A subtle, global side-effect of Covid-19 has been an awareness of the poetic, multiple meanings of the word Corona. Musings trimmed from an Easter 2020 newsletter on the effect of Starlink on the Earth’s Etheric.
Perhaps we are all familiar with the significance of the Mystery of Golgotha in relation to the redemption and transformation of the physical body and the realm of death. Rudolf Steiner speaks often of this event in this context. But what about that intimate sheath of the life or etheric body, that sheath which permeates us with life and that extends a bit beyond and around our physical bodily form. That etheric body which now is loosening more and more from our physical body as a part of evolution. Perhaps one can sense this etheric body in what we sometimes call ‹our personal space›, which we can feel when it is invaded by someone coming too close, crossing the boundary from shared space into our personal space. It is a space which in these times of corona is no longer entered by others. What about the etheric body of the Earth? Does the Earth also have a sheath of life around it? And what was the significance for the Earth’s etheric body of the Christ event?
So let us look at this etheric body.
First of all, it is a body of life and light…it sustains us, keeps us alive and healthy, renews us each night when we sleep, restores and rebuilds our physical bodies which we have worn down during day time through our waking consciousness and our life in the world of the senses. It is that sheath that mediates between the physical body and the astral or consciousness body to sustain health. It is manifest in our immune system, which keeps our health in balance.
It also is a light body. It is of the nature of the Sun and comes from the Sun. In fact by its nature it continually strives for the Sun. It seeks to expand and dissolve into the light and life ethers towards the Sun, but is held together by the physical body in earthly life. As the physical body has the nature of Earth and gravity and death, so the etheric body has the nature of the Sun, of levity, of life. As the physical body is centripetal, oriented towards the center by gravity, so the etheric body is centrifugal, oriented to the periphery.
We now bear the force of the life of Christ in our etheric bodies. The Earth too bears in its etheric sheath the Sun-like life of Christ. Thus it also carries in this etheric sheath the memory tableau of the Three Years of Christ’s deeds on the Earth, which we can experience if we raise our consciousness to them through this relation to the cycle of the Christic year. In this sense is the Earth, since Golgotha becoming Sun. Rudolf Steiner describes that at the moment of Christ’s death, when His blood flowed into the Earth, if one were to be viewing the Earth from outer space clairvoyantly, one would see that the Earth lit up. Its path to becoming a Sun/Star began. Here we have an image of our Earth with its corona of life and light.
The definition of corona in the dictionary, the word meaning crown, is «the tenuous outermost part of the atmosphere of a star (such as the Sun)». One can now say, since the mystery of Golgotha, the tenuous outermost part of the atmosphere of the Earth. Perhaps in this sense can we look at this image of the Earth, with its corona of life as bearing the Christic life force enveloping its body. We can imagine it is the same with our own bodies when we unite ourselves with the Christic force in us.
But what is happening to our Earth corona, its life sheath? Let us take this image further. Of course we are in the midst of a crisis of fear of which the virus is the catalyst, the physical threat that creates a world soul full of fear. Rudolf Steiner speaks of fear as being the nourishment for these kinds of bacilli (the word virus was not known at that time), when he spoke about the flu pandemic. I think we can all see clearly that in our materialistic view of the world and in our endless consumerism we have severely damaged the life of the Earth through environmental degradation. Our Earth as mother is under extreme duress and suffering. But also, in a way not so observable outwardly, our Earth suffers through technological degradation. However, for most of the world this is not fully recognized in the same way as is the climate crisis. In fact for most people, the better is technology, the better is the internet service… then the better is life!
But is this so? How might we see the degradation of the life sphere around the Earth, our sphere of health, in relation to technology? Let us move from the previous image to another image.
This image shows a progression of the space around the Earth, as seen from outer space, not clairvoyantly, but we can imagine in just such a material picture also the pollution of the etheric realms around the Earth. Here we see the progression only since very recent history. The first GPS satellites, were launched in the late 1970s and spewed signals across the radio spectrum.
This etheric sphere around the Earth is composed of five layers. The warmth ether, the light ether, the chemical or tone ether and the life ether. This is our world etheric body, our corona, which is now cluttered with ‹debris› from satellites as well as immense electrical and radio activity. These pictures are worth a thousand words. Just observe and consider our Earth.
But now we can go even a step further and consider the most recent and future technology around our Earth. I read now from an article in The Atlantic, from May 2019:
On May 19th, after gaining approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the company SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, launched a rocket carrying 60 of its first of 12,000 internet providing Starlink satellites. The FCC has approved the launch of the 12,000 Starlink satellites so far, and SpaceX wants to launch 30,000 more. Starlink will cover most of the Earth with high speed internet. Via laser beams, each satellite will link to others creating a robust mesh network around the Earth. The goal is to use Starlink to relay internet traffic close to the speed that light travels through a vacuum. Elon Musk plans to launch 60 satellites, 15 times a year, which means a robust global network may be realized in less than a year. The project could affect the lives of potentially everybody.
Here we have a transition from the space junk image of satellite debris to a host of technological instruments employing lasers connecting at the speed of light in a vacuum, to weave a global web in the sphere around our Earth. What impact does this have on our etheric corona?
Sergei Prokofieff writes: «The Being of the Internet is esoterically best understood on the basis of Rudolf Steiner’s Dornach lecture of May 13, 1921. Steiner describes how the further development of our present abstract intellect will gradually produce a kind of new nature kingdom. This intellect which is merely of a ‹shadowlike character› can only function ‹automatically› and can only comprehend the material, as such, and never the etheric.»
His reference is from this lecture by Steiner, already in 1921: «And from the earth will well up terrible creations of beings who in their character stand between the mineral kingdom and the plant kingdom as automative beings with super-natural intellect, an immense intellect. When this development takes hold, the earth will be covered, as with a web, a web of terrible spiders, spiders of enormous wisdom, which however, in their organization don’t even reach the plant status.»
Steiner speaks of this as happening in about 7,000 AD. This is a futuristic scenario. One can imagine that in 1921, this was probably hard to believe by his listeners. But are we now already in the beginnings of this?
This is not meant to cause more fear or alarm. The worst thing would be to get caught up in fear. However it is important that we are awake to what is happening in our world and not sleep through the efforts being made to destroy that realm of life. We can only think, what is this doing around us? What impact is it having on spiritual life and even on souls incarnating to Earth? Is it affecting our health directly in unknown ways? How can we meet this?! So let us return to our original image, pure and shining so that we can remember who we truly are as Earth. We can at this Easter moment consider the true spiritual reality of this realm, in which the Christ being reveals Himself to humanity if we can but raise our thinking to the etheric, living thinking… that new thinking as described in anthroposophy as the modern path to spiritual knowledge.
In this sense Steiner’s words on the union with the Christ in the rhythm of the year point to the work we are to do. «…in the course of a year the human being participates in a rhythm which is in accordance with the rhythm of the year and in which one experiences a union with the world of the Son.» And later in the same lecture – «And so we shall find that, closely connected with what lives in the rhythm of the year, in the same way that breathing indwells the human individual, there lives a spiritual essence which is part of the human soul, which is the human soul itself; we find that, to the yearly cycle and all its secrets, there belongs the Christ Being Who has passed through the Mystery of Golgotha.» (The Cycle of the Year, Easter, 1923)
If we can truly ‹live› in autumn with the conscious awareness of Michael the Spirit of our Age, and awaken to the battle to redeem the fallen shadow intelligence, lifting our thinking again to a spiritual knowledge which can raise what is fallen. If we can live at winter solstice and the festivals of Christmas and Epiphany recognizing the Logos becoming flesh, the birth of the Sun has occurred in the Earth at the darkest time of the year in order to bring a new light into the World. If we can live through the spring festivals in the powerful knowledge that the force of resurrection and the power of love has transformed our Earth in physical body, in life body and in soul, lighting like flames at Whitsun in awakening our spirit. If we can then arrive in summer at St John’s to a conscious union with the heights of the cosmos, the periphery, in recognition of and alignment with the greater evolutionary divine plan for our humanity and hear in a new way the voice of John, «Change your thinking!» for the new has come! Then in this rhythm do we participate in the true life of the Earth which is the life of the Christ.
It is not a matter of battling against this powerful shadow intellect that will permeate our world in order to defeat it. It is not a matter of living in fear of its power. It feeds on fear and trauma, the dark side. We have nothing to fear! But we must be awake! We must have confidence that we are living in a new age of great light. With a great light comes a great shadow. We must recognize and know the shadow but not obsess on it. We must move forward and focus on developing the light in the world in practical applications rising out of this new thinking and understanding of our true humanity, which is the power of Christ. Otherwise we will be lost. For to fight the shadowy brilliant intellect is useless. If we fight we enter into its cold logic and on the physical plane of the intellect it is much stronger than we are. But it has no power against spiritual truth and it is unable to defeat the force of love. So we work at building the new Earth, which will carry us into the future and eventually lead to turning back to help those who have fallen.
In the gospels 31 times, we find in various phrasings, «Do not be afraid». It is truly a time for trust and confidence in the ever present help of the spiritual world.
This article was trimmed by the Editors out from a longer piece from Jonathan Hilton on Easter, 2020.
Image Overflight of the Starlink 5 satellites on April 20 2020 taken from Berlin. Image rights: Andreas Möller/ Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)