A CHRISTMAS STUDY:
THE MYSTERY OF THE LOGOS
Our study of the Michael Mystery was irradiated by thoughts of the
Mystery of Golgotha. For, in effect, Michael is the Power who leads
man towards the Christ along the true way of man's salvation.
But the Michael Mission is one of those that are repeated again and
again in rhythmical succession in the cosmic evolution of mankind. In
its beneficial influence on earthly mankind it was repeated before the
Mystery of Golgotha. It was connected in that time with all the active
revelations which the Christ-Force as yet external to the Earth
had to pour down to the Earth for the unfolding of mankind.
After the Mystery of Golgotha, the Michael Mission enters the service
of what must now be achieved in earthly humanity through Christ
Himself. In its repetitions, the Michael Mission now appears in a
changed and ever-progressing form. The point is that it appears in
The Mystery of Golgotha, on the other hand, is an all embracing
World-event, taking place once only in the whole course of the cosmic
evolution of mankind.
It was only when humanity had reached the unfolding of the
Intellectual or Mind-Soul that the ever-continued danger which was
there potentially from the beginning the danger lest humanity's
existence should become severed from the existence of the
Divine-Spiritual made itself fully felt.
And in the same manner in which the soul of man loses the conscious
experience in and with the Divine-Spiritual Beings, there emerges
around him that which we today call Nature. Man no longer
sees the essence and being of Humanity in the Divine-Spiritual Cosmos;
he sees the accomplished work of the Divine-Spiritual in this earthly
realm. To begin with, however, he sees it not in the abstract form in
which it is seen today not as physically sensible events and
entities held together by those abstract ideal contents which we call
Natural Laws. To begin with, he sees it still as
Divine-Spiritual Being Divine-Spiritual Being surging up and
down in all that he perceives around him, in the birth and decay of
living animals, in the springing and sprouting of the plant-world, in
the activity of water-wells and rivers, in cloud and wind and weather.
All these processes of being around him represent to him the gestures,
deeds and speech of the Divine Being at the foundation of
Once upon a time, man had seen in the constellations and movements of
the stars the deeds and gestures of the Divine Beings of the Cosmos,
whose words he was thus able to read in the heavens. In like manner,
the facts of Nature now became for him an expression of
the Goddess of the Earth. For the Divinity at work in Nature was
conceived as feminine.
Far down into the Middle Ages, the relics of this mode of conception
were still at work in the souls of men, filling the Intellectual or
Mind-Soul with an Imaginative content.
When men of knowledge wanted to bring the processes of
Nature to the understanding of their pupils, they spoke of the
deeds of the Goddess. It was only with the gradual dawn of
the Spiritual Soul that this living study of Nature, filled as it was
with inner soul, grew unintelligible to mankind.
The way in which men looked in this direction in the age of the
Intellectual or Mind-Soul is reminiscent of the Myth of Persephone and
of the mystery that underlies it.
Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, is compelled by the God of the
Underworld to follow him into his kingdom. Eventually it is achieved
that she spends one-half of the year only in the Nether world and
dwells for the remainder of the year in the Upper world.
This Myth of Persephone was still a great and wonderful expression of
the way in which Man, in an age of immemorial antiquity, had perceived
and known the evolutionary process of the Earth in dream-like
In primeval times all the world-creative activity had proceeded from
the surroundings of the Earth. The Earth itself was only in process of
becoming, and moulded its existence in cosmic evolution from out of
the activities of the surrounding world. The Divine-Spiritual Beings
of the Cosmos were the creators and moulders of the Earth's existence.
But when the Earth was far enough advanced to become an independent
heavenly body, Divine-Spiritual Being descended from the great Cosmos
to the Earth and became the Earth-Divinity. This cosmic fact the
dream-like clairvoyance of primeval mankind had seen and known; and of
such knowledge the Myth of Persephone remained but not only
this. For indeed, far down even into the Middle Ages, the way in which
men sought to know and penetrate into Nature was still a
relic of the same ancient knowledge. It was not yet as in these later
times, when men only see according to their sense-impressions, i.e.,
according to that which appears on the surface of the Earth. They
still saw according to the forces that work upwards to the surface
from the depths of the Earth. And these forces of the
depths the forces of the Nether world
they saw in mutual interplay with the influences of the stars and
elements working from the Earth's environment.
The plants in their varied forms grow forth, revealing themselves in
many-coloured glory. Therein are at work the forces of Sun and Moon
and Stars, together with the forces of the Earth's depths. The ground
and foundation for this is given in the minerals, whose existence is
entirely conditioned by that part of the cosmic Beings which has
become earthly. Through those heavenly forces alone, which have become
earthly, rock and stone shoot forth out of the Nether world. The
animal kingdom, on the other hand, has not assumed the forces of the
earthly depths. It comes into being through those world-forces alone
which are at work from the surroundings of the Earth. It owes its
growth, development and surging life, its powers of nutrition, its
possibilities of movement, to the Sun-forces streaming down to the
Earth. And under the influence of the Moon-forces streaming down to
the Earth it has the power to reproduce itself It appears in manifold
forms and species because the starry constellations are working in
manifold ways from the Cosmos, shaping and moulding this animal life.
The animals are, as it were, only placed down here on Earth from out
the Cosmos. It is only with their dim life of consciousness that they
partake in the earthly realm; with their origin, development and
growth, with all that they are in order to be able to perceive and
move about, they are no earthly creatures.
This mightily conceived idea of the evolution of the Earth lived once
upon a time in mankind. The greatness of the conception is scarcely
recognisable any longer in the relics of it which came down to the
Middle Ages. To attain this knowledge one must go back, with the true
vision of the seer, into very ancient times. For even the physical
documents that are extant do not reveal what was really present there
in the souls of men, save to those who are able to penetrate to it by
a spiritual path.
Now man is not in a position to hold himself so much aloof from the
Earth as do the animals. In saying this, we are approaching the
Mystery of Humanity as well as the Mystery of the Animal Kingdom.
These Mysteries were reflected in the animal cults of the ancient
peoples, and above all in that of the Egyptians. They saw the animals
as beings who are but guests upon the Earth, and in whom one may
perceive the nature and activity of the spiritual world immediately
adjoining this earthly realm. And when in pictures they portrayed the
human figure in connection with the animal, they were representing to
themselves the forms of those elementary, intermediate beings who,
though they are indeed in cosmic evolution on the way to humanity, yet
purposely refrain from entering the earthly realm, in order not to
become human. For there are such elementary, intermediate beings and
in picturing them the Egyptians were but reproducing what they saw.
Such beings, however, have not the full self-consciousness of man, to
attain to which man had to enter this earthly world so completely as
to receive something of this earthly nature into his very own.
Man had to be exposed to the fact that in this earthly world, though
the work of the Divine-Spiritual Beings with whom he is connected is
indeed present here, yet it is only their accomplished work.
And just because only the accomplished work, severed from its Divine
origin, is present here, therefore the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings
have access to it. Thus it becomes necessary for man to make this
realm of the Divine-accomplished work, permeated as it is by Lucifer
and Ahriman, the field of action for one part namely, the
earthly part of his life's development.
So long as man had not progressed to the unfolding of his Intellectual
or Mind-Soul, this was possible, without man's nature becoming
permanently severed from its original Divine-Spiritual foundation. But
when this point was reached, a corruption took place in man a
corruption of the physical, the etheric and the astral bodies. To an
ancient science, this corruption was known as something that was
living in man's nature. It was known as a thing that was necessary in
order that consciousness might advance to self-consciousness in man.
In the stream of knowledge that was cultivated in the centres of
learning founded by Alexander the Great, there lived an
Aristotelianism which, rightly understood, contained this
corruption as an essential element in its psychology. It
was only in a later time that these ideas were no longer penetrated in
their inward essence.
In the ages before the evolution of his Intellectual or Mind Soul, man
was, however, interwoven still with the forces of his Divine-Spiritual
origin, so much so that from their cosmic field of action these forces
were able to balance and hold in check the Luciferic and Ahrimanic
Powers that reach out to man on Earth. And from the human side enough
was done by way of co-operation to maintain the balance, in those
actions of Ritual and of the Mysteries, wherein the picture was
unfolded of the Divine-Spiritual Being diving down into the realm of
Lucifer and Ahriman and coming forth again triumphant. Hence in times
prior to the Mystery of Golgotha we find in the religious rites of
different peoples pictorial representations of that which afterwards,
in the Mystery of Golgotha, became reality.
When the Intellectual or Mind-Soul was unfolded, it was through the
reality alone that man could continue to be preserved from being
severed from the Divine-Spiritual Beings who belonged to him. The
Divine had to enter inwardly as Being, even in the earthly life, into
the Organisation of the Intellectual or Mind-Soul which, during
earthly existence, has its life from what is earthly. This took place
through the Divine-Spiritual Logos, Christ, uniting His cosmic destiny
with the Earth for the sake of mankind.
Persephone came down to the Earth in order to save the plant kingdom
from being obliged to form itself from what belongs only to Earth.
That is the descent of a Divine Spiritual Being into the Nature of the
Earth. Persephone, too, has a kind of resurrection. but
this takes place annually, in rhythmical succession.
Over against this event which is also a cosmic event occurring
on the Earth we have for Humanity the descent of the
Logos. Persephone descends to bring Nature into its original
direction. In this case there must be rhythm at the foundation; for
the events in Nature take place rhythmically. The Logos descends into
humanity. This occurs once during human evolution. For the
evolution of humanity is but one part in a gigantic cosmic rhythm, in
which, before the stage of man's existence, humanity was something
altogether different, and in which, after this stage is passed, it
will be something altogether different again; whereas the plant life
repeats itself as such in shorter rhythms.
From the age of the Spiritual Soul onwards it is necessary for
humanity to see the Mystery of Golgotha in this light. For already in
the age of the Intellectual or Mind-Soul there would have been a
danger of man being separated, if the Mystery of Golgotha had not
taken place. In the age of the Spiritual Soul a complete darkening of
the Spirit-world would needs come about for human consciousness, if
the Spiritual Soul could not strengthen itself sufficiently to look
back in inward vision to its Divine-Spiritual origin. If, however, it
is able to do this, it finds the cosmic Logos, as the Being Who can
lead it back. It fills itself with the mighty picture which reveals
what took place on Golgotha.
The beginning of this understanding is the loving comprehension of the
cosmic Christmas, the cosmic Initiation-Night, the festive remembrance
of which is celebrated each year. For the Spiritual Soul, which first
receives the element of Intellectuality, is strengthened by allowing
true love to enter into this, the coldest element of soul. And the
warmth of true love is there in its highest form when it goes out to
the Jesus child who appears on Earth during the cosmic
Initiation-Night. In this way man has allowed the highest earthly
Spirit-fact, which was at the same time a physical event, to work upon
his soul; he has entered upon the path by which he receives Christ
Nature must be recognised in such a way that in Persephone or
the Being who was still seen in the early Middle Ages when they spoke
of Nature it reveals the Divine Spiritual, original
and eternal Force out of which it originated and continually
originates, as the foundation of earthly human existence.
The world of Man must be so recognised that in Christ it reveals the
original and eternal Logos who works for the unfolding of the
Spirit-being of man in the sphere of the Divine Spiritual Being bound
up with man from the Beginning.
To turn the human heart in love to these great cosmic facts: this is
the true content of the festival of remembrance which approaches man
each year when he contemplates the cosmic Initiation-Night of
Christmas. If love such as this lives in human hearts, it permeates
the cold light-element of the Spiritual Soul with warmth. Were the
Spiritual Soul obliged to remain without such permeation, man would
never become filled with the Spirit. He would die in the cold of the
intellectual consciousness; or he would have to remain in a mental
life that did not progress to the unfolding of the conscious Spiritual
Soul. He would then come to a stop with the unfolding of the
Intellectual or Mind-Soul.
But in its essential nature the Spiritual Soul is not cold. It seems
to be so only at the commencement of its unfolding, because at that
stage it can only reveal the light-element in its nature, and not as
yet the cosmic warmth in which it has indeed its origin.
To feel and experience Christmas in this way will enable the soul to
realise how the glory of the Divine-Spiritual Beings, whose images
are revealed in the Stars, announces itself to man, and how man's
liberation takes place, within the precincts of the Earth, from the
Powers which wish to alienate him from his origin.
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (in connection with the foregoing Christmas Study)
137. The activity in the evolution of the World and Mankind which
comes about through the forces of Michael, repeats itself
rhythmically, though in ever-changing and progressing forms, before
the Mystery of Golgotha and after.
138. The Mystery of Golgotha is the greatest event, occurring once and
for all in the evolution of mankind. Here there can be no question of
a rhythmic repetition. For while the evolution of mankind also stands
within a mighty cosmic rhythm, still it is one one vast member
in a cosmic rhythm. Before it became this One, mankind was something
altogether different from mankind; afterwards it will again be
altogether different. Thus there are many Michael events in the
evolution of mankind, but there is only one event of Golgotha.
139. In the quick rhythmic repetition of the seasons of the year, the
Divine-Spiritual Being which descended into the depths of Earth to
permeate Nature's process with the Spirit, accomplishes this process.
It is the ensouling of Nature with the Forces of the Beginning
and of Eternity which must remain at work; even as Christ's descent is
the ensouling of Mankind with the Logos of the Beginning and of
Eternity, whose working for the salvation of mankind shall never