Re: [steiner] Initiation, New Birth---Death & Rebirth
- ******You can see from this that the path of overcoming the lower self within daily life is pictured as a "little death" each day---"In Christ I die daily", to go beyond the personal self to the Higher Ego--- both within Christianity and within old paganism (for instance, Socrates in Plato's dialogues said the soul is "buried in the body as in a tomb", and the philosopher or lover of wisdom seeks to "die" to earthly things to release it).
This is the "Mystic Death", where the lower self and all its attributes is crucified within, so that a New Self emerges from the 'tomb'. In old initiations it was done all at once, where now we can do it a little bit each day, within daily life. There still may be times where a BIG change occurs, which may involve passing through a death-like condition, like the people who have had life-changing near death experiences, or some of the death/rebirth experiences I'm sure some of you here have had.
One teaching of anthroposophy is that, just as Christ died and was resurrected at age 33, so in all our lives the 33rd year is to some degree a 'Death and Resurrection Year'. Many people, when I lecture about the 7 Year Cycles of Life, tell me of experiences that year that turned their lives around.
Thank you, Dr. Star, for your thorough exploration and
explanation of death and rebirth. How fascinating!!
--- DRStarman2001@... wrote:
>*******> When you undergo initiation on the spiritual path, you awaken the
>>eternal element in you, and this makes your experience after death
>>completely different. It also completely transforms the "little death" we
>>experience each night: sleep and the dream state.
>The experience of initiation into the mysteries is both a death and
>a new birth. We give birth to a new self, after the old one dies. The
>soul itself is its mother, while the spirit is the child. This can happen to
>each and every one of us, if we seek to awaken the higher man within us---in
>fact, it MUST happen to us, if we would be truly human.
>>Goethe: "And so long as you do not have this, 'Die and become!'
>>You are but a troubled guest on this darkened earth."
>>This self can be called the Christ within-- -- and the awakening of it, a
>>giving birth to the Divine Child. Here is one meaning of the Trinity:
>>Nature is the Father, the soul is the Mother, and the Spirit Is the Child.
>>As the mystic Angelus Silesius said,
>>"Were Christ born in Bethlehem a thousand times, and not in you, you are
>>This is what all this has to do with Christianity.
> The symbols and rituals of the ancient Christian religion we have
>had handed down to us are, on one level, symbols of the inner re-birth
>that we can experience on the spiritual path.
> What we were reading about in the book "Christianity As Mystical Fact and
>the Mysteries of Antiquity" was, first, about what in ancient times was
>called "initiation." Every ancient religion had some form of initiation,
>about which almost nothing is known by ordinary history, because it was
>extremely secret. In Egypt, this took the form of the "temple sleep", where,
>after preparation, a person was placed into a deathlike trance state for
>several days -- -- -- while his body lay in the coffer which is still in the
>King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid -- -- -- and his soul was sent into the
>astral world, after which experience he would emerge reborn as a new person.
> In later lectures, Steiner goes into greater detail about how this was
>done and about how initiation is different today. A full explanation requires
>the use of anthroposophical terminology. We human beings are mainly composed
>of the physical body, etheric body, astral body, and Ego. At night when we
>sleep, the etheric body of life forces stays with the physical, while the
>astral body and ego go out and experience the astral world, which is the
>dream pictures we remember each morning. The reason why we forget our dreams
>so quickly, however, is that the etheric body is what gives us memory, and IT
>has stayed with the physical body to keep it alive.
>In the moments of waking up, the astral body is reconnecting with the etheric
>body, and we have only those few moments in which to impress what the astral body has experienced all night into the etheric body: if we don't do so, the memory
> In the Temple Sleep, the etheric body ALSO was separated from the
>physical and sent out with the astral body, with theresult that the person would be able to remember all his experiences inthat astral world. This was done by men who were already initiates and had somecontrol of their life forces, keeping the person's body alive even without the etheric body in it.
As a result of the preparation which had been done,
the person initiated this
>way would meet up with higher spiritual beings on the astral plane, and would
>be brought back to life as a different person. He was then called the
> This was what the Hebrew priests were attempting to do with Lazarus. but
>in the centuries leading up to the time of Christ, this kind of initiation
>was becoming more and more difficult to accomplish, because we human beings
>were becoming more and more solidly anchored in our physical bodies, as
>evolution required. When this process was attempted with Lazarus, it failed,
>and he actually died. His ego and astral body were lost in the astral world,
>because the priests did not have enough control over their life forces to
>keep his body alive.
> It was at this time that we were coming more and more solidly into the
>physical body and the old initiation practices were becoming impossible, that
>the prophesied one, the messiah, the Christ, came into the world. When He was told that Lazarus was dead, He said that he was only sleeping. Christ then
>went to the tomb, and with his own superior grasp of the life forces, he
>finished the initiation and brought Lazarus back.
> This not only transformed Lazarus's life, but it had a symbolic meaning,
>as did every action that Christ took. The Christ came into the man Jesus at
>the very time that the actual human ego was coming into the physical body of
>mankind completely for the first time. The knowledge of ourselves as
>individuals, the Ego, is the gift of the Christ to us by his incarnation
>amongst us. Just as the Christ completed the initiation of Lazarus directly
>himself, so, because the ego is now within we human beings, we are able to
>initiate ourselves directly, within our everyday lives, without the need for
>a priesthood or being put through something like the temple sleep. Instead,
>the process of dying and being born again is something that happens to us
>individually, within our individual lives, in a way which is unique to each
> In its extreme form, it still can involve a literal Death and Rebirth,
>such as people have gone through who died on the operating table and then
>came back to life, but a new, transformed life. But it doesn't do have to be
>so extreme or violent: the meditation exercises we have been given as part of
>spiritual science have the same effect, of causing a gradual death of the old
>self and the birth of the higher self in us. which can take a multitude of
>different forms in our lives.