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Although this is my reply to another thread on find the planets visually in the TdM Marseilles- I think it belongs more here.
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Considered from this point of view, what was the alphabet? It was what the heavens revealed through their fixed stars and through the planets moving across them. When the alphabet was spoken out of the original, instinctive, human wisdom it was astronomy that was expressed. What was spoken through the alphabet and what was taught in astronomy in those olden days was one and the same thing. The wisdom in the astronomy of those times was not presented in the same way as the learning contained in any branch of knowledge today, which is built up from single perceptions and concepts. It was conceived as a revelation that made itself felt on the surface of human experience, either in the form of an axiomatic truth or as part of an axiomatic truth. Thus a concrete experience was represented with a part of the primal wisdom. And there was something of quite a dim consciousness connected with the fact that, in the Middle Ages, those who were highly educated still had to learn grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. In this ascent through the various spheres of learning lies a half conscious recognition of something, which in earlier days, existed in instinctive clarity. Today grammar has become very abstract. Going back into times of which history tells us nothing, but which, nevertheless, are still historical times, we find that grammar was not the abstract subject it is today but that men were led through grammar into the mystery of the individual letters. They learned that the secrets of the cosmos found expression in the letters. The single vowel was brought into connection with its planet, the single consonant with the single sign of the Zodiac; thus, through the letters of the alphabet, Man gained knowledge of the stars.
This an excerpt from an essay/lecture by Ruldolf Steiner written in 1916? I believe this also. It is strange that the Tree of life is considered by some a description called the Serpent of the Cross. Aleph the Breath to Tau the cross. If you go from Bright star + Planets to Bright star (fixed stars) - joining the dots for example of the Winter fixed stars- Capella on to >Alderbaran>Rigel>Sirius>Procyon>Pollux with Betelgeuse in the middle you get a Tree of Life diagram with Betelgeuse at Yesod foundation. Betelguese is means House/Temple of the Twins. Capella is at Kether/Crown. Interesting I think, and I like the connections. Kwaw has posted a poem in another thread.......
Quote:
In his Confessio Amantis John Gower (1330-1408) wrote in verse how Nectanabus was an astronomer and great magician who taught Alexander the properties of the stars:
And tuo and twenty, to the syhte
Whiche aren of hemself so bryhte,
That men mai dieme what thei be,
The nature and the proprete.

The 22 stars 'bryhte to the syhte' are the 15 fixed as taught by Nectanabus to Alexander [which Gower names as Aldeboran, Clota or the Pliades, Algol, Alhaiot, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Arial, Ala Corvi, Alaezel, Almareth, Venenas, Alpheta, Cor Scorpionis, Botercadent, Tail of Scorpio] and 7 wandering [ie, the seven traditional planets].
I can see how the stars could have made the tree.
~Rosanne
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I think that your quote from Steiner is later than 1916 - it seems to be post-war, and likely even post 1919, possibly from a lecture on the Alphabet following the opening of the first Waldorf school in Germany (subsequently closed by the Nazis) - so possibly even 1920-1921.

I'll look it up on my Steiner shelves if you're interested in the correct reference.
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Thanks Jmd I would appreciate accuracy- I get annoyed when I do not write correct references down for myself.
I have sketched a quick diagram (I hope you can see it) of the winter bright Stars that make a tree. It is interesting that path 11 from Aldebaran to Capella- Aleph is heading towards Capella which in Hebrew means bright messenger. I hope if anyone has some comments about this idea, you will post. ~Rosanne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
I can see how the stars could have made the tree.
Without hands? Without minds? Dream on.

In all seriousness, much too much is made of the stars: after all, the entire shell of the heavens rotates about the real zodiac (that of the seasons, which remain in place while all else revolves in a forward sense around it) every 25,000-plus years, and the constellations of the belt of the zodiac take their meanings from the signs of the round, not vice versa. For example, the ram is associated with the constellation Aries because rams symbolize a hard head (rams butt heads) and the place of the head in the real zodiac (the direction up in the body being symbolically linked to the vernal equinox, when things begin to spring up) happened to be alligned with that constellation when they decided to imprint the zodiac on the heavens. For my money, any who think astronomers thought the constellation looked like a ram and then named the sign of the real zodiac after it either have had a little too much LSD or (more likely) simply do not realize that the symbolism of the round of seasons takes priority in man's psyche: after all, it exists for astronomers and non-astronomers alike!
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Reference to Steiner's lecture (also online here):
"The Alphabet: An Expression Of The Mystery Of Man", given in Dornach (Switzerland) on 18th Dec. 1921 [GA 209 in the collected works]
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmd
Reference to Steiner's lecture (also online here):
"The Alphabet: An Expression Of The Mystery Of Man", given in Dornach (Switzerland) on 18th Dec. 1921 [GA 209 in the collected works]
Thanx: I have wanted to read this, to get more acquainted with the man and his thoughts on such matters.

Nearly half-way through (or a third?) he says: "In the etheric body and in the physical body there echoes the music of the spheres. In so far as it is of a vowel nature it echoes in the etheric body, and in the physical body in so far as it is of a consonant nature."

Now I find this extremely interesting, as in the bardic/Qabbalistic model the vowels occupy the lower half of the form world or 3rd wheel, which corresponds to the form of man (zodiac of seated torso or standing body), while the consonants occupy its upper half and the lower half of the next larger wheel (the 2nd) surrounding it (from horizon without to horizon within). In other words, things are in a sense inverted from Steiner's model.

Yet I think Steiner here points to a deeper truth: that the vowels originally resounded through the greater whole, the bardo-Qabbalistic inversion merely showing how this has become limited by the hypnosis of sensation, which limits the power of the vowels in us (and led to their consonantization in Semitic and Hamitic, no doubt).

A bit later on, he says: "And the forming of consonants in the physical body is the echo of what resounds from the single formations of the Zodiac, whereas the formation of vowels within the music of the spheres occurs through the movements of the planets in the cosmos."

This conforms, surely, to the Greek view, and it forms a sort of counterpoint to the inner, bardo-Qabbalistic (or Merkabah) view expressed by Sefer Yetzirah, where the seven doubles are all definitely consonants (and six of the vowel-equivalents are simples). I have speculated that the former (the Greek) was a sort of 'cover' or veil to obscure the latter, and yet I have expended no mean amount of 'grey matter' in the attempt to fix vowels with planets anyway! (typical of us obsessives).

A very telling quote comes just before the circular diagram of letters: "(This is naturally not a material process but has to do with formative activity.)" This places 'formative' prior to or distinct from 'material', just as the formative world is, in the Kabbalah.

Immediately after that diagram, though, he speaks of the 'constellations' of the zodiac, that is, in conformance to the common misperception. But then he says H is not a real letter: could he have been aware that it was numbered zero (or rather represented no-thing) in the bardic scheme? Hmm.

Later he says: "If we look upon Man and gradually learn to know his true nature, then his physical body actually ceases to be in the way it normally confronts us and otherwise stands before us, our vision widens and Man grows into the heavens of the fixed stars." This is pure Hermetic truth: I laud him. I would refine it only by defining physical body as Ezekiel's 4th wheel, the round of the womb that forms it, as this makes clear the poetic reason space is dark, the mundane 'reason' being that light has finite velocity and the 4th wheel is the present instant.

Nearing the end, he says: "Today grammar has become very abstract. Going back into times of which history tells us nothing, but which, nevertheless, are still historical times, we find that grammar was not the abstract subject it is today but that men were led through grammar into the mystery of the individual letters." Amen. And: "The unit embraced all numbers and was the greatest. Today the unit is the smallest." It is as if he anticipated my signature!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
Much incorporates alphabetical allusion, for example, Michael to the right, Gabriel to the left, Nuriel to the front "are my shield"; an acrostic play on Michael. Gabriel, Nuriel = MaGeN = shield.

Kwaw
Another example of this type of wordplay,, but this time evoking the protection of the four wifes of Jacob:

But if you should abrogate this, my abjuration, I will beat you with the iron rod of those four holy matriarchs BILHAH, RACHEL, ZILPAH, LEAH. Therefore, fulfill this abjuration so that a blessing of goodness may befall you. Amen.

Iron is common defence against witches and demons. In this example of a magical incantation for the protection of women during pregnancy in which demons are told they will be smitten by an iron bar if they do not depart, there is an acrostic play on initial letters of the matriarchs in the order given Bilhah, Rachel, Zilpah, Leah spells BRZL that means iron.

Kwaw
Ref: Text from box K1.30 of the Taylor-Schecter Genizah collection published in Hebrew and Aramaic incantation texts from the Cairo Genizah by Schiffmann & Swartz.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
. . . spells BRZL that means iron.
That is almost certainly how Brazil got its name, by the way (from being a primary Phoenician source for that metal).
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