How to Read with Etheric Vision
The literary style of the first volume of The Gospel of Sophia, with its collage of poetry, poesy, narrative, myth, history, and headlines, is deliberately used in order to awaken the etheric vision of the reader who becomes woven into the tapestry of the book itself. In Volume 2, A Modern Path of Initiation, the aspirant learns how the alphabet and the way vowels and consonants are combined, is connected to the life forces of the etheric realms, and, when practiced, helps the aspirant awaken Inspiration, Imagination, and Intuition.
Trying to read The Gospel of Sophia by using your brain-bound, intellectual thinking may leave you frustrated. For those who eschew poetry and word painting, you may find that The Gospel of Sophia is, what one friend calls, “anthroposophy for chicks.” Indeed, as we recommended to another reader who was trying to read The Gospel of Sophia like one of his scientific journals, “Relax and allow the words to wash over you. In time they will resonate within you and speak to you in the language of the spirit.”
The language of spirit is described in our book, The Modern Path of Initiation. Here is the excerpt:
Novalis (Fredrick Von Hardenberg) intimates this process and language in remarks he made that were compiled in Fragments. Novalis believes that there will be a new ‘Golden Age’ when all words become figurative and mythological and insinuate linguistic figures or hieroglyphs of the universe. Someday, we will be able to learn to speak and write these linguistic figures and learn to perfectly sculpt and make music with words. Both speaking and writing belong together and are indivisibly connected and will become simultaneously perfected in the future.
A grammatical mysticism lies at the basis of everything, which could quite easily call forth the first sense of wonder with regard to language and writing. The propensity for the miraculous and mysterious is nothing more than a striving toward the nonphysical, or spiritual stimuli. Our alphabet is an art of musical writing, and over and above this, one created from an individual instrument: the human organ of speech.
Words are acoustic configurations of thoughts. The human voice is the principle and ideal instrumental music. The elastic fluid of speech is the vowel, and the body is the consonant. The air and the sun are the first voice while the bodies of the planets the second. The bodies and figures are nouns while the forces are verbs. Natural philosophy is the art of deciphering this language. Every person has his own individual rhythm and this rhythmical sense is genius. All true communication therefore is symbolic.
In a lecture given in 1921, The Alphabet, An Expression of the Mystery of Man, Rudolf Steiner points out that in the Hebrew alphabet, the first letter “Aleph” still carried with it a name. Aleph refers to man, the human being, as a symbol of the consciousness of the breathing process in the human body. This is much like God “breathing” the spirit into Adam.
Each succeeding letter adds to the picture of what a man is in relationship to the next letter. Bet, the second letter means house, or added with Aleph becomes, “man in his house.” Each letter tells how the human being relates to the meaning or concept of the next letter.
It is possible to go through the whole alphabet in this way, creating a comprehensive sentence that could be uttered giving expression to the Mystery of the Human Being. This sentence would begin by showing man in his building, in his temple.
The following parts of the sentence would go on to express how man conducts himself in his temple and how he relates to the cosmos. What would be expressed by speaking the names of the alphabet consecutively would be the expression of the Mystery of the Human Being and how his roots are in the universe.
In various secret societies the ‘lost archetypal word’ is discussed. This lost word is actually contained in the sentence that comprises the names of the alphabet. When humans started using this lost language to describe the outer world, they forgot that this language could also reveal the mystery of the human soul and spirit. Humanity's original word of truth, his word of wisdom, was lost.
The Language of the Spirit was forgotten.
The forming of consonants in the physical body is the echo of what resounds from the constellations of the zodiac, whereas the formation of vowels within the music of the spheres occurs through the movement of the planets in our solar system. Like a musical composition, the music of the spheres, which is imprinted into the etheric body, needs both notes and spaces between the notes to give it form.
In our physical body we unconsciously bear a reflection of the cosmic consonants, whereas in our etheric body we bear a reflection of the cosmic vowels. This mystery wisdom is imprinted into the subconscious of humanity. An echo of all that is spoken forth by the signs of the zodiac sounds through the human being; and the life of this echo is the human physical body. The echo of all that is spoken by the planetary spheres is the human etheric body.