THE CHALDEAN PLANETARY SPHERES
Against this background of the Christian Church Fathers commenting on the angelic hierarchy, there remained over the so-called pagan authors commenting on the planetary hierarchy as revealed through the ancient mysteries.
The rise of Christianity was inversely proportional to the demise of the ancient mysteries. The Emperor Julian the Apostate was initiated into the Mithraic Mysteries and after his death, there was no longer any trace of the ancient mysteries in either the Roman Rulers nor Christian clergy. In 399 A.D. the Emperor Theodosius issued his famous edict abolishing the mysteries,
"Whatever privileges were conceded by the ancient laws to the priests, ministers, prefects, hierophants of sacred things, or by whatsoever name they may be designated, are to be abolished henceforth, and let them not think that they are protected by a granted privilege when their religious confession is known to have been condemned by law."
The early Christians destroyed the temples, burnt the libraries and broke the statues and relics of the Ancient Gods. The bearers of the occult mystery wisdom of Osiris, Mithras Serapis, Demeter, Appolo, Dionysius, and Mani went underground not to resurface until the 17th Century with the publications of the Rosicrucian manifestos and the 18th Century Masonic rituals.
Simultaneously, the exoteric scientific wisdom of the Greeks steamed into the Academy of Edessa in Syria. This school was the last vestige of the arts, music, logic, math, geometry, medicine and other Liberal Arts of Plato and Aristole. In 489 A.D. the Emperor Zeno closed this school and drove out all its students and teachers. With the arts and sciences of Hellenistic wisdom finally closed to the West by the Roman Emperors and Western Christian Church, the center of the ancient wisdom transformed to the Persian Academy of Jundi Sabur. Henceforth, the advancement of the arts, sciences and medicine was the dominion of the Arabic culture.
The first and greatest exposition of the planetary hierarchy was a long poem by Martianus Cappella entitled, DE NUPTIIS PHILOLOGIAE et. seq. It was written about 500 A.D. in North Africa and was widely distributed and recognized as an occult textbook late into the 19th. century. It forms the cosmology later revived by the great Arab scholar, Avicenna and like the CHEMICAL NUPTIALS of Christian Rosencrutz is the allegorical story of a marriage performed in heaven.
Cappella tells of the courtship of Mercury and Philologia that travels up through the planetary spheres to the castle of Zeus, where their wedding takes place. During the journey, the Gods of the planets are identified. The planetary spheres are moved by the Muses emitting the sounds of "Music of the Spheres". Also, the intervals between the planetary spheres are correlated with the Pythagorean musical intervals of the seven tone scale. All is harmony of music and number in the classic Pythagorean sense. The Gods and their spheres were:
Urania Fixed Stars (Zodiac)
Calliope Mercury (Cyllenium)
As we shall develop later, this ninefold planetary hierarchy will correspond to the ninefold angelic hierarchy of Dionysius. It represents the ancient seven Chaldean planets with the addition of earth at the bottom and the sphere of the zodiac at the top. The doctrine of the Ascent of the soul through seven successive stages of being or consciousness originates with the Babylonian myth of Tammuz and Ishtar and is memorialized in the seven steps of the Ziggarat. Later, this doctrine appears in the POIMANDRES of Hermes, the royal arches of Enoch, the seven heavens of St. John's REVELATION and Mohammed's NIGHT JOURNEY TO HEAVEN with the angel Gabriel.
After the birth of Christ, we see the doctrine of the planetary spheres accepted by the Christian Gnostics at the School of Alexandria. The Demiurge of Saturn gave birth out of himself to six sons or aeons, who together became the seven planetary spirits of the created material world. They are as described by Origen,
Iao------------- - Jupiter
Ailoaios --------- Mercury
Oraios ----------- Moon
Unfortunately, the treasures of Gnostic wisdom, bearing a mixture of the Christos and Greek Platonics have not survived since the destruction of the great library of Seraphium once by Emperor Theodosius and his crazed Christians and late again Caliph Omar in 641 A.D. to preserve the dominance of the Academy at Jundi Sabur.
THREE CULTURAL STREAMS
In retrospect, the transition from paganism to Western Christianity took place over a remarkably short period of time. This push came as the result of at least three very strong impulses. On the one side there was the impulse of exoteric Christianity which Steiner says came from the time spirit or Archai
of the Greek nation. This Archai could have ascended to the rank of Spirit of Form or Power, but instead, he sacrificed himself and became the missionary, the inspirer of out- spreading exoteric Christianity. Through his efforts the religion of Christianity spread throughout Europe and He became the inspirer for the Gothic Cathedrals, Byzantine and Romanesque art. In addition, the several folk-spirits of Europe became the servants of this Christ Spirit and because of this, they worked in various ways in the many different cultures instead of in a unified way in one particular culture.
This exoteric spirit of Christianity worked behind the scenes and with Him, it may be said, so did the bodies of the Christ. This remarkable fact was explained by Steiner in The Principle of Spiritual Economy (1909). "When Christ left the material world, innumerable copies of His etheric and astral bodies were preserved and came into being. These were destined to be woven into the bodies of human beings suited to disseminate Christianity." Over the course of time, certain persons, regardless of nationality, who were mature and suitable enough, had these copies of the etheric and astral bodies engrafted into their souls.
This process has a correspondence to distinct periods in the development of Christianity. For example, the etheric body being the bearer of memory, effected the early church fathers such as St. Irenaeus, Papias and St. Augustine with emphasis on memory of and a direct physical teaching of the Christ event. Missionaries who also received a copy of the etheric body of Christ, such as Columban, Gallus and St. Patrick, taught memory of the physical event and the rules and covenants of the new Christian order. This period of the spread of the etheric body of Christ ended about the 9th Century with John Scotus Erigena.
Beginning the 10th Century, the copies of the astral body of Christ began to circulate in the leading Christian personalities of Europe. Being the seat of the emotions, these copies of the astral body caused great emotional sentiments, fervor and zeal, and a direct feeling of the Christ. This exalted devotion was evident in such persons as St. Francis of Assisi and Elisabeth of Thuringen and also in the German mystics, Meister Eckhart and Johannes Tauler. The thinking function of the astral body of Christ produced the great teachers of scholasticism, Albert the Great,St. Thomas Aquinas and Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa. They implanted into traditional Christian dogma, the capacity to think with analytical penetrating logic derived from Aristotle.
This evolution of Christianity corresponding with the etheric and astral bodies of Christ, through the process of spiritual economy, came to an end in the 15th Century. With the onset of the Fifth Cultural Epoch, mankind required individual reliance and development of the personal ego. These greatly inspired personalities of early Christianity and the Middle Ages are a tribute to the past and a rarity of the present.
THE PERSIAN ACADEMY
As a polar opposite to the ubiquitous stream of exoteric Christianity, a second influence arose in Persia that was called by Steiner the "culture of 666 A.D." (How Do I Find the Christ, 1918). Briefly stated, the fourth cultural epoch occurred from 747 B.C. to 1413 A.D., being the astrological cycle of Aries lasting 2160 years. The mid-point of this epoch (-747 plus 1080) was reached in the year 333 A.D. "The mystery of Golgotha preceded the middle point of this epoch by 333 years, i.e. by just as many years prior to this point, as years after it, certain spiritual powers intended to direct the evolution of mankind into quite different channels from those into it was ultimately lead by the mystery of Golgotha". Thus, 333 years after this midpoint is the year 666 A.D., the same year as the number of the beast (Sorath) in the APOCALYPSE of St. John. The intention of these spiritual powers was to instill in exoteric Western Christianity a Hellenistic-Gnostic inspired natural science that would cut off mankind's spiritual path to achieve Manas, Buddhi and Atma in future cultural epochs.
The time for the endowment upon humanity of what Steiner calls the consciousness soul was destined for the Fifth Cultural epoch (age of Pisces) beginning in 1413. Without firmly grounding humanity in the Christ impulse of exoteric Christianity, the human ego would not be free at this later epoch to develop as intended by the Spirits of Form.
This neo-Persian influence was centered in the Academy of Gondhishapur (Jundi Sabor) and it reached its peak in the year 666 A.D. Steiner says that all the teachers within the Academy were inspired by Luciferic-Ahrimanic spiritual powers whose purpose was to instill pre-maturally into mankind the consciousness soul inspired by the Hellenistic sciences. As discussed above, the fruit of Greek wisdom in the sciences and medicine were not Christ inspired because the Archai of the Greek nation sacrificed himself to become the impulse of Exoteric Christianity. Thus, the great intellectual achievements of this leading spirit of the Greek culture were turned back against him by the impulse of the Persian Academy.
Beginning in the 12th Century, the scholarly sciences of the Arabs were translated into Latin and carried to the West. Until the rise of the Florentine Academy in the 15th Century, all Greek texts available to Western scholars came from Arabic sources. Thus, the entire natural sciences and particularly medicine came to the Western universities in an Arabic form influenced by the powers of Lucifer-Arihiman. As a response to this powerful influence, in the 13th Century Albert Magnus and St. Thomas Acquinas in Paris began teaching the logic and natural science of Aristotle in a new form saturated with the Christian dogma of the classic Church Fathers, the likes of St. Augustine, Dionysius, St. Jerome, St. Clement, Origen, Eusebius, and Tertullian. The scholastics waged intellectual war upon great Arab philosophers and physicians Avicenna, Averroes and Moses Maimonides. Scholasticism was the burning torch of Western Exoteric Christianity in the otherwise dark Middle Ages waiting for the dawn of the consciousness soul in the Fifth Cultural Epoch commencing the year 1413.
In fact, the tide did turn. In 1439, the stranger named Gemistos Plethon silently arrived at the court of Cosimo de Medici with original Greek texts of Plato and various neo-Platonic authors. In addition he had preserved major Hermetic texts and the Kabbalah. When Marsilio Ficino was commissioned to translate these original texts, the Arabic sources were bypassed and thence began the Renaissance and the emergence of the consciousness soul.
The third influence at work in Europe during the Fourth Cultural Epoch was the special mission of Esoteric Christianity beginning with Dionysius at the School of St. Paul at Athens.
Steiner says in the GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN,
"This esoteric Christianity has always been fostered alongside the outer Christian exoteric teaching...(ST.)Paul founded an Esoteric school. the director of which was Dionysius, the Areopagite, mentioned in the acts of the Apostles. In this Christian esoteric school at Athens which was directly founded by Paul himself, the purest Spiritual Science was taught."
Steiner further corresponds that in the same way the Archai of the Greek nation sacrificed himself to become the impulse of exoteric Christianity, the Archangel of the Celtic peoples sacrificed Himself to become the inspiring spirit of Esoteric Christianity. This particular folk spirit upon completing his mission as an archangel had the opportunity to rise to the level of an Archai or Spirit of the Age. However, he renounced, he remained behind so as to become the servant of the various Archai that would arise in the future Europe. And no matter how the various Archai would work, no matter their particular task, the guiding spirit of Esoteric Christianity would remain a source and inspirer of the ancient wisdom surviving in the various mystery centers.
It goes without saying that the streams of Esoteric Christianity are intentionally hidden. B.C.J. Lievegoed in his book, Mystery Streams in Europe (1982) identified four major currents which he describes in a general overview:
WESTERN, originating in the mysteries of ancient Atlantis, trailing through Hibernia and Celtic Christianity, known as the King Arthur Stream, which purpose was to develop the Buddhi impulse.
EASTERN, originating in the five Post-Atlantis fifth sub- races, known as the Grail Stream, transplanted by Joseph of Arimathea from Judea to Glastonbury, which purpose was to develop the Manas impulse.
In 869 A.D., the East-West impulses united together with the deed of Parsifal, who as a knight of King Arthur, became King of the Grail.
NORTHERN, originating in the very ancient mysteries of Hyperborea, trailing through the Germanic and Scandinavian Drotten and Trudi mysteries, known as the Vidar Stream, which purpose was to develop the ego impulse.
SOUTHERN, originating in the ancient mysteries of Lemuria, trailing through the Egyptian- Hebraic mysteries, Hermetic, King Solomon and Templar mysteries later known as the Rosicurcian Stream, which purpose was to develop the Atma impulse.
With the coming of the Michael Age in 1879 and the end of the Kali Yuga in 1898, all four esoteric streams came to an end. In 1923 a new mystery center was chosen and now all four impulses work towards a unity in the new mysteries.
A most unique feature of the efforts of these two spirits of Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity is that they do not seem to work together. In fact, the Exoteric spirit works against the Esoteric impulse to the point of death and extinction.
Consider this. During the Albigensian Crusade, ordered by Pope Innocent III, (1208), the troops of military leader Simon de Montfort swept through southern France with a vengeance. At Bram, he took a hundred hostages, cut off their noses and upper lips and blinded all but one who led a procession to the castle. At Lavaur, ninety captured knights were ordered hung, then impatiently, they were stabbed to death. Inside this castle, 400 Cathars were found and burned alive. At Minerve, the entire captured army as well as all the Cathar parfaits, were burned alive on a flaming pyre. After the death of Pope Innocent, Pope Gregory IX ordered the Dominicans to expunge the remaining Cathar sanctuaries. Over the next fifty years, the Inquisition burned perhaps 5,000 heretics, sometimes exhuming the bodies and publicly burning the bones of those lucky enough to have escaped the funeral pyre the first time.
Among the lost treasures of the Cathars is believed to be the Holy Grail of Esoteric Christianity. During the siege of the mountain top castle of Montsegur four monks slipped out at night, lowered themselves on rope down the rock cliffs and made their getaway to the caves at Sabarthes. The next day, March 16, 1244, the Inquisition marched 200 Cathar monks out of the captured castle and burned them alive.
This particular episode of extinction by the Popes and Dominican Inquisition lasted over 113 years. Beginning with the razing of the Essene Monastery at Qumran in 68 A.D. by the Romans, through the death by burning of Jacques De Molay on March 14, 1314 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, we see the great efforts of Esoteric Christianity martyred at the stake by the leading personalities of Exoteric Christianity. Of course, this veil covering the historical forms of Exoteric Christianity has been penetrated by the evil of Lucifer-Ahriman which even this great spirit cannot escape.
NEXT SECTION THE MARRIAGE IN HEAVEN