One of my favorite and most influential esoteric writers of all time, Alvin Boyd Kuhn, in his magnum opus, The Lost Light, describes how the meaning of ancient scriptures was lost over time. He locates the turning point at about the 3rd century AD in which the true sacred import of these texts was either lost, fumbled, bumbled, misinterpreted, diminished, watered down, disregarded, or turned into extremist dogma.
Part of the reason for this was due to the cryptic nature of these texts. To preserve and protect the spiritual truths contained within, methods of code such as allegory, numerology, symbolism were employed by the Bible, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Bhagavad Gita, etc, so that in the case of the profane spreading the text with the wrong slant, or a degenerate priest class lording it over the masses for control, the true meaning could remain safe and preserved like a good jam, for a time when the right eyes and ears would come to the text, for the right reasons.
The other reason the sacred meaning of scripture was lost since the 3rd century was due to the rise in materialism and scientific dogma which eventually came to the belief that our ancestors who penned these books were simple primitives, and thus there was no deeper meaning to be found in the texts. In other words they felt that the lack of clarity in their superficial read of the bible was not their fault but the fault of the ancient scribes who wrote it.
Kuhn exposes these faulty views and mishaps and restores the true high meaning to these texts. We find the lofty esoteric profundities in how the stars, the pattern of Earth and human evolution, the system of involution and evolution of souls within a Life Wave are all woven in coded allegory throughout these sacred poetic texts. He rightly states that the ancient writers were highly evolved sages, penning down crystalized truths preserved in the Mystery schools and finally committed to writing. The authors were not Gods, as some religious dogmatists claim, and on the other extreme, not simple primitives, as scientific materialists claim, but humans that today we would identify as ascended masters or gurus. The fact that their words have survived and held such sway over society even in its degenerated and misinterpreted form is proof in itself of the divine inspiration behind the books. Their words ring true and resonate with the subconscious mind of the reader, even if consciously the deep meaning is not yet fully understood.
This article will conclude with one aspect of the sacred symbolism that carried over into a modern festival, namely Halloween, which is coming up as I write this. The modern festivals and holidays also hold, in code, the sacred, timeless truths of existence, even if today hardly anyone understands what or why they are celebrating it. Today it’s about candy and presents, in the past it was about linking up, through ritual, with the patterns of the Divine and the cosmos.
But first it’s important to recognize Kuhn’s faults, which became clear to me after discovering Rudolf Steiner, who takes Kuhn’s Theosophical outlook and takes it one quantum leap deeper into his system of Anthroposophy. One area that Kuhn missed or went astray, unfortunately, was on the Christ Mystery. Steiner was a clairvoyant who saw into the spiritual worlds and saw, directly, what the Christ Mystery was all about. Kuhn was a scholar, writer and researcher, and didn’t have this same direct access.
So to Kuhn, the symbolism around Christ was also a mis-rendering of something allegorical and symbolic into something historical. To Kuhn, there was no Christ Being, and none of the events of the bible actually happened. He sees the one-to-one overlap between these events and to patterns in the zodiac and in spiritual processes and determines that they could thus never have happened, that to make of them actual history is to cheapen them, pervert them, bring them down to the profane, and lose the knowledge.
But then Steiner comes along (actually technically Steiner came shortly before Kuhn), and would have said something like, ‘well, no, as you rightly said, Kuhn, the scriptural writers of old were high clairvoyant seers and prophets, and thus were penning prophecy. This is the key point. They were prophetic and seeing into the future, seeing that a Christ Being, a lofty God being, would one day come and incarnate in the flesh in the body of a man, and that this monumental event would be the most crucial turning point in all of Earth evolution and in the evolution of all the souls connected with the Earth.’
So in the debate between the historical versus allegorical portrayal of the bible we actually have a both-and situation. Steiner says these texts are both historical and allegorical. (They are also anagogical, which is a method of mystical or spiritual interpretation of statements or events, especially scriptural exegesis, that detects allusions to the afterlife.) Kuhn in his scholarly genius (and Gerald Massey before him) saw the Astro-theological and syncretic layerings to the bible, how there was such cross-pollination between eastern and western mysticism, and how all these cultures were describing zodiacal happenings which were also a map of the human soul through its various forms and incarnations from heaven to earth and back to heaven. He saw all this and said that of course it couldn’t be history, then.
But with Steiner another layer on top of the syncretic layer emerges, even more subtle to pinpoint. And that was that the ancient Egyptian prophets saw the coming of the Christ Being, and in their stories called him Horus. The ancient Persians saw the coming of the Christ Being and called him Ahura-Mazda, the spirit of the Sun. The ancient Indians saw the coming Christ and named him Krishna. The Jews had their coming Messiah. So we see this “cross-pollination” but it was in the coming of an actual historical event, not mere sharing of myths and allegories.
Then Kuhn looks at the life of Jesus and these other solar heroes predicting and depicting the life of Jesus Christ, and saw how it was all symbolic – such as the burial for 3 days, before the resurrection, which he saw as the burial of the soul in the 3 embryonic stages before man – mineral, plant and animal, before the resurrection of the soul in the body of man where it can come to fruition and full function.
Or how Jesus was born in Bethlehem which means in Hebrew “House of Bread” which he discovered was typical of the sign of Virgo, and of course Christ was born of a virgin. And how six months later we get the sign of Pisces (the House of Fish) a time lapse representing in the mysteries a full evolutionary cycle, and thus a rebirth – so we have Christ being born of a virgin and reborn in the House of Fish, and how many references in the New Testament do we have of fishes? Christ being the fishers of men, and the story of how he multiplied the loaves of bread and fishes to feed a multitude!
These connections are simply endless, very dense and Kuhn’s The Lost Light is a hefty 600 pages of mind-expanding wisdom of this type.
And yet, the tragic part is he took a wrong turn at some point and completely missed the deepest aspect of the Christ Mystery! So, the question remains then, how could Christ’s life and the events in the bible, both old and new testaments, be actual historical events if they fit hand-in-glove with occult soul evolution and star-maps of the heavens? In short, how can we reconcile Astro-theology with biblical historicity?
Steiner does this by showing how everything about Christ’s life was ritualistic. Everything leading up to Jesus’ birth, (including the role of the ancient Hebrews in preparing for his bloodline), to the life of Jesus, to the incarnation of the Christ Being at his baptism at age 30, to the time and place and happenstance of his death and resurrection, all had to happen exactly the way it did, so as to fulfill deep cosmic necessities. Not to make the prophecies about him true, rather the prophecies about him are true because his life itself was a cosmic ritual, it was the pivot around which the entire evolution of our cosmos orbits. And so of course when the sages were writing these texts, these texts apparently “happen” to contain Astro-theology; it is because they are describing the core astro-theological event which penetrates all fields of wisdom and gnosis! You can’t write about Christ without also poetically writing about the whole shebang! The universe was just set up that way.
Steiner says that we are just beginning to understand the Christ event. True Esoteric Christianity (not the mainstream, bastardized and watered down version you find at your local church) is thus in its infancy, and will be the last religion, as all the others were a preparation for it and will inevitably merge with it. Over time, in the coming epochs humanity will come to understand Christ more and more. His disciples and the gospel writers understood Him deeply because they had the privilege of being in his immediate presence. But then the deep inner connection with the Christ impulse was lost, as materialism and scientism gained sway. This had to happen, but now we are at a turning point where we must merge what we have gained from science and intellectualism with the ancient clairvoyance that will be reinvigorated with the Christ impulse.
Even the star-maps themselves, first and foremost were fixed to the firmament in that pattern by cosmic Beings, the Gods themselves, to tell us about the Christ event, which is also the story of our own soul’s fall and redemption back to the starry heavens. It was not the other way around – it was not that first there were the constellations arrayed into the twelve signs and then the bibles were codified to match them. We must reverse the cause and effect here in our minds – first there was this atemporal Mystery of Golgotha event which intersects our timeline at 33 AD, but around which everything pivots, both forward and backward in time, both Earthly and cosmically.
The occult meaning of Halloween
Now that we have delineated where Kuhn went astray (if one takes Steiner seriously, as I do), let’s see where Kuhn shines his light, for example in the meaning of the wearing of animal masks on Halloween. The scriptures often describe the interplay of the gods and animals. These “gods,” are below referring to us, the collective souls of humanity, little gods, if you will. And the animal is always a type-symbol for the physical human body, the material flesh-suit, which the soul or little god incarnates into (oftentimes not willingly). This cyclical incarnation is the great Cycle of Necessity, the full round of which is termed in Theosophy a “Life Wave.”
Kuhn quotes Massey here:
“Plutarch refers to the idea ‘that the Gods, being afraid of Typhon, did, as it were, hide themselves in the bodies of ibises, dogs and hawks,‘ and repudiated it as ‘foolery beyond belief.’ This, however, is a matter of interpretation. We know that such representations were part of the drama of the Mysteries. Many descriptions might be quoted to show that in their religious ceremonies, the actors performed their masquerade in the guise of animals.”
Then Kuhn writes, “We have here a sterling clue to the lost meaning of most of the weird ritualism still carried out in our celebration of Hallowe’en. The importance and gripping significance of this remnant of ancient symbolic dramatism is not dreamed of today. The masks worn were originally those of animal faces or hides. The festival, coming at the time of the September equinox (with a forty-days’ interval), when the sun, eternal symbol of the divine soul, was descending across the line which marked the boundary between disembodied spirit and soul embodied, dramatized the entry of the god into the animal body. “Mask” is in Latin “persona” The god was then putting on the mask of his personality; and all the weird capers, grimaces, horseplay and general buffoonery of the Hallowe’en revelry most piquantly prefigure the deity’s ungainly animalish behavior when cavorting behind the outward mask of the animal’s nature! The moon being the parent of the mortal body, lunar symbolism was prominently introduced into the portrayal. And all this is another strong proof that it was the primal religious ritual drama that gave rise to social tradition and celebratory custom, and not folk-practice that gave rise to the myth, as scholars have always so erroneously contended….We have but to use our imagination constructively to see how mythography passed first into the realism of dramatic representation, then into legend lacking the original spiritual meaning, and finally into a sadly distorted and barren folk-tale.”(SOURCE)”
(And then from a barren folk-tale into a materialist holiday of consumerism, candy, chocolate, and horror movies. The Jack of the jack-o-lantern is the Solar hero, the orange pumpkin is the color of Scorpio, who gives the sun the sting of death as the days get shorter and we go into the underworld of winter. Just as Judas betrayed the Son, Jesus and gave him the kiss of death.)