Christmas Contemplation: the Mystery of the Logos
Into our contemplation of the Michael Mystery there shone like
a ray of light the Mystery of Golgotha. This arose of itself,
from the fact that Michael is the power that guides Man in the
most helpful and wholesome way to the Christ.
But Michael's mission is of a kind which repeats itself in
rhythmic succession during the cosmic evolution of mankind. Its
beneficent influence had been repeatedly exerted upon mankind
on earth, before the Mystery of Golgotha. Then, it was engaged
in everything that the Christ Power — being then still
outside the earth — required to manifest in acts for the
education of mankind to earthly life. Since the Mystery of
Golgotha, it serves in aid of that which must be accomplished
by the Christ amongst men on earth. It appears in its
repetitions each time in an altered and advanced form — but
contrast to this, the Mystery of Golgotha is a unique
all-overreaching cosmic event, that only takes place
once in the course of mankind's whole cosmic evolution.
soon as mankind has progressed to the development of the
Intellectual or Mind-Soul, there comes for the first time into
full force the ever constant danger of that occurring, for
which indeed the predispositions had been laid in the beginning
of time, namely, that the Being of Mankind would separate and
fall away from the Divine, Spiritual Being.
And in the same measure as the human soul loses her fellowship
with the life of the divine, spiritual beings, there emerges
round about her what to-day we call the world of Nature.
Man no longer sees his own living humanity in the divine and
spiritual Cosmos, he sees the lifeless work of divine spirit in
the earthly world. He sees it at first, not in the abstract
form in which we see it to-day, as sensibly physical begins and
events, held together by that abstract thread of ideas which we
call Natural Law; he sees it as an ocean of divine, spiritual
being. In all that he beholds — in the rise and wane of
life in the creatures of the animal world, in the growth and
budding of the plants, in springing fountain and flowing
stream, in the gatherings of wind and cloud — he sees the
heaving and falling billows of this ocean of divine, spiritual
Being. All these many shapes of life and doing round about him
are to him the gestures, the acts, are to him the language of
the gods, of that divine Being which underlies the world of
As, at an earlier time, Man had watched the stations and
motions of the stars, and seen therein the gestures, the acts,,
of the World-Divinities, and read therein their words, so, now,
the ‘facts of Nature’ became the verbal expression for the
Earth-Goddess. For the Divinity at work in Nature was pictured
in woman's form.
Remnants of this kind of mental picturing remained as an
imaginative content of the Intellectual or Mind-Soul, and
occupied men's souls until late into the Middle Ages.
Those ‘who knew,’ the ‘savants,’ talked of the acts of the
Goddess, when they wanted to bring the ‘process of Nature’ to
men's comprehension. Only with the gradual ascendance of the
Spiritual Soul did this view of a living, inwardly soul-endowed
Nature grow incomprehensible to mankind.
The whole manner of viewing such things during the age of the
Intellectual or Mind-Soul, recalls to mind the Myth of
Persephone and the Mystery on which it is founded.
Persephone, daughter of Demeter, is forced by the God of the
Underworld to accompany him down into his kingdom. This is
finally settled in the form that she spends half of the year
only in the underworld, and dwells in the upper world during
the other half.
Grandly and powerfully does this myth still express the manner
in which men once — in ages long gone past — had looked
into the waxing, waning life of the earthly world and read what
was behind it.
All active impulses in the world proceeded in ancient times
from the cosmic environment round about the Earth. The Earth
herself was only just coming into being. she built up her
life-form amidst the cosmic evolution from the forces at work
in her surroundings. The divine Spirit-Beings of the Cosmos
were the active shapers of Earth's being.
And when the Earth was far enough advanced to become a
self-existing cosmic body, then divine spiritual being
descended upon her from the universal Cosmos, and became
earthly divinity. This was a cosmic fact, perceived and
recognized by the dreamlike clairvoyance of ancient Man. Of
this perceptive science there has remained the Myth of
Persephone. But what also has remained is the manner in which
deep into the Middle Ages, men endeavoured with their science
to penetrate the secrets of ‘Nature.’ For they directed their
gaze then, not as later, towards the impressions of the senses,
that is, towards what shows upon the surface of the earthly
world, but rather towards those active forces that work up on
to the surface from the Earth's inner depths. And these forces
of the Deep, these ‘Powers of the Underworld,’ they saw acting
in alternation with the action of the Stars and the elemental
forces of the Earth's environment.
There they see the Plants, growing in all their manifold forms,
displaying themselves in their gay show of many colours. There,
through it all, are at work the forces of Sun, Moon and Stars
in conjunction with the forces of the Earth's depths. The
foundation is laid by the Minerals; their whole form of being
bears the character of earthly descent from World-Beings. The
stony rock thrusts itself up from the ‘underworld’ by the
strength alone of earthly forces, that once were heavenly ones.
The Animal world has not borrowed from Earth the forces of ‘the
Depths.’ It is brought into life solely by the World-Forces
that work from round about, out of the earth's surroundings.
Its beginnings, its growth, its fresh-fledged life, its
faculties of nourishment, its powers of motion — all these
it owes to the forces that rain from the Sun without upon the
Earth within. It propagates its kind under the influences of
the Moon-forces which fall from without upon the Earth. It
makes its appearance in many shapes and kinds, because of the
Stars, which from their different positions in the wide
universe work from without upon animal life and give it form.
But the animals are merely set down by the universe upon earth.
Only with their dim, dull life of consciousness do they take
any part in the earthly world; in their beginnings, their
growth, in all that they are, so as to perceive and move about,
they are no creatures of the earth.
This grandly constructed idea of the making of the earth was
once living amongst men. From what still remains of it,
towering over into the Middle Ages, it is only possible to gain
but a very faint notion of the grand lines of the structure. To
arrive at a true notion of it one must go back, and see with
the knowledge of vision into very ancient times. For even with
the physically existent documents, what existed in the souls of
men is perceptible to him alone, who can read them with the eye
of the Spirit.
Now Man is not in a position to keep so far aloof from the
earth as do the creatures of the animal world. To say this is
to touch upon the mystery both of mankind and of animal-kind.
These mysteries are reflected in the animal-worship of the
ancient peoples, more especially of the Egyptians. They saw in
the animals beings who are guests upon earth, in whom may be
visibly beheld the being and doing of that other, spiritual
world which borders on the earthly one. And in the combination
of the human with the animal form, as represented in their
images, they brought presently before them the figures of those
intermediate beings of the elemental world, who are on the road
to humanity in the course of the world's evolution, but who
never enter the earth-region, so that they may not become men.
These intermediate elemental beings actually exist. The
Egyptians were only reproducing what they saw, when they made
images of them. Such beings however have not the full
Self-consciousness of Man.
attain to this Self-consciousness, it was necessary for Man to
set foot so thoroughly in the terrestrial world that he took up
something of the earth's being into his own being. It was
necessary for him to be exposed to the fact that in this
earthly world he as before him the work wrought by those divine
spiritual beings with whom he is associated — but their
wrought work only. And because it is only the
wrought work — the finished work, detached from its
origin — the Luciferic and Ahrimanic Beings have access to
it. The result is that Man is under the necessity of making
this finished work of the Gods, pervaded as it is by Lucifer
and Ahriman, the place in which to lead a portion — namely
the earthly portion — of his own existence.
This is only possible without permanently breaking the tie
between the human world and its divine spiritual origin, so
long as Man has not yet reached the point of developing his
Intellectual or Mind-Soul. At this point there takes place in
Man a corruption of his physical, his etheric and his astral
bodies. The science of an earlier time recognized this
corruption as something actually existent in the human being.
It was known to be a necessary element, in order that
Consciousness may progress in Man to Self-consciousness. In the
science cultivated in those places which were a form of
Aristotelian teaching which rightly understood, contains in it
this element of corruption as a vital part of its psychological
doctrine; only that such ideas, later on, were no longer
penetrated in their inner essence.
During the ages until the development of the Intellectual or
Mind-Soul, Man was nevertheless still so closely involved with
the forces of his divinely spiritual origin that these forces
were able, from their places in the cosmos, to hold in balance
the powers of Lucifer and Ahriman by which he was beset on
earth. On the part of Man himself, enough was done to help keep
this balance, when in the ritual ceremonies of the Mysteries
a picture was displayed of the Divine Spirit-Being's
descent into the realm of Lucifer and Ahriman and his
triumphant resurrection. In the times preceding the Mystery of
Golgotha, we find accordingly, in the religious rites of the
different peoples, pictorial representations of what then
became — in the Mystery of Golgotha itself — a
But when the Intellectual or Mind-Soul was evolved, nothing but
the reality itself could any longer preserve Man's Being from
separation from those divine Spirit-Beings to whom he belongs.
Into the Intellectual or Mind-Soul so organized as to draw its
life, whilst on Earth, from the earthly realm, the Divine must
enter — even within this earthly realm — in very
reality of Being. This was accomplished through the Divine
Spiritual Logos, the Christ, who for the sake of mankind united
His cosmic destiny with the Earth.
Persephone descended into the earthly realm to deliver the
plant-world from being condemned to form itself out of the
earthly realm only. This is the descent of a divine, spiritual
being into earthly Nature. Persephone too has a kind of
resurrection, but yearly, in rhythmic succession.
Over against this event, taking place as a cosmic process upon
earth, there is the Descent of the Logos to save Mankind.
Persephone comes down in order to bring the natural world into
its original relation to the skies. What here takes place is
based on Rhythm, for Nature's events proceed in rhythm. The
Logos came down into Mankind. This happens but once during the
evolution of Mankind. For this evolution forms one part
only of a gigantic World-Rhythm, in which Mankind, before its
life ‘as Man,’ was something quite different from Mankind, and
afterwards will again be different. Whereas plant-life repeats
itself as such, over and over again in short rhythms.
This is the light in which the Mystery of Golgotha must be
seen; and men henceforth have need so to see it, now that the
Age of Consciousness has begun. For even in the age of the
Intellectual or Mind-Soul, there was already the danger of Man
losing his link, had not the Mystery of Golgotha
the age of the Spiritual Soul, a complete darkening of
the spiritual world would come over Man in his consciousness,
if the Spiritual Soul could not gather sufficient strength to
look back, in insight, to her divine, spiritual origin. But if
the Soul can look back, then she finds in the World-Logos the
Being who can lead her back. And she is filled through and
through with the mighty image, revealing what took place on
And the beginning of this understanding is a loving
comprehension of the World-Christmas, which every year is
celebrated in Remembrance. For the Spiritual Soul, that beings
with the reception of cold intellectuality, goes on to gather
the needful strength, when into this Intellect, that warm Love,
of which the stream flows most nobly and purely when it is
turned towards the Child Jesus, who in the World's Christmas
Holy-Night appears on Earth. Then Man has opened his soul to
the influence of the highest of all spiritual facts on Earth,
which is also a physical fact. He has set out on the way that
ends by receiving the Christ into himself.
the world of Nature, a true Science will behold in
Persephone — or that being to whom men's eyes still turned
in the early middle ages, when they spoke of ‘Nature’ — the
natural revelation of that primal and eternal divine spiritual
power, out of which the natural world arose, and continuously
arises as the groundwork of Man's earthly existence.
the world of Man, a true Science will behold in Christ the
human revelation of that primal and eternal Logos, who in the
realm of the Divine Spiritual Being, with whom Man is in his
origin united, works for the evolution of the Spirit-Being of
turn the human heart in Love towards these great cosmic
connections — this is the real celebration of that Feast of
Remembrance which meets Man every year, when he gazes on the
World's Christ-Mass, the Holy Night. When Love such as this
dwells in human hearts, it fires with its warmth the Spiritual
Soul's cold element of Light. Were the Spiritual Soul condemned
to remain unwarmed by such fire, Man could never attain to its
transformation in the Spirit. He would either perish in the
cold of intellectual consciousness, or would be condemned to
remain in a form of spiritual life which never progresses to
the evolution of the Spiritual Soul. He would then stop short
with the evolution of the Intellectual or Mind-Soul.
But the Spiritual Soul is not, of its own being, cold. It only
appears so at the beginning of its evolution; because at the
beginning it can only display the Light-element that is in
it, and not as yet the World-Warmth, from which it nevertheless
feel Christmas and inwardly to keep it in this fashion, can
make present in the soul how the Glory of the divine Spirit
Beings, who reveal their image in the star-expanses, is
proclaimed before Man, and how the deliverance of Man is
accomplished in the fields of Earth from those powers who would
draw him away from his source and origin.
That form of activity, which is
introduced by the Michael Forces into the evolution of the
World and Man, repeats itself
rhythmically — though each time in altered and
progressive form — both before and after the Mystery of
The Mystery of Golgotha is the
unique, only once occurring, greatest event in the course
of human evolution. It is impossible here to speak of any
rhythmic repetition. For although this human evolution is
part of a gigantic world-rhythm, yet it is only one single,
widely drawn out part of this gigantic rhythm. Before it
became this single part, Mankind was something else,
essentially other than Mankind. Afterwards, Michael will
again be something else. In the course of human evolution,
therefore, many Michael Events take place, but only one
Event of Golgotha.
In the swift, rhythmic repetition of
a year's cycle, the process of Nature is accomplished by
that divine Spirit-Being who descended into the depths of
Earth in order to carry the spirit into this natural
process. This Being represents the ensouling of the natural
world with those primal and eternal forces which must
continue to work in Nature, even as the Christ in His
descent represents the ensouling of Mankind with the primal
and eternal Logos, whose work shall never cease its
efficacy for Mankind's salvation.