January 1-2 – Virgo
Now come the three nights of the crown.
Release from the only intellectual or release of the intellect from its earthly bonds and purposefulness. This is the thrice-holy night, in which the lower ego falls away and only the desire to serve, to devote oneself remains.
Rudolf Steiner’s indications for the Holy Nights given to Herbert Hahn
Translation from German by Laura Zanutto 2015 and Mark Willan 2016
9. Heilige Nacht
1./2. – Jungfrau
Nun folgen die drei Nächte der Krone.
Loslösung vom Nur-Intellekt oder die Loslösung des Intellektes von der irdischen Gebundenheit und Zweckhaftigkeit. Es ist die dreimal heilige Nacht, in der das niedere Ich abfällt und nur der Wunsch bleibt, zu dienen, sich hinzugeben.
Ninth Contemplation: Kristina Kaine
Every event in Jesus’ life as he devoted himself to serve the Cosmic Christ describes what we will go through as we do the same. This will happen for everyone regardless of beliefs, religious or otherwise. It is not about belief systems, it is about being human on this earth, something we all share in common. Finding a way to acknowledge the being called Christ within our belief system is our task.
Rudolf Steiner spoke of the main events in Jesus’ life as stages of awakening or initiation. In a lecture on the Christian Mystery in 1906 he described the stage of the crowning with thorns in the following way. As you read it, imagine you are wearing a crown of prickly thorns, feel the sharp points stinging your scalp.
“At this stage man must learn to brave the world morally and intellectually, to desist from anger when all that is most dear to him is being attacked. The capacity to remain aloof when everything is tumbling about our ears, to say “Yea” when the rest of the world says “Nay” — that is what must be acquired before the next step can be taken [bearing the cross].
This gives rise to a new symptom, namely a dissociation, or rather the power of a momentary dissociation of three faculties which, in man, are united: the faculties of willing, feeling and thinking. We must learn to separate and to re-unite them at will. So long, for example, as some outer event carries us away with uncontrolled enthusiasm, we are immature, for such enthusiasm comes from the event, not from ourselves, and we may even exercise a shattering influence of which we are not master.” 1.6.1906
We should not expect to be able to separate and reunite our soul faculties on our first attempt. The important thing is to show that we have tried. As we try we can become aware of the inner presence of Christ responding to our effort. We can compare this experience with a friend telling us about an painful experience they have been through which we have also been through. The empathy brings great comfort. Empathy is not an emotional thing, it is an objective uniting of two people through a shared experience.
Objectivity is a state of being we need to fully understand. As Steiner says, it involves separating willing, feeling and thinking. We are able to do this when we connect with our Higher Self, our I Am. There is, however, a watch point. We can become too cold, we have to use our will to stay connected as the interested observer. Alarm bells should ring whenever our objectivity is accompanied by disinterest. Steiner goes on to explain why.
“The enthusiasm of the disciple must have its well-spring in the depths of his inner life. He must therefore be able to remain impassive in the face of any event, no matter how catastrophic. That is the only way to reach freedom. The dissociation of feeling, thinking and willing produces in the brain a change that is symbolized by the Crown of Thorns. If this test is to be passed without danger, the powers inherent in the personality must be sufficiently intense and in perfect equilibrium. If the disciple has not reached this stage, or if he receives wrong guidance, the change in the brain may lead to insanity. Insanity is nothing but an involuntary separation of these faculties without the possibility of their re-union by dint of the inner will. The disciple brings about the separation by an act of conscious volition. A flash of his will re-establishes the link between the organs and the activities of soul. In the lunatic, the cleft may be incurable and produce a physical lesion in the nerve-centres.”
Painting: St Mary Magdalene [tenderly wiping the blood from the crown of thorns] by Carlo Dolci 1600s