Posts Tagged Jacob
Who are Gilgamesh and Enkidu
There are at least two levels or stories in this epos. There are the story about two human beings and their endeavors, and there is the story about mankind, where Enkidu symbolizes the sentient soul and Gilgamesh the Mind soul, the Ego.
On the personal plane we learn through Enkidu the descent into the physical plane and through Gilgamesh the ascent up from the physical plane.
I will here try to find the deeper aspects of these beings in the esoteric history of man, looking at them as persons and as symbols. The first part will mainly build on Rudolf Steiner’s “Occult History” lectures 1 and 2, concentrating on the persons of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, or Eabani as Steiner calls him. In the second part I will look at the events on the spiritual plane to show their symbolic nature.
From Occult History by Rudolf Steiner
In Occult History Rudolf Steiner tells:
These beings are the highest developed persons within the human wave, and already on the old Moon were they selected for their part in the development of Earth. We know them as the twelve Bodhisattvas, the seven Sages, and as Christian Saints.
In the start of the second lecture RS elaborates on this theme:
This is the definition of the Bodhisattvas and their helpers, who are guiding the human history through the recurring crises caused by the powers of resistance.
The Gilgamesh epic is a remarkable myth, describing the esoteric path as it is until our time and written as it was written for us.
The myth describes the development until the initiation, which first became possible later.
Who are Gilgamesh?
As the previous quote says, Gilgamesh is a being with enormous potential.
Now Gilgamish was a personality who had many incarnations behind him and may therefore be called an “old” soul within the evolution of humanity…The souls who came down early have therefore more incarnations behind them in earth-evolution than those who came down later; hence we can call these latter, in contrast to the former, “younger” souls — souls who have taken less into themselves…
In the case of Gilgamish, the Being who was to reveal himself through him, and who could do so only by leading him presently to a kind of initiation, kept a guiding hand upon him from the outset and set him at the place where he came to recognise his own position in the history of the world…
The whole nature of an old soul will enable it early in life to grasp not only the essential element, the essential factor, in the existing culture, but also that which strikes into it as a new impulse, opening up a wide vista into the future. 
Gilgamesh incarnated back in Lemuria, maybe as the first of the development wave of man. Through his many incarnation he had reached a stage about where man were at the time of the Maid of Orleans. 2 This is one of the reasons why RS uses the word personality about him, he has developed the Ego as no other person have at this time in history, he have lost all connections to the spiritual world, and is as Ahrimanic as a man can be, as the son of Adam, Cain. His task is to form the development of the Earth, he is the archetypal Hero.
Gilgamesh – The Archetypal Hero
Who are Enkidu?
Enkidu (Eabani) is a diametrical different being; Enkidu is a being with few incarnation, ego-less and without karma, he lives in innocence with the animals. Through Enkidu’s encounter with a woman he acquires karma and becomes part of humanity, becomes part of civilization.
Eabani is depicted as being clothed in skins of animals. This is an indication of his wild nature; but because of this very wildness he is still endowed with ancient clairvoyance an the one hand, and an the other hand he is a young soul who has lived through far, far fewer incarnations than other souls who have reached a high level of development. Thus Gilgamish represents a being who was ready for initiation but was not able to attain it, for the journey to the West is the journey to an initiation that was not carried through to the end. 
In contrast to Gilgamesh, Enkidu is a young soul, without Ego, but with highly developed spiritual faculties, which Gilgamesh have lost. It can be said that Enkidu is the most Luciferic being born on Earth.
Enkidu’s task is to give Earth the Heavenly Wisdom to help man form the future. He is the archetypal Seer or Priest, as the son of Adam, Seth, the last born.
Enkidu letting wisdom stream out over the world
Here we see Enkidu placed as a helper for Gilgamesh, where the Luciferic Enkidu should bring equilibrium with the Ahrimanian Gilgamesh, helping him to purify humanity.
Enkidu represent wisdom.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu
These two are born again and again through history, as the bringer of Wisdom and of Form, as Teacher and Hero, as Aristotle and Alexander, or Aquinas and Christian Rosenkreutz.
In the bible we see them showing the shift from the old clairvoyance to the knew, for example as Esau (red and hairy hunter) and Jacob, or as Solomon and Hiram Abiff [Temple Legend]
The spiritual strength of these two are shown through
These great ‘personalities’ incarnates each hundred years, as Steiner describes in connection with Christian Rosenkreutz and Master Jesus, and it’s naive to believe that these big human beings only have been incarnated the few times as some seems to believe. If you read the Occult History and look for the word ‘personality’ it will point to further incarnations of these persons.
From the Gilgamesh Epic
Steiner tells that this epic describes physical reflections of the spiritual, and that should be considered in the mentioning of Ahriman and Lucifer in the following. I try here to show the two companions relation to the Ahrimanian and Luciferic, to explain their physical roles described in the previous chapter.
Gilgamesh is described as a man with all knowledge, showing him as a highly developed human being, with full control of the physical world, a doer:
The text on the stone states that he is two third god and one third human, king and super human, but he oppresses his people harshly, uses his power egoistically for his own satisfaction.
The people call out to the sky-god Anu, the chief god of the city, to help them. In response, Anu creates a wild man, Enkidu, out in the harsh and wild forests surrounding Gilgamesh’s lands. This brute, Enkidu, has the strength of dozens of wild animals; he is to serve as the subhuman rival to the superhuman Gilgamesh.A trapper’s son, while checking on traps in the forest, discovers Enkidu running naked with the wild animals; he rushes to his father with the news. The father advises him to go into the city and take one of the temple harlots, Shamhat, with him to the forest; when she sees Enkidu, she is to offer herself sexually to the wild man. If he submits to her, the trapper says, he will lose his strength and his wildness.
Shamhat meets Enkidu at the watering-hole where all the wild animals gather; she offers herself to him and he submits, instantly losing his strength and wildness, but he gains understanding and knowledge. He laments for his lost state, but the harlot offers to take him into the city where all the joys of civilization shine in their resplendence; she offers to show him Gilgamesh, the only man worthy of Enkidu’s friendship. 
Here Enkidu incarnates to be the helper and companion of Gilgamesh. He is shown in his pre-human state running wild with the animals, and how he becomes human through creating karma, through lust for living.
The woman Shamhats power is thinking and forming where Enkidu lived in wisdom. Six dayes and seven nights hints at the seven chakras who are prepared for the life on Earth.
He is like a good now, he have become a sentient being, conscious of his own I. He wants to rule over Gilgamesh, but the courtesan told him that Gilgamesh, the Ego, the mind soul, was stronger than Enkidu, the sentient soul. These two soul-bodies are joined together, and even to this day they fight each other, only the day that they don’t fight each other, are they released.
Separation of the sexes – Twin Soul Aspects – Dual’s
He enters the Earth fully:
Cooked food, bread, and wine all weight the physical body down, binding the etheric body to the physical body.
Enki. About 2,500 BCE. Note the image of planets revolving around the Sun!
The sentient soul were the connection to the spiritual world, and wisdom, at that time. Here we also see the descent into the physical.
Here Enkidu gave tribute to Gilgamesh, representing the mind soul. The next tells about the sacred marriage between the sentient and mind soul, or the etheric and physical body:
The language of Gilgamesh, from his prophetic dreams (“I loved [Enkidu] and embraced [him] as a wife”) to the bridal bed in Uruk — Enkidu’s in retrospect — clearly refers to a “sacred marriage“: the spiritual union or blending of the inner and outer man. None of the extant material names a victor, but the Old Babylonian story given above suggests that the initial strife or “wrestling” is brought to an abrupt end by mutual recognition: Gilgamesh “bent his knees” (to Enkidu’s stature) and “planted his foot in the ground.” Both phrases are apparent wordplays on Enkidu’s name, indicating a successful (or “victorious”) bonding and assimilation. Enkidu’s subsequent acknowledgment and friendly embrace with Gilgamesh confirm their acceptance of the relationship.Up to this point the story has been prologue — an allegory about the evolution and creation both of mankind and of a truly human individual. From here on Gilgamesh and Enkidu go as one, faithful to each other until death. In the Sumerian stories, Enkidu remains the servant of Gilgamesh; in the Babylonian version, Gilgamesh’s mother adopts Enkidu — he becomes not only the servant, companion, and friend of Gilgamesh, but also his younger “brother.” Viewed as a single composite character, Gilgamesh-Enkidu represents the conjoining of heaven and earth, of spirit, soul(s), and body, in a full sevenfold partnership (5) necessary for one to succeed in the hero’s quest. 
The one tells that the sentient soul (Enkidu) is below (sevant of) the mind soul (Gilgamish), where he is a younger brother in the other tradition.
With Humbaba the terrible we are in Eden and he is known by Enkidu, which means they are related, and he guards the trees of wisdom and life. Enkidu, representing the Luciferic wisdom, is not ready to fight the Ahrimanic spirits, so he works against Gilgamesh.
This is part of the life of man, going through the twelve signs of the Zodiac:
Gilgamesh and Enkidu with Humbaba
As Gilgamesh and Enkidu approached the forest, their trepidation grew. Shamash sent a message from the sky: “Humbaba has removed six of his seven cloaks. … They saw the height of the Great Cedar. Where Humbaba walked, a path was made. The road was good… 
The seven is connected to the chakras, and the seven-terrored was the chakras to clean. The path is the path of Karma.
On the six days travel (and seven nights?) Enkidu interprets the dreams of Gilgamesh, demonstrating that he is closer to the spiritual world. On the entrance to the Cedar Forrest:
Gilgamesh wins over Lucifer/Enkidu and they work together against Ahriman.
Here the Ahrimanic Humbaba tries to split the two, but Enkidu now inspires Gilgamesh with courage. When man has won his fight with Lucifer, he works as helper for man, as a holy spirit.
Here again Enkidu/Lucifer helps Gilgamesh against the Ahrimanic, which on it’s side bans the Luciferic from the physical plane. Enkidu dies, separates man from the spiritual, which introduces death, as man no longer remember his previous lives. The Sentient soul looses it’s sight into the spiritual world, the end of the old clairvoyance.
Shamash (the Sun) between Mashu’s Twin Peaks,
Akkadian, 3rd millennium BC (British Museum)
He now starts his journey on the pure physical plane incarnating through the twelve star signs:
Ziggurat in the Eanna Sector at Uruk (Andre Parrot, Sumer)
1. Rudolf Steiner: Occult History, Lecture 1;
2. Rudolf Steiner Occult History, Lecture 2;
- The Temple Legend by Rudolf Steiner
- The Masonic Legend by Max Heindel
- The Hiramic Legend by Manly P. Hall
Use back-button to go back to text!
The motif in the birth of Krishna, where his mothers brother wished to take his life, and his wounded feet as a result of his fight with the snake, are known in different myths, within the same time frame, for Zarathustra, Oedipus, Dan, and Isak. I am not making a deep interpretation, which Steiner does better than I, but I just want to emphasize the motif:
Hence the legend relates how the child Krishna, even at his birth, was surrounded by miracles, and that Kansa, the brother of his mother, wished to take the life of the child. In the uncle of the child Krishna we see the continuance of the old, and Krishna has to defend himself against him; for Krishna had to bring in the new, that which kills the third epoch and does away with the old conditions for the external evolution of mankind.
That was the twofold deed of Krishna, He acted as a world-historical hero, in that he crushed the head of the serpent of the old knowledge and compelled man to re-enter the physical body, in which alone the ego could be won as free and independent ego, whereas formerly all that made man an ego streamed in from outside.
I am wounded in the feet, but with my own body I tread under foot the head of the serpent,” that is to say, the serpent with its head ceases to be the instrument of thought. The physical body and especially the physical brain, kills the serpent, and the serpent revenges itself by taking away from one the feeling of belonging to the earth. It bites one in the heel.
There may also be a relation to Orpheus [Orphan] and Eurydice. Orpheus could charm animals by his music, as Zarathustra could charm the animals when people would kill him as child, and also Eurydice was bitten in the heel like Krishna. Both Zarathustra and Orpheus was killed at the Holy place of Apollo/Ahura Mazdao.
Poets like Simonides of Ceos said that, with his music and singing, he could charm birds, fish and wild beasts, coax the trees and rocks into dance.
While fleeing from Aristaeus (son of Apollo), Eurydice ran into a nest of snakes which bit her fatally on her heel.
Oedipus was set out in the wood to die, with his feet mutilated. He was found by shepherds after an attempt to get rid of him. Teiresias was a blind prophet, as in the story about Krishna. Oedipus goes through life with clubbed feet. Steiner relates the story of Oedipus and the Sphinx with Faust and the clubfooted Mephistopheles of Goethe (Steiner).
In Apocalypse of Moses chapter 26 states:
1 But he turned to the serpent [in great wrath] and said: “Since thou hast done this, and become a thankless vessel until thou hast deceived the innocent hearts, accursed art thou among all beasts.
2 Thou shalt be deprived of the victual of which thou didst eat and shalt feed on dust all the days of
3 thy life: on thy breast and thy belly shalt thou walk and be robbed of hands and feet. There shall not be left thee ear nor wing, nor one limb of all that with which thou didst ensnare them in
4 thy malice and causedst them to be cast out of paradise; and I will put enmity between thee and his seed: he shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel until the day of Judgement.”
Jacob says the following words about his son Dan:
“Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”
Wikipedia have a good reference article on the symbolism of serpents:
The Sons of Jacob and the Zodiac
It’s generally agreed that the twelve sons of Jacob has to do with the twelve signs of the zodiac, but there are many different views on how the sons, and the sons of Joseph who fathers two of the tribes, are distributed on the signs.
The table shows the result of my work, and below the table follows my reasons and references.
Contains the names of the signs, the old ruling planet, the mountain, and the mother of the son.
Family Tree of the Sons of Jacob
There are five mothers, the two wifes of Jacob, and their handmaids, and the wife of Joseph:
Leah gave birth to six sons and Dinah.
Rachel’s handmaid, Bilhah, gave birth to Dan and Naphtali.
Leah’s handmaid, Zilpah, gave birth to Gad and Asher.
Rachel gave birth to Joseph, and, near Bethlehem, Benjamin.
Asenath, the Egyptian wife of Joseph, gave birth to Manasseh and Ephraim.
Canaan – the territory of the Tribes of Israel
The tribes are split in two groups:
The tribes Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin were connected to Mount Gerizim, Mountain of Blessing, Deut 27:12.
The tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali were connected to Mount Ebal, Mountain of Cursing. Deut 27:13.
In astrology the Zodiac are split in four quadrants, with the initial four star signs as the centers of these, that is the Ox, Lion, Eagle, and Man. God places the twelve tribes in four groups, so my thesis is that these groups corresponds to the quadrants.
First quadrant, South:
With Reuben as Taurus, would pitch camp on the South, with Simeon and Gad. Second rank: Num2:16.
In the first quadrant, everything is seen from out of the ego.
Second quadrant, East:
Judah as Leo, would pitch camp on the East. With him would be the tribes of Issachar and Zebulun. First rank.
In the second quadrant, everything is seen from from the family or tribe..
Fourth quadrant, West:
Ephraim, son of Joseph, as Aquarius, would pitch on the West, with Manasseh, son of Joseph, and Benjamin. Third rank.
In the third quadant we have left the tribal and reached the national viewpoint.
Third quadrant, North:
Dan as Scorpio, would pitch on the North, with Asher and Naphtali. Fourth rank.
In the fourth quadrant we have left the national for the universal, for humanity.
Center: The Levites would be located in the center (middle) of the four camps and were NOT to be numbered. Num2:17,33.
First Quadrant – South
2. Reuben = bull
As we are around the year 2000 BCE. in the bull’s age, it will be natural to start with the bull’s sign.
Taurus represents fecundity of spring, the sign of Venus, where the moon, as a symbol of all nurturing substance, is elevated. He laid with his fathers wife and is connected with the field where he found the mandrakes.
3. Simeon and Levi = Gemini:
They are the twins, where Levi is separated from his brother and the Zodiac. In our intellectual arrogance we kills even love and its true fruits.
1. Gad = Aries:
Characterized as a warrior chief matching the ruling Mars of Aries.
Second Quadrant, East
5. Judah = Leo:
Leo-born are known for their pride and desire to control the situation themselves. In addition Leo have joy of children and has natural skills for teaching. It is the Sun sign, which also highlights the Lion’s desire for self-expression.
6. Zebulun = Virgo:
“God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons,” and “Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; a harbor for ships shall he be….”
Moses’ parting words to the two tribes were:
Rejoice, Zebulun, in your excursions, and Issachar in your tents.
From “A day in the life of a Jew“:
“Our sages explain: Zebulun and Issachar made a partnership between them. Zebulun dwelled at the seashore, and would go out in his ships to engage in trade and make a profit, and support Issachar, who sat and occupied himself with the study of Torah.
Issachar and Zebulun thus represent the other two major items on the Jew’s daily schedule. After climbing the four rungs of the heart to serve G-d in prayer, the Jew moves “from the synagogue to the study hall” to bind his mind to G-d through the study of the Torah, G-d’s communication of His wisdom and will to man. Following that, the Jew goes out into the world as a businessman or professional, to “know Him in all your ways” and do “all your deeds for the sake of Heaven.” “
Virgo is a ‘ministering principle’, people who often cares about others’ wellbeing and health. The word ‘gift’ is associated with the name and can hang with the Festival of Sukkoth in Israel, in the month of Tishri, the first month of the year after the New Year which begins in our September month. A thanksgiving for nature’s gifts: The star Spica in Virgo symbolizes the wheat ear in the left hand of Virgo.
Virgo is a practical sign, connected with going out in the world in contrast to the Torah study.
7. Issachar = Cancer:
“Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.'”
Cancer is a double sign, the two claws bearing two burdens, and cancer is a servant of the group.
In Cancer are the stars Aselli, or little asses, connected to the flag of Issachar, what Jacob compares to an ass.
Issachar and Zebulun could be changed!
Third Quadrant – North
8. Dan = Scorpio:
“Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”
This description may well sound a bit harsh to our ears, but nevertheless demonstrates the fact that Scorpio-born people are able to distinguish between lies and truth. Also they are rarely deceptive. It may make others uneasy, why they choose to call scorpions for suspicious and distrustful of people. The area of sky is also characterized by constellations serpents (snake) and Ophiuchus (serpent bearer), where we find the star Unuka / hai (serpent heart or neck), which expresses ‘the face of God’ is said to be a strict judge, as by irradiation of the planets can ask the incarnate human spirit against the obligations to adhere to the truth.
Biting the horse heels could be the following Saggitarius.
9. Asher = Libra:
“Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.”
No other possibility in this setup. The fat bread may indicate the month after Virgo, the harvester.
10. Naphtali = Saggitarius
” …is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.”
Naphtali is represented by a gazelle or running stag, which sounds like Saggitarius.
Fourth Quadrant – West
This quadrant contains sons of Rachel, and sons of Joseph. It’s reasonable to expect Joseph’s sons to have reached longer than Benjamin, so he must be Capricorn.
11. Ephraim = Aquarius.
Ephraim is mentioned first of the three, so he should be Aquarious.
12. Manasseh = Pisces.
As Ephraim and Benjamin are placed, Manasseh can only be Pisces.
10. Benjamin = Capricorn:
“… shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. “
The ruling planet is Saturn, and it was under great pains that Rachel gave birth to her son, followed by her death.
Benjamin was the first to be born in the holy land, the first in the fourth quadrant.
The above quotations are from Genesis.
The daughter Dinah was born after Zebulun and just before Joseph. A mystery in herself; it’s not the only place where a single woman is connected to a group of twelve (or seven of twelve.)
Pictures of star signs by Rudolf Steiner.
Paul Mahler Dam in “Skriften på himlen”. I had thought about researching this subject for a long time, but Paul’s book inspired me to start the project.
Various interpretations and sources:
The 12 Tribes of Israel.
A day in the life of a Jew. Contains many interesting interpretations around the Old Testament.