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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Festivals of the Seasons

12. The Baldor Myth and the Good Friday Mystery II

3 April 1915, Dornach

The gatherings for the festivals give us an occasion for thinking in common of important and significant problems of the soul and of evolution. It is therefore very fitting that we on the occasion of this sorrowful festival put such thoughts before us as would occur to the individual soul either in meditation or otherwise, but which through such festivals can find a common expression.

Yesterday I pointed out how the entombment of Christ Jesus on Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter morning every year are symbols for something quite specially important both in human and cosmic evolution. These are the days in which the human soul can actually pass through, or at least can feel after, the deepest of its most essential inner experiences. The symbol for the fact that the Christ-Being, or let us say the earthly embodiment of the Christ-Being, rested for three days in the state of death is connected with the deepest mysteries of humanity. And perhaps especially today the friends here assembled should be reminded of an important mystery connected with this symbol.

When we feel in its full significance the symbolic entombment of Jesus Christ, his lying in the grave, his passing through death, when we are thus quickened by the attainments of Spiritual Science, and sink ourselves into the thought of this symbol, then we really experience something in feeling and thinking which is connected with the deepest mysteries of human nature upon Earth. When once our Building 1This refers to the Johannes Building, or Goetheanum, at Dornach, Switzerland, later destroyed by fire on New Year’s Eve, 1922. But this wooden statue was saved. is completed, my dear friends, we shall have in a particular spot, carved in wood, the victory of the Christ-Being over Ahriman on the one side, and Lucifer on the other. 2This group had not been placed in the Goetheanum when the fire took place, and it has therefore escaped destruction. The Group will represent the full significance of what has taken place in the passing of the Christ-Being through the Mystery of Golgotha in regard to the earthly relationship between Christ, Ahriman and Lucifer. And now we may say, when we let the entombment work most deeply on us with full understanding, there comes before our souls a feeling for the meaning of Christ’s battle against Ahriman and Lucifer. In order to understand this, we must bring before us something which we already know. Allusion has been frequently made to what is present in a preparatory way in the old religions—the death of the god and the resurrection of the god. It is believed that we should conclude from this that the Christ-Event is only a remodelling of the death and resurrection of Adonis. Such assertions, however, only show that an actual understanding of the Christ-Event has not been gained. For this Adonis event or other similar events wherever they are encountered are of such a kind that in them a view is given of natural existence, of life which is repeated every year, the life which is connected with the events of nature and which really belongs to natural phenomena; just as what we described yesterday as the Balder-Event is also fundamentally bound up with the phenomena of nature, with the observations which man in ancient times could make of nature. All pre-Christian religions were fundamentally religions of this kind. The nature of their worship had a connection with what could be perceived by the clairvoyant soul of old in the events of nature and their course. And the Eastern religions have not yet fundamentally got beyond this standpoint. Christianity has really passed beyond it, for Christianity is in the most eminent sense what can be called an historical religion, i.e., a religion in which the chief point is what must be understood from the whole course of human history and human evolution in the Earth-existence.

That the Earth-evolution goes through an ascending and then a descending path—we can from another point of view say men go through a descent and an ascent—and that in the midst, as has often been described, stands the Christ-Event, the Mystery of Golgotha, and that through this event history obtains its real purpose—that is the nature and the true meaning of Christianity. We must now answer the question: What is this course of history, generally speaking, which in the deeds of men, extends like a continuation of nature over the Earth? What is history really? That which happens, which is enacted through the progress of human deeds, human feelings, human thoughts —what is it really? We understand its real existence correctly when, with our soul’s vision intensified through Spiritual Science, we bring before us Christ Jesus resting in the grave on Good Friday. There the real nature of history comes before our souls.

For then we become aware, my dear friends, if only we have increased our soul’s vision through Spiritual Science, that what here on the Earth is history, will at one time be nature, on the cosmic body which will unfold itself as a new embodiment of the Earth. The history of the Earth is the preparation for nature on Jupiter. That which is the course of history presents itself in earthly existence like a prophetic announcement of what upon Jupiter will be natural phenomena. How is that?

Here upon the Earth human life in a physical embodiment passes in such a way that we are planted by birth within this physical earthly existence, that we then go through an ascending development of our physical existence up to the thirties and after that a descending development. In the beginning of this physical earthly existence stands our physical birth, and at the end, what we call physical death. The middle of human existence, about the middle of the thirties, earthly man passes by, unnoticed in his physical embodiment, and if he does not specially take part in the important inner events of his soul existence, no trace is left, at least with the self-knowledge which is present in most cases. That will be quite different when earthly humanity goes through the Jupiter existence. I shall not speak today of how the Jupiter man will enter his physical existence in a way totally different from the physical birth on Earth. I may speak of this at some other time. Man will also pass out of the Jupiter existence quite differently from physical death. But that which corresponds to the middle of life, that which for our earthly existence would fall in the middle of the thirties, that will be important and full of significance for man’s Jupiter existence. I might say that birth and death, at the beginning and end of earthly life, if they could be intermingled, would together produce something corresponding to what will occur in the middle of the Jupiter existence to humanity as it is then developed in the Jupiter world. In the middle of his Jupiter existence, man will have to go through something which you would succeed in obtaining if you could mix together earthly birth and earthly death. But they must be brought together not automatically, but in somewhat the same way as a chemical combination. When oxygen and hydrogen are mixed together, there arises something quite different from either oxygen or hydrogen. So there will be in the middle of the Jupiter existence what is actually a kind of combination of earthly death and earthly birth, but quite different from what might be made idealistically. You see life moves on from stage to stage so that we must imagine, if we wish to go into the Jupiter existence, that an event full of significance occurs to man in the middle of the Jupiter life, an event of the kind I have just characterised. The whole consciousness of man on Jupiter will be, as you know, quite different from earthly consciousness. You need only, in order to make yourselves acquainted with the different stages of human consciousness, read what has been said in the Lucifer Gnosis concerning the different stages of the development of human consciousness from Saturn to Vulcan; and you will then be able to recall that upon Jupiter a kind of higher conscious picture-sight appears, an imaginative consciousness; an imaginative consciousness representing a higher stage than the earthly consciousness. We shall attain to a consciousness the course of which will not be like earthly consciousness, but which will receive impressions from outside in quite a different way from our earthly consciousness. This consciousness will sketch from these impressions, with inner free will, pictures like imaginations somewhat in the same way as an Earth-man perceives something and then sketches it, and then makes a finished picture. So will it be in the Jupiter consciousness, only that Jupiter perception is a different thing from earthly perception; then man will himself seek picture-representations as they arise in earthly existence; then he will, as it were, form something like paintings of that which flows into him as the content of the imaginative consciousness. To attain this imaginative consciousness man will enter the Jupiter existence; and this imaginative consciousness will go through a development just as the earthly consciousness does during childhood. Then the middle of the Jupiter life will come, and in the middle of this Jupiter existence, during a period that can really be symbolised for us by three earthly days, an event of great importance for the Jupiter man will take place. There will come about in the middle of the Jupiter consciousness a short repetition—for it will only last for days—of the earthly consciousness. A feature of the Jupiter life is that the earthly consciousness will be there renewed for a short time, that man will feel himself as an earthly man in the middle of his Jupiter life. When man has gone through his imaginative Jupiter consciousness, a time will come in which he has again only his earthly consciousness, which will then bear a relationship to the Jupiter consciousness, like our present dream-consciousness to our day-consciousness. When man enters into this Jupiter earthly consciousness, into this repetition of his earthly consciousness, then it will be borne in upon him that he would like to have a kind of inner retrospect, a kind of survey of all that he has attained as Earthman, of all that he has won for himself throughout the whole of his past. We shall, as mentioned, only have an earthly consciousness for a short time during our Jupiter life, but during this earthly consciousness we shall feel the need of having an intense retrospective consciousness of our whole human past. The renewal of earthly consciousness will take place for this purpose. And when we look back we shall feel that we must put to ourselves the question: What have you then attained during your whole past? What have you reached through having become an earthly man? This question we must ask ourselves. Just as we eat and sleep upon earth, so shall we be obliged during this renewal of earthly consciousness to ask ourselves: What have you attained from the fact that you became man? We must sum up the result of our whole earthly existence. And because we put this question, because we sum up this result, there will come before the soul in a mighty Jupiter dream vision what we have actually attained. But this Jupiter dream will have as great a reality as all our actual earthly perceptions; it will not come before us as a dream-picture, but it will have all the reality which an earthly human being has who stands before us. And this Being who will then meet us, as the answer to the question which we have had to ask ourselves—do you know who this Being will be? It will be Lucifer, and Lucifer will say: ‘Recognise now that you belong to me through all that you have become in your past.’ And we shall know as surely as when an earthly human being recognises another when he meets him in physical perception—we shall know that it is Lucifer, and that we have worked for him through all that we have wished to become as men. And then we shall recognise the whole meaning and power of Christ, then we shall recognise that we are not capable ourselves of forming any other decision than that of following Lucifer. Only from the fact that the Christ Being appears in the history of the Earth in memory, only in this way shall we know that this Christ Being has entered earthly evolution. We shall know that this Christ Being had gifts for us, which are now coming to realisation during the Jupiter existence. These gifts transform us into real Jupiter beings, and only through them shall we be capable of taking not the path of Lucifer, but the path of the genuinely developing Cosmos. For what will Lucifer want from us? He will say to us: ‘The condition which you are now going through—this repetition of earthly consciousness—has a great significance for you.’

Upon Jupiter it is different from what it is on the Earth. On the Earth, after we have reached the middle of the thirties, in the second half of our life, we act in much the same way in regard to many things as we did earlier. We eat and drink in order to maintain our physical life after the thirty-fifth year just as we did before it. On Jupiter that will be quite different. Upon Jupiter we shall not indeed need to eat and drink in the same way as we have to do in a body on the Earth, but with the Jupiter body belonging to us, we shall be connected in a similar way with the activities of the Jupiter physical world, as we are through eating and drinking with the activities of earthly physical existence. We shall on Jupiter, from the moment of life which we shall have reached, when the earthly consciousness has been renewed, no longer be able to stand in the same relation to our Jupiter surroundings as before. We shall no longer fit into our surroundings. I can make the following comparison: It will be as if upon earth we should in our thirty-fifth year reach such a condition of our stomach, of our organs, that we could no longer breathe the earthly air, that we could no longer bear earthly nourishment. Imagine how it would be if we, in our thirty-fifth year, had to go through such a development of our bodies that though our inner souls would still be perfectly capable of spending years upon Earth, our bodies would be incapable of enduring anything at all which grew upon the Earth. It will be like this on Jupiter, my dear friends—naturally the conditions are different, but it will be similar; we shall no longer be able to be in direct physical touch with Jupiter in the second half of our life there. That will then be emphatically a law of nature on Jupiter. But through the power of this natural law, Lucifer will be able to lead our souls, which will then be still perfectly capable of life, but which will not be able to maintain their bodies for the Jupiter existence—Lucifer will be able to lead our souls with him, unless the Christ can show us that He has amassed treasures in us, in the first half of our life on Jupiter, treasures which now maintain us through the second half of our Jupiter-existence. Upon Jupiter the Christ will not manifest outwardly merely this ethical character which He manifests during earthly existence, but He will be the inner nourisher for the second half of man’s life on Jupiter, and the nourishment will be at the same time of moral significance. He will be able to set us free from Lucifer because He has amassed treasures of nourishment in the first half of life in the Jupiter existence; in this way alone can He set us free from Lucifer. If that did not happen, if Christ could not set us free from Lucifer upon Jupiter, Lucifer would take our souls with him. Our bodies, which would then have no possibility of entering into relation with the Jupiter physical world, would fall away from us, and Lucifer would point out to us: ‘See, I take your soul, but your body falls away from you into the treasure-house of Ahriman. Ahriman will now have that, it will live further with him.’

Everything will depend upon how our souls in this retrospect, when the earthly consciousness is re-established, can remember the way in which they filled themselves with the Mystery of Golgotha, with the understanding that the Christ Being has entered into human evolution, into the historical evolution of earthly existence. For consider the frightful condition of the Jupiter human soul, which of necessity must hold this retrospect and must say to itself: ‘I have during my time on Earth denied the Christ. I have not wanted to know anything of Christ. I have refused to instruct myself at the right time concerning that Being Who as the Christ, entered into earthly evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha. I can remember nothing that happened on Earth through the Christ.’ If souls can exist in whom all remembrance of the Christ shall be blotted out during the Jupiter existence, because during the earthly life they had never permitted themselves to be penetrated with understanding for the Christ Event, then the dreadful Day of Judgment would come for these souls, that Christ docs not take them with Him in the Jupiter existence in order to nourish and to foster them in the second half of life on Jupiter, but that He points them away with the one hand to where Ahriman takes the remains of the Jupiter physical matter, and with the other hand He points to where Lucifer leads the souls on his path. And if we, with the understanding which Spiritual Science can give us of the Mystery of Golgotha, approach the symbol of Jesus lying in the tomb, if we do not see in it simply an external symbol, but if we unite with this symbol all that we can know concerning the Mystery of Golgotha, and if we have already gained some capacity for seeing that of which Spiritual Science speaks, then there will come before the soul what I have now related to you as a vision of humanity’s future on Jupiter.

In the old places of Initiation the disciples had to seek under the leadership of their Initiates what we have called in the old Mysteries ‘The vision of the Sun at midnight.’ We see the Sun by day physically. The Initiates saw the Sun at midnight through the Earth, though for physical sight the Earth is not transparent. And when they thus saw the Sun at midnight through the Earth, they did not see its physical existence, but instead they saw inscribed on the Sun the Mystery of the Christ, the Sun Spirit. The disciples of the old Initiates saw the Mystery of the Christ, the Sun Spirit, in advance. Theirs was a higher natural sight, a becoming clairvoyant within nature. What the Easter Symbol can represent for us is a becoming clairvoyant within the historical life of earthly humanity, a becoming clairvoyant in this way, that we see how from the fact that we have become free Earth-men, we have actually concluded the agreement with Lucifer and Ahriman, and that the Christ alone can free us from this agreement. What seeing the Sun at midnight meant for the disciples of the old Initiation can for Christians become reverence and adoration in regard to the Good Friday and Holy Saturday Mystery. We have, my dear friends, every reason to concentrate in these days upon the inner tragedy, the justifiable sadness of the deepest inner being of human nature. We could never have become free beings, if we had not entered into such a relationship with Lucifer and Ahriman, as that which is implied in our description of today, if we had not become capable of going the Lucifer way and the Ahriman way. Man can indeed in these days call up before his consciousness the tragic element from the depths of his nature, whilst he says: ‘My freedom would never have come about without the possibility of following Lucifer and Ahriman.’ And this consciousness can rise in him, when he looks at the symbol of the Christ lying in the tomb, Who through that which He accomplished with His deed cancels what had to take place for the sake of human freedom.

The fact that man has not only reason for rejoicing, but also for mourning over his nature, ought to echo through his soul in the days devoted to the solemn remembrance of the entombment. There remain many days of the year on which man can think more of what he has become from the fact that the Earth evolution has not been forsaken, that the Christ, as the Risen Christ, has come to Earth. But that which made this Mystery of Golgotha necessary, that which can live as cosmic mourning in the human soul, all this must discharge itself in these days. And when we have gained a feeling for that which is bound up with the human soul from its history, then in these days we cannot but be sad concerning human evolution—we should rather say, these are days in which we ought to be sad concerning this human development.

And if the feeling is living, then the black garments are justified, which we choose for these days; while red can be the colour that can meet our eyes again, when the days of mourning are over, mourning concerning that which as a deep tragedy is connected with human nature. It would have been altogether unbecoming from the standpoint of Christian art, if yesterday and today red had been predominant. These things too we must learn, but when we have learnt them, we shall feel how outer forms have their deep significance, and are essentially connected with what we can call the union of the human soul with the events of the Cosmos. Is this not expressed, in the fixing of the time of this Easter Festival itself? The time of the Easter Festival is fixed in a cosmic way; the first Sunday after the full moon which follows the beginning of spring, the 21st of March. There above in heaven shall the sign be, according to which the Easter Festival is fixed. A barbaric science has demanded in recent years that Easter should fall every year on the same day. If that is realised, we shall best see how far people wish to depart from a really spiritual life, which cannot be developed without man’s being aware how his soul lives not merely in what is in circulation upon Earth in the receipt and expenditure of money. For in all matters in which this receipt and expenditure of money is the outer symbol, doubtless the fixing of Easter Day would be a convenient thing. But for that which flows into the human soul out of the life of the cosmos, it would be deadening if that barbaric science should triumph, which would fix Easter Sunday and Easter Monday always on the same day of the year, and we should no longer look to the cosmos in order to fix these days.

In such details, we see how humanity is sailing into Ahrimanic materialism. We must have men who through their knowledge of Spiritual Science will for the future have absolute certainty in such matters.

You know, assuredly either from the original which is already much spoiled, or from reproductions and engravings, Michelangelo’s powerful work in the Sistine Chapel in Rome—the ‘Last Judgment.’ When you look at the composition of this work representing the judgment of the world, what must you say—now when you have drawn nearer to Spiritual Science—what is really the picture of the judgment of the world? As I said before, if he who is endowed with the insight Spiritual Science can give, takes his stand before the symbol of the Christ lying in the tomb during Good Friday and Holy Saturday, he will, when he has brought it before his mind’s eye, have before his soul the vision of the Jupiter human beings and the Jupiter existence already described. If he has not brought this vision to sight, nevertheless the thought, which is as legitimate at a certain stage as the sight, will be possible to him.

And imagine, that an artist endowed with all the art of modern painting should be influenced by the symbol of the Mystery of Golgotha, and that he wanted to answer the question pictorially: What appears to me when I turn my eyes away from the symbol of Christ Jesus lying in the tomb? By what I have won through it, let me deepen my gaze into the inner soul, and see what appears to me. The Christ appears to me in his Jupiter splendour, in his future glory, chaining Ahriman by the fetters of Light in the nether world, so that he cannot reach man, and vanquishing Lucifer so that he cannot lead the human soul along his path.

Thus it appears when adapted to what the human soul can mako its own through Spiritual Science. All that can now appear to the human soul in this way, clothed itself for ourselves in earlier incarnations, in the picture of the ‘Last Judgment,’ as Michelangelo painted it upon the wall of the Sistine Chapel. That is only a prophetic glimpse; the correct vision is the one I have just described to you. People who have been taught only through Christian feeling, but not yet through Spiritual Science, have seen what can be discerned in the Good Friday Mystery in the form in which Michelangelo painted in the ‘Last Judgment.’ We, however, live in a time of transition, and the most advanced souls can themselves be the most conscious, even if they have not yet taken up Spiritual Science, of how man in the present time lives in a time of transition, in which we must say: The children of men have lost the understanding for the way in which people saw the ‘Last Judgment,’ as a result of the Good Friday Mystery. But a new understanding must arise, an understanding which will be won through Spiritual Science, as we have described it today, an understanding with which we too are celebrating here at this time the Festival of the Entombment of the Christ Jesus.

I have often spoken in this place of much that Hermann Grimm has so beautifully described. He has in his life of Michelangelo spoken at length concerning the ‘Last Judgment.’ Grimm was unlike the average learned man who describes everything objectively (I emphasise this), for after having made researches into a subject, he entered with the soul, with perception and feeling, fully into the results. Because of this, when he had completed his beautiful treatment of the‘Last Judgment’ in his Life of Michelangelo, he adds the following. ‘It is difficult,’ he says, ‘if not impossible to speak about such matters...’ He meant about what the ‘Last Judgment’ signifies for the human soul. In the time of Michelangelo it was not yet difficult to speak about this, above all not in painting, for Michelangelo has spoken of it in his fresco. And those who at that time were initiated into the mysteries of religion have been able to speak of these things. It has only become difficult through the further evolution of time. Hermann Grimm says: ‘It is difficult, if not impossible to speak about such matters. Our feeling of them lives in a depth which it is not possible to illumine with clear light. We do not yet venture to hold entirely as shadows the pictures which are handed down to us as sacred legacies...’ He says: ‘We do not yet venture in our time to say that what a Michelangelo thought of as really in connection with the life of the human soul and has depicted upon a canvas,—we do not yet dare to say of this, that it is a mere fantasy.’ Deeper spirits like Hermann Grimm do not yet dare. Others who are built more after the type of Ludwig Feuerbach or David Friedrich Strauss may dare to say: ‘That is fantastical,’ or, if they want to express it in a more beautiful modern way, they say: ‘That is a fantasy,’ but they mean that it is fantastical, when they speak of Michelangelo’s works. But other deeper spirits do not yet venture to say this. Hermann Grimm continues: ‘Assuredly we do not yet dare to hold entirely as shadows the pictures which have been handed down to us as sacred legacies. But as I think of the course of spiritual development I feel that these representations must become ever fainter and fainter, and something different must appear in their place which has value as a symbol of the Eternal.’

Hermann Grimm sees that something new must appear, but he seeks in vain in modern civilisation for what is within his reach for this new illumination. And I may say his words have a tragic note: He says: ‘Without symbols, be they visible pictures or thoughts, we cannot rest, however clear it is to us that everything symbolical is only an image, and meaningless indeed for him who contributes nothing to it from his own soul.Thus, as the ‘Last Judgment’ confronts us on the wall of the Sistine chapel, it is no longer an image for us, but a memorial of a fanciful soul-life of a past age, of a strange people, whose thoughts are no longer ours.’

That is a confession in sincerity from the human soul itself, which this spirit had to make, who cannot remain satisfied with saying that we can go on living into all the future, even when we have lost what once came before the soul when it felt the Good Friday Mystery. These are the worlds of a spirit who perceives the old is past, who has insight into the present and who looks around as it were, in vain for something which can take the place of the old. Such a spirit passed through the gate of death, with the following thought: ‘Where, O where, thou soul, thou human soul, who once didst steep thyself in the vision of the Crucified One lying in the tomb, who once didst plunge deeply into thy most holy secrets in the cosmos—where, thou human soul, dost thou find new thoughts and feelings concerning this Mystery? Where dost thou find something which fills thee again when thou dost gaze upon the Crucified One lying in the grave, when thou dost gaze upon the Good Friday Mystery? Where, thou human soul, dost thou find this?’—with these thoughts such a spirit sped through the gate of death.

Now you will comprehend why I said here in this place a few days ago: There are souls who have passed through the gate of death, and who have received a new feeling for what man actually is, when our friend Christian Morgenstern joined their band, and, permeated by the consciousness of the new conception of Christ, bore up the new thoughts concerning the Christevolution and its connection with mankind’s evolution, into the spiritual worlds. The souls who longed after these new thoughts, because they had only been able to carry through their own gate of death thoughts which were meaningless, or picture thoughts of a former age grown pale, these souls found in our friend the comrade who enlightens them. Thus is it after death, even if superficial people can believe that man, when he passes through the gate of death, at once commands a view of all mysteries. He does not do so, for as through the embryonic life man is made ready for life outside the mother’s body, so must man be made ready here in his earthly body for the life between death and a new birth. And for the souls who passed through the gate of death without having received thoughts concerning the Mystery of Golgotha, Christian Morgenstern is a revealer who had come to the spiritual world illumined by what the new Christ announcements can mean for the soul.

Let us in all veneration fill ourselves with such thoughts in these days. Let us take them up in their concreteness, as they enter into our souls in connection with our own Society. And let us seek to understand them in these days which bring closer to our souls the Festivals of Good Friday and Holy Saturday so full of mystery. May they give us the power to understand such things ever more deeply. Let us use what this holy, this tragically holy day may be for us, in order to let the feelings called forth by such an occasion, influence us in the right way, illumining the deepest abyss of all our human existence, as it develops on the earth, and also on those heavenly bodies which will be the re-embodiments of our Earth. Let us seek to allow the Easter image to be in a deep, in a very deep sense indeed, an image, a picture of what is bound up from all eternity with the nature of the human soul and therefore with our own self-knowledge.