The following is a translation of the instructions given by Rudolf Steiner to his pupil Herbert Hahn for the Four Weeks of Advent. It is the first published Italian translation of this text. It is followed by my esoteric comments on the indications as well as the commentary on the Imaginations for the Advent Angels according to the indications of Soline and Pierre Lienhard.
These considerations are the fruit of the meditations conducted during the Four Weeks of Advent and the Twelve Holy Nights. They are also listed as Thirteen Holy Nights and we will see why.
To go further into the Holy Nights, you can read them:
The Four Weeks of Advent
13 Holy Nights - Part One: December 24-31
13 Holy Nights - Part Two: 1-6 January
Book - The Thirteen Holy Nights and Anthroposophical Christmas
Kristina Kaine - Kristina Kaine - The 12 Holy Nights - Part One: 24-31 December
Kristina Kaine - Kristina Kaine - The 12 Holy Nights - Part Two: 1-6 January
Rudolf Steiner - Esoteric Indications about Christmas for Herbert Hahn
Preparation for Advent
During Advent it is important to be prepared during the waking life, at the arrival of Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve and Holy Nights as a whole. This is done by lighting the Advent Candles. The succession of the four candles depends on the colour of the Advent angels, of which they are a symbol. The candles are lit every morning and extinguished every evening until Christmas Eve. Usually they are placed on a tray or a fir tree crown, decorated with other plant symbols of Christmas (red balls, white balls, etc.).
Before Advent: Blue Candle
Second of Advent: Red Candle
Third of Advent: White Candle
Fourth of Advent: Purple Candle
The Advent Angels take turns one after the other, the previous Angel is added to that of the following week, so that at the beginning of the Fourth of Advent all four candles will be lit simultaneously. The Four Candles of Advent may already all be present, but they must be lit in sequence, and they can be set up at the moment when the Christmas Tree is decorated and the Nativity scene is made, better if in the first full week of December (which in Catholic tradition corresponds to around the Immaculate Conception of Mary, on December 8).
Make a brief note, in a chronologically ordered diary, of all the impressions received during the four weeks of Advent.
For Advent Time
For light seekers, life's difficulties should be a special touchstone in the Advent period. We must always strive to separate the person from the cause of suffering, because suffering and difficulties are sent to us as trials, and the people who cause us difficulties are only tools. We should adapt to every situation, rest, without getting lost in it! - The content of the great desire of this time is to truly incorporate the Divine (state of birth), and not only to experience the Divine in exceptional situations. Everything that is connected with the earthly personality should be eliminated and we should be as spontaneous, completely relaxed, towards each other. Everything we talk about and understand, discussions, irritations, we should leave all these ballasts. Before every great feast there is an opportunity to overcome something in itself, it is sacrifice!
Sacrifice, the "making sacred", is what the anthroposophical spiritual impulse accomplishes according to the scientific-spiritual method: the understanding of Evil and its transmutation and redemption. This is in direct connection with the Rosicrucian impulse, as well as the Manichaean impulse. The Rosicrucian impulse that acts in the passage between the Fourth Epoch of Culture of the rational soul and the Fifth Epoch of the conscious soul, around 1400, works on the spiritualization of the will and therefore the redemption of matter, through alchemy; while the Manichean impulse acts in the passage between the Fifth Epoch of Culture of the conscious soul and the Sixth Epoch of the Spiritual Self, working on the understanding of Evil, which is also the Way of the Grail. The anthroposophical impulse includes the Rosicrucian one and anticipates the Manichean one.
He who wants to pose himself with a soul predisposition suitable for the time of Advent, must momentarily lay down his own personality, to discover himself again as a child "Let the children come to me, do not prevent them because to those who are like them belongs the kingdom of God" (Luke 18: 16), because the Light that will shine in the darkest night is also the Star of the Magi, it is the Self of Zarathustra that will be revealed in the Jesus of Matthew's Gospel at his birth in the Temple on January 6 at Epiphany, when the cycle of the Twelve Holy Nights will take place on the 13th Night. At the time of the Winter Solstice, on December 21st, there is the shortest day of the year, when the physical Sun's forces are at their minimum, being at the peak those of darkness, that is, of matter. This day is foreshadowed on December 13, when Saint Lucia is celebrated "The darkest day there is", since the perception of darkness is worsening from December 13 to 21.
Yet, the physical Sun being at the lowest of its strength, it is the Spiritual Sun that is at its peak, shining in the heart of the Earth, that is, in the heart of matter itself. Because of the hermetic axiom "as high so low" the divine element, the Light of the Spiritual Sun that shines in the darkest hour, comes to inhabit the human soul enclosed in the physical body. "Truly I say to you, if you do not change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3). Our becoming as children predisposes us to catch the spiritual glimmer that lights up in this season of Advent. The more Evil will be, the darker the material darkness will be, and the more it will filter out the physical Sunlight, paradoxically translating into an impulse of the most powerful Spiritual Sunlight. Advent predisposes the soul of man to experience the Twelve Holy Nights in greater consciousness.
Indications for Christmas
Grace. Advent, the light that comes to illuminate everyone in the middle of the night. The earth has completely emptied itself, life has withdrawn. The Earth is like an empty shell. All the juices of the vegetable kingdom withdraw. Everything prepares to receive the Divine.
The state that the esotericist must yearn for in this period is "Grace". The greatest darkness brings the Earth into a state in which its soul, the Anima Mundi, is concentrated toward the Center of the Earth. The breath of the Earth is now in the culmination of the inhalation phase, the Earth holds its breath. This breath will then be completely exhaled during the polar season, at the Summer Solstice. The result is that Nature lies as if dead under a blanket of pitiful snow, i.e. solidified starlight (note the archetype of the Hexagram in both Starlight and Snowflake). This breath of the Earth, its Soul, is all around the Center of the Earth, where the Self of Christ resides. The vegetable juices, which are carriers of the vital force, the etheric, are concentrated towards the roots and therefore also towards the centre of the Earth.
The Self of Group of the plant species also reside in the innards of the Earth, towards the Center of the Earth, so that the etheric body of the Earth and man are in a "state of Grace" ready to receive the impressions of the Spiritual Sun. This "physiological" quiescence present in the whole of Nature with its living beings, derives from the stillness of the etheric body of the Earth, of the Plant Kingdom and as a reflection for the Animal and Human Kingdom. It translates into a stillness of waiting, the Advent in fact. The etheric body is less stressed by physical impressions and therefore the physical senses withdraw, man becomes able to perceive more closely the spiritual world already from Halloween (31 October), All Saints (1 November) and for the Dead (2 November). However, it is only at the coldest and darkest point of Winter that the boundary between the supersensitive worlds and the physical world becomes thinner.
In the first of Advent man must prepare himself for sacrifice, for Service and be ready to serve and love. He should observe himself with the inner eye and experience this day as the celebration of the desire of birth. The consecration of the celebration is: "I dedicate myself to the ministry of the Spirit that must be born in me. The thoughts are directed to the Christ who is born in man.
On this day it is the Spiritual Light that descends from the cosmic heights to dwell among men: the Spiritual Light desires to be born and assume a human face, a process that