[Fwd: New Year Meditation]
Parallel and compatable with our 12 Holy Nights study, I wish to insert a few of Rudolf Steiner's words given on this same date, December 31, in a lecture as timely now as when he spoke these words which follow in 1915. It is my understanding spiritual exercises and certanly Der Seelen Kalendar (The Calendar of the Soul) begin(s) at the New Year, which during our times occurs at Easter. I wished to share with all of you at least one reason for this as Steiner himself explains as follows, which I received from and am deeply grateful to Rick Bobbs for causing me to see:
"New Year as a Symbol of the Great Cosmic Year" by Rudolf Steiner, Dornach.
31 Dec. 1915
"Now let us, to begin with, consider what people call our lifeless inorganic Earth, the mineral kingdom of our Earth. This which is apparently lifeless substance, the mineral which to the materialist is merely lifeless, is to us not only endowed with life, but with soul and spirit, so that we speak also of a soul-and-spirit part of our so-called lifeless inorganic, purely mineral Earth. True, when we speak of the consciousness of the Earth, we do not in the first place see in the geological-mineral substance that which may be compared to a man’s muscles and blood, but we see only what may be compared to his bony system, namely, the solid earth; so that when we speak of the consciousness of the Earth, we have to think of it as connected with the whole Earth, not only with its bony system, but with water, air, ether, etc., corresponding to the muscles, blood, and so on."
"We can speak of a consciousness of the whole mineral Earth, but we can equally speak of a consciousness of the whole plant world which evolves on the Earth. The laws of this consciousness are certainly entirely different from the laws of human consciousness. In speaking of plant consciousness, we must always speak of it as regards certain districts only, because it changes with different regions of the Earth."
"Night consciousness is beclouded consciousness, for us practically no consciousness at all; while day consciousness is full consciousness of our other side. In the night our lower nature wakes, while with our higher nature we sleep, and it is exactly the same with the Earth, when on the one hemisphere there is winter, an the other there is summer. On the one side the consciousness is awake, on the other side it sleeps and vice versa. As I have just said, and as I have often explained, this only holds good in respect to the plant world. We know that the plant world sleeps in the height of summer when there is growth on every side; while it is outwardly unfolding its physical nature - it is asleep. But it wakes to full consciousness during the time when physically, externally, it is going through no development; then the plant world is awake. Thus we speak of all plant life on Earth as a whole; and this plant life, as a whole, has a consciousness.
"When speaking of this consciousness which as a second consciousness intermingles with the mineral consciousness of the Earth, we can really say that during the height of summer in our part of the Earth the plant consciousness is asleep, and in the depth of winter it is awake. At this season, however, during the time at which we now are, something further takes place.
"Now I beg you to note that these two states of consciousness, that is, the general consciousness belonging to the mineral earth, and the general plant consciousness - are always distinct. They are throughout the whole year two separate beings. But these are not only two distinct Beings, for at one season they unite, so that at the present time of year, the one interpenetrates the other. At the time when one year is passing over into the other, the mineral things and event of the Earth and the whole plant world have but one consciousness, which means that these two consciousnesses interpenetrate each other.
"What is the peculiar nature of the mineral consciousness, this consciousness of the great Earth-Being?"
"The Earth thinks with its consciousness the whole firmament of heaven nearest to the Earth. As we look with our eyes on trees and stones, so does the Earth consciously look into space and contemplate all that takes place in the stars. The Earth is a being that meditates on the occurrences of the stars.
"Thus fundamentally the mineral consciousness contains the secret of the whole Cosmos. While we men move about on the Earth in a superficial way, thinking merely of the stones against which we knock, or of the many things which our senses reveal to us, the Earth thinks with its consciousness - through which we are passing as we move through space - of the whole Cosmos. She has indeed greater, more all-embracing thoughts than we have. In truth, it is an extraordinarily exalting thought, when we realise: ‘I am not simply passing through the air; I am moving through the thoughts of the Earth."
"Now let us again consider the other consciousness, that of the plants. These are not able to think so much as the Earth can. The thinking consciousness of the plants - not of individual plants, but of the whole united plant-world - is a much more restricted consciousness, it embraces a smaller circle of the Earth throughout the year; but this is not the case at the present season. Plant consciousness is now one with the whole consciousness of the Earth, and because the plant consciousness interpenetrates the earth-consciousness, the plant-world at New Year time, knows the secrets of the stars and applies them. Plants are thgus able to unfold again in spring in accordance with the secrets of the cosmos, and can bring forth their blossoms and fruit. In this unfoldment the whole mystery of the cosmos is contained, in the way plants bring forth their leaves, blossoms and fruit.
"But during the time the plants are producing their leaves, flowers and fruit, they are not able to meditate upon it. It is only at this present season that they can think - now - when the plant consciousness is united with the consciousness of the whole mineral world. That is why it is said in Spiritual Science: About the season of the New Year, two cycles interpenetrate each other.
"This is the main secret of all existence - that two cycles penetrate each other; then parting, continue separately their further development; again intermingle, and so on. Only think how marvelous this secret of existence is! Plant-consciousness and mineral-consciousness, two streams of evolution - progress apart through the whole year, then at the time when one year passes over into another, they unite. Again they pass through the year apart, uniting once more at the festival of the New Year. The cyclic advance of history is similar to this.
"We turn from this mystic event, through which we are now passing, and which fills us with a deep feeling of holy awe in respect of the passing of one year into the other - we turn to a still deeper mystery.
"We know that we are now living in the cycle in which the consciousness soul is unfolding, that this was preceded by that of the unfolding of the rational or intellectual-soul, which was again preceded by the cycle in which the sentient soul was developed, before which again we go back to the time of development of the sentient body. This takes us back 6000 years before our Christian era, to a time when all human thought was evolved within the cycle of the sentient body - of the so-called astral body.
"We have now to advance through the cycle of the spiritual or consciousness-soul, and through that of the Spirit-Self, and further still man has to develop.
"The consciousness-soul is principally developed at the present time because man chiefly makes use of his physical body alone as an instrument. On this account - as you know already from many lectures - this present age is the high tide of materialism. A time will come, however, when man will not only make use of his physical body, but will again learn to use his etheric body, as in earlier times he used his astral body, in the cycle of evolution when that body was the main element of consciousness.
"We can therefore say: Our condition at one time on Earth was such , that our soul experienced a contact of its consciousness with the consciousness of our astral body. Just as at New Year, plant consciousness penetrates mineral consciousness, so, thousands of years ago, did our soul intermingle with our astral body. At that time our soul was one, in its consciousness, with the astral body. The time of that type of consciousness was six thousand years before our era. When that consciousness came about man celebrated a New Year on Earth; a mighty New Year!
"Just as we regard the New Year as the mingling of the plant-consciousness with the mineral consciousness of the Earth, so we must realise that 6,000 years before our era a great, a mighty cosmic New Year of our Earth took place. Our Soul-consciousness then united with - passed through- the astral consciousness of our body.
"What was it that then took place?
"At that time when our inner soul-consciousness passed through (or intermingled with) the astral consciousness of our body - then our limited human consciousness, the consciousness which we have to-day, had progressed as far as the present plant-consciousness at New Year. Just as plants gaze abroad into the heavens because their consciousness has been united to the mineral consciousness of the Earth, so did man then see and perceive a wide field of wisdom six thousand years before our era, when his soul was united with his astral body at the time of the cosmic New Year.
"From this time originated the knowledge which we have now lost, since the wisdom of the Gnostics has perished. The source of this knowledge must be sought in the earthly and cosmic New Year about 6,000 B.C. This was the knowledge from which Zarathustra gave forth his teaching; the knowledge, whose last great rays still illuminated the Gnostics, but of which only a few fragments remain. It is the winter of the Earth, but the Earth’s New Year to which we look back.
"If we now add four thousand years more to the years we have passed through since the founding of Christianity, we again come to a similar intermingling as that I have just indicated; to the mingling of our soul-consciousness with our astral consciousness, but at a higher stage. Man will once more experience a universal stellar consciousness. For this we endeavour to prepare ourselves through our Spiritual Science, so that there may be men ready to receive it."
"Twelve months pass by between one union of the plant-consciousness with the mineral consciousness of the Earth, and another. Twelve thousand years pass between one cosmic New Year and another: between one intermingling of the human soul with the Astral World-Soul, and another." (The Festivals of the Seasons, 1928, Anthroposophic Press, pp.174-177)
It seems to me, we will truly be able to celebrate the 'Easter New Years', in about 4,000 years! Until then, these sound like good reasons for it being mid-winter. Please feel free to share this with friends.
Best wishes, Rick.