Advent Week 2

In sacred writings, the word ‘Angel’ can refer to any of the beings in the Celestial Hierarchy. It is by their activity that we can know which one is at work. These beings sustain the Cosmos in which we live, without them we cannot live. They weave into all things according to their nature.

These nine levels of beings between human beings and God are:

  1. Angels, Archangels, Archai, which are closest to us;
  2. Powers also known as Exousiai, Elohim, or Authorities, followed by Virtues also called Dunamai, and Dominions or Kyriotetes;
  3. Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim.
  4. Above these three orders, we find the Trinity who are the interface of God.

The focus of our attention during the second week of Advent is the second trinity of the Hierarchy, the Powers, Virtues, and Dominions. This middle order is like the soul of the Hierarchy, mediating between that which is below and that which is above, as the human soul mediates between the spirit and the body. There may also be a reason why they are known by so many names – perhaps their activity is pivotal at present. In the naming of things their nature is revealed.

As we prepare for Christmas to celebrate the birth of the Jesus-child, it is good to think that when Jesus prepared to incarnate on this earth he passed through each of these orders. It would have been like a journey from township to township experiencing the character of each group and the way they functioned as part of the whole. His experience would no doubt have sustained him during his life on earth.

In a similar way, we can trace a much slower journey made by the Christ Spirit as it prepared over aeons to enter into the body of Jesus at the Baptism. Each of the orders in the Celestial Hierarchy hosted the Christ Spirit for a time to prepare it to move closer and closer to the earth. With deep gratitude we can think of this extraordinary work to assist such an elevated Spirit as Christ to enter into the physicality of the earth – something no other spiritual being had ever done before.

While we consider these beings individually, we should always be mindful that they do not act alone but in concert with the whole Hierarchy. Also, it is never just one of the Hierarchy at work, when the focus is on the work at one level, all the others work behind it, informing, sustaining, and strengthening it for the task at hand.

At the top of this middle group, closest to the Thrones, are the Dominions or Kyriotetes, which are the Spirits of Wisdom. They work in the forces of fluidity. Their name comes from the Greek word Kurios meaning Lord, thereby associating them with the human I Am, the Higher Self. It is through the fluidity of blood that the I Am is connected to human beings.

Virtues or Dunamai are the Spirits of Movement who work in the aeriform. They are responsible for the orderly movement in the Cosmos. In my series “Who is Jesus : What is Christ?” I discuss the Dunamai often because they are mentioned a lot in the Bible. “Christ would need the assistance of beings like the Dunamai who represent the halfway mark between Christ’s spiritual home and this earth. They would be like a mediator, tempering the power of Christ so that people were not blown away by his power.” The word Dunamai is associated with the word dynamite.

The Dunamai manifest in the clouds which reminds us of the text: “And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” Mk 13:26

Powers, also known as Exousiai, or Authorities, live and weave in warmth. In Hebrew, they are the Elohim and we find them in the first words in the Bible translated as God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In Hebrew this text goes like this, “Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’arets.”

If we think about the greatness of the creators of the heavens and the earth, we can ask how great are the levels of Angels above the Elohim, who themselves are so great they played a pivotal role in creating this earth! And how great is the Christ being who is part of the Trinity – beyond the Celestial Hierarchy – who came to this earth so that we may have personal access to our own I Am!

Rudolf Steiner places this perspective on it.

“You see how everything fits together, if the threads are woven in the right way. If you now try to bring sensitive and perceptive feeling into all this, you will say that behind all we see around us through our senses there lies an elementary existence — an earth element, but within this element in truth there live the Spirits of Will; a fluid element, in which in truth live the Spirits of Wisdom; an airy element, within which in truth live the Spirits of Movement; and a warmth element, wherein in truth live the Spirits of Form, the Elohim.” Rudolf Steiner Genesis, Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation  August 22, 1910

Image: A Flammarion wood engraving by an unknown artist that first appeared in Camille Flammarion’s L’atmosphere: meteorologie populaire . The image depicts a man crawling under the edge of the sky,…

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