Anthroposophy NYC Blog
MEETING OUR TIMES
Great Conjunction of 2020 and the Redemption of Mars
Author: Jonathan Hilton
In the previous article (click here to read), I described the rotation of the Golden Triangle through the zodiac as it progresses 8-10 degrees forward over time. The article included some references into the future, up until the return of the current corner to its original point in 6 BC in about 2500 AD during the next Oriphiel Age. In the second part of the article on the lineage of this Great Conjunction, we will look back in history and focus on the Great Conjunction of 1603 AD as an example of their role in esoteric history.
What we are taught in western traditional history is predominantly from the perspective of the victors, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. But there is an esoteric tradition running throughout and beneath exoteric history. To understand the lineage of these Great Conjunctions is to follow this esoteric history. These conjunctions are sign posts of the struggle between the continuation of the esoteric stream and the outer history of the ascent of materialism. We can be grateful that Rudolf Steiner has played a large role in accessing and presenting this hidden history for our deeper knowledge of world events. In following the trajectory of these Great Conjunctions in time, the esoteric perspective can illuminate the forces at work out of these conjunctions and other various interplanetary relationships.
As said before, the Great Triangle takes about 2500 years for one complete revolution, thus in 5000 years, two revolutions. These great cycles are called in Buddhism “kalachakras,” meaning the wheels of time, and they follow along the cycles of 60 years. We can see here the connection to the rhythm of the Great Conjunctions. In “kalachakra,” we also find the word chakra, the name for the spiritual organs in the human etheric body, which are also like “wheels.” Kalachakra applies to the great wheel of time that inscribes historical periods and its teaching is said to have come down to humanity from the kingdom of Shambala, which humanity has lost, yet, will one day find again.
One example of the Kalachakra cycles is to go back to the Great Conjunction of 482 BC. This was the death date of Buddha, that death which would be his last incarnation. The Great Conjunction of that year was at the same position essentially as the current Great Conjunction of 2020 at the start of Capricorn. Thus, this Kalachakra of the Golden Triangle (approximately 2500 years) has come full circle from the end of Gautama Buddha’s physical incarnations and his ascent to the ongoing work beyond the physical embodiment. It is said that his last words to his disciples were, “Be a light unto yourself.” Of course, between this ascent of Buddha until this year, the work of the Buddha has transformed itself into his service to the Christ event. Rudolf Steiner describes Buddha as the inspirer of John the Baptist’s preaching, as the angelic proclamation to the Shepherds at the birth of the Luke Jesus, and as the bearer of wisdom in the astral nature of the Luke Jesus boy until his 12th year and his union with the Zarathustra child. The Buddha underwent a great transformation as well in service of the Christ impulse. One Kalachakra into the future, another 2500 years brings us to about 4500 AD. This will be the time when the Maitreya Bodhisattva will rise to Buddhahood.
The corner of the Golden Triangle now occurring can be followed back through significant events in the esoteric Christian stream and the changes in human consciousness in its relation to the rise of modern intelligence. For example, this lineage of conjunctions coincides with the birth of Augustine in 352 AD, with the founding of the Celtic Christian Church on Iona by St. Columba in 590 AD, with the time when Percival becomes Grail King in 888 AD, with the destruction of the Templars beginning in 1306. In more recent times, it can be associated with the beginning of the public work of Rudolf Steiner in 1901. But for this article, we will focus on this conjunction that occurred in 1603.
I selected this particular conjunction in the lineage of the 6 BC conjunctions because, like the 2020 conjunction, it was also at winter solstice. In fact, it is the only other prior conjunction in this line to occur at winter solstice. The previous conjunction in this lineage and at winter solstice was in 1305 on December 25, which was a threefold conjunction going into 1306. The Conjunction of 1603 announces a new spiritual impulse in the world, as is the theme of these 6 BC conjunctions, with a very special event in esoteric history. This event brings together the mission of Christian Rosenkreuz and the being of the Buddha in order to assist in a significant task of healing for humanity associated with the sphere of Mars.
To understand the work of Buddha and the sphere of Mars, let us look at the relation of the meditative work to unfold the Mars chakra, which is in the region of the throat. The Mars chakra is the 16-petaled lotus (8 petals opened and 8 petals to be developed consciously by the human being). Where does this 16 (8+8) come from? To begin with, it is a multiple of 4, the number for space and our object consciousness in the material world. With Mars, we have the cosmic numbers of 4, 8, and 16. How does this relate to the planet Mars? It corresponds to the actual life cycle of Mars in the heavens, in the sense that it is the geometric form created by Mars in its conjunctions and oppositions with the Sun. Over 16 years, Mars makes 8 conjunctions with the Sun, forming a double square, which is also an octagon (an 8-sided form). Mars has an intimate connection with “four-ness,” with space, with the material object world, and our capacity to confront it. Therefore, it is connected deeply with the freedom we developed out of this consciousness and the earthly-ego built out of this consciousness, which confronts the external world in order to become conscious of “self.” We can take this expression of Mars just described in its cosmic movements, its cosmic geometry, and put it into relationship to the Mars 16-petaled chakra with the 8 undeveloped petals. In Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Rudolf Steiner describes the exercises to develop this chakra. They are the 8-fold path of the Buddha. Out of this we can see that the great teacher of love and compassion, the Buddha, has an intimate relation to the sphere of Mars, particularly to its transformation.
What was the event that took place associated with this Great Conjunction at Christmas/solstice time in 1603 (December 18 to be exact), in relation to the transformation of Mars? Rudolf Steiner describes this event, interestingly, in two solstice/Christmas lectures on December 22, 1912 (see Between Death and Rebirth, Berlin, Lecture 5) and on December 18, 1912 (see The Mission of Christian Rosenkreuz, Lecture VII). I will simply include excerpts from Rudolf Steiner here as he explains the danger to humanity of a split occurring between those who pursued spirituality and those who pursued the Martian descent into purely materialistic science:
“The souls who passed through the Mars sphere at that particular time could grasp only the physical and material nature of things. If these conditions on Mars had continued without change, if the phase of decline had been prolonged, souls would have brought with them from the Mars sphere forces that would have rendered them incapable of anything except a purely materialistic conception of the world. Nevertheless, the results of the decline of Mars were responsible for bringing modern natural science into existence; these forces poured with such strength into the souls of men that they led to triumph after triumph in the domain of materialistic knowledge of the world; and in the further course of evolution, this influence would have worked exclusively for the promotion of materialistic science, for the interests of trade and industry only, of external forms of culture on the Earth.
It would have been possible for a class of human beings to be formed entirely under the influence of certain old Mars forces and interested in external culture only; these human beings would have confronted another class of individuals, composed of followers of Francis of Assisi, in other words, of Buddhism transported into Christianity. A being such as the Buddha, having continued to work until the time of Francis of Assisi as previously indicated, would have been able to produce on the Earth a counterweight to the purely materialistic conception of the world by pouring strong forces into the souls of men. But this would have led to the formation of a class of individuals capable only of leading a monastic life patterned on that of Francis of Assisi; and these individuals alone would have been able to scale the heights of spiritual life.
If this state of things had remained, humanity would have divided more and more sharply into two classes: the one composed of those who were devoted entirely to the interests of material existence on the Earth and the advancement of external culture, and the other class, due to the continuing influence of Buddha, would have consisted of those who fostered and preserved spiritual culture. But the souls belonging to the latter class would, like Francis of Assisi, have been incapable of participating in external, material forms of civilization. These two categories of human beings would have become more and more sharply separated. As the inevitability of this state of things could be prophetically foreseen, it became the task of the individual whom we revere under the name of Christian Rosenkreuz to prevent such a separation taking place in the further evolution of mankind on the Earth. Christian Rosenkreuz felt it to be his mission to offer to every human soul, living no matter where, the possibility of rising to the heights of spiritual life.
But in the wise counsels of the spiritual worlds, steps were taken to avert the worst form of this evil on the Earth. A Conference of the greatest and most advanced Individualities was called together by Christian Rosenkreuz. His most intimate pupil and friend, the great teacher Buddha, participated in these counsels and in the decisions reached. At that spiritual Conference, it was resolved that henceforward Buddha would dwell on Mars and there unfold his influence and activity. Buddha transferred his work to Mars in the year 1604. And on Mars, he performed a deed similar to that performed by Christ on the Earth in the Mystery of Golgotha.”
“And in the seventeenth century, Buddha, the Prince of Peace, went to Mars—the planet of war and conflict—to execute his mission there.”
“It was possible to avert from humanity the threatened separation into two classes, so that men might remain inwardly united. And those who are intent upon esoteric development, in spite of their absorption in practical life, can achieve their goal because the Buddha is working from the sphere of Mars, and not from the sphere of the Earth.”
The deed for the Mars sphere by Buddha took place in 1604, bringing a new spiritual impulse, with the Great Conjunction taking place in December, near solstice, in 1603. Now we can add the location of this Great Conjunction to fill out the picture. The conjunction took place in the stars of Scorpion. Scorpion is that constellation deeply related to the descent of humanity into materialism, the “fall” into matter. It is that constellation in the threefold imagination of Michael defending Sophia (Virgo) from the Dragon (Scorpio), into which the cosmic intelligence had descended. Overall, in Scorpio, we have to go through the mysteries of death, meaning the death perspective of material existence. However, we also have the association of Scorpio with the “Spirit Self,” the transformation of the astral/consciousness nature that has fallen and the force of resurrection potential. The work of Buddha prior to this deed in Mars was connected with this transformation of the astral body, but would have led to spiritual development separated out from the material practical sphere of life. Christian Rosenkreuz (and the Rosicrucian task) recognized the need to prevent this separation and to bring spirituality into the realm of the material life. This of course is also the task of spiritual science brought by Rudolf Steiner out of the Rosicrucian stream.
But let us look further at this Conjunction in Scorpio. It takes place not just in the stars of Scorpio, but at the heart of Scorpion, near the star Antares. What does Antares mean? It means “like Mars.” It is said that this is due to its reddish light, like the planet Mars, but we can look beneath this to the deeper aspect of Antares meaning “like Mars,” and the relation of Mars to this evolutionary task to bring humanity into materialism and the physical object world. We have this “cosmic timing” of the Great Conjunction at the star Antares and the deed of Buddha for the sphere of Mars in 1604.
We also can look to another significant star event at the same time, also in the region of Scorpio, actually just between Scorpio and the constellation of Ophiuchus. In this starry region, in October 1604, Kepler saw a supernova, though he was not the first to observe it. He and other astronomers it seems were interested in observing the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter and Saturn at that time, which they saw as an auspicious conjunction, linked to the Star of Bethlehem! This supernova was visible for several months and for a few weeks even visible during the day. It was the second supernova to be observed in a generation, with the other being the supernova Tycho Brahe spotted in Cassiopeia in 1572. There have been no further supernovas observed in our Milky Way since this one in 1604. Rudolf Steiner says that a Nova accompanies a new impulse into the spiritual aura of the Earth by the spiritual world. It is described that after studying the super nova for months, Kepler received his inspiration for the elliptical orbits of the planets, which broke all previous astronomical traditions. It was a mystery that had baffled him for years, and its discovery was founded on the work of Tycho Brahe. With this realization, Kepler stated that he had “overcome Mars.” In a certain way, Kepler’s life work is a step in this direction of the spiritualization of Mars, since for him, this was a scientific representation of the spiritual/moral world order of the cosmos, a bridging of the abyss between the spiritual world order and the materialistic world conception.
In the Great Conjunction of 2020, at winter solstice, we can look back in history to when this line of conjunctions also occurred at solstice. One can trace back this corner through many spiritual historical events related to the esoteric stream. It should be noted that on the day of the Great Conjunction in 2020, Mars was in a square relationship to Pluto, in which one can see the challenges ahead in the continued activity of the Mars perspective in relation to the dark and powerful realm of Pluto, which contains also the potential for highest transformative activity. It is a call to us to bring spirituality into the reality of the world into our very doing, into our current challenges in relation to nature, to science, and to societal forms that are all still based on the materialistic world view.
January 10, 2021
Jonathan Hilton was the President of the Council of New York City Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America. He has been working with anthroposophy in various ways for over 40 years. His work includes a new approach to star wisdom, arising out of anthroposophy, as developed by Willi Sucher, with a particular focus on the cycle of the year as a path to the new Sun mysteries. astrosophy.com
This article is available in the PDF format for the followers of astrosophy.com.
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