Rudolf Steiner sometimes refers to the seventh and highest stage of Christian initiation as the Ascension, although it is not explicitly mentioned in the Gospel of John, which is the basis of this path of spiritual training. It then follows the Entombment, which is the sixth stage. To experience this 7th stage, one must have learned to think without the tool of the physical brain. This feeling of Ascension follows of its own accord from the previous ones; there are no human words to express it. It means, by now growing beyond the astral plane, the complete conscious absorption into the actual spiritual world, the Devachan. In individual lectures, however, Rudolf Steiner refers to this 7th stage as "Resurrection", in which case the Ascension is not mentioned.
„The seventh stage is called the Ascension. It means the complete absorption into the spiritual world.
The Gospel of John is an account of this Christian initiatory journey. Those who take it as an external account do not understand it. It can only be understood when man lives through it inwardly. In this sense Angelus Silesius says:
Then the ascension is held in your spirit.
„Then follows the entombment, an experience in which one feels at one with the planets, and the seventh stage, of which one cannot speak, because only he who can detach his thinking from his brain can suspect anything. It is the Ascension.“ (Lit.:GA 97, p. 233)
„Man then learned to grasp himself as a spiritual being. A burial, a resurrection and an ascension were experienced by the student in all religious mysteries. The profound myths, which are allegorical representations of great world truths, are not elaborate.
The Germanic myths also show in detail, in a wonderfully vivid way, what the mystery student experiences. What was told of Wotan and so on were allegorical experiences in the Mysteries. In the astral, the student of the mysteries experienced the descent of the God, the spreading of the God, the burial, resurrection and ascension. All this always takes place in the astral. It is a well-known experience in the astral space. What the mystics could see in antiquity, the people of Christianity were supposed to believe, even if they did not see. Christianity was a mystical fact.
What took place for the mystery student in the astral space took place on the physical plane as the Incarnation of Christ. The student of the mysteries had sensed all this in advance. The physical is only a condensation of what happens in the soul space.“ (Lit.:GA 90b, p. 287)
- Rudolf Steiner: Selbsterkenntnis und Gotteserkenntnis II, GA 90b (2017), ISBN 978-3-7274-0905-9 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Kosmogonie, GA 94 (2001), ISBN 3-7274-0940-1 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Das christliche Mysterium, GA 97 (1998), ISBN 3-7274-0970-3 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: email@example.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.