The Kabbalistic Interpretation of the Red Stained Glass Window of the First Goetheanum

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The red stained-glass window of the First Goetheanum with overlapping stages of the Earth’s planetary chain and the symbols of the Planets associated with the celestial spheres and Sephiroth of the Tree of Life.

🇮🇹 Italian Presentations:

🇺🇸 English and 🇩🇪 German presentation:

I share here a chapter of the book Kabbalah and Anthroposophy that exemplifies the way in which the agreement between Hermetic Kabbalah and Anthroposophy can be expressed.

The Great Dome of the First Goetheanum had a series of coloured windows which, starting from the west with the Red Stained Glass, proceeded with a pair of windows to the north and south: the Green, Blue, Violet and Pink Stained Glass. After the fire at the Goetheanum, the stained glass windows were then recreated and adapted for the Great Hall of the Second Goetheanum.

The stained-glass windows show the initiatory path from the threshold to the spiritual world, according to a series of stages that correspond to the vision of the super-sensitive worlds: the Ethereal World, then the Astral World, the Lower Devachan and finally the Upper Devachan and thus the Second Imagination in Form, which corresponds to the kingdom of the Holy Spirit; the Inspiration in Life, the kingdom of the Son and finally the Intuition in Consciousness, the kingdom of the Father.

In order to compare Kabbalah and Anthroposophy, it is the first Stained Glass, the Red Stained Glass of the Threshold of the Supersensitive Worlds, which shows us the consonance and continuity between the Ancient Mysteries of the Kabbalah and the New Mysteries of Anthroposophy.

If we superimpose the Tree of Life on the Red Stained-Glass window, an evident Kabbalistic composition is revealed to the mink, in which, however, there are several possible associations, which we will take into account in the description. We will only describe this emblematic stained-glass window because the motif is evident, but in the others there are obviously references to what we have presented so far.

The Sephiroths are numbered with Arabic numerals. Let us always remember that the Tree of Life, being a meta-system, lends itself to multiple interpretations at different levels that coexist simultaneously and can be distinguished if we take into account the various worlds in which the Sephiroths manifest themselves.

Let us begin with the Central Stained Glass, whose motto is: “I am contemplating”, the face that comes to us from the West is the Initiate who has all the cosmic forces around his face. This means that his senses, concentrated in the head, are now directed toward the world of the spirit where he can contemplate the becoming of man and Cosmos. The entire past evolution of man and Cosmos, from Ancient Saturn to Earth, is summed up in the head and thus in the Face.

The Supernal Triangle here composed of Saturn, Sun and Moon:

1. Kether = Saturn. In Ancient Saturn, as we have previously described, the Outer Planets, Pluto, Neptune, Uranus and finally Saturn, all located in their respective Sephiroths (1, 2, 3, 11), are separated. Saturn is placed at the top and symbolizes the place of the Crown Chakra (Kether), connected to Saturn. It is the limit of the cosmos and also that of the evolution of the present cosmos, beyond which there is the Cosmic Midnight, in which an I descends from the spiritual worlds to the physical world in incarnation;

2. Chokmah = Sun. The concentric rays indicate the current of the future. The Angel of the Sun holds with his hands the second half of the double spiral that unfolds in the Third Eye of the central Face. It is the Angel of Free Will that leads to the creation of the new, we could identify it with Yod and then Abba Elohim, the Superno Father. The Sun also symbolizes the spiritual forces that unfold in Time, to which Steiner associated the undulatory form, at the moment when the Sun was perceived over-sensitively. However, instead of being a physical time, it consists in the spiritual reality of metamorphosis;

3. Binah = Moon. The straight rays indicate the current of the past, of Karma, which imposes upon the soul the laws of compensation for past actions. Steiner attributed the straight rays to the Moon perceived over-sensitively. The Angel of the Moon looks toward the first part of the stained-glass window, where man still has to confront the Guardian of the Threshold and thus still descend into the interior of the Earth and of himself to confront Karma. The light of the Moon symbolizes the spiritual forces unfolding in space. The Angel of the Moon can be identified with Aima Elohim, the Supernal Mother.

We then pass to Daath (11) who is formed at the meeting of the forces of Chokmah and Binah. It is connected to Jupiter, the successive Sephiroth in Daath, being the etheric vision of the Future Jupiter. It is superimposed on the Chakra of the Third Eye with two petals, the spiritual vision. The two petals are also the two currents of the Solar Future and the Lunar Past, the union of male and female. The shape of the spirals also has in itself the symbol of the Swastika, ancient Indian symbol, also attributed to Kether, and which indicates the Guardian of the Threshold, being also impressed on the seal of the Mystery Drama with the corresponding title.

The Lotus Flower of the Third Eye can be opened at the moment when man meets his destiny in full awareness of the I, at the same time exercising free will at the crucial moment. In this way past karma is transmuted by the current of the future that enters through free choice, connecting with the reality of the Eternal Present of the I and Christ. The first step of this flowering of the two-petalled Lotus is pure thinking.

We then move on to the Ethical or Ethereal Triangle with Chesed, Geburah and Tiphareth (4, 5 and 6). Being the Ethical Triangle, the general reason is the domination of the lowest impulses:

4. Chesed = Taurus. It is one of the four Living ones, placed on the left side on the Jakin column, of the Force reflected in the Leo in Geburah. Steiner indicates an occult correspondence between Taurus and Lucifer, so here we can see how Lucifer corresponds to the Jakin column. The irredent Taurus represents sensual desires, he is here in his celestial form as redeemed astral forces, therefore Lucifer redeemed. From the iconographic point of view, it is a reference to the Evangelists, Luke who has overcome the temptation in the astral is sometimes shown with the Taurus whispering in his ear;

5. Geburah = Leo. It is the Living One placed on the Boaz column, the Form, which is reflected in the Taurus of Chesed. The irredent Leo represents the desires for power. As in the Arcanum of the Force, it is the etheric forces, in its celestial form it represents the redemption of Ahriman;

6. Tiphareth = Face of the Initiate. You will remember that one of the Titles of Tiphareth is the Minor Face or Microprosope. Its parts are included in the Hexagram formed by Daath to Yesod, which in the Red Stained Glass are the Third Eye Chakra and the Larynx Chakra. The fact that Tiphareth occupies the central position, like the Sun in the arrangement of the seven Planets in the Hexagram, indicates that it is one with the Face of the Initiate. The Face is in the form of Tau, the ancient form of the cross which is also the Creator Word and at the same time also forms an ascending Dove. This Face also recalls Michael, the Face of Christ, as well as the face of the Representative of Humanity sculpted by Steiner and Edith Maryon. In confirmation of this, in the original arrangement of the First Goetheanum, the Face of the Initiate placed to the west at the entrance to the Great Dome would have looked directly at the face of the Representative of Humanity placed at the far east end of the Small Dome. In the centre in the junction of the two domes there would have been a further sculptural group of Michael.

We now move on to the Astral Triangle composed of Netzach, Hod and Yesod (7, 8 and 9).

7. Netzach = Astral. The undulatory light, connected to the Virtues, descends into the Jakin column. The Taurus represents the cosmic forces of the Holy Spirit, which move the entire cosmos. In a more physical sense it also represents the male body, descended from the Men-Bull of Lemuria;

8. Hod = Etheric. The undulatory light of the Virtues descends into the Boaz column. Leo represents the forces of the Thrones that have created the physical body of man and therefore the physical world. In a more physical sense, Leo represents the female body, since it is from the Men-Leo of Lemuria that women descended. The Toro-Leo couple with the waves that propagate downwards and upwards, as if they were hair, represent spiritual hearing;

9. Yesod = Chakra of the Larynx. It is the Lotus with sixteen petals of which only eight are developed today and which man is called to develop through the qualities enunciated by Christ in the Beatitudes, the Eighteen Path of the Buddha as well as through openness of mind (the 5th fundamental exercise of Steiner). He is connected to Mars, the limit of the orbit of the Ancient Moon, and it is the voice that does not hurt, but creates with the Creator Word, the flesh that has become Word.

Finally, if we go down to the lower part of the stained glass window, we have Malkuth, the Earth, where the fight between Michael and the dragon Ahriman is shown: in fact, it is only in the earthly incarnation that man is at the center of the battlefield between Lucifer and Ahriman and it is only through the acceptance of Michael’s help and cosmic thinking that man can hope to redeem Ahriman. The Dragon and the Dove formed by the Face complete the Tetramorph of the Four Living, being the decayed form of the Eagle-Scorpio. while the Face of the Initiate is Man, flanked by Taurus and Leo.

Here ends the cabalistic half of the explanation of the Stained Glass, which also corresponds to the Ancient Mysteries angles, in the light of the New thanks to Anthroposophy. We now move on to the two lateral glass windows to which the seven-year chain of planetary evolution has been superimposed:. The settenary is numbered with Roman numerals.

This image of the settenary is linked to the revelations of Rosicrucianism and Anthroposophy and completes in an evolutionary human and cosmic sense what we saw before under the cabalistic lens of the Tree of Life.

The first window on the left is entitled “It manifests itself”, like the life of the one who is about to walk the esoteric path:

1. The first stage is that of the layman, the figure who is going to look into the crevasse on the mountain. The reading movement is from top to bottom. The mountain is the Earth and within it are its bowels, which are also what, at the beginning of the esoteric path, is the unconscious. It is equivalent to the sleep consciousness of the Ancient Saturn, Tamas of the Indian Guna;

2. In the second stage the disciple descends into the bowels of the Earth and meets the three Beasts, Dante’s three Fairs, the same ones that Steiner describes in the lessons of the First Class: Doubt, the shadow of thought (the bird on the left); Hate, the shadow of will (the monster without eyes and mouth in the middle); Fear, the shadow of feeling (the head that is only the senses). These are in the same configuration as Saturn at the top center (Will), Sun on the right (Feeling) and Moon on the left (Thinking), which is then found in the Super Triangle of the next window. Equivalent to the sleep state of the Ancient Sun, the Indian Rajas;

3. In the third stage, as it has been placed graphically, the initiate comes out of his condition of profanity and ignorance and enters fully into the spiritual world that we have previously described in the Tree of Life superimposed on the central stained-glass window. It is equivalent to the dream stage of the Ancient Moon, the Indian Sattwa.

The central stained glass window “I contemplate”:

4. This is where everything we have described in the central window “I contemplate” takes place: the reading movement is from top to bottom. Starting from the top, from Saturn (Kether) one reaches the Earth (Malkuth) and when man is triumphant, first on Lucifer and then on Ahriman, then he can ascend to the third window whose reading movement goes from the bottom to the top. It is equivalent to the waking stage of the Earth, and the consciousness of the I.

Finally, the window on the right, “It has manifested itself,” shows the motif of Jacob’s Ladder, the ascent to the spiritual worlds:

5. The fifth stage corresponds to the progressive overcoming of Evil, that is the three Beasts, who succumb here in the lower part of the window. The First two Angels who give their hands are the overcoming of materialistic Thinking and therefore of Doubt, the Beast of the Moon. Doubt becomes Wisdom-Truth. It is the Imagination of the Future Jupiter, man is now an Angel who gives his hand to the Guardian Angel.

6. The sixth stage corresponds to the overcoming of the Beast of the Sun, the Hatred that becomes Beauty. It is the Inspiration of the Future Venus, man is now an Archangel and gives his hand to another Archangel.

7. The seventh stage corresponds to the overcoming of the Beast of Saturn, the Fear that becomes Force-goodness. It is the Intuition of the Future Volcano, man is now an Archai and by this he is pushed to the highest peak of the mountain he had previously descended, exploring the Abysses. Man is now complete and can look to his origin and goal, the Spiritual Sun.

The spiritual evolution of man has thus manifested itself. In the Red Stained-Glass window, as we have seen, is summarized all the evolution of man and the Cosmos, and it is once again in consonance between the principles of the Ancient Mysteries of the Kabbalah and the New Mysteries of Anthroposophy.

For those who want to further deepen this comparative study, can see the book Kabbalah and Anthroposophy

As well as the article Kabbalah and Anthroposophy: a Comparison


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