Contribution from Helen Katsikas :
Just as at Christmas we remember the birth of the Nathan Soul on Earth, so in the preceding weeks we must penetrate into the essential nature of its heavenly destiny – of those deeds in the spiritual worlds of which we know through modern spiritual science – anthroposophy. These deeds also form the period of its cosmic preparation for physical incarnation. We must turn to these super sensible deeds of the Nathan Soul in order to find the key to a proper understanding of this season.
The first of these deeds occurred in the last third of ancient Lemuria. This was the time after the descent of humanity into the earthly sphere – after the departure of the Moon and man’s subsequent attaining of uprightness.
Spiritual forces hostile to the true path of evolution were threatening with degeneration the most perfect part of man’s physical body – that part which is associated with his twelve sense-organs. These sense-organs were established in the period of Old Saturn, as the first traces of the physical body – a reflection of the twelve cosmic streams proceeding from the lofty spiritual beings of the First Hierarchy and have their outer expression in the twelvefold circle of the zodiac. In Rudolf Steiner’s words (GA 152 5/3/1914)-
“…… This would have brought about the danger that the twelve cosmic forces which bring their influence to bear upon man, might fall into disarray through the work of demonic beings.” If this had happened “Saturn man would have fallen prey to a terrible egoism”. The consequence of this would have been that the whole of human evolution might have been brought into disorder. “Lucifer and Ahriman would have been able to bring all human evolution into disorder through the fact that man has, as a result of his upright bearing, been torn away from the spiritual forces of the Earth.” (GA 152 7/3/1914).
Although the foundation of man’s sense-organs were laid on Ancient Saturn, they were able to acquire their full significance and final form only through man’s upright posture, which became a reality in the last third of Lemurian evolution because of the outpouring of ego substance into man through the Spirits of Form, primarily through the Moon-Elohim, Jahve.
Only through man’s uprightness could the twelve senses be brought into harmony with the cosmic forces that engendered them – that streamed from the twelve regions of the zodiacal circle. It was during this evolutionary period that first the Luciferic and then the Ahrimanic powers tried to intervene. They wanted to wrest man away from the Earth and make him an ‘undeveloped Angel’ – a being who would never be able to have a free, individual ego. Hence as a counterweight, something from above downwards had to enter out of the cosmos – from the world of the Hierarchies. This was none other than the ideal ‘etheric image of man’ inscribed in the spiritual world. How was this to be accomplished? This Soul, which then abided in the Sun-sphere, had to ascend to the highest regions of the Sun-existence where the Sun itself appears as a fixed star amongst fixed stars. Then, having permeated it’s being with all the twelve zodiacal forces, which together form not only his twelve senses but his entire physical aspect – and in this region of Sun-existence, the Nathan Soul was able to sacrifice its own etheric substance to the Sun Spirit, the Christ. As a result their arose in the lower regions of the spiritual world that ‘etheric image of man.” Rudolf Steiner describes this process: “With this, something new has entered into the cosmos which now rays out upon both Earth and Man – upon the physical earthly human form into which there streamed the power of the etheric, super-earthly Being of the Christ, thus making it possible for it to be protected from the force of destruction.”
Humanity were exposed to a second danger at the beginning of the Atlantean epoch Man’s etheric body – his life-forces, above all the seven principle life-organs, were subjected to the assault of Luciferic and Ahrimanic powers and to the risk of becoming simply the obedient instrument of the experiences of his own inner organs. Another consequence would have been the perversion of human language. Language would never have become what the divine world intended. The capacity to work creatively through the word upon the objective world around him would have been taken away from man forever. The Nathan Soul resolved to sacrifice itself again. This healing deed proceeded not from the highest regions of Sun-existence but from the sphere of the seven planets which represent the macrocosmic archetype of man’s etheric body. The Nathan Soul was to receive the forces of all seven planets into itself so that it might, for the second time, sacrifice its being to the high Sun Spirit of Christ and become the great bearer of Christ in the Cosmos. It thus became possible for Christ to transform the individual planetary forces gathered together by the Nathan Soul so that they could work in a harmonizing way upon man’s etheric body and through this, bring healing to the seven principal life-organs.
A third danger arose which threatened man’s astral body and above all his three soul forces of thinking, feeling and willing. That splintering of the personality which in our time comes about only at a definite stage of spirit-pupilship, when thinking, feeling and willing separate out from one another and are ruled by man’s strengthened ego – through Lucifer and Ahriman, the danger arose, first to the suppressing and then to the complete extinguishing of the human ego. As a consequence, humanity would have again gradually reverted to its animal state – separating itself out in the process into three kinds of animal nature. People with a one-sided development of thought, of feeling or of will, who would have gradually taken on the outward appearance respectively of Eagle-like; Lion-like and Bull-like beings – while in the inner sense, they would have borne a dragon-like astral nature. (See Man as a Symphony of the Creative Word). The danger in this case lay in the threat to the thinking – for the Ahrimanic powers working on the will and the Luciferic powers working on the feeling, tried, together, to gain mastery over this sphere, with the object of preventing man from attaining full ego-consciousness – which is possible only with the help of the instrument of thinking. Once again, the Nathan Soul appeared in the Sun sphere to counter this danger at the end of the Atlantean epoch. Penetrating into the nether regions of the Sun sphere which extend to the sphere if the Moon, it received into itself Sun forces from above, Moon forces from the surroundings and Earth forces from below in all their harmonious interplay, which is the macrocosmic expression of the ideal relationship of the forces of thinking feeling, willing. The Nathan Soul was once again able to sacrifice its etheric being to the Sun Spirit of the Christ and so became, for the third time, the bearer of His Forces in the cosmos. Through this super sensible union with the Christ, the Sun, Moon and Earth forces gathered by the Nathan Soul – these were transformed and strengthened in such a way that they were then able to become a means for healing and harmonizing the evermore disorientated spiritual soul-forces of people on Earth. As a result of this, the second stage of the transformation of human language was also attained (as regards the outer world). The faculty of speaking was finally healed and the predisposition was implanted in man for his speech to become in time the true bearer of the Divine Logos.
In the three super-sensible deeds of the Nathan Soul we have the penetration of the cosmic forces of the Christ into the three human sheaths and the healing of the three systems of the human organism.
We gradually approach the very centre of Man’s being – his ego, whose healing is bound up with the fourth deed of the Nathan Soul which took place on Earth – the appearance of this Soul at the Turning Point of Time.
It is the remembrance of this event which is celebrated at Christmas time.
Offered by Helen Katsikas