1978 - A Report on Astrosophy Conference in Dornach
The Easter Astrosophy Conference held at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, marked the inauguration of many new relations between those who are working and interested in the development of a New Star Wisdom, and the Mathematical-Astronomical Section of the Goetheanum. It was the first such meeting held and sponsored by the Astronomical Section in which the work of Willi Sucher and others began to be looked into in depth. It was also the first time several key questions concerning the relation of the New Star Wisdom to the Goetheanum could be asked and answered by responsible people. For most participants it was the first meeting they had with others who are active in this field. The following is a brief description of those who attended and the main topics of discussion and some results of those discussions.
We were fourteen in number from many parts of the world. Dr. Georg Unger hosted the meetings and represented the Astronomical-Mathematical Section of which he is the current leader. Present also from the section were two co-workers; Peter Gschwind from Basel, Switzerland, and Wim Vierson from Dornach. We were all very pleased that Jörgen Smit, a Vorstand member and the current leader of the Section for the Youth was able to attend all our meetings. He showed a keen interest in our discussions and expressed a desire to keep in contact with the progress of the New Star Wisdom in the future. Other middle Europeans at the talks were Thilde von Eiff, a Waldorf school teacher from Stuttgart, Germany. Suso Vetter, also a Waldorf teacher and long time co-worker of the Mathematical-Astronomical Section was part of the group, he is responsible for the Star Calendar which is put out by the Astronomical Section. Leo de la Houssaye from Zeist, Holland is doing practical work with Astrosophy in connection with backward children, and was an active participant of our talks.
From east Europe, Poland to be exact, we were pleased to share our talks with Dr. Konrad Rudnicki. He is a professional Astronomer studying at the Goetheanum. He always added an element of warmth and sincerity to our talks and his open attitude was most appreciated.
From England came Hazel Straker, a long time co-worker of Willi Sucher and devoted teacher of the new relation of man to the Stars. Her long experience in this field was always in evidence when she spoke, and her sincere good will helped bridge some tense moments. With her came Peter Treadgold. His house has served for years as a gathering place for star meetings in England. Robert Powell was also in attendance. He is the editor of the “Mercury Star Journal.” John Meeks is currently teaching astronomy at Emerson College, Sussex, England. He was at one time a co-worker of the Mathematical-Astronomical Section and served as translator during the conference.
From North America came William Bento, an American living in Canada. He is a long-time student of Astrology and a personal friend of many of the leading Astrologers of our time. He expressed concern about the trends in Astrology today and how Spiritual Science can turn a genuine interest in the stars, shown by the upsurge of popularity in Astrology, on to a path leading to Michael and not to Lucifer. I myself went as representative for the Foundation and also for Willi Sucher. My interest was to present Willi’s point of view and also to gain answers to what I saw as key questions concerning the relation of the work to the Mathematical-Astronomical Section as it has been in the past and might be in the future. The highlights of our meeting form what follows.
Dr. Unger’s opening comments came in the form of two questions which served to set the mood and direction of our discussions. The two main questions which were of prime importance were, how far have we come in achieving results in the New Star Wisdom, and how can we work with individual horoscopes?
The first question, how far have we come, is of course a fair one. It was generally acknowledged that as soon as one begins to speak of a New Star Wisdom or a renewal of Astrology one very quickly comes primarily to the work of Willi Sucher. This work is the main body of research in this field. Of course that does not imply that others have not also begun to work towards the renewal of Astrology, but as far as the amount of work and depth of understanding, Willi Sucher is essentially alone. Thus the conference rapidly became a discussion of the work of Willi Sucher. In trying to answer the question, how far have we come, the specific details of the existing body of knowledge were discussed.
We started our discussions with the Heliocentric or Sun-centered world picture. From the start the group met with great questions and concerns over this approach. It was felt by some that the work went far beyond reasonable support out of Spiritual Science. The understanding for this approach was generally lacking among our group. I was given the task of leading a discussion on the Heliocentric world view during one of our evening sessions. Together with those who had some understanding of the approach, particularly Hazel Straker, we tried to explain why we felt this approach to be vital as a world view, even needed by modern man. I gave specific details of the indications given by Rudolf Steiner and tried to show the connections between those suggestions and the development of the Heliocentric world view (in subsequent newsletters those thoughts will be presented). Some progress was made, at least we could all see that the idea of maintaining a Heliocentric picture is indicated in the work of Rudolf Steiner, and that it does serve modern man in the present stage of evolution. We could not all see the therapeutic value of such an approach, and questions like these will have to be gone into in future meetings.
The Geocentric picture of the universe (Earth-centered) was, on the other hand, met with much more of a wide-spread acceptance. The basis for this approach had been set forth in detail by Rudolf Steiner and Dr. Elisabeth Vreede. Willi Sucher continued these beginnings and put them to practical use. As the acceptance was generally acknowledged we did not spend a great deal of time on this world conception but simply outlined the subjects which it is felt can be served in a direct way through this approach to the stars. The subjects are Eurythmy, Medicine, Agriculture, Curative Education and Anthroposophical Cosmology and Astronomy.
During one of our evening discussion groups we tried to come to a deeper understanding of the term “Astrosophy.” From the lecture cycle on “Pastoral Medicine” Rudolf Steiner gives a clear progression leading ultimately to the stage of direct contact with living Spiritual Beings and the highest step of initiation. This stage of Intuition is what Rudolf Steiner refers to as Astrosophy. The seriousness of this fact makes the use of the term Astrosophy as an everyday word questionable and it was suggested by Dr. Unger that as a more common every day term “New Star Wisdom” was more appropriate.
Finally let us look at the second question Dr. Unger raised. In reference to individual charts it was felt by all that each request had to be dealt with on a personal basis. The idea of setting up a “practice” to council and give advice was rejected by those present as not appropriate to our modern age. This does not place a taboo on charts, just that one should not make a business of Astrosophy. Dr. Unger reminded us all at this point of a statement made by Rudolf Steiner in reference to the dangers one faces when working with another’s stars. He said, it is possible to interfere with a person’s Karma when using Astrology. This statement applies all the more to the New Star Wisdom and should be taken very soberly and seriously by anyone who looks into the stars of someone else. In this connection, it was agreed that asterograms (charts) should whenever possible be done in collaboration with a physician, curative educator or teacher. These thoughts are guidelines for conduct proper to this vital work, but should not be seen as hard and fast rules or dogma.
(Note: Willi did many charts in collaboration with doctors that dealt with a range of illnesses, such as eye diseases, MS, etc., as well as those of the special needs people. The charts he did on these adults and children were heliocentric, and he mentions that in several places in his publications. For example, in The Changing Countenance of Cosmology, chapter 3, Roads to a Modern Cosmology and Astrosophy, he writes: “…another discovery, which was reported in a German periodical… concerns down-syndrome children, a special category of special needs children. A medical doctor in Czechoslovakia, who was originally very skeptical toward the whole idea, eventually decided to cooperate with an astrologer. They worked out the birth charts of 50 down-syndrome children and 150 of their brothers and sisters who had the same mothers. First, the geocentric approach gave hardly any clues, but in employing the heliocentric approach, they were stunned by the results. They discovered that in all 50 of the charts of the down-syndrome children Mercury was in “bad” aspects, according to astrological concepts, for instance, in square (90° distance) to Venus.”)
2002 Letter to General Secretary of Anthroposophical Society
Dear General Secretary:
As concerned members of the Board of Directors of the Astrosophy Research Center, we are writing to clarify the position of the Astrosophy Research Center with regard to the work of astrosophy. This seems necessary at present due to some recent activities by other practitioners of astrosophy, which have been called to our attention.
The purpose of the Astrosophy Research Center is to develop and maintain the work of Willi Sucher, which he called astrosophy based on the indications given by Rudolf Steiner, through his association with Dr. Elizabeth Vreede, and through his deeply earnest lifetime study of anthroposophy. Willi Sucher founded the Center in February 1984, prior to his death in May 1985, as the vehicle to maintain and continue his work. As the directors of the Center, we recognize that the work of astrosophy must be available to anyone who has a desire to study and work with it. But, as is also true with anthroposophy, individuals may take the content of what has been developed and use it for many purposes that may or may not be true to its fundamental spiritual intent. As an organization devoted to protecting and further researching astrosophy as developed by Willi Sucher, we can be saddened by the use of astrosophy in astrological-type forecasting, which is not true to the purpose of astrosophy, but we also recognize that this is part of the risk when spiritual knowledge is made open and accessible to all.
The Astrosophy Research Center holds that a healthy development of all research and work out of astrosophy, among other core values, must first and foremost promote and serve the freedom of the individual and never serve as a means of directing people in their lives through the use of “star charts” or in any way predicting future life events. Though Willi Sucher did research individual star charts, he never advised people on what choices to make or what directions to take in their lives. Rather, he would present the content of his understanding of the stars in the context of the new Christ impulse brought to the cosmos of the stars at the turning point of time. An individual could then draw their own inspiration for how to develop this Christ impulse within themselves in the context of their own star chart and their own unique biography.
A new astrosophy should in no way draw the human being into an earlier form of spiritual dependence on the external stars or individuals claiming to read the guidance of the stars. Rather, any new developments of astrosophy should work to fulfill the words of the verse given by Rudolf Steiner, “Stars once spoke to man…”, striving to fulfill the task of preparing the human being to “speak to the stars” in order to bring transformation into the cosmic world and to become co-creators with the Christ in human evolution. To this end Willi Sucher devoted his life and work with the stars and this is the continued purpose of the Astrosophy Research Center.
We intend this letter to serve as a formal statement by the Astrosophy Research Center that we neither support nor align our work with any use of astrosophy to serve astrological forecasting or to in any way influence the freedom of the individual. We also stand committed to the principle agreed upon at the Astrosophy Conference held at the Goetheanum in 1978 (which was attended by William Bento, one of the individuals currently using astrosophy in a manner not acceptable by the Research Center) and recorded in the minutes of this conference: “The idea of setting up a ‘practice’ to council and give advice was rejected by those present as not appropriate to our modern age. This does not place a taboo on charts, just that one should not make a business of astrosophy.”Anyone using the term astrosophy for this kind of work does so independently from the work as developed by Willi Sucher and as maintained by the Astrosophy Research Center.
Board of Directors:
Jonathan HiltonHazel StrakerDarlys TurnerNan ShawPatty Kughl
Cc: THE GEOTHEANUM: Dr. Virginia Sease, 4143 Dornach, Switzerland,EASTERN REGION: Marsha Post, c/o New York Branch, 138 W. 15th St., NY 10011,CENTRAL REGION: Susan Stevenson, 4535 N. Hamilton Ave., Apt. 3W, Chicago, IL 60625,WESTERN REGION: Joan Treadaway, 1920 Thumb Butte Rd., Prescott, AZ 86301,RUDOLF STEINER COLLEGE: Brian Gray, 9200 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, CA 95628,SUNBRIDGE COLLEGE: Signe Schaefer, 260 Hungry Hollow Rd., Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977,ANTHROPOSOPHICAL SOCIETY OF GREAT BRITIAN: General Secretary, 35 Park Road, London NW1 6XT, UK
A Response to 2010 Journal for StarWisdom
This article is in response to the recently published 2010 Journal for Star Wisdom, with an editorial board including Robert Powell and members of the StarFire Research Group. It is written to address the article “In Memory of Willi Sucher”, by Robert Powell and to clarify that the approach to astrosophy as presented in this Journal is fundamentally different from the astrosophy developed by Willi Sucher over the course of his life. Robert Powell claims in the Journal that this work is a “continuation” of and in the “line of succession” to Willi Sucher’s work. This is not the case and the present article summarizes why.
This article is not written to disparage the approach of Robert Powell, but to inform readers of its significant divergence from the star wisdom of Willi Sucher. Willi Sucher’s work is founded on the work of Rudolf Steiner and began with Willi’s working partnership with Dr. Elisabeth Vreede (1879–1943), whom Steiner chose to be the first leader of the Mathematical–Astronomical Section of the School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.
Willi founded the Astrosophy Research Center in February 1984, just one year before his death in May 1985, as the body entrusted with maintaining and continuing his work. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Astrosophy Research Center, I have been asked to clarify the important distinctions between his astrosophy and the approach to the stars as represented in the 2010 Journal.
The first section of this article will present three fundamental differences between the approach represented in the Journal and the work of Willi Sucher. The latter part of the article will address several inaccurate and/or misleading statements made in the Journal, in the article “In Memory of Willi Sucher” by Powell.
Three fundamental differences:
1.) As stated in the Editorial Foreword to the Journal, Powell has adopted the Christology of a German nun, Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824), who experienced “clairvoyant visions of the daily activities, thoughts, and feelings of the great teacher Christ Jesus, as well as Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, and others.” Powell has taken these visions and calculated specific dates and times for the events in the daily life of Christ.
Also in the Editorial Foreword to the Journal, Powell states in Footnote 1: “in Astrosophy there are different chronologies of the life of Christ, and the chronology that forms the basis of the approach followed in the Journal for Star Wisdom is set forth in my (Powell) book ‘Chronicle of the Living Christ.’”
This is not the Christology on which Willi Sucher’s astrosophy is based, as presented in his book Cosmic Christianity. For Willi, the changed relationship of the human being to the cosmos of the stars since the Mystery of Golgotha and the union of the Christ with the Earth is central to a new Christology of the stars. In Cosmic Christianity, Willi works with the rhythms and geocentric “gestures” of the planets during the time of Christ’s incarnation and on through the event of Paul’s experience on the Road to Damascus. He then shows how these recurring rhythms and gestures serve as archetypes for how human beings today can take the deeds of Christ and work toward their further fulfillment for the Earth. For example, the geocentric rhythms of Venus during the Three Years create a five–pointed star or double pentagram around the Earth. Willi corresponds these five points to important deeds by Christ. This star/pentagram form of Venus remains in the heavens as the image of Venus, yet the five corners gradually rotate around the zodiac of the stars so that each corner can be realized in relation to each constellation of the zodiac by human beings who strive to unite themselves with the Christ impulse on Earth. Willi always presented these imaginations in a way that left each person free to discover his or her own relationship to these “questions” posed by Venus and the other planets in relation to the Christ events. Willi always encouraged his students to understand how the cosmos of the stars stands waiting for humanity to begin to “speak to the stars” and gradually transform the cosmos as co–creators with the gods.
2.) A second fundamental divergence from the astrosophy of Willi Sucher is in the zodiac used in Powell’s approach. In the Editorial Foreword, Powell writes, “There are many different approaches to Astrosophy and not all use the equal–division zodiac that forms the basis of the approach followed in the Journal for Star Wisdom. All references to the zodiac and to the planetary positions in the zodiac in the Journal for Star Wisdom are in terms of the sidereal zodiac as defined in my book History of the Zodiac.” This zodiac is defined as follows: “The basis of our style of astrology was first pioneered by the great teacher Zarathustra who mapped out the heavens into twelve zodiacal signs thousands of years ago. These twelve signs are equal 30 degree signs.”
Willi Sucher never worked from the Babylonian zodiac of twelve equal signs. Through his research and his effort to bring astrosophy into modern times, Willi worked with the sidereal zodiac of the actual fixed–star constellations, with the accepted degrees of demarcation in use by modern astronomy. This zodiac is based on the actual observable constellations of the zodiac, not on equal thirty degree signs. They are unequal in length. For example, the fixed stars of the Crab (Cancer) are a smaller constellation extending from 117 degrees of the ecliptic to 138 degrees (only 21 degrees), whereas the constellation of the Virgin (Virgo) extends from 173 degrees to 219 degrees (46 degrees).
In the Editorial Foreword to the Journal, Powell “encourages the reader to engage in the practice of star–gazing”, stating: “One of the foundations of Astrosophy lies in the science of astronomy, providing the new star wisdom with a secure scientific foundation, which moreover, can be brought into the realm of experience through the practice of star gazing.” Yet this star–gazing would not lead an observer to the Babylon zodiac of equal 30 degree signs. For example, if one is gazing at the planet Venus on the backdrop of the actual constellations, Venus will often be in a constellation that does not correspond to the Babylonian signs. It might be, according to the Babylonian zodiac, in the sign of Libra, when in reality it is in the constellation of Virgo.
Additionally, Willi was careful not to throw out the Greek tropical zodiac but left open the possibility that this zodiac might have a certain validity from another perspective. Just as the sidereal zodiac of the actual stars might be seen as a window to the astral realities (astral = star), so might the tropical zodiac used by the Greeks, which is based on the location of the vernal point or spring equinox and therefore to the seasonal “life” of the Earth, be related to the life realm of the Earth and the cycle of the year. Likewise, perhaps the so–called zodiac of the Houses, which is based on the horizon at the moment of birth (i.e. the physical plane of the Earth), might be related more to the physical realm. These were all questions explored and left open by Willi as encouragement for the research of others.
3.) One final point to be made about the distinction between the work of Willi Sucher and that of Robert Powell and the StarFire Research Group is on the practice of setting up a business of star wisdom and of reading charts. Willi Sucher offered workshops, lectures and private consultations over many years. Yet he never charged a fee for his work. Rather he offered his work freely, relying on donations which were frequently made by those who valued his work.
In 1978 at an Astrosophy Conference held at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland (to see the full minutes, click here), with members of the Mathematical–Astronomical Section of the Goetheanum, a statement was agreed upon concerning the “business” of astrosophy. The minutes of that meeting state:
“The idea of setting up a “practice” to council and give advice was rejected by those present as not appropriate to our modern age. This does not place a taboo on charts, just that one should not make a business of Astrosophy. Dr. Unger reminded us all at this point of a statement made by Rudolf Steiner in reference to the dangers one faces when working with another’s stars. He said, it is possible to interfere with a person’s Karma when using Astrology. This statement applies all the more to the New Star Wisdom and should be taken very soberly and seriously by anyone who looks into the stars of someone else.”
The offerings on the website of the StarFire Research Group do not abide by the decision that was agreed upon by those present at the Astrosophy Conference in Dornach.
On the article, In Memory of Willi Sucher:
The star wisdom represented by Robert Powell in the Journal has for many years diverged significantly from the work of Willi Sucher. This has been addressed frequently in correspondence and conversations among members of the StarFire Research Group and Board members of the Astrosophy Research Center, which includes Hazel Straker who joined Willi in the development of astrosophy in 1945 in England, lived in the Sucher’s home working with Willi for nearly 30 years and currently continues his work in Wales.
In August 2002, the Board of the Astrosophy Research Center wrote a letter to the General Council of the Anthroposophical Society and other anthroposophical institutions in America to clarify this divergence and to make clear that the work of the StarFire Group was independent of any association with the Astrosophy Research Center and the work of Willi Sucher.
Text of lecture at NYC Anthroposophical Society 5/26/18: The 33 Year Rhythm in Human Biography and the new Christ event
The reason this topic has been selected for tonight’s lecture is due to the fact that May 21st, was the 33rd year anniversary of the death of Willi Sucher. So I offered to speak about my on beginning research into this 33rd year rhythm as a commemoration and sharing of this anniversary. Tonight we will begin with a biographical summary of Willi Sucher’s life so that we bring the awareness of this biography into our thoughts clearly and acknowledge him and his life. Following this we will explore rhythm itself in relation to the new astrosophy and human life and then focus particularly on the relationship between the 30 year rhythm of Saturn and the new 33 year rhythm of which Rudolf Steiner and Willi Sucher have something to say. We will close with a look at this rhythm as applied to Willi’s biography and at the new meaning and significance of this rhythm particularly now in our time as an expression of the new Christ event of the 20th Century.
We being with the story of Willi’s life in brief to commemorate this event. See the expanded biography in CosmicChristianity file:///C:/Users/jdhny/OneDrive/Documents/Documents/Astrosophy/Books%20and%20Pub lications/Books/Cosmic_Christianity-CD.pdf
We will look at his biography in the light of the 33 year rhythm. Why is 33 years important? What does this rhythm mean now?Quote by Willi Sucher:
An expression of this manifestation of the Christ-Impulse can be found as a new rhythm of time in human history and biography. This is the 33-years’ rhythm. Among many other effects, which the Christ Impulse will have on the Earth, this entity of time will permeate more and more the whole planet and one day in the future it may manifest itself also in the planet’s astronomical rhythms....
An impulse may enter humanity or a single human being at a certain time, and we witness that it very often takes this impulse 33 years to find its realization, to move, as it were, from its birth to its resurrection.
Quote by Rudolf Steiner:
events happening at approximately the present time (we can only say approximately in such matters) refer back in their historical connections in such a way that we are able to perceive their birthdays or beginnings in the events of thirty-three years ago, and that events of today also provide a birthday or beginning for events that will ripen to fruition in the course of the next thirty-three years....
All the actions of earlier generations, all the impulses with their combined activity, poured into the stream of historic evolution, have a life cycle of thirty-three yean. Then comes its Easter time, the time of resurrection....For, my dear friends, all things in historic evolution arise transfigured after thirty-three years, as from a grave, by virtue of a power connected with the holiest of all redemptions: the Mystery of Golgotha.
So how does this 33 year anniversary of Willi’s death relate to this new work of the Christ in karma?
If we look now at Willi Sucher’s impulse as it seeks to find a way into civilization after 33 years, we can perhaps begin to look at it with these eyes of serving humanity rather than through a view to Willi’s own personal karmic biography.
If now we take Willi Sucher’s death on May 21, 1985 and go back in his biography 33 years we find first: 1952 age 50
This time, as Willi wrote in his biography, “was one of the most positive and creative periods of mylife. Dr. Heidenreich gave me absolute freedom to develop my work.” (This was at Albrighton Hall where he was invited to work by Dr Heidenreich a founding priest of the Christian Community who pioneered the Christian Community in England and America.) Here the English manuscript of Isis Sophia, published in 1951, was prepared (it had already been published in Germany), as well as Man and the Stars, the second Isis Sophia series, published in 1952. In addition, at this time, Hazel Straker, Helen Veronica Moyer and her sister, the artist Maria Schindler, came together in this work.
If we go back 33 years from 1952, we come to: 1919 age 17
At the age of 17 he met the ideas of Rudolf Steiner, through the brother of his father, his uncle Karl. His uncle Karl also spoke with him about astrology, expressing his concern about its unsuitability for modern humanity. His uncle spoke of how important it would be that someday an anthroposophist would bring new light to the entire field of astrology through the insights of spiritual science. Willi’s response was,“Why should we wait? Can’t we do it ourselves?”
Can one see already an unfolding of this 33 year impulse in Willi’s taking up a calling for the service of humanity. In 1919 at age 17, he meets anthroposophy and he asks the question “Can’t we do it ourselves?” in relation to a new astrology. Is this Willi’s own Parsival moment of asking thequestion? This then leads 33 years later to publications of his work, the coming together of his “team”of co-workers and “the most creative and positive time of his life” according to him in his biography.
1917: He asks the question. - seed + 33 years
1950: He publishes his works and has the most creative period of his life - fruit
1985: his entry into the spiritual world to hand over his life work to the Angels and hierarchies – a seed?
2018: what now? anniversary date is essentially Pentecost, 2018 (May 20)
What now is to be done to “to find its realization, to move, as it were, from its birth to its resurrection.”
What now is to be done in this “birthday or beginning for events that will ripen to fruition in the course of the next thirty-three years”
In developing the charts comparing Willi Sucher’s death chart to this 33rd Year chart, a central research question came out of Steiner’s indications.
In a lecture in Et Incarnatus Est,12/23/1917 (http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA180/English/MP1983/19171223p01.html ) Steiner indicates that Easter is the time when the fulfillment of a 33 year rhythm can come about. Therefore in my research I did both the chart for Easter, 2018 and for the actual death anniversary, May 21,2018. Based on a thorough review of the two charts, which would go beyond the scope of this lecture, the Easter date carried strong indications related to the death chart of Willi Sucher, especially with regard to the planets Venus and Mercury. However for both dates there was a significantrelationship. At Easter, 2018, the planet Jupiter stood exactly where Willi’s Saturn stood at hisdeath. By May 21st, Jupiter due to its slow movement, stood also nearby Willi’s Saturn at death but several degrees further back (Jupiter was in retrograde, thus the backwards movement).
It is interesting to note that Willi’s death Saturn in Scales was similar to Steiner’s death Saturn as well as the death Saturn of Kepler, Copernicus and Tycho Brahe, all leading astronomers in history.
With Jupiter standing in this position at the 33rd anniversary, one can see a strong statement towards a realization of the star wisdom in relation to the realm of Jupiter, that is to the realm which takes the past and develops it into the future, eventually towards the Future Jupiter embodiment of the
Earth. Willi often described the sphere of Jupiter as that realm which wants to take thinking and elevate it to “clair-thinking”, that is to thought which has risen to the etheric realm.
Jupiter is connected with the realm of thought, but thought as ideal, thought as living cosmic wisdom, rather than abstract brain-based thought. In Jupiter we see how the Father (Saturn) hands over evolutionary goals to the Son (Jupiter).
With this configuration in addition to some death-anniversary connections of the inner planets, it seems to point to the further development of what I consider the two core accomplishments of Willi Sucher’s new star wisdom:
The first is what one could call the “Christianization” of star wisdom. One of the crowning achievements of his life work was the publication of Cosmic Christianity in which he brings the stars in relation to the deeds of Christ during the Three Years as archetypes for our human endeavor as we strive to realize the Christ in our own deeds. In fact his whole body of work as evidenced throughout is directed towards the great task of the human union with the Christ impulse in order to fulfil our task of becoming brothers and sisters of the Christ and thus of the beings of the world of the stars so that we might become “speakers” to the stars rather than children being led by the Father.
The second is the spiritualization and therefore a redemption of the heliocentric perspective developed by Copernicus.
In a lecture on 18 Dec. 1912, Rudolf Steiner stated, Anyone who asks from the standpoint of occultism what kind of world conception can be derived from the Copernican tenets will have to admit that although these ideas can lead to great achievements in the realm of natural science and in external life, they are incapable of promoting any understanding of the spiritual foundations of the world, for there has never been a worse instrument for understanding the spiritual foundations of the world than the ideas of Copernicus - never in the whole of human evolution.
In his book Practical Approach I: Towards a New Astrosophy, Willi Sucher writes, We know there are even people who would be inclined to regard the heliocentric perspective as being wrong. It is certain: the Copernican world conception has put a final end to the ancient world view of a living universe of spheres, apart from the visible planets, in whom divine beings lived and moved. Copernicanism has indeed denuded theu universe from all notions of the presence of spiritual beings behind it and in it. It has become, in our modern view, a gigantic mechanism. However, we make a sharp distinction between Copernicanism and a heliocentric world conception. There is no need to mix them up, and even the elements of spheres, with all possible aspects of spiritual reality working in them and through them, can be maintained in the heliocentric perspective, and in our eyes, even more effectively than in the geocentric...
We have experienced that both views are of value in the interpretation of cosmic events and that one supports the other. In the heliocentric picture we gain the perspective of the relationship of the planets to their own spheres, by their positions and movements with regard to their own nodes and lines of apsides, as well as to those of the other planets... The heliocentric approach will lead us to perceive how these events are related to the life of the solar universe, dynamically and spiritually.
Thus we can see the great work of Willi Sucher as in a sense a redemption the fallen Copernican world conception without abandoning modern astronomical knowledge. It is interesting to note that not only
is Willi Sucher’s death Saturn similar to that of Copernicus, but they share the same death date, May 21st.
So to go now more deeply into the significance of the 33 year rhythm, let us start by exploring the nature of rhythm itself.
We can all be aware of the loss of humanity’s basic relationship to rhythm in life with the advent of technology and the separation from the world of nature which is based on rhythm as an expression of life. With electricity we are not dependent on the rhythm of day and night with its light anddarkness. With heating and air conditioning we are independent of weather and the changes in the seasons. We have become able to in many ways become independent of time as cyclical reality in the daily function of life. Fortunately we are not yet able to remove the need for the rhythm of waking and sleeping, though it seems sleepless nights become more and more a reality for many stressed lives.
I remember in the 1980’s being struck by how the round clock face was more and more replaced with the digital time technology. I resisted purchasing the new digital clock with its little numbered tabs that flipped over showing the progression to the next minute. 2:15 clicked over to 2:16. Another moment had come. These moments clicking by had been removed from their CONTEXT. The clock face of 12 hours and the minute and hour hand, though mechanical, still carried the memory of time in context to the whole. It was drawn still from the ancient sundial, which itself still related time to the Sun and the movement and rhythm of the cosmos of the Sun.
We have succeeded in projecting spatial consciousness into time. Time has become about quantity and linear thinking. Even human labor and value has become quantified time in our economic system. The qualities of time have been taken over by the quantity of time. But even a cursory reflection on our human experience of time refutes this mechanical quantification of time. How often do we reflect on how one moment seems like an eternity and other spans of time seem to “fly by”? This qualitative experience of time in our true ensouled living experience is much more real.
Even astrology has become a victim of the mechanization of time. In traditional astrology the focus has become on “aspects”, the momentary, frozen angular relationships among planets. But these aspects, these angular relations are part of a living weaving of the planets in cycles of time and reflect those moments within a whole context of time. One must look at these aspects in relation to the whole cycle. For example, an opposition is a culmination of a particular time gesture between the two planets that is related to the past and approaching conjunction. The square is a special moment in a cycle of time between planets. Only by living with these rhythms of planetary cycles do the “aspects” take on any true meaning. To know the stars as a world of rhythm and cycles is to enter into a relation to the LIFE of the stars, which leads us to a knowledge of the beings of the stars who express themselves in these rhythms. A new star wisdom must come to the experience of time as a path to knowledge of the cosmos of stars.
We can begin simply by re-connecting to the rhythms of Sun and Earth through a heightened awareness of day and night, the rotation of the Earth, once facing away from the Sun then turning towards theSun. We can begin to notice the transitions particularly of dawn and dusk, of the turning point at midday and midnight. To this we can add the awareness of the seasonal life and the relation of the Sun and Earth through the year. But to enter a truly new relation to the new LIFE of the Earth, we can enter fully into the seven Christian festivals on the background of the twelve constellations of the stars. This
new relation to the seven nodal points of the cycle of the Christian year takes us into a relation to the etheric Christ. More on this later.
We can also become more conscious of cosmic rhythms in biography, for example the moon node cycle of 18.6 years (and the half cycle of 9.3 years); of the Jupiter cycle of 12 years; of the rhythms of Venus and Mercury in relation to the archetypal deeds of Christ as they bear the memory of these events in their rhythms.
For tonight I want to focus on the primary rhythm of Saturn. Many of you may be aware of the so-called Saturn return, or transit. That is when the planet Saturn returns to the place of one’s birth in about the 30th year. The orbit of Saturn is exactly 29.4577 years. This is a time when we can perhaps become more fully conscious of our fundamental karmic tasks for this incarnation, when we can remember the foundations laid in the realm of Saturn to reconcile, to transform that which we bring from the past in order to move forward in our greater karmic plan as ego beings.
Just as there is a planetary basis for the 30-year life rhythm, is there also a planetary basis for the 33 year rhythm, the new rhythm in human life arising from the life of Christ/Jesus on Earth? The 33 year rhythm is not a planetary rhythm but is connected with the Sun itself. It is a solar rhythm, thus this greater Sun, not the disc we see in the sky as the central physical Sun, permeates and infuses all planets as the governing life of our solar system.
In many mythologies of the past there are the stories of the Sun Hero, that hero who prefigures the Christ. For example, Robin Heath, a researcher into early the astronomy of the Celtic and Megalithic cultures, writes:
The very ancient stories of the Tuatha de Danaan in Ireland tell us that the first battle of Mag Tuired was fought by their saviour-hero Lug and thirty-two other leaders. Alongside this, we may also read of the company of thirty-three men, all apparently thirty-two years of age who sit at the tables in the otherworld island castle in Perlesvaus. In the same vein, Nemed, another hero, reached Ireland with only one ship, thirty-three were lost on the way; Cuchulainn slays thirty-three of the Labriads in the Bru battle whilst a late account of the second battle of Mag Tuired names thirty-three leaders of the Fomore, thirty- two plus their highest king. This material contains a common theme. It tells the knowing listener or reader to look to the number thirty-three as something relevant to a hero, a saviour. In the analysis of the Welsh White Book of Rhydderch, we may read that, "Both three and eleven were equally
symbolic, the multiplicant thirty-three particularly so. It has frequently been used to imply supra-human attributes, regal authority and deification." So, what's so special about thirty-three?
Also studies of the Stone Circles shows that the March 21 equinox sun rises in direct line with a central stone center. However, a closer study, which apparently was also observed by the ancients, shows that for each of the three following years the rising point was a little further off-center. But on the fourth year it returned again very close to the original center point, but one day later, making that year 366 days rather than 365 days. This is the foundation for our leap year and it is interesting to note that this 1 to 4 rhythm is directly related to the interplay of heart and breath in the human being, one breath for every four heartbeats. But we can take this even further to discover a connection to the 33 year rhythm. On even closer astronomical observation of this movement against the center point of the stone, one discovers that after 33 years, or 12,053 sunrises, the Sun rises exactly again at the original
center marker of the stone. So, we have here, among the ancient Celts, a relationship of the Sun’s astronomical rhythm to the solar hero, the savior king.
So now let us look at the relationship spiritually between these two great rhythms: the Sun rhythm, or one could say the Son rhythm, and the Saturn rhythm, or one could say the Father rhythm.
The sphere of Saturn is connected to the past and the great plan of the Father laid down in the beginning to which humanity should align itself. This manifests in the Law of Karma, what we often call“fate”, the unerring need to balance our deeds in order to come back in line with our great blueprint, as individuals and as humanity. The Father realm of Saturn oversees this plan by carrying always the memory of evolution, the reminder of the past. In this sense, Saturn, the Father principle, has always been the Lord of Karma, Father Time.
Rudolf Steiner speaks of Saturn in this context in several places, for example:
You look back and in this perspective see everything that has happened through you inscribed as it were in an eternal chronicle in the Universe. The consciousness of the Saturn Beings is of this character. But what the Saturn Beings behold as a vista of past ages of evolution unites with a vista of the past evolution of all Beings belonging to the entire planetary system. The consciousness of the Saturn Beings may therefore be characterised by saying that they gaze back upon the memory, if I may so express it, of all the Beings of the whole planetary system. Karmic Relationships Vol VII, Lecture 4
If we now return to the rhythm of Saturn in biography we can look at the seven-year cycles of human development. From birth to 7 we develop our physical bodies; from 7-14 our etheric body unfolds; from 14-21 our astral body; and from 21-28 our ego organization unfolds. So by age 29-30 we have so to speak completed the development which comes out of our past karma. We stand as adult humans ready for our life work for this incarnation. At age 30 we all face a profound question: What is my karmic task? Why did I come into this life? We can all have somewhat the experience that led Jesus to the Jordan at age 30 after his many experiences of the suffering of humanity. And what did Jesus do as a result of that deep question? He went to be baptized and sacrificed his ego to the Spirit of the Sun, to the Word, to the Son force in the cosmos. He sacrificed his individuality in service of the Christ.
In human biography in these times the years 30 to 33 can become a deeper realization of higher purpose. Something new can arise to be added to the law of Saturn which can lead to a union with the Son. With the new awareness of the Christ force at work in the Self, we can even come to a new realization of the transition from death to resurrection, from the law to grace. The 33rd year can become a significant time in bringing us to understand karma in a new light: not only as the law of the past through which we realize our spiritual heritage but as something which we can place in service to the world for the betterment of humanity. This has become fully true only in the 20th Century.
Rudolf Steiner describes how at the death, the human being meets the karmic judge as Moses, who represents the law of karma, of the Father, which we must face and which is worked on by the divine beings so that compensation will be made by destiny in the next incarnation.
NOW THIS HAS CHANGED! What is the change?
In Jesus to Christ, Lecture III, Rudolf Steiner describes the change as follows:
...this event, an event connected with the Christ Himself, will make it possible for men to learn to see the Christ, to look upon Him. What is this event? It consists in the fact that a certain office in the Cosmos, connected with the evolution of humanity in the twentieth century, passes over in a heightened form to the Christ. Occult clairvoyant research tells us that in our epoch Christ becomes the Lord of Karma for human evolution.
Willi Sucher writes:
When one entered the spiritual world at death, one was presented with a book of life that was called“The Meeting with Moses”, which was according to the Father-principle. Now this has changed, and Christ has become the Lord of Karma—the Son has to take over what is given.
Steiner further elaborates on this event:
Before the first half of the twentieth century has passed, some people will, with full I-consciousness, experience the penetration of the divine-spiritual world into the physical, sensible world... now human beings have become capable of penetrating into etheric vision through their soul forces. Christ will thus become visible to human beings in an etheric and not in a physical body. Munich, 3/15/1910
Let us take a moment to ponder this thought. This is our first incarnation under this new cosmic condition, where Christ has taken over the role of the Lord of Karma. This is a profound event for humanity.
So we come back to the significance of a relationship with the etheric realm, where we began the lecture speaking about time and rhythm. This new relationship to the etheric realm is in fact that realm where we encounter the Christ and the new work of the transformation of the Earth.
Let us proceed by investigating why Rudolf Steiner saw around the middle of this century as the time of the return of the Christ in the etheric realm, accessible to human beings. In other lectures Steiner has mentioned 1934/35 as the time of this new event. Willi Sucher asked the same question, and using the tools of calculation of the stars and research into the rhythms of time, particularly of Saturn, he discovered a remarkable equation to support this date.
In our journey during the life after death our etheric body is freed from our body and begins to expand, along with our soul and spirit through a great life review, first to the Moon sphere and on through the Soul world to Mercury and Venus and then into the Spiritland of Sun, then Mars, Jupiter and finally to Saturn. For humans, as the fruits and shortcomings of our incarnation are handed off in the various spheres where we will meet them again on our return, the etheric body dissolves, leaving only an extract.
With Christ this did not happen. His etheric body did not dissolve but was held in tact by the Cosmic I AM. However, it did expand bearing to the cosmos the deeds of healing and transformation. His etheric body expanded out to the very periphery of Saturn, to the Father.
In a lecture on Dec. 3, 1916 Rudolf Steiner pointed out that in the spiritual world, time is 30 times longer than here on the Earth. So, what we experience as one “year” here on the Earth would appear in the cosmos like an interval of “30 years.” Why should this be so? Time, as we said, is founded on certain rhythms of celestial entities, like the Sun or the Earth, with regard to time on the Earth. However, in the cosmos a number of different rhythms prevail. One should expect that one of the most archetypal
rhythms would be one that was associated with the periphery of our solar system. (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto will not be considered at this time) This is the sphere of Saturn, the sphere of Father Chronos (Time) as the Greeks called it. This realm is the measure of cosmic time. The revolution of Saturn through the Zodiac takes about 30 Earth years, or precisely 29.4577 years. Saturn needs this much time in order to complete a sidereal orbit around the Sun, which means that it comes back to the same fixed star in the Zodiac in the course of such an interval of time. This is one Saturn year. The ether body of Christ Jesus was taken up into the cosmos, and we must now imagine that it was into the time that prevails in spiritual-cosmic space. On Earth it contained a time quantum of about 33 years.
Willi Sucher’s research showed that if we calculate precisely, that is, if we start from the birth of Jesus according to the Gospel of St. Luke and go right up to the time of the Mystery of Golgotha,
Birth of Jesus to Golgotha = 32.28 years. Thus we have a time complex, a time “being” one might call it, of 32.28 years. These we transpose into Saturn spiritual-cosmic years.
32.28 yrs X 29.4577 years (Saturn) = 950.895 years which brings us then to the year 950.9 AD.
Seen from the Earth, 950.895 years after Golgotha, the ether body of Christ, the time-organism of the deed of salvation, has arrived at the periphery of the solar system. Now it is completely spiritualized and elevated to cosmic magnificence and power. But it is far away from the Earth.
We add to this the time from the year 0 to the resurrection (33.25 years) which brings us to the year 984.145 AD. Now this Time Being flows back toward the Earth, as an echo comes back. This takes the same time ratio as the going out. The ether organism of 32.28 years in Saturn terms is another 950.895 years, when it arrives in the neighborhood of the Earth.
Thus, 984.145 plus 950.895 brings us to the year 1935.040, precisely Jan 6, 1935.
At that moment this Ether Being was back in the environment of the Earth. The year 1935 is the date that Rudolf Steiner indicated as the commencement of the age when increasing numbers of human beings would be able to perceive the Christ in the ether garment. This will be accompanied by the development of a new clairvoyance.
To conclude, we began by looking at the nature of rhythm in human life as a beginning of connecting again with the realm of time and the realm of life. We focused on the 30 year rhythm of Saturn as an expression of the karma from the Father and on the new 33 year Christ (or Solar) rhythm as manifest in the biography of Willi Sucher. This led us to consider the new event in the 20th Century and its relation to the new 33 year rhythm as a transition from the old Lord of Karma out of the realm of the Father, to the new Lord of Karma, out of the realm of the Son. The handing over by the Father to the Son.
How will this change manifest in the world, in human life? Rudolf Steiner further explains this change inJesus to Christ.
The event now to come, which can be observed only in a super-sensible world, has been characterised in the words: ‘Christ becomes for men the Lord of Karma.’... And truly we have to picture this in the following way: After we have gone through the gate of death, we shall be incarnated again in a later period. We shall then have to encounter events through which our karma can be balanced, for every man must reap what he has sown. Karma is a just law. But what the karmic law has to fulfill is not there only for individual men. Karma does not only balance the accounts of each Ego, but in every case the
balancing must be arranged so as to be in the best possible accord with the concerns of the whole world. It must enable us to give all possible help to the advancement of mankind on earth. For this we need enlightenment, not merely the knowledge that the karmic fulfillment of our deed must come about. The fulfillment can take a form which will be either less or more useful for the general progress of humanity. Hence we must choose those thoughts, feelings or perceptions which will pay off our karma and at the same time serve the collective progress of mankind. In the future it will fall to Christ to bring the balance of our karma into line with the general Earth-karma and the general progress of humanity...., because men will more and more acquire the capacity for a special experience. Very few are capable of it now, but from the middle of this century onwards, through the next 1,000 years, more and more people will have the following experience....
The individual will no longer believe: ‘What I have done will die with me.’ He will know quite exactly: ‘My action will not die when I die; it will have a consequence which will live on with me.’
The time during which the doors of the spiritual world have been closed to men is nearly over. Men must again climb up into the spiritual world. Their awakening capacities will enable them to participate in the spiritual world. Just as there was an ancient dreamlike clairvoyance, so will there be a future clairvoyance that is not dreamlike, the clairvoyance of people who know what they are doing and what it signifies.
This is the true calling for human beings in this time. That “human beings must again climb up into the spiritual world.” I believe many more people are experiencing the need for their lives to have some meaning that is greater than just their own career and personal fulfillment. Many want to “make a difference” in the world. I believe this arises out of this new awareness that karma now should serve greater humanity. It is no longer enough to live out my karma from the past for myself...now my karma should serve a higher purpose, a greater cause. However, this longing will remain as a deep malaise or sense of loss and indecision in life until we can bring the knowledge of the spiritual realities of the world into our consciousness and develop the new clairvoyance which opens our perception to the etheric realm. That clairvoyance not from the past but what Willi Sucher called the new “clair-thinking”.
To take up this question of the 33 year rhythm personally can reveal perhaps a new rhythm in life that serves this higher capacity for sacrifice for the good of humanity. In Willi Sucher, it reveals his dedication to a calling far greater than his own personal biographic path. In each of us, we can also turn our attention to the questions of our own lives in this new century, in this new incarnation since the Christ has taken on the lead as the Lord of Karma. How we now can put our own karma to a greater service of the Christ impulse of love for the world?
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