell, and yes, what upsurges from the abysses is terrifying, but that is only the product of an intermediate opacity, not of the true Night.
The true Darkness is the Womb of the World, the one we all desire return to, and righteously and naturally so, for the Womb is a reality past the fractal realities of manifest creation and as holy as the place from which is uttered the Word. At the same time it is the source of the immediacy of physical reality: “mother love.” But: it is the spiritually active human being that must be the one to do the reconciling and bridging.
It won’t happen by itself!
This is why “humanity is the religion of the gods”, as the initiate R. Steiner so pithily put it, and why work on oneself is not necessarily the narcissistic bourgeois idling as contended by the so-called practical sorts.
Are we responsible for the breach, through some Fall in the past? Who really knows…? What we should know is that we are responsible to the creation and its distress, for we have gotten far more from it than we could ever hope to give back. Who else is there? The beings of the spiritual worlds, supersensible above and below, wait to receive our participation; we seem to hold some sort of key….
To reiterate: the Abyss is not within or identical to the “Heart of Darkness”, but is only where the Darkness and Light have separated. This is where the deformities breed, and where they are also healed, as the substance of the reality of the intertwined Light and Darkness is carried into that void via the Grail of the individual human heart which has learned that the True Darkness of the Night of the Mother reveals the obverse side of the Father. This provides a key as how to perform the Manichean deeds of the conversion of evil to good that are so required nowadays, a task which finds its exemplar in the Mexican-American initiate Vitzliputzli, who, as the Paladin of Christ, assisted in the most decisive manner His passage from Father Home to Mother Tomb-Womb.
The “new form of evil” predicted by Steiner to appear at the end of the century has arrived, as mentioned earlier, and it must be mentioned in the same breath that the moral technique required to meet it in full consciousness requires the sort of understanding of both the true role and location of beings and energies known as goddess, Sophianic, or divine-feminine and their relationship to those of the rapidly devolving Luciferic-Ahrimanic subnatural classes. A technical discussion of this, involving a sorting out of the deeper nature of electricity and the species-double, is dealt with elsewhere, as mentioned earlier.
Others attempts at accessing this perception for which this writer has the highest regard are those appearing in the work of Henry Corbin, R. J. Stewart, the under-appreciated Masters of American popular music, as fractally revealed in the currents of Rock & Roll, progressive jazz and deep blues, and the humble devotions of the millions and millions of simple, pious folk throughout the world who pray without theology for a better world and salvation from their woes in a world gone berserk. For these latter in the Americas, it is the still very mysterious beings who stand behind the figures of La Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe-Tepayec and White Buffalo Calf Women who listen. All these mighty influences need to be folded into the batter of a modern esotericism.
It is spiritual slander and a mistake of the highest (lowest?) order to impute the fear that rises from the breach/abyss to the Night of the Mother, for it is She – and Her La Family – who are being empowered by the Deed of Christ in and as His “Second Coming.” For the last two thousand years He has been working within the Earth (even though as a Celestial being his source of being and power is ultimately beyond the earth) on behalf of his Sophianic consort.
How did He come last time? As a servant and helper to humanity, not as ‘The Lord’ to rule and dispense punishment. Does He ever appear as how He could appear, as how He alone has every right to appear? Now He comes in even less overt manifestation: within and for the activity of the Mother; bridging that gap referred to, but only in potential, for it is humanity that must bridge it in actuality, first in each heart, and later, as is prayed for, in social culture and natural reality. For this, a different mode of perception, a true ‘turning about’ is required. Even Anthroposophy itself, the one ‘fixed point’ for its “true believers”, must recognize its complement, appearing in the guise of “other”, for even though it is capable of and has elements in it congenial to and allowing this new form of understanding, it is still bears its traces as an impulse from ‘above’, whereas this new impulse of the true West is from below. Not contradictory, but complementary. Initially different, but in union: larger.
And to continue the example of guerilla theology already begun: The Gospel of St. John, in referring to the False Darkness, says: “and the darkness overcame it not.” That is certainly nothing to complain about, but if it was referring to the deeper aspect out of a modern Grail consciousness, it might say: “and the Darkness carried it forth”, or: “and the Darkness received it unto itself.” I only play with it to elicit a possible encrypted subtext.
Another example: The deep-without bottom verse:
In purest outpoured Light
Shimmers the Godhead of the world
In purest Love for all that lives
Outpours the god-hood of my soul
I rest within the Godhead of the world
There will I find myself
Within the Godhead of the world.
Transforms into the following under a different Light:
In deepest abiding Night
Breathes the Ground of all Worlds
In deepest enfolding love
Receives my soul all who seek shelter
I retire within the Godwomb of the World
There will I find my family
Within the wellsprings of the World.
A note on language: The realities denoted by ‘supersensible’ and by ‘subsensible’ are not opposed, nor even complementary in the sense used previously. Whether or not supersensible perception operates in different ways in apprehending celestial or chthonic realities, those realities are fully real, while the terms subsensible or subnatural denote, broadly, the kind of reality that applies to hallucinations. These latter terms are very specific in denoting those partial realities arising from the frictional, catabolic, point-centered forces recognized as the only real ones by modern technologically-oriented science, i.e.; electricity, magnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and gravity. All these latter share the characteristic that they operate under the rule of entropy, whereas supersensible energies do not. Real in their own realm underneath matter, they are severely dislocated when appearing in our surface-world dimensions. Supersensible realities are life-sustaining; subsensible “realities” are life-sucking. Hence the crucial distinction between “underworld” and “chthonic” on the one hand and “subnatural” on the other: the latter is only a small subset – a rock in the sock – of the former. This intermediate layer is the one that must be harmonized in order to allow the emergence of the exiled benevolent beings from the true deep.
Behind the shadow of the Shadow is what must be elicited.
Why did Steiner not go this far? Should he not do everything for us and light and pave the way so that we only need to follow? Yet we know that Steiner emphasized to an unprecedented degree the fact that modern spiritual work is above all creative work.
I say that the time for leaders and followers is over. Peers, friends, compatriots, lovers: the ends do not justify the means: the means create the ends. Start out where you want to end up, and hold out for what you really want.
Anybody who did 1% of what Rudolf Steiner did would have a karmic bank account to last just about forever. He did it his way, and did a great job. No complaints. Another person would have done it differently; of course. Our only standard however, should be our own knowledge of what we are capable of ourselves. That Steiner did what he did as well as he did should be a constant encouragement for others who also feel the call to do something for ensuring the survival of human culture and the planet itself, it should not be an unrepeatable paradigm that amounts to a millstone around the necks of meek supplicants.
From the same volume of Esoteric School material referred to earlier:
“The only condition attached to this, to which everyone is obliged individually, is activity of soul and spirit…. Indeed, this is so to such an extent that civilization must cease altogether unless every single person is prepared to bring to it a new impulse through a renewed knowledge of the spirit….
“…Anthroposophy can be explained out of social necessity as an instrument to produce new spiritual revelations….”
So true! It must be emphasized that a “new spiritual revelation” is exactly what cannot be obtained by mere extrapolation from the already-known.
“All the powers in the world, physical as well as spiritual, are present at this stage of evolution for the purpose of enabling humankind, as free, self-conscious, thinking, independent beings, to fulfill their task here on earth.”
“During the course of our fifth Great – that is, post-Atlantean – Epoch, a very important step will be made for the whole of evolution – specifically, that the leaders of humanity, or Manus, will arise from the ranks of humankind itself.
“…[they will be those] who were initiated in such a way that they could, as it were, go their own independent way.
“During this epoch, we will have initiates who are certainly in contact with higher beings, but who have not received their comprehensive instructions worked out in such detail. The initiates of the fifth Great Epoch will be given more and more freedom as regards the details…. They will receive the impulses in such a way that they will have to work from their own initiative.”
What could be clearer? It almost goes without saying that everyone’s work is infinitely incomplete, and that this planet earth is the school of hard knocks, where we all learn by doing, which means, in effect by making mistakes. With Christ as the new Lord of Karma, that prospect is no longer as dismal as it once was, or as it might still seem to be, for He desires that we be good, whereas it is only Ahriman that insists we be right.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, an Imagination is worth a million. But it is a legitimate request to ask how the parallel paradigm presented here can be understood by the rational mind, and how it relates in continuity to the precedent of Rudolf Steiner’s established work in Anthroposophy. It is always good to ask: “Is there a basis for this in what has gone before?” The following section will attempt to show that, yes, Steiner did anticipate, in opposition to the tendencies and capabilities of his time, and in apparent opposition to the conventional wisdom of his followers, the unprecedented opportunities of our late-century period.
How could a person of the first decade of this century (Steiner’s milieu) explain or describe to even the most receptive audience what was to soon transpire? Steiner had a hard enough time trying to introduce the most abstract aspects of his philosophy into the awareness of his audiences, and in attempting to get some broad practical traction established in the form of the Threefold Social Order, he got just about nowhere. Individual and small-group initiatives have fared better, with the oases of Waldorf Schooling and biodynamic farms some of the few large-scale successes.
Out of Rudolf Steiner’s integrity and impulse of mission, which has certainly not run its course, regardless of present bottlenecks, things which could not be developed in his time and place did need to at least be mentioned a time or two, so that the dimwitted who who follow him e.g.; (you and me, most of the time) would have their little trail of bread-crumbs, leading them onward and out through the woods.
It will not be possible to “prove” the truth or value of what is presented here. Implicit in Godel’s Proof is that only the totally abstract; i.e.: “irrelevant”, in the final analysis, is fully provable. There is always a big, fat grey area in which theory and reality circle in confusion and bump heads. Tragedy or farce. You, the reader, may or may not find my understandings congenial with your own experiences. Yet internal consistency is a hallmark of truth, and it is that internal consistency which is all that I can show here for my thesis.
We have seen the dire characteristics of the realm of subnature set forth in Steiner’s words and in those of his followers. The social effects of its continuing eruption into human affairs is also obvious in our post-modern world. Yet it is Steiner himself who also indicates the way out of the predicament:
“Rudolf Steiner was good enough to come up to my room, where he spoke to me about the Kingdom in the Interior of the Earth. We know that at the moment Christ’s blood flowed onto the earth a new Sun-globe was born in the Earth’s interior. My search had always been to penetrate the depths of the Earth, for I had seen raying up from there an Earth-core of gold, which Ptolomy designated as the “Archetypal Sun.” I could not do otherwise, again and again, than to bring this golden ground into connection with the land of Shamballa, of which Rudolf Steiner had spoken. He had recounted how this land had disappeared from sight of human beings and that Christ would open the door to those human beings seeking it, to lead them to the “sunken, fairy-tale land of Shamballa” of which the Hindus dream…. I asked Rudolf Steiner, “Is the interior of the Earth of gold, originating from the empty space within the Sun, actually belonging back there again?” He replied, “Yes, the interior of the Earth is of gold.” For the sake of certainty, I asked him further, “Herr doctor, if I stand here upon the ground, then beneath me, deep in the interior of the Earth, is the golden land. If I were to attain to freedom from sin and were to remain standing in the depths, the demons would not be able to harm me and I would be able to pass through them to the golden land. Is this so?” He replied, “If one passes through them together with Christ, then the demons are unable to harm one, but otherwise they would be able to destroy one!” He added the significant words, “However they are able to become our helper. Yes, this is so. The path is right, but it is very difficult!”
Significantly, Johanna von Keyserlingk reports this conversation as taking place in 1924, showing that even at close to the end of his life (he died in early 1925), Steiner was still able to see the “big picture.”
“The silver-sparkling blue below, arising from the depths of the Earth and bound up with human weakness and error, is gathered into a picture of the Earth Mother. Whether she is called Demeter or Mary, the picture is of the Earth Mother. So it is that in directing our gaze downwards, we cannot do otherwise than bring together in Imagination all those secrets of the depths which go to make up the material Mother of all existence. While in all that which is concentrated in the flowing form above, we feel and experience the Spirit Father of everything around us. And now we behold the outcome of the working together of the Spirit Father with the Earth Mother, bearing so beautifully within itself the harmony of the earthly silver and the gold of the heights. Between the Father and the Mother we behold the Son.”
Why is this healing and larger picture not incorporated into the negative viewpoint of what is usually said about the interior of the earth? Is it because the “lower” aspects of earth life in general are not validated or seen as good as the “higher’ ones? Is the outright if implicit condemnation of all that rises up from below merely a reaction and a rationalization for those who do not want to face their own shadow? It is simple psychology, but difficult spirituality.
Is this also, perhaps, why Steiner seemed peremptorily dismissive of the newly emerging field of psychology: that it would muddy the clear waters of his cosmic visions with the flotsam and jetsam of messy human nature? Or perhaps he knew that in spite of the recent horrors of WW I, that the lid had not really yet flown off, and that it would be useless to present, abstractly and perhaps prematurely, another entire dimension of chaos. It would be one which would soon be all too real. Or perhaps in exactly as Steiner was the right man for the times in being especially suitable for bringing the new science of the spirit into the cultural age of the time, he also personally participated in the age’s general denial of what lay below the brain pan, insofar as he did not treat it as extensively as he did other subjects.
Yet he knew what lay hidden, and there are the “bread crumbs:”
In the same material from Rudolf Steiner relating to the sub-earthly layers, he says:
“You will see that man is related to all the layers. For they are continually radiating out their forces…. Human evolution thus implies a transformation of the Earth’s Interior…. In this way man imparts his own being to the earth.”
What he does not enter into is the precise physiological way in which the relationship between man and earth is accomplished, and how the creative human being can live in freedom within these influences. Is this because it is effected through the “lower” chakras, an aspect of human physicality which would have opened too many cans of worms of different sorts?
Frau Sprengel certainly blundered into “forbidden territory” and probably served as a lightening rod for many of these unresolved issues!
In the very last of the “Michael Letters”: the Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, AKA “Letters to the Members”; his final proclamations and summings-up to his spiritual family, he makes one of his very few explicitly references to the realm of subnature:
“By far the greater part of that which works in modern civilization through technical science and industry – wherein the life of man is so intensely interwoven – is not Nature at all, but Sub-Nature. [italics his] It is a world that emancipates itself from Nature – emancipates itself in a downward direction….
“…Thus in the most recent times there has arisen a strong tendency to realize in all things, and even in the life of action, this element into which man must enter for his evolution. Entering the purely earthly element, he strikes upon the Ahrimanic realm. With his own being [in the lower chakras?] he must now acquire a right relation to the Ahrimanic….
“There are very few as yet who even feel the greatness of the spiritual tasks approaching man in this direction. Electricity, for instance, celebrated since its discovery as the very soul of Nature’s existence, must be recognized in its true character – in its peculiar power of leading down from Nature to Sub-Nature. Only man himself must beware lest he slide downward with it.
“In the age when there was not yet a technical industry independent of true Nature, man found the Spirit within his view of Nature. But the technical process, emancipating themselves from Nature, caused him to stare more and more fixedly at the mechanical-material, which now became for him the really scientific realm. In this mechanical-material domain, all the Divine-Spiritual Being connected with the origin of human evolution, is completely absent. The purely Ahrimanic dominates this sphere.
“In the Science of the Spirit, we now create another sphere in which there is no Ahrimanic element. It is just by receiving in Knowledge this spirituality to which the Ahrimanic powers have no access, that man is strengthened to confront Ahriman within the world.”
These last words, being the very last words of the very last Michael Letter, one of the very last words given by Rudolf Steiner to posterity – written from his death-bed, must inspire the most profound reflection within the hearts of all anthroposophists. The tone is far more balanced than in the initial excerpt of comments on electricity which opened this piece. Yet what to make of the wall of fear, loathing, and outright denial and refusal which has come to surround the subject? Arenson uses Steiner’s own “introductory” cosmology – obviously incomplete, as we have shown – to justify his apparent abhorrence of the matter. Anthroposophists following have merely picked up where he left off and stayed right there, stymied. Yet sincere reflection on Steiner’s last words just quoted: “within the world” leads inexorably to an experience of what lies beyond the core of the earth, and to a realization that the nine subterranean levels of evil are merely what the Adversary has placed; no – usurped – between us and the Mother and her home beneath us.
Considering the preceding perspective, different interpretations of familiar statements become possible: “…through the Mystery of Golgotha, which was placed in the center of the World”: that this might actually mean ‘within the core of the earth’ has probably not occurred to many people, as the usual context given for this remark is a map of Palestine indicating its central position on the surface of the earth with regards Europe, Asia, and Africa. Likewise for: “…the Christ being, who has been working in the central regions of the earth…he has united with the planet earth.”
To believe that what is described in At the Gates of Spiritual about the nine subterranean levels is the whole truth and nothing but the truth is to subscribe to Ahiman’s lie: that the sum of the facts are the truth. (Inevitably concurrent with this insistent claim is the dirty little secret that the facts are carefully selected according to a very directed agenda). Believe or not that ground underneath our feet is evil; it doesn’t matter to Ahriman, either will do just as well, as long as one does not investigate further. But to fully encounter the existential reality of the evil lodged within the earth, and then go on to refuse the hegemony of that temporary, yet objective illusion, to deny the terror and fear that breed there, to place oneself there as rightful occupant and deny the imperialist tyrant his claim, is at the same time to win through to far deeper dimensions of what is involved in the nature of Earth.
This is addressed directly at another time and place:
“…When you make a machine, you have introduced your spirit into that machine. The actual machine does, of course, perish and become dust; it will be broken up. Not a trace of it will survive. But what it has done does not vanish without a trace, but passes into the very atoms. Every atom bears a trace of your spirit and will carry this trace with it. It is not a matter of indifference whether or not an atom has at some time been in a machine, and this change you have wrought in the atom will never again be lost to it. Moreover, through your having changed the atom, through having united your spirit with the mineral world, a permanent stamp has been made upon the general consciousness. Just so much will be taken from us into the other world.”
So change your oil and check your filters at regular intervals!
That a conscious world-transforming magical encounter with cosmic evil at the same time involves the encounter with one’s own Shadow/Double, and that this in turn involves coming to terms with the psychological repression so ingrained in the matter of the “lower chakras” is the secret that Steiner’s milieu was not yet ready to deal with. Thus it is entirely appropriate that Steiner himself, so intimately bound up with the German folk-soul and the Spirit of the Age, participated in that same predicament.
It is now up to us, living in the millennial shift, to experience the truth of the dictum: “First the easy way, then the hard way.”
In much the same way that the Chakravartin Initiate Richard Wagner participated in both the most exalted and the tawdry aspects of his time and place, neither did Rudolf Steiner entirely escape the circumstances of his incarnation. As no one can, or should. They are not cause for blame. The faults, which we share with others out of being located within time and place, are precisely the same things which allow us to come into total immersion in our incarnation and to secure humble and sincere fellowship with each other. Steiner had less of this ballast that most, but he still had some. Say he didn’t really have any of his own, but only took it on as a sacrifice so that he could talk to us, if you wish to preserve an untarnished halo for “der Doktor.” That will do for some, I suppose; those who don’t want to consider the implications that maybe our fearless leader even had lower chakras, but don’t burden him with the preposterous imposition of the infinite burden of being perfect, or of having completed all his tasks.
What else do we have to look at, in support of our point of view?
Back to 1906, when Steiner was in his looser frame of mind:
“Thus an understanding of Skythianos will also gradually arise. It is his task not only to teach the reincarnation of man, but also to instruct humanity in regard to what holds sway from eternity to eternity.
Now, the subject of Skythianos is another one of those peculiar subjects which Steiner brings up to emphasize how significant it is, only to mention it so infrequently and sketchily that if he mentioned it any less, he wouldn’t have mentioned it at all! There must be something to be teased out from it…. Steiner’s context for the remark is vague, and a couple of other writers have attempted to elicit what was inferred. Both Sergei Prokoffief and Thomas Meyer place the bon mot of “from eternity to eternity” into the Celestial Cosmology taken from Christian Celestial hierarchies format and the Saturn-to-Vulcan evolutionary time-scheme. They may be completely “correct”, and both do have much to offer, yet to this writer they take the long way ’round. For our purposes at hand, and to illustrate the internal consistency of the world-view proposed here, it yields simplicity to consider that what Steiner was trying to get at in “from eternity to eternity” was the infinitely deep realm of the Mother below in creative tension with the immeasurable high realm of the Father above, both obtaining spatially right now.
This, I propose, was the High Magic of Vitzliputzli, representative of the true American Mystery Tradition.
And isn’t it most peculiar, yet most apt, that Dunlop, the “mein bruder” of Rudolf Steiner, an initiate in his own right and brought into relationship with that same Skythianos by Meyer, was one of the main figures purged by the reactionary clique of the Society’s Vorstand in the ‘Great Dornach Massacre” of 1935? At this time Hitler was consolidating his power within his future Third Reich with his putsches and Stalin in Russia was conducting the purges and forced collectivizations which would result in the death of more of his own people than even the superbly effective German armies in the WW II soon to come.
Perhaps the same eruption of forces “from below” afflicted all the parties involved in much the same way. Anthroposophy had a trump card to play, but it involved a more direct confrontation than it was able to muster, and it lost its nerve. Hence it suffered the effects without being able to transform the cause. With the benefit of hindsight, how could it have been otherwise?
There were warnings:
“Everybody wants to live on the wreckage of the nineteenth century. The twentieth century demands a quite different attitude, but people do not want to submit to such a requirement….
“If spiritual knowledge does not spread a time will come when black ahrimanic birds, hovering over the heads of people, will form a barricade between human beings and the spiritual world. These black birds of ill omen want to cut off the Light of the Michael Spirit from mankind.
“Human beings find what rays out from these black birds of ill omen of great benefit, because they think that the earthly world can thereby be improved. What underlies the hopes generated in this way is demonic in nature and has much to do with the fact that the birds, who ought to live seven miles beneath the earth, are raised above the heads of human beings. The dangers are very great indeed. The black birds of ill omen intend to spin a web of materialism around mankind; this is to be followed by the cosmic materialization of actual thoughts and feelings, with the object of binding human existence to this materialization. In this way the ‘greatest illusion’ ever would take on definite cosmic reality.
Take into account that the speaker of the above pronouncement was disincarnate at the time, and could look at the phenomenon of the “black birds of ill omen” from the other side of the astral inverting mirror of the Threshold, one has a quite accurate description of the phenomenology of the bright, shiny UFOs. Needless to say, there has been the most ferocious – and successful – attempt at confusing the real nature of the intent and activities of the malevolent entities involved. What wellsprings of reaction and obfuscation erupt when even the subject is mentioned! Nonetheless, the cultural phenomena of The X-Files, mass sightings of unexplained arial whatevers, “missing time” and “recovered memories” of outright abductions, persistent rumors of “reverse engineering” and manifold documented government experiments of various kinds on unwitting civilian populations are too well known to need belaboring here. Again, it would take us too far afield to attempt to get into all that here, and the subject has a bizarre way of loosing detail the more the focus is increased. Yet smoke does indicate fire….
The refusal to accept the negativity of the fraudulent subearthly spheres in their full materializing reality – or, more essentially, the beings that live within and behind them – prevents access to the deeper, benevolent layers located still deeper. That these immensely benevolent and divine realms and beings of the Chthonic or Subsensible stand in our Age much closer to us, both spatially and psychologically, than their counterparts in the Celestial, only makes the tragedy of their denial lurch in the direction of the absurd.
Larger issues of all kinds crowd in:
“For this is what Michael’s dominion means. This is what must be wrestled for within the Anthroposophical Movement. And then those who are working today for the Anthroposophical Movement will appear on earth at the end of the twentieth century and will be united with those who were the great teachers of Chartres. For that is the agreement reached in that heavenly conference at the beginning of the thirteenth century, that the Aristotelians and the Platonists are to appear together, working for the ever-growing prosperity of the Anthroposophical Movement in the twentieth century, with Platonists and Aristotelians in unison, Anthroposophy may reach a certain culmination in earthly civilization. If it is possible to work in this way, in the way predestined by Michael, then Europe and modern civilization will emerge from decline. But verily in no other way than this! The leading of civilization out of decline is bound up with an understanding of Michael.”
In this respect the additional material so recently available in English concerning Steiner’s remarks at the time of the Agricultural Course hosted by the von Keyserlingks is most pertinent. Johanna relates:
“May the words of this address by Rudolf Steiner become active in your hearts:
‘There is something more to it than the mere forging of Michael’s Sword. It is a fact that in the occult regions of the earth what is prepared by the forging of Michael’s Sword is carried to a subterranean altar in the process – to an Altar which is invisible and which really exists beneath the earth.
‘To become acquainted with nature-forces under the earth, to get to know the divine beings working in nature leads to an understanding of the fact that the Michael Sword, in the process of being forged, is really carried to an Altar under the earth. The dead take part in this. It has to be found by sensitive souls….’
“These words were spoken to the young people because it is they who have forces for the future, impulses which penetrate into the soul and at the same time into the interior of the earth…. It is not head forces but heart-forces fructified from the depths which will be able to lead us out of the present crisis.”
“…Holderlin…knows the Christ in the depths. So he does not rise up to the stars as other dead people do. No, he prefers to penetrate to the depths to the Sun Being at the center of the earth.
“…Then this land will rise up to us and man will bind himself to a new world day in the light of the sun, when he sets free from their enchantment the spirits of the elements who have darkened his vision and rendered the earth solid and opaque.”
“Steiner…said: ‘Yes, if you want to sink vertically into the depths, you will reach the centre of the earth, and it is of gold. Faust also stamps with key in hand and sinks into the depths, into the realm of the Mothers.’ “
Here we have links to many venerable Traditions.
The top-down methodology of consciousness as proposed by Steiner is good, as far as it goes, and for all the very good reasons usually put forth. But it runs out of steam somewhere around the region of the heart. And it can’t be faked. People with no spiritual insight but with a normal allotment of commonsense rightfully suspect the disembodied abstractions parroted by esotericists who evidence moronic social skills.
Yes, bring it down from the Above first, but don’t forget to bring it up from below later, or also. (And it doesn’t need to be the devious “electrical” kundalini, either. There is more than enough simple love and grace in that vast aquifer below to float the biggest barge of a heart.) If you like Caballa: As the Kether of the skull opens up into the Great Mystery from which all proceeds, so also does the Black Rose of Malkuth open out into the Abyss of Eternal Night through the Base of Existence at the Root.
Didn’t Novalis – supposedly the oldest and wisest human soul – love the Night? And didn’t the warm darkness of Saturn precede and lay the foundation for the blaze of Glory which was Sun? Doesn’t it work the same way in real-time for each of us?
“…as a consummation of the ages, the sons of men will once again find the daughters of God and will ascend to them. …when human wisdom has been sacrificed for divine wisdom, for then we shall again find the daughters of the Gods, the divine wisdom. Then will the sons of men ascend to the daughters of the Gods. And with this begins the second half of earthly evolution.”
Which involves a developing a good relationship with those naughty lower chakras already mentioned several times.
Still, that archaic word: “ascend…”
In this penultimate section I continue developing my theme and bring together several insightful contemporary viewpoints.
First of all, the mighty Imagination and conclusive presentation by Jesaiah Ben-
Aharon (which can only be briefly mentioned in its salient points):
“Then the Michael pupils could see how, out of the innermost core of the temple of the Earthly-Human Sun, a being comes forth, no longer an embryo of future human evolution. Nurtured and matured through human acts of sacrifice, He made His way from the heights of His Revelation downward, crossing the Michael bridge from heaven to Hell. As His pathway he used the etherized bloodsteams that ascended, spiritualized in the new heart center of humanity, from the evil abyss below. They could follow Him with their spirit gaze. He descended ever deeper, until He merged Himself completely with the evil being of humanity in the abyss, blending his downpouring life, soul, and spirit forces with that being. In their upward striving sacrifice, carrying to Him the etherized pain of the nations of the world, they beheld Him sinking ever deeper into the core of burning human evil, uniting Himself with it and dying livingly into the densest point of its being. They witnessed thus the second Mystery of Golgotha at the moment of its happening.” (This is within the context of the tribulations of the 1933 – 1945 time period)
As mighty as the Imagination is, Christ disappears to his gaze at the conclusive moment– as He did universally two thousand years ago. Is it possible to follow Him in His deed? Yes.
Mr. Ben-Aharon is fighting with one hand tied behind his back. There are other truths that support his vision, a vision that bears the traces of its origin.
He refers to Shamballa frequently:
(beginning with a quote from Rudolf Steiner): ” ‘We must learn to understand…that in the future we are not to look on the physical plane for the most important events but outside it, just as we shall have to look for Christ on His return as etheric form in the spiritual world.’ This means that the visibility of Christ is to be experienced in a special supersensible realm, His own world. In the lectures referred to here, Rudolf Steiner uses the oriental designation ‘Shamballa’ to point to this special realm. For the initiates, he says, this land was also visible in the time of Kali Yuga: ‘It is the same land to which initiates again and again repair in order to fetch from it the new streams and impulses for all that is to be given to humanity from century to century.’ “
(Quoting Steiner again): ” ‘Thus humanity is called upon to decide whether or not it shall allow itself to be led into darkness even lower than that of Kali Yuga…or it shall cultivate the new faculties by which it may find the way to the land of Shamballa…that Christ will once more reveal.
‘…They must decide either to descend into something that as a cosmic kamaloca lies deeper than Kali Yuga, or to work toward achieving what will enable them to enter the realm that is truly alluded to as Shamballa.’ “
From his understanding of what is implied by these mentions of Shamballa, he says:
“The second third of the century did begin with the Revelation of a new supersensible realm in that world that is nearest to our physical world. The spiritual-scientific observation of this realm discovers that it is the result of almost two thousand years of hidden preparation. Since the Mystery of Golgotha the Sun power of Christ has been working in the heart of humanity and the Earth…. Its Revelation shows clearly that, helped by the new Michael Impulse, the Christ could now gather its substance together and condense it to such an extent that a wholly Christ-Permeated sphere of human activity and life could for the first time be made a planetary reality of the Earth. The Revelation shows the founding of Christ’s own new human land and kingdom, the true Shamballa, in which the life-giving source for all positive future earthly evolution is found.
“…It was possible for Him to establish a new, germinating Earthly-Sun Kingdom in the Earth itself. His Kingdom, which is not of this world, could strike deep roots in this world.” (italics in the original)
“The result of what we lost sight of in the sub-earthly depths below comes back to us from above. It appears in its pictorial reflection as light-radiating spirit holiness from the expanding circumference of the Earthly-Human Sun. That is, at the unseen moment of the merging of Christ with the primordial evil being of Humanity, the upper kingdom of the Earthly-Human Sun, until now separated from its lower, demonized self, turned inside out and around and embraced its lost half of self.” (Italics in the original)
There are some peculiar features to this Imagination. I hasten to add that I concur in it completely – as far as it goes. It can, however, be taken further. Perhaps the discussion thus far has heightened sensitivity to several issues:
1. No attempt is made to include the fact of or the implications of the American Initiate Vitzliputzli, whose active presence in Mexico at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, and continuing on in manifold ways since, is marked by Steiner in one of his most singular indications. Contemplation and research on the sparse indications given have resulted in the insights set forth in this work, which are complementary – not contradictory – to those of Mr. Ben-Aharon.
American Mystery Traditions are intimately conversant with UnderWorld realities, and intercourse with them forms the major focus of their scriptures and oral traditions, as exemplified in the adventures of the Mayan Hero Twins within the nine realms of Xibalba , and in numerous Hopi legends of the reclusive Spider Woman.
2. The location of Shamballa: Shamballa is not outside or around the earth, as a
mere celestial adjunct – although it participates in the formation and sustenance of the “etheric ring” – but is fully within the Earth. This writer contends that the Sun-Kingdom of Shamballa is not only the “remembrance” of the “Ancient Sun” period of Earth-evolution, but is the home within the Earth-body of certain Beings creative at that time who have elected to stay with the Earth and unite with it; who have chosen to bind their evolution with that of the Earth. They are the true origin of “Sacred Earth” sensibilities, and constitute a far more substantial reality than that of the “nine layers of subterranean evil”, which are only as turbulence in the flow. The American Holy Ones N. S. de Guadaloupe and White Buffalo Calf Woman are representative of such beings local to contemporary Sun and Moon realms. Shamballa is not a recent creation of anyone, either, although Christ does “make all things new”, but has a history as long as that of Earth itself.
Mr. Ben-Aharon looks at the events he describes from the Celestial perspective which has become the conventional wisdom of anthroposophy. Celestial perspective cannot penetrate into the depths to follow a full cycle of events, as he himself acknowledges, but rebounds off the changeover boundary from Celestial to Chthonic consciousness. The ‘downward into the earth’ gesture is emphasized, but the continuation of the archetypal phases of the descent through the earth; the Easter Saturday period of entombment within the earth and the essential participation of the Mother in the alchemy of her Son’s Resurrection is missing. Didn’t Christ experience the loss of the Father’s presence as He died on the cross and continued on in his passage to reunion with his Mother and reactivation of her reality? A Chthonic perspective can see what happens with Christ in the Underworld, although it, in itself, cannot know from where Christ comes. The better part of a century later, essential Chthonic realities are still minimalized and marginalized, though it has become increasingly impossible to deny them completely.
Mr. Ben-Aharon is led inevitably, by the truth and power of his perception, to acknowledge the reality of what is addressed directly in these pages by pointed, if still vague, references to “Earth Mother”, “Mother Earth”, and “Earth Spirit.” Still, the subjective personhood of the actual spiritual beings who source this reality is not addressed. The manifested activity of such beings is acknowledged, but while the necessary anthroposophical conclusion about their independent individuality cannot be denied, there is still resistance to embracing them.
3. Christ does not come to earth to “establish His Kingdom” but to serve and set
free the desires of the separated sisters of His family. Yes, His Kingdom is not of this world, but there is another divine realm – not Kingdom, for that is of “above”, but Family; that is of “below” – which is the realm of the Mother. It has been lost to us, and barricaded off by the exertions of patriarchal religion and spirituality, but Christ has burst those bonds asunder, and given His Bride the Magic Kiss. For more on this, the fairy-tale “Snow White” is most succinctly relevant.
In one of the uncanny circumstances involved in the genesis of this work referred to in the introduction, it was only after developing – in an independent fashion – the preceding Idea of the living reality of Ancient Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolution within the present-day Earth-body, and had gone publicly on record with it, that I received confirmation of my perspective from a friendly correspondent, who sent me the following:
“I should therefore like to try to reproduce the conclusion reached by yet a third student of Spiritual Science, Dr Walter Johannes Stein.
“On 1st February 1947, Dr Stein gave a lecture on ‘Inter-relation of Man and Cosmos’, at which I took some notes and in which he put forward his own suggestion as to the nature of this third force. He began by speaking of modern science and its division of the atmosphere into the strata of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and sulphur, and its division of the sub-earthly into the three strata of silica, magnesium and at the centre the heaviest of all, nickel. The three strata could also be sub-divided into nine.
“Then, turning to Spiritual Science, Dr Stein said that these three layers are the Earth’s past, the relics of its past evolution still buried within it. At the central core lies Old Saturn, above it the stratum which is the relic of the Old Sun and the outermost layer, coming beneath the mineral earthly surface, is the relic of the Old Moon evolution. He said that these are the ‘Mothers’ of Goethe’s Faust, the cosmic forces of which one is still unknown. Mephistopheles spoke of the ‘Mothers’ with the greatest awe as goddesses unknown to man and told Faust that he must ‘burrow to the uttermost Profound’ if he would find them in the ‘ever-empty Far’.
“The three Mothers were to antiquity Demeter (Moon evolution), Persephone (Sun evolution), Rhea (Saturn evolution). From the relic of the Old Moon we have electricity and Dr Steiner once described electricity as ‘the decayed sunlight of the Old Moon evolution’. From the relic of the Old Sun we have magnetism and from the inner most layer there will arise the third as yet undiscovered force… The undiscovered force is to come from the backward Archai, the Asuras, Saturn spirits in the Earth’s centre. Their realm is the realm of the negative of the Life Ether, could it then be also a death-dealing force? “
Here we have more concurring, if awkward, indications. Undeveloped is the distinction between the evolved and the devolved aspects of Earth’s inner being. The devolved aspects of subnatural forces and the beings associated with them are highlighted, but the still-divine beings that remain loyal to the primal vision of Creation are treated in a confused fashion, even though they are mentioned; Persephone, Demeter, and Rhea were in no wise ever considered as demonic beings, yet here they are associated with the subnatural forces connected with the “nine layers of evil” within the Earth.
(It should also be noted that there seems to be some confusion in the notes of Stein’s lecture, for Demeter, the mother of Persephone, would seem to have her closest association with Sun, whereas her daughter, Persephone, would be Sun’s offspring, namely Moon. It is also this writer’s perception that Persephone, in accordance with mythology, is able to be “amphibious” in her ability to live in both surface and subterranean realms. This would place her in the realm closest to the surface, and indeed, this is where she is found, whereas her mother, Demeter, does not seem to travel far from home.)
Dr. Stein seems to be having trouble reconciling his Intuition with his conceptual equipment – as has everyone mentioned so far. Steiner even has this to say Goethe’s divided relationship to such matters:
“Goethe himself ominously called out in the cautious manner of the aged, ‘Nature! We are surrounded and embraced by her; unbidden and unwarned, she received us into the circle of her dance.’ Goethe did not want to allow to enter consciousness what appeared as the call for nature among the Rousseauists. If we try to imagine ourselves as the Goethe of the time, how he felt in relation to nature and how he approached the calls of others, we can still experience today something like a slight shiver running over us. We can feel the shudder he felt in encountering this call for nature. This call seemed to Goethe to be something that was itself unnatural, and he wanted to be received into the dancing circle of nature without being bidden; he felt that nature neither bids nor warns.”
In this, Goethe participates in the typically ambivalent attitude of the European towards Nature, one that has resulted in the demands of dominating, taming, and subduing the “wilderness”.
The incomplete anthroposophical vision short-circuits.
Celestial cosmology and perceptual methodology cannot perceive the personal reality of Chthonic beings.
This is why so many “Sophianic” philosophies cannot help but consider Sophia as an abstract quality such as “Wisdom”, or as a cosmic ghost of some vague sort. In the Celestial regions, She is diffuse; “sobornal”, if you will. At home, She is real. The most correct intellectual precision will not force the beloved’s favor.
Well, I’ve either made my case by now, or not. This could go on for another 15 or 20 pages or so if I let it. Appendix Two has my follow-up projects detailed, for those who wish to pursue these lines of inquiry.
There are others, who develop significant aspects of the preceding discussion in a most competent way. R. J. Stewart, Henry Corbin, Valentine Tomberg are paramount. The former’s work, if referred to in detail here, would take up the bulk of the extra pages forgone. The latter, in his Studies of the Old and New Testaments, has continual and profound observations on the spiritual context of subnature, and should be read in their original context. For this additional reason, they are not utilized here.
Peter Kingsley has introduced provocative and convincing speculations about the pre-history of the European philosophic tradition which jibes well with the ones within these pages.
And as a final parting thought, countering Mr. Prokoffief’s initial raising of the standard of “the Name of Rudolf Steiner” (recalling the Bible-Thumpers’ battle-cry of “The Name of Jesus!”): putting a reverse spin on the matter would interpret the injunction as a plea for the dissolution of all that was associated with his name upon the dissolution of that name itself; i.e.: upon his death.
“My mission has come to an end.
What I could impart to the maturity in man I have given him.
I go away, for I found no ears which could perceive the spirit word behind the word.
I go away, for I found no eyes which could perceive the spirit-pictures behind the earthly pictures.
I go away, because I found no human beings who could bring my work to fulfilment.
The Mysteries remain veiled until my return.
I shall return and reveal the Mysteries when I have succeeded in building an altar, a place of worship in the spiritual world for the souls of men. Then I shall return. I shall then continue to open up the Mysteries.
They are to blame for my death, who have impeded the culture of the heart.
If people had delved deeply with their hearts into the depths, they would have found the strength to fulfil the tasks of the age satisfactorily.”
Hopefully, this essay has raised many more questions than it has answered.
Santa Fe, NM
April 27 – 29, 1999
PS: spell-check gives “chokers” for “chakras.” “Out of the mouth of babes…” It also suggests “sunbathers” for “subnature”, indicating the possibilities inherent in accessing the “Midnight Sun.”
The sole formulation by Rudolf Steiner of the “Nine Layers of Evil within the Earth”, from At the Gates of Spiritual Science, GA 95, lecture of Sept. 4, 1906, Stuttgart. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1986, pp. 138-140:
“The occult science of all epochs says the following about the interior of the earth…
1. The topmost layer, the mineral mass, is related to the interior as an eggshell is to the egg. This topmost layer is called the Mineral Earth.
2. Under it is a second layer, called the Fluid Earth; it consists of a substance to which there is nothing comparable on Earth. It is not really like any of the fluids we know, for all these have a mineral quality. This layer has specific characteristics: its substance begins to display certain spiritual qualities, which consist in the fact that as soon as it is brought into contact with something living, it strives to expel and destroy this life. The occultist is able to investigate this layer by pure concentration.
3. The “Air Earth”. This is a substance which annuls feelings: for instance, if it is brought into contact with any pain, the pain is converted into pleasure, and vice versa. The original form of feeling is, so to speak extinguished, rather as the second layer extinguishes life.
4. The “Water Earth”, or “Form Earth”. It produces in the material realm the effects that occur spiritually in Devachan. There, we have the negative pictures of physical things. In the “Form Earth” a cube of salt, for example, would be destroyed, but its negative would arise. The form is as it were changed into its opposite; all its qualities would pass out into its surroundings. The actual space occupied by the object is left empty.
5. The “Fruit Earth.” This substance is full of exuberant energy. Every little part of it grows out at once like a sponge; it gets larger and larger and is held in place only by the upper layers. It is the underlying life which serves the forms of the layers above it.
6. The “Fire Earth.” It’s substance is essentially feeling and will. It is sensitive to pain and would cry out if it were trodden on. It consists, as it were, entirely of passions.
7. The “Earth-mirror” or “Earth-reflector”. This layer gets its name from the fact that its substance, if one concentrates on it, changes all the characteristics of the earth into their opposites. If the seer disregards everything lying above it and gazes down directly into this layer, and if then, for example, he places something green before him, the green appears as red; every color appears as its complementary opposite. A polaric reflection arises, a reversal of the original. Sorrow would be changed by this substance into joy.
8. The “Divisive” layer. If with developed power one concentrates on it, something very remarkable appears. For example, a plant held in the midst of this layer appears to be multiplied, and so with everything else. But the essential thing is that this layer disrupts the moral qualities also. Through the power it radiates to the Earth’s surface, it is responsible for the fact that strife and disharmony exist there. In order to overcome this disruptive force, men must work together in harmony.
That is precisely why this layer was laid down in the Earth – so that men
should be enabled to develop harmony for themselves. The substance of
everything evil is prepared and organized there. Quarrelsome people are so constituted that this layer has a particular influence on them. This has been known to everyone who has written out of a true knowledge of occultism. Dante in his Divine Comedy calls this layer the Cain-layer. It was here that the strife between the brothers Cain and Abel had its source. The substance of this layer is responsible for evil having come into the world.
9. The “earth-core.” This is the substance through whose influence black magic
arises in the world. The power of spiritual evil comes from this source.”
The natural reaction to this is: “Why bother?” If it weren’t that it was given by “der Doktor”, it would seem to be script notes fragments for a stupid 1950’s Hollywood science-fiction movie. Pity on the person who stumbles across this passage as his or her first introduction to Steiner’s work!
Other works-in-progress by the author:
1. Vitzliputzli: A Life for the Americas. Investigation into the life, method, and legacy of
this mysterious culture-hero. Meditational, cross-cultural, historical, archeological, scholarly resources investigated. Original work emphasized. Near completion
2. Dark City: Adversaries. Investigation into the sources of “progress”, as defined by
technocrats, naive New Agers, and subnatural enemies of the human spirit. Near completion.
3. A Walk in Sophia’s Backyard. A casual tour of the Mother’s home territory, with
links to venerable heresies of all sorts. In progress.
4. Native Pathways. Examination of various Native American spiritual sensibilities –
ones idiomatic to this part of the world, and repository of sorely-needed healings. The dilemma of changing times for Traditional cultures is addressed. In gestation.
5. Workings. Meditational and prayer processes contributing to and developing out of
work into the preceding topics. Ongoing.
6. Essays. Miscellaneous correspondence, book reviews, random thoughts.