By Rudolf Steiner
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Extra info for Ancient myths : their meaning and connection with evolution
There you have a still more concrete form of the Osiris-Isis-myth: it is universal wisdom in so far as it is won from the atmosphere, but it is in organic connection with man, the deeper layers of the human spirit. You can get an idea of it if you seek it in the following way. You see, men think nowadays in an abstract way, inasmuch as they desire to know through the head what the world contains of laws and so on. In these old times men were clear that in this way, merely through head knowledge, one cannot know, but one knows through the whole human being.
But Zeus and his circle have withdrawn into the supersensible and avail themselves of the Sulphur processes: hence Zeus can hurl his lightning. If man, like Zeus, could hurl lightning, that is, if he could transform the sulphur through Imagination into reality, if he could inwardly and consciously hurl lightning, then he would use Imagination atavistically. That is what the Greeks wished to say when they said of Zeus that he could hurl lightning. It was known, even by Saint Martin, that with the Sulphur of the Alchemists something different is meant from the ordinary earthly sulphur, of which one could at most say — excuse the plain speaking — it is the excrement of that which was understood by Saint Martin and those before him as the real sulphur, which they also called the ‘philosophical sulphur’.
Jacob Boehme still gives: Sal == Salt; Mercur == Quicksilver; Sulphur == Sulphur. In the Middle Ages one said: Salt. Mercury, Sulphur. What was understood was not the same but yet had something to do with what the Greek meant when he spoke of Uranus-Gaea, or Gaea-Uranus; Rhea-Chronos; Hera-Zeus. For you see Chronos drove Uranus from World-rulership, Gaea became — shall we say — as good as widow. For what did she become? e. — Salt. Could man — this was known to the investigator of nature in the Middle Ages — make use consciously of the salt that existed in him, then he would have Intuition.