By Robert Powell


Along the path of Christ's descent into hell, his passage through the Air Earth took place in the years from 1957 to 1968. The Christ principle active during this time is to be found in the third Beatitude, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." This relates to the human astral body, to the Christianizing of the astral body through meekness or, expressing it more actively, through loving kindness, goodness and peace. The counter-impulse from the Air Earth works to paralyze the astral body, to cut it off from cosmic astrality, whereby the suffocating atmosphere of the third sub-earthly sphere has the effect of annulling feeling.

Just as the Hiroshima bomb was a man-made sign of the cracking of the Mineral Earth, opening up contact with the Fluid Earth, so there was a man- made sign of the opening up of a connection with the Air Earth. This was the launching of the first Sputnik by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957 - an artificial satellite which encircled the Earth above the Earth's atmosphere. With this step the space age began.* The deeper significance of this step was the beginning of cutting mankind off from the cosmic-spiritual realms of existence by way of inserting man-made constructions - satellites, rockets and space stations - between the cosmos and the Earth. This on the macrocosmic level corresponds to the effect on the microcosmic level of the Air Earth in cutting off the human astral body from cosmic astrality.

Following the example of the Soviet Union, on February 1, 1958 the United States made its first successful launching of a satellite into space to encircle the Earth above the Earth's atmosphere. Then, on April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin orbited around the Earth in a spaceship. This feat was matched shortly after by the United States when, on February 20, 1962, John Glenn encircled the Earth in a space capsule. After this the United States emerged triumphant in the space race, accomplishing the remarkable feat on July 21, 1969 of landing two men on the Moon.

It is in adolescence that the astral body comes to the fore in the development of the human being - this being a time of awakening of sexuality and the feeling life, also often a time of turbulent emotions. In the period under consideration (1957-1968) when, because of the confrontation that arose in the third sub- earthly sphere on account of Christ's passage through this realm, there took place an onslaught of evil directed at the astral body, there are many signs of a kind of cultural adolescence. One of the main signs was the rise and spread of pop (rock) music. As already mentioned, this broke through on a major scale - especially in the shape of Elvis Presley - already in 1956 towards the end of the previous Jupiter period. In this connection reference was made to the negative effect of electrified music on the etheric body. But in addition it also has a detrimental effect upon human emotions and thus upon the astral body, in the sense of the counter-impulse of the Air Earth. Pop music, on the whole, works on the level of the adolescent feeling life. The phenomenal spread of pop music - one need only think of "Beatlemania" - during the period under consideration points to the onslaught of evil, from the third sub-earthly sphere, directed to the astral body. Whereas genuine music (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.) - being a reflection of the harmonies of the spheres - is capable of elevating the astral body towards cosmic-spiritual realms, the effect of pop music, generally speaking, is to set up a connection between the astral body and the third sub-earthly sphere, thus dragging the astral body down.

The astral body was formed in the preceding cosmic aeon, the Moon period of existence, and so the astral body has a strong relationship to the Moon. The United States' space mission, which initially had as its primary goal the landing of human beings on the Moon, unfolded by and large during the Jupiter period under consideration (1957-1968), motivated in part by the subconscious relationship to the Moon. In fact, at the completion of this Jupiter period, on December 21, 1968, the United States launched Apollo VIII which orbited around the Moon ten times. This was followed, shortly after the start of the next Jupiter period, by the launching on July 16,1969 of Apollo XI, which carried Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin to land on the Moon. This latter event denoted - in an inverse sense - a kind of "coming of age" of humanity, following the period of cultural adolescence. We shall return to this below, after considering some further aspects of the Jupiter period from 1957 to 1968.

The Moon forces in the human being come to expression most directly in sexuality, the awakening to which generally takes place during adolescence. During the period of cultural adolescence from 1957 to 1968 this awakening came to expression in the shape of the "sexual revolution" which then took place. At the same time, with the introduction and subsequent widespread use of the contraceptive pill, a further step was taken in cutting off humanity from its divine origins. This can be understood quite simply from the fact that conception is - and always has been - the door through which incarnating souls enter on their path of incarnation into a physical body on Earth, and therefore the deliberate and systematic prevention of conception acts as a closing of this door to the realm of souls.

At the same time an onslaught was launched, by way of books, films and I magazines, to corrupt and pervert every aspect of sexuality, to desecrate its holy and sacramental character. In this connection the words of Hermes addressed to Asclepius (Greek text written prior to the end of the third century AD) are relevant:

"In the conjunction of the two sexes, or, to speak more truly, that fusion of them into one, which may be rightly named Eros, or Aphrodite, or I both at once, there is a deeper meaning than man can comprehend. It is a truth to be accepted as sure and evident above all other truths,

that by God, the Master of all generative power, has been devised and

bestowed upon all creatures this sacrament of eternal reproduction,

with all the affection, all the joy and gladness, all the yearning and the

heavenly love that are inherent in its being. And there were need that I

should tell you of the compelling force with which this sacrament binds

man and woman together, were it not that each one of us, if he directs

his thought upon himself, can learn it from his innermost feeling. For if

you note that supreme moment when, through interaction without

pause, we come at last to this, that either sex infuses itself into the

other, the one giving forth its issue, and the other eagerly taking hold

of it and laying it up within, you will find that at that moment, through

the intermingling of the two natures, the female acquires masculine

vigour, and the male is relaxed in feminine languor. And so this

sacramental act, sweet as it is, if it were done openly, the ignorant

should mock, and thereby the deity manifested in either sex through

the mingling of male and female should be put to blush - and the more

so, if the act is exposed to the eyes of impious men."

Through exposure, therefore, as effected by way of the media, the divine aspect of sexuality is driven out. But over and above this, the rise and spread of pornography has served not only to debase sexuality but also to pervert and corrupt it. This, too, is connected with the counter impulse upon the astral body working from the third sub-earthly sphere, the Air Earth.

Yet another aspect of this counter-impulse manifested itself during the period under consideration in the drug epidemic - the widespread use especially of hallucinogenic drugs such as marijuana, hashish, mescaline and LSD - which spread in this Jupiter period. It was above all this counter-impulse which corrupted the true impulse - that of the third Beatitude: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth" - which was seeking to come forth at that time. The impulse of love, peace and brotherhood ("flower power") that arose at that time was a genuine inspiration of the Christ Impulse at work in the transformation of the astral body. However, through the drug prophets such as Timothy Leary, whose experiments with LSD date from the late 50's, a counter-impulse became directed at the astral body, For, the activity of the Christ Impulse in transforming the astral body leads to the development of conscious clairvoyance (Imagination ), this being a metamorphosis of the dream consciousness of the astral body. On the other hand, the use of hallucinogenic drugs serves to call forth an artificially induced atavistic clairvoyance in which the dream consciousness of the astral body is activated without the conscious "controlled participation" of the human self, thus leading to hallucinations instead of Imaginations. Therefore hallucinogenic drugs may be seen directly in relation to the counter-impulse of the third sub-earthly sphere upon the astral body.

There are many other phenomena, of course, which can be seen in connection with the confrontation between the Christ Impulse and the counter-impulse of the Air Earth in the period from 1957 to 1968, but here it is not possible to go into details. Briefly, though, the following two phenomena may be mentioned:

(1) The fight against racial discrimination, from the days of Little Rock, Arkansas in September 1957 to the shooting on April 4, 1968 of Martin Luther King, whose martyrdom did much to help the cause of establishing racial equality. Just one week later, on April 11, 1968, under Lyndon B. Johnson the Civil Rights Law was passed, which prom a legal standpoint) essentially ended racial discrimination in the United States.

(2) Student rebellion, which reached a climax in Europe, particularly in France, in May 1968 in the mass demonstrations and ensuing clashes with the police, resulting in the closure of the Sorbonne.

After this, as mentioned earlier, a kind of "coming of age" took place on a cultural level. The student rebellion which reached a climax in 1968 was the last phase of the period of cultural adolescence that came to an end in December 1968. The man-made sign of the new phase that opened up in 1969 was the landing of human beings on the Moon, referred to already. This extraordinary feat symbolized the birth of man as a citizen of the cosmos, albeit as a caricature of what is meant in a spiritual sense by these words. Here again a counter-impulse was at work. For man's true destiny is to become a citizen of the cosmos in a spiritual sense, through an awakening of consciousness to include the cosmic dimension of existence. And the physical landing on the Moon worked to counter this awakening by influencing human consciousness towards an awareness directed solely to the physical-material dimension of the cosmos.

Following upon the Moon landing, the United States' space program went on to begin to explore the solar system, sending rockets off to Mars and Jupiter. Mariner 9 encircled Mars on November 13, 1971 and Pioneer 10 passed close by Jupiter on December 4, 1973. The space program serves to intensify a physical-material conception of the cosmos, leading to a completely false impression of man's relationship to the cosmic-spiritual world. This can be seen in relation to the counter-impulse of the fourth sub-earthy sphere, the Form Earth. In this sphere forms become inverted and caricatures. And the space program has helped to build a kind of "negative image" of the solar system. This negative image is devoid of all spirituality and completely excludes the human being, except as a spaceman. However, the human being viewed as a spaceman, encapsulated in his space suit, is a negative image of the spiritual human being who is bound up with the whole cosmos. The entrance into the era of space travel, opened up by the Moon-landing in 1969, can thus be viewed directly in connection with the counter-impulse of the fourth sub-earthly sphere.

In terms of the opening of the gates of hell occasioned by Christ's descent through the sub-earthly spheres, the period from 1969 to 1980 is that of confrontation with the evil of the fourth sub-earthly sphere, directed against the sentient soul of the human being. The true impulse for this period, connected with the fourth stage of the unfolding of the new Christ Impulse in the age of the second coming, is conveyed by the fourth Beatitude:"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Something of this impulse inspired those who demonstrated for peace, especially for peace in Vietnam, who hungered and thirsted for a righteous solution to the unjust situation there. On November 13/14, 1969 some 250,000 demonstrators for peace gathered in Washington, the largest demonstration of its kind ever to have taken place there.

However, the influence of the fourth sub-earthly sphere is to turn everything into its negative. And the "hunger and thirst for righteousness" in its negative form can give rise to terrorism. It is against this background that the escalation of violence in Norther Ireland may be seen, which began with the wave of unrest that broke out 3 there in August 1969, resulting in the sending of British troops to Ulster. The relationship between the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland is something on the level of the sentient soul, beneath the reasoning level of the intellectual soul, and thus seems to defy the rational intellect. Into this the counter-impulse directed against the sentient soul began to work in 1969. The influence of this counter-impulse is to render the human being insensitive to the just claims of his fellow men, so that he becomes infatuated with his own claims for justice, and everything else seems to him to be wrong and unjust. It is this which fans the flames of terrorism.

Not just in Northern Ireland, but also elsewhere, terrorism raised its ugly head during the period under consideration. In February 1970 Arabs and Palestinians - again people living mainly on the level of the sentient soul - launched several terrorist attacks. Later, on September 5, 1972 Arab terrorists at the Olympic games in Munich killed two Israeli sportsmen and took nine hostages, all of whom were killed in the attempt by police to free them. Also in 1972 the Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang in Germany carried out attacks in May, prior to the capture of Andreas Baader on June 2, 1972. Murder, kidnaping and bombing became widespread as a consequence of terrorist activity, one of the worst examples - towards the close of this Jupiter period - being that of the bombing of a railway station in Bologna on August 2, 1980 by a right-wing terrorist group, in which 83 people died.

On the positive side may be mentioned the increase in the movement for human rights during the 1970's, Amnesty International being the best-known example. Thus, in January 1977 "Charter '77" was issued in Prague, signed by more than 250 prominent people, calling for liberalization there. Twelve years later one of the signatories - the playwright Vaclav Havel - became president of Czechoslovakia, after having been persecuted and imprisoned as a result of his call for democracy. Here we see the triumph of the hunger and thirst for righteousness! Another example of the positive manifestation of the Christ Impulse in this period became evident in the work of Mother Teresa in caring for the sick and needy people of Calcutta. In recognition of her work, on December 10, 1979 Mother Teresa received the Nobel prize for peace.

On the whole, however, it was the counter-impulse that came to the fore in the period from 1969 to 1980. This was the Brezhnev era in which the cold war grew in intensity, characterized by Breshnev's inverted sense of justice: "When forces hostile to socialism seek to reverse the development of any socialist country whatsoever . . . this becomes the concern of all socialist countries." What this Breshnev doctrine really signified was the claim on the part of the Soviet Union to I the right to provide "military aid to a fraternal country" (meaning the right to invade) whenever there was a "threat to the common interest of the camp of socialism" (meaning a challenge to Soviet dominance). Reading between the lines, the inverting influence of the Form Earth can be clearly seen, producing a negative image of true righteousness, which in the case of the Soviet Union would mean allowing the people of each land to determine the future of their own country.

In the United States a negative image of righteousness emerged in the Watergate scandal involving the attempted bugging of the Democratic headquarters in Washington by five members of the Committee for Re-election of the President (the president being Richard Nixon). Through his attitude with regard to the Watergate affair, and in the face of a persistent search for the truth on the part of some investigators, Nixon was eventually obliged to resign as president.

In the cultural realm, alongside the increase in violence and terrorism, a more positive development was the opening up on a widespread level of interest in esoteric and spiritual matters. The New Age movement quickly gained momentum, a key step in this development being the publication of David Spangler's REVELATION: The Birth of a New Age by the Findhorn Foundation in 1971. Whereas David Spangler, a major prophet of the New Age movement, is essentially Christian oriented, most New Age impulses are oriental in orientation: for example, Yoga, Tai Chi, breathing exercises, meditation practices and various forms of healing - many of these being directed primarily to the sentient soul and thus demanding little I intellectual endeavor or deeper consciousness.

One disturbing phenomenon of the period under consideration is the massive 3 increase in drug addiction, especially addiction to heroin. As referred to earlier, the hallucinogenic drugs, which enjoyed such widespread popularity during the 1960's, are directed to the astral body and dreamlike picture consciousness connected therewith. Heroin, which is injected into the blood, the bearer of the self, directly, attacks on the level of the soul, the sentient soul. It overwhelms the human feeling nature and works in the sense of the fourth sub-earthly sphere by making the human being insensitive to everything outside of the immediate sense of his own well- being.

On November 1, 1980, a new Jupiter period began - the one we are living in at present - which will last until 1992. Just three days later, on November 4, 1980, Ronald Reagan became president of the United States. The Regan era began. At the same time a new phase in Christ's descent into the underworld commenced, this confrontation being with the evil belonging to the fifth sub-earthly sphere, the Fruit Earth. A sign of this new stage of confrontation with evil emerged in the ; shape of the AIDS virus, which attacks the life-support system of the human being And the people who are most subject to this virus are those - homosexuals, sensualists - who seek the exuberant energy of egotistically directed life forces. Exuberant energy is the characteristic of the substance of the Fruit Earth.

The drug most related to this quality of the Fruit Earth, the fifth sub- earthly sphere, is cocaine. And as the fifth sub-earthly sphere bears the counter-impulse to the intellectual soul, so cocaine is directed against the intellectual soul, just as heroin is directed against the sentient soul. Both heroin and cocaine work into the blood, the bearer of the self, which they attack. But whereas heroin overwhelms the feeling nature (sentient soul), cocaine overwhelms the mental nature (intellectual soul). In the confrontation with the counter-impulse to the intellectual soul, which began in 1980, it is not surprising that addiction to cocaine has taken on epidemic proportion) Through cocaine being able to stimulate a relationship with the exuberant (energy of the Fruit Earth, the cocaine addict establishes an inner connection with this fifth sub-earthly sphere, just as the heroin addict does with the fourth sub-earthly sphere, and the hallucinogenic drug user with the third sub- earthly sphere. Seen in this light, drugs are instruments for demonic beings from the underworld to gain access to the human soul or astral body. The war against drugs is actually a war against demonic forces and beings that take possession of human beings and drag them down inwardly in the direction of the sub-earthly spheres.

The redeeming impulse to these demonic forces is the Christ Impulse. And it is the fifth Beatitude which indicates the nature of the Christ Impulse relevant here as the positive impulse countering the evil belonging to the fifth sub- earthly sphere: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Here it is a matter of' compassion and forgiveness, not making intellectual judgements. When Ronald Reagan branded the Soviet Union as an "evil empire," he passed judgement on a I whole people. Unfortunately, he allowed his over-hasty judgement to form the basis of his armaments policy, which led to a massive build-up of nuclear arms and the commitment to SDI, a fantastically expensive defense project to defend the United States against the "evil empire." All of this is a far cry from the merciful attitude implicit in the fifth Beatitude. In fact, SDI, if it were to become realized, would represent a further step along the path of cutting off the Earth and mankind from the spiritual cosmos.

When Mikhail Gorbachev became party chief of the Soviet Union on March 11, 1985, he could have had every reason to reciprocate Reagan's hostile attitude, in which case the cold war would have escalated further. But Gorbachev appears to be imbued with the quality of mercy of the fifth Beatitude. He did not judge, but he| came - in a spirit of openness - to meet Ronald Reagan. Similarly, later he came quite open-mindedly to meet George Bush. And, astonishingly for the head of an officially atheistic state, he came to meet Pope John Paul II in November 1989. On | the day prior to his meeting the pope in Rome, Gorbachev said: "We need a i revolution of the mind." Here it is evidently an impulse on the mental level (intellectual soul) that characterizes Gorbachev's reforms, the key words of which are glasnost ("openness") and perestroika ("restructuring").

The spectacular achievement of Gorbachev's reforming impulse has been to open up the possibility of democracy in the various East European countries that have, since 1945, been mere satellites of the Soviet Union. If we recall that democracy was born in Ancient Greece in the age of the development of the intellectual soul, it is easy to see on what level Gorbachev's reforming impulse is working and to see - at least, on its positive side - that it is working in conjunction with the Christ Ir~pulse. The deeper background to this is the preparing of the ground in Eastern\Europe for the unfolding of a new culture there, one in which the Christ Impulse will be able to emerge on a new level during the future Age of Aquarius.

| The counter-impulse to that of the fifth Beatitude is cruelty and lack of mercy, | which has its source in the fifth sub-earthly sphere. It was this impulse which took the upper hand among those in power in China, when the order was given which led to the massacre of hundreds of peacefully demonstrating students in the Tiananmen Square during the early morning hours of June 4, 1989.* Again, seven years earlier, it was cruelty which underlay the massacre of over one thousand Palestinian refugees on September 18, 1982 at the hands of Christian militia who | entered the refugee camp in Beirut, whilst the occupying Israeli troops stood by and watched. It was mainly women, children and old people who died under the hail of bullets. We may also think of the assassination attempts on Ronald Reagan (The same cruelty is active in the Chinese annexation of Tibet, over against which works the boundless compassion of the Mahayana Buddhism of the Dalai Lama. (Ed.) on March 30, 1981, and on Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981 as symptomatic of the same counter-impulse. And the violence to which cocaine addicts are prone may also be mentioned in this connection.

This counter impulse lives itself out in the thousands of murders and acts of violence which take place each year around the world, this being a major problem, especially in the larger cities of the United States. But in more subtle ways, too, this counter-impulse comes to expression, without necessarily being directly lived out. We need only think of the violence depicted in films and on television. More' sinister, however, are the ' y~es" which depict savage and sadistic acts of violence and brutality, and thereby help to establish a link between human consciousness and the fifth sub-earthly sphere - just as pop music helps to facilitate a link with the third sub-earthly sphere.

Another modern phenomenon which in some cases tends to form an alliance between human consciousness and the counter-impulse directed against the intellectual soul is the computer, and it is especially in the past few years that there has been a remarkable spread of home computers. Whilst not denying the beneficial aspect of computers, when rightly applied, an excessive preoccupation with them tends to one-sidedly over-emphasize the intellect in a particular way, namely in the direction of a mechanical mode of thought. It is this mechanical element in the intellect which then forms a link with the sub-earthly spheres, in particular with the fifth sub-earthly sphere, which is the bearer of the counter- impulse to the intellectual soul. For the true nature of the intellectual soul, as may be seen by looking back to the Graeco-Roman period (the age of development of the intellectual soul), especially to the Greek philosophers, is I org~, which is at home in pondering the relationships between God, man and nature. Organic thinking may be schooled by contemplation of the living, organic realm of nature. But in the case of an excessive preoccupation with computers, thinking becomes schooled by the machine and its rigid, inorganic logic; thinking becomes mechanized. From this simple consideration it is evident that the mechanization of thought, which is an inherent danger for those who are obliged to deal extensively with computers in daily life, may be safeguarded against by deliberately cultivating living (organic) thinking.

Here attention may be drawn to the major role played by computers in the armaments race. Indeed, a project such as SDI would be unthinkable without the application of computers.* As remarked upon earlier, the armaments race is built upon the opposite principle to that which is expressed in the fifth Beatitude, "Blessed are the merciful . . ." And the SDI project, conceived of not long after the start of the present Jupiter period, epitomizes a definite lack of the quality of mercy. The SDI project is the latest stage in the man-made signs of mankind's new-found alliance with sub-nature, with the sub-earthly spheres. The stages in this development, viewed in relation to the 12-year Jupiter rhythm are: the Hiroshima bomb (1945), the Sputnik (1957), the Moon-landing (1969), and SDI which was first announced publicly in 1983, but which may have been conceived of one or two years earlier. Apart from the Sputnik (it was not until 1958 that the United States launched its own version, the Explorer satellite), each of these stages was/is an initiative on the part of the United States. It is in the United States of America, therefore, that the most powerful links between man and sub-nature are evident And this applies not just to the technological side of man's alliance with the sub-earthly spheres, but also to the cultural side.

As I have described elsewhere, the impulse living in the souls of the American people may be characterized by that which is termed the descent into hell. This, however, signifies confrontation with the evil of the sub-earthly spheres. And it is| solely together with Christ that this descent may be accomplished in safety. This is the path to the Mother, Demeter, which in a somewhat different form existed in antiquity - for example, in the mysteries of Eleusis. To take this path means to begin to awaken to Mother Earth. And the worldwide awakening to environmental problems - the entire "Green Movement" - is indicative of the arising of a new consciousness of Mother Earth.** In 1983 the Green Party was voted into the German parliament on a platform of protection of the environment, disarmament, and rejection of atomic energy. And there are signs that in the United States, too, politicians are beginning to take environmental issues seriously. What a step it would be if, instead of spending one trillion dollars on SDI (the estimated cost), this money could be channelled into helping to solve environmental problems! But this depends upon the awakening of the quality of mercy, of which Shakespeare wrote:

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;

It blesses him that gives and him that takes:

'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein cloth sit the dread and fear of kingsl

But mercy is above the sceptred sway,

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself,

And earthly power cloth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice."

Just as the quality of mercy is central to the unfolding of the Christ Impulse in the present Jupiter period (1980-1992), so in the next period (1992- 2004) it is the quality of purity: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." The sixth Beatitude relates to the next stage of unfolding of the Christ Impulse, in the confrontation with the evil of the sixth sub-earthly sphere, the Fire Earth. It is here that the counter-impulse to the consciousness soul is active. Instead of the awakening of consciousness to the spirit (consciousness soul), the Fire Earth is a sphere of passion which fans aflame human passions, rendering the human being conscious of his lower nature and oblivious to his higher nature. He who becomes subject to the influence of the sixth sub- earthly sphere then receives his impulses from below, consisting of evil passions, and eventually may become utterly depraved. This is the counter- impulse to purity. Let us consider Rudolf Steiner's words concerning the link between human passions and the Fire Earth:

"There are occasions when the very substance of the passions of the Fire Earth begins to rebel. Aroused by men's passions, it penetrates through the Fruit Earth, forces its way through the channels in the upper layers and even flows up into and violently shakes the solid Earth. The result is an earthquake. If this passion from the Fire Earth thrusts up\some of the Earth's substance, a volcano erupts . . . There is still this connection between human passions and the passion-layer /{ in the interior of the Earth; and it is still to an accumulation of evil passions and forces that earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are due."

Here is not the place to make predictions concerning the end of the twentieth century. It suffices to say that with the new level of working of the Christ Impulse in the confrontation with evil - in the next Jupiter period (1992- 2004) - the possibility is opened up of attaining a new and conscious relationship to the Christ Impulse and | to Christ's descent into hell. With the opening of the gates of hell along Christ's path of descent, at each stage a new level of the Christ Impulse begins to unfold and at the same time a new, evil counter- impulse has to be met. The question could be raised: What is the point of it all? Why do we have to be confronted with the evil of the sub-earthly spheres?

The answer, quite simply, is that it is through the confrontation with and I overcoming of evil that man is able to advance on his path of spiritual development - not just individual man, but also humanity and the entire Earth. The forces of evil in the sub-earthly spheres are there whether we like it or not, and they work continuously into the human being on a subconscious level. The task is to raise them to consciousness, to recognize them for what they are, and to overcome them through the Christ Impulse. The Christ Impulse of purity ("pure in heart") will help those who open themselves to it in the coming struggle with the awakening of bestial and depraved passions. In overcoming, human evolution advances a step further. In the words of Rudolf Steiner:

"You will see that man is related to all the layers (of the sub earthly l

spheres), for they are continually radiating out their forces. Humanity

lives under the influence of these layers and has to overcome their

powers. When human beings have learnt to radiate life on Earth and

l have trained their breathing so that it promotes life, they will have

"overcome the Fire Earth. When spiritually they overcome pain through

serenity, they overcome the Air Earth. When concord reigns, the

"Divisive layer" is conquered. When white magic triumphs, no evil

remains on Earth. Human evolution thus implies a transformation of the

Earth's interior."

From this point of view, the present historical period since the onset of the second coming offers an unprecedented possibility for human evolution, through the confrontation with the evil of the sub-earthly spheres - a confrontation led by Christ, with Christ at man's side. At the same time it is a period fraught with terrible danger, for never before in the history of mankind have the gates of hell been opened. And the positive advances seem small and frail in comparison with the onslaught of evil arising from the underworld through the opening of the gates of hell. In the article "The Grail and the Stars" in Shoreline 1 some of the positive manifestations of the working of the Christ Impulse in the twentieth century were mentioned: the popular uprising in Hungary for freedom (1956); the emergence in Czechoslovakia of "Socialism with a human face (1968); the arising of the Solidarity movement in Poland calling for liberalization (1979/80). There reference was made to the fact that these events took place in connection with Jupiter's heliocentric passage through sidereal Leo. Looked at in relation to the unfolding of the Jupiter rhythm against the background of Christ's descent through the sub-earthly spheres, the passage through sidereal Leo always denotes the last phase of descent through a particular sub-earthly sphere. That is, when Jupiter is passing through sidereal Leo, the Christ Impulse has - from one point of view - "triumphed" in the confrontation with evil in the sphere in question. The next heliocentric passage of Jupiter through sidereal Leo will last from August 25, 1991 to September 11, 1992, which will be the time of the "triumph" of the Christ Impulse in the confrontation with the evil of the fifth sub-earthly sphere. Without going into too much detail concerning the further course of Christ's descent into hell, at the close of this article it is appropriate to give a brief summary. As indicated earlier on, the deepest point on this path of descent will be attained in the year 2040, actually with the heliocentric passage of Jupiter through sidereal Leo from January 31, 2039 to February 24, 2040. The Christ's re- ascent through the sub-earthly spheres will begin, which again may be followed in relation to the 12-year Jupiter rhythm. The descent, the passage through the "eggshell" of the Mineral Earth, began towards the end of the first Jupiter period of the age of the second coming and was completed by about Easter 1945. The return through this "eggshell" will occur around the time of Jupiter's passage through sidereal Leo during the year 2134. This date falls close in time to the commencement of a new 33 1/3-year period on January 2, 2133.

As will be recalled, the 33 1/3-year rhythm is that of Christ's etheric body and is the key rhythm underlying the second coming. Thus, around 2133/2134 there will be a reunion of Christ's Self with his etheric body, an event analogous in importance to the resurrection on Easter Sunday morning in AD 33. There will then begin a period, which I have described in Appendix II ("The Second Coming") of Hermetic Astrology I as the core period of the age of the second coming. There I dated this core period from 2133 to 4233, comprising three 700-year periods. This core period is analogous to the 40-day period in AD 33 which followed on from the resurrection and culminated with the ascension.

Thus the 200-year period from 1933 to 2133 (leading up to the core period), during which Christ's descent into hell and his re-ascent are taking place, is a preparation for a new resurrection event around 2133/2134, this time on the etheric level. This etheric resurrection will be of as profound significance for the following epoch of time, from 2133 onwards, as the resurrection in AD 33 has been up until now. It is through uniting with the impulse of resurrection that, ultimately, evil will be overcome and the interior of the Earth will become transformed.

In conclusion, therefore, the present period of time is one in which - through Christ, working in conjunction with human beings - the possibility is opened up of the transformation, in successive stages, of the interior of the Earth. This transformation entails confrontation with the evil of the sub- earthly spheres which is becoming released in successive stages. Once a particular kind of evil gains entrance to civilization via a negative technological development or cultural impulse, it continues to work on further until it is overcome - a prime example being drug addiction (as an example of negative cultural impulse). Thus, humanity is called to awaken morally and spiritually to deal with the problems arising in this way. And the more clearly that this challenge is recognized as a struggle with evil, in which Christ has to be called upon in order to find deliverance from the evil, the better it will be. Underlying this call are the words of St. Paul, "Not I, but Christ in me," indicating communion between the human self and the Self of Christ, the archetypal background to which is the descent into hell, as outlined in this article.

In the space of this article it has not been possible to go into the other modes of I communion with Christ, and our attention has been directed primarily to communion with the Christ Self in relation to the 12-year Jupiter rhythm. In my book Christian Hermetic Astrology: The Star of the Magi and the Life of Christ, I have outlined some aspects of communion with the astral body of Christ in connection with the 294/2-year Saturn rhythm, but the main content is concerned with communion with Christ's etheric body in relation to the 334/3-year rhythm. In the ~ Christian Star Calendar for 1991 (companion to Shoreline) indications will be given ( as to how to intensify this latter communion through living with the daily events in the world of stars, seen in correspondence with events in the life of Christ.

LITERATURE: For the relationship of the Beatitudes to the members of man's being, see Rudolf Steiner, The Gospel of St. Matthew (Rudolf Steiner Press: London, 1965), Lecture 9. See also Valentin Tomberg, Anthroposophical Studies of the New Testament (Candeur Manuscripts: New York, 1985) Chapter 3. Concerning dating of the second coming, see Robert Powell, Hermetic Astrology /, Appendix II ("The Second Coming") and Hermetic Astrology 11, Chapter 9 ("The New Age and the Second Coming"). Further aspects concerning the second coming are outlined in Christian Hermetic Astrology: The Star of the Magi and the Life of Christ (soon to be published), where also the 29'/2-year rhythm in relation to communion with Christ's astral body is discussed. For a detailed account of the life of Christ in its historical, biographical aspect, see my forthcoming book Chronicle of the Life of Christ, in which the exact length of Christ's life from birth in Bethlehem to the moment of resurrection is shown to be 33 1/3 years less 1 1/2 days.