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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Toward the 21st Century
Doing the Good
by Bernhard Lievegoed

II. The Stone of Love

When we look at the birth of the new mysteries, we can see that it took Rudolf Steiner twenty-one years to prepare. He started work in anthroposophy in 1902 when he left the school for workers in Berlin. During seven years, from 1902 to 1909, in a first phase, he presented the principles of man's inner development. By 1909, he had outlined the cosmogenetic development of earth and the life of the Hierarchies.

In these seven years, Steiner was a teacher. His pupils formed a society to study the teaching, working on their own inner development. From 1909 to 1916, in another seven-year period, Steiner introduced anthroposophy into the renewal of the arts — into the feeling life. This renewal touched speech, dance, drama, sculpture, and architecture. In this seven year period, between 1909 and 1916, the spiritual knowledge of the Michael Sun mysteries entered the feeling life through art. Not only was the anthroposophic impulse brought to art, but to religion also, in the lectures upon the gospels.

With 1917 comes another period of seven years, and the revelation of man's threefold nature: the nervous system related to thinking, the rhythmic system to feeling, the metabolic system to willing. Steiner said it took more than thirty years to ripen this whole image of threefold man. Out of it came the first social actions.

In that third period between 1917 and 1923, anthroposophy moved down into the will. Steiner presented the concept of a threefold society with free spiritual life (into which the Waldorf School movement was placed), with a political life based on equality, and with an economic life based on brotherhood.

This period ended in the beginning of 1923, the night of the first of January, 1923, when fire destroyed the old Goetheanum. Preparation of the new mysteries ended with fire. Anthroposophy had been presented as knowledge, as art, and as a social form. Till 1923 Steiner had stood outside the Anthroposophical Society. He was a teacher and an advisor, but not responsible for what the members of the society did. Only after a long inner fight Steiner, at the end of 1923, in the Christmas Foundation gathering, took a new direction. He agreed to be chairman of the new society. In that role he himself would be the guardian of the new mysteries.

This meant a great risk for Steiner. We in Holland know about this inner fight. Only six weeks before Christmas, 1923, the Dutch society was founded in The Hague. Then, on an evening after a lecture, Steiner sat down with a few friends — Dr. Zeylmans, Peter de Haan, Dr. Ita Wegman, and Marie Steiner were there. He sat down, solemn, and sorrowful. He said: “What must I do? Will there be enough people with responsibility for what has to be done? Will there be enough people who can understand what has to be done, or shall I go out of the Anthroposophical Society and found an order, with a few men whom I can trust?”

Everyone who knew about this went to the Christmas Foundation gathering, not knowing what would happen. Then Steiner, radiant, gave the Foundation Stone meditation at the beginning, saying that the spiritual world would try to bring these new mysteries to earth and bring them with a good will to human beings in the 20th century. Still the risk was great. Only three or four months later Steiner was often very bitter and said, “So few of the members understand that it is something quite new as against the old Anthroposophical Society. They go on as if nothing had happened. They go on in their old ways.”

These new mysteries are now here. They are the seeds, the germs of new ages. Out of this Foundation Stone meditation can sprout new knowledge, new feeling, and new willing into the future.

With this cosmic and earthly act, Steiner was the high priest of the new mysteries. These new mysteries are mysteries of acting, of willing, of initiative. The first Executive Council of the new society Steiner called “an Initiative Council,” and he meant a council which brought in new things.

Steiner said: “Let us here and now lay in the ground of our hearts the dodecahedral Foundation Stone of love. Our own hearts are the proper soil in which to lay this Foundation Stone — our hearts, in good will, imbued with love, working together to carry the anthroposophical will and purpose through the world.”

He describes the reality of that dodecahedral love stone. He says, “The foundation stone will light up before the eye of our soul. Even that foundation stone which receives from universal and human love its substance, from universal and human Imagination its living picture quality and form, and from universal and human thoughts its radiating light.”

Love is its substance; Imagination is its form; thoughts are its radiating light.

It is not an earthly thing. It is an Imagination living in the hearts of a society. Such words are spoken by the hierophant, the high priest of mysteries — in this case the high priest of new mysteries in which human hearts are the altars, the radiating love stones on which the hierarchies may celebrate the cosmic cult of the future.

Now we can ask, how do we live with such words? The next day Steiner gave us a way to live with these things which he had presented the day before, because when we try to have the whole Imagination at once in our mind it is too big. He says we can live with these things when we differentiate them in our souls, so much so that they can no longer leave us. They grow to living experience within us. That means take one sentence and live with it in such a way that this sentence no longer can leave us.

After the Christmas Foundation, in the half-year after, Steiner could still work with us. He wrote letters to the members. Later, from his sick bed, he wrote the letters of Michael. The nineteenth letter speaks about earth's reality in the cosmos. Steiner says our world is the image of the dead cosmos. All that we see around us, the stars, the mountains, and world below our feet, all was once living and developing — in the deeds of the Hierarchies. They died. In this way they gave the security which is in natural laws.

But, Steiner said, in the same measure in which man, the microcosmos, comes to existence as an independent being, the cosmos dies — which means that what was once a living development becomes entombed in nature's laws. It thus comes into the realm of Lucifer. Dying and becoming; the laws of nature enter Lucifer's realm.

Out of this dead world of natural laws, man derives his thinking forces. When he thinks, it is out of the forces of the dead, not of the living, cosmos.

But the earth has in it some new forces. New forces are lying like seeds in this dead earth. They are the new living forces Christ gave to the earth, to the etheric forces of the earth, when at Golgotha his divine blood dropped into the earth. In this moment, in the dying and already dead earth, new germs of living into the future were put. They were taken into the etheric body of the earth.

In the spring, nature comes out of the earth. Plants and seeds are sprouting. They live and sprout through the forces of Christ. Without these forces, plants and seeds would enter into death too. These radiating life forces are the seed forces of the new cosmos, of Jupiter to come. These sprouting plants have more etheric forces than they can use for building the leaves and the plants. With our eyes we see the plant sprouting and growing. But into the ether world there streams a surplus of etheric forces — out into the cosmos. These radiating etheric forces are the life forces which will be the seed for the coming earth incarnation known as Jupiter, and after.

Man is participating in these germinating forces. He is participating in them, however, only in his willing life. In his thinking life, he is condemned to live with the forces of the dead world. In his willing life, he has the possibility of a surplus. You can have a feeling that you want to do something. You know what you want to do. You do it. Afterwards you look at it. You say, “Oh, it is only a part of that which I wanted to do. I wanted to do it so beautifully and so well. See what has come of it!”

Only a part of what we will enters into reality. But the part of willing which does not enter reality is not lost. That is the surplus of will forces which radiate into the cosmos — along with the seed forces of the plants, animals, and stones, which were given new life when Christ died on Golgotha. But man can abuse this surplus of willing forces for his egotistic purposes.

Surplus powers of the will are formed when Imaginations are condensed into inspired words. You all know about St. John the Evangelist. There is a beautiful legend that tells how when St. John was about 109 years old, he lived in Ephesus, with groups of the first Christians. In the little church there was an open grave for him already prepared. One day he asked the people to bring him into the church. Sitting in his chair before his open grave, he gave a last word to the community: he said, “Children, love each other.” Then he stepped into his grave and died.

These words are repeated very often. In reality, they contain the whole mystery of the development of the earth — from a cosmos of wisdom into a cosmos of love. Think of any minister or any schoolmaster saying, “Just love each other and all problems will be solved.” This sounds hollow. Why do these words not work here? They are the same words.

When St. John spoke these words, he had a right to say them because he had gathered the deepest spiritual wisdom together and performed deeds of new development. He had the right to condense this wisdom into seed words. By condensing the words, he gave them this seed force. Think who John the Evangelist was: Lazarus [see Christianity as a Mystical Fact] living. Lazarus, the first who was initiated by the Christ himself. He had been fostered as the younger disciple who loved the master, who lived and wrote the gospel, and who wrote the Apocalypse. He had the right, at the end of his life, to condense this whole wisdom and to put the forces of his deeds into a few words.

These words have seed forces. But when any unqualified person speaks them, they are a blasphemy. That's the difference.

Steiner, after taking twenty-one years to bring the Michael Sun wisdom into the human understanding, had the right to condense the whole of anthroposophy into the seed words of the foundation stone. The modern world knows about the forces of condensed words. They are used in advertising. When you think of an advertising agency, and of how people sit together to find one condensed formula which might awake the willing powers of other people, to get them to buy, then you see how we as modern people know how to abuse surplus will forces and we know what is the secret of condensing something into a slogan in the world — into an advertisement.

Or we try to direct our thinking forces onto the world that has already died. We build up a technique, out of surplus will forces. The question is, for what do we use them? For directing the dead cosmos according to our egotistic desires? To make a physical paradise of leisure here on earth? Or for the joy and satisfaction of knowing all things — even of knowing all anthroposophical wisdom in the lecture cycles?

When you take these forces for building a physical paradise, Ahriman steals your surplus will force for his egotistic new man-made cosmos. Or Lucifer steals your anthroposophical wisdom to bring it into a system, into a dead system, which you can be sure of. There are people in the Anthroposophical Society who have a great joy in making systems out of anthroposophy. Lucifer steals that wisdom and it does not penetrate the will powers. Steiner said we can use the surplus will powers for building Michaelic Imaginations. He says these Imaginations come and go so long as we keep bringing our willing forces into them. We can't have them forever. The moment we bring our will forces in, they go away. We have to be satisfied with that. We cannot take them home and have them forever. These Imaginations, and also the inspirations in Steiner's meditation, will mingle with the Christ force and stream out into the cosmos. That is the meaning of the dodecahedral love stone in our hearts. This love stone is only a reality in the short moment we are able to bring our surplus will forces into the words of this meditation.

Steiner gave about 6,000 lectures in his life. He also wrote a couple of dozen books on cosmogenetic Christology and man's spiritual being. In presenting anthroposophy, in twenty-one years, this wisdom had to differentiate. After having differentiating it into 6,000 lectures and about 24 books, he condensed it, integrating it in the Foundation Stone.

This stone calls three times on the soul of man — three times men are called to practice, practice, practice. Not to listen, but to practice — to do, to direct their will forces to the content of this meditation. At the end of these three meditations, Steiner brings together anthroposophical content with the Rosicrucian stream. In this confluence of the Michaelic cosmic knowledge with the Rosicrucian stream, which carries on earth the esoteric Christianity, we can sense faintly how the Hierarchies spoke in the secret mysteries of old Egypt.

In old Egypt, the ancient mysteries were spoken to a few in the temples built for the gods. But the Foundation Stone is spoken to the hearts of all men wherever they live. In the Christmas Foundation ceremony, Steiner united the Michael school of cosmic wisdom with the Rosicrucian school of Christ wisdom and Christ love, which had stretched like a red thread through history on earth. So the heavenly and the earthly true spiritual Christianity were mixed and from that moment on Steiner and Christian Rosenkreuz are working together in the new mysteries.

The Rosicrucian stream is the oldest stream of wisdom on earth. Cain was the builder of cities, that is to say, of a man-built world. He came to earth in one of his incarnations as Hiram, the builder of Solomon's temple. Hiram knew how to bring cosmic reality through human will onto earth in spiritual forces. Lazarus, moreover, was the reincarnation of Hiram, the builder of the temple. He was the same individual who lived in Cain and Hiram — and who became the first initiate of Christ Himself. After his life as St. John, he was very often incarnated.

Dr. Rittelmeyer, of the Christian Community, has said that he knew, through Steiner, of about ten incarnations of St. John the Evangelist. They were all Christian martyrs. He spoke in a small circle about this, saying: “St. John the Evangelist is the greatest sufferer for Christianity. He is the one who was able to suffer for it.”

In 1250 this great human individuality on earth went through a special initiation as described in the lectures about Christian Rosenkreuz. After this last initiation, in 1250, he was known to history as Christian Rosenkreuz. It was he who unravelled the red thread of esoteric Christianity on earth in the time of Kali-Yuga, and between the mystery of Golgotha and the year 1899. But there was no real renewal of the mysteries. The spiritual worlds didn't speak through the mysteries. The only thing which was possible was that people tried to preserve what was there out of older times. But through this world which grew more and more materialistic, there was this secret red thread of small groups of people who were bearers of the real stream of esoteric Christianity. They were brought together by Christian Rosenkreuz. There was one whom you all know: Rembrandt.

It was Christian Rosenkreuz who, appearing in a particular human form for Rembrandt, taught Rembrandt the secrets about light and darkness. Rembrandt twice gave a portrait of the man who brought him the knowledge of light and darkness. One is the warrior, which is hanging in Glasgow, and the other is the so-called Polish Rider, which is New York.

The new mysteries born in 1923 at Christmas time were only possible through the union of these two true Christian streams. After the Christmas foundation, a young member asked Rudolf Steiner how it was possible to associate Christian Rosenkreuz and himself, Steiner, together as leaders of the new mysteries of the Christmas foundation? Steiner told this young member to make an imagination of himself standing in a white robe before two figures, Steiner on the one side, and Christian Rosenkreuz at the other side — Rosenkreuz in a blue stole, Steiner in a red stole. He gave that as a true picture of reality, of the spiritual reality, out of which to build an imagination, having the foundation stone in one's heart.

The words of the foundation stone are condensed seed words. They respond to inner needs. One can take out a sentence. For example, take out the sentence, “The Christ Will in the encircling round, holds sway in the rhythms of the worlds, blessing the soul.” It is the beginning of the second part, of the middle of the three meditations. Think about the Christ Will living “in the encircling round,” and “in the rhythms of the world.” Imagine standing in the world and living with the rhythms of the world of morning, mid-day, and evening. Have in mind that in these rhythms of the world the Christ Will is living, blessing the soul of men. All men are blessed in their souls, in living in these rhythms.

In the midst of work, standing on the platform of a station waiting for a train, or going through a factory where noisy machines are turning, have in your soul something like a basso continuo in music — a basso continuo which penetrates your soul and which always is saying, “In the rhythms of the world, the Christ Will is living, blessing the souls of men.” Look around at people toiling in a machine world, at people pursuing their egotistic needs. Nevertheless, there is still a blessing of the soul so long as people know about the Christ Will living in the rhythms of the world.

But those who know have a great responsibility. They have to be active. They have to take initiative into their will powers.

They have to initiate their will in these new mysteries.