Rudolf Steiner’s “Mexican Mysteries” Revisited
This essay cross-links to the text of Inner Impulses of Evolution, GA
171, online at: http://wn.elib.com/Steiner/Lectures/InnerImpul/InnImp_index.html
Introducing the general reader to Rudolf Steiner’s indications regarding
the inner nature and spiritual destiny of America might seem straightforward
in one respect; they are very, very sparse. Most of them are bundled
up within a pair of lectures given in 1916. The lecture of Sept. 18,
1916 had to be repeated on Sept. 24, as there seemed to be general befuddlement
on the part of too many in the audience. It is not known if things fared
any better at that latter date, since that lecture is essentially a repeat
of the former one.
A lot of ink has been spilled by various commentators
who have drawn various conclusions form Steiner’s remarks on the “Mexican
Mysteries”. Few if any of them reveal any conscientious examination
of the source material or familiarity with contemporary research. None
offer observations which are not paraphrases of Steiner’s own remarks.
Whatever the faults of this piece, I believe I will not be repeating those
mistakes. I hope to break the Imaginal logjam that has piled up around
Intriguingly, what Steiner (RS) does not say about America
is just as fascinating as what he does have to say about it – and it is this
absent portion which is profoundly perplexing. In this area of investigation,
as in no other, RS demands the inner participation of the reader, and leads
him or her beyond his or her previous limits of understanding.
Deep implications are folded inbetween what he does say and what he does
not say. Even if one can read between the lines, it is riddles that emerge!
To do more than search for factoids or justification of previous (mis)conceptions
demands intense inner work – original work – on the part of the one whose
curiosity is provoked by Steiner’s indications.
Provoked is a good word for it. In 1916, the time
from which these core lectures date, America was still a savage backwater
for one who stood upon the tall shoulders of European civilization. The USA
had not yet emerged from its isolationism to tilt the balance in the Great
War. Steiner never shrunk from a harsh evaluation of our historical
record and of the future perils which it indicates, but his complex appreciation
of our ancient foundations was not assisted much by the rudimentary state
of the archeological and anthropological sciences in his day (although there
were resources which he did not make full use of, as we shall see).
The benefits of cross-culturalism and scientific archeology
were still to come. Some of his statements have not withstood the test of
time, and this in itself is confounding for those who take his word as holy
writ. But this need not concern us overmuch: no one who has ventured
opinions on the nature of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica has survived unscathed.
For example, only recently has the Mayan hieroglyphic script begun to be
deciphered; many a textbook has had to be rewritten as a result, many a popular
theory relegated to crackpot status, many a famous authority proved wrong
- yesterday‘s science can easily end up on today’s scrap heap. Steiner fares
well as measured against such precedents. In addition, he never claimed
to be continually in the state of clairvoyant seership, and he easily allowed
as how errors were possible even then. Whether RS was correct on all
counts and in every respect is not of central concern to me; what is the
focus in this piece is the extent to which his indications can be grounded
in contemporary scholarship and, reciprocally, how his indications can bring
additional meaning to the myriad details within that extensive body of knowledge.
What is most provocative in his observations is that which
he sees as the core event in America’s destiny, the aftereffects of which
are duly noted by scholars but whose causes are searched for within a cripplingly
limited field of view. The consequences of over-specialization provoked one
wag to remark: “If all you have is a hammer, soon everything starts looking
like a nail.” Steiner, in these lectures, speaks to the meaning of
history. He approaches the subject from the direction of its significance;
from the whole to the parts: he tells the story, he is not content to remain
with the details. His understanding of the deep cycles and hidden currents
of history allows him to go where the facts themselves are mute. His
ability to talk, walk, and act with the gods themselves grants him a singular
and broad perspective. His method may not be able to tell us everything
we might wish to know, but it is at least a flexible addition to the inquirer’s
toolbag. We shall see where its use may take us. Out of his firm
grounding in the European Esoteric Tradition (please not “Western”, especially
in the context of this investigation!) and as applied to the events in Mesoamerica
at the time of Christ, he makes some astounding assertions: assertions which
are totally unprecedented – even for him. Deeply positive, they are
made only this once – another puzzle which begs for attention.
For those familiar with Steiner’s legacy, it is this latter
point which is most frustrating, for RS is famous not only for the allusive
style of his statements, but also for the way in which he continually circles
back upon them from different vantage points throughout his career.
As a great mass of his public utterances has been recorded and published,
it is possible, for one so inclined, to collate his observations on a given
subject and piece together a rather well-rounded impression of his perspectives
on just about any given topic. Oftentimes, an isolated observation may seem
to be offensive to common sense or to the conventional wisdom, or several
statements from different sources may seem to bluntly contradict each other.
Only later might they reveal a higher reconciliation after some sustained
reflection and recourse to yet other diverse references. In this way,
a more mobile, well-rounded, and lifelike perspective is gained for complex
topics not easily reducible to a list of attributes or a single definition.
Steiner, like any good old-world taskmaster or musical artist, makes one
work for one’s supper; he honors the plastic nature of living reality.
With regard to Steiner’s essential comments about Spiritual
America, we have no recourse to a fund of nuanced references. They stand
alone with little corroboration from either himself or accepted academic
scholarship, although a scrupulous and unbiased examination of the existing
data do allow of alternate interpretations which are fully congruent with
Steiner’s statements. We shall indicate some of them here. Steiner
himself was adamant that no one accept his statements as authoritative; each
listener or reader was under the obligation to test and try them out for
themselves in the crucible of discrimination, moral conscience, and experience,
especially since his transcribed lectures were published unreviewed and uncorrected
by him (that includes the ones being discussed here). Yet what is one
to do when confronted by his assertion that in the years 30 – 33 AD, in Mexico,
a conflict was waged over the process of the sacrificial death of Christ,
and that the successful results of this encounter were decisive for
the future of earth-evolution? One cannot easily coopt this datum
into whatever conceptual framework one may have already formulated; one must
either confront it and its corollaries with a decisive intent, or find a
way to dismiss it out of hand.
In this installment we shall concentrate upon examining
Steiner’s text and matters closely related to it. Following sections
will address broader and deeper issues utilizing inside perspectives of American
Steiner was a European, and while he lived for the future life of
Earthly civilization, he worked for this from inside his own European culture..
Although he had a cosmic Vision second to none and a Commission that was
staggering in its scope, he was not all things to all people. His mission
was firmly contexted within the Traditions of Central Europe. Most
of his many, if brief mentions of America are brutally critical and deplore
its materialistic tendencies, and are made with respect to the West’s influence
upon European culture. On any subject he stretched the envelope of his Inspiration
to its limits, bringing in the most wide-ranging influences. He also
set up a crafty system of koan-like trip-wires within his legacy so that
those who came afterwards would find themselves committed to expanding the
scope and application of that Inspiration. This writer is one who has gotten
himself involved in one such web.
The concerns of people in Australia or South America had
little relevance for the ordinary European of 1916. It is different nowadays.
Our net of relationships is much wider than it was then. Activated
by the dynamic of profound respect for Dr. Steiner on the one hand, and “What
in the $^#*& is he talking about, anyway”, on the other, I have worked
the dialectic and, as a result of decades of inner work, research in the
scholarly literature, traditional lore of Western spiritualities, and the
rubbing of shoulders with Native Americans, their culture, and their Ancestors,
all the while pervaded by the living Being of the American Land, certain
understandings have developed from Steiner’s indications. Hence
this work-in-progress. I hope that those who read it will be encouraged
to do their own work, correct me on any mistakes, and dare to offer their
own idiosyncratic observations. Future editions of this piece will
incorporate and acknowledge any such contributions.
This struggle in America over the Deed of Christ – circumstances
surrounding the pivotal event in, not just human, but planetary history,
according to Steiner – what considerations must we bring to bear in order
to be able to understand it? Here we are not totally hamstrung by lack
of knowledge of the exact details in Mexico two thousand years ago, for we
are able to know quite a bit about the macrocosmic nature and mission of
Christ, thanks to an immense amount of very consistent material left to us
by Rudolf Steiner. Revealing the mission of Christ was always front
and center for him, and above all he dedicated his life to this cause.
As a result of sifting through his indications and of doing the work of bringing
them into relation with modern developments, it is possible to see where
he was going with this, and what some of the implications might have been
for any particular set of circumstances in different cultures…including the
Mesoamerican ones. I have derived additional perspectives from the
magical Celtic-UnderWorld work of R. J. Stewart; they have been invaluable
in facilitating my entry into the inner worlds of the Mesoamerican shaman.
First of all, a review of his indications. We know
from the Bible that the Birth of Jesus was attended by a concerted effort
to thwart it. Herod’s massacre of the Innocents and the flight
into Egypt are well known. Christ is said to have later descended from
the realm of the Father and to have conjoined with the person of Jesus, there
to have lived for the three years of public life. Steiner brings a
wealth of detail to bear on all this, but the outlines of devotional faith
hold steady and are brought into even clearer relief as a result. We
also know from the Mythos that Christ died on the Cross, descended into Hell,
and rose again on the third day. If, as Steiner indicates, a titanic
struggle in Mexico took place during the years 30 – 33 AD, this means that
it was not the Birth of Christ but the purpose of his sacrificial Death that
was under attack in the Western Hemisphere. And what was this, that
was so important about this deepest portion of his arc of incarnation, that
aroused such furious opposition? What was it that happened in hell
on Easter Saturday? The Bible does not go into detail on this, and
neither does Steiner. Yet this is of the utmost importance, for it
is out of what transpired during the decisive activity of the Easter Saturday
“pralaya” as he passed into the Earth that Easter Sunday and the Resurrection
unfolded! Even Jesaiah Ben-Aharon, in his discussion of this matter in his
highly significant Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century, admits of no
access to this process. Indeed, the anthroposophical method in
general simply does not go there. The territory is bounded by warning
signs consisting mainly of parroted quotations from Steiner regarding the
baleful lower-Threshold realm of “subnature”. Whether this is all for
the best or if it reflects RS’s long-term intentions is a matter for another
discussion. Regardless, these realities are inescapable for Americans,
and hence, for the rest of the world, although everyone and every region
needs to find their own relationship to them.
Here we enter into deep mysteries – American Mysteries.
Not the Cosmic mysteries, but into the Chthonic Earthly mysteries.
They are different, and go far deeper than the turbulent interface regions.
All around us they are revealing themselves as people from the most diverse
backgrounds responding to the resurgence of powers from within the Earth.
This is not exactly the same as what the Old Religions once dealt with, nor
are they in opposition to what has been acquired since. The gist of
this Steiner implies, but the times did not allow him to speak forthrightly
about it. Christ came from the Father and died from the Father: “My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” speaks for itself. He left
the connection with the Father-God behind and fell into the arms of the Earth-Mother.
From Her he received his regeneration; his rebirth. We have significant
hints of this if we juxtapose our own culture’s Pieta sculpture with Christmastime’s
Madonna and Child imagery.
All of this the American races knew, and it was not a
hidden mystery, except for the technical details of their initiatory shamanic
pathways. They knew the upsides and the downsides, the ins and the
outs of the ways of the Earth. They were neither Edenic noble savages
or doomed atavistic races. They were human beings, subject to all the
confusions of the Fall, but their circumstances were different, their wisdom
was different, and their orientation was different than in Europe.
They knew about how things happen when you go “down.”
Steiner knew that Christ’s ally in Mexico was an initiate
experienced in UnderWorld realities and that the transformative encounter
with Shadow and Double which every shaman undergoes was undergone on the
most transpersonal, archetypal, and planetary fashion by Christ in his descent
into the plutonian depths (a European analogue of this is the ancient Rite
of the Sacrificial King as practiced within the cultures of the Celts).
There were those others who drew their personal power from unregenerate realms
of planetary Double; deep impacted realms of twisted and thwarted energies.
From even the most casual forms of pop psychology we all know what happens
when core internal energies are not allowed expression or when impacted patterns
are challenged; this is the realm of the microcosm within each individual.
Christ worked on the most macrocosmic levels imaginable – within the Earth.
For the Earth has had its developmental problems, too - as have we all.
Not everything has been dealt with in ways which merit hindsight’s satisfaction,
and over the course of aeons, the toxic residue had reached a point where
something had to be done. Speaking of the compromised religions and
spiritualities of the pre-Christian era, even the Pagan Priestess Dion Fortune
has said: “…we must not forget that Christianity came as a corrective
to a pagan world that was sick unto death with its own toxins.”
Steiner minces no words when it comes to describing the
excesses of corrupt Aztec culture or the depths of its dark roots.
He balances this with a stunning revelation of the unsuspected wealth within
the Mesoamerican experience, although he does not follow though by reconciling
these two extremes of that spiritual spectrum.
Let us begin by scrutinizing his observations and reviewing some of the problems
which surface as a result of a critical analysis. How far did
Steiner go in his indications, and how far can we go with them?
First of all, the language. For instance: “Vitzliputzli.”
This agent’s name provokes no immediate associations, and a casual search
for references in the dictionaries and lexicons is fruitless. All RS’s
terminology for the Mesoamerican deities derives from the Aztec records (as
interpreted by the unappreciative Spanish, one must remember!), but the events
to which he refers date from both the early Olmec-Mayan-Teotihuacan era and
the late-classic Aztec; 1st C. A.D., and 16th C. A.D., respectively.
Evidence from the latter is used to indicate trends in the former.
Between the two, however, are vast gulfs and shifts which were not even suspected
in Steiner’s day, gulfs more drastic in many respects than those between,
say, 1st and 16th C. Italy, England, or Greece. Additionally, there
is still no record of any written language for the critical Teotihuacan civilization,
and the prolific but enigmatic Maya script was mute for all researchers in
Steiner’s day – as it was even for the Maya themselves until very recently.
The curtain of history had fallen with a mighty thunderclap upon that act
in the world’s drama! A tangental question: was this a recapitulation
of Mesoamerica’s Atlantean roots?
The language of the most recent English translation of
Steiner’s Inner Impulses of Evolution is confounding in this regard, and
glosses over the problems involved in pursuing his indications. Let
us note the spelling of significant names, from the German original to the
Amerika – America, Dschingis-Khan – Genghis Khan, Taotl – Teotl, Tezkatlipoka
– Tezcatlipoca, Jahve – Jehovah, Mexiko – Mexico, Quetsalkoatl – Quetzalcoatl.
For any of these, there is no loss in translation, only the elimination of
a mild quaintness. Yet when we come to the following:
Vitzliputzli – Huitzilopochtli
we note that the term has not been translated, but left in its original
and unfamiliar form. It is no mystery that Huitzilopochtli is and has
always been standard English and Spanish usage for the original Nahuatl form
of the name – and transliterated by standardized convention into German as
“Vitzliputzli” - yet the editors did not follow this practice. Why
Perhaps because Huitzilopochtli was the demon-god and
culture-hero of the Aztecs to whom multitudes were sacrificed in ritual murder,
before whose temple the famously immense skull-rack with its countless trophies
was displayed, and whose cult fueled an ideology of permanent war?
How could this have been the same person whom Steiner describes as the saviour
of the Christ-impulse? Better to retain the unfamiliar form of the
name, one which carries with it no unpleasant associations or difficult questions….
Yet sidestepping of this problem does not contribute to the solving of any
others, while pursuance of it does, as we shall see.
For one living in 1916 there was every reason to assume
that Mesoamerican cultures stretched back uninterruptedly from the Aztec
times of the 16th C. back into pre-Classic cultures of the 1st C. and beyond,
and that the gods and deities which were worshipped by those whom the Spanish
met and chronicled were the same who occupied the pantheon during the American
Turning Point of Time. A default presumption, to be sure, and one proven
since to be mostly wrong, but the one to which Steiner’s age subscribed.
Hence, in lieu of any other convenient options (but for reasons which will
become clear) Steiner selects the name of the Aztec’s unchallenged culture
hero and war-god – Huitzilopochtli – and applies it to our mysterious avatar.
Regardless of his sources, any of them would have informed him straight off
that Huitzilopochtli was a demonic entity of the first order.
Why, then, would he have used that baleful name without a caution?
His window of opportunity to speak of such things must have been narrow,
indeed, and he must have trusted in those who came after to do our Thinking
and in the course of science’s work in contributing clarifying details.
Using the name “Huitzilopochtli” may have been an inevitable
choice for him, but one which we, a century later, should be very cautious
about employing. Under the circumstances, and without a better
option, those of us in the English-speaking world could do worse than to
use the German form of the name, since it does separate the early from the
late aspect rather decisively. Later on, we will consider another option,
one that comes from the Maya.
Nonetheless, there are some significant insights that
can be developed by pondering the factors which played into the metamorphoses
of our 1st C. initiate as Steiner describes him into that of the terminal
culture which appropriated his legacy for its own legitimization. Was
Steiner aware of this possibility? Most probably. But little has been
done to consider the implications of this metamorphosis – implications that
are avoided by “Vitzliputzli”.
Furthermore, since Steiner is unspecific as to exactly
where in Mexico or in which of its many cultures this remarkable deed of
Christ’s advocate took place, we are unable to infer from him whether this
person was Olmec, Zapotec, Mayan, or other. In a later section
we will consider an Izapan hypothesis.
Another problem of language is reflected in the matter
of “Taotl” whom Steiner describes as the supreme and most ancient god of
the Mexican pantheon, the bearer of the Atlantean legacy (also, from another
time: “Taotl is a Being who as a cosmic, universal spirit weaves in the clouds,
lives in the lightning and the thunder.” ) While we concur with the
commentator Dr. Koslik in his thesis that this is the same as the generic
nahuatl language “teotl” suffix , this does not assist us much, for the question
remains: “Who was the deity to whom Steiner refers – as it appeared in
the 1st C. A.D.?” Could this be the significant “Storm God” of Teotihuacan
(the name pulled out of a hat by modern researchers) who persists as the
most ancient god Tlaloc of the Aztecs, whose shrine graced the top of Tenochtitlan’s
much-later 16th C. Templo Mayor together with Huitzilopochtli’s?
At any rate, it is a leap to capitalize the “T” in “Taotl” for “teotl”, not
a proper noun, but a qualifying suffix signifying the god-aspect of any other
being (e.g.: Ometeoltl, Huehueteotl, Tlazolteotl, Cinteotl, etc.).
To derive anything more than the most general speculations from this similarity
is unwarranted, just as increasing the resolution on a halftone photograph
does not yield additional information; it only increases the grain.
One might just as easily draw conclusions from an apparent similarity of
“teotl” to the “turtle” of Turtle Island.
Yet the intuition may have noticed something in these
circumstances. Steiner’s attempt to indicate something significant
by pointing to such features should be taken seriously. Perhaps “teotl”
does have implications of exceedingly ancient roots, since the first two
deities mentioned belong to the most ancient rank of world-forming beings.
Furthermore, to associate “teotl” with the “Great Spirit”
of Native American lore is probably not too far from the mark, as far as
it goes, but we should be leery of thinking that we really know anything
specific or substantial as a result: there were hundreds of cultures who
believed in a Great Spirit of one sort or another. The only thing we
can be very sure of is that those conceptions varied widely. Onward
into the fog…which just might begin to dispel under the effect of clear and
Second, as we have alluded, there is the almost inevitable if subtle conflation
of the time-periods involved; a situation that continues to bedevil modern
researchers. Let us note the back jacket cover statement that appeared
in the first English edition of Steiner’s lecture-cycle, as it nicely illustrates
“…We hear of how…forces, opposed to humanity, threatened to
reach a tragic climax in the bloody Aztec mysteries of ancient Mexico, until
they were thwarted by the heroic efforts of a Mexican Sun-initiate.”
This statement reflects a total confusion of two entirely different sets
of circumstances. Steiner clearly indicates that the crisis and its successful
resolution took place in the first part of the 1st C. A.D. He further
states that all succeeding crises, whatever their scope or danger, were nothing
compared to what they would have been if the prototypical 1st C. crisis had
not been successfully challenged. The negative aspect of the much-later Aztec
phenomenon was merely an echo, a feeble afterthought of certain retrograde
Mesoamerican tendencies. Yet the fabulous Aztec episode in history is substituted
for the unknown, but essential one which took place a millennia-and-a-half
before! The simple historical fact that the Azteca entered Mesoamerica
in the 14th Century (circa 1332 A.D.!, from out of unidentified northern
wastelands), and only began their trajectory of Empire a hundred years later
– much like the Inca, who also only enjoyed ascendance for a mere score of
decades – has difficulty registering for those who prefer to think that the
history of the Americas only began in earnest in 1492.
The problem here – and it is a problem of which academics
and scholars are keenly aware – is: to what extent can we understand the
seminal early-CE Olmec-related cultures by what we think we know about the
late-CE cultures of the Aztec and Maya? I say think we know because
of the paucity of original sources of information: the Spaniards were excellent
and voluminous chroniclers, but all of it was in the service of conquest
and Inquisition, when it was not outright genocide.
So: Huitzilopochtli/Vitzliputzli. What are we to
make of this? We shall have to tease at this knot from multiple directions.
We have indicated one of them: the direction of time, where aspects of a
highly-charged matter seem to change and invert, given time.
Another vector is illustrated by the case of the Spaniard’s
conquering Jesus…who was this? Would the Jesus Christ of c. 30 A.D.
recognize himself in the imperial apocalyptic Jesus encountered by the heretics
and pagans caught up in the meat-grinder of European hegemony? I suggest
that similar processes were at work on both sides of the Atlantic.
The question of exactly what these might have been will have to be postponed
for the time being.
Third, there is the matter of sources. Where did Steiner get his historical
information, upon which his Imaginations are based? One may grant that
Steiner had privileged sources of information not available to the non-initiate
while also maintaining that he did not always speak as one or draw exclusively
on those resources. In many cases, an initiate may be no more well-informed
than any other educated contemporary. In others, an initiate may be
without even a simple opinion, preserving his/her credibility by the time-honored
stratagem of remaining silent. Even on the same subject, one
such may mix sources, as do we all on occasion, being solid on the essentials
but fuzzy on the details.
In the case of Steiner’s extended remarks about ancient
American spirituality, one may feel that Steiner was under a difficult obligation
to speak distinctly about certain crucial features of history. Obstructive
forces were present then as they were at other points in his career, but
any supportive context of historical science and archeological detective
work was rudimentary. For every mystic, visionary or crackpot who may
have been lucky enough to hit a nail or two on the head with their unbounded
fantasies about “Lost Worlds”, there are scores who have struck out.
Facts are stubborn things for those who invest in grandiose visions!
Rudolf Steiner had a difficult row to hoe!
The store of facts at Steiner’s disposal was meagre, and he cannot be faulted
for accepting, in part, the authority of the few who wrote about such things
in his day. And there was no consensus as to who were the professionals;
all the authorities were self-appointed. Few bothered to consult with Indigenous
Wisdom-Keepers, and fewer still found avenues for expression of what they
might have thereby learned. Compartmentalization and professionalization
were well on the way to completing the process of sequestering behind almost
insurmountable barriers what real cross-culturalizing knowledge there was.
Rudolf Steiner had two known sources of exoteric information available to
him: Eduard Seler and Charles William Heckethorn. The first
was – and still is – a giant in his field of Mesoamerican studies (primarily
regarding the Aztecs), and a contemporary of Rudolf Steiner’s – and both
Berliners throughout the first decades of the century. Although modern
scholars have developed his work, refuting some of his methods and premises
in the process, there is none who does not acknowledge a great debt of gratitude
to him and his influence in the field. (He was one of the first to
develop his ideas from a scrupulous examination of the source material, instead
of starting by looking for evidence of a priori theories.) Many
of the surviving Mexican codices were first examined and commented on by
him; his work product is very large.
Unfortunately, Steiner seems to have made a poor choice
in his selection of whom to rely upon as an authority. While probably
correct in his fine-detail criticism of contemporary scientific trends (his
criticism of the then infant field of psychology and psychotherapy was based
in part upon his prescient intuition that it would soon tend to degenerate
into a manipulated technology for behavior-modification and mind-control
accommodation to increasingly inhuman conditions, a prediction largely born
out by society’s dependence upon pharmaceutical accommodation to of depression,
anxiety, and other situation-induced disorders), this seems to have led him
to avoid engagement with the founders of these developing fields. Similarly,
there is a reference in which he states:
“There was a personality who lived in the later period of Mexican
civilisation and was connected with the utterly decadent, pseudo-magical
Mystery cults of Mexico; with an intense thirst for knowledge he studied
everything with close and meticulous exactitude. My attention was attracted
to him through having made the acquaintance some years ago of a curious man
who is still engaged in a primitive form of study of the decadent superstitions
of the Mexican Mysteries. Such lore is of negligible importance, because
anyone who studies these things at the present time is studying pure superstition;
it has all become decadent today….”
It seems, from the textual and societal context, that this “curious individual”
was probably Eduard Seler, although any hard evidence of such an encounter
is lacking. It would be consistent for Steiner if it was, for he also declined
possible contact with Freud, Jung, and Krishnamurti, not to mention the great
assortment of first-generation atomic scientists, who were all very active
in Central Europe during this time. The mentors whom he lauds are not
the ones whom history has made popular or who stand at the head of significant
modern cultural trends. What it seems he did do in our present instance,
however, is take the bulk of his information about the outer aspects of Mexican
(Aztec, to be precise, although this was not a distinction many cared to
make in Steiner’s day) life and spiritual practice from the very dubious
Heckethorn is referenced in a footnote for the German
edition of GA 171 as a source for Steiner’s information, upon the evidence
that he had a copy of a famously curious book by the man in his library.
Although this alone would not be proof that he relied on it, the peculiar
tone and selected strange details of Mexican religious practice are too similar
to be simple coincidence. Most of what Steiner had to say on the subject
could be paraphrased from Heckethorn’s brief descriptions, and, conversely,
much of Heckethorn finds its way into Steiner’s text. Heckethorn has
credibility in some circles: he is cited as a corroborating authority elsewhere
by Anthroposophic editors; he is footnoted over fifteen times and quoted
for over fifteen pages by Hella Weisberger in her edition of Steiner’s The
Temple Legend series of lectures.
Unfortunately, there is a tendency to accept uncritically
anything associated with Steiner’s name by those who believe in him, and
this tendency is most vexing in matters concerning his remarks concerning
America – particularly since this goes against his own explicit instructions
to his followers. Hence it is incomprehensible to this writer that such a
crank, even one as broadly versed as Heckethorn, could be cited as support
for one such as Steiner, or that Steiner himself could have relied upon him
for information. Yet it appears that he did, as a close comparison of Steiner’s
and Heckethorn’s texts reveal. Perhaps the simplest explanation should
receive some consideration: Steiner made a mistake, due to overlapping prejudices
which made him careless as to other issues such as enter into this affair.
We shall look into this matter at some length, for the reader should not
be expected to take this writer’s word for it. There
may, of course, be better explanations. One partial explanation for
Heckethorn’s credibility in Anthroposophic circles is that modern readers
have simply not read the book, or gone outside of self-referential anthroposophic
commentary for information or critical research. In the meantime, this
is one of those difficulties that should not, but nevertheless does exist,
and it is better to simply live with it, sustaining and not denying the tension,
until such time as new information or new insights arise. The circumstances
are as follows:
It need not be disputed that this book did actually exist
as part of Steiner's library; it is quite reasonable and possible that it
did: it enjoyed a huge vogue when first published in 1875, and again when
it was revised and enlarged for an 1897 second edition. By 1904, when
it appeared in a German edition, it was in great vogue. A serious researcher
would not have wanted to be without it, for whatever reason, even if only
as a curious specimen of its type.
However, from two different directions Heckethorn is suspect:
from internal fault and from philosophical bias. That warning flags from
one or the other would have failed to have alerted Steiner's attention is
most improbable. Even the modern publisher calls it "entertaining", "opinionated",
"slipshod", and states that: “It very well may be that Heckethorn had sources
for all his weird suggestions, but their conspicuous absence raises the eyebrows
of all but the most credulous.” (pp. 1-2). In the brief section devoted
to Mesoamerican lore his style is particularly lurid, and well suited to
the macabre nature of the subject – ritual human sacrifice. Little
is said about anything else. Here it is as if European culture was condemned
for the excesses of the Nazis, while ignoring the legacies of Tauler, Erasmus,
St. Francis, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe – and Steiner. Surely
Mexico had an equivalently rich history, it having been the locale of one
of the world’s five major and most independently evolved forms of civilization.
Regarding factual veracity, Heckethorn claims that the
"religious system of the Mexicans" designated Viracocha as the creator.
Notwithstanding the fact that there is no one "religious system of the Mexicans"
- our present-day historical view spans well over two-thousand years of many
various and simultaneously existing pre-Columbian cultures - Viracocha is
a deity exclusive to the South American Andean cultures. There is no
evidence to the contrary, and all we have from Heckethorn is his blithe assertion.
One must give credit where credit is due, however, and it must be admitted
that Heckethorn is right on the money in many of his tabloid-style speculations.
He was a strange talent and curiosity.
At any rate, 4+ pages of text devoted to the subject out
of a total of 356 pages devoted mainly to other matters can hardly be considered
serious source material, especially as there is no documentation or references
given for any of what Mr. Heckethorn has to say on the subject.
But that is not germane to the issue of whether or not Steiner may have used
it for a possible source for his comments.
It is in the area of bias that evidence appears which
makes it hard to imagine that Steiner might have taken Heckethorn's ideas
seriously. Note Heckethorns’s total confusion about another subject:
"When the story of the Egyptian Horus had...been elaborated
into the myth of Christ, the latter was at once fitted out with mysteries
and initiations thereunto.... But the story of the Transfiguration
on the Mount is an imperfect description of the holding of a quasi-masonic
lodge...." p. 103)
"In all the ancient mysteries we have seen a representation
of the death of the sun; according to some writers, this ceremony was imitated
in the Christian Mysteries by the symbolical slaying of a child, which, in
the lower degrees, of course meant the death of Christ….
Such is Heckethorn's comprehension of the Christian Mythos,
which one as educated and initiated as Steiner could hardly have read even
as entertainment, the caricature descending past farce and tragedy into utter
banality; one which could not have served to lend credibility to Heckethorn’s
judgements about matters so alien to all as those about ancient Mexico.
One must also consider Steiner's harsh attitude concerning contemporary things
Masonic in considering whether he would ordinarily have been predisposed
to give this author's speculations any benefit of the doubt. Steiner
knew enough about Masonic history and agendas to be able to have a completely
well-formed judgement about Heckethorn's quasi-lunatic appreciation of them,
which form a consistent theme in his monomaniacal world-view, as presented
in his book.
"Then the real mystery was unveiled, and the astronomical
meaning of Christianity...was laid bare.... Thus to them the
Seven Churches in Asia were the seven months from March to September....
Christ represented the sun, and His first miracle is turning water into wine,
which the sun does every year; His agony in Gethsemane was the juice of the
grape put in the wine-press; His descent into hell was the sun in the winter
season; His crucifixion on Calvary (calvus = bald = shorn of His rays) His
crossing of the equator in the autumn; and his crucifixion in Egypt (Rev.
xi. 8) His crossing it in the Spring. The beheading of John the
Baptist was shown to them to be John, Janus, or Aquarius, having his head
cut off by the line of the horizon on the 29th August, wherefore his festival
occurs on that day...." (p. 104-106)
Heckethorn was also a bald-faced racist in the old hypertrophied
"The true comprehension of Nature [for Heckethorn, Nature =
the only and ultimate Reality = the astronomical facts pertaining to the
Course of the Seasons] was the prerogative of the most highly developed of
all races of men...the Aryan races....
"So highly favored, precisely because Nature in so highly favored
a spot could only develop in course of time a superior type; which being,
as it were, the quintessence of that copious Nature, was one with it, and
therefore able to apprehend it and its fulness. For as the powers of
Nature have brought forth plants and animals of different degrees of development
and perfection, so they have produced various types of men in various stages
of development; the most perfect being, as already mentioned, the Aryan or
Caucasian type, the only one that has a history, and the one that deserves
our attention when inquiring into the mental history of mankind. For
even where the Caucasian comes into contact and intermingles with a dark
race, as in India and Egypt, it is the white man with whom the higher and
historical development begins." (pp. 5-6).
What can one say, except that similar biases informed the milieu of the time
– including the more restricted circles of that age’s occultism? To
what extent was Steiner at the mercy of such a weight of deformed speculation
in his pronouncements concerning happenings in ancient Mexico? Rudolf Steiner,
a turn-of-the-century Middle European of humble, rural, and conservative
origins, does seem to have been without the temperamental sympathy for the
more dramatic Mexican sensibilities. Was he perhaps insufficiently careful,
even careless, in speaking of them without sufficient preparation?
Was he perhaps incapable or unwilling to do so because that would have brought
him into a closer - and uncomfortable - encounter with uncomfortable aspects
of his own personality and of his Anthroposophical Society’s social dynamic;
issues that would have involved direct confrontation with all kinds of Doubles,
elements so entwined with matters intimately American?
Much energy has been expended trying to uncover root causes
for the weak role of the Anthroposophical Society in the world and of the
lack of congruence between the Anthroposophical Society and the sources of
its Inspiration. A deep encounter with the root issues involved
in the "Mexican Mysteries" can shed a reorienting light on the subject.
But pursuing this topic would lead us too far afield, although most of our
discussion will prove to be most relevant for one who might wish to consider
Returning to our discussion of sources, we can summarize
by saying that Steiner had less backup than he – or anyone else in his position
– would have liked. It was an unsatisfactory situation.
But Steiner had access to sources of information about
ancient cultures other than physical remains. He, like the adepts,
initiates, magi, and shamans of yore, could associate with the gods.
When he accessed Mesoamerica on this level, he really plucked the plum from
the pudding. To have located a civilization-shifting Christ-event in
Mexico, contemporaneous with the Bible-referenced one in Palestine, is more
than a stroke of genius. It is a solid communication from a full adept in
the Tradition. Sustained reflection upon this item reveals an entirely
different level of insight than is apparent in his other, more peripheral
There are several ways of “proving” a proposition.
One is by internal consistency and by consistency of correlates. One
is by the support of factual evidence. One is by manifest elegance.
And one is by the fertile and illuminating spin-offs that it may generate;
the new vistas of inquiry which it may open up. Utility value, in other
words. For the latter, the immediate issue is more a matter of “is
the theory useful” rather than “is it true”. On all counts, Steiner’s
basic thesis – that is all one can legitimately take it as, for one who had
not personally proven it by the same inner access and experience as any initiate
in that Tradition obtains – is worthy of serious consideration.
For instance, the conundrum of Teotihuacan’s simple existence,
inscrutable to historians of all varieties, suddenly snaps into focus – and
it requires no absurdities or preposterous allegiances, other than the relinquishment
of the materialist superstition that the gods and spiritual forces of the
world are unreal human projections. If one assumes, as historian Esther
Pasztory does, that: “If one considers that gods and religion are human creations”,
she herself, out of intellectual honesty, has to continue in the very same
sentence to deny the efficacy of that proposition but without replacement:
“this explanation of the phenomenon [of Teotihuacan] is inadequate both psychologically
and sociologically.” Her admittedly weak alternative (the compelling
power of ritual in the employ of a showman) is unsatisfactory, but she, like
all other researchers who have conscientiously grounded themselves in the
material evidence, and hence are unwilling to indulge in seeming fancy, has
nothing better to offer to explain the fact of Teotihuacan.
The vexing matter of Steiner’s sources looms especially
large in a detail of ritual human sacrifice as it was practiced in pre-Colombian
Mexico – and even into post-Colombian Mexico. As Dr. Koslik observes
in his Introduction to the lecture-cycle, there is a contradiction between
Steiner’s statement that it was the stomach that was removed, and all other
sources, both Aztec codices and Spanish records, which testify that it was
the heart that was the object of excision. This contradiction has not
resolved itself with time, and becomes even more complicated by the fact
that Steiner does not acknowledge any practice of heart-removal, while Heckethorn,
Steiner’s most evident source for his more circumstantial details, only refers
to the accepted heart-removal. It remains completely unknown how Steiner
arrived at his conclusion that it was the stomach that was excised.
Dr. Koslik’s theory remains one that is least unsatisfactory, especially
since he brings to our attention the very interesting statuette of Xolotl
(the nahualli, or double, of Quetzalcoatl) that first came to the public’s
attention in 1904. Interestingly enough, this was due to the agency
of Dr. Seler. Dr. Steiner might easily have seen it, since it
may then have been exhibited in Stuttgart, Germany, where Seler observed
it and where it is still on display.
Statements by Steiner conjoined with knowledge of Aztec practice strongly
imply a link between the alleged rituals of human sacrifice allied with stomach
excision and the presiding deity Quetzalcoatl. Without any obvious opportunity
by RS of knowing that Xolotl and Quetzalcoatl were joined together at the
hip, so to speak, the configuration of the figurine tends to vouch for the
accuracy of his independently derived observation. On the other hand,
the greenstone object is of late Aztec provenance, while Dr. Koslik’s suggestion
of additional and deeply secret stomach-excision rituals would apply especially
to the late-B.C. “Vitzliputzli”-era practices for which no evidence exists.
Heart-sacrifice, on the other hand, has been a documented fixture of Mesoamerican
ritual since Day One. The problem remains.
Fourthly, we must deal with the overarching matter of
Meaning, one which, although it encompasses all the foregoing, goes beyond
them. Taking into account all those factors which we have discussed,
we must decide what Steiner tried to express in the course of being constrained
by them. Let us consider this in terms of the specific and fascinating
instance of Quetzalcoatl, who is indeed frequently paired in the native lore
with Tezcatlipoca. Our Steiner declares:
“…different mysteries were founded that were designed to counteract
the excesses of the Taotl mysteries. These were mysteries in which a being
lived…this being was Tezkatlipoka. That was the name given to the being who,
though he belonged to a much lower hierarchy, was partly connected through
his qualities with the Jehovah god. He worked in the Western Hemisphere against
those grisly mysteries of which we have spoken.
And, from elsewhere:
“The teachings of Tezcatlipoca soon escaped from the mysteries and were spread
abroad exoterically. Thus, in those regions of the earth, the teachings of
Tezcatlipoca were actually the most exoteric, while those of Taotl were the
most esoteric, since they were only obtained in the manner described above.
The ahrimanic powers sought to “save” humanity, however — I am now speaking
as Ahriman thought of it — from the god Tezcatlipoca. Another spirit was
set up against him who, for the Western Hemisphere, had much in common with
the spirit whom Goethe described as Mephistopheles [a.k.a.: Ahriman, with
some Luciferic qualities]. He was indeed his kin. This spirit was designated
with a word that sounded like Quetsalkoatl. He was a spirit who, for this
time and part of the earth, was similar to Mephistopheles, although Mephistopheles
displayed much more of a soul nature. Quetzalcoatl also never appeared directly
incarnated. His symbol was similar to the Mercury staff to be found in the
Eastern Hemisphere, and he was, for the Western Hemisphere, the spirit who
could disseminate malignant diseases through certain magic forces. He could
inflict them upon those whom he wished to injure in order to separate them
from the relatively good god, Tezcatlipoca.”
“Tetzkatlipoka was a kind of Serpent God with whom men felt
themselves astrally connected.” (the alternate spelling is as
it is in the texts. Steiner did not get this information on Tezcatlipoca
from Heckethorn – another riddle.)
So: Meaning. What did Steiner intend to convey with these
remarks? Are Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca to be considered as representatives
of cosmically good and evil forces, respectively benefactor and villain,
or as partners who work opposite sides of the same dynamic? An example
of the former would be the Good Guys and the Bad Guys in the Hollywood Westerns,
an example of the latter would be Plato and Aristotle. Unfortunately,
his brief asides are just that: too brief. It is known that the Aztecs
themselves definitely subscribed to the latter more sophisticated view. And
which Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca are we talking about: the beings of popular
16th C. Aztec religion as perceived by the trampling Spanish, the original
prototypes in core mythology and Ancestral Imagination going back to the
Olmec, the beings themselves before they become projected into either – or
the fabulous Quetzalcoatls and Tezcatlipocas of the poorly-informed European
mind? To what extent does this latter include Steiner?
Although we may never know the answer to these questions,
I suspect that he knew both more and less about these subjects than he is
generally credited. Less, because he cannot be credited with scholarship
that simply did not exist in his time, and more, because of his deep appreciation
for the inner nature of the religious soul, and for the remarkably profound
perception that stands, above and beyond all other lesser and annoying considerations,
at the core of his American Vision. This essential perception we will
examine in detail in the next installment.
There is, however, yet another Quetzalcoatl (Tezcatlipoca
has receded from popular view). This is the Quetzalcoatl of year-2002
New Age and popular Chicano and Mexican culture. If there is a universally
regarded, utterly positive and benevolent being in the American pantheon,
it is Quetzalcoatl – and that this is so is attested by the pervasive presence
in the historical record of his avatar Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl of
Toltec fame. To further complicate matters, in the 18th and 19th
C, there was considerable conviction that Quetzalcoatl was, in reality, none
other than St. Thomas the Apostle, who, it was said, had gone to the Orient
to proselytize to the heathen.
Tezcatlipoca may have been the focus of popular cults in unspecified pre-Columbian
times, for all deities had had their places in the ritual calendar, but the
assertion that his cult was the most popular is unsupported. On the
other hand, it does apply to Quetzalcoatl! Is it possible that Steiner
got his attributions reversed, or applied names deriving from one era to
the inverted deity-aspects of other eras? In support of these possibilities
is the fact that nowhere in modern evidence is Tezcatlipoca found depicted
with major serpent aspect, whereas it is Quetzalcoatl who has as his most
prominent motif that of the feathered serpent – in fact, that is what his
name means; he was the Serpent-God ne plus ultra. On the other hand,
the Mayan equivalent of Tezcatlipoca (K’awil, aka God K or GII) comes equipped
with a significant serpent-foot. Or have the attributions themselves reversed
over the course of time, as we have seen take place with Vitzliputzli-Huitzilopochtli
and that of Jesus Christ Himself…for who would recognize the Jesus of 1st.
C. Palestine in the Jesus of 16th C. Inquisitional Spain, where the Jews
and Muslims were expelled in 1492 with ascendant reactionary fervor, and
on whose behalf the Conquistadors and Franciscans were sent to scour the
New World? Many peoples on the receiving end of the Christian dispensation
have had no difficulty – if they still survive – with conflating the Cross
and the Swastika.
In Steiner’s favor, it must be said that the Mesoamerican
deities were multi-valent: they were multifaceted in ways that are totally
confounding for the “a place for everything and everything in its place”
and strict hierarchical mentality of the analytic European mind. Every
deity gloried in multiple contradictory internal aspects and exchanged them
in the many different kinds of relationships with those with whom it was
partnered. Yes, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca were adversaries, but in indigenous
mythology they also assisted each other in the creation of the world, being
regents of successive world-ages. In favor of Steiner’s positive estimation
for Tezcatlipoca, two of Huitzilopochtli’s common appellations were “Blue
Tezcatlipoca” and “Tezcatlipoca of the South”, although these are attributions
unknown in RS’s day – unless he had scanned specialist papers by Seler!
Unfortunately, the significance and subtleties of such aliases has been mostly
lost, and we simply do not know where Steiner came by his information, or
what he meant by most of it. What we may confidently assume is that
he did mean something significant when he spoke of these matters.
Ah…and determining what he meant from what he said has
an additional complication: what he is recorded as saying cannot be considered
a totally reliable document. Each and every volume of his compiled
lecture-cycles is preceded by a disclaimer from him advising that the contents
are compiled from uncorrected notes, and that the material cannot be considered
definitive and authoritative. As mentioned at the outset, many listening
to the material had trouble hearing it. What if the transcriber of
the lectures was one of those people? If the material was difficult
for Steiner to present, how must it have sounded to those in the audience?!
One last set of points: Rudolf Steiner’s indications are typically: 1. Highly
nuanced, 2. inseparable from the immediate context, 3. not only well-informed
but well-informed from an extremely insightful and unique vantage point,
and 4. always directed towards a specific intent. In short, there is
always a very precise point to be made; if the context alters, so also does
the apparent judgement he is making. We see this in the instances where
he addresses various aspects of Masonry, the legacy of Rome, the modern scientific
method, the rise of individuality and self-consciousness, the influence of
Arabic thought upon European civilization, and many others: there is no such
thing as an unmixed blessing or a crisis devoid of possibilities.
It is indeed unfortunate that Steiner did not have other, more relaxed opportunities
in which to expand on his GA 171 comments, or to approach them from a direction
which was not concerned with various assaults upon European culture.
For all these reasons, succeeding reflections will only
hover about Steiner’s text; it would be a mistake to parse it too closely.
Yet if one pays sustained attention to the effect which it has upon one’s
internal sensibilities, some interesting things begin to reveal themselves.
Steiner’s methodology of training in Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition
is, essentially, only a disciplined development of becoming inwardly responsive
to the “objective subjectivity” of the Other - an intensive listening,
in other words, of which the initial stages are Information and Interest.
Without good Information, one’s Imagination is bound to go haywire, as has
happened to Le Plongeon and Thompson with the Maya, but without Imagination,
one does not go anywhere. Let us see where the dynamic interplay between
the two can take us! From the next installment:
“Some sense of early Christianity can be recovered from what remains to us
in the formal confessions – even, in paradoxically revealing fashion, via
their frequently crude attempts to permanently embalm it. Even a damaged
signpost can tell the traveler what he or she needs to know. Since
through those fragmented clues we can enter into the Mythic Realities to
which they refer, so also might we attempt to do the same with what suggestions
remain to us of the spiritual Traditions of America – and most properly so,
for we stand upon the Land within which they live and in which they have
their origin…and from which they are now reemerging in waxing force and power.”
There is now the requisite critical mass of evidence from all fields of exoteric
investigation into Mesoamerica that theories deriving from practice in the
Mesoamerican spiritual Traditions themselves, as well as those deriving from
practice in equivalent European-derived esoteric disciplines can find a fruitful
synesthesia. Steiner’s indications are an excellent place to start – notwithstanding
the previous cautions, for these are based in a profoundly original and far-seeing
point of view. Almost all of my objections amount to a caution against hasty
conclusions, sloppy thinking, and naïve associations on the part of
the reader. We will look later into the fit between RS’s larger-scale
indications and what is generally known about Mesoamerican spirituality and
history, and into the theoretical and practical utility of his observations
as they relate to the shamanic practice of our 1st. C. culture-hero.
Parts II & III to follow in succeeding issues of Southern Cross Review
This essay proceeds from Rudolf Steiner’s Inner Impulses in Evolution, GA
171 in the bibliographic survey. The lectures of Sept. 18 & 24,
1916, given in Dornach, Switzerland, deal directly with the subject of the
“Mexican Mysteries.” English-language edition published by the Anthroposophic
Press, 1984. The English edition contains seven lectures, from Sept. 16,
17, 18, 23, 24, 25, and Oct. 1, 1916. The German edition of GA 171
contains additional lectures from Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, 7, 14, 15, 21, 28,
29, and 30, 1916: this group is subtitled Goethe and the Crisis of the Nineteenth
Century. An additional lecture from Dec. 10, 1916 is also grouped with
GA 171, although it appears as part of The Problem of Faust, GA 273.
No mention is made in the English edition of the abridgements and associated
material. (GA 273) lecture in Bib. II.
Online at: http://wn.elib.com/Steiner/Lectures/InnerImpul/InnImp_index.html
For further material on:
General Mesoamerican background:
The Olmec World – Ritual and Rulership: Coe, Michael D., and Richard
A Diehl, David A. Freidel, Peter T. Furst, F. Kent Reilly, III, Linda Schele,
Carolyn E. Tate, and Karl A. Taube: The Art Museum, Princeton U. & Harry
N. Abrams, Inc., 1995. Splendid essays and illustrations by the best
in the business. The Olmec is the Ur-civilization in Mesoamerica and this
volume reflects the current high state of scholarship in the field.
Mexico: Coe, Michael D. Thames and Hudson, fourth edition, 1994.
An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico
and the Maya: Mary Miller & Karl Taube. Thames and Hudson,
The Conquest of America – The Question of the Other: Tzvetan Todorov.
U. of Oklahoma Press, 1999 (from Harper & Row, 1984, and the original
French edition of 1982.). He has a brilliant and most relevant thesis
about the different ways in which Mesoamerican and European cultures handled
social stresses: Mesoamerican attempted to transform them through sacrifice
and hence was a sacrifice-culture, whereas Europe attempted to obliterate
them through wars of obliteration and hence was a massacre-society.
This is totally congruent with my view of the different ways in which the
two cultures handled the explosive nature of the Double.
This Tree Grows Out of Hell – Mesoamerica and the Search for the Magical
Body: Ptolomy Tompkins, Harper SanFrancisco, 1990.
Quetzalcoatl and related issues:
The Flayed God: Roberta H. & Peter T. Markman, Harper Collins,
1992, pp. 63 – 96, ff.
Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl – The Once and Future King of the Toltecs:
H. B. Nicholson. U. Press of Colorado, 2001 (from 1974).
Shamanism and Sacred Magic:
Meditations on the Tarot: Anonymous, Chapters 1 – 5 especially.
The UnderWorld Initiation: R. J. Stewart.
Mesoamerican Religions: David Carrasco.
Owning Your Own Shadow: Robert A. Johnson. HarperSanFransisco, 1993.
1. Dion Fortune: The Mystical Cabalah. Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1996 (from
2. Rudolf Steiner: Karmic Relationships, Vol. II, GA 236, lecture 12
of May 29, 1924. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974, p. 193.
This is the only known description of Taotl outside "Inner Impulses".
3. Eduard Seler: Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 1902 – 1923, Berlin.
4. Charles William Heckethorn – The Secret Societies of All Ages and
Countries: Embracing the Mysteries andanavia, the Cabalists, Early Christians,
Heretics, Assassins, Thugs, Templars, the Vehm and Inquisition, Mystics,
Rosicrucians, Illuminati, Freemasons, Skopzi, Camorristi, Carbonari, Nihilists,
and Other Sects. Kessinger Publishing Co, from 1875 & 1897 (2nd ed.).
German edition published 1900.
5. Steiner: Karmic Relationships, Vol. II, p. 192. This derogatory
reference to the history of the “personality” mentioned is one of the very
few references by Steiner to the “Mexican Mysteries” outside of GA 171, although
it is repeated almost verbatim in several later Karmic Relationships lectures.
The reference to the “curious man” is unique to this citation, however.
6. Rudolf Steiner: The Temple Legend - From the Contents of the Esoteric
School, (GA 93). Lectures from May 23, 1904 to January 2, 1906.
Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997. This is an almost equal curiosity, as there
are many more reputable sources of information on the Masons than Heckethorn.
7. Esther Pasztory: Teotihuacan – An Experiment in Living. U.
of Oklahoma Press, 1997, p. 201. Also: “The gods signify the personified
powers of nature”: p. 206. She does have an excellent section on Seler:
pp. 64 – 72. Overall, the book is in a class by itself, notwithstanding
the limitations noted. GŁnther Wachsmuth, Steiner's personal assistant and long-term member of the Anthroposophical Society's Board, uses Seler, without any difficulty, as an authority in the third volume of his evolutionary studies: "The Evolution of Mankind", Philosophic-Anthroposophic Press, 1961, pp. 85, 90, and elsewhere.
8. Seler: The Green Stone Idol of the Stuttgart Museum. From
Collected Works in Mesoamerican Linguistics and Archeology, Labyrinthos,
1993 (from the German of 1904). Quetzalcoatl is the deity of Venus
as Morning Star, whereas Xolotl is the deity of Venus as Evening Star.
9. Steiner: Inner Impulses of Evolution, lecture of Sept. 18.
10. Steiner: Karmic Relationships, Vol. VII, GA 239, lecture 3 of June
9, 1924. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973, p. 49. This is the only
known reference by Steiner to Tezcatlipoca outside Inner Impulses.
11. Benjamin Keen: The Aztec Image in Western Thought. Rutgers
U. Press, 1971. Fascinating portraits and documentation of the volatile
perception of Aztec reality and how it would shift as it reflected trends
and fads in European politics, culture, and philosophy. It seems that
the history of the subject has been that speculation has been in inverse
proportion to the amount of information available, careening between rational
reduction and romantic projection.
12. The revered, later deposed by agents of Tezcatlipoca, ruler of
the Toltec empire, d. c. 976 A.D., or perhaps relocated in exile in Yucatan.
Aztec prophecy conflated his return with that of Cortez, with disastrous
consequences. See also Tony Shearer’s Lord of the Dawn, Naturegraph
Publishing, for a good exposition of this modern enthusiasm, significant
in the genesis of the Harmonic Convergence of 1987.
13. Miguel Leon-Portilla, editor and translator: Native Mesoamerican Spirituality.
Translated from the Nahuatl of Fray Bernardino de Sahagun: General History
of the things of New Spain (Florentine codex). As in The Flayed God, by Roberta
H. & Peter T. Markman, Harper Collins, 1992.
14. Bernardo Sahagun: The Florentine Codex.
15. Statement of Sun Tracks – American Indian Literary Magazine. Students
and faculty U. of Arizona.
Inquires and responses welcomed; send to: to Stephen Clarke, [email protected], c/o Southern Cross Review,
or through his All Our Relations group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AllOurRelations/
Stephen Clarke is a BMW/MBZ Service shop owner, a 30-yr. New Mexico
resident, and president of his local Santa Fe Anthroposophical Society Branch.
He attends church at a local Pueblo sweat lodge.