Contribution from Helen Katsikas :
These experiences are as a result of consciously following the modern path of initiation. In the present cycle of evolution, this path is not associated with the rhythm of the year, although it is true that the four weeks of Advent is the most suitable time. This is the time when every man passes unconsciously through his sheaths to his higher ego, and if a pupil of anthroposophically orientated spiritual science is able to bring to this a corresponding inner development – above all the unfolding of certain virtues: –
First week Justice
Second week Temperance and prudence
Third week Presence of mind
Fourth week Wisdom
then, it is possible for him to attain, at Christmas, a conscious experience of the birth of the Higher Self in his own soul. Then Christmas becomes for him, not merely a festival that is associated with external traditions but an inner experience – “of the birth of the higher ego out of the substance of wisdom” that has been acquired by the soul on the path of inner development.
For the soul this is a fulfilment of the words of Angelus Selesius:
“Christ could in Bethlehem a thousand times be born
But if not in your soul were you eternally forlorn.”
These words of Angelus Silesius are from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner (23rd December, 1913 GA150) in which he gave an indication of the meaning and purpose of modern spiritual science – Anthroposophy. In another lecture (27th December, 1915 GA 165), he said that the whole endeavour within spiritual science is really a kind of Christmas festival – “the birth of Christ in human wisdom.” What we must wish for is a kind of world-Christmas – Christ must be born anew in spiritual form, at least for human understanding.
As a result and completion of the path of knowledge, this experience can become, in a real way, an Imagination of Christmas:
“Beneath the vault of a sublime temple, there appears the form of the Virgin Mother, filled with the deepest wisdom, heavenly purity and mildness, with the child, radiant with Spirit Knowledge, in her arms.” (See the image of the Sistine Madonna).
This image of Mary, which is also described in the Luke Gospel, is, according to spiritual science, none other than the earthly reflection of the heavenly, Divine-Being of Isis-Sophia – the child in her arms, the Jesus of the Nathan House of David – the Nathan Soul, the heavenly archetype of man, the true Anthropos in his paradisaical unfallen state, now descending to Earth and incarnating in a physical body. Anthropos – the living soul from the world’s beginning, in the arms of mother Sophia, is the great Christmas Imagination of Anthropos-Sophia. A picture of the new being born from the Substance of Wisdom – that is, the Heavenly Sophia. The true Anthropos destined to receive into himself the Spirit Sun of Christ.
Christmas is the true festival of Anthroposophy.
It is also that time of the year, when in the heart of Europe, on the 25th December, 1923, the Foundation Stone of the new Christian Mysteries was laid, under the direct guidance of Michael-Christ.
Prokofieff said that if the evergreen crown of the Christmas tree of the New Mysteries points toward the future and it’s mighty trunk an indication of the immediate influence of these Mysteries in the present, so do its roots extend into the distant past – to the time when this imagination which we are now able to experience in an inward way, became manifest on the physical plane as a real historical event.
The final goal of Anthroposophy is to lead us to a true “Spirit-Vision” through the strict school of “Spirit-Mindfulness” – that is in the first instance, through the study of modern spiritual science – so does it stir in us “Spirit-Recollection” which as a “Christmas act of remembering” takes us back to the birth of that Anthropos, who has lived since the beginning of time – the Nathan Soul.
Rudolf Steiner speaks of this remembering at the Christmas Conference – “We plant this (the soul-light impulse of the Foundation Stone) at the moment when a “human recollection” which really understands the world, looks back to that point in human evolution at the Turning Point of Time, when amidst the darkness of night and the darkness of people’s moral feeling, “like a shaft of heavenly light” that divine being was born, who then became the Christ – when that Spirit-Being came down among humanity.
In the experience of the first three weeks of Advent lives a memory of the three pre-earthly deeds/sacrifices of the Nathan Soul – in the last week, lives a memory of the fourth greatest sacrifice – it’s incarnation on Earth in order to eventually receive into itself the Sun of Christ.
Offered by Helen Katsikas