December 31 – January 1 – Leo
The cross on the sword pommel: the sacrifice. Girded with the sword of the power of Christ, the tongue speaks the truth, without being able to wound. It is the night of re-setting.
Mystery: The knight, the fighter with the lance of the will and the sword of knowledge. The dog as symbol of obedience, at his side. Behind him death and the devil! At a certain level of knowledge any false step leads to quicker ruin, and victory is won through fulfilling and being tirelessly true to Leo’s tasks.
Rudolf Steiner’s indications for the Holy Nights given to Herbert Hahn
Translation from German by Laura Zanutto in 2015 and Mark Willan in 2016
8. Heilige Nacht
31./1. – Löwe
Das Kreuz am Schwertknauf: Das Opfer. Umgürtet mit dem Schwert der Christuskraft spricht die Zunge die Wahrheit, ohne verletzen zu können. Es ist die Nacht des Ent-setzens.
Mysterium: Der Ritter, der Streiter mit der Lanze des Willens und dem Schwert der Erkenntnis. Der Hund als Symbol des Gehorsams, ihm zur Seite. Hinter ihm Tod und Teufel! Auf bestimmter Erkenntnisstufe führt jeder falsche Schritt schneller ins Verderben, der Sieg wird errungen durch das Erfülltsein und der unermüdlichen Treue gegenüber den Aufgaben des Löwen.
Eighth Contemplation: Kristina Kaine
What is the sacrifice? There are many negative connotations about sacrifice but what about seeing it as an offering. What do we have to offer? What did Jesus have to offer as he made himself available to the Cosmic Christ so that it could unite with his physical body? Perfection, surely. Jesus, who represents the I Am, the Higher Self, had reached a stage of perfection necessary for the pure spirit of Christ to connect with a physical human body. This same process is taking place within us.
This level of purity is able to “speak the truth, without being able to wound.” This is not only about speaking to others, but also to ourselves. Wounds occur when the lower levels of our soul are drawn to sympathy and antipathy. The created self is conditioned according to what it likes and dislikes. We can call this created self our lower nature. It is lower because it isn’t conscious for much of the time and therefore we are not aware of it.
Rudolf Steiner explains what happens as we become aware of it.
“One draws the lower nature out of the body like a sword from the scabbard, which then remains alone. The lower nature comes forth appearing almost gruesome. When it was still mingled with the higher nature, nothing was noticeable. But once separated, all evil, negative properties come into view.” Esoteric Development Lecture 1
It requires a sacrifice on our part to remain neutral about what we see. As we look at the “negative properties” we must try to be the ‘interested observer’. We need to be interested in what we see so that we stay connected with it, but not too connected, otherwise we will disassociate ourselves from what is really part of us. Through the I Am we can own our behavior and take up the challenge of “the night of re-setting”.
To do this we require “will”, “knowledge” and “obedience” while leaving behind “death and the devil!” Accepting that death and the devil are part of our lower self is a great sacrifice. Then we realize that these negative aspects can actually bring us to a higher place. In this way we embrace sacrifice, we offer ourselves to all that is higher and “the victory is won.”
Painting by Bette Lynn Dickinson