in the Evolution of the Mysteries
four lectures by
Easter Festival lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in Dornach in
April 1924, convey the growth and development of what was
originally a Mystery rite in the ancient pagan world into a
new form as signified by the entry of Christ into world
evolution. What is surprising is that the inner meaning of the
rite and even its place in the course of the year has been
altered through the gradual obscuring of ancient insight and
knowledge by the growth of materialism and naturalism.
Easter festival, as Steiner describes, was not even observed
in the early Christian centuries but when it was implemented,
it adopted the pattern of the pagan Adonis festival, which was
originally practiced in the autumn rather than the spring.
This earlier rite dramatised how in the time of decline in
outer nature, a death and burial state follows, which gives
rise to spiritual birth – a resurrection in the spirit. At the
time that the Easter festival developed however, this seasonal
aspect was lost and was replaced by a festival that was
analogous to the pagan spring festival of burgeoning life in
nature – a different dynamic and one that is somewhat opposite
in its qualities.
Steiner further describes the relationship of Easter as a
process of death – burial – resurrection, to the stages of
ancient initiation; its connection with the relationships
between the spiritual forces of the sun and moon, and all of
the planets, in their effects on the formation of the ether
body, astral body and ego; he also describes its connection to
the Moon Mysteries as practised at the Temple at Ephesus; and
much more that gives a deeper foundation to our understanding
of the Easter Festival.
Rudolf Steiner Press
4 lectures, Dornach, 19-22 April 1924, GA 233a
Trans. Brian Kelly
ISBN: 0-88010-256-X (AP)
ISBN: 85440355-8 (RSP)
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