THE TWO MAIN STREAMS OF POST-ATLANTEAN CIVILISATION
The last lecture began by speaking of the distinctive character of St. Mark’s Gospel. It became clear that here, almost more than in the other Gospels, we can find in indications drawn from the deepest Christian mysteries, an opportunity to penetrate into many profound secrets and laws of the evolution of Man and of the Cosmos.
I had originally thought that during the winter it would be possible to make important and intimate references to matters of which we have not yet heard in our Movement, or perhaps better said, to matters at spiritual levels we have not yet reached. But we shall have to abandon this original plan for the simple reason that the Berlin Group has grown in numbers so astonishingly in recent weeks that it would now not be possible to make everything properly intelligible. We take it for granted that in mathematics and science some grounding is necessary if we want to reach a certain grade; and the same holds good to an even greater extent in the case of Spiritual Science. Later on, therefore, we shall have to consider how to present the parts of St. Mark’s Gospel which are not suitable subjects for so large a Group.
In any attempt to understand a text such as that of the Gospel of St. Mark we must keep clearly in mind the factors which have influenced the evolution of humanity. I have always emphasised as a very general, abstract truth, that in all ages there have been certain leading figures among men who, because they were connected in some way with the Mysteries and with the spiritual, supersensible worlds, were in a position to implant into evolution certain impulses for its further progress. Now there are two main and fundamental ways in which a man can establish relationship with the supersensible worlds. One of these ways can be illustrated by the case of Zarathustra, the great Leader of mankind of whom I shall shortly be speaking in a lecture for the public. The other way in which such Leaders of men establish relationship with the spiritual worlds can be envisaged if we think of the characteristic features of the path followed by the great Buddha. These two outstanding figures differ widely in the whole manner of their work and activity.
What Buddha and Buddhism call contemplation or meditation ‘under the Bodhi tree’ -- a symbolic expression for a certain mystical deepening of Buddha’s consciousness -- is a path by which the human Ego can penetrate into its own, inmost being. This path, opened up in so glorious a way by the Buddha, is a descent of the ‘I’ into the depths, into the abyss, of its own nature.
You will get a clearer idea of what this means if you remember that we have followed the evolution of man through four stages. Three of these stages have been concluded and we are living now in the fourth. The first three evolutionary periods were those of Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon, the fourth being that of the Earth proper. In the first three periods man’s physical, etheric and astral bodies were brought into existence and in the present stage of Earth-evolution his ‘I’, or Ego, is developing as an integral member of his constitution. We have described the human being from various points of view as an ‘I’ enveloped in three sheaths -- the astral sheath, the etheric sheath and the physical sheath, deriving respectively from the three previous evolutionary periods of Old Moon, Old Sun and Old Saturn.
At his normal stage of development to-day man has no consciousness of his astral, etheric or physical bodies. You will naturally insist that he is certainly conscious of his physical body. But that is not so. For what is normally regarded as man’s physical body is an illusion, a maya. What is taken to be the physical body is the product of the interworking of the four members of man’s constitution: physical, etheric and astral bodies, and the ‘I’. As the product of this interworking the physical body is visible to the eyes and can be touched by the hands. If you want to see the physical body as it really is, you must isolate it, as in a chemical analysis, by separating off and disregarding the ‘I’ and the astral and etheric bodies. But present conditions of earthly existence make this impossible. Although you may think that it happens whenever a man dies, this is not correct. What a man leaves behind at death is not his physical body, but a corpse. The physical body could not exist under the laws which come into operation after death has taken place for these laws do not properly belong to it; they belong to the external world. If you follow these thoughts through to their conclusion you will have to agree that what is usually called man’s physical body is the complex of laws by which the physical body is created within our mineral world, just as their own laws of crystallisation create, let us say, quartz or emerald.
The physical body of man functions as an organism in the mineral-physical world and this is the sense in which it is always spoken of in Spiritual Science. What we know of the world to-day is nothing but the result of what the senses perceive, and such perception is only possible in an organism in which there is an Ego, an ‘I’. The superficial methods of observation now in vogue presume that an animal, for example, perceives the external world exactly as man perceives it through his senses. But this is a misguided view and people would be much astonished if -- as will inevitably happen one day -- they were shown how a horse, or a dog, or some other animal, pictures the world. If a picture were painted of the environment as perceived by a dog or a horse it would be very different from a man’s picture of the world. We could not perceive the world as we do if the ‘I’ did not pour itself over the surrounding world, filling the sense-organs -- the eyes, the ears, and so on. Only an organism in which an ‘I’ is present can perceive the world as man perceives it, and the outer human organism is itself an integral part of this picture. We must therefore conclude that what is usually called the physical body of man is only a result of our sense-observation, not the reality.
When we speak of physical man and of the physical world around him it is the ‘I’ that is viewing the world, with the help of the senses and the brain-bound mind. Hence man knows only that over which his ‘I’ extends, that which belongs to his ‘I’. As soon as the ‘I’ cannot be present there is no longer any perception of the world-picture -- in other words, man falls asleep. There is no picture of the world around him and he loses consciousness.
Wherever you look, your ‘I’ is bound up at every point with what you are perceiving; it is poured over the perception so that in reality you can know only the content of your ‘I’. A normal man of modern times is aware of the content of his ‘I’ but he is not aware of his astral, etheric and physical bodies into which he penetrates every morning, for when he wakes he has no perception of his astral body. He would indeed be horrified if he had, for his astral body displays the sum-total of all the urges, desires and passions accumulated in the course of successive lives on Earth. Nor does he perceive his etheric body -- there again he could not endure the sight. When he penetrates into his own intrinsic nature -- into his physical, etheric and astral bodies -- his attention is at once deflected to the external world; and there he sees what beneficent Divine Beings spread over the surface of his vision in order to safeguard him from descending into the core of his inner nature -- an experience which he could not endure.
Therefore when we speak of this in terms of Spiritual Science, we rightly say that the moment a man wakes in the morning he passes through the portal of his own being. But at this portal stands a Watcher, the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold, who does not allow him to penetrate into his own being but diverts him immediately to the external world. Every morning a man meets this Lesser Guardian. Knowledge of him comes to anyone who, on waking, consciously passes into his astral, etheric and physical sheaths. And in the mystical life it is only a question of whether this Lesser Guardian benevolently dims our consciousness of our own inner being so that we cannot descend into it, diverting our ’I’ to the environment, or whether he allows us to enter through the portal into our own nature and being. The mystical life consists essentially in passing the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold and entering into our inmost self.
In the case of the great Buddha, what is described symbolically as ‘sitting under the Bodhi tree’ is nothing else than this descent into the inner core of being through the portal that is otherwise closed. Buddhism describes what the Buddha had to experience in order to complete this descent. The narratives are not mere legends but presentations of deeply felt truths, profound realities experienced by the soul.
The experiences encountered by the Buddha in descending into his inmost nature are described as his ‘temptations’. In his account of these temptations Buddha speaks of beings -- even those he loves -- who draw near to him the moment he attempts the mystical descent; they urge him to some particular activity, for instance, to practise exercises which would lead him astray. We are told that the figure of the mother of Buddha appears to his spiritual vision and urges him to practise a false kind of asceticism. It was not, of course, his real mother; indeed his temptation consisted precisely in the fact that at the first stage of his developing vision, what appeared to him was an illusion, a mask. Buddha resisted this temptation and then a host of demonic figures appeared, who are described as the cravings one experiences in hunger and thirst or as passions, urges, pride, arrogance, vanity, ambition. All these forms confront him -- but how? They still lurked in his astral body, in his astral sheath, but in his stronger moments, as he sat in meditation ‘under the Bodhi tree’, he had already overcome them. This temptation of the Buddha shows us in a wonderful way how all the forces and powers of our astral body produce their effect because through the downward trend of evolution in our successive incarnations, we have steadily deteriorated. In spite of the sublime height to which he had risen, the Buddha still saw the demons which tempt the astral body and at the final stage of attainment he had perforce to conquer them.
When a man descends through the region of the astral body, through temptations, into the physical and etheric bodies -- when, that is to say, he really gets to know these two members of human nature, what does he find? Our attention must here be called to experiences connected with the descent. In the course of his incarnations on the Earth, man has been able to do severe damage to his astral body, but less damage has been caused to his etheric and physical bodies. The astral body is injured by all lower urges, by every form of egoism in human nature -- envy, hatred, selfishness, arrogance, pride, and so on. A normal man of to-day cannot do much more in the way of injury to the etheric body than through lying or at most through unconscious error. But even so, only a part of the etheric body can sustain injury. A certain part of the etheric body is so strong that however hard a man might try to injure it, he would be unable to do so; it would always resist. Through his individual powers a man cannot descend deeply enough into his own nature to be able to injure the etheric or the physical body. It is only in the course of repeated incarnations that the faults for which he is directly responsible have an effect upon these bodies and then they appear as illnesses, defects and dispositions to illness in the physical body. But a man cannot work directly from his individuality upon his physical body. A cut finger or a bodily infection is not the result of any activity of the soul. In the course of his incarnations man has become capable of working upon the astral body and part of the etheric body; but upon his physical body he can work indirectly only, never directly.
Hence we can say that when a man descends into the region of the etheric body upon which he still has some direct influence, everything that is part of him from his successive incarnations becomes manifest. By sinking into the depths of his own being, a man finds the way to his incarnations in the near or more distant past. And when the descent is as intense and complete as it was in the case of the great Buddha, this vision of the incarnations extends farther and farther.
Man was originally a wholly spiritual being. In course of time sheaths gathered around this spiritual being. Man was born out of the spirit, of which everything external is a condensation. Hence through penetrating into his own being he finds the way to the spirit of the universe. This descent into the sheaths enfolding the physical body is a path leading to the spiritual texture of the universe, enabling man to see how the physical has been built up in the course of his incarnations. And when he can go far enough back into the past, to the times when with his primitive clairvoyance he was in a certain respect one with the spiritual world, he then had direct vision of that world.
In tradition -- which again is not merely legendary -- we learn of the stages reached by the Buddha as he penetrated through his own being. Of these stages he himself says: When I had attained the stage of Illumination -- that is to say, when he could feel part of the spiritual world -- I beheld that world outspread before me like a cloud; but as yet I could distinguish nothing in it, for I was not yet perfect. I advanced a step further and then not only could I see the spiritual world outspread like a cloud but I could distinguish particular forms. But still I could not see what the forms actually were, for I was not yet perfect. Again I ascended a step and now not only could I distinguish the spiritual Beings but I could also recognise what order of Beings they were. -- This process continued until the Buddha beheld his own archetype which had passed down from incarnation to incarnation, and could see its true relationship with the spiritual world.
This is the one way, the mystical way; it is the descent through a man’s own nature and being to the point where the bounds beyond which lies the spiritual world are broken through. It is by following this path that certain leading Individualities acquire the powers they need in order to give an impetus to the evolution of humanity.
Very different is the path by which men such as the original Zarathustra came to be leaders of mankind. If you will recall what I have said about the Buddha, you will realise that having become a Bodhisattva in his earlier incarnations he must already have risen through many stages. Through the illumination known as ‘sitting under the Bodhi tree’ -- an expression which must be understood in the sense I have indicated -- a man can develop vision of the spiritual worlds and rise to great heights through the faculties of his own Individuality. But if humanity had always been obliged to depend upon leaders of this kind only, the progress that has actually been made would not have been possible. There were leaders of a different type altogether, of whom Zarathustra was one. I am not speaking now of the Individuality of Zarathustra but of the ‘personality’ of the original Zarathustra, the herald of Ahura Mazdao. If we study such a personality at the point where he stands in world-history, we realise that this is not a human being who has risen through his own intrinsic merits. On the contrary, he is a personality who has been chosen to be the bearer, the sheath, of a spiritual Being who cannot himself incarnate in the flesh, who can only send his illumination into and work within a human sheath.
In my Rosicrucian Mystery Play, The Portal of Initiation, I have indicated how at a certain point of time, when it is necessary for world-evolution, a human being is inspired by a higher spiritual Being. This is not poetic imagery but a poetical presentation of an occult reality.
The personality of the original Zarathustra was not one which through its own merits had reached as lofty a stage of development as that attained by Buddha; the personality of Zarathustra was chosen to be the abode of a higher Being and was filled with living spirituality. Such personalities were chiefly to be found in the early, pre-Christian civilisations which had arisen throughout Europe, in North-Western and Mid-Western Asia but not in the other civilisations which spread through Africa, Arabia and Asia Minor, into Asia. In these latter territories the predominant mode of Initiation was the one I have just described as having been achieved in its highest form by the great Buddha. Taking Zarathustra as a particular example among the peoples of the Northern stream, I shall now speak of the mode of Initiation which was to be found, too, in our own part of the world. Three or four thousand years ago this was the only kind of Initiation that it was possible to attain.
The personality of Zarathustra was chosen in somewhat the following way to be the bearer of a higher Being who was not himself actually to incarnate. It was decreed by the higher worlds that into this child there was to descend a divine-spiritual Being who when the child matured could work in him, make use of his brain, his faculties and his will. -- To this end the circumstances of the life of such a human being must be quite different from those otherwise prevailing in the development of an ordinary individual. The happening I shall now briefly describe must be thought of as belonging to the whole life of such a human being, not confined to the physical realm of sense. Although the symptoms will not be perceptible to the ordinary senses, it will be clear to anyone with finer powers of observation that from the very beginning there is evidence of conflict between the soul-forces of such a child and the external world; that in this child there is a will and an inner driving power at variance with what goes on in the environment. But such is the destiny of a personality thus filled with a divine-spiritual Being. He grows up as a stranger, for those around him have no insight or feelings which would help them to understand him. Generally there are only very few -- perhaps only one -- with any inkling of what is developing in such a child. On the other hand, conflicts with the world around will easily arise and in such a case what I described to you in the story of the temptations accompanying Buddha’s descent into his own being, will take place at an earlier age of life.
In the normal way the individuality of a human being is born into the sheaths provided by his parents and his people. These sheaths do not always entirely conform with the individuality and on this account such men feel a certain dissatisfaction with destiny. A conflict of such force and intensity as was associated, for example, with Zarathustra, could not be endured by an individuality developing in the normal way. When a child such as Zarathustra is observed clairvoyantly he will be found to have feelings, faculties and forces of thought which will be quite different from those developing in the people around him. Above all it will be evident -- it is in fact always evident but it passes unheeded because little attention is paid nowadays to the life of soul-and-spirit -- that those around such a child know nothing about his real nature; on the contrary, they feel an instinctive hatred of him; they can make nothing of what is developing within him. There is no sharper conflict visible to clairvoyance than that between a child born to be a saviour of mankind and the storms of hatred that are unleashed around him. This is inevitable, for it is just because such a child is different that the great impulses can be given to humanity. Similar stories are also told about personalities other than Zarathustra.
The story goes that as soon as he was born, Zarathustra could smile -- something that is usually not possible for several weeks. We are told that Zarathustra’s smile came from his consciousness of the harmony of the world. The smile was said to be the first sign of the difference between this child and all the others around him.
There is a second story, to the effect that an enemy, as it were another Herod, named Duransarun, lived in the region where Zarathustra was born and that when the birth of the child was divulged to him by Chaldean Magi, he tried to kill the infant with his own hands. The legend tells that as he raised the sword his arm was paralysed and he was obliged to give up the attempt. -- These are pictures of spiritual realities which could have been revealed only to supersensible consciousness. We are further told how this enemy of the infant Zarathustra then caused him to be carried by a servant out into the desert to become the prey of wild beasts. But when a search was made it was found that no wild beast had touched the child and that he was sleeping peacefully. This attempt having also failed, the child’s enemy caused him to be laid where a herd of cows and oxen would pass and trample him to death. Instead, so the legend tells, the first beast took the child between its legs, carried him off and set him down when the whole herd had passed by. The same thing was repeated with a herd of horses. And the enemy’s final attempt was to expose the child to wild animals robbed of their young. But when the parents sought news of the child they found that again the animals had done him no harm: indeed according to the legend he had been suckled by the ‘heavenly cows’.
These indications are to be understood as showing that through the presence of the spiritual Being, of the Individuality who passes into such a soul, very special forces are called into play. Such a child is brought into disharmony with his environment. This is necessary in order that evolution may be given an upward impetus. Disharmonies are always inevitable if there is to be real progress towards perfection. It must also be realised that these forces help to bring such a child into his destined relationship with the spiritual world. But how does the child himself experience all these conflicts?
Try to think of this penetration of a man’s soul into his own being, as an awakening. When the soul can experience the physical body and etheric body it achieves the development we saw in the Buddha. But now imagine going to sleep in full consciousness. As things are to-day, a man loses consciousness when he goes to sleep and the Void engulfs him. But if he were to retain consciousness he would be surrounded by a spiritual world into which his being pours. But here again there are obstacles. When we go to sleep, before the portal through which we must pass there also stands a Guardian. This is the Greater /Guardian of the Threshold, who denies us entrance into the spiritual world as long as we are not ready for it. The reason for this is that if without being inwardly strong enough we attempt to pour our Ego over the spiritual world into which we pass on going to sleep, we face certain dangers.
The dangers are these. -- Instead of perceiving objective reality in the spiritual world we should perceive only the effect of the fantasies which we ourselves take into that world; we take into it the worst that is in us -- everything that is not in keeping with truth. Hence any premature entry into the spiritual world would mean that instead of reality, a man would see grotesque, fantastic images and forms, said by Spiritual Science to be a sight that does not belong to his humanity. Whereas if he had objective vision of the spiritual world he would reach a higher stage and would see what is human. It is always a sign that what are seen are fantasies if on rising into the spiritual world, animal forms appear. These animal forms are indications of our own irresponsible play of fancy; they appear because inwardly we have not a firm enough foundation. Faculties in us which at night are unconscious must be strengthened if we are to have a really objective vision of the outer spiritual world. Otherwise we see it subjectively and we take our fantasies into it. They do, of course, accompany us, but the Guardian of the Threshold protects us from sight of them. To be surrounded by animal forms which attack us and try to force us into error as we ascend into the spiritual world is all a purely inner process. To enter the spiritual world safely we need only develop greater and greater strength.
When an infant such as the Zarathustra-child is filled by a higher Being the little body is naturally immature and has to develop to maturity. The organic system of intellect and sensory activity is also disturbed. Such a child is in a world in which he may truly be said to be ‘among wild beasts’. I have often emphasised that in descriptions of this kind the historical and pictorial elements represent two aspects of the same thing. The happenings take place in such a way that when the spiritual forces work from outside in the form of hostility, as in the case of the Zarathustra-child, they are personified in the figure of King Duransarun. Everything also exists in archetype in the spiritual world and the external events correspond to what is taking place in that world. It is not easy for the modern mind to grasp such a thought. If we say that the events occurring around Zarathustra have significance in the spiritual world, people think that they cannot be real. If we show that the events are authentic history, we then incline to regard the personality concerned as being no more highly developed than anyone else. Thus the liberal theologians of to-day tend, for instance, to regard the figure of Jesus of Nazareth as on a par with, or not greatly excelling, what they may picture as their own ideal. It disturbs the lazy materialism of men’s souls if they have to picture a really great Individuality. There must not be anything in the world superior to the professor or theologian seeking to attain his own ideal! In dealing with great events, however, we are concerned with something that is both historical and symbolic; the one aspect does not exclude the other. Those who do not understand that external events have a significance other than their surface appearance will never grasp their essential reality.
The soul of the infant Zarathustra was actually exposed to great dangers; but at the same time, as the legend relates, the ‘heavenly cows’ stood at his side to succour him and give him strength.
Similar stories can be found over the whole area from the Caspian Sea, through our own region, and into Western Europe, in connection with all great founders of world-conceptions. Such personalities, without having risen to lofty heights through their own development, are indwelt by a spiritual Being in order to become leaders of men. There were a number of such traditions among the Celts. It is related of Habich, an important figure in Celtic religion, that he too was exposed to dangers and suckled by heavenly cows; that he was attacked by hostile animals who had to give way before him. The descriptions of the perils confronting Habich, the Celtic leader, read just as if extracts had been made from the seven ‘miracles’ of Zarathustra -- for Zarathustra is to be regarded as the greatest personality among leaders of this kind. Certain features of his miracles are to be found all through Greece and on into the Celtic regions of the West. As a well-known example you have only to think of the story of Romulus and Remus.
This is the second way in which leaders of mankind arise. Certain deeper features of the two great streams of culture in the post-Atlantean epoch have now been characterised. After the great Atlantean catastrophe, one of these streams of civilisation spread and developed through Africa, Arabia and Southern Asia; the other spread in a more Northerly course through Europe, to Northern and thence to Central Asia. There the two streams united; and the outcome is our post-Atlantean culture. The Northern stream had leaders such as I have described in the figure of Zarathustra; in the Southern stream, on the other hand, there were leaders of the type revealed in its loftiest form by the great Buddha.
If you now recall what you already know about the Christ-event, you will want to understand what really happened at the Baptism by John in the Jordan. As in the case of all the leading figures and founders of religious thought in the Northern stream -- of whom Zarathustra had been the greatest -- a diving-spiritual Being, the Christ, descended into a human being. The process was the same but carried out at the highest level. Christ descended into a human being in his thirtieth year, not in his childhood, and the personality of Jesus of Nazareth was specially prepared for this event. In the Gospels the secrets of both types of leadership are shown us in synthesis, in harmony with each other. Whereas the accounts of the Evangelists St. Matthew and St. Luke are mainly concerned to show how the human personality into whom the Christ entered had been evolved, the Gospel of St. Mark describes the nature of the Christ Himself, the element in this sublime Individuality which could not be confined within the human vehicle. That is why the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke describe with wonderful clarity a story of temptation different from that related by St. Mark. He is describing the Christ who had entered into Jesus of Nazareth. The Gospel of St. Mark relates the story of temptation which occurs in other cases already in childhood -- the encounter with wild animals and the help given by spiritual powers. Thus it can be regarded as a kind of repetition of the Zarathustra-miracle when St. Mark’s Gospel narrates in simple and impressive words: ‘And immediately the spirit driveth him into the solitude (wilderness) . . . and he was with the wild beasts; and the Angels’ -- that is, spiritual Beings -- ‘ministered unto him.’ St. Matthew’s Gospel describes a quite different process, one which seems like a repetition of the temptations of Buddha, that is to say the tests and allurements confronting the soul of a man who is penetrating into his own inner being.
The Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke describe the path taken by the Christ when descending into the sheaths He received from Jesus of Nazareth. St. Mark’s Gospel describes the kind of temptation which the Christ was obliged to undergo when He confronted the environment -- as happens with all great founders of religion who had been inspired from above by a spiritual Being. Christ Jesus experienced both these kinds of temptation, whereas earlier leaders of humanity had experienced only one. Christ united in Himself the two ways of entering the spiritual world. -- That is the all-important point. What had formerly taken place in two separate streams into which smaller streams then flowed, was now united in one.
It is only from this point of view that we can understand the apparent or real contradictions in the Gospels. The writer of St. Mark’s Gospel had been initiated into Mysteries which enabled him to describe the temptation presented in his Gospel, namely the encounter with wild beasts and the help of spiritual Beings. St. Luke was initiated into the other aspect. Each of the Evangelists writes of what he knew and understood. Hence their Gospels present different aspects of the events in Palestine and of the Mystery of Golgotha.
In all this I have been wanting to indicate from a point of view we have not hitherto adopted, how we have to understand the course of the evolution of humanity and the intervention of particular Individualities: whether those who rise from the rank of Bodhisattva to that of Buddha, or those whose significance lies not so much in themselves as in what has come down into them from above. It is in the figure of Christ alone that these two types unite; and it is only when we know this that we can rightly understand the Christ.
It will now be clear why incongruities are apparent in mythical personalities. When we are told that one of them behaved in a matter of right or wrong as, for instance, Siegfried behaved, someone will certainly protest that after all, he was said to have been an Initiate! But in the case of a personality such as Siegfried, through whom a spiritual Being was working, the individual development is not a factor that comes into consideration. Siegfried may well have had faults. What really mattered was that an impetus should be given to the evolution of humanity, and for this purpose it was a question of choosing the most suitable personality. The same standard cannot be adopted universally and Siegfried cannot be judged as you would judge a leader arising from the Southern stream of culture, for a figure such as Siegfried differs radically in character and type from men who penetrate into their own inner self.
It can therefore be said that the leading figures belonging to the Northern stream are permeated by a spiritual Being who drives them out of themselves, enabling them to rise into the Macrocosm. Whereas in the Southern cultures a man sinks into the Microcosm, in the Northern stream his being pours into the Macrocosm and in this way he comes to know all the spiritual Hierarchies, as Zarathustra came to know the spiritual essence of the Sun.
We may therefore sum up all that has been said, as follows. -- The mystical path, the path of the Buddha, leads to such depths in a man’s inmost being that in breaking through to them he comes into the spiritual world. The path of Zarathustra draws a man out of the Microcosm and his being is diffused over the Macrocosm so that its secrets become transparent to him. The world has as yet little understanding of the great spirits whose missions are to unveil the secrets of the Macrocosm. There is very little understanding, for example, of the essential nature and being of Zarathustra. And we shall find how greatly what we have to say of him differs from what is usually said at the present time.
This again is a digression intended to convey to you the intrinsic character of St. Mark’s Gospel.
Lecture Six: The Son of God and the Son of Man. The Sacrifice of Orpheus
Background to the Gospel of St. Mark
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