As explained at text fragment 26, a new movement starts after the sounding of the fourth trumpet, that comes forward at the blowing of the fifth trumpet. The eagle as symbol of our higher self, is confronting the underworld to overcome it. The pit of the abyss, hiding what is evil, is opened. During the blowing of the last three trumpets the eagle remains as supervisory power in heaven while on earth and in the underworld the evil forces are forced to make themselves visible. I saw a star fall from heaven on earth. And to him was given the key to the pit of the abyss. And he opened the pit of the abyss…
The opening of the abyss
Which angel is the star falling from heaven on earth? Is it the Christ, or Michael or Lucifer? The important element here is that the star ‘falls’ from heaven. This is never said of the Christ or archangel Michael. Through the seductions of Lucifer, the suppressing Ahriman often gets an entry into our soul. For these reasons the falling star must be associated with Lucifer. But is it Lucifer which gets a key to the underworld? Christ has the key of David, to close and to open our heart. Here the Christ seems to use Lucifer to force Ahriman to make himself known. The opening of the abyss is also referring to the continuous threat of Ahriman to disturb the harmony in our solar system by having comets falling on planets, including the Earth (Steiner, 20 September 1924, GA 346).
The important fact is that as a result of a divine decision the entry to the abyss is opened. Evil now comes up out of the underworld and is allowed space and time on the surface of the earth to impact man. The smoke from the pit darkens the Sun and the air. Man loses the connection with the cosmic light in himself and the air to breath. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, and to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months.
When death is not attainable
Locusts come up from the smoke and affect those men which do not wear the seal of the Christ on their forehead. This shows that the events described are affecting those which have not chosen for the light, but are surrendering to the same lust to consume as the locusts. Locust are known for their voracious behavior. Here locusts are given the same power as scorpions to leave their poison behind in those that they sting. People are tormented after being stung and have so great pain that they desire to die, but … death cannot be found.
What an amazing reversal is taking place here! All efforts in our society are geared towards enlarging our lifespan and avoiding death. We are getting older and older, and are dreaming of becoming hundred years old and later maybe even thousand years by replacing failing organs and improving food habits, therapies and life conditions. But here, the Apocalypse shows the other side of this development. Here, people are searching death and cannot find it. This statement presents us the question: has death a positive and blissful side? Death ends, of course, physical suffering. The deeper answer to the question, however, very much depends on our view on the meaning of life. Do we have a materialistic or spiritual view? Does life end with death, or is there a spiritual continuity of existence from one life to the other? Striving for continuity of physical life has at the same time the effect of creating discontinuity in spiritual life, as our spiritual development is put on hold by physically living ‘eternally’ based on technical artifacts. This consequence is nowadays very much neglected in public debate and government regulations. The Apocalypse puts this issue with the blowing of the fifth trumpet on the agenda. The way back to the spiritual world is cut off for those that are stung by the locusts.
Schult (p.149-153) points out that he, who wants to experience resurrection, first has to experience descent into hell. Also Dante starts in his Divina Comedia with the descent into hell. When the flying eagle stands in the midst of heaven, the underworld of the zodiac, from Scorpio till Pisces, stands open above the horizon. The sound of the fifth trumpet unlocks the depth of hell. The abyss (Abyssos) is the lowest realm of hell. A shaft leads from there to the surface. This entry to hell can also be found at the starry sky under Scorpio in the constellation Ara, which means altar or censer.
Schult sees the fallen star as a luciferic being, in agreement with our earlier interpretation. From the smoke coming from the pit, ahrimanic demons appear as spooky locusts. Their heads sparkled as it were garlands of gold, and their look was as the faces of men, and they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates as it were breastplates of iron, and the roar of their wings was as the roar of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like those of scorpions and there were stings in their tails, and their tails were able to torment men five months long.
Schult recognizes in this description of the demonic locusts the Scorpio-Centaurs, which were represented in Babylon and Egypt as a synthesis of the star constellations of Scorpio and Sagittarius. Babylonian boundary-stones depicted Scorpio-Centaurs with the head of a man or a dog. Their weapons are arrow and bow, they have mighty wings and the tail of a scorpion. Egyptian pictures of the starry sky, like the zodiac of Denderah, show the Scorpio-Centaur being with a double crown and with long feminine hair. Also in Greek mythology Sagittarius is called ‘crown bearer’.
In antiquity, the Scorpio-Centaur was seen as the gatekeeper at the entrance of the underworld. An example is Virgil’s Aeneid, where Centaurs are described at the entrance of the underworld. In Egypt the god with a dog’s head, Anubis, lead the dead to the underworld and he was judge of the dead and gatekeeper to the underworld. The Scorpio-Centaurs refuse godless people the entrance to the underworld or Hades.
The locust gatekeepers torment the people during five months. The number five points at the five constellations in the zodiac which represent the dark side, from Scorpio till Pisces, taking five months of the year to pass.
The teeth of lions of the gatekeepers, have their parallel with the feet of the lion with which for example the Egyptian sphinx is pictured.
The Scorpio-Centaurs, the locusts, have as their king the angel of the abyss, called Abaddon, which means in Hebrew abyss or hell, or in Greek, Apollyon, which means annihilator. Schult sees these names as synonyms for Ahriman, which as demon of the depth indurates all that lives and darkens all insight. The skeleton-like locusts with their mechanical rasping wings express something of the being of Ahriman, just like the skeletons of the barren trees they leave behind after eating the foliage. Ahriman works as the demon of earth-heaviness in particular in the human mind. At the same time, the Scorpio-Centaurs block the entry to the spiritual world for those that are caught in the materialistic ways of thinking. The role of the locusts I here not eating of green plants, but to sting men. Man, stung by the locust, is not able to penetrate the darkness of material being with heavenly light. His thinking is caught in the effort to understand reality by mechanical mind constructions. The narrow minded intellect has, like locusts, after eating all foliage from the trees, no clue how to understand the sense of life or death.
Present role of Apollyon
Apollyon or Ahriman is very active at this moment in evolution. His time has come in the age of industrialization. He is our seducer, suppressor and gatekeeper at the moment man gets his self-consciousness and individual freedom to choose. Apollyon tries to drag man down at the moment man can enter the spiritual world. However, the deepest being of Ahriman is not yet revealed with this role. That will occur after the end of the Trumpet epoch. At that moment our consciousness will become able to directly meet the powers of light and darkness and better understand their role.