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4994Steiner's Moon node returns

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  • Robert Mason
    Jan 30, 2009
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      To All:

      Recently there has appeared at the eLib another of
      Steiner's lecture cycles given during the
      disastrous First World War; this series titled *The
      Fall of the Spirits of Darkness*, running from
      Michaelmas until October 28, 1917.

      Steiner discusses such themes as:

      the "dimming of consciousness" at critical moments,

      the inadequacy of the usual kind of thinking to meet
      the present situation,

      the increasing aggressiveness of those promoting
      materialism,

      the need for Anthroposophy to save modern culture
      from decline,

      the need for spiritual insight in education, looking
      forward to what was to become Waldorf Education,

      (and one especially relevant in the present
      world-situation) the subversion and falsification
      of "democracy" by financial power.

      But I will pass over most of these for now. Here I
      wish to mention one of the aspects of this cycle,
      concerning the spiritual background of the war
      catastrophe. Steiner focused especially on a
      spiritual event that set the stage, as it were, for
      the war drama -- the event that was used for the
      title of this cycle as published: "The Fall of the
      Spirits of Darkness". -- A few excerpts:

      (RS, Lecture 9 of that cycle)

      "I have frequently spoken of the significant break
      which occurred in the spiritual development of the
      peoples of Europe and America in the middle of the
      nineteenth century, and especially in the 1840s. I
      have pointed out that this was the time when the
      materialistic point of view came to its peak, with
      a peak was reached in what we may call a way of
      grasping dead, outer facts with the intellect,
      refusing to enter into living reality. The deeper
      sources of such events - and today [during the
      First World War] we are very much involved in their
      after-effects, which will continue to have an
      influence for a long time to come - must be sought
      in the world of the spirit. And if we investigate
      the processes in that world which have come to
      outer expression in the event of which I have just
      spoken, we have to point to a struggle, a real war
      in that world, which began then and came to a
      certain conclusion for the world of the spirit by
      the autumn of 1879. To have the right idea about
      these things, you must visualize a battle which
      continued for decades in the spiritual worlds, from
      the 1840s until the autumn of 1879.

      "This may be called a battle which the spirits who
      are followers of the spirit belonging to the
      hierarchy of Archangels whom we may call Michael
      fought with certain ahrimanic powers. Please
      consider this battle to have been in the first
      place a battle in the spiritual world. Everything I
      am referring to at the moment relates to this
      battle fought by Michael and his followers against
      certain ahrimanic powers."

      "The battle thus took place in the 40s, 50s, 60s
      and 70s and came to a conclusion in the autumn of
      1879, when Michael and his followers won a victory
      over certain ahrimanic powers.

      "What does this signify? To see something like this
      in the right way, we can always call on an image
      which humanity has known throughout its evolution -
      the fight between Michael and the dragon."

      "But what does it signify that the powers of the
      dragon, this crowd of ahrimanic spirits, are driven
      down into the human realms, banished from heaven to
      earth, as it were? Losing the battle means they are
      no longer to be found in the heavens, to use the
      biblical term. Instead they are to be found in the
      human realms, which means that the late 1870s were
      a particular time when human souls became subject
      to ahrimanic powers with regard to certain powers
      of perception. Before this, these powers were
      active in the spiritual realms and therefore left
      human beings more in peace; when they were driven
      out of the spiritual realms they came upon human
      beings."

      (from Lecture 12)

      "The event I have been referring to in the
      preceding lectures, the occasion when certain
      spirits of darkness were cast out of the spiritual
      realm and down into the human realm in the autumn
      of 1879, holds great importance. We have to reflect
      again and again what it really means to say that a
      battle raged for decades in the spiritual realms.
      The battle started in the early 1840s and ended
      when certain spiritual entities, which had been
      acting like rebels in the spiritual world during
      those decades, were vanquished in the autumn of
      1879 and cast down as dark spirits into the realm
      of human evolution. They are now among us and the
      effect of this is that they send their impulses
      into our view of the world, not only into the way
      we think about the world, but also into our inner
      feelings, our will impulses and even our
      temperaments. Human beings will be unable to get
      even a partial understanding of the significant
      events of the present time and the immediate
      future, unless they are prepared to recognize the
      relationship which exists between the physical
      world and the spiritual world and take as much
      account of important events like this as they do of
      natural phenomena."

      Robert comments:

      Steiner has made the point that this event was
      tremendously important, and I will take that as a
      "given" here. He also makes the point that this
      event started as a process in the non-physical
      realms in the 1840s and broke into the physical
      world in the Autumn of 1879. Here I wish to focus
      on the timing of this tremendous event. More
      excepts:

      (from Lecture 9 again)

      ". . . . the battle between Michael and the dragon
      - happens first of all in the spiritual world. It
      finally comes to an end when the dragon is cast
      down from heaven to earth. On earth, then, the
      cycle is brought to completion after a time
      interval which approximately equals the time
      between the beginning of the battle in the
      spiritual world and the time when the dragon was
      cast down. We might say: The dawn, the very
      beginning of this battle between Michael and the
      dragon, was in 1841. . . .

      "And now consider 1841 - 1879 - 1917! 1841 was the
      crucial year in the nineteenth century. 1917 is its
      mirror-image. If one realizes that the exertions of
      the crowd of ahrimanic spirits in 1841, when the
      dragon started to fight Michael in the spiritual
      world, are mirrored right now in 1917, much of what
      is happening now will not really come as a
      surprise.

      "In this year of 1917 - thirty-eight years after
      1879, with 1879 thirty-eight years after 1841 -
      something important is being asked of humanity."

      Robert continues:

      So, Steiner is making this revelation in the season
      of Michaelmas of 1917, 38 years after the victory
      of Michael over the Dragon in the season of
      Michaelmas in 1917, which was 38 years after the
      beginning of this particular "war in Heaven" in the
      year 1841.

      And that time of the Autumn of 1879 had another
      profound meaning for the world. Most of us will
      recall that Steiner often pointed to that time as
      marking the accession of the Sun Archangel Michael
      as Time Spirit for this period of Earth-evolution.
      In the essay "The Mission of Rudolf Steiner"
      <www.rsarchive.org/RelAuthors/KatzErnst/AGM_Address.php>
      Dr. Ernst Katz formulates the "mission statement"
      for Rudolf Steiner as: to be "the human, earthly,
      Ambassador of [the Archangel] St. Michael, who is
      the spiritual Ambassador of the divine Christ
      Being". Katz relates the succession of Michael
      this way:

      "There are seven leading Archangels. They take
      turns in guiding the evolution of humanity by
      leading a particular civilization to prominence.
      According to a treatise, written in 1508 A.D. by
      Johannes Trithemius, a learned abbot in Sponheim,
      Germany, each leading Archangel in turn guides
      human evolution for 354 years and four months. His
      timetable sets the autumn of the year 1879 A.D. as
      the beginning of a Michael age. It is remarkable
      that this was known already in the early sixteenth
      century. (see Note 4) Rudolf Steiner confirms that
      this indeed happened in late November of that year.
      And he added that the Archangel St. Michael, one of
      the original seven leading Archangels, received at
      that time what one may call a promotion. He was to
      lead a civilization that would, for the first time
      ever, encompass all of humanity. Therefore, in 1879
      St. Michael became the supreme being whose rank
      towers above all other Archangels. This rank is
      often referred to as "time spirit." This exalted,
      illustrious being, St. Michael, the guiding spirit
      of our time for all of humanity, the Ambassador of
      the Christ Being, is of primary importance in the
      life and mission of Rudolf Steiner."

      And Steiner points out that he was speaking at the
      time of the "mirroring" of the event of 1841 by the
      event of 1879 through periods of 38 years, before
      and after. -- But he does not say why these periods
      are *38* years long, and not 83 or 99 or whatever.
      Here I wish to ask the question: why *38* years;
      is there some inherent significance in interval of
      38 years as a quantity in itself?

      -- Some of you might recall a previous post of mine
      in which I commented on another significant
      interval of 38 years, discussing some work of the
      seminal astrosopher Willi Sucher:
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anthroposophy_tomorrow/message/38147>

      "Sucher discusses . . . the healing of the man who
      had been sick for 38 years (*John* 5). . . . Sucher
      tells how he calculates this "spiritual nativity",
      and he comes to 7 or 6 BC for the ["spiritual
      nativity of the] Luke Jesus. . . . He goes on to
      connect this with the 38 years (qualitatively) that
      elapsed until the healing of the man who had been
      sick for 38 years -- two Moon node cycles,
      qualitatively."

      That is: the Gospel relates an incident in which
      Jesus Christ healed a man who had been sick for 38
      years. We may presume that every word of the
      Gospel is significant, and that the writer
      mentioned these 38 years for a reason. And Sucher
      confirms this particular presumption by calculating
      that time 38 years before this healing as the being
      the time of the "spiritual nativity" of (the Luke)
      Jesus. And that time was also marked
      (approximately) by the Great Conjunction of 7-6 BC
      (which was probably the celestial event which
      alerted the "Magi" to the birth of the Solomon
      Jesus). But: why *38* years? -- Sucher points out
      that 38 years is the approximate period of two Moon
      node cycles.

      (The "Moon nodes" are the points where the plane of
      the apparent [geocentric] Moon orbit crosses the
      plane of the apparent Sun orbit. These nodes
      circle around the Zodiac every 18.61 [Earth-Sun]
      years, approximately. So, two consecutive Moon
      node "returns" take about 37.22 years, which can be
      considered to be a "qualitative quantity" of 38
      years, in the sense that I explained in my previous
      post.)

      Sucher comments on the meaning of the Moon nodes:
      "The Moon nodes are openers of the gates to the
      higher spheres of the cosmos, gateways from the
      Moon to the Sun sphere, or the astral world."

      And, as I have also mentioned before, the number
      *18.61* should evoke another meaningful connection
      in this context: we recall that Rudolf Steiner was
      born in the year 1861 AD.

      We in the USA know that year especially as the
      beginning of the horrific, destructive fratricide
      of the "American Civil War". We also know that war
      as the decisive event that preserved the political
      unity of the country and ended legal chattel
      slavery in it. 1861 was the year that Union
      General Benjamin Butler declared that all slaves
      who escaped from "Rebel" territory into territory
      controlled by his Union forces to be seized as
      "contraband of war" and to be freed from slavery.
      (Over a year later President Lincoln in his
      "Emancipation Proclamation" generalized this policy
      to cover all the states in "rebellion". And a few
      years later all slavery was outlawed in the country
      by Constitutional amendment.) -- And some of us may
      recall that 1861 was the year that the Tsar
      decreed the abolition of serfdom in the Russian
      Empire.

      Thus, 1861 was a very meaningful year in the moral-
      political progress of Mankind toward freedom. And
      it is no great stretch to make the mental
      connection that the numerical coincidence with the
      Moon node cycle is no "mere coincidence", but
      rather a kind of "world Moon node return" related
      to the births of the Jesus boys. And this "world
      Moon node return" also marked the birth of Rudolf
      Steiner. And we certainly know Rudolf Steiner as
      the great herald of inner-moral freedom, especially
      with his *Philosophy of Freedom*. And is *this*
      coincidence a "mere coincidence"? -- I will pursue
      the inquiry.

      We can recall that Rudolf Steiner was born on
      February 27, 1861. (Some people, such as Ernst
      Katz, say that Rudolf Steiner was born on Feb. 25,
      but Steiner himself states clearly in his
      autobiography that: "I was born at Kraljevec on
      February 27, 1861.") February 27 is the 58th day
      of the year, and 58/365 = 0.16 (approximately,
      rounded). So, in decimal form, Steiner was born in
      the year 1861.16. If we add 18.61 years (the Moon
      node cycle) to 1861.16, we get 1879.77. 0.77 times
      365 days = 281.05 days, and the 282nd day of a
      (non-leap) year is October 9.

      So we see another "coincidence": Rudolf Steiner's
      first Moon node return came approximately at the
      time of Michael's victory over the Dragon and the
      "fall of the spirits of darkness". (In the
      quotations above Steiner gives that time as the
      "autumn of 1879"; elsewhere in that lecture cycle
      he says *November 1879*.) Thus Steiner's birth was
      inserted into world-karma so as to fall in the year
      of the "world Moon node return" and so as to
      arrange his first personal Moon node return to fall
      in the time of Michael's victory over the Dragon. -
      - And further reflections show that this further
      coincidence is even less "mere".

      -- Just months before November 1879 the young
      Steiner entered the Technische Hochschule in
      Vienna. Around that time, as he described in his
      autobiography, he met "a simple man of the plain
      people", the herbalist who was the model for the
      character "Felix Balde" in the *Mystery Dramas*.
      This herbalist was someone with whom Steiner could
      readily discuss his clairvoyant experiences and
      meet with understanding. As Dr. Katz relates the
      story:

      "A third aspect of Rudolf Steiner's esoteric
      biography relates to a most important event that
      happened in 1879, when he was 183/4 years old. He
      had graduated from high school with high marks and
      was accepted as a student at the Technical
      University in Vienna. To make his study possible
      his family moved to Inzersdorf, a suburb of Vienna,
      where father Steiner was again station master of
      the Austrian railway station. From there Rudolf was
      to commute daily by train to Vienna for his studies
      at the University.

      "In the same train, weekly, rode a strange man. He
      was a licensed herb gatherer who went to pharmacies
      in Vienna to sell the medicinal herbs he had
      collected. (see Note 8) This man had profound
      insights into the spirituality in nature, related
      to the sun and the moon.

      "For Rudolf Steiner it was a blessing of destiny
      that he could share with this man some of his own
      experiences. In his Mystery Plays Rudolf Steiner
      pictures this man in the role of. Felix Balde.
      However, Rudolf Steiner had questions that went far
      beyond the grasp of Felix, so Felix brought him in
      contact with another man in Vienna, whose identity
      has never been revealed. (see Note 10) Rudolf
      Steiner refers to him as a 'Master' and states that
      he taught him what one needs to know in order to
      work effectively out of the spiritual world into
      this materialistic age. To conquer the 'dragon' of
      materialism you have to get into his skin. It seems
      to me that Rudolf Steiner may have stayed with this
      man for a long weekend. When they parted the Master
      said: 'You know now who you are! Act accordingly,
      and remain always true to yourself.' How many
      people can say that they know who they really are?
      We should recognize this as an initiation. It is an
      answer to the call of all ancient Mystery Schools,
      which is engraved in stone above the entrance of
      the Greek temple in Delphi:

      "GNOTHI SAFTON
      "Translated:
      "KNOW YOURSELF

      "To the challenge: 0 man, know yourself! here the
      answer was achieved: You know now who you are. This
      happened in November of 1879! Precisely at the
      beginning of the Michael age, in the autumn, the
      Michael season, when St. Michael became the supreme
      leading Archangel (time spirit) for all of
      humanity. This initiation event connected Rudolf
      Steiner most intimately with St. Michael. From that
      moment on one can say that Rudolf Steiner is the
      Ambassador of Michael, the leading Great Initiate
      of our Michael age. This was an event of world
      historic importance that took place completely
      unnoticed by the outer world."

      Robert comments:

      Dr. Katz does not say exactly how he concluded that
      Steiner underwent an "initiation" precisely in
      November of 1879. But his "Note 10" does give a
      clue as to how he inferred a meeting of Steiner
      with a "Master":

      "When Rudolf Steiner visited Edouard Schuré in the
      Alsatian village of Barr, he wrote (at Schuré's
      request) an autobiographical sketch known as the
      'Barr document.' Only through this document do we
      know about Rudolf Steiner's contact with the
      'Master.' The Barr document can be found (in
      German) in GA 262, pp. 7-21."

      And further considerations to justify these
      inferences can be found in Bruce Kirchoff's essay
      "The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha: The three
      jewels of Buddhism in relation to Anthroposophy"
      <southerncrossreview.org/16/kirchoff.htm>
      Kirchoff's remarks are worth quoting at length:

      "Our knowledge of Felix and the 'other personality'
      comes from a remarkable lecture Steiner gave in
      Berlin, February 4, 1913.[11] . . . . His lecture
      of February 4 gives us one of the few glimpses of
      his personal life and relationships in the years
      before he assumed the leadership of the German
      Section of the Theosophical Society (1902). In this
      context, Steiner speaks of two people who served
      the important function of providing a community in
      which he could develop his spiritual sight.

      "{quoting Steiner:} '. . . Felix was the herald, as
      it were, of another personality, who served as a
      means to stimulate in the soul of the boy {Rudolf
      Steiner} - who indeed already lived in the
      spiritual worlds - the regular, systematic
      qualities one has to have in order to gain
      knowledge in the spiritual worlds. . . . he used
      the works of Fichte, connecting them with certain
      studies that gave rise to things in which it is
      really possible to find the seeds of his occult
      science. . . As a starting-point, he often used a
      book that had frequently been suppressed in Austria
      owing to its anticlerical tendency, a book that
      could stimulate one to follow special spiritual
      paths and steps.[15]'

      "The importance of this small community cannot be
      overemphasized. In addition to specific training,
      Felix and the 'other personality' provided a sense
      of companionship, and confirmed the spiritual sight
      that Steiner had possessed all of his life. Without
      this training and confirmation it is doubtful that
      Steiner would have developed his spiritual sight to
      the degree that he did. Steiner's own words clearly
      imply this. He speaks of gaining 'the regular,
      systematic qualities one has to have in order to
      gain knowledge in the spiritual worlds.'

      "It is important to note that the community to
      which the young Rudolf Steiner was introduced
      included more than just Felix and the 'other
      personality.' The lessons Steiner received were
      delivered via the works of Fichte, and 'a book that
      had frequently been suppressed in Austria owing to
      its anticlerical tendency.' An occult study of
      Fichte strengthened Steiner's connection to
      European intellectual life. This intellectual
      milieu provided a community that was extremely
      important in shaping Steiner's approach to the
      spirit.[16]

      "In addition to deepening of his spiritual sight,
      it is likely that the training offered by this
      'other personality' served to introduce Steiner to
      his higher ego. In the same lecture, Steiner says
      of the paths and steps that he was led to follow
      'These particular streams that pass through the
      occult world, which can be recognized only if one
      bears in mind a double stream moving forward and
      backward, appeared in a living way before the boy's
      soul.[17 {probably Berlin, February 4, 1913 - RM}]'
      To understand what he means by this sentence, we
      need to turn to another of his writings. In the
      final chapter of *How to Know Higher Worlds*,
      Steiner makes it clear that the stream from the
      future bears the Greater Guardian of the Threshold,
      an aspect of our higher ego.[18] By combining these
      two sources we can see that Steiner is telling us,
      without explicitly saying so, that his meeting with
      the 'other personality' was an initiation
      experience for him. He met his higher self through
      this experience."

      Robert comments:

      So, here we can see some justification for
      inferring a meeting between Steiner and the
      "Master" soon after the meeting with the herbalist
      Felix; that is, after the Summer of 1879. And we
      can further see some justification for taking this
      second meeting to be an "initiation" for Steiner:
      Steiner already had been clairvoyant, but this
      meeting, or meetings, apparently provided for him a
      kind of "study" that led him to gain "the regular,
      systematic qualities one has to have in order to
      gain knowledge in the spiritual worlds" -- and
      further, led him into an "intiation" as described
      in *KoHW*, at least as far as the requisite
      encounter with the "Greater Guardian of the
      Threshold".

      And thus we could guess about the reasoning that
      led Dr. Katz to put this Initiation at the same
      time that Steiner named as the time of the victory
      of Michael over the Dragon: i.e. November 1879.
      Even if it were not exactly then, it seems likely
      to me that it was nearly then . . .

      . . . and thus, that it was at least nearly
      coincident with Steiner's first Moon node return.
      It is riveting to consider how Rudolf Steiner's
      life was inserted into world-destiny so that he was
      born in the year of the "world Moon node return"
      and that his esoteric Initiation took place around
      his personal first Moon node return, which
      coincided with Michael's accession as Time Spirit
      and His victory over the Dragon -- which
      precipitated the "fall of the spirits of darkness".

      -- But Rudolf Steiner had two more Moon node
      returns during his lifetime. Adding 18.61 years to
      his birth date, we get the following series:

      1861.16 = Feb. 27, 1861
      1879.77 = Oct. 9, 1879
      1898.38 = May 19, 1898
      1916.99 = Dec. 28, 1916

      By now, we should be curious as to what world-
      significance Steiner's second Moon node return
      might have had. -- Well, what was happening with
      him in May of 1898?

      There is much evidence about this; we can get a
      general overview from Stewart Easton's biography of
      Steiner (brought to us so kindly by Tarjei)
      <http://uncletaz.com/easton/ch05.html>
      -- Chapter 5:

      "Rudolf Steiner tells us in his autobiography that
      his period of testing lasted from the time of his
      move from Weimar (1897) until the lectures that he
      gave to the theosophists on Christianity as
      Mystical Fact (1901). It was during this period
      that his relationship with Mackay flourished, that
      he was the editor of the Magazine for Literature
      (1897 to the end of September, 1900), and became a
      fairly well known figure in the cultural life of
      Berlin through his weekly articles in the Magazine
      and his reviews of plays presented on the Berlin
      stage, as well as through his membership in various
      scientific and philosophic societies. These were
      the last years of waiting before he felt authorized
      to begin his public mission as teacher of the
      science of spirit . . . ."

      And Ernst Katz gives some specifics, making an
      inference from some indirect evidence that Steiner
      put into his *Mystery Dramas*:

      "After finishing his assignment in Weimar (which
      resulted in the publication of several authentic
      volumes of Goethe's scientific writings with
      extensive editorial comments by Rudolf Steiner), he
      lived for many years in Berlin, making his living
      as a literary writer for various magazines, and at
      times as a co-owner of such magazines, as a teacher
      at a workman's college, et cetera - a remarkably
      diverse spectrum of experiences that made him proof
      against the dragon, as we learn from Felicia
      Balde's fairy tale in poetic imaginative language
      {from the *Mystery Dramas* - RM}: When the boy in
      the fairy tale had grown to manhood and lived in a
      large city, he had a dream:

      "A savage dragon prowled
      In circles round about him,
      - And yet could not come near him.
      He was protected from the dragon by
      The beings he had seen beside the rock-born spring
      And who with him had left his home
      For this far distant place.

      "That happened twenty-one years after he left home,
      so tells Felicia's tale. So Rudolf Steiner had to
      wait this time, which was, moreover, still the last
      part of the dark period (Kali Yuga) that ended in
      1899."

      Robert continues:

      Coincident with his Initiation and with Michael's
      victory over the Dragon, Steiner had been assigned,
      as it were, the task of "crawling into the skin of
      the Dragon. And now we can begin to see that
      around the time of his next Moon node return
      Steiner was engaged in another struggle with the
      Dragon. And in Chapter: XXVI of his autobiography
      Steiner tells something of what was happening after
      12th February, 1898:

      "What then occurred in my soul in viewing
      Christianity was a severe test for me. The time
      between my departure from the Weimar task and the
      production of my book *Das Christentum als
      mystische Tatsache* {published in 1901 - RM} (1) is
      occupied by this test. Such tests are the
      opposition provided by destiny (Karma) which one's
      spiritual evolution has to overcome. . . ."

      This chapter details the profundity of this inner
      test for Steiner. The whole chapter deserves
      repeated reading, but I won't reproduce it here;
      I'll give a link:
      <http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_c26.html>

      Chapter 5 of Easton's biography puts this "test"
      into the context of Steiner's outer life. Again,
      this deserves to be read in whole, but I'll quote
      just some snips here:

      "Already before leaving Weimar Steiner had become
      acquainted with J. H. Mackay, a Scottish-German or
      German-Scot, who, with Benjamin Tucker, an
      American, were proponents of a kind of theoretical
      anarchism, to be clearly distinguished from that
      terroristic anarchism which in the late nineteenth
      and early twentieth centuries was responsible for
      the assassination of so many eminent political
      leaders. Unfortunately this distinction was not
      always understood . . . . Mackay was a disciple of
      Max Stirner, a thinker about whom Steiner said many
      favorable things, and he had edited some of
      Stirner's writings, although not in agreement with
      all of them.

      "Clearly such 'anarchistic' ideas had some
      similarity with those expressed by Rudolf Steiner
      in his Philosophy of Freedom, but, as was explained
      in the last chapter, he believed he had shown in
      that book that thinking was a spiritual activity
      and that only through a developed thinking could
      the human spirit imagine for itself free deeds. . .
      . many years later in his autobiography makes it
      clear that he did indeed regard his inclination of
      that time as a real temptation.

      " 'It was remote from my intention when I
      formulated this,' he tells us, 'to make it the
      basis for a political conception. But the effort
      was made to draw my mind, with its purely ethical
      individualism, into a kind of abyss. The effort was
      made to change this conception from something
      belonging to the inner being of man into something
      external. The esoteric was to be diverted into the
      exoteric.'

      "Two phrases in this statement are worthy of closer
      examination-the unexplained repetition of the words
      'the effort was made' and 'the esoteric was to be
      diverted into the exoteric.' It seems clear that
      the effort of which Steiner speaks was made by
      hindering powers rather than simply by Mackay and
      his friends, and the temptation was that an earthly
      rather than a spiritual goal should be pursued. . .
      .

      "This period came to an end through an inner
      experience which can be described only in his own
      words, an experience which enabled him for the
      first time to write and talk about Christianity in
      lectures given to an audience of theosophists.
      These first lectures which mark the beginning of
      his real mission were later published under the
      titles of Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age,
      and Christianity as Mystical Fact.

      " 'After the time of testing,' he tells us, 'had
      subjected me to stern battles of the soul, I had to
      submerge myself in Christianity, and, indeed in the
      world of spirit itself. . . . What is achieved of
      the knowledge of spirit in Christianity as Mystical
      Fact is brought directly out of the world of spirit
      itself. . . . The true substance of Christianity
      began germinally to unfold within me as an inner
      phenomenon of knowledge. About the turn of the
      century came the testing of soul I have described.
      The unfolding of my soul rested upon the fact that
      I had stood in spirit before the Mystery of
      Golgotha in most inward, most earnest solemnity of
      knowledge.' As a result of this experience and of
      writing these first books on Christianity, he tells
      us that 'ethical individualism again stood, after
      the test, in its rightful place.' . . . .

      "Rudolf Steiner tells us in his autobiography that
      his period of testing lasted from the time of his
      move from Weimar (1897) until the lectures that he
      gave to the theosophists on Christianity as
      Mystical Fact (1901). . . . These were the last
      years of waiting before he felt authorized to begin
      his public mission as teacher of the science of
      spirit . . . .

      Robert continues;

      Here it is apparent that Steiner's "test"
      occasioned by his "outer" encounters with Mackay
      and Stirner led directly to a more profound, inner
      "test". The next sentence in his autobiography
      after the previous quote reads:

      "Such tests are the opposition provided by destiny
      (Karma) which one's spiritual evolution has to
      overcome."

      And Steiner tell us what he meant by *opposition*
      in this instance:

      "For one who did not stand in living reality within
      the world of spirit, such a sinking of himself into
      a certain course of thought signified a mere
      activity of thought. For one who experiences the
      world of spirit, it signifies something quite
      different. He is brought into contact with Beings
      in the world of spirit who desire to make such
      tendencies of thought the sole predominant ones.
      Their one-sidedness in thinking does not merely
      lead to abstract error; there is a spiritual and
      living intercourse with a being which in the human
      world is error. Later I spoke of Ahrimanic beings
      when I wished to make reference to this. For these
      it is an absolute truth that the world must be a
      machine. They live in a world which touches
      directly upon the sense-world."

      And he, in his understated, prosaic way, gives us
      some indication of the intensity of this "test" and
      the crux of its culmination:

      "At that time I had to save my spiritual perception
      by inner battles. These battles stood behind my
      outer experience. In this time of testing I
      succeeded in advancing farther only when in
      spiritual perception I brought before my soul the
      evolution of Christianity. . . . The Christianity
      which I had to seek I did not find at all in the
      creeds. After the time of testing had set before me
      stern battles of the soul, I had to submerge myself
      in Christianity and in the world in which the
      spiritual speaks thereof. "

      And again, he indicates the timing of this
      "testing" and its resolution:

      "Before this turn of the century came this testing
      of the soul here described. The evolution of my
      soul rested upon the fact that I stood before the
      mystery of Golgotha in most inward, earnest joy of
      knowledge."

      -- We are told elsewhere that that the Kali Yuga
      ended in 1899. And now we can see that a
      particularly intense "time of testing" fell upon
      Steiner just as the Age of Kali was ending (a few
      years in 5000 might be considered to be "just as").
      And we can see that it also fell around the time of
      Steiner's second Moon node return.

      (The "Kali Yuga", or "Dark Age" was the time when
      Mankind's spiritual vision was at a kind of nadir.
      In *The Mission of Folk-Souls* he gives us a brief
      indication about this, and about the consequences
      of the ending of that Age:

      (". . . . in Asia Minor . . . one could only find
      old memories of the fact that there was once upon a
      time an old clairvoyance. In the East the Kali
      Yuga, the Dark Age, had already lasted for three
      thousand years, during which men could no longer
      see into the spiritual world; but they always
      longed for it, and they have ever told of a world
      which men were once able to see spiritually, but it
      was a world which had now vanished from their
      sight. . . .

      ("Spiritual research at the present time shows us
      that after Kali Yuga had run its course, which
      lasted for five thousand years (from about 3100
      B.C. to 1899 A.D.), new capacities begin to develop
      in man. These will at first appear in single
      individuals, in a few especially gifted ones only.
      It will come about, for instance, that persons will
      be able, through the natural evolution of their
      capacities, to see something of what is announced
      only by Anthroposophy, by spiritual research.

      ("We are told that in future persons in whom the
      organs of the etheric body are developed will be
      found in increasing numbers, and will attain to
      clairvoyance, which can to-day be acquired only by
      training.")

      Robert continues:

      In the lecture of 3rd August, 1924 (included in
      *Karmic Relationships III*
      <http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/KarmRelIII/19240803p02.html>)
      Steiner hints strongly about how intense this
      "test" was for him; it was a "shattering
      experience":

      "But it was above all in the last third of the 19th
      century - and especially in the time when the end
      of the Kali Yuga was approaching, in the very last
      years of the 19th century, - it was a shattering
      experience to see behind the scenes of this
      external, physical world which is spread out before
      man's senses.

      "For directly adjoining this outer world there is a
      world revealing very, very much of those historic
      processes in which the higher supersensible Beings
      enter and play a part. In the last third of the
      19th century, and especially in the last decade,
      only a thin veil concealed that which we recognise
      as the dominion of Michael, the great battle of
      Michael and all the facts connected with him."

      And in this same lecture Steiner tells something
      more about the world-historical significance of
      those times: about the relation of Anthroposophy
      to the accession of Michael:

      "It is interesting in the highest degree to see how
      in the eighteen-nineties men were led into events
      which were none other than the paths of Michael
      from the spiritual into the physical world. For you
      must remember, the entry of Michael into the
      physical world was taking place in the last third
      of the 19th century. But it had been prepared for,
      in the spiritual world, for a long time before -
      already since the beginning of the eighteen-
      forties. If I may put it so, Michael and his hosts
      were drawing ever nearer and nearer, and it became
      more and more evident that those human beings would
      now descend, who in their earthly destiny were
      connected with the task of Michael, - the task of
      receiving the Intelligence here upon earth again
      after it had fallen away from the hosts of Michael
      in the supersensible world.

      "Into the midst of all these things, as you will
      recognise from my presentation of the Mysteries,
      the Anthroposophical Movement is placed. For the
      Anthroposophical Movement is connected, as you will
      see from former lectures, with this whole stream of
      Michael."

      -- So, around the time of his second Moon node
      return Steiner went through a great "time of
      testing" in which he encountered the Ahrimanic
      spirits in a "battle" that was "shattering" for
      him. And he "passed" this test through gaining a
      new, deeper knowledge of the Christ. And this
      "testing" coincided practically with the world-wide
      turning-point of the end of the Kali Yuga. Here we
      can see even deeper meaning in the way Steiner's
      life was inserted into world-destiny. -- And the
      immediate consequences of these events were
      profound, for both Steiner and for the whole world.
      Dr. Katz picks up the story:

      "When he reached the age of forty, Rudolf Steiner
      made a few attempts to awaken Michaelic
      spirituality among befriended circles, but met with
      severe lack of understanding and at times even with
      very strong and vicious hostility. Why did he not
      stop? What motivated him to develop anthroposophy?
      This was a great sacrifice that was his response to
      an esoteric experience about which we are informed
      through a letter he wrote to his intimate coworker,
      Marie von Sivers, later his wife. This letter was
      written when he was almost forty-four years old,
      and is preserved in the archives in Dornach. (see
      Note 11) There he wrote in a complaining way how
      difficult it was to-find understanding for what he
      was offering, He could have gone on as a writer, as
      a literary critic, as an author of philosophical
      literature, and so on, what he had been doing so
      far. But for days on end he was visited every night
      by the 'Masters,' the Initiates. Of course he was
      not visited by them in the flesh; he was visited
      spiritually. They urged him, saying: You have this
      equipment now; you have what it takes to get into
      the skin of the dragon. We cannot do this, and it
      has to be done. It is a task that is needed for the
      further evolution of humanity. Of course he
      hesitated. But then, through their urging, he
      decided to accept this mission, which now we can
      say was to make available to mankind this new way
      of connecting with the spiritual world, to speak
      into this materialistic age of the spiritual world
      in a way that is fully compatible with modern,
      fully awake consciousness; that is, in a Michaelic
      way, to bring anthroposophy into the world. That
      was a task the two leading Initiates of the Western
      World mentioned earlier {the Master Jesus
      (Zarathustra) and Christian Rosenkreutz - RM} could
      not fulfill because they could not go into the skin
      of the dragon themselves. In accepting this mission
      he was well aware how little understanding he would
      meet. And, of course, he was also aware that he
      could not carry this mission out alone. He needed
      the help of the other two Great Initiates, as well
      as the help of many people, but this help would
      often come too little and too late.

      "We should realize that it is not at all self
      evident that at age forty he started to talk about
      esoteric matters. It was a great sacrifice for
      which we should be deeply grateful. It was a
      Michaelic urgency which he accepted. And then it
      became, of course, something that was a part of
      himself. That is how anthroposophy was born."

      (Katz explicates by referring to "spiritual law",
      mentioned elsewhere by Steiner, that "states that
      an initiate must not step forward and teach before
      he is forty years old. With very few exceptions,
      esoteric teachings given out by persons before they
      have reached the age of forty, and the concomitant
      maturity, are suspect and unreliable.")

      -- Another correspondence between Steiner's karma
      and world-destiny: his fortieth year. and hence
      the possibility of his stepping forth as a public
      teacher of esotericism, followed so soon after his
      "time of testing" and the ending of the Age of
      Darkness. And he did start to step forward; Easton
      relates how

      ". . . . {Steiner's} interpretation of Goethe's
      fairy story &The Green Snake and the Beautiful
      Lily*, which he published in 1899 under the title
      of "Goethe's Secret Revelation". Steiner tells us
      that his interpretation was only 'very slightly
      esoteric,' whereas a later lecture given on the
      same subject to an audience of theosophists
      contained much esoteric knowledge."

      And Easton goes on to tell how, after the turn of
      the century, in the venue of the Berlin
      Theosophists, Steiner started to give out
      information that was more and more esoteric -- and
      then to emerge as a very public Teacher. I presume
      that most of us know at least the outlines of this
      part of the story. And I would presume that most
      of us recognize the world-historic significance of
      this event. Here I wish to emphasize how it
      followed soon after and as part of the process of
      Steiner's "time of testing" coincident with his
      second Moon node return -- and how it was Steiner's
      *unique*, sacrificial task to battle with the
      "Dragon" in this way.

      -- Thus, we get a glimmer on the profound
      synchronicity of Steiner's birth and first two Moon
      node returns. Pressing onward: what of his third
      "return" -- 1916.99 = Dec. 28, 1916?

      I will approach this question at first by looking
      away from Steiner's biography and toward the
      biography of another world-historic figure,
      probably better known to the public: the so-called
      "mad monk" so deeply involved in the last years of
      Russian Tsarism: Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin.
      He was a peasant *starets* (holy man) who had
      become close to the Tsar and his family. Raputin
      was especially influential to the Tsarina
      Alexandra, mainly because of his unique ability as
      a kind of "spiritual healer" to ameliorate the
      hemophilia of her son, the Tsarevich Alexi.
      According to Wikipedia: "Alexandra came to believe
      that God spoke to her through Rasputin." And, as
      we shall hear from Steiner, she was not far wrong.

      Wikipedia says that Rasputin died precisely on
      December 29, 1916, but the narrative of his death
      shows that it, a murder, stretched overnight --
      that is, I presume, the night of December 28-29. --
      almost precisely at the time of Rudolf Steiner's
      third Moon node return. A "mere coincidence"?

      Another presumption: I would think that by now
      most of you can guess at my negative answer.
      Sergei Prokofieff, in his *The spiritual Origins of
      Eastern Europe* provides the connection to Steiner:

      "As for Rasputin himself, Rudolf Steiner told Asya
      Turgeniev in 1916 that, despite all the dubious and
      blatantly amoral feature of his personality, 'the
      spiritual world, the Russian Folk-spirit, can now
      work in Russia through him alone and through no one
      else.'"

      The implication is startling, at the least: the
      murder of Rasputin blocked the working of the
      Russian Folk-spirit, since that Spirit could then
      work through "no one else". And that was otherwise
      a critical moment in world-history. Most of us
      know that the First World War was raging then, but
      perhaps we don't know just how critical that
      particular moment really was. The "Allies" were
      near exhaustion, and serious peace offers were
      being made by the Central Powers. As Stewart
      Easton says, peace seemed to be "in the air" as a
      real possibility:

      "By the beginning of 1917 the armies of the warring
      powers, at least in the West, were close to
      exhaustion, while the Russian army was openly
      mutinous. No early decision could be expected in
      the West, whatever happened in the East; and the
      only new move the Germans could think of was to
      institute unlimited submarine warfare in the hope
      of forcing Britain to her knees, or driving her out
      of the war—even though the cost was virtually
      certain to be America's entry into the war on the
      Allied side. All through 1916 President Woodrow
      Wilson of the United States had been making
      somewhat half-hearted attempts, especially through
      Colonel House, to bring the war to an end by means
      of mediation, and at the end of the same year he
      made a series of more definite proposals himself.
      The Germans showed themselves willing to negotiate
      and authorized Wilson to enter into contact with
      the Allies. But their own proposals were too severe
      for the latter, since they still expected, with the
      aid of the Americans, to win the war outright. From
      almost the beginning of his reign in 1916 the new
      Emperor Karl of Austria tried to make peace, with
      or without the consent of the Germans. The
      possibility of a negotiated peace and an end to the
      fighting seemed to be in the air, but the statesmen
      seemed to have no idea of what kind of terms they
      really wanted; and it was difficult to translate
      Wilson's vague generalities and talk about self-
      determination of people and the rights of man into
      concrete proposals. At the same time, after his re-
      election in November, 1916, it was abundantly clear
      that when peace came to be made he would be the
      most powerful political figure in the world,
      whether or not his country became an active
      belligerent."

      At that time Steiner was keenly aware of what was
      happening in, and especially behind, the political
      arena. He had been giving revelations about the
      real nature and causes of the war -- that is, about
      the occult-political groups and forces that had
      instigated the war in the first place. And now
      those same sinister forces were acting effectively
      against the peace efforts. On 21st December, 1916
      he gave a lecture which now has the poignant,
      succinct title "Christmas at a Time of Grievous
      Destiny ". In it he uttered this *cri de coeur*:

      "Does it not cut to the very heart that we
      ourselves should be living at a time when men's
      longing for peace is shouted down? (Note 3) It
      seems almost a mockery to celebrate Christmas in
      days when voices are raised in outcry against the
      desire for peace. . . .

      "(Note 3: A reference to the agitation against
      the German proposal in December, 1916 for peace
      negotiations.)"

      And in a lecture on 30th January, 1917 (GA0174) he
      was more explicit about the crucial cause of the
      failure of the peace efforts:

      "If others had been in power instead of the agents
      of those brotherhoods, then we would, today, be
      busy with peace negotiations, and the Christmas
      call for peace would not have been shouted down!"

      In other words, those same occult-political
      "brotherhoods" (centered mainly in Britain) that he
      was exposing as the instigators of the war were
      also the decisive cause of its continuance when it
      might have otherwise been stopped. With hindsight,
      we can plausibly assume that, if it had been
      stopped then, at least the Russian territories
      might have avoided their subsequent descent into
      hell. And it is known even to external history
      that Rasputin was a powerful voice near the center
      of power in Russia who had opposed Russia's entry
      into the war and who continued to work for peace.
      His elimination from the scene served the interests
      of those sinister "brotherhoods" and paved the way
      for Russia's fall into the abyss.

      The first assassination attempt against Rasputin
      happened just at the critical time when the
      decisions were being made which plunged Russia, and
      the world, into the war catastrophe:

      "Rasputin was visiting his wife and children in his
      hometown, Pokrovskoye, along the Tura River, in
      Siberia. On June 29, 1914, he had either just
      received a telegram or was just exiting church,
      when he was attacked suddenly by Khionia Guseva, a
      former prostitute who had become a disciple of the
      monk Iliodor, once a friend of Rasputin's but now
      absolutely disgusted with his behaviour and
      disrespectful talk about the royal family. Iliodor
      had appealed to women who had been harmed by
      Rasputin, and together they formed a survivors'
      support group. Guseva thrust a knife into
      Rasputin's abdomen, and his entrails hung out of
      what seemed like a mortal wound. Convinced of her
      success, Guseva supposedly screamed, 'I have killed
      the antichrist!' After intensive surgery, however,
      Rasputin recovered." (Wikipedia)

      The wounded Rasputin sent a desperate, prophetic

      ". . . . telegram . . . to the Tsar as Nicholas
      agonized about whether to mobilize the Russian army
      in August, 1914:

      " 'Dear Friend

      " 'A terrible storm cloud hangs over Russia:
      disaster, grief, murky darkness and no light. A
      whole ocean of tears, there is no counting them,
      and so much blood. What can I say? I can find no
      words to describe the horror...You are the Tsar,
      the Father of Your People, don't let the lunatics
      triumph and destroy you and the people, and if we
      conquer Germany, what in truth will happen to
      Russia? When you consider it like that there has
      never been such a martyrdom. We all drown in blood.
      The disaster is great, the misery infinite.' "
      ("William Whitehurst on Rasputin; A note on the
      history from the author")

      And toward the end of 1916 Rasputin sent another
      prophetic message to the Tsar.

      "Mere weeks before he was assassinated, according
      to secretary Simonovich, Rasputin wrote the
      following:

      " 'I write and leave behind me this letter at Saint
      Petersburg. I feel that I shall leave life before
      January 1. I wish to make known to the Russian
      people, to Papa, to the Russian Mother and to the
      Children, to the land of Russia, what they must
      understand. If I am killed by common assassins, and
      especially by my brothers the Russian peasants,
      you, Tsar of Russia, will have nothing to fear for
      your children, they will reign for hundreds of
      years in Russia. But if I am murdered by boyars,
      nobles, and if they shed my blood, their hands
      will remain soiled with my blood, for twenty-five
      years they will not wash their hands from my
      blood. They will leave Russia. Brothers will kill
      brothers, and they will kill each other and hate
      each other, and for twenty-five years there will
      be no nobles in the country. Tsar of the land of
      Russia, if you hear the sound of the bell which
      will tell you that Grigori has been killed, you
      must know this: if it was your relations who have
      wrought my death, then no one in the family, that
      is to say, none of your children or relations,
      will remain alive for more than two years. They
      will be killed by the Russian people. I go, and I
      feel in me the divine command to tell the Russian
      Tsar how he must live if I have disappeared. You
      must reflect and act prudently. Think of your
      safety and tell your relations that I have paid for
      them with my blood. I shall be killed. I am no
      longer among the living. Pray, pray, be strong,
      think of your blessed family. -Grigori' "
      (Wikipedia)

      And indeed (again, according to Wikipedia), it was
      "a group of nobles, led by Prince Felix Yusupov and
      the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich" who plotted the
      assassination of Rasputin (who were in fact
      "relations" of the Tsar). And we know that the
      Tsar and his family were in fact subsequently
      killed. -- But recent evidence sheds doubt on the
      long-believed story that these particular plotters
      actually consummated the murder. Wikipedia
      continues:

      "British intelligence reports, between London and
      Saint Petersburg in 1916, indicate that the British
      were extremely concerned about Rasputin's
      displacement of pro-British ministers in the
      Russian government but, even more importantly, his
      apparent insistence on withdrawing Russian troops
      from World War I. This withdrawal would have
      allowed the Germans to transfer their Eastern Front
      troops to the Western Front, leading to a massive
      outnumbering of the Allies, and threatening their
      defeat. Whether this was actually Rasputin's
      intention or whether he was simply concerned about
      the huge number of casualties (as the Tsaritsa's
      letters indicated) is in dispute, but it is clear
      that the British viewed him as a real danger.

      "Professor Pounder tells us that, of the four shots
      fired into Rasputin's body, the third (which
      entered his forehead) was instantly fatal. This
      third shot also provides some intriguing evidence.
      In Pounder's view, with which the Firearms
      Department of London's Imperial War Museum agrees,
      the third shot was fired by a different gun from
      those responsible for the other three wounds. The
      'size and prominence of the abraded margin'
      suggested a large lead non-jacketed bullet. At the
      time, the majority of weapons used hard metal
      jacketed bullets, with Britain virtually alone in
      using lead unjacketed bullets, for their officers'
      Webley revolvers. Pounder came to the conclusion
      that the bullet which caused the fatal shot was a
      Webley .455 inch unjacketed round, the best fit
      with the available forensic evidence.

      "Witnesses to the murder stated that the only man
      present with a Webley revolver was Lieutenant
      Oswald Rayner, a British officer attached to the
      British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) station
      in Saint Petersburg. This account was supported
      further during an audience between the British
      Ambassador, Sir George Buchanan, and Tsar Nicholas,
      when Nicholas stated that he suspected a young
      Englishman who had been an old school friend of
      Yusupov. Rayner certainly had known Yusupov at
      Oxford. There was, however, another SIS officer in
      Saint Petersburg at the time, namely Captain
      Stephen Alley, who had actually been born in the
      Yusupov Palace in 1876. Both families had very
      strong ties, so it is difficult to come to any
      conclusion about whom to hold responsible.
      Confirmation that Rayner, along with another
      officer, Captain John Scale, met up with Yusupov in
      the weeks leading up to the killing can be found in
      the diary of their chauffeur, William Compton, who
      recorded all visits. The last entry was made on the
      night after the murder. Compton said that 'it is a
      little known fact that Rasputin was shot not by a
      Russian but by an Englishman' and indicated that
      the culprit was a lawyer from the same part of the
      country as Compton himself."

      -- So here is strong evidence that the bloody hand
      of "perfidious Albion" actually murdered the "only"
      representative of the Russian Folk Spirit, at the
      critical moment when peace might have been possible
      and the fall of Russia, and Europe, into the abyss
      might have been avoided. This seems to be
      circumstantial confirmation of Steiner's naming of
      the Western "brotherhoods" as the prime culprits
      behind the failure of the peace efforts. And it is
      further confirmation of Steiner's "indications"
      about the war guilt of these "brotherhoods" and
      their guilt in bringing about the hellish
      "socialistic experiments" in Eastern Europe. -- And
      this murder happened on Steiner's third Moon node
      return, almost to the day, perhaps exactly on the
      day.

      -- So, what was Steiner himself doing during the
      war? Chapter 9 of Easton's biography gives a brief
      overview of Steiner's activities then. His major
      books of that time included *The Riddle of Man*, in
      which he explained and vindicated the true,
      spiritual mission of the German peoples, and
      *Riddles of the Soul*, in which he brought forth
      fully the concept of the "threefold man".
      Certainly, Steiner was deeply aware of the import
      of the war, its true causes, and its spiritual
      meaning. Especially during late 1916 and early
      1917 he gave lectures with startling information on
      these themes. It was only then that many non-
      Anthroposophists in the wider public were even
      starting to grope for answers in this direction.
      Easton says:

      "By early 1917 few if any thinkers of any
      substance, if one excepts the Marxists who were
      trying to apply the ideas of their master to the
      situation in their own countries and in Europe as a
      whole, had given any serious thought to the
      possibility that major changes in the social order
      might become necessary after the war if the world
      were to return to a truly peaceful way of living.
      No 'peace-aims' of this nature seem to have been
      studied in any of the warring countries, and at
      this time it seems to have been taken for granted,
      at least in circles where policy was made, that
      after the unfortunate aberration of the war peace
      would be made much as it had been made after
      previous wars, and the world would settle down as
      it always had done before. It occurred to very few
      to suppose that there was anything fundamentally
      wrong with the social, political and economic
      structure of the world. The last two years of the
      war radically changed this viewpoint . . . ."

      -- Events were moving so that Steiner was able to
      bring forth a new social concept, which could come
      only from "initiation science", as a proposal to
      meet the desperate needs of the world situation.
      Someone came forth to ask the "Parzival question".
      Easton relates:

      "Count Otto Lerchenfeld, a member of the Bavarian
      State Council, who was also an anthroposophist,
      shared Steiner's concern over the European
      situation in the early months of 1917. He was aware
      of Steiner's lectures being given at Dornach in
      which he voiced his apprehensions after the
      beginning of the Russian Revolution and the entry
      of the United States into the war. He was
      especially interested in a cycle called *Truths in
      the Evolution of Man and Humanity* in which Steiner
      explained the increasing feebleness of human
      thinking as the result of certain spiritual changes
      in man, which had the effect of preventing him from
      reaching maturity in the same way as in the past. .
      . . he made the decision to approach Steiner to ask
      him for his thoughts on how it would be possible to
      build a lasting peace, with the intention of
      presenting these to his friends and acquaintances
      in high places. When therefore Steiner paid a visit
      to Berlin in June 1917, the Count called upon him
      and explained the gist of his own thought. Steiner,
      in reply, laid before him the outline of those
      ideas which were later to be embodied in more
      detail in what is usually called in English
      speaking countries the *Threefold Commonwealth* or
      *Threefold Social Order*. Although obviously he had
      already given very much thought to these ideas, he
      told Count Lerchenfeld at this first interview that
      it had been his opinion that not only did the
      outline need still much elaborating, but also it
      should have been available for study by all classes
      of society before it could be presented as a real
      plan of action by their leaders. . . . Lerchenfeld
      sent a telegram to a close friend of his, also an
      anthroposophist, whose brother was the chief
      councillor of the Emperor Karl of Austria. This
      friend, Count Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz, then came to
      Berlin and joined in the work for the last week. At
      the end of that time Count Lerchenfeld asked Rudolf
      Steiner to incorporate their developed ideas in a
      memorandum which could then be circulated among the
      leading statesman of Europe. Later, perhaps, it
      might be presented to the Allied leaders as the
      Central European counterproposal to the tired old
      thoughts of President Wilson.*** A few days later
      Steiner presented the Count with the Memorandum,
      and the effort began to interest the statesmen of
      Europe in a new social structure for their
      countries, for which they had as yet perceived no
      need. How to win the war or save themselves from
      losing it was unhappily the first priority in such
      thinking as they could undertake while in the midst
      of the turmoil of war. Steiner himself was scarcely
      optimistic about the results of the effort, but he
      had done what was asked of him, as usual, and, as
      Count Lerchenfeld wrote later, he was convinced
      that 'everything must be done in order that the
      idea of the Threefold Social Order should sink into
      the conceptual consciousness of the time.' "

      But, tragically, Steiner's ideas only narrowly
      missed finding their way into the minds of the
      crucial people at the crucial time:

      "As for the Austrian Count Polzer-Hoditz, he
      returned to his country with the intention of
      giving the memorandum to his brother, who would
      then place it before the new Emperor. This brother
      was not himself an anthroposophist, nor was he
      particularly in sympathy with either Theosophy or
      Anthroposophy. But he conscientiously examined the
      document, and came to the conclusion that it was by
      far the most interesting series of proposals that
      he had yet seen. But he did not think the time was
      opportune to present it to his master, preferring
      to hold it in reserve until the right moment. In
      fact, what happened was that some months later he
      decided, for various reasons, to resign his
      position as chief councillor to the Emperor. It was
      only at the moment of his resignation that he at
      last felt free to present the memorandum that he
      had received several months previously, to the
      Emperor Karl. Thereafter nothing further was heard
      of it, and it is not even certain that Karl ever
      read it. In any event he did nothing about it, but
      continued to pursue his own plans for a negotiated
      peace, which of course came to nothing. The other
      statesman of importance who certainly had the
      Memorandum with him at a crucial moment of history,
      though how much he had studied it is unknown, was
      Richard von Kuhlmann, foreign secretary of the
      German Reich, who bore the chief responsibility for
      negotiating the peace with the Russians after the
      success of the Bolshevik Revolution. The Treaty of
      Brest-Litovsk, which he negotiated in March 1918,
      was the bitterest possible disappointment to Rudolf
      Steiner, who believed that the Central Powers by
      agreeing to a magnanimous peace might well have
      undermined Lenin's position at home."

      Robert continues:

      We are aware of the catastrophic results of the
      failure of the "threefold commonwealth" concept to
      find its way into practice when the situation
      required it and was fluid enough that it might have
      had a chance. Russia slipped into the abyss, and
      most of Europe followed in less than thirty years.
      And we still live with the consequences today. --
      Surely, Rudolf Steiner's third Moon node return was
      a "time of testing" for the world, and Steiner
      responded to it with prodigious activity which
      produced exactly what the world needed, but destiny
      and/or human weakness was such that the world did
      not receive it. And this "testing" was indeed
      necessary for Steiner to bring forth the "fruits"
      that he did during those terrible times:

      "Although Rudolf Steiner did not publish his book
      on the *Threefold Social Order* until 1919, the
      ideas on which it was based, namely, the threefold
      (or, more correctly the three-membered) nature of
      the social organism, were already put forward in
      their essentials in the summer of 1917 when he
      prepared the Memorandum for the statesmen of
      Europe. In the autumn of the same year he published
      a book in which the threefold nature of the human
      organism was explained by him for the first time-
      although he was later to tell an audience of
      anthroposophists that he had been able to grasp the
      central idea many decades before, adding that only
      'during the storms of war was I able to bring it to
      maturity.' " (Easton)

      -- Yet again, we can understand a little more how
      Steiner's life was inserted into world-destiny so
      that his Moon node returns marked turning-points
      both for himself and the whole world. Before
      closing, I would briefly suggest some thoughts
      occasioned by consideration of Steiner's Moon node
      returns beyond his lifetime:

      1935.60
      1954.21
      1972.82
      1991.43
      2010.04

      Most of us are aware that the year 1935 was very
      much a "time of testing" for the Anthroposophical
      Movement: this was when Elisabeth Vreede and Ita
      Wegman were expelled from the Vorstand and the
      Dornach Society, and when some national Societies
      also split from Dornach. We might also note that
      this time followed closely the crucial year 1933,
      the time that Steiner predicted that the Beast
      would rise from the Abyss. (Some of us have
      already discussed how this "rise" manifested in the
      physical world.) These years were also the time,
      as Steiner prophesied, when the Ethereal Christ
      would make His "return". (Willi Sucher put the
      precise time of this "return" in January 1935,
      between Epiphany and St. Paul's Damascus day.)

      We might also note that 1933 was exactly 72 years
      after Steiner's birth year of 1861. It takes 72
      years for the vernal point to precess one degree of
      Zodiacal arc (25960/360=72). Taking the Sun
      conventionally to cover one degree of arc, one's
      birthday Sun is therefore "conjunct" with one's
      "personal star" for exactly 72 years. Therefore,
      72 years is sometimes considered to be one's
      "alloted" life-span. If Rudolf Steiner had lived
      out his "alloted" life, he would have lived until
      the crucial year of 1933. Yet again, we can see
      more how his personal destiny was meaningfully
      inserted into world destiny.

      -- Those were just a couple of hints. I'll leave
      it for some other people who might know more about
      Anthro history to consider how the other "returns"
      that have already come might have manifested in
      "testing" for the Anthro Movement. And I'll leave
      open the question of what kind of "testing" might
      come to the Anthro Movement a year from now. I'll
      close with a pregnant thought from Lecture 9 of
      *The Fall of the Spirits of Darnkess*:

      "Events in the physical world can really only be
      understood if one knows that<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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