Friday, June 23, 2006

Intermission of Fragments V – More from Valentin Tomberg on Anthroposophy and Church

I thought next, that I would be posting more on the Eucharistic themes of the last entry.

But an unexpected impulse has led me to put up more on the former Anthroposophist Valentin Tomberg (including further material previously unavailable in English, as far as I know) regarding Tomberg´s later attitudes to Anthroposophy, as well as to the Catholic Faith.

By way of departure however, I want to focus on how, in the 1960`s, the anonymous author of Meditations on the Tarot regarded the Anthroposophical movement. There he speaks of the wings of this movement being:

“clipped … which has rendered it, such as it is, since the death of its founder: a movement for cultural reform (art, education, medicine, agriculture) deprived of living esotericism, i.e. without mysticism, without gnosis and without magic.”

In terms of esotericism then, the anonymous author clearly considered the movement lifeless since 1925 – the year in which Rudolf Steiner died.

He goes to say that living esotericism has ´been replaced by lectures, study and intellectual work aiming at establishing a concordance between the writings and stenographed lectures of the master.´

Now all of this does not seem very far removed from the perspective of Valentin Tomberg, twenty years earlier, after he had decisively left Anthroposophy behind and entered the Catholic Church.

Recently, German notes have been published from Bernhard Martin (the author of Von der Anthroposophie zur Kirche, - which in English reads From Anthroposophy to the Church).

They are notes of what Valentin Tomberg is said to have related to Martin during two conversations in the mid-1940´s.

According to the German biography they are drawn from, these notes emerged in a context where Tomberg had unmistakably said: “Die Anthroposophie ist gescheitert.” Anthroposophy has failed.

And this is, I suspect, not unrelated to the fact that Tomberg *decisively* believed his 1930´s Anthroposophical works should not be republished.

More on this another time. For now, I feel that, sparse and fragmentary as they are, these notes offer much food for contemplation, and I publish a translation here, which a German friend of my Heart, gave to me as a personal favour.

" * First comes the test of Faith, only then Vision (about the reappearance of Christ). Knowledge as such is dangerous, also in relation to one's own past incarnations; it is of use only to the one who has stood the test of faith.

* Rudolf Steiner has given truth "on credit". It ought to have been repaid by the corresponding morality. Rudolf Steiner had the courage and the trust that humanity would justify his work.

* To begin with, Valentin Tomberg had joined his own work to this, but then abandoned it to work externally. There was to be no more "credit system". Enough had been said.

* The Catholic Church is an uncompromising force which unites and forgives.

* Confession (....cordis, confessio,satisfactio operum) = Help through self-knowledge and preparation for the meeting with the Dweller on the Threshold.

*Without devotion no progress. The effort is what counts, not the actual status.

* Living in the Tradition! Only the one with genius, ought to (and can) transcend it.

* The transformation in the Mass deeply shakes (erschuettert ihn) him(Tomberg) every time in his innermost being.

* The Mass has to be spoken in formulas; everything personal has to precede in the preparation."


I am hoping to say more on the Eucharist, but it could take me a week or more.

In the meantime, anyone interested in this post might appreciate a thread that ran here from Thursday 15 December to 22 December last year. This six-entry series definitely connects to the issues in the above, and is also one of the things that I feel most happy with in the entire weblog.

Christ be with you, friends.

32 comments:

Roger Buck said...

The quote from Meditations on the Tarot is from pgs 402-403.

The notes concerning Tomberg is from Valentin Tomberg Vol 1.2 pg 48 by Elisabeth Heckmann and Michael Frensch. It can be ordered at http://www.novalis.ch

Should my judgment err in making this brief extract available on the web, I ask forgiveness, and will remove it if asked.

Ideally, I should have liked to ask the publishers - whom I warmly and deeply respect - but as I say, an unexpected impulse came to me, and in a pressured situation, I have proceeded as I have.

Bruce said...

Hi Roger,
As we have discussed, no doubt there was some power in the Sacraments in Tomberg's time, but to a large extent this has been watered down. There needs be a renewal of the Catholic Mass which brings it closer to the ideal archetype.

The egregore of the Catholic Church is not "fixed" there. If the Church does not fulfill its needs it will move on.

I saw a good sign in the paper yesterday. Under the title "Nicene easy prayer" we read "Where the priest says, 'The Lord be with you', and the parishoners answer, 'and also with you", Catholics will soon reply, 'And also with your spirit'".

This brings the Mass closer to the Christian Community version, The Act of Consecration of Man.

There the priest intones, "Christ in You" and the servers say "And may He fill thy spirit". In the CC version the Lord is "in" rather than "with".

A science of the sacraments will be able to prove that changes can and do occur in the Communion cup (transubstantiation).
Some good work has already begun demonstrating the memory of water and how it is altered by prayer and intention.

Here is a couple of sites from the Anthro science list that examine water's memory capabilities.

Dr. Emoto bestselling work on the "memory" of water

Anonymous said...

Longtime Steiner/Waldorf teacher here.

Agree with your/Tomberg’s comments regarding the decline of the Anthroposophical movement. Disagree with your comments regarding the Catholic Church, which IMO is unforgiving and a source of great division. As such, I see little difference between the Anthroposophical movement and the Catholic Church, or any other organized religious movement for that matter.

Also disagree with your broad statement that “knowledge as such is dangerous”. On the contrary: all knowledge is in the long run positive, leading to growth and enlightenment.

Roger Buck said...

Hi 888 and anonymous,

Thank you.

Just to note it was not I who said knowledge is dangerous. I was quoting a fragment attributed to Tomberg.´

But I note my anonymous friend, that you write ´ín the long run´
indicating perhaps you might agree that knowledge not integrated in the short term could indeed be dangerous.

Which is perhaps what Tomberg meant.

Obviously I see things differently from you both regarding the Church.

I see tremendous LIFE there. Despite the enormous problems you are aware of too, my deep participation in it convinces me of that vitality and beauty. To say the very least.

While my participation in Anthroposophy has personally led me to something very like Tomberg´s verdict.

The Catholic Church seems to me to be far, far more vital than I think many outsiders can easily see.

Certainly I could not see that at all, until I followed the deepest impulses I could identify in myself, and enterered the Catholic Church, six years ago.

I hope to say more of this soon in the weblog itself.

In the meantime, thank you Bruce for your ongoing list of links.

Some of them have been VERY, and I mean VERY helpful to me. Really helping me. Thank you.

Also, yes there is a movement initiated from the Vatican to bring the vernacular form of the Mass closer to the original - and also to something more solemn, less casual.

And I quite agree it is hopeful.

And yet, Bruce I also agree more will be needed, certainly along the lines of what you mean by a Science of the Sacraments ...

I am hoping to say more about all this soon, as I say, but I rather think something else will be appearing at the main page first.

Thank you both warmly again,

Roger

Bruce said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bruce said...

To Anon,
Knowledge is necessary, but it also has a downside.
I could give a longer exposition, but this should do for now:
I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Ecclesiastes 1:16-18

Greetings,
Bruce

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