Rudolf Steiner’s “Mexican Mysteries” Revisited

Part I

Stephen Clarke

This essay cross-links to the text of Inner Impulses of Evolution, GA 171, online at: http://wn.elib.com/Steiner/Lectures/InnerImpul/InnImp_index.html

Introducing the general reader to Rudolf Steiner’s indications regarding the inner nature and spiritual destiny of America might seem straightforward in one respect; they are very, very sparse.  Most of them are bundled up within a pair of lectures given in 1916.  The lecture of Sept. 18, 1916 had to be repeated on Sept. 24, as there seemed to be general befuddlement on the part of too many in the audience. It is not known if things fared any better at that latter date, since that lecture is essentially a repeat of the former one.
    A lot of ink has been spilled by various commentators who have drawn various conclusions form Steiner’s remarks on the “Mexican Mysteries”.  Few if any of them reveal any conscientious examination of the source material or familiarity with contemporary research.  None offer observations which are not paraphrases of Steiner’s own remarks.  Whatever the faults of this piece, I believe I will not be repeating those mistakes.  I hope to break the Imaginal logjam that has piled up around this subject.
    Intriguingly, what Steiner (RS) does not say about America is just as fascinating as what he does have to say about it – and it is this absent portion which is profoundly perplexing.  In this area of investigation, as in no other, RS demands the inner participation of the reader, and leads him or her beyond his or her previous limits of understanding.   Deep implications are folded inbetween what he does say and what he does not say. Even if one can read between the lines, it is riddles that emerge!  To do more than search for factoids or justification of previous (mis)conceptions demands intense inner work – original work – on the part of the one whose curiosity is provoked by Steiner’s indications.
    Provoked is a good word for it.  In 1916, the time from which these core lectures date, America was still a savage backwater for one who stood upon the tall shoulders of European civilization. The USA had not yet emerged from its isolationism to tilt the balance in the Great War.  Steiner never shrunk from a harsh evaluation of our historical record and of the future perils which it indicates, but his complex appreciation of our ancient foundations was not assisted much by the rudimentary state of the archeological and anthropological sciences in his day (although there were resources which he did not make full use of, as we shall see).  
    The benefits of cross-culturalism and scientific archeology were still to come. Some of his statements have not withstood the test of time, and this in itself is confounding for those who take his word as holy writ.   But this need not concern us overmuch: no one who has ventured opinions on the nature of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica has survived unscathed.  For example, only recently has the Mayan hieroglyphic script begun to be deciphered; many a textbook has had to be rewritten as a result, many a popular theory relegated to crackpot status, many a famous authority proved wrong - yesterday‘s science can easily end up on today’s scrap heap. Steiner fares well as measured against such precedents.  In addition, he never claimed to be continually in the state of clairvoyant seership, and he easily allowed as how errors were possible even then.  Whether RS was correct on all counts and in every respect is not of central concern to me; what is the focus in this piece is the extent to which his indications can be grounded in contemporary scholarship and, reciprocally, how his indications can bring additional meaning to the myriad details within that extensive body of knowledge.
    What is most provocative in his observations is that which he sees as the core event in America’s destiny, the aftereffects of which are duly noted by scholars but whose causes are searched for within a cripplingly limited field of view. The consequences of over-specialization provoked one wag to remark: “If all you have is a hammer, soon everything starts looking like a nail.”  Steiner, in these lectures, speaks to the meaning of history.  He approaches the subject from the direction of its significance; from the whole to the parts: he tells the story, he is not content to remain with the details. His understanding of the deep cycles and hidden currents of history allows him to go where the facts themselves are mute.  His ability to talk, walk, and act with the gods themselves grants him a singular and broad perspective.  His method may not be able to tell us everything we might wish to know, but it is at least a flexible addition to the inquirer’s toolbag.  We shall see where its use may take us.  Out of his firm grounding in the European Esoteric Tradition (please not “Western”, especially in the context of this investigation!) and as applied to the events in Mesoamerica at the time of Christ, he makes some astounding assertions: assertions which are totally unprecedented – even for him.  Deeply positive, they are made only this once – another puzzle which begs for attention.
    For those familiar with Steiner’s legacy, it is this latter point which is most frustrating, for RS is famous not only for the allusive style of his statements, but also for the way in which he continually circles back upon them from different vantage points throughout his career.  As a great mass of his public utterances has been recorded and published, it is possible, for one so inclined, to collate his observations on a given subject and piece together a rather well-rounded impression of his perspectives on just about any given topic. Oftentimes, an isolated observation may seem to be offensive to common sense or to the conventional wisdom, or several statements from different sources may seem to bluntly contradict each other.  Only later might they reveal a higher reconciliation after some sustained reflection and recourse to yet other diverse references.  In this way, a more mobile, well-rounded, and lifelike perspective is gained for complex topics not easily reducible to a list of attributes or a single definition.  Steiner, like any good old-world taskmaster or musical artist, makes one work for one’s supper; he honors the plastic nature of living reality.
    With regard to Steiner’s essential comments about Spiritual America, we have no recourse to a fund of nuanced references. They stand alone with little corroboration from either himself or accepted academic scholarship, although a scrupulous and unbiased examination of the existing data do allow of alternate interpretations which are fully congruent with Steiner’s statements. We shall indicate some of them here.  Steiner himself was adamant that no one accept his statements as authoritative; each listener or reader was under the obligation to test and try them out for themselves in the crucible of discrimination, moral conscience, and experience, especially since his transcribed lectures were published unreviewed and uncorrected by him (that includes the ones being discussed here).  Yet what is one to do when confronted by his assertion that in the years 30 – 33 AD, in Mexico, a conflict was waged over the process of the sacrificial death of Christ, and that the successful results of this encounter were decisive for the future of earth-evolution?   One cannot easily coopt this datum into whatever conceptual framework one may have already formulated; one must either confront it and its corollaries with a decisive intent, or find a way to dismiss it out of hand.
    In this installment we shall concentrate upon examining Steiner’s text and matters closely related to it.  Following sections will address broader and deeper issues utilizing inside perspectives of American Traditions.


Steiner was a European, and while he lived for the future life of Earthly civilization, he worked for this from inside his own European culture..  Although he had a cosmic Vision second to none and a Commission that was staggering in its scope, he was not all things to all people.  His mission was firmly contexted within the Traditions of Central Europe.  Most of his many, if brief mentions of America are brutally critical and deplore its materialistic tendencies, and are made with respect to the West’s influence upon European culture. On any subject he stretched the envelope of his Inspiration to its limits, bringing in the most wide-ranging influences.  He also set up a crafty system of koan-like trip-wires within his legacy so that those who came afterwards would find themselves committed to expanding the scope and application of that Inspiration. This writer is one who has gotten himself involved in one such web.
    The concerns of people in Australia or South America had little relevance for the ordinary European of 1916. It is different nowadays. Our net of relationships is much wider than it was then.  Activated by the dynamic of profound respect for Dr. Steiner on the one hand, and “What in the $^#*& is he talking about, anyway”, on the other, I have worked the dialectic and, as a result of decades of inner work, research in the scholarly literature, traditional lore of Western spiritualities, and the rubbing of shoulders with Native Americans, their culture, and their Ancestors, all the while pervaded by the living Being of the American Land, certain understandings have developed from Steiner’s indications.   Hence this work-in-progress.  I hope that those who read it will be encouraged to do their own work, correct me on any mistakes, and dare to offer their own idiosyncratic observations.  Future editions of this piece will incorporate and acknowledge any such contributions.

    This struggle in America over the Deed of Christ – circumstances surrounding the pivotal event in, not just human, but planetary history, according to Steiner – what considerations must we bring to bear in order to be able to understand it?  Here we are not totally hamstrung by lack of knowledge of the exact details in Mexico two thousand years ago, for we are able to know quite a bit about the macrocosmic nature and mission of Christ, thanks to an immense amount of very consistent material left to us by Rudolf Steiner.  Revealing the mission of Christ was always front and center for him, and above all he dedicated his life to this cause.  As a result of sifting through his indications and of doing the work of bringing them into relation with modern developments, it is possible to see where he was going with this, and what some of the implications might have been for any particular set of circumstances in different cultures…including the Mesoamerican ones.  I have derived additional perspectives from the magical Celtic-UnderWorld work of R. J. Stewart; they have been invaluable in facilitating my entry into the inner worlds of the Mesoamerican shaman.
    First of all, a review of his indications.  We know from the Bible that the Birth of Jesus was attended by a concerted effort to thwart it.   Herod’s massacre of the Innocents and the flight into Egypt are well known.  Christ is said to have later descended from the realm of the Father and to have conjoined with the person of Jesus, there to have lived for the three years of public life.  Steiner brings a wealth of detail to bear on all this, but the outlines of devotional faith hold steady and are brought into even clearer relief as a result.  We also know from the Mythos that Christ died on the Cross, descended into Hell, and rose again on the third day.  If, as Steiner indicates, a titanic struggle in Mexico took place during the years 30 – 33 AD, this means that it was not the Birth of Christ but the purpose of his sacrificial Death that was under attack in the Western Hemisphere.  And what was this, that was so important about this deepest portion of his arc of incarnation, that aroused such furious opposition?  What was it that happened in hell on Easter Saturday?  The Bible does not go into detail on this, and neither does Steiner.  Yet this is of the utmost importance, for it is out of what transpired during the decisive activity of the Easter Saturday “pralaya” as he passed into the Earth that Easter Sunday and the Resurrection unfolded! Even Jesaiah Ben-Aharon, in his discussion of this matter in his highly significant Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century, admits of no access to this process.   Indeed, the anthroposophical method in general simply does not go there.  The territory is bounded by warning signs consisting mainly of parroted quotations from Steiner regarding the baleful lower-Threshold realm of “subnature”.  Whether this is all for the best or if it reflects RS’s long-term intentions is a matter for another discussion.  Regardless, these realities are inescapable for Americans, and hence, for the rest of the world, although everyone and every region needs to find their own relationship to them.
    Here we enter into deep mysteries – American Mysteries. Not the Cosmic mysteries, but into the Chthonic Earthly mysteries.  They are different, and go far deeper than the turbulent interface regions.  All around us they are revealing themselves as people from the most diverse backgrounds responding to the resurgence of powers from within the Earth.  This is not exactly the same as what the Old Religions once dealt with, nor are they in opposition to what has been acquired since.  The gist of this Steiner implies, but the times did not allow him to speak forthrightly about it.  Christ came from the Father and died from the Father: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” speaks for itself.  He left the connection with the Father-God behind and fell into the arms of the Earth-Mother.  From Her he received his regeneration; his rebirth.  We have significant hints of this if we juxtapose our own culture’s Pieta sculpture with Christmastime’s Madonna and Child imagery.
    All of this the American races knew, and it was not a hidden mystery, except for the technical details of their initiatory shamanic pathways.  They knew the upsides and the downsides, the ins and the outs of the ways of the Earth.  They were neither Edenic noble savages or doomed atavistic races.  They were human beings, subject to all the confusions of the Fall, but their circumstances were different, their wisdom was different, and their orientation was different than in Europe.   They knew about how things happen when you go “down.”  
    Steiner knew that Christ’s ally in Mexico was an initiate experienced in UnderWorld realities and that the transformative encounter with Shadow and Double which every shaman undergoes was undergone on the most transpersonal, archetypal, and planetary fashion by Christ in his descent into the plutonian depths (a European analogue of this is the ancient Rite of the Sacrificial King as practiced within the cultures of the Celts).  There were those others who drew their personal power from unregenerate realms of planetary Double; deep impacted realms of twisted and thwarted energies.  From even the most casual forms of pop psychology we all know what happens when core internal energies are not allowed expression or when impacted patterns are challenged; this is the realm of the microcosm within each individual. Christ worked on the most macrocosmic levels imaginable – within the Earth.  For the Earth has had its developmental problems, too - as have we all.   Not everything has been dealt with in ways which merit hindsight’s satisfaction, and over the course of aeons, the toxic residue had reached a point where something had to be done.  Speaking of the compromised religions and spiritualities of the pre-Christian era, even the Pagan Priestess Dion Fortune has said:  “…we must not forget that Christianity came as a corrective to a pagan world that was sick unto death with its own toxins.”
    Steiner minces no words when it comes to describing the excesses of corrupt Aztec culture or the depths of its dark roots.  He balances this with a stunning revelation of the unsuspected wealth within the Mesoamerican experience, although he does not follow though by reconciling these two extremes of that spiritual spectrum.
Let us begin by scrutinizing his observations and reviewing some of the problems which surface as a result of a critical analysis.   How far did Steiner go in his indications, and how far can we go with them?

    First of all, the language.  For instance: “Vitzliputzli.”  This agent’s name provokes no immediate associations, and a casual search for references in the dictionaries and lexicons is fruitless.  All RS’s terminology for the Mesoamerican deities derives from the Aztec records (as interpreted by the unappreciative Spanish, one must remember!), but the events to which he refers date from both the early Olmec-Mayan-Teotihuacan era and the late-classic Aztec; 1st C. A.D., and 16th C. A.D., respectively.  Evidence from the latter is used to indicate trends in the former.  Between the two, however, are vast gulfs and shifts which were not even suspected in Steiner’s day, gulfs more drastic in many respects than those between, say, 1st and 16th C. Italy, England, or Greece.  Additionally, there is still no record of any written language for the critical Teotihuacan civilization, and the prolific but enigmatic Maya script was mute for all researchers in Steiner’s day – as it was even for the Maya themselves until very recently.  The curtain of history had fallen with a mighty thunderclap upon that act in the world’s drama!  A tangental question: was this a recapitulation of Mesoamerica’s Atlantean roots?
    The language of the most recent English translation of Steiner’s Inner Impulses of Evolution is confounding in this regard, and glosses over the problems involved in pursuing his indications.  Let us note the spelling of significant names, from the German original to the English translation:

Amerika – America, Dschingis-Khan – Genghis Khan, Taotl – Teotl, Tezkatlipoka – Tezcatlipoca, Jahve – Jehovah, Mexiko – Mexico, Quetsalkoatl – Quetzalcoatl.

For any of these, there is no loss in translation, only the elimination of a mild quaintness.  Yet when we come to the following:

Vitzliputzli – Huitzilopochtli

we note that the term has not been translated, but left in its original and unfamiliar form.  It is no mystery that Huitzilopochtli is and has always been standard English and Spanish usage for the original Nahuatl form of the name – and transliterated by standardized convention into German as “Vitzliputzli” - yet the editors did not follow this practice.  Why not?  
    Perhaps because Huitzilopochtli was the demon-god and culture-hero of the Aztecs to whom multitudes were sacrificed in ritual murder, before whose temple the famously immense skull-rack with its countless trophies was displayed, and whose cult fueled an ideology of permanent war?  How could this have been the same person whom Steiner describes as the saviour of the Christ-impulse?  Better to retain the unfamiliar form of the name, one which carries with it no unpleasant associations or difficult questions….
Yet sidestepping of this problem does not contribute to the solving of any others, while pursuance of it does, as we shall see.
    For one living in 1916 there was every reason to assume that Mesoamerican cultures stretched back uninterruptedly from the Aztec times of the 16th C. back into pre-Classic cultures of the 1st C. and beyond, and that the gods and deities which were worshipped by those whom the Spanish met and chronicled were the same who occupied the pantheon during the American Turning Point of Time.  A default presumption, to be sure, and one proven since to be mostly wrong, but the one to which Steiner’s age subscribed.  Hence, in lieu of any other convenient options (but for reasons which will become clear) Steiner selects the name of the Aztec’s unchallenged culture hero and war-god – Huitzilopochtli – and applies it to our mysterious avatar. Regardless of his sources, any of them would have informed him straight off that Huitzilopochtli was a demonic entity of the first order.   Why, then, would he have used that baleful name without a caution?  His window of opportunity to speak of such things must have been narrow, indeed, and he must have trusted in those who came after to do our Thinking and in the course of science’s work in contributing clarifying details.  That’s us.  
    Using the name “Huitzilopochtli” may have been an inevitable choice for him, but one which we, a century later, should be very cautious about employing.   Under the circumstances, and without a better option, those of us in the English-speaking world could do worse than to use the German form of the name, since it does separate the early from the late aspect rather decisively.  Later on, we will consider another option, one that comes from the Maya.
    Nonetheless, there are some significant insights that can be developed by pondering the factors which played into the metamorphoses of our 1st C. initiate as Steiner describes him into that of the terminal culture which appropriated his legacy for its own legitimization.  Was Steiner aware of this possibility?  Most probably. But little has been done to consider the implications of this metamorphosis – implications that are avoided by “Vitzliputzli”.
    Furthermore, since Steiner is unspecific as to exactly where in Mexico or in which of its many cultures this remarkable deed of Christ’s advocate took place, we are unable to infer from him whether this person was Olmec, Zapotec, Mayan, or other.   In a later section we will consider an Izapan hypothesis.
    Another problem of language is reflected in the matter of “Taotl” whom Steiner describes as the supreme and most ancient god of the Mexican pantheon, the bearer of the Atlantean legacy (also, from another time: “Taotl is a Being who as a cosmic, universal spirit weaves in the clouds, lives in the lightning and the thunder.” )  While we concur with the commentator Dr. Koslik in his thesis that this is the same as the generic nahuatl language “teotl” suffix , this does not assist us much, for the question remains: “Who was the deity to whom Steiner refers – as it appeared in the 1st C. A.D.?” Could this be the significant “Storm God” of Teotihuacan (the name pulled out of a hat by modern researchers) who persists as the most ancient god Tlaloc of the Aztecs, whose shrine graced the top of Tenochtitlan’s much-later 16th C. Templo Mayor together with Huitzilopochtli’s?   At any rate, it is a leap to capitalize the “T” in “Taotl” for “teotl”, not a proper noun, but a qualifying suffix signifying the god-aspect of any other being (e.g.: Ometeoltl, Huehueteotl, Tlazolteotl, Cinteotl, etc.).  To derive anything more than the most general speculations from this similarity is unwarranted, just as increasing the resolution on a halftone photograph does not yield additional information; it only increases the grain.   One might just as easily draw conclusions from an apparent similarity of “teotl” to the “turtle” of Turtle Island.
    Yet the intuition may have noticed something in these circumstances.  Steiner’s attempt to indicate something significant by pointing to such features should be taken seriously.  Perhaps “teotl” does have implications of exceedingly ancient roots, since the first two deities mentioned belong to the most ancient rank of world-forming beings.  
    Furthermore, to associate “teotl” with the “Great Spirit” of Native American lore is probably not too far from the mark, as far as it goes, but we should be leery of thinking that we really know anything specific or substantial as a result: there were hundreds of cultures who believed in a Great Spirit of one sort or another.  The only thing we can be very sure of is that those conceptions varied widely.  Onward into the fog…which just might begin to dispel under the effect of clear and rigorous thinking.

Second, as we have alluded, there is the almost inevitable if subtle conflation of the time-periods involved; a situation that continues to bedevil modern researchers.  Let us note the back jacket cover statement that appeared in the first English edition of Steiner’s lecture-cycle, as it nicely illustrates the problem:
“…We hear of how…forces, opposed to humanity, threatened to reach a tragic climax in the bloody Aztec mysteries of ancient Mexico, until they were thwarted by the heroic efforts of a Mexican Sun-initiate.”
This statement reflects a total confusion of two entirely different sets of circumstances. Steiner clearly indicates that the crisis and its successful resolution took place in the first part of the 1st C. A.D.  He further states that all succeeding crises, whatever their scope or danger, were nothing compared to what they would have been if the prototypical 1st C. crisis had not been successfully challenged. The negative aspect of the much-later Aztec phenomenon was merely an echo, a feeble afterthought of certain retrograde Mesoamerican tendencies. Yet the fabulous Aztec episode in history is substituted for the unknown, but essential one which took place a millennia-and-a-half before!  The simple historical fact that the Azteca entered Mesoamerica in the 14th Century (circa 1332 A.D.!, from out of unidentified northern wastelands), and only began their trajectory of Empire a hundred years later – much like the Inca, who also only enjoyed ascendance for a mere score of decades – has difficulty registering for those who prefer to think that the history of the Americas only began in earnest in 1492.
    The problem here – and it is a problem of which academics and scholars are keenly aware – is: to what extent can we understand the seminal early-CE Olmec-related cultures by what we think we know about the late-CE cultures of the Aztec and Maya?  I say think we know because of the paucity of original sources of information: the Spaniards were excellent and voluminous chroniclers, but all of it was in the service of conquest and Inquisition, when it was not outright genocide.
    So: Huitzilopochtli/Vitzliputzli.  What are we to make of this?  We shall have to tease at this knot from multiple directions.  We have indicated one of them: the direction of time, where aspects of a highly-charged matter seem to change and invert, given time.
    Another vector is illustrated by the case of the Spaniard’s conquering Jesus…who was this?  Would the Jesus Christ of c. 30 A.D. recognize himself in the imperial apocalyptic Jesus encountered by the heretics and pagans caught up in the meat-grinder of European hegemony?  I suggest that similar processes were at work on both sides of the Atlantic.  The question of exactly what these might have been will have to be postponed for the time  being.

Third, there is the matter of sources.  Where did Steiner get his historical information, upon which his Imaginations are based?  One may grant that Steiner had privileged sources of information not available to the non-initiate while also maintaining that he did not always speak as one or draw exclusively on those resources.  In many cases, an initiate may be no more well-informed than any other educated contemporary.  In others, an initiate may be without even a simple opinion, preserving his/her credibility by the time-honored stratagem of remaining silent.   Even on the same subject, one such may mix sources, as do we all on occasion, being solid on the essentials but fuzzy on the details.  
    In the case of Steiner’s extended remarks about ancient American spirituality, one may feel that Steiner was under a difficult obligation to speak distinctly about certain crucial features of history. Obstructive forces were present then as they were at other points in his career, but any supportive context of historical science and archeological detective work was rudimentary.  For every mystic, visionary or crackpot who may have been lucky enough to hit a nail or two on the head with their unbounded fantasies about “Lost Worlds”, there are scores who have struck out.  Facts are stubborn things for those who invest in grandiose visions!  Rudolf Steiner had a difficult row to hoe!
The store of facts at Steiner’s disposal was meagre, and he cannot be faulted for accepting, in part, the authority of the few who wrote about such things in his day.  And there was no consensus as to who were the professionals; all the authorities were self-appointed. Few bothered to consult with Indigenous Wisdom-Keepers, and fewer still found avenues for expression of what they might have thereby learned.  Compartmentalization and professionalization were well on the way to completing the process of sequestering behind almost insurmountable barriers what real cross-culturalizing knowledge there was.

Rudolf Steiner had two known sources of exoteric information available to him: Eduard Seler  and Charles William Heckethorn.   The first was – and still is – a giant in his field of Mesoamerican studies (primarily regarding the Aztecs), and a contemporary of Rudolf Steiner’s – and both Berliners throughout the first decades of the century.  Although modern scholars have developed his work, refuting some of his methods and premises in the process, there is none who does not acknowledge a great debt of gratitude to him and his influence in the field.  (He was one of the first to develop his ideas from a scrupulous examination of the source material, instead of starting by looking for evidence of a priori theories.)  Many of the surviving Mexican codices were first examined and commented on by him; his work product is very large.      
    Unfortunately, Steiner seems to have made a poor choice in his selection of whom to rely upon as an authority.  While probably correct in his fine-detail criticism of contemporary scientific trends (his criticism of the then infant field of psychology and psychotherapy was based in part upon his prescient intuition that it would soon tend to degenerate into a manipulated technology for behavior-modification and mind-control accommodation to increasingly inhuman conditions, a prediction largely born out by society’s dependence upon pharmaceutical accommodation to of depression, anxiety, and other situation-induced disorders), this seems to have led him to avoid engagement with the founders of these developing fields.  Similarly, there is a reference in which he states:
“There was a personality who lived in the later period of Mexican civilisation and was connected with the utterly decadent, pseudo-magical Mystery cults of Mexico; with an intense thirst for knowledge he studied everything with close and meticulous exactitude. My attention was attracted to him through having made the acquaintance some years ago of a curious man who is still engaged in a primitive form of study of the decadent superstitions of the Mexican Mysteries. Such lore is of negligible importance, because anyone who studies these things at the present time is studying pure superstition; it has all become decadent today….”
It seems, from the textual and societal context, that this “curious individual” was probably Eduard Seler, although any hard evidence of such an encounter is lacking. It would be consistent for Steiner if it was, for he also declined possible contact with Freud, Jung, and Krishnamurti, not to mention the great assortment of first-generation atomic scientists, who were all very active in Central Europe during this time.  The mentors whom he lauds are not the ones whom history has made popular or who stand at the head of significant modern cultural trends.  What it seems he did do in our present instance, however, is take the bulk of his information about the outer aspects of Mexican (Aztec, to be precise, although this was not a distinction many cared to make in Steiner’s day) life and spiritual practice from the very dubious Heckethorn.
    Heckethorn is referenced in a footnote for the German edition of GA 171 as a source for Steiner’s information, upon the evidence that he had a copy of a famously curious book by the man in his library.  Although this alone would not be proof that he relied on it, the peculiar tone and selected strange details of Mexican religious practice are too similar to be simple coincidence. Most of what Steiner had to say on the subject could be paraphrased from Heckethorn’s brief descriptions, and, conversely, much of Heckethorn finds its way into Steiner’s text.  Heckethorn has credibility in some circles: he is cited as a corroborating authority elsewhere by Anthroposophic editors; he is footnoted over fifteen times and quoted for over fifteen pages by Hella Weisberger in her edition of Steiner’s The Temple Legend series of lectures.  
    Unfortunately, there is a tendency to accept uncritically anything associated with Steiner’s name by those who believe in him, and this tendency is most vexing in matters concerning his remarks concerning America – particularly since this goes against his own explicit instructions to his followers. Hence it is incomprehensible to this writer that such a crank, even one as broadly versed as Heckethorn, could be cited as support for one such as Steiner, or that Steiner himself could have relied upon him for information. Yet it appears that he did, as a close comparison of Steiner’s and Heckethorn’s texts reveal.  Perhaps the simplest explanation should receive some consideration: Steiner made a mistake, due to overlapping prejudices which made him careless as to other issues such as enter into this affair.  We shall look into this matter at some length, for the reader should not be expected to take this writer’s word for it.      There may, of course, be better explanations.  One partial explanation for Heckethorn’s credibility in Anthroposophic circles is that modern readers have simply not read the book, or gone outside of self-referential anthroposophic commentary for information or critical research.  In the meantime, this is one of those difficulties that should not, but nevertheless does exist, and it is better to simply live with it, sustaining and not denying the tension, until such time as new information or new insights arise.  The circumstances are as follows:
    It need not be disputed that this book did actually exist as part of Steiner's library; it is quite reasonable and possible that it did: it enjoyed a huge vogue when first published in 1875, and again when it was revised and enlarged for an 1897 second edition.  By 1904, when it appeared in a German edition, it was in great vogue.  A serious researcher would not have wanted to be without it, for whatever reason, even if only as a curious specimen of its type.
    However, from two different directions Heckethorn is suspect: from internal fault and from philosophical bias. That warning flags from one or the other would have failed to have alerted Steiner's attention is most improbable. Even the modern publisher calls it "entertaining", "opinionated", "slipshod", and states that: “It very well may be that Heckethorn had sources for all his weird suggestions, but their conspicuous absence raises the eyebrows of all but the most credulous.” (pp. 1-2).  In the brief section devoted to Mesoamerican lore his style is particularly lurid, and well suited to the macabre nature of the subject – ritual human sacrifice.  Little is said about anything else. Here it is as if European culture was condemned for the excesses of the Nazis, while ignoring the legacies of Tauler, Erasmus, St. Francis, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe – and Steiner.  Surely Mexico had an equivalently rich history, it having been the locale of one of the world’s five major and most independently evolved forms of civilization.
    Regarding factual veracity, Heckethorn claims that the "religious system of the  Mexicans" designated Viracocha as the creator.  Notwithstanding the fact that there is no one "religious system of the Mexicans" - our present-day historical view spans well over two-thousand years of many various and simultaneously existing pre-Columbian cultures - Viracocha is a deity exclusive to the South American Andean cultures.  There is no evidence to the contrary, and all we have from Heckethorn is his blithe assertion.   One must give credit where credit is due, however, and it must be admitted that Heckethorn is right on the money in many of his tabloid-style speculations.  He was a strange talent and curiosity.
    At any rate, 4+ pages of text devoted to the subject out of a total of 356 pages devoted mainly to other matters can hardly be considered serious source material, especially as there is no documentation or references given for any of what Mr. Heckethorn has to say on the subject.    But that is not germane to the issue of whether or not Steiner may have used it for a possible source for his comments.
    It is in the area of bias that evidence appears which makes it hard to imagine that Steiner might have taken Heckethorn's ideas seriously. Note Heckethorns’s total confusion about another subject:     
"When the story of the Egyptian Horus had...been elaborated into the myth of Christ, the latter was at once fitted out with mysteries and initiations thereunto....    But the story of the Transfiguration on the Mount is an imperfect description of the holding of a quasi-masonic lodge...." p. 103)
"In all the ancient mysteries we have seen a representation of the death of the sun; according to some writers, this ceremony was imitated in the Christian Mysteries by the symbolical slaying of a child, which, in the lower degrees, of course meant the death of Christ….
    "Then the real mystery was unveiled, and the astronomical meaning of Christianity...was laid bare....   Thus to them the Seven Churches in Asia were the seven months from March to September....   Christ represented the sun, and His first miracle is turning water into wine, which the sun does every year; His agony in Gethsemane was the juice of the grape put in the wine-press; His descent into hell was the sun in the winter season; His crucifixion on Calvary (calvus = bald = shorn of His rays) His crossing of the equator in the autumn; and his crucifixion in Egypt (Rev. xi. 8) His crossing it in the Spring.   The beheading of John the Baptist was shown to them to be John, Janus, or Aquarius, having his head cut off by the line of the horizon on the 29th August, wherefore his festival occurs on that day...." (p. 104-106)
    Such is Heckethorn's comprehension of the Christian Mythos, which one as educated and initiated as Steiner could hardly have read even as entertainment, the caricature descending past farce and tragedy into utter banality; one which could not have served to lend credibility to Heckethorn’s judgements about matters so alien to all as those about ancient Mexico.  One must also consider Steiner's harsh attitude concerning contemporary things Masonic in considering whether he would ordinarily have been predisposed to give this author's speculations any benefit of the doubt.  Steiner knew enough about Masonic history and agendas to be able to have a completely well-formed judgement about Heckethorn's quasi-lunatic appreciation of them, which form a consistent theme in his monomaniacal world-view, as presented in his book.
    Heckethorn was also a bald-faced racist in the old hypertrophied imperialistic mode:
"The true comprehension of Nature [for Heckethorn, Nature = the only and ultimate Reality = the astronomical facts pertaining to the Course of the Seasons] was the prerogative of the most highly developed of all races of men...the Aryan races....
"So highly favored, precisely because Nature in so highly favored a spot could only develop in course of time a superior type; which being, as it were, the quintessence of that copious Nature, was one with it, and therefore able to apprehend it and its fulness.  For as the powers of Nature have brought forth plants and animals of different degrees of development and perfection, so they have produced various types of men in various stages of development; the most perfect being, as already mentioned, the Aryan or Caucasian type, the only one that has a history, and the one that deserves our attention when inquiring into the mental history of mankind.  For even where the Caucasian comes into contact and intermingles with a dark race, as in India and Egypt, it is the white man with whom the higher and historical development begins."  (pp. 5-6).
What can one say, except that similar biases informed the milieu of the time – including the more restricted circles of that age’s occultism?  To what extent was Steiner at the mercy of such a weight of deformed speculation in his pronouncements concerning happenings in ancient Mexico? Rudolf Steiner, a turn-of-the-century Middle European of humble, rural, and conservative origins, does seem to have been without the temperamental sympathy for the more dramatic Mexican sensibilities. Was he perhaps insufficiently careful, even careless, in speaking of them without sufficient preparation?  Was he perhaps incapable or unwilling to do so because that would have brought him into a closer - and uncomfortable - encounter with uncomfortable aspects of his own personality and of his Anthroposophical Society’s social dynamic; issues that would have involved direct confrontation with all kinds of Doubles, elements so entwined with matters intimately American?
    Much energy has been expended trying to uncover root causes for the weak role of the Anthroposophical Society in the world and of the lack of congruence between the Anthroposophical Society and the sources of its Inspiration.   A deep encounter with the root issues involved in the "Mexican Mysteries" can shed a reorienting light on the subject.  But pursuing this topic would lead us too far afield, although most of our discussion will prove to be most relevant for one who might wish to consider its implications.

    Returning to our discussion of sources, we can summarize by saying that Steiner had less backup than he – or anyone else in his position – would have liked.  It was an unsatisfactory situation.
    But Steiner had access to sources of information about ancient cultures other than physical remains.  He, like the adepts, initiates, magi, and shamans of yore, could associate with the gods.  When he accessed Mesoamerica on this level, he really plucked the plum from the pudding.  To have located a civilization-shifting Christ-event in Mexico, contemporaneous with the Bible-referenced one in Palestine, is more than a stroke of genius. It is a solid communication from a full adept in the Tradition.  Sustained reflection upon this item reveals an entirely different level of insight than is apparent in his other, more peripheral indications.
    There are several ways of “proving” a proposition.  One is by internal consistency and by consistency of correlates.  One is by the support of factual evidence.  One is by manifest elegance.  And one is by the fertile and illuminating spin-offs that it may generate; the new vistas of inquiry which it may open up.  Utility value, in other words.  For the latter, the immediate issue is more a matter of “is the theory useful” rather than “is it true”.  On all counts, Steiner’s basic thesis – that is all one can legitimately take it as, for one who had not personally proven it by the same inner access and experience as any initiate in that Tradition obtains – is worthy of serious consideration.
    For instance, the conundrum of Teotihuacan’s simple existence, inscrutable to historians of all varieties, suddenly snaps into focus – and it requires no absurdities or preposterous allegiances, other than the relinquishment of the materialist superstition that the gods and spiritual forces of the world are unreal human projections.  If one assumes, as historian Esther Pasztory does, that: “If one considers that gods and religion are human creations”, she herself, out of intellectual honesty, has to continue in the very same sentence to deny the efficacy of that proposition but without replacement: “this explanation of the phenomenon [of Teotihuacan] is inadequate both psychologically and sociologically.”  Her admittedly weak alternative (the compelling power of ritual in the employ of a showman) is unsatisfactory, but she, like all other researchers who have conscientiously grounded themselves in the material evidence, and hence are unwilling to indulge in seeming fancy, has nothing better to offer to explain the fact of Teotihuacan.
    The vexing matter of Steiner’s sources looms especially large in a detail of ritual human sacrifice as it was practiced in pre-Colombian Mexico – and even into post-Colombian Mexico.  As Dr. Koslik observes in his Introduction to the lecture-cycle, there is a contradiction between Steiner’s statement that it was the stomach that was removed, and all other sources, both Aztec codices and Spanish records, which testify that it was the heart that was the object of excision.  This contradiction has not resolved itself with time, and becomes even more complicated by the fact that Steiner does not acknowledge any practice of heart-removal, while Heckethorn, Steiner’s most evident source for his more circumstantial details, only refers to the accepted heart-removal.  It remains completely unknown how Steiner arrived at his conclusion that it was the stomach that was excised.  Dr. Koslik’s theory remains one that is least unsatisfactory, especially since he brings to our attention the very interesting statuette of Xolotl (the nahualli, or double, of Quetzalcoatl) that first came to the public’s attention in 1904.  Interestingly enough, this was due to the agency of Dr. Seler.   Dr. Steiner might easily have seen it, since it may then have been exhibited in Stuttgart, Germany, where Seler observed it and where it is still on display.
Statements by Steiner conjoined with knowledge of Aztec practice strongly imply a link between the alleged rituals of human sacrifice allied with stomach excision and the presiding deity Quetzalcoatl. Without any obvious opportunity by RS of knowing that Xolotl and Quetzalcoatl were joined together at the hip, so to speak, the configuration of the figurine tends to vouch for the accuracy of his independently derived observation.  On the other hand, the greenstone object is of late Aztec provenance, while Dr. Koslik’s suggestion of additional and deeply secret stomach-excision rituals would apply especially to the late-B.C. “Vitzliputzli”-era practices for which no evidence exists.  Heart-sacrifice, on the other hand, has been a documented fixture of Mesoamerican ritual since Day One.  The problem remains.

    Fourthly, we must deal with the overarching matter of Meaning, one which, although it encompasses all the foregoing, goes beyond them.  Taking into account all those factors which we have discussed, we must decide what Steiner tried to express in the course of being constrained by them.  Let us consider this in terms of the specific and fascinating instance of Quetzalcoatl, who is indeed frequently paired in the native lore with Tezcatlipoca.  Our Steiner declares:

“…different mysteries were founded that were designed to counteract the excesses of the Taotl mysteries. These were mysteries in which a being lived…this being was Tezkatlipoka. That was the name given to the being who, though he belonged to a much lower hierarchy, was partly connected through his qualities with the Jehovah god. He worked in the Western Hemisphere against those grisly mysteries of which we have spoken.
“The teachings of Tezcatlipoca soon escaped from the mysteries and were spread abroad exoterically. Thus, in those regions of the earth, the teachings of Tezcatlipoca were actually the most exoteric, while those of Taotl were the most esoteric, since they were only obtained in the manner described above. The ahrimanic powers sought to “save” humanity, however — I am now speaking as Ahriman thought of it — from the god Tezcatlipoca. Another spirit was set up against him who, for the Western Hemisphere, had much in common with the spirit whom Goethe described as Mephistopheles [a.k.a.: Ahriman, with some Luciferic qualities]. He was indeed his kin. This spirit was designated with a word that sounded like Quetsalkoatl. He was a spirit who, for this time and part of the earth, was similar to Mephistopheles, although Mephistopheles displayed much more of a soul nature. Quetzalcoatl also never appeared directly incarnated. His symbol was similar to the Mercury staff to be found in the Eastern Hemisphere, and he was, for the Western Hemisphere, the spirit who could disseminate malignant diseases through certain magic forces. He could inflict them upon those whom he wished to injure in order to separate them from the relatively good god, Tezcatlipoca.”
And, from elsewhere:
“Tetzkatlipoka was a kind of Serpent God with whom men felt themselves astrally connected.”   (the alternate spelling is as it is in the texts.  Steiner did not get this information on Tezcatlipoca from Heckethorn – another riddle.)
    So: Meaning. What did Steiner intend to convey with these remarks?  Are Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca to be considered as representatives of cosmically good and evil forces, respectively benefactor and villain, or as partners who work opposite sides of the same dynamic?  An example of the former would be the Good Guys and the Bad Guys in the Hollywood Westerns, an example of the latter would be Plato and Aristotle.  Unfortunately, his brief asides are just that: too brief.  It is known that the Aztecs themselves definitely subscribed to the latter more sophisticated view. And which Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca are we talking about: the beings of popular 16th C. Aztec religion as perceived by the trampling Spanish, the original prototypes in core mythology and Ancestral Imagination going back to the Olmec, the beings themselves before they become projected into either – or the fabulous Quetzalcoatls and Tezcatlipocas of the poorly-informed European mind?   To what extent does this latter include Steiner?
    Although we may never know the answer to these questions, I suspect that he knew both more and less about these subjects than he is generally credited.  Less, because he cannot be credited with scholarship that simply did not exist in his time, and more, because of his deep appreciation for the inner nature of the religious soul, and for the remarkably profound perception that stands, above and beyond all other lesser and annoying considerations, at the core of his American Vision.  This essential perception we will examine in detail in the next installment.  
    There is, however, yet another Quetzalcoatl (Tezcatlipoca has receded from popular view).  This is the Quetzalcoatl of year-2002 New Age and popular Chicano and Mexican culture.  If there is a universally regarded, utterly positive and benevolent being in the American pantheon, it is Quetzalcoatl – and that this is so is attested by the pervasive presence in the historical record of his avatar Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl of Toltec fame.   To further complicate matters, in the 18th and 19th C, there was considerable conviction that Quetzalcoatl was, in reality, none other than St. Thomas the Apostle, who, it was said, had gone to the Orient to proselytize to the heathen.
Tezcatlipoca may have been the focus of popular cults in unspecified pre-Columbian times, for all deities had had their places in the ritual calendar, but the assertion that his cult was the most popular is unsupported.  On the other hand, it does apply to Quetzalcoatl!  Is it possible that Steiner got his attributions reversed, or applied names deriving from one era to the inverted deity-aspects of other eras?  In support of these possibilities is the fact that nowhere in modern evidence is Tezcatlipoca found depicted with major serpent aspect, whereas it is Quetzalcoatl who has as his most prominent motif that of the feathered serpent – in fact, that is what his name means; he was the Serpent-God ne plus ultra.  On the other hand, the Mayan equivalent of Tezcatlipoca (K’awil, aka God K or GII) comes equipped with a significant serpent-foot. Or have the attributions themselves reversed over the course of time, as we have seen take place with Vitzliputzli-Huitzilopochtli and that of Jesus Christ Himself…for who would recognize the Jesus of 1st. C. Palestine in the Jesus of 16th C. Inquisitional Spain, where the Jews and Muslims were expelled in 1492 with ascendant reactionary fervor, and on whose behalf the Conquistadors and Franciscans were sent to scour the New World?  Many peoples on the receiving end of the Christian dispensation have had no difficulty – if they still survive – with conflating the Cross and the Swastika.
    In Steiner’s favor, it must be said that the Mesoamerican deities were multi-valent: they were multifaceted in ways that are totally confounding for the “a place for everything and everything in its place” and strict hierarchical mentality of the analytic European mind.  Every deity gloried in multiple contradictory internal aspects and exchanged them in the many different kinds of relationships with those with whom it was partnered. Yes, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca were adversaries, but in indigenous mythology they also assisted each other in the creation of the world, being regents of successive world-ages.  In favor of Steiner’s positive estimation for Tezcatlipoca, two of Huitzilopochtli’s common appellations were “Blue Tezcatlipoca” and “Tezcatlipoca of the South”, although these are attributions unknown in RS’s day – unless he had scanned specialist papers by Seler!  Unfortunately, the significance and subtleties of such aliases has been mostly lost, and we simply do not know where Steiner came by his information, or what he meant by most of it.  What we may confidently assume is that he did mean something significant when he spoke of these matters.
    Ah…and determining what he meant from what he said has an additional complication: what he is recorded as saying cannot be considered a totally reliable document.  Each and every volume of his compiled lecture-cycles is preceded by a disclaimer from him advising that the contents are compiled from uncorrected notes, and that the material cannot be considered definitive and authoritative.  As mentioned at the outset, many listening to the material had trouble hearing it.  What if the transcriber of the lectures was one of those people?  If the material was difficult for Steiner to present, how must it have sounded to those in the audience?!

One last set of points: Rudolf Steiner’s indications are typically: 1. Highly nuanced, 2. inseparable from the immediate context, 3. not only well-informed but well-informed from an extremely insightful and unique vantage point, and 4. always directed towards a specific intent.  In short, there is always a very precise point to be made; if the context alters, so also does the apparent judgement he is making.  We see this in the instances where he addresses various aspects of Masonry, the legacy of Rome, the modern scientific method, the rise of individuality and self-consciousness, the influence of Arabic thought upon European civilization, and many others: there is no such thing as an unmixed blessing or a crisis devoid of possibilities.   It is indeed unfortunate that Steiner did not have other, more relaxed opportunities in which to expand on his GA 171 comments, or to approach them from a direction which was not concerned with various assaults upon European culture.

    For all these reasons, succeeding reflections will only hover about Steiner’s text; it would be a mistake to parse it too closely.  Yet if one pays sustained attention to the effect which it has upon one’s internal sensibilities, some interesting things begin to reveal themselves. Steiner’s methodology of training in Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition is, essentially, only a disciplined development of becoming inwardly responsive to the “objective subjectivity” of the Other  - an intensive listening, in other words, of which the initial stages are Information and Interest.  Without good Information, one’s Imagination is bound to go haywire, as has happened to Le Plongeon and Thompson with the Maya, but without Imagination, one does not go anywhere.  Let us see where the dynamic interplay between the two can take us!  From the next installment:

“Some sense of early Christianity can be recovered from what remains to us in the formal confessions – even, in paradoxically revealing fashion, via their frequently crude attempts to permanently embalm it.  Even a damaged signpost can tell the traveler what he or she needs to know.  Since through those fragmented clues we can enter into the Mythic Realities to which they refer, so also might we attempt to do the same with what suggestions remain to us of the spiritual Traditions of America – and most properly so, for we stand upon the Land within which they live and in which they have their origin…and from which they are now reemerging in waxing force and power.”

There is now the requisite critical mass of evidence from all fields of exoteric investigation into Mesoamerica that theories deriving from practice in the Mesoamerican spiritual Traditions themselves, as well as those deriving from practice in equivalent European-derived esoteric disciplines can find a fruitful synesthesia. Steiner’s indications are an excellent place to start – notwithstanding the previous cautions, for these are based in a profoundly original and far-seeing point of view. Almost all of my objections amount to a caution against hasty conclusions, sloppy thinking, and naïve associations on the part of the reader.  We will look later into the fit between RS’s larger-scale indications and what is generally known about Mesoamerican spirituality and history, and into the theoretical and practical utility of his observations as they relate to the shamanic practice of our 1st. C. culture-hero.
Parts II & III to follow in succeeding issues of Southern Cross Review

This essay proceeds from Rudolf Steiner’s Inner Impulses in Evolution, GA 171 in the bibliographic survey.  The lectures of Sept. 18 & 24, 1916, given in Dornach, Switzerland, deal directly with the subject of the “Mexican Mysteries.”  English-language edition published by the Anthroposophic Press, 1984. The English edition contains seven lectures, from Sept. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, and Oct. 1, 1916.  The German edition of GA 171 contains additional lectures from Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, 7, 14, 15, 21, 28, 29, and 30, 1916: this group is subtitled Goethe and the Crisis of the Nineteenth Century.  An additional lecture from Dec. 10, 1916 is also grouped with GA 171, although it appears as part of The Problem of Faust, GA 273.  No mention is made in the English edition of the abridgements and associated material. (GA 273) lecture in Bib. II.  
Online at: http://wn.elib.com/Steiner/Lectures/InnerImpul/InnImp_index.html

For further material on:
General Mesoamerican background:
The Olmec World – Ritual and Rulership: Coe, Michael D., and Richard A Diehl, David A. Freidel, Peter T. Furst, F. Kent Reilly, III, Linda Schele, Carolyn E. Tate, and Karl A. Taube: The Art Museum, Princeton U. & Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995.  Splendid essays and illustrations by the best in the business. The Olmec is the Ur-civilization in Mesoamerica and this volume reflects the current high state of scholarship in the field.

Mexico: Coe, Michael D. Thames and Hudson, fourth edition, 1994.

An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: Mary Miller &  Karl Taube. Thames and Hudson, 1993.

The Conquest of America – The Question of the Other: Tzvetan Todorov.  U. of Oklahoma Press, 1999 (from Harper & Row, 1984, and the original French edition of 1982.).  He has a brilliant and most relevant thesis about the different ways in which Mesoamerican and European cultures handled social stresses: Mesoamerican attempted to transform them through sacrifice and hence was a sacrifice-culture, whereas Europe attempted to obliterate them through wars of obliteration and hence was a massacre-society.  This is totally congruent with my view of the different ways in which the two cultures handled the explosive nature of the Double.

This Tree Grows Out of Hell – Mesoamerica and the Search for the Magical Body: Ptolomy  Tompkins, Harper SanFrancisco, 1990.

Quetzalcoatl and related issues:
The Flayed God: Roberta H. & Peter T. Markman, Harper Collins, 1992, pp. 63 – 96, ff.

Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl – The Once and Future King of the Toltecs: H. B. Nicholson.  U. Press of  Colorado, 2001 (from 1974).

Shamanism and Sacred Magic:
Meditations on the Tarot: Anonymous, Chapters 1 – 5 especially.

The UnderWorld Initiation: R. J. Stewart.

Mesoamerican Religions: David Carrasco.

Owning Your Own Shadow: Robert A. Johnson. HarperSanFransisco, 1993.


1.  Dion Fortune: The Mystical Cabalah. Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1996 (from 1935).

2.  Rudolf Steiner: Karmic Relationships, Vol. II, GA 236, lecture 12 of May 29, 1924.  Rudolf   Steiner Press, 1974, p. 193.  This is the only known description of Taotl outside "Inner Impulses".

3.   Eduard Seler: Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 1902 – 1923, Berlin.

4.  Charles William Heckethorn – The Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries: Embracing the Mysteries andanavia, the Cabalists, Early Christians, Heretics, Assassins, Thugs, Templars, the Vehm and Inquisition, Mystics, Rosicrucians, Illuminati, Freemasons, Skopzi, Camorristi, Carbonari, Nihilists, and Other Sects. Kessinger Publishing Co, from 1875 & 1897 (2nd ed.).  German edition published 1900.

5.  Steiner: Karmic Relationships, Vol. II, p. 192.  This derogatory reference to the history of the “personality” mentioned is one of the very few references by Steiner to the “Mexican Mysteries” outside of GA 171, although it is repeated almost verbatim in several later Karmic Relationships lectures. The reference to the “curious man” is unique to this citation, however.

6.  Rudolf Steiner: The Temple Legend - From the Contents of the Esoteric School, (GA 93).   Lectures from May 23, 1904 to January 2, 1906.  Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997.  This is an almost equal curiosity, as there are many more reputable sources of information on the Masons than Heckethorn.

7.  Esther Pasztory: Teotihuacan – An Experiment in Living.  U. of Oklahoma Press, 1997, p. 201.  Also: “The gods signify the personified powers of nature”: p. 206.  She does have an excellent section on Seler: pp. 64 – 72.  Overall, the book is in a class by itself, notwithstanding the limitations noted. GŁnther Wachsmuth, Steiner's personal assistant and long-term member of the Anthroposophical Society's Board, uses Seler, without any difficulty, as an authority in the third volume of his evolutionary studies: "The Evolution of Mankind", Philosophic-Anthroposophic Press, 1961, pp. 85, 90, and elsewhere.

8.  Seler: The Green Stone Idol of the Stuttgart Museum.  From Collected Works in Mesoamerican Linguistics and Archeology, Labyrinthos, 1993 (from the German of 1904).  Quetzalcoatl is the deity of Venus as Morning Star, whereas Xolotl is the deity of Venus as Evening Star.

9.   Steiner: Inner Impulses of Evolution, lecture of Sept. 18.

10.  Steiner: Karmic Relationships, Vol. VII, GA 239, lecture 3 of June 9, 1924.  Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973, p. 49.  This is the only known reference by Steiner to Tezcatlipoca outside Inner Impulses.

11. Benjamin Keen: The Aztec Image in Western Thought.   Rutgers U. Press, 1971.  Fascinating portraits and documentation of the volatile perception of Aztec reality and how it would shift as it reflected trends and fads in European politics, culture, and philosophy.  It seems that the history of the subject has been that speculation has been in inverse proportion to the amount of information available, careening between rational reduction and romantic projection.

12.  The revered, later deposed by agents of Tezcatlipoca, ruler of the Toltec empire, d. c. 976 A.D., or perhaps relocated in exile in Yucatan.  Aztec prophecy conflated his return with that of Cortez, with disastrous consequences.  See also Tony Shearer’s Lord of the Dawn, Naturegraph Publishing, for a good exposition of this modern enthusiasm, significant in the genesis of the Harmonic Convergence of 1987.

13. Miguel Leon-Portilla, editor and translator: Native Mesoamerican Spirituality. Translated from the Nahuatl of Fray Bernardino de Sahagun: General History of the things of New Spain (Florentine codex). As in The Flayed God, by Roberta H. & Peter T. Markman, Harper Collins, 1992.

14. Bernardo Sahagun: The Florentine Codex.

15. Statement of Sun Tracks – American Indian Literary Magazine.  Students and faculty U. of Arizona.

Inquires and responses welcomed; send to: to Stephen Clarke, mozartg@yahoo.com, c/o Southern Cross Review, or through his All Our Relations group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AllOurRelations/

Stephen Clarke is a BMW/MBZ Service shop owner, a 30-yr. New Mexico resident, and president of his local Santa Fe Anthroposophical Society Branch.  He attends church at a local Pueblo sweat lodge.