SUB-NATURE AND THE SECOND COMING
By Robert Powell
In this article I shall attempt to outline some thoughts in connection with the theme under consideration in this fourth issue of Shoreline. Here I shall refer back to my articles "The Grail and the Stars" in Shoreline 1 and "Reflections on the Second Coming" in Shoreline 2. In the former article I referred to the significance of Jupiter's orbit around the sidereal zodiac in connection with Christ's passage down from cosmic realms on his path of descent towards the Earth prior to the onset of his second coming. And in the latter article I drew attention to the importance of the 33'/3 year rhythm of Christ's earthly life for an understanding of the "wave" of the second coming.
In Chapter 9 ("The Second Coming and the New Age") of my book Hermetic Astrology, vol. II: Astrological Biography I have expanded upon the two preceding Shoreline articles and juxtaposed the two rhythms, giving exact dates. Summarizing the dates for the Jupiter rhythm:
Christ's Descent thru the
The dates given are those Of Jupiter's heliocentric ingress (entrance) into sidereal Leo. These are the astronomically computed dates, and of course the actual dates of Christ's descent may differ somewhat from the computed dates. For example, the commencement of Christ's passage through the realm of the Kyriotetes coincided with Rudolf Steiner's birth on February 25, 1861, five days after Jupiter's heliocentric ingress into sidereal Leo.
With the completion of Christ's descent through the planetary spheres, there took place his entrance into the human sphere, into the earthly realm of mankind. The computed date is April 25, 1932, close to Ascension Day (May 5) in 1932. It was on Ascension day (May 14) in AD 33 that Christ departed from the Earth to begin his ascension to the Father, when he took leave of the apostles and disciples on the Mount of Olives, to whom two Angels then proclaimed: "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go in to heaven." According to the foregoing, from one point of view it appears that the Angelic proclamation of Christ's return, his second coming, can be dated approximately to Ascension Day 1932. This is the date arrived at by following the Jupiter rhythm. However, a slightly different date is arrived at if we follow the 33'/3 year rhythm of Christ's life. Let us now turn our attention to this second rhythm.
The time from the moment of birth of Jesus of Nazareth to the resurrection. at dawn on Easter Sunday morning was exactly 33 1/3 years (less 1'/2 days). As will emerge in the following, this rhythm of 33 1/3 years is of immeasurable significance to the Earth and mankind, a rhythm which has repeated itself over and over again since the Mystery of Golgotha in AD 33.
For example, nine cycles of 33 1/3 years added to Easter Sunday (April 5) in AD 33 bring us to March 21, AD 333, which Rudolf Steiner often referred to as a critical turning point in human evolution. He said:
"Before the year 333 the greater part of the astral body had been active essentially in the upper man, and its smaller part in his lower body . . . In the year 333 the two parts became equal. This was the critical situation 333 years after the coming of Christ, and since then the upper part of man's astral body has been continuously decreasing. That is the course taken by his evolution."
Another crucial date frequently spoken of by Rudolf Steiner is 1899, the end of Kali Yuga ("The Dark Age"), which began - according to Hindu chronology - five thousand years previously, on February 17/18, 3102 BC (3102 BC = -3101, and 3101 + 1899 = 5000). Adding fifty-six cycles of 33'/3 to April 5, AD 33 brings us to September 12, 1899. This, then, coincided with the end of Kali Yuga and the start of the New Age, Satya Yuga ("The Age of Light"). However, what is the justification for referring to 1899/1900 as the start of the New Age?
As we shall see, through coming to an understanding of the deeper significance of the 33 1/3-year rhythm we shall be able to comprehend why it is justifiable to speak of the commencement of a New Age with the onset of the twentieth century. At the same time, we shall try to grasp the meaning of the 12-year Jupiter rhythm in relation to the 33 1/3-year rhythm. In order to take this step, however, it is helpful to seek to approach a deep and profound mystery concerning the relationship of Christ to the human being. This is one aspect of the Grail mystery, comprising the sublime mystery of the different modes of communion with Christ.
In order to approach this mystery we need the "magic wand of analogy" (to use Novalis' expression). The hermetic principle of analogy offers us a key with which we may begin to grasp the relationship of Christ the human being. Just as the human being is fourfold - comprising physical body, etheric body, astral body and ego (or self) - so also it is possible for the human being to enter into a relationship with one or other of the members of Christ's being: his physical (or resurrection) body, his etheric body, his astral body, and his SeH. This gives rise to four different kinds of communion with Christ. Let us consider these one by one.
The first mode of communion is that between the human self and Christ's Self. This is summarized in the words of St. Paul, "Not 1, but Christ in me." This mode of communion is characterized by the fire of Christ's love burning in the human being as a heightened power of spirit and an intensified awareness of the self and the world.
When, through the activity of the Christianized human self upon the astral body, the latter becomes purified and transformed, the ennobled astral body becomes capable of entering into communion with Christ's astral body. This second mode of communion is exemplified in St. Francis of Assisi who, through his purified astral body, entered into an ongoing communion with Christ's astral body. This communion is characterized by mildness, gentleness, purity and loving graciousness.
On the path of spiritual development it is possible not only for the astral body but also for the etheric body to become purified and transformed. This transformed etheric body then becomes capable of entering into communion with Christ's etheric body. St. Augustine provides us with an example of this third mode of communion, for, from a certain point in his life onwards, he attained to a more-or-less ongoing communion with Christ's etheric body. This level of communion is characterized by a wonderfully harmonious and flowing quality of life, an inner strength and creativity.
At a further stage of spiritual development the physical body itself undergoes a transformation, and here the possibility is opened up for the human being to enter into communion with Christ's physical (resurrection) body. It was this level of communion which the apostles experienced periodically during the forty days between the resurrection and the ascension, which filled them to the depths of their being and bestowed upon them new spiritual powers.
Just as we find the fourth mode of communion in the forty days following the resurrection, so we may also find the other three modes of communion revealed in the life of Christ. Thus, in the period from the death on the cross to the resurrection it was the Self of Christ - alone, separated from the physical, etheric and astral bodies - which descended into the underworld and then ascended again. In Christ's descent into hell, down to the Kingdom of the Mother, we find the archetype of the first kind of communion. Something of this search found in the Grail legend of Parsifal, which also depicts the development of courage (on the part of the knights of the Grail), the courage needed to descend into hell, to meet with evil, to confront it and overcome it. Thus we find the first kind of communion as the central motif of the Grail legend of Parsifal.
Parsifal may be considered as a representative of the Jupiter human being, who has brought to realization St. Paul's words, "not I but Christ in me" and who has the courage to descend into hell, to take up the battle against evil for the sake of mankind and Mother Earth. The Jupiter human being is the human being of the future (Jupiter being the next stage of evolution after the Earth). And the planet Jupiter, with its 12-year rhythm, is of particular significance for those consciously endeavouring to take the path towards becoming Jupiter human beings, as well as for the first mode of communion - that between the human self and Christ's Self.
Returning to consider how the four kinds of communion ,reveal themselves in the life of Christ, so far we have found the archetype of the first mode of communion in the descent into hell and that of the fourth in the forty days leading up to the ascension. But where are we to find the archetypes of the other two modes of communion?
Here it is a matter of communion with Christ's etheric body and with his astral body. At the moment of death, when the human being separates from his physical body, leaving it behind as a corpse upon the Earth, he is then indwelling his etheric body. And inscribed into the etheric body are all the experiences he has undergone during the days of his life. Here the word "days" is appropriate, as the experiences undergone during sleep are not inscribed in the etheric body; rather, they are inscribed in the astral body, which the human being indwells during sleep, when the physical and etheric bodies are left behind in the sleeping condition. Thus, at the moment of death the human being, indwelling his etheric body, experiences a panorama of images of the experiences that he underwent during the course of life between birth and death, for these images are inscribed in the . etheric body. Many people who have "died" (or been at the brink of death), and who have then returned to life, have described this experience of beholding a panoramic vision of all of life's experiences.
For our considerations the important point to note is that whereas the physical body belongs to the spatial realm, i.e. it exists in three-dimensional space, the etheric body belongs to the temporal realm, i.e. it is a time body in which the human biography is recorded. And at the moment of death the entire biography - from the moment of birth to the moment of death - is vividly experienced. The moment of death is actually a "birth", a birth into a higher realm. And the moment of the resurrection on Easter Sunday morning was also a moment of birth, the birth of the Risen One. The biography of the Risen One extended from the birth in Bethlehem to the moment of resurrection. Thus the etheric body of Christ contained all the experiences from the moment of birth in Bethlehem to the resurrection, comprising a time span of 33 1/3 years. But whereas at the death of the human being the etheric body, generally speaking, dissolves back into the cosmos, in the case of Christ his etheric body did not dissolve but has remained preserved. More than this, it has been - and continues to be - active, unfolding its activity every 33 1/3 years. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, therefore, the 33 1/3-year rhythm has played a role in the cosmic order, just as the planets always have done, e.g. Jupiter's 12-year rhythm and the 29 year rhythm of Saturn. In contrast to the planetary rhythms, which are specified in terms of cosmic space (that is, by their passage against the background of the zodiacal constellations, so that a planet's rhythm is determined by the time period that elapses between its conjunction with a given fixed star until its return to conjunction with the "same" fixed star), the 33 1/3-year rhythm is a purely temporal rhythm, specified by the duration of the life of Jesus Christ.
However, since the commencement of the New Age at the start of the twentieth century, the 33 1/3-year rhythm has begun to play a much more significant role than hitherto. This has to do with the second coming of Christ. For, whereas the first coming was an event on the physical plane, the second coming is taking place on the etheric plane of existence, that is, in the realm of life forces. And it is especially Christ's etheric body that is active here.
Following the Mystery of Golgotha in AD 33, the etheric body of Christ expanded slowly out into cosmic realms, attaining its greatest expansion in AD 966. This year denoted a point of transition. There then began a slow path of return of Christ's etheric body back towards the Earth. With the end of the fifty- sixth 334/3-year cycle on September 12, 1899, denoting the close of Kali Yuga, there began a re-entry of Christ's etheric body into the Earth's etheric aura; this attained a certain level of completion 33'/3 years later, on January 11, 1933. Here the New Age - Satya Yuga ("the Age of Light) - was born, whereby 1899 can be likened to the "dawn" and 1933 to the "sunrise" of the New Age. It was precisely during this period that Rudolph Steiner's teaching activity unfolded, from 1900 to 1925. Rudolf Steiner described Anthroposophy (spiritual science) as preparing the way for the second coming, the approaching advent of which he repeatedly proclaimed from 1910 onwards. Thus we see that Rudolf Steiner acted as a kind of "John the Baptist", proclaiming the approaching second coming, just as John the Baptist had prepared the way for the first coming nineteen centuries previously.
At the first coming the life of Jesus Christ lasted 33 1/3 years, of which the last 3 1/2 years - the ministry, from the baptism to the Mystery of Golgotha - were the most important. In contrast, the second coming is an event relating primarily to the etheric world and which, in accordance with the 33 1/3-year rhythm, will last for 2500 years, i.e. for seventy-five 33 1/3-year cycles, extending from January 11, 1933 to September 20, 4432. During these 2500 years the most important rhythm is the 333/3-year cycle of Christ's etheric body, and through a comprehension of this rhythm the possibility is given of attuning to this etheric body. It is the renewed presence of this etheric body in the Earth's etheric aura which has given birth to the New Age, thus opening up the possibility of a new communion (here described as the "third communion") with Christ.
What, then, is the relationship of the 12-year Jupiter rhythm (referred to earlier) to the 33 1/3-year rhythm, with the respect to the second coming?
In order to be able to grasp this, we need to distinguish between the different members of Christ's being: Self, astral body, etheric body and physical (resurrection) body. The central rhythm of the New Age is the 33'/3-year rhythm of Christ's life and the presence of this etheric body in the Earth's etheric aura is what have given birth to the New Age. However, if we were to take into consideration solely the 33'/3-year rhythm, this would amount to looking at the renewed presence of Christ's etheric body in isolation from the other members of Christ's being. Whilst acknowledging that Christ's etheric body is of central importance for the second coming, as this event is taking place in the etheric realm, we should not lose sight of the fact that all four members of Christ's being are together bound up and actively involved in the event of the second coming. And it is especially in relation to the Self of Christ that the 12-year Jupiter rhythm may be seen.
As mentioned earlier, the 12-year Jupiter rhythm is of significance with respect to the first mode of communion, i.e. communion with the Self of Christ. The archetype underlying this is the descent into hell, which was undertaken by the Self of Christ following on from the death on the cross. And just as at the first coming there was a descent and a re-ascent of the Self of Christ, so with the second coming there is again a descent and re-ascent - taking place, however, over a considerable period of time.
At the start of this article the descent of Christ through the hierarchies from the Sun sphere down to the Earth is dated in connection with the 12-year Jupiter rhythm - from Rudolf Steiner's birth in 1861 up to Ascension Day in 1932. This gives us insight into the cosmic phase of the descent of Christ's Self in his second coming. But this cosmic phase of descent was only the prelude for the next stage of descent, which again can be followed in connection with the 12- year Jupiter rhythm.
With the heliocentric ingress of Jupiter in sidereal Leo around Ascension Day 1932, there began the passage of Christ's Self through the earthly sphere, the sphere of mankind. Resistance arose to his second coming, the opposition finding its central focus in the figure of the Fuhrer, who tried to set up a Third Reich, a kingdom of evil, opposed to the kingdom of heaven. The ensuing struggle resulted in the Second World War (1939-1945). By Easter 1945 the allies had effectively won the war in Europe, and a decisive step in the war with Japan was the Hiroshima bomb on August 6,1945. By this time a new 12- year Jupiter cycle had commenced, and Christ's descent into the underworld - the sub-earthly realms - had begun. However, in order to understand this new phase in Christ's descent, it is helpful to look back to the archetype of this event at the Mystery of Golgotha.
On Good Friday, April 3 AD 33, shortly after carrying the cross up Mt. Calvary - it was about midday that he arrived at the summit, Golgotha - Jesus was stripped of his clothes and was then nailed to the cross. At 12:30 p.m., just as the trumpets sounded across from the temple to announce the slaying of the Passover lambs, the cross was raised up and the crucifixion began. At this moment in time, east of Jerusalem, the sidereal sign of Leo started to rise across the horizon (1 degree Leo). Here began the slaying of Christ, the Lion of Judah. The crucifixion lasted during the rising of Leo, and as the death on the cross took place the sidereal sign of Virgo had just begun to rise. At the moment of death, at 3 p.m., the Ascendant was 2'/2 degrees Virgo. There then took place a mighty earthquake, rending the earth in two at the foot of the cross, and the radiant Spirit of Christ - Christ's Self - descended down from the cross into the bowels of the Earth. Here commenced the fulfilment of the sign of Jonah prophesied by Christ: "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" (Matthew 12:40). The "three days and three nights" spoken of here are not to be taken literally - for the descent and re-ascent lasted only thirty hours - but we may imagine that thirty hours in the underworld ("hell") could be spoken of allegorically as "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
For our considerations it is of significance that Christ's descent into hell began with the rising of Virgo. For, the deeper meaning of Christ's descent to the heart of the Earth was to reunite with the Mother, prior to his ascent to the Father. And, as the sign of Virgo corresponds to the womb in the female organism, so it was appropriate - in terms of cosmic symbolism - that the descent of Christ into the womb of Mother Earth began as Virgo started to rise.
Knowledge of the deeper significance of Christ's descent into hell as being a descent into the underworld to reunite with the Mother belongs to the Grail mysteries. And it is this mystery of the descent to the Mother which is central to Christ's second coming. Just as at the Mystery of Golgotha the descent began with the rising of sidereal Virgo, so with the second coming the descent into the underworld began with Jupiter's heliocentric ingress into sidereal Virgo, during the Easter night (Saturday/Sunday), March 31/April 1, 1945. And just as the earthquake at the foot of the cross was the outer sign of Christ's descent into hell at the Mystery of Golgotha, so the opening up of the Earth's interior through the Hiroshima bomb on August 6, 1945 was an outer sign of Christ's descent at the second coming - albeit this time a man-made sign inspired by an evil force of destruction working up from the underworld. By August 6, 1945 Jupiter heliocentrically had already reached 9'/2 degrees Virgo; however, geocentrically Jupiter was at 2'/2 degrees Virgo, coinciding with the zodiacal degree rising at the time of Christ's death on the cross. The spiritual event of the commencement (at Easter 1945) of Christ's descent into the underworld - indicated by Jupiter's heliocentric ingress into sidereal Virgo - became proclaimed on the physical plane by the explosion of an atomic bomb at Hiroshima, coinciding with Jupiter geocentrically reaching 2'/2 degrees Virgo. With this explosion there began the atomic age which, spiritually understood, is the age of confrontation with the forces belonging to the underworld.
In order to arrive at a deeper understanding of the time in which we live, it is helpful to look more closely at the stages of the descent of Christ's Self into the underworld, starting in 1945. Again it is the 12-year Jupiter rhythm which is important here. But whereas the stages of cosmic descent (1861- 1932) through the realms of the spiritual hierarchies are connected with Jupiter's heliocentric ingress into sidereal Leo, the stages of the descent into hell are related to Jupiter's heliocentric ingress into sidereal Virgo, starting in 1945. In between, during the period from Ascension Day 1932 to Easter 1945, was a time of presence of Christ's Self in the earthly sphere of humanity - a time of suffering on the part of Christ comparable to his Passion of Good Friday in AD 33. Indeed, World War II (1939-1945) was a kind of Second Crucifixion of Christ (preceding his second descent into hell) - a crucifixion on the etheric plane of existence, within the Earth's etheric aura.
In order to be able to comprehend Christ's descent into the underworld, we need to know something of its structure. According to Rudolph Steiner, nine sub- earthly spheres may be distinguished, leading down to the heart of the Earth.* These nine sub-earthly spheres may be thought of as mirroring the nine cosmic spheres of the nine spiritual hierarchies. And just as each sphere of the spiritual hierarchies contains a particular kind of goodness (the love of the Seraphim, the harmony of the Cherubim, etc.), so each sub-earthly sphere is the source of a particular kind of evil. The evil of each sub-earthly sphere is the inverse of the goodness belonging to the corresponding cosmic sphere. For example, over and against the love of the Seraphim belonging to the highest cosmic sphere is pitted the hatred of Christ stemming from the deepest sub- earthly sphere, the ninth sub-earthly sphere. And against the harmony of the Cherubim is the divisive influence of the eighth sub-earthly sphere, which is the source of all strife and disharmony.
The earthly sphere of humanity, in which the human being normally spends his| waking existence between birth and death, is placed between the nine cosmic spheres of the spiritual hierarchies above, extending up to the Kingdom of the Father, and the nine sub-earthly spheres of the powers of evil below, which are situated in the interior of the Earth, inserted between mankind and the Kingdom of the Mother. Every human being incarnated upon the Earth is subject to the interplay of that which works into him from the heavens above and from the realms below. Generally speaking, that which works up from below is of a subconscious nature, and the forces of evil working from the nine sub-earthly spheres into the human being's subconscious have to be overcome - a first step being that of becoming conscious of these evil forces. However, everything which works up from below is evil, for also that which belongs to the Kingdom of the Mother works into the human being from below. How may we begin to understand the Kingdom
of the Mother?
As a starting point, let us consider Rudolf Steiner's words from the night of the Full Moon, April 5/6, 1909, which he chose for the laying of the foundation stone of the Rosicrucian temple at Malsch, near Karlsruhe, Germany:
We want to sink the foundation stone of this temple into the womb of our Mother Earth, beneath the rays of the Full Moon shining down upon us here, surrounded by the greenness of nature enveloping the building. And just as the Moon reflects the bright light of the Sun, so do we seek to mirror the light of the divine- spiritual beings. Full of trust we turn towards our great Mother Earth, who bears us and protects us so lovingly . . . In pain and suffering our Mother Earth has become hardened. It is our mission to spiritualize her again, to redeem her, in that through the power of our hands we reshape her to become a spirit-filled work of art. May this stone be a first foundation stone for the redemption and transformation of our Planet Earth, and may the power of this stone multiply itself a thousandfold.
Here it is significant that the night of the Full Moon was chosen for the laying of this foundation stone, for the Moon became full also on the evening of Good Friday in AD 33 when Christ began his descent into the womb of the Earth, down to the Mother. Rudolf Steiner also described the colour seen clairvoyantly arising from the depths, from the Kingdom of the Mother:
The silver-sparkling blue below, arising from the depths of the Earth and bound up with human weakness and error, is gathered into a picture of the Earth Mother. Whether she is called Demeter or Mary, the picture is of the Earth Mother. So it is that in directing our gaze downwards, we cannot do otherwise than bring together in Imagination all those secrets of the depths which go to make up the material Mother of all existence. While in all that which is concentrated in the flowing form above, we feel and experience the Spirit Father of everything around us. And now we behold the outcome of the working together of the Spirit Father with the Earth Mother, bearing so beautifully within itself the harmony of the earthly silver and the gold of the heights. Between the Father and the Mother we behold the Son.
Since the time of ancient Greece, following the rise of Christianity, knowledge of the Mother and the "secrets of the depths" has more or less disappeared from human consciousness. The cult of Demeter celebrated in the Eleusinian mysteries at Eleusis was suppressed by the emperor Theodosius at the end of the fourth century AD. But now, in the twentieth century, through the second coming of Christ, a new access to the Earth Mother and her mysteries is opening up. It would lead too far to go into details here, but summarizing briefly, there is a three-fold mystery connected with the Mother:
that of the Name of the Mother (known to the Greeks as Demeter);
that of her Kingdom (known in the Orient as Shamballa);
that of her Will (eternal faithfulness to the Father, despite the fact, since the
Fall, of the Mother's withdrawal into the darkness of the underworld).
Concerning the lost Kingdom of the Mother, it is interesting to consider Rudolph Steiner's words to Countess Johanna von Keyserlingk at the end of the Agricultural Course (Whitsun 1924) at which he laid the foundations for a new and conscious relationship to Demeter through a spiritually-based agriculture (big-dynamic farming):
Rudolph Steiner was good enough to come up to my room, where he spoke with me about the Kingdom in the interior of the Earth. We know that at the moment Christ's blood flowed onto the Earth a new Sun-globe was born in the Earth's interior. My search had always been to penetrate the depths of the Earth, for I had seen raying up from there an Earth-core of gold, which Ptolemy designated as the "Archetypal Sun". I could not do otherwise, again and again, than to bring this golden ground into connection with the land of Shamballa, of which Rudolph Steiner had spoken. He had recounted how this land had disappeared from the sight of human beings and that Christ would open the door to those human beings seeking it, to lead them to the "sunken, fairy-tale land of Shamballa" of which the Hindus dream . . . I asked Rudolph Steiner, "Is the interior of the Earth of gold, originating from the empty space within the Sun, actually belonging back there again?" He replied, "Yes, the interior of the Earth is of gold." For the sake of certainty, I asked him further, "Herr doctor, If I stand here upon the ground, then beneath me, deep in the interior of the Earth, is the golden land. If I were to attain to freedom from sin and were to remain standing in the depths, the demons would not be able to harm me and I would be able to pass through them to the golden land. Is this so?" He replied, "If one passes through them together with Christ, then the demons are unable to harm one, but otherwise they would be able to destroy on!" He added the significant words, "However, they are able to become our helpers. Yes, this is so. The path is right, but it is very difficult.
Here, therefore, we see that the path to the Mother is beset with difficulty owing to the nine spheres of evil inserted between humanity and the Kingdom of the Mother, but that together with Christ this path is possible. As referred to earlier, this path has become opened up to mankind at large since 1945. Previously it was accessible only to the highest initiates. But, at the same time, with the opening of the gates of hell humanity has become increasingly exposed to the demonic influence of the sub-earthly spheres.
It is against this background that certain developments in the twentieth century may be viewed. And, as outlined above, the only safe way in which we can begin to look at these developments is together with Christ. Thus, it is in connection with the descent of Christ himself, in his second coming, that we shall now briefly review the course of the twentieth century. But before taking this step, it is a help to bear in mind that the nine Beatitudes spoken by Christ at the Sermon on the Mount contain the Christian impulses to counteract the demonic influences of each of the nine sub-earthly spheres. For example, the sixth Beatitude is: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." This "pureness in heart" counteracts the demonic influence of the sixth sub-earthly sphere, which is the source of evil passions that, if they were to take hold of a human being, would render him oblivious of the spiritual world and make him conscious only of his lower impulses, leading to utter depravity. The nine Beatitudes, therefore, are of key significance on the path of accompanying Christ on his descent into hell. Further, it should be remembered - since the human being is a microcosm reflecting the macrocosm - that the nine sub- earthly spheres are also within the human being, and that the descent into hell is at the same time a descent into one's own being. In fact, each of the nine Beatitudes refers to a particular member of man's being, and correspondingly the nine sub-earthly spheres are the source of counter-impulses to the nine members of the human being.
Supplementing the table at the beginning of this article, we can add to the passage of Christ through the spheres of the spiritual hierarchies, culminating in his passage through the sphere of the Archangels (1908- 1920) and through that of the Angels (1920-1932), the passage through the realm of humanity between Ascension Day 1932 and Easter 1945. Then follows Christ's descent into the underworld, where also the relationship underlying the counter-impulses to the nine members of the human being is indicated, as follows:
Christ's descent thru the Sources
The dates given are those of Jupiter's heliocentric ingress into sidereal Virgo, and these astronomically computed dates may differ somewhat from the actual dates of Christ's descent. On this path of descent, it is a matter in each sphere of a confrontation with a particular kind of evil. We can begin to gain a comprehension of this struggle by way of analogy with the confrontation which took place in the human realm on Earth between 1932 and 1945. The powers of evil working from the sub-earthly spheres found a vehicle in the human kingdom ("the Fuhrer") to act as a focus of their opposition to the second coming. Through this vehicle a full-scale attack was launched, which was the counterpart to the impulse brought by Christ. This counter-impulse can be followed down to the last detail. For example, instead of "Hallowed be thy name," the chant arose on Earth to hallow ("heil") the name of the Fuhrer. And instead of "Thy kingdom come" the Fuhrer sought to establish an evil kingdom (the Third Reich) in place of the kingdom of God.
A titanic struggle ensued, resulting in World War II, which can be regarded as a Second Crucifixion, as referred to earlier. However, with the triumph over evil in 1945, the conflict was not ended. Although 1945 signified the end of conflict in the human realm on Earth, the confrontation became continued in the sub-earthly spheres, into which Christ descended, signifying the opening of the gates of hell. The explosion of an atomic bomb at Hiroshima (and then at Nagasaki) was a man-made sign of the opening of the gates of hell, whereby the Earth's surface, which may be likened to an eggshell (enclosing the Earth's interior, comprising the sub-earthly spheres and the Kingdom of the Mother), became shattered. Through the Hiroshima bomb the first major crack appeared in the "eggshell" separating the Earth's surface from the underworld ("hell"). Actually, the first crack appeared already on July 16, 1945 with the first test explosion of an atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico.
In fact, this "eggshell" is itself the first sub-earthly sphere, the Mineral Earth. As such, it is not really a sphere like the other eight sub-earthly spheres, but a layer separating the human realm from the underworld. Already during the period preceding 1945, especially during World War II, the influence of the Mineral Earth was exerting an ever-stronger hold on human consciousness. In 1939/1940 work began in Britain and the USA on the search for the military application of nuclear fission. This led, under the direction of Enrico Fermi, to the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, which took place in Chicago on December 2, 1942. This whole line of scientific research was symptomatic of the increasing influence of the Mineral Earth upon human beings. How may the influence of this first realm of sub-nature be described?
Here an approach to the sub-earthly spheres may be found through the Beatitudes, which contain the counter-impulses to the sub-earthly spheres. For the first sub-earthly sphere, the Mineral Earth, it is the first Beatitude which is relevant: "Blessed are the seekers of the spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The influence of the Mineral Earth is the opposite of this, leading to a turning away from the spirit, turning towards the earthly kingdom - the mineral, material, mechanical realm and its laws. The line of scientific research which led to the explosion of the Hiroshima bomb is an example of this, starting with the disintegration of the nuclei of lithium through bombardment by artificially generated protons, first carried out by John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, on April 13, 1932. Then, on September 12, 1933 Leo Szilard had the idea of a nuclear chain reaction, which subsequently became realized in Chicago in 1942 as part of the "Manhattan Project," through the collaboration of Leo Szilard with Enrico Fermi and others.
This whole direction of scientific research, under the sway of the spirit- denying influence of the Mineral Earth, was characteristic of the first Jupiter period - that preceding 1945 - of the age of the second coming. This was a period during which a counter-impulse to that connected with the physical body held sway. Indeed, the titanic struggle that took place during World War II was a struggle for dominion of the kingdom (Reich) on the physical plane of existence and for the very existence - physically - of countless human beings. This meant that the first Jupiter period of the age of the second coming was one in which, instead of the impulse of seeking for the spirit, for the kingdom of heaven, there lived the counter-impulse of turning away from the spirit to the earthly kingdom, especially the kingdom of matter.
In the second Jupiter period (1945-1957), coinciding with the descent of Christ through the second sub-earthly sphere (Fluid Earth), a new counter- impulse began to play into mankind's life on Earth. How may this be characterized?
The relevant Beatitude is, "Blessed are those who bear suffering, for they shall be comforted." The counter-impulse belonging to the Fluid Earth is one of caring only for oneself, avoiding suffering, according to the principle of the "survival of the fittest." In the wake of devastation, pain and suffering caused by World War II, there was ample opportunity for a new consciousness to awaken worldwide among humanity - one of caring and sharing, give and take, comforting the mourning ones. But with the crack in the "eggshell" - the rupture in the Mineral Earth - caused by the entrance into the atomic age, something quite new entered in and began to play a role in human life on Earth. What was this?
Here it is a matter of the counter-impulse to the etheric body. The etheric body is a subtle body of life forces interpenetrating the physical body. At the separation of the etheric body from the physical body at the moment of death the true nature of the latter is revealed in the shape of the corpse. The etheric body is the bearer of the principle of life, and the counter-impulse to this is anti-life. This is the substance of the Fluid Earth, the second sub-earthly sphere, and with the cracking of the Mineral Earth through the atomic bomb, massive quantities of this anti-life substance became released on Earth in the form of radioactive fallout. The quality of this is that it is life-destroying. As soon as it is brought into connection with anything living, it seeks to destroy this life.
It is against the background of Christ's passage through the second sub- earthly sphere that the development from 1945 onwards may be seen. In each sub-earthly sphere a confrontation with the evil at work in that sphere takes place - a confrontation that depends, in the first place, on becoming conscious of the nature of the evil principle at work. Thus many people became inspired, after World War II, to take up the challenge offered by the confrontation going on here.* For example, Leo Szilard took up the crusade, as a leading atomic scientist, of bringing to consciousness the fearful implications of atomic war. In 1947 he formed the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists with Einstein as chairman, and he also initiated the movement for the civilian control of atomic energy. Later, in Washington, he organized the Council for a Livable World.
Nevertheless, the governments of the United States and the Soviet Union continued to support the line of research that had led to the Hiroshima bomb. Consequently, on March 1, 1954, the United States exploded a hydrogen bomb on Eniwetok-Atoll, Marshall Islands, in the Pacific, reckoned to be six hundred times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. In the wake of this explosion 287 people within a radius of 160 miles of Eniwetok-Atoll suffered from the radioactive fallout. Most strongly affected were a group of 23 Japanese fishermen less than 40 miles from the site of the explosion, who were covered with ash raining down from the atmosphere. One of them died within a few days, and the others all became marked with the incurable consequences of radioactive contamination. Radioactive fallout was measured around the globe, even as far away as Heidelberg in Germany. Following suit, on November 22, 1955 the Soviet Union exploded a still more powerful hydrogen bomb in the atmosphere above Siberia. With these two hydrogen bomb explosions the arms race took a sinister turn of development, I and further major cracks were caused in the Mineral Earth, allowing the anti-life substance of the Fluid Earth to find its way in large quantities - via radioactive fallout - onto the Earth's surface.
Thus, after the attack on the level of the physical body signified by World War II, came the attack on the etheric body, in which radioactive fallout is the principle bearer of the anti-life principle belonging to the second sub-earthly sphere. However, the attack on the etheric body also began to make itself noticeable in other ways - the main hallmark of this being the interpenetration of the etheric body with electrical effects through increasing use of electrical household goods, and also the spread of television, in the post- war years. Another potent means towards the "electrification" of the etheric body which surfaced in this period was the advent of rock n' roll, which broke through in a major way in 1956. With this, however, preparation was made for a new onslaught, arising from the third sub-earthly sphere the Air Earth.
END PART I
(Further aspects of Christ's path
Mother are described in Robert Powell's ~The Most Holy Trinosophia~, 3
lectures given in North Wales in August 1989, available in November
Golden Stone Press, 2 Woodview Terrace, Great Barrington, MA 01230.
Barrington by the way, was the first town in the world to generate Its
own electric lighting c.1886! Ed.)