The background to what I divine, and share here, lies in my interest in community. The space we create and share between us, deliberately or otherwise is, surely, the space of the Holy Spirit. My discovery of the Presence of the Holy Spirit in deliberate community came through Scot Peck’s work as laid out in his book To a Different Drumbeat. The book describes Peck’s development of a 2-day workshop model that facilitates the arrival of true harmony between people. The three stages, and how that happens are beyond the scope of this article. The sense of Parousia or of the Presence of the Holy Spirit is strong, and often remarked in the third stage.
My personal experience lay in reading the book and phoning the number in the back to arrange a workshop in my own community. Over 50 people came together from a wide variety of backgrounds, maybe 25 to 30 percent from various local Anthroposophical initiatives, medicine, education, care, religion etc. The turning point in my own life came, not entirely from the experience, more from the two facilitators the US foundation sent over. One of these clearly shared a karmic background with myself. As a Native American shaman/healer he showed me a side of life that Steiner talks of but no member of the Christian Community had mentioned to me.
When I first took Bald Eagle, known as Rusty, into the chapel at our Christian Community building he went silent for 20 minutes. I explained to him about the power of the transubstantiation, how its effects reach out for hundreds of metres in every direction.
After patiently hearing me out he said:
“I first saw this happen when I went to sit on the prairie alone for 3 days. I lifted a handful of dirt, and said to the Great Spirit, in the soil: ‘What do you want of me? How can I give myself to You? What is the service by which my life becomes your life?’ I saw the soil change, it began to shine, felt the light in my hand, like music. Spirit was revealed in that soil.’
When I took him into my studio, showed him how I turn wood on a lathe, to make musical instruments, he said: ‘This is happening here, too. The way you touch the wood, release the shavings is releasing the spirit in the wood. Transubstantiation is happening here, too. Please send me a small package of your shavings each month, I can make effective medicine from this.’
A small group of those whose lives he had touched gathered on the prairie. Amongst other things we held a sweat-lodge ceremony. He had a colleague with him. He spoke to us about releasing things in us over the day or two before the ceremony: confessions, sorrows, regrets. “This is important.” he said. “We do not normally mix genders, beyond family, in this ritual. Untransformed substance can create problems,” he said. “Please do this work of release.”
On the day we thanked the all beings involved. Fire, water, the stones whose sacred form was broken by the fire. We thanked the logs who gave up their fire and form to prepare for us. We thanked the branches that enclosed our lodge. We thanked the land and the sky. There is no substance, only being. These are our brothers and sisters, our Mother and Father, all that we are is in them. Then we entered, each one in prayer. Rusty and his colleague built up the heat. People felt their lives pass before them, some felt many lives, as we offered up all that we have become to the sacred movement of Spirit through our human form and on into the love that is our future. Some fell to the ground, some rose up, their being as translucent as song. Hours became minutes, as minutes became hours.
I fall, again and again, into my body. This substance that the spirit seeks to fill. Over decades the meditations go deeper. The spirit moves, I seek to listen. One thing I notice is that community is still my Christ. Within me the full panoply of Grimm’s characters circle around, each seeking to tell me their story. Outside of me, friends, colleagues, and others play their part in my life. The two circles are one circle. This is my community. Forgiveness, within confession, dissolve blinding knots and I begin to see more.
One of the things that I see is the flow of substance. Light and dark weaving within nine hierarchies, singing the song that invites us to join. Thrones completing themselves in releasing self into support. Cherubim whose existence is just the flow of support that makes all gifts possible. Seraphim holding the centre around which all things wheel. This they show me:
There are seven stages to transubstantiation. In each stage the dark and the light both have roles. I see this happening in both a fully-realized sweat-lodge and in the Act of Consecration of Man*. Where this happens, substance is transformed. These are the stages.
Soul substance in us that hoped to become part of our community development becomes blocked through our sinful impurities.*
- Inner Guidance
Our loving conscience is the action of Christ within us. This is distinct from the shadow-voices of the inner-critic that condemn us. On seeing the blockage our conscience experiences error and suffering within.
In advance of the ritual, an act of confession is made. This may be an inward clarification of an awareness of the blockage, or it may be a full-on, ritualised act with a religious practitioner. Either way the error/blockage/suffering is expressed in clear concepts, felt feelings or sentences.
During the ritual the individual makes an act of confessional offering: “This is the blockage/suffering/error that I am aware of. This I offer up to Thee, oh Guiding Light of my life.
- The Division
Spiritually, the offering-in-ritual divides the sin from the error. The trauma-pattern that is holding up the forward-motion, holding it captive, is given up by the love-act of confession. The energy and potential-good of the blocked motion returns to the pool-of-potential within the human soul.
Meanwhile, the love-energy created by the confession is released into the ritual itself.
- The Gathering
The combined love-energy of the confessions is gathered into the substance of the ritual. The integrity and dedication of the religious practitioner – priest or shaman, becomes the conduit by which this substance performs a somersault through the inversion of the no-space/time of the Source-Being, The Love-Substance through which all that is flows into being. Through this inversion it enters into the ritual-substance, be that bread and wine or sweat and breath. The power of the ritual is there to enable to the partakers to support this power within the priest or shaman. The nearest comparison on the sense-bound plane is with the purification of water or alcohol through distillation.
- Focussing this
What happens to the substances themselves can also be seen like this: The gift of the hierarchies in providing us with the sensation of solidity creates a dead-point in matter. For them, this is a feeling of having reached an end-point. When human consciousness makes a true connection with the love that creates that matter, the dead point is released, the feeling of being at an end is unblocked, and the creators of that matter re-engage with it. The radiance of this event is long lasting and wide spreading. In those who receive the transformed substance in this ritual the action that occurs uplifts the substance of the blocked-motion within their pool-of-potential and returns to it its original drive to enact change with their community, inwardly and outwardly.
The final points of this awareness appeared to me around five weeks after a friend had died. Though hundreds came to his funeral, many only understood his greatness in the way in which he appeared to several afterwards, in more light than he had allowed others to see while alive. Something of a ‘party-animal’ I had dismissed him as a little lost. After these seven stages became clear to me, he explained: ‘This is what I was doing at parties. I encouraged people to release their pain-patterns into joyful surrender and transformations took place.’ – I attribute my understanding, in good part, to him.
The power to ritualise everyday life to the point where everything can be seen to be God is the ultimate priesthood or shamanism. Rudolf Steiner lays it out in detail, but even then, it is hard to understand until we make the personal sacrifices required to see-through. May your eyes be washed with love.
*Sinful: Many have dismissed the concept of sin as an obedience system set up by the desire in churches to wield power. The true meaning of sin is actions/thoughts/feelings that create blockages in our soul to the flow of spirit that seeks to clarify, purify, and become the human being – which is our future, our destiny, that we become filled with the Cosmic Christ, the I AM of the Universe.
*I wrote this for Perspectives. The journal of the Christian Community or Society for Religious Renewal, a church founded in 1922 by priests working with Dr. Rudolf Steiner. The “Act of Consecration of the Man” (of the spiritual substance within the Human Being if you prefer) is the name of the central Bread and Wine service. The transubstantiation of the bread and wine there is not symbolic, but experienced, as this article describes.