I. March 31, 1923
The festival year evolved over ages out of the whole
constitution of the Earth. The cycle Earth carries out in relation to
the cosmos is a kind of in-breathing and out-breathing of those forces
constituting the soul element of the Earth.
Initiates saw in birth of Jesus the Earth event which could bring
about transition from lunar to solar orientation. Jesus had to be born
in winter when Earth has soul-being within. In spring the
Christ-permeated Earth-soul, joined by Michael and by man's soul,
flows out into spiritual cosmic space to be met by force of sunlight.
Tearing spiritual away from spatial through setting of Easter date a
mighty jolt toward spirit.
At midsummer when Earth-soul had out-breathed, initiates especially of
North saw Earth-soul as mirror of cosmos, impermeable by Christ
Impulse. Hence Ahrimanic powers established in Earth at midsummer. In
Autumn man's returning soul plunges into an Earth permeated by these
powers. Since last third of 19th century Michael comes to aid of the
single human soul. Here Steiner mentions for only the second time the
importance of celebrating Michaelmas, Sept. 29. Michaelmas is needed
to supplement Easter and prepare for Christmas.
II. Easter Sunday, April 1, 1923
Today the time is come when the Easter thought which died in abstract
thoughts of natural science must become living again.
The Christmas (Chthonian) Mysteries of midwinter, a descent into the
depths of the earthly world. The Moon forces prevail in winter;
positive and negative effects. The Ahrimanic danger. Polar opposite of
Christmas Mystery, the St. John's Mystery. The Easter Mystery and the
Michael Mystery were seen as holding the balance between these two.
Christ gained the victory over death; prepared for man's forgetting of
super-earthly in 15th century. Through His descent into Hell, the
heavenly region was won for the further evolution of mankind. The
re-enlivened Easter thought, He (Christ) was laid in the grave
and is risen, is to put forth out of itself the Michael-thought,
He (man) is risen and can confidently be laid in the
grave. Taking spiritual knowledge into will forces. Becoming
festival-creating. Re-linking of human existence with
III. April 2, 1923
People of ancient times related lives to seasons and their festivals.
Those who lived after Mystery of Golgotha felt need for vision of
Entombment and Resurrection. A secret of human evolution that from
religious attitudes toward phenomena of the world, inspirations
for whole of life proceed. In Middle Ages festivals ordered by
priests provided inspiration.
Natural science as heritage of Scholasticism the result of inspiration
of Entombment, of Good Friday. Supersensible repudiated. Michael
festival renewed out of esoteric foundations could again work
inspiringly and have significance for social structure. The Easter
thought can only attain new nuance through being complemented by the
Involvement of elemental beings in in- and out-breathing of Earth-soul
during four seasons. Right experiencing of Michaelmas season necessary
for man's right involvement with elementals. Spiritual as
counter-manifestation of fading sense-perceptible correlated with
thinking-process. Permeation of will with spirituality. Unity of
nature at Easter leads to spiritualistic Monism or materialistic
Monism. Spiritual and sensible distinct in autumn. The rhythm between
the differentiated and the undifferentiated as third element.
Experiencing living transition from unity into trinity and return.
Through complementing Easter thought by Michael thought, possible to
perceive primordial trinity. Michael festival should give inspiration
to introduce threefoldness into life. Recognition of primal trinity
necessary to form true ideas of free spiritual life, life of rights,
and socio-economic life. Trinities in human being in Theosophy.
Course of year embodies pulse of 3 to 1 and 1 to 3. Human soul
could reunite with cosmos if replace abstract spirit and spirit-void
nature with Nature permeated with spirit and spirit shaping naturally.
These could again weave religion, science and art into oneness at
Easter, threeness at Michaelmas.
If Michael thought became living as festival working inspiringly in
all domains of life, then through active personalities impulse could
arise which alone could replace descending forces with ascending ones.
IV. April 3, 1923
Dreamy instinctive clairvoyance in ancient times. Insights arising out
of dreams formed myths. People were more involved then with seasons,
with the cycle of the year.
Only through midsummer festivals arranged by the Mysteries could
ancient men experience mineral realm and attain thereby a kind of ego
consciousness. Content of dream consciousness poured out into cosmos
in song and dance, in a way learned from songbirds. Men received
descending ego as answer to their music. Summer festivals established
communication between Earth and heaven.
Winter festivals called upon man's contemplation, were connected with
instruction. Solving riddles, e.g. magic incantations. Throwing
of the runic wands. Primitive modeling activities, especially in
freezing water. Lead casting an abstract remnant. In moulding activity
men found answers to their questions of the Earth, learned to
know Earth's sculptural shaping force. Animal forms. Man noticed own
form only at Christmas. Gradually attained interest in the flowing
together of animal forms into the human form.
At midsummer man learned to know himself inwardly in relation to his
ego; in winter to feel himself outwardly in relation to his form.
Festivals an integral part of life. Man felt himself as citizen of
cosmos, can again come to sharing the life of the cosmos in a
different way through applying himself to the spiritual. Ego
consciousness has now been drawn in; something else lies in turn
beyond the ego. Man now experiences bodily limits; needs to learn
etheric and astral elements outside himself. When he has come to
experience his freedom and his world of thought, he must emerge again
and experience cosmically. This is what Anthroposophy intends in
renewing festivals and creating Michael festival. The cycle of the
year can thus become something even loftier than it was for man long
V. April 4, 1923
Review of previous lecture. Modern man fond of his body but
indifferent to his I. In ancient times man perceived
I in midsummer in connection with the cosmos, absorbing
moral impulse into himself. The answer he expected from the heavens
following his singing and dancing was divine moral
Enlightenment perhaps in thunderstorm.
Messages of day and night differed. Nature ruled in midsummer
night. People approached spiritual in a real dream which revealed
elementals. Man ascribed the divine spiritual within him to the
revelation of the St. John's season.
In autumn man felt himself growing out of the divine-spiritual into
nature, which inclined toward death. This season for acquiring
Knowledge of Nature, for reflection. Mottoes taught
in Mysteries: for summer Receive the Light; for autumn
Look around thee.
In midwinter man felt himself as unfolding downward; felt gravity;
felt darkness rising out of the Earth like a serpent; felt ensnared in
will nature by Earth forces, by forces opposed to moral world order.
His intellect, which began to consolidate in autumn, incited him to
cunning, to follow the principle of utility. The Temptation
through Evil approached him. Man was to overcome this
through Platonic virtue we call Temperance. Beware of
Evil was the winter motto. Spring was to see the Return to
Human Nature to the higher nature through
In summer men dreamed outside the human being. During winter, to the
extent that their soul-being was inwardly free, they dreamed within
their own being. Dream Song of Olaf Åsteson. Know thyself
practiced in spring in polarity to Knowledge of Nature.
Echoes of these festivals have persisted, but everything was
changed with the Mystery of Golgotha.
Birth of Jesus, by legend in a cave, took place when man in grip of
Earth powers. Materialism has overwhelmed midsummer sense of
Enlightenment. Autumn of special importance. How can man transform
nature knowledge so that out of it spirit knowledge can arise?
Michael festival must take on special meaning. Gradual overcoming of
animal forms. Man must study nature-science to learn what man is not,
what spirit is not. Telescope and microscope show lie in place of
truth. From this counter-image can develop force indicated in
overcoming Dragon by Michael.
When man no longer had true feeling for seasons, he related things
instead to the human being. The concepts of the seasons were changed
into so-called Platonic virtues. Soul-cowardice holds man back from
spirit-knowledge. Michaelmas should become festival of soul courage
from which will ray out what will give other festivals right content.
The festivals should become festivals of remembrance or admonition,
Michaelmas above all. The festivals must continue, but because man
is changing they too must change.