CONTEMPLATIONS ARISING FROM
years ago, I interpreted ‘Parsifal’ into hexameter, with its
rhythmical flow of breath, to benefit therapy in language also
suitable for pedagogical
legend itself is also a symbolic quest prefiguring the eventual
transmutation of all of mankind. I have recently understood
something of why the Grail is related to the Philosopher’s Stone,
as described by Rudolf Steiner during the first lecture of the
Munich Conference, 1907.
following content from the Munich Conference has certainly inspired
my therapeutic work using rhythms and meter: Learning to bring the
breathing process more and more into a rhythmical flow is a step
along the path of creating the inner alchemy through which human
substance will one day become completely chastened substance. The
Philosopher’s Stone is carbon and will form the human body of the
Thus let us explore the
following old Rosicrucian verses where the Grail is identified as
the Philosopher’s Stone:
The Stone Philosophical
Make pure thy sense till thou art dust
That out of dust thy grass may grow:
thou art hay, then burn thou must,
Thy fire most mightily must glow.
And when at last thy dust is burned,
Thy ash to Wisdom’s Stone is turned.
Then live by the Stone’s grace.
This stone it is of noble race.
The Phoenix by its lightning flashes
Will burn till he is turned to ashes,
Then rises younger from the flame.
This Stone the Grail they name.
In Lecture 1
of The Munich Conference, May 19,1907 –‘The Rosicrucian
Initiation’, Rudolf Steiner speaks of the fourth level of
Rosicrucian Initiation – ‘The Producing of the Philosopher’s
teachings have made a Fairy Tale of it. That is right in a certain
way; because if it were really such as science imagines, it would
be a child’s game. It is, however, the highest goal that one can
… ‘We only
need to focus on a process which the human being is always going
through, contemplating it in a cosmic sense. That is the process of
breathing. We breathe in and out. Breathing in oxygen, we breathe
out into the surrounding world. The out-breath of carbon dioxide is
a poisonous gas in which we cannot live. The plant absorbs it
continuously, keeps the carbon from the carbon dioxide and builds
its own body. The oxygen, however, is given back to the animals and
human beings. Thus, plant, animal and humans form a whole in so far
as the breathing process is concerned. The human being needs the
plant in our time. The corporeal remains of the plant become black
coal when they are transformed and dug up out of the earth. They
finally become transformed into the transparent diamond. We human
beings carry these two processes as potentialities within us, but
we cannot use them. We must give carbon dioxide up to the plant as
its breath of life. The plant builds up its body from carbon
dioxide. It can do something that the human beings cannot yet do,
but which we will be able to do later. Imagine this process: taking
up carbon dioxide through the plant being, then sending out oxygen
– The transference into the inner part of the human (Part of the
text here is missing.)…that is we must flow together with the plant
world at that point, in such a way that the plant’s process will
then be taken up into the human constitutional nature. We could
build up a pure chaste body during such a process, as the plant
does today within itself. To become a being that can fulfil this
process consciously is the goal toward which the human being is now
proceeding. When the goal has been achieved, mankind will be in the
condition through which the Chalice of the Holy Grail can be
developed. So the process of breathing is not a finished
accomplishment. It is on the way to becoming perfected in order to
finally achieve what is now happening outside our human body,
inside us. This will form human substance that is interwoven with
‘Kama’ into pure chastened substance. This is true alchemy. Then
man will be able to perform the inner alchemy through which he will
transform the cosmos. The symbol for that is the Holy Grail. We
must not avoid pursuing this high ideal, just because it is still
millions of years away from us. It is likely to be attained out of
the principle that ‘Continuous drops of water will hollow out the
stone’. It is to be achieved by those who learn to bring the
breathing process more and more into a rhythmical flow. Bit by bit,
that goal will be achieved. The Philosopher’s Stone is carbon, the
substance that will form the human body of the future. This
transformation is alchemy in the Rosicrucian sense. Naturally the
inmost indications an only be given from teacher to
purification process of feeling begins, as perceived through the
feeling organ of the soul. This can be associated with the process
in the legend of Parsifal. It is one aspect of a higher parallel,
which has been described by Rudolf Steiner. The Grail itself will
become the instrument for creative transformation in the far
Now let us
look again at the plant, which is so important in human and cosmic
understanding. It begins in the forces of deep earth, but as Albert
Steffen speaks ‘To a Rose’1) in the second
‘The earth became for you a holy shrine.
Your roots hold fast, you cling to one so
I am filled with longing, I perish here,
I seek within the All what’s wholly mine.
How can we
learn about evolution from the etheric properties of the plant.
Perhaps further lines from the Rosicrucian wisdom in ‘The Water
Philosphical’ hold a clue:
The Water Philosophical
Water is water and water remains.
From heavenly water, water downrains.
Philosopher’s Stone tears of water lets
The world does not relish this water at
Their life to this water returns.
Their fire in this water burns.
Fire in water flames higher.
Boil in water the fire
Giving birth to a firey water
Sharp as the salt sea’s daughter,
Which to thy children is water of life,
Swallows up hatred and love in its strife.
Seek philosophic water fourfold
Which remains from of old.
At their highest the Arts of the Wise
From the core of this water arise.
well, experiences the longing, living in the darkness of earth
existence, to which the human condition is given. He goes astray,
becoming lost in the earth forces, and actually physically lost as
well, although his legs still carry him on. In his suffering, his
banishment from the Grail Castle, he finally arrives at
Treversant’s cave, where his karmic relationships are finally
revealed to him. Then shines the inner light of understanding
through which he is able to feel a new kind of soul-courage to
continue his quest. Kundrie can lead the way at that time, back to
the Grail Castle.
error was originally connected to his impulsive will forces. A
spiritual fire, called ‘The Fire Philosophical’ in the writings of
the Rosicrucians, spans the redemption of mankind’s forces of will
through Saturn, Sun, Moon and to the ends of the Earth incarnation.
I would like to give as well as the other Rosicrucian
The Fire Philosophical
Yearn for the fire, seek for the fire,
Thou shalt become fire.
Bring fire to fire, broil fire in fire,
Throw body, soul, and spirit into fire,
Then hast thou dead and living fire,
shalt become black, yellow, white, red
Bear thy children in fire,
Give them food and drink in fire,
Thus they live and die in fire,
silver and gold shall all become fire
And shall be in the end a fourfold philosophic
Parsifal certainly made errors in the realm of will, each error
seemed to be necessary for his final redemption. He needed to think
it through and make a sacrifice. After his first visit to the Grail
‘Parsifal, brave, slow in wisdom
– does not understand why he’s banished.
Outwardly ready to win – and pure
of intention, his conscience
Needs to be wakened at last.–
Experience shall become conscious.
Questions arise, so contrary – to
what the old knight Gurnemanz said;
Parsifal must understand:
– ‘Meeting others requires
It’s no unmanly behaviour -
to ask someone, what is the matter?’
perhaps too stoical to speak about his illness without being asked,
as we all are at times in our various human suffering. Maybe he was
destined not to tell. Collectively we are sometimes too ashamed to
speak of the illness concerning ‘human’ inhumanity. We, as well as
Parsifal need to compassionately discover exactly what is wrong,
quite specifically, in order to remedy a
end, Parsifal must give up his old image of knighthood to receive
the chalice as the Grail King: In the words of St. Paul: ‘I am, not
I, but the Christ that liveth in me.” This is a sacrifice of self
in service to the earth as Priestly-King:
‘Now can Sir Parsifal proffer -
the chalice he’s offered, as Grail-King.
He understands the new challenge.
– His questions will link him to answers.
Parsifal’s presence of mind –
awakens to know a new courage,
Born of the heart. He will
need – all he’s worth to fulfil it in
Surely Konduiramor too - will
partake in this regeneration,
Helping as Queen of the Grail –
so the new world can lovingly flourish.
Humans, as fruit of the earth
world – will speak forth their sons and their
Calling them to incarnation
- with Christ who is living within
Purified, unselfish love – will
unite with the cosmic intentions.
All individual humans – will take
on the form of a vessel.
(Each time the Grail force is
present – we are striving toward this
Infinite striving flows forth –
to give what experience offers:
Ways to unravel the knots – and
to answer the questions of Karma,
Processes calling for deeds –
that promote and transform evolution –
So in receiving the chalice – as
Grail-King does Parsifal open
Wellsprings for all who aspire –
to fulfil universal objectives.
He represents the creative,
- unfolding and selfless existence
Linking the earth to the Spirit –
transforming the evil to goodness;
Each individual human – will be
part of the cosmic endeavour!
The being of Self can live
healthily in a selfless condition. A higher law is graciously at
work Feeling akin to such thoughts allows a prefiguration of the
sixth and seventh levels of Rosicrucian initiation, that are spoken
about in the Munich Conference: ‘The Ability to Ascend to the
Microcosm’ and, finally, ’Divine Redemption’, a condition where
independent consciousness is preserved, but the initiate can feel
the highest being. As Rudolf Steiner says at the end of the first
lecture: ‘…There is one thing that can be noted: ‘If the human
being does not come blundering out of his egotism towards the goal,
but rather feels himself to be a part of the evolution; if he comes
not out of greed, but rather feels a kind of obligation, if he
wants to serve the evolutionary process, if he purifies all that he
must purify, there is no danger. And the Rosicrucian schooling will
indeed cause a moral purification to take place. The striving to go
forth into pure thought must hover before the soul, because pure
thought is a powerful moral purification. It works then as a
preparation for the six levels.’
In the Grail quest, we all
finally become Kings and Queens of our own souls. I will finish
with the same quote of J.W.Goethe’s, that Rudolf Steiner uses to
end the first lecture of the Munich
‘Free from the forces which bind
Is the human who has conquered
‘To a Rose’ by Albert Steffen, p.83 Albert Steffen/Translation and
Tribute, Special Issue of Journeyman’s Almanac, Adonis Press,
Rudolf Steiner, Lecture in Berlin, 14 March,