The Festivals and their Meaning II:
To Rudolf Steiner the Mystery of Golgotha was far more than the central event of the Christian religion. It was the pivotal event of the whole divine process of creation, of the whole process of human evolution from its beginnings in the womb of the Spirit to its final far-distant consummation in man's attainment of his divine nature. Its significance, he held, must be looked for in all human history, in all the arts, in human thinking, in all social relationships, and, if men could but see it, even in the materialistic triumphs of science.
So too the Christian Festivals were never for him merely the commemoration of the great historical events or truths of the Christian revelation. They are in themselves, each year, spiritual events, carrying a significance that grows and deepens with the developing phases of human evolution. Especially is this true of the Easter Festival, with its answer to man's deepest needs, its quickening of his highest hopes; with its message of the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, of life over death. Again and again, from all points of view, Rudolf Steiner lectured upon the deep meaning of the Easter Festival in the eternal working of the divine worlds upon mankind, in the prefiguring myths and symbols of the ancient Mystery religions, in its relation to the world of nature and the cosmic universe, in which the date of its keeping contains unique, but almost forgotten, significance. But, above all, he speaks of it as the Festival of man's spiritual future, the Festival of Hope and also the Festival of Warning.
This book contains a selection from many lectures. They were given originally to those who were familiar with Steiner's anthroposophical teaching, and to those they will be a mine of meditative reading. To the ordinary reader, much in them will perforce be strange, at times startling and even provoking. But we live, not by what we already think we know, but by what we can receive in revelation. Those who read these lectures in that spirit will find in them illumination and inspiration, the opening of new doors, and the unexpected lighting of dark places by the freshly-revealed significance of familiar Easter truths.