Three Germans, now deceased and each living in different times, provided the idea that led to creating this blog site. We will note each of the three and their part in this project.
The three Germans.
Freidrick Schiller (1759–1805) was a brilliant philosopher, playwright, writer, and historian. He had a decade-older friend, Johann von Goethe, whom he admired and with whom he collaborated on ideas and writings. His writings on ethics and aesthetics, and descriptions of the ideal man, is our focus here. How could one achieve conscious awareness of their inner self? His essay, On the Aesthetic Education of Man, and discussions with his close friend, Goethe, focused on ‘two drives’ within human nature. The first is the drive of the senses which relates to instincts and passions within the physical world. This drive darkens our consciousness. The second drive is of the rational mind. This can lead to suppressing instincts and passions. All is in the mind, nothing of the heart and warmth of human nature is allowed to show itself.
Complete freedom comes by harmonizing both drives. The senses must be allowed to be part of our life, as is the spirituality that the rational mind can perceive. Schiller wanted to have us be part of a harmonious community of free individuals who could unite passion and instinct of the material life with reason and conscious awareness of one’s soul and greater self.
Johann von Goethe (1749–1832) was a writer and statesman, brilliant at both endeavors. As a writer he indulged in poetry, prose, drama, memoirs, an autobiography, criticisms, essays and novels. Plus, one fairy tale. He wrote over 10,000 letters, drew 3,000 drawings. ‘Prolific” would be a good description of his collected work. It was after reading and discussing Schiller’s work that Goethe developed an idea. The abstraction of Schiller’s thoughts could be better grasped by the public if placed within a fairy tale. Passion, instinct, rational thinking could all be alloted to various characters and settings. The harmonious blending of the two drives would be achieved within a fairy tale.
Schiller wrote a letter on Aug. 23, 1794 (note 1) describing Goethe’s formidable mental approach to life. Goethe sought out the natural laws by intuitively keeping the whole scope of nature in mind while focusing upon a single topical area. He would build up an understanding of the detail and the subject’s place within the whole, step by step. He gradually approached his understanding of man. This was an unusual approach to studying nature.
How An Idea Became A Blog
When did the concept of the fairy tale come to Goethe, when did he share it with Schiller?
- Oct. 26, 1794. Goethe wrote to Schiller about his concept of explaining Schiller’s work, Aesthetic Education, thru a fairy tale format for public consumption. (Note 2)
- Aug. 29, 1795. Schiller wrote to Goethe with comments on the fairy tale.
- Oct. 16, 1795. Schiller wrote to Goethe, making a passing reference to the Giant in the fairy tale, fearing that the Giant’s weight might fall upon his friend, Goethe, affecting the number of projects he was undertaking at one time.
- In November of 1795 the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly was published.
Both Schiller and Goethe, in their numerous times together, shared ideas, criticized each other’s work, and derived much food for thought and energy from their exchanges. The Oct. 26, 1794 letter from Goethe to Schiller sets out the fairy tale and is taken as the ‘natal date’ for this unusual tale.
Rudolph Steiner (1862–1925) is noted in Wikipedia as a philosopher, author, social reformer, architect and esotericist. He had contact with the Rosicrucians and Theosophists before moving on to establish his own group, the Anthroposophical Society. Steiner gave numerous lectures about karmic relationships. He noted recent and past lives of known individuals, their spiritual time and activities in the after-life, and how various karmic threads wound through both earthly and spiritual lives.
His essay on Goethe’s fairy tale, the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly, is of particular interest to us. The characters in this fanciful tale embody various portions of one’s journey to blending the two drives described by Schiller. Steiner refers to these as the sensible world and super-sensible world. Within the fairy tale, the Youth represents the instinctual, passionate self. Lilly embodies the fully aware, spiritual self. Others play roles that help or hinder the paths that one might take towards achieving conscious awareness.
The idea becomes a blog
On a Tuesday evening, May 19, 2015, I was in attendance at a Rudolph Steiner Study Group meeting at the Concord, MA library. This group read from Steiner’s Karmic Relationships series. On this night the topic was different, we were reviewing Steiner’s essay on Goethe’s fairytale. This essay was reprinted in the Anthroposophical Society’s magazine, Being Human. (Note 2).
The essay was fascinating. It described a fairy tale with imaginative characters, mystery, crises and struggles to overcome difficulties. Two factors became associated in my mind. First, about 8:20 PM I realized that the fairy tale was full of astrological symbolism. Second, the theme of the fairytale was harmonizing the feeling and logical sides of human nature so as to achieve balance in one’s life. The realization was that my in-preparation book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns, might be a proper tool to convey the astrological symbolism through a charting approach that was designed to reflect established lifestyle and the impact of everyday changes upon our life. Balance, imbalance, re-balance.
Could conscious awareness, as experienced by Goethe, be charted and found to reflect Goethe’s achievement of conscious awareness? Could the astrological symbolism of the fairy tale be related to Goethe’s charts? Would Goethe’s charts have factors that would appear in the charts of current day people experiencing conscious awareness and a spiritual awakening? Intuition told me the answer was yes!
To test this idea, several steps would be required.
- Present a re-telling of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly fairy tale that clarifies some of the astrological symbolism.
- Provide a summary of the characters and their roles.
- Provide an identification and discussion of the Astrological Symbols.
- Explain the nature of Moon-to-Sun Returns relative to this project.
- Present Goethe’s Moon-to-Sun Return and Advanced charts for the fairy tale’s birth.
- Develop an initial astrological profile for Goethe’s conscious awareness.
- Present several current and better known people and their charts relating to conscious awareness experiences. Note how the profile fits each person.
Note 1. This letter and its date is described in the book, Johann Wolfgang Goethe by Liselotte Dieckmann, published in 1974 by Twayne Publishers.
Note 2. This letter and its date is mentioned in an essay by Rudolph Steiner, originally published Aug. 28, 1899 in Rudolph Steiner’s own journal, the Magazine for Literature. This was to commemorate Goethe’s 150th birthday. The first English version has been out of print since 1925. A recent version was included in the Arts & Ideas section of the U.S. branch of the Antroposophical Society’s member magazine, Being Human, autumn-winter issue, 2013, pages 30–38.