and the Mission of
Walter Johannes Stein &
THE SPEAR OF DESTINY
Readers may recall Dr. Walter Johannes Stein as the silent author of the Spear of Destiny by Trevor Ravenscroft, re-printed by Sphere Books, 1990.
the book Trevor Ravenscroft writes:
“Very considerable pressure was brought to bear to dissuade Dr. Stein from revealing what is now presented as the content of this book, but in the final issue he was not influenced in any way by such external persuasion, not even in this instance by Sir Winston Churchill himself who was insistent that the occultism of the Nazi Party should not under any circumstances be revelaed to the general public.”
Trevor Ravenscroft studied history under Dr. Stein for 12 years, while Dr. Stein himself was a life-long student of Dr Rudolf Steiner.
fact that India today is still the pillar of an outer world-dominion
what a great distance separates mankind from this ideal. And yet
the time is coming once again when the impulse to the life of spirit
soul going out from India will pour in all its power and splendour
humanity as a holy fire, bringing healing, blessing and warmth.
far as history is concerned, the impulses that have gone out from India
have from the beginning been selfless in their nature. Buddhism
not given birth to a religion which has proved a blessing pre-eminently
to the land of its origin, for destiny has willed otherwise. It
been in lands outside India that Buddhism has unfolded its
power. Buddhism came to the Mongolians, a people whose instincts
were an embodiment of the warrior nature. It came to modify, heal
and purify these instincts. Those who study the character of the
Mongolian people with a perception sharpened by what Rudolf Steiner has
said about them will find, in every detail, the most wonderful
of what he has taught. He spoke of the Mongolians as the ‘Mars
and this indeed is the key to their nature. The very colour of
skin indicates that in the Mongolian people the function of the gall
an outstanding part. They reveal their nature in the most
way, even to cursory observation. But the history of the
too reveals their connection with Mars. Reaching out and
pressing forward and then again retreating, in a word the attacks and
which are characteristic of the warlike element—all this is typical of
the Mars impulse. If, for example, we follow the history of the
or the invasions of Jenghis-Khan, we have a picture of this repeated
and withdrawing. Just as the birds of passage begin their flight
at certain seasons of the year and live instinctively in the conditions
prevailing between sun and earth, so do the Mongolian peoples live in
cosmic rhythm, a rhythm enacted through the earth, which tends every
hundred years or so to drive them from the East towards the West.
Rudolf Steiner indicated that a line could be drawn from North to
running approximately through Silesia over the Hungarian Plain towards
Italy, and that this line is never crossed by the Mongolians.
their retreat for no apparent reason, after such decisive victories as,
for example, the battle of Liebnitz. True, the Song of Walter and
Hildegund bears clear witness to the fact that the Huns advanced to the
Southern regions of France, but this refers merely to the marches of
armies. The camps in which the Huns left their wives and families
were never pitched West of the region between the Danube and
This was Attila’s main stronghold from which he initiated his invasions
and to which he again and again withdrew. These Mongolian
are mentioned here in order to indicate what it was in the evolution of
humanity that was supposed to have been paralyzed by the impulse by the
impulse emanating from India.
attitude of soul that is characteristic of Buddhism is ‘christianized’
in a most wonderful way in Francis of Assisi. Rudolf Steiner
this in his lectures entitled Anthroposophical
In the early part of his life Francis of Assisi was bold and prodigal,
full of warlike impulses. As the outcome of a great and
vision he transmuted these qualities of his being and became a
Rudolf Steiner also told us that leprosy—a disease so widespread in
during the Middle Ages—is to be traced to the chronic state of fear
in the peoples by the Mongolian invasions. And it was precisely
of Assisi who brought forces of healing into these conditions. We
see forces working in him which are the direct opposite of the forces
Mars. Francis of Assisi bore within him the healing forces of
which we may call the Mercury-forces.
it was Rudolf Steiner who taught us that ‘Bodha’ is identical with
and that the Buddha-forces are also active in Germanic regions.
indicated and Rudolf Steiner confirmed her statement that these forces
are connected with the impulses pouring down to the earth from the
Mercury. And so we may say that the task of India, the spiritual
Ephesus, is to bridle the warlike forces of Mars, to transmute them
the healing forces of Mercury.
the region of Mars there took place in mythological ages what may be
the ‘Overthrow of the Gods.’ A reflected picture of this event is
described in the Bhagavad Gita. The archetypal process, however,
was revealed by Rudolf Steiner in the lectures given at Dusseldorf,
he spoke of a certain cosmological happening as the ‘War in Heaven’ and
of the planetoids still circling in the Mars sphere as the debris of
worlds, the remains of this cosmic war. The Mars sphere was the
of the first battle, whence all the strife and discord pervading human
history have proceeded. And from that region Lucifer was cast
It was Michael who in the cosmic heights fought out this first and
of all battles. When we try to deepen our understanding of what
just been said, a wonderful picture arises before us. We gaze
a world of light which is at the same time a world of flowing
And in this world of light we see a parting; a division arises in the
radiating light; darkness creeps in. At the point where the
tinges the light, the colours begin to glow in all their marvellous
That which is above separates from that which is below; that which is
from that which is above; the world of colour from the world of
The light becomes the dazzling figure of power who wields the flaming
driving down to the depths all that is striving towards an individual
of its own in the manifold colours. This is Michael’s first fight
with the dragon. It has passed down through the Hierarchies into
the very depths of the world of men. But the Power who drives the
forces of darkness downwards fights onwards on the heels of the beings
who are cast down, keeping a kind of faith with them. For this
is battling to the end that there may unfold in the world of evil, the
force whereby goodness may come forth in strength, from evil
has been transmuted. And this goodness—which is at the same time
strength—is the healing power, the power that again leads upwards, that
is destined to heal mankind of the source of all illness, of the
of sin. The first inkling of this conquest of the consequences of
the Fall into Sin dawns in Indian Buddhism, to begin with as a yearning
to overcome the necessity of birth. For descent to birth is to
Buddhist, a recapitulation of the Fall into Sin. And so in
itself there arises the idea that man should flee from the world.
But Rudolf Steiner has told us that the founder of Buddhism—Buddha
ascended into lofty spiritual heights and has there been permeated by
impulses of Christianity. A reflection of this mystery is
in the legend of the conversion to Christianity of the Bodhisattva, of
Josaphat. (Josaphat is the same word as Bodhisattva). In
spiritual worlds Buddha has become Christian, and in Francis of Assisi
there already lives the ‘christianized’ impulse of Buddha. This
is now no longer a flight from the world--it is an impulse of
It is an impulse not to the avoidance but to the transmutation
mighty impulses are active in the evolution of humanity. The
gives man the power to be an Ego-being, exposes him to the danger of
egoism together with the Ego, gives him over to the power of
This is the Mars impulse, the impulse ruling the first half of earthly
evolution. It comes to an end at the time of the Mystery of
The red blood, the bearer of passions and desires is permeated with
and the Mars impulse lives in man in this iron. On Golgotha the
atones—on behalf of humanity and of the earth—for the iron that had
poured into earthly evolution. From then onwards the forces of
Saviour (Heiland) hold sway on earth.
second half of earthly evolution begins—the Mercury evolution.
shines as the Messenger of the Gods, leading us upwards, back to our
home from which we were cast down. The name given to this
home in which everything that has gone astray is purified and divested
of wrong, is Nirvana. Nirvana is identical with the scene of the
War in Heaven but it can only be entered when the powers of the Tempter
have been overcome. In Buddhism, the name of these powers is
and Mara is Mars. When man is healed and hallowed he attains to
region of Mars once again, borne thither by the power of Mercury.
But in the intervening period a mighty event has taken place in the
Michael was waging his battle with Lucifer he saw him crowned with a
crown of light, formed by the circle of those Angel-Beings who followed
Lucifer. Michael’s sword cut away a stone from this crown and it
was hurled downwards to the realm of earth where it now circles as the
chalice of the Moon. But this fragment from the debris of the War
in Heaven has been filled with the blood of the Redeemer since the
of Golgotha. Humanity celebrates this in the Easter
Easter is a Festival of Sun and Moon because the Sun’s blood is
into the chalice of the Moon. Michael fights to conquer the
that go out from the chalice of the Moon and this is the next stage of
the fight with the dragon. This too was seen by the ancient
They looked up with deepest reverence to the Moon and beheld in the
King Soma. Yet to the Indians Soma was not only the Moon.
Greeks spoke of the human body as Soma. And even today we speak
the somatic fluids of the body. The lymph, blood and fluids
the body, flowing through the head and spine in wonderful rhythms—all
to the realm of King Soma. All that ascends and descends in the
and root of plants as a mysterious ebb and flow in connection with the
constellations of the Moon—this too is of the realm of Soma. And
it was known in India that man is faced with a mighty task: in the
of King Soma he must unfold the power by which alone the transmutation
of forces can be accomplished. Desire must be transmuted into
forces that wound into forces that heal. The process leading to
transmutation was described in ancient India as ‘pressing the Soma
and there was an actual vessel wherein the juice of the Soma-plant was
caught. Men drank this juice in order to awaken ecstasy.
this was merely an outer symbol of the inner process which takes place
in the human body itself when all the forces of soul interweave in true
rhythmic harmony, when that comes to pass which the Indian called
or ‘treading the Path.’ And breathing in a definite rhythm was
a visible indication of that great and sublime process which had its
within the being of man but extended into the divine-spiritual realms
The man who fully realized this knew that in his own being he was working at a cosmic process, at the transmutation of the forces of the Moon. He knew that at some time his efforts would achieve their goal. A time will come when the Moon, on whose silvery rays of light souls are led down to birth, will no longer shine in the heavens. Birth will then have ceased, man will be freed from birth and Mercury will be the nearest planet to the earth. The age of Mercury will have superseded the age of Mars. And so the ancient Indians saw the Spirit of Mercury—or Buddha as they called him—as the Healer, the Healer who does away with forces which have thrust man downwards to the Fall and to birth. Buddha was the Atoner.
But it was not possible for Buddha to bring these forces to full expression for he lived six hundred years before the Mystery of Golgotha. The Deed of Christ alone could bring the forces of healing and redemption right down to the inmost solid rock-structure of the earth.
The Buddha-forces work in the fluidity of the cosmos, in the sub-lunar sphere which is governed in its ebb and flow by the Moon rhythm. Christ alone was able to bring the forces of healing into solid matter, into the bony structure of man and of the earth. Therefore it is written in the Bible: “A bone of His shall not be broken”—because the Christ-forces permeate the very bones and are victorious over the skeleton—death. At the time of the Mystery of Golgotha there streamed into earthly evolution the power which conquers death, which brings not only illumination and transfiguration, but resurrection in the body.
And so it is only in the light of Christianity that the nature of the impulse given by Buddha appears in its full depth and truth. It is Christianity that first sets up the balance between the downward-driving and the upward-leading forces. The Buddha-forces as yet unpermeated by the Christ-forces are, in themselves, an urge to escape from the world, to turn away from the world. But when they are “christened” (i.e., permeated with the Christ Impulse) they are united with those forces which lead man down too insistently and too deeply to earth—the forces connected with the Fall into Sin. Christ unites the downward-driving and the loosening, the hardening and the ascending forces in such a way that they intermingle and are mutually purified. And so the true substance is first given by Christianity. Buddha brought to mankind the teaching of compassion and love; Christ, the actual power of love. Buddha left his teaching to the human race; Christ—a Deed. Buddha was a Master of the Word; in his words the rhythms of the cosmic process resound in wonderful harmony. But Christ was the Word; His whole life and Being, not merely His words, were an expression of cosmic harmonies.
The great Individualities who are active in world-history as prototypes and leaders, or also as ‘preparers of the way’ unfold quite definite faculties of soul which appear in them for the first time and then gradually become the possession of all mankind. It is from this aspect that we must regard a figure like Zarathustra. In his book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment, Rudolf Steiner speaks of the development of organs of supersensible knowledge, and he means by this the harmonious development, in a perfectly definite way, of kindred qualities of the moral life. And so he groups together a number of exercises, saying that if they are faithfully practised they will bring about the development of a specific organ or higher knowledge which he calls the ‘two-petalled lotus-flower.’ It may gradually dawn upon us that the exercises which lead to the development of precisely this organ of knowledge point back to the impulses poured into humanity by Zarathustra.
If in a similar way we endeavour to understand the impulse that went out from Buddha, we find that he made it possible for humanity to unfold a different group of moral qualities in the soul, namely those connected with the organ of knowledge spoken of by Rudolf Steiner as the ‘sixteen-petalled lotus-flower.’ He says in a footnote: “Students will recognise in the conditions attached in the development of the sixteen-petalled lotus, the instructions given by the Buddha to his disciples for the ‘Path.’ Yet there is no question here of teaching Buddhism, but of describing conditions governing development which are the natural outcome of Spiritual Science. The fact that these conditions harmonize with certain teachings of the Buddha is no reason for not finding them true in themselves.”
These words indicate the connection that exists between the work of certain historical personages and the inner development of man. In his Aesthetic Letters, Schiller says that within the human being there exists a second, ‘ideal’ man, to whose nature it is the highest goal of inner development to conform. It is this ‘second man’ who is unfolded in a human being by dint of spiritual training. Everything that is developed in this training, however small, is a light in world-history, for world-history is nothing but the treading of the path of inner development over long periods of time and in strict accordance with law.
Buddha taught his disciples of the Eightfold Path; in other words, he indicated that they were to practise an eightfold exercise. Dr. Steiner speaks in detail of this in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment and adds many important points in a lecture given on December 5th, 1904. These eight exercises represent the work which must be done by the human Ego is, in the course of long ages, it is to reach perfection. Now in every detail—and Rudolf Steiner also called attention to this—we can find confirmation of the fact that in each of the several epochs of civilization, humanity practises, and to a certain extent fulfils, one of the exercises (at first unconsciously and then, later on, consciously). During the ancient Indian epoch of civilization, men practised what Buddha called ‘right views,’ the forming of right judgment. They learnt to observe how ideas and conceptions come into being. This, indeed, sums up the real content of the first epoch of civilization, when men experienced the world the world as idea and the world appeared as Maya, as mere idea. In the second epoch of civilization, a right attitude of mind is all-essential. Zarathustra taught the Persian people to come to right resolves, to find the path between light and darkness—Ormuzd and Ahriman. In the third epoch of civilization man learns to realize the sacredness of the word, of commandment and decree, namely that which Buddha calls ‘right speech.’ The whole impulse given by Moses can be understood from this point of view. It is said, for example, that the name of God must not be taken in vain. The third epoch of civilization is based upon the holiness of speech. The fourth, the Graeco-Latin epoch, is concerned with the regulation of outward action, in the words of Buddha, ‘right conduct.’ The goal of all Roman jurisprudence is the development of this quality in the soul. The law prescribes how man shall act, but distinction must be made between the commandment with its more sacramental character, and the law that sets out to regulate outward conduct. It is precisely in this fourth period that Christianity arises, for Christianity is not doctrine but deed. In describing the corresponding exercise, Dr. Steiner tells us that man must learn to bring his actions into harmony with those of his fellow-men and with what is going on around him. The Prototype here is Christ-Jesus Himself, the incarnate Logos Whose Manhood at every moment was the personification of full and complete harmony with the heavenly constellations. Today we are living in the fifth epoch of civilization and have to learn what Dr. Steiner calls ‘the management of the whole of life,’ and Buddha, the right ‘mode of livelihood’ or also ‘right station.’ A man of the present age must realize that in whatever position he is placed, he can accomplish things that are of essential significance in the social organism. To be able to live rightly within the community because he has a true knowledge and understanding of his own place—that is what man must learn in our modern civilization. What Buddha calls ‘right effort’ is, as Dr. Steiner says, that striving which leads on to the future, to the sixth epoch of civilization when a social life permeated by the spirit and warmed by love must come into being. The seventh exercise, ‘right mindfulness,’ is described by Dr. Steiner as the effort to learn as much from life as possible. He said that in the seventh epoch of civilization all that was lived through more instinctively in the first epoch will be a matter of conscious experience. In this age, therefore, humanity will have to learn how to relate the present with the past. Dr. Steiner once referred to this as ‘right memory.’ The eighth exercise which Buddha calls ‘right union’ (rapture) represents a synthesis of what has been acquired by humanity in the course of all the seven epochs. The disciple of the Eightfold Path reaches this stage in advance. He learns what is meant by true contemplation. He understands the saying of Goethe that man must be inwardly silent and let things themselves express their being.
When we thus study what Buddha expresses in a few short sentences, we realize the existence of a knowledge which cannot but fill us with deepest reverence. For the words of Buddha evince not only a concrete knowledge of world-history as it had already run its course, but of world-history in the future. And this is but one fragment of the all-comprehensive teaching of Buddha.
Rudolf Steiner says that the sixteen-petal lotus is the organ of knowledge whereby we may understand the mind and thought of other souls and acquire deeper insight into the laws of natural phenomena. We could also say that it is the organ which enables us to perceive the extent to which the moral element is working in the laws of Nature. In the sphere of destiny, however, the moral element works by a natural necessity. It is therefore not by chance that Buddha teaches the Eightfold Path and at the same time preaches the doctrine of destiny, of karma. The development of the sixteen-petalled lotus is intimately bound up with man'’ relationship to speech: It is to this that the words in the book Light on the Path refer: "Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters, it must have lost the power to wound.” Buddha is the teacher of compassion and love. Those forces which are the reverse of compassion and love work themselves out in the misuse of speech, and Buddha can be regarded precisely as the healer of speech, he who transmutes the power inherent in speech. Aggressiveness is the most difficult force of all to overcome in the word. In this sphere, to, Buddha sets out to teach how the forces of Mars may be transmuted into those of Mercury. Herein lies the secret of his marvellous connection with speech and it is for this reason that his words are almost impossible to translate. At this point we understand the earlier reference to the connection between Wotan, or Odin, and Buddha. Odin is the wind, in other words the speaker'’ breath. Odin is the possessor of the Runic wisdom, he rules over the forces of speech.
The faculty of speech makes man truly man. The animal has no speech. Man alone has the power of speech. In that we speak we are of the nature of God, for out of the Word divine-spiritual Powers created the world. The Word is the creative power of God. But the Powers who were responsible for the War in Heaven inserted themselves in the work of creation. These were the forces of Mars, and as a result, speech became a force which not only creates but destroys. The healing of speech from the forces of destruction, the purification and transmutation of speech into a hallowed, creative power, into a power that has been led back once again to its divine origin—this is the task of men on earth. Rudolf Steiner has taught us to speak of the whole of earthly evolution as ‘Mars-Mercury.’ But this evolution can only reach the goal thus set before it, when the forces of the Moon which are at work in the world and in man, are overcome. And it was the mission of India to look up to the forces of the Moon, to their power on the one side and on the other to that in them which must be overcome.
Divine creative power lives in the word. As man utters the word, gives it form in the element of air, so does the cosmic Word of the Gods sound forth, forming and ordering all the elements. But a part of this form-giving force, a part of the cosmic Word has assumed an earthly nature. There is an earthly as well as a divine power of creation. And the Moon in the heavens, the precious stone cast down from the crown of Lucifer is the part of the Creator’s power which fell from the realm of the Gods to earth. Therefore all earthly ‘becoming,’ all generation and regeneration are connected with the forces of the Moon, for it is they which draw man down to birth. When Buddha teaches that birth must be overcome, this means that the powers of the Moon must be vanquished.
Twofold is the influence of the Moon. On the earth the Moon is at work in the process of coming-into-being, but in such a way that the forces ruling in man because of the Fall into Sin, sully its purity. In the cosmos—I might also say in the realms of Spirit—this same force is chaste and pure. The Grail in the realm of Spirit is, in the realm of earth, a power that corrupts and leads astray.
Forces working in the universe may be good or evil. Their nature depends upon whether human beings unfold and bring them to expression at the right or the wrong place. And the wisdom of the cosmos would fain teach men to bear each force to its true place in the world. Therefore Christ says when He turns the Evil One away: hypage—which means ‘get thee elsewhere.’ The meaning of this is that he who is treading the path to the realms of Spirit must know the place at which he may unfold a force. The Power who watches over this unceasingly is called the ‘Guardian of the Threshold.’ The task today is set before a wide-spread humanity, whereas in earlier times it was undertaken by a few individuals only. To cross the Threshold aright—this, in other words, is to unfold each force at the right place. And world-history is composed of the struggle to find this right place, both in the being of man himself and in world-events.
The Guardian of the Threshold is a twofold figure. There is a lesser and a greater Guardian. The lesser Guardian watches in order that man may find the true path from the realm of Spirit to the earth; the greater Guardian watches in order that man may find the true path from the earth to the realm of Spirit. The lesser Guardian reveals an image of himself in the Moon in heaven; the greater Guardian in the Sun. On the rhythm of the Moon souls descend to incarnation and through the portal of the Sun the being of soul-and-spirit passes back to the heavenly worlds after death. Hence the Egyptians spoke of a dead man as an ‘Osiris.’ India wrestled with the problem of the lesser Guardian of the Threshold, asking: ‘How can man free himself from birth?’ But Christianity comes with a higher question: ‘How shall man be born aright?’ Fear of birth was deeply rooted in the soul of the Orient. Birth as a sacrifice for others—this was the deed of Christ.
The history of India indicates the path along
process of transformation takes place. Not until the seventh
of civilization will man be able to cease his efforts to win India, and
yet India will never be won until mankind has learnt to renounce all
This is the great teaching given by Buddha to the human race, the
which Mercury can bring to Mars. For the power of Buddha is the
of a world-conquering kind who has renounced his conquest.
There was a time when wisdom lived in the light-filled worlds of Gods. Wisdom too was destined to cross the Threshold, to descend from the primeval Teachers to human kind. Those who received the wisdom into themselves were known in old India as the Rishis. Inasmuch as wisdom descended it too became subject to the Fall; it became science. To heal the wisdom the Gods gave art to men. It was their will that this fallen child of theirs should again be shown the path leading to reunion with the Divine, and religion was sent as a gift to the human race. Therefore when we speak of wisdom, we must speak at the same time of a primordial wisdom which gradually faded away. An echo of this primordial wisdom still lived in the scripts of ancient India, albeit it gradually died down into mere intellectuality. And then, Christ came. He betokened the end of the old wisdom. For in Him was the sum of all wisdom; the Logos had become flesh, had changed its nature. Rudolf Steiner has taught us of the change that wisdom must undergo. He said: In the Ego, wisdom is transformed into love. Love is wisdom freed from the Fall into Sin, wisdom healed and made holy. And of this wisdom Christ was the Personification. Before His Coming men spoke of Teachers of the wisdom, of whom Buddha was one. Buddha is a herald of Christ; he teaches of compassion and love, he gives the wisdom, the knowledge of compassion and love. But Christ brought love itself. He fulfilled the great transubstantiation, the mighty sacrifice whereby the wisdom-powers of the primeval Teachers—the forces of knowledge—were transformed. This transformation of the wisdom-filled power of creation, of the Moon-forces, was fulfilled in Christ. In humanity it has not yet been fulfilled. To this end we strive, but we shall not yet succeed. But before us as a goal of glory stands a love that will be there in the end, just as a primal wisdom was there at the beginning.
The history of India indicates the path along which this process of transformation takes place. Not until the seventh epoch of civilization will man be able to cease his efforts to win India, and yet India will never be won until mankind has learnt to renounce all will-to-conquest. This is the great teaching given by Buddha to the human race, the healing which Mercury can bring to Mars. For the power of Buddha is the power of a world-conquering kind who has renounced his conquest.