The Seven Steps of Esoteric Christianity

“What had so often occurred individually within the Mystery schools, far from external events, took place openly within Jesus Christ in outer world history.” – Rudolph Steiner

Despite Evola’s condemnation of Steiner as a “hopeless muddle”, a closer look into Christianity can uncover patterns that might make us take Steiner more seriously. Steiner’s seven steps of initiation closely correspond to passages from 2 Peter & The Beatitudes (mirrored in the Shepherd of Hermas) which represent a very ancient template for The Way (of Christ), a template also duplicated in shorter form in St. Paul’s “Faith, Hope, (Knowledge) & Love” (in which “Hope” can be read to stand for the middle virtues of Goodness, Knowledge, Self-Control, Fortitude, Godliness, & Brotherly Affection listed in 2 Peter.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As George Heart points out, this formula was supposed to be used by the Church to progress from naked Pistis & Dogma, through to actualized positive spiritual knowledge, and finally the Pleroma of Love, which is not merely a state of Being, but actually the highest state of Being.

The Ekklesia (for a number of reasons) has been unwilling & unable to perform this mission – to admit that the current Matrix would not exist without the Church would be the first step, but to strip down to truth is painful, although it would allow the Church to perceive that which could be done, which still inheres in the potentialities of our decline as “intimations of deprivation”.

Rudolf Steiner lists the seven steps of initiation, which can be accomplished through meditation and the final step of a specific dream:

The neophyte who meditates on this theme for months and years has a vision of the Washing of the Feet in the astral world during sleep. Then he is ready to pass to the second stage of the Christian initiation.

The entire Schemata of Steiner follows (my suggestions in parentheses – Faith is assumed to begin the possibility of initiation):

The Washing of the Feet. (Goodness?)
The Scourging. (Knowledge?)
The Crowning with Thorns. (Self-Control?)
The Bearing of the Cross. (Perseverance?)
The Mystic Death. (Godliness?)
The Entombment. (Brotherly Affection?)
The Resurrection. (Love?)

As we are trying to see, these steps are roughly equivalent to the seven steps of growing Faith (Pistis), which must proceed towards and even through knowledge to stay alive. For example, Scourging can be viewed as a trial of Knowledge, since only those who truly understand & value rightly the external world (Gott und die Welt), holding it with a light hand, can accomplish this heavy task; let us look in more detail:

The Scourging, — At this stage man learns to resist the scourgings of life. Life brings sufferings of all kinds — physical, moral, intellectual, spiritual. Life is felt to be a dreadful and incessant torture. The disciple must endure it with perfect equanimity of soul and heroic courage. He must cease to know physical or moral fear. When he has become fearless, he sees, in dream, the scene of the Scourging. In another vision he sees himself in the Christ Who is scourged. Certain symptoms in physical life accompany this event. There is an intensification of the life of feeling, a wider sense of life and of love. We have an example of heightened sensibility transferred to the world of intelligence, in the life of Goethe.

In this “matching” of the virtues with Steiner’s steps, Faith is assumed & comes previously to the first initiation, and so Faith is but the beginning; initiations follow to allow the disciple to ascend the seven “following” heavens.
Interestingly enough, the “Scourging” was rumored to have occurred during the torture of Knights Templars during their suppression – the intense doubt & pain caused by the ordeal supposedly brought some of the knights to manifest Baphomet, who would have been one of the guardians of the lower regions of the soul, a double to the higher soul. It was taken as proof of guilt, although it may have simply represented the failure (under duress) of a Templar to pass a stage of growing initiations.

In the course of the stage in the Christian initiation known as the Crowning with Thorns, there arises the phenomenon known as the Guardian of the Threshold — the appearance of the lower double of man. The spiritual being of man, composed of his impulses of will, his desires and his thoughts, appears to the Initiate in visible form. It is a form that is sometimes repugnant and terrible, for it is the offspring of his good and bad desires and of his karma — it is their personification in the astral world, the Evil Pilot of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. This form must be conquered by man before he can find the higher Self. The Guardian of the Threshold which has been a phenomenon of astral vision from times immemorial, is the origin of all the myths concerning the struggles of Heroes with monsters, of Perseus and Hercules with the Hydra, of St. George and Siegfried with the dragon.

The rest of the initiations can be matched up nicely with the template of virtue begun in, and common to, the Beatitudes, 2 Peter, Paul’s project of gnosis (which summarizes the middle virtues as “Hope” and makes explicit the command to begin in Faith), & the Shepherd of Hermas. Regardless of whether one accepts Steiner’s account or links it with the early Christian community, this pattern which intertwines Exoteric expression (Faith is an exoteric “virtue) with esoteric “fullness” (Faith must be regarded as “passing away”) is present in the foundational documents of the ancient Christian religion. It may be possible to also relate the “nine true parts of the fully human” to this template of virtues. Steiner also lectures on this mystery (which by the way matches Mouravieff’s division of the human person into three centers with three sub-divisions).

1. Physical – Corporatio – Embodiment
2. Ether or life body – Nativitas – Birth
3. Astral -Circumcisio – Circumcision
4. I — sentient soul – Apparitio – Appearance
5. I — intellectual soul – Passio – Suffering
6. I — consciousness soul- Mors – Death
7. Manas — spirit self – Resurrectio – Resurrection
8. Buddhi — life spirit – Gloria – Glory
9. Atman — spirit body – Regnum – Kingdom

Even if the pattern is contested, the idea of Faith the seed growing organically into a celestial body of Love is virtually incontestible. The virtues are living & active (or should be) as their Lord the Spirit.

These patterns abound in Scripture, and elsewhere in the Christian Tradition. The last words of the Lord’s Prayer are “thine is the kingdom, the power, & the glory forever”. Here we see the repetition of 3’s – the Kingdom is the Archetype (and also the return, the end of the mystery, when God is “all in all” according to Colossians), the Power is the Incarnation (Christ is not just “an” avatar, but the Lord of avatars), & the Glory is the Spirit (who is the more subtle and feminine element in the Godhead). Here again we find a ritualistic formula whose real meaning has been lost; there are others, such as the Spirit, the water, & the blood. Here we may hazard a guess that water is associated with soul-death, the moon, and Old Testament rites – hence, Yahweh, or the Archetype. The blood is flesh and man, so – the Incarnate Form of God. And so on. More research in esoteric sources (or helpful or knowledgeable readers) may be able to add to this.

Footnote ~ A Catholic theologian who could serve as a bridge (like Steiner) between esotericists and the Ekklesia is Jean Borella.

7 thoughts on “The Seven Steps of Esoteric Christianity

  1. Aaa, I can have no peace because of my siddhi : D

    “The original desire for the good takes its energy from the ever-pulsating momentum of that Origin in which man, answering the creative call of God, flew across the abyss which parts nothingness from existence. It is the moment with which the possible bursts forth with a roar into the radiant dawn of its first realization: the swift current of a stream that originating in the bright darkness of mere Nature and steadily fed by its source, crosses by the dictates of innate conscience into the realm of freedom.” –Josef Pieper in The Four Cardinal Virtues

  2. It’s more essential to decide the PRESENCE we wish to be in this world than to find or claim any given path.

  3. [Logres]”Christians of traditional bent have discovered more in common by going outside their own communions than by continuing to try to talk to the liberalizing elements within their own branches.”
    [HOO:]Humans of a Regal bent have discovered more in common by going outside their own communions than by continuing to try to talk to the liberalizing elements within their own branches.

  4. “No Philosophy could give a satisfactory response to that question [why did infinte create finite?] St Paul would say to philosophers that God created man so that he would seek the Divine, try to obtain the Divine. That is why all pre Christian philosophy is theological at its summit. But, in fact, the true response to philosophy could only be given by Being himself, revealing himself from himself. Will man be capable of understanding this revelation? The affirmative response will be given only by the God of the Bible. On the one hand this God, creator of the world and of man, knows his creature. “I who have created the eye do not see? I who have created the ear do not hear?” And we add who who have created language, could not speak and make myself heard?” This posits a counterpart: to be able to hear and understand the auto-revelation of God man must in himself be a search for God, a question posed to him. Thus there is Biblical theology without a religious philosophy. Human reason must be open to the infinite.”
    — Hans Urs Von Balthasar (1905-1988)

  5. Could it be that, HOPE equals knowing there are infinite possibilities; and that FAITH equals knowing that if you are true (faithful) to this knowledge in your mind, then, out of these infinite possibilites what is good for you will MANIFEST.

    “Remember tonight… for it is the beginning of always”
    — Dante Alighieri

    “The reason for the existence of sacred magic stems from the Fall and the whole domain of the Fall–comprising fallen Nature, fallen man and the fallen hierarchies. These are the beings belonging to it who hope “with eager longing” to be “set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God”.
    — Tomberg
    “FAITH is the experience of divine breath; HOPE is the experience of divine light; and LOVE is the experience of divine fire. There is no authentic and sincere religious life without faith, hope and love; but there is no faith, hope and love without mystical experience or, what is the same thing, without grace.” — Tomberg
    “But faith itself is the divine breath whose origin is found neither in logical reasoning, nor in aesthetic impression, nor in human moral action. The divine and flaming Word shines in the world of the silence of the soul and moves” it. This movement is living faith — therefore real and authentic — and its light is hope or illumination, whilst all springs from the divine fire which is love or union with God.”

    FAITH = true to the knowledge of infinite possibilities = trust = god ways are…infinite = Loving God is the Union of your Will with His Will = the Tao

    “The revelation — all the revelations of gnosis have only one aim: to give, to maintain and to increase HOPE.” — Tomberg

  6. These seem to be calling me from beyond history!

  7. Logres, head’s up: there’s a question in the forum regarding Steiner.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2008-2013 Gornahoor Press — All Rights Reserved    WordPress theme: Gornahoor