Mysteries

Extensive writing exists on the ancient “Mysteries,”1 revealing their close relationship with Christianity while also corroborating what Steiner had to say about them, albeit without penetrating meaningfully into the reason for their origin, existence or decline. Except by Steiner (anthroposophy) only their external skeleton is perceived. One can be thoroughly exposed to the oral and written expositions of Christendom over the last two centuries without coming to any real understanding of these extensive ancient phenomena.

Someday, when anthroposophy has seeped more widely and deeply into human consciousness, there will be amazement at how extensively the ancient Mysteries and the conditions that gave rise to them and under which they functioned are stated in the Bible. That Christ incarnated for the purpose of enacting them “Once For All,” not in the secret confines of the ancient practices but in the full view of all humanity, will become increasingly clear. This is the thesis Steiner developed in Christianity as Mystical Fact (CMF). It can now be seen that Christ disclosed it in manifold ways before his death and by his appearances to Paul and Lazarus/ John again after his Resurrection.

Humanity’s loss of understanding of the Mysteries clouded its ability to comprehend what Christ was saying in these disclosures. Only a few were given the “Grace” of understanding it and seeing him at the “turning point of time.” Some of these disclosures are given below (RSV; my emphasis):

Mt 7,13-14: (13) “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. (14) For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Two elements are involved here in “the way” that leads to life. One is “finding” the path and the other is traversing it. Few “find” it and when they do it is “narrow and hard.” This cannot refer to the masses, the “crowds” (Mt 5,1a), but describes the “way” of the initiate into the Mysteries. Christ spoke these words on the “Mountain” and only to “his disciples [who] came to him” there (Mt 5,1). First there must be a sufficient period of discipline2 to prepare the astral body’s “lotus flowers,” and only then can the revelation be made within the etheric body. See the discussion of the initiation procedure in “Three Days’ Journey.”

Lk 11,29: When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”

Mt 12,38-40: (38) Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” (39) But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

See what was said about these passages in the quotation from The Gospel of St. Luke (GSL) in “Three Days’ Journey.” It would also seem that “generation” in vs 39 above refers not only to those then living but to the Greco-Roman Cultural Era in which humanity had sunk to the point of no longer knowing about the Mysteries or the spiritual world behind the maya of the mineral-physical. It would be millennia before that cognition would again arise in a later “generation,” beginning with our own. Is it not remarkable that only with the beginning of the age (“generation”) of the human being’s Consciousness Soul (see I-24) was the knowledge that existed in the ancient Mysteries about the spherical shape of the Earth and its relationship to the heavenly bodies “discovered” again by Columbus and Copernicus? It was part of the renaissance, or rebirth, of human consciousness, i.e., the birth of the Consciousness Soul. Only slowly, as a newborn child, is the human being coming again into its own knowledge, lost for millennia, of what had been given to it by the spiritual world in the Mysteries. (See, for instance, the discussion of the pyramid and the phoenix in the Appendix to “Fire” in Vol. 2, “What Is Man?”.) And even with its rediscovery, to this very day its spiritual significance remains obscure. Powell’s works on hermetic astrology (Hermetic Astrology I [HA1] and Hermetic Astrology II [HA2]) shed much light on what Steiner told us early in this century. Only slowly are we beginning to see that it was there in the Bible all along.

Mt 26,60-61: (60) . . . At last two came forward (61) and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.’”

Mk 15,29-30: (29) And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, (30) save yourself, and come down from the cross!”

Jn 2,18-19: (18) The Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” (19) Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

We shall see that the higher meaning of “temple” is the “Three Bodies” which house the “I Am,” and we shall come to see that all these bodies are to be purified and perfected, “transfigured,” so that even the oldest and basest, the physical, is no longer mineralized in earthly existence but is resurrected in its “Form/Phantom” condition (cf. Lk 20,27-38). “Three Days” will be seen to indicate great spiritual significance in and of itself, but as it is used here it refers to the “temple sleep” of the ancient Mysteries being carried one step further, namely, through the point of actual earthly death rather than mere dormancy under the watchful eye of the hierophant as in former practice. In being crucified and resurrected even through the physical body itself, the “Form/Phantom” perceived through “Grace” by some, Christ became the “First Born/Fruits” of humanity, indicating the entelechy of the Prodigal Son who takes into himself the “I Am” of the Christ. Every Prodigal Son, i.e., each of us who would be redeemed, must “drink the cup” (Mk 10,39; Mt 20,23).

   
Three Days' Journey, Page 5
Mysteries, Page 2