The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him, and
said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he
of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before
me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that
he might be revealed to
Why did Jesus have to go through everything that he went through in his life? Why did it take two Jesus’ to arrive at this baptismal point? Why did the Cosmic Christ need so many other people to assist the incarnation into the body of Jesus? Will we have to go through all this as part of our own development? When we explore beneath the surface of the stories of Jesus and Christ, especially in the Bible but also in similar stories in other sacred writings, more questions arise than answers are given. Then, confusingly, there is never one simple answer to each question. For this reason it is important that we deeply contemplate the Christ event in all its aspects and there is no better time to contemplate these events than in the atmosphere of the time of year dedicated to them.
One of the first things to be revealed from such contemplations is the dramatic change in the world at the time of Christ. Human consciousness was awakened; we began to think for ourselves. Tradition was questioned. The hallmark of this is that the Ten Commandments were replaced with one commandment: to love one another.
When the events of the incarnation of Christ come to life in our consciousness it is natural that we become less self-centred. Our personal situation is placed into the greater scheme of things. In fact, Epiphany signals the death of the personal and the resurrection of the transpersonal.
The very truth of this pierces our heart this year when the twelve days of Christmas have found us absorbed in the devastation caused by the earthquake and Tsunami in Southern Asia. This is an event affecting all human beings. It spans the individual, the nation and the globe and invokes in us the new commandment to love one another.
Such a tragedy unites us as we realise that it is as if the earth gave a mighty groan the day after Christmas. Did the earth groan in response to the way humanity celebrated Christmas? Imagine the earth’s globe as a living being? This living being responds to the way human beings use their will. Every time our intentions are not pure, every time the motivation for our thoughts, feelings and actions exclude spiritual reality, every time we impose our will on another person, a tension builds up in the soul of the earth. This tension can only be neutralised by the right use of will.
So the earth groaned, its structure shifted and a mammoth tidal wave spread out in the Indian Ocean. Could this also have been a mighty baptismal act? People shocked out of their bodies by water. Could it also have been a baptism of the earth itself? These are the questions which must occupy the minds of those who are serious about understanding the spiritual foundations of life. Take a moment to imagine these things? In your mind’s eye, see the globe as a living being, see the effect of the modern human will grounded in materialism, see the shifting of its plates, see the jolt causing a change in the tension of the water. Then cast your mind to waves crashing to shore sweeping away everything in their path.
Now think of the people immediately affected by this act of nature. Can it be that many of those who lost their lives have given themselves up in sacrifice? Such a momentous act cannot be personal karma. This is world karma. This means that those who have innocently lost their lives, their homes, their livelihood will be compensated in future incarnations. Indeed, when these people reincarnate they will have an innate spirituality because as they died “they were brought in touch with the forces which showed them the true nature of reality and the illusion of material life.”
This is indeed an epiphanous event. The word epiphany means to show forth, to appear. It is used in our language today to describe a sudden intuitive realization. This Tsunami makes us realize that we are global citizens with a responsibility for each other regardless of boundaries, culture or creed. It all comes down to our own behaviour. It also brings to awareness the fact that a human being can give their lives unknowingly for the forward evolution of the earth. Blatantly it tells us that when things have to change nothing stands in the way.
As soon as we learned about the tidal wave it is as if every person on earth, and in the heavens, joined hands and set their gaze on Southern Asia. Those in that region then began to be aware of all humanity reaching out to them. All are touched to the core of their being by the experience. Furthermore, those engaged in the various civil wars in this region have found themselves side by side looking for lost family members – although this may have been short-lived since there has now been news of rebels killing policeman in Aceh.
Also, we are told that at least 30 percent of the dead are children. Rudolf Steiner spoke in several lectures about the death of children. Their unspent etheric forces remain in the earth’s atmosphere and they are at our disposal. They become a booster for our own etheric forces, but only if we become conscious of our relationship to the spiritual worlds.
At a time like this it is interesting to observe what people say. The Prime Minister of Australia is quoted as saying “I know it is an old-fashioned saying but . . . as a nation we ought to count our blessings given the tragedy that has befallen our friends in the region and be very generous indeed to the less fortunate.” Are we more fortunate? Are we really more blessed? Or are we more blessed because of the sacrifice of these souls? It cannot be a ‘them’ and ‘us’ situation - that they have less, we have more?
Donating money is not the real resolution of the problem; we must feel something and the feeling must be real. We must also experience the role we each play in the greater scheme of things. When we place ourselves into the picture our compassion for the victims of such catastrophes will be all the greater. When we make an effort to understand the work of the spiritual worlds we spiritualise, not only our own being, but the being of the earth itself. When we resolve to become more aware of the way we use our will we are all are raised up.
While material assistance is
clearly required, it is equally important to realise that our prayers count; our
grappling to understand the esoteric facts count; o
This cataclysm, reminiscent of the Atlantic deluge, has been placed into the twelve holy nights. During this period, in past years, we have had fierce bushfires reminding us of the destruction of Lemuria. During these twelve nights when not only the previous year is replayed, the cosmic forces of evolution are at play. The Tsunami has jolted us into the reality of spirit that weaves and moves in the world with a purpose of its own. We are shown that this purpose adjusts according to the mood of man; when the mood of man turns away from spirit then spirit must find a way to break through. Thy will not mine, O Father.
Think back to the beginning of the twelve holy nights when we experienced the wondrous birth. We contemplated the pure etheric forces of humanity in the manager, those life forces separated from us in the Garden of Eden, those life forces that did not make the journey through evolution, until now. We see ourselves reunited with the Tree of Life when we look at the Christmas tree. The lights and the roses now adorn our body which is the dwelling place of the living Christ. How many lights and how many roses? that is up to each of us.
Now we have arrived at Epiphany. Epiphany is really about remembering the future. A future when Christed humanity will light up the universe as it consciously reunites with those life forces which were withheld from evolution.
How did we evolve over the aeons,
through Lemuria, Atlantis, through Ancient India,
Another news clip we saw this week was a man being interviewed about the first few days when all the homes were destroyed in his town and aid had not arrived. Looking over his shoulder to his neighbour’s house, he described how his neighbour was trapped in the rubble of his house and took three days to die. The journalist asked him why no-one rescued his neighbour. He said, “They were busy looking for their own family.” We cannot judge this man, his consciousness differs from ours. Many of these people are bound to tribal group consciousness, they have not yet experienced the consciousness of the I AM – perhaps this disaster is preparing him to do that in his next incarnation.
It was only 2000 years ago that we
were given the gift of gifts. The gift of the I AM which will transform us into
Christed beings. This event just 20 centuries ago, when the Cosmic Christ was
able to gain entry into earthly realms, is what we celebrate as Epiphany. Actually
we were given three major gifts. We were given access to the highest etheric forces
which were held back from evolution. We were given direct access to our
individuality, our I AM, for the first time. We were also relieved, as
This is not the work of man this is the work of spirit: something was given back to us that had been withheld. Something was given to us because the time was right, and something was taken away from us. Focussed contemplation will give us a personal experience of these gifts. It is through the purest etheric forces that we can think purely and access spiritual truth. Through our I AM we can know our self and become creative beings, and the removal of the weight of karma frees us up to do other things.
Such great gifts, so difficult to unwrap!
Other gifts are associated with Epiphany, the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. The gifts brought by the three kings. In some regions January 6 is still called Three Kings Day. Rudolf Steiner told this esoteric story on December 30, 2004 published in The Festivals and their Meaning. Until the Fourth Century, Christmas was celebrated on January 6 which people recognised as the birth of the Cosmic Christ. It wasn’t until the year 354 AD that Christmas was celebrated on December 25 to recognise the birth of Jesus.
The Three Kings were initiates and they could see the soul of Christ descending. When a soul is very advanced it shines very brightly. They followed this star to a ‘cave’; the cave is the purified body of Jesus. These men represented the three evolutionary root races that human beings had just passed through. Caspar was a black Moor from Africa, representing Lemuria; Balthasar was a yellow Indian representing Atlantis, and Melchoir was a white European representing the present time.
The gifts spoke of the characteristics of each race. Gold is for the wisdom and intelligence that will come from our present fifth root race. Frankincense is about the connection we had with the Godhead in Atlantis, especially through ritual and the sacraments. Myrrh is the gift from the Lemurian culture, it is a symbol of dying to the lower life and resurrecting to a higher life.
Essentially Epiphany is about
sacrificing our “I” to make way for Christ. Emptying ourselves of our “I”, our prized
individuality, and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring Christ into our being. Then
Reverend Mario Schoenmaker spoke of the Holy Spirit as our I AM. That as we purify our astral, our self centred-ness, we give way to the I AM which wants to reign in our being. Baptism, the purification with water, is that great inner purification that we must undergo if, when we have the fullness of our I AM, we then receive Christ. The Christ cannot enter into us until we have prepared ourselves. Until we have refined our soul so that it can give birth to our I AM. Then at a certain point we have an epiphany, a realisation that the physical body is not all there is. That it is our soul that must be prepared, as Mary was prepared, to ultimately give birth to our divine being.
Epiphany means that we have a spiritual awakening from within and a down pouring from above.
The personal becomes the transpersonal. Another’s success or failure is our success or failure. A Thai woman was filmed at a New Year’s Eve ceremony crying out an apology to the world, “I am so sorry we didn’t look after your people”. This woman felt responsible for the effects of a natural disaster that took the lives of tourists visiting her country.
In a lecture series in 1916 during the First World War Steiner wrote this prayer:
Whilst pain is felt by you alone
And not by me
Christ goes unrecognized
To do his work within the world.
For the spirit cannot grow strong
If it has power only to feel
The suffering your own body undergoes.