TRIPTYCH GRAIL: Solomon, Hiram & Sheba

“The Triptych Grail by Anna May-Rychter

Let’s turn our attention to the portion of the painting directly to the right of Father Abraham. Here we find the images of King Solomon, Queen Sheba, and Hiram Abiff. Before I even dive into this section of the painting I’d like to note that this imagery is heavily Masonic. Steiner could very well have been a Freemason but he didn’t exactly teach Masonic doctrine. He was a theosophist who started his own school of thought. All that means to the reader is Steiner tended to ‘cherry pick’ from various mystical disciplines and share what he felt was relevant with his students. Also, Steiner had a tendency to view Masonic and Rosicrucian philosophy as aspects of the same path. So, modern masons would consider his concepts a bit unorthodox.

That being said, Steiner had a firm grasp on mysticism in general. It is of little doubt that Anna May-Rychter would have sat in on at least one of his lectures regarding the Rites of Memphis and Mizraim. That would be Kemetic, or Egyptian Freemasonry in laymen’s terms. While that’s of little to no consequences to most it is guaranteed that the inclusion of Masonic elements has its purpose. In this case, it was to connect the dots between two seemingly opposing doctrines.

When one considers that Christian Rosenkreutz is also a central figure in the Triptych Grail we see a pretty solid outline taking shape. He often postulated that the founder of Rosicrucianism was none other than Hiram Abiff himself.

Now remember, Hiram Abiff is as much an allegory as he was an actual person. The entire reason Freemasons expand on the story of Hiram beyond the biblical account is because doing so has serious mystical implications. For those of you not in the know allow me to give a brief summary.

Hiram is murdered at the East Gate of the Temple by three ruffians for refusing to reveal the masters word. Then they discarded his body over the brow of Mount Moriah with only a sprig of acacia to mark it. Parties of three were sent out to find the body of the Master Builder. Once they found his body they took turns attempting to bring him back to life and failed. He was finally resurrected by the Master Mason with the strong grip of a lions paw.

In describing the way an initiated builder should view Hiram Abiff Manly P. Hall almost seems to be in complete agreement with Steiner. In his telling of the Masonic Legend he urges us to view Hiram as an example:

“Thus the murdered master is a type of the cosmic martyr. The crucified spirit, the dying god, whos mystery is celebrated throughout the world.”

-The Legend of Hiram Abiff by Manly P. Hall

That means we are to view the allegory of Hiram as an archetype for ourselves and our own spiritual development. This is sort of a running theme in Steiner’s work. He sees spiritual beings manifesting at different points of humanities conscious evolution to guide us. Of course, he saw all of these beings as Cosmic entities from beyond our realm of understanding but there’s a lot we don’t understand so do with that as you will.

Adrian Anderson actually notes one of Steiner’s lectures in regards to the Hiram/Rosenkreutz connection:

“The individuality of Hiram was re-born in the time when the Christ, lived in Jesus of Nazareth… Christ Jesus placed the seeds of new life in his heart, Lazarus, was new-awakened to the spiritual existence, new-born as the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved.'”

-GA Lecture 265 of Rudolf Steiner

Now I know some of you are really scratching your heads. Let me explain,

Rosicrucian doctrine has always emphasized that Solomon was a forerunner for Christ. We can see this clearly by looking at a few parallels in scriptures. In 1 Kings  3:7-9 it says “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come  in,” alluding to Mt. 18:3; “become a child so you can rule the Kingdom.” Christ being the greatest child and the greatest ruler. 2 Chron. 5:13 states “After dedicating the temple, it was filled with the cloud of glory so that the priests could not stand to minister.” We see this paralleled with Rev. 15:8 siting “Because of His death, the temple was filled with glory and the Mosaic priesthood ended.” Most members of the Church can accept this concept to some degree. We see the veil tearing in the Temple while Christ descends below as a parable depicting our no longer needing a priestly class or a physical building to commune with God.

Where Rosicrucian thinking separates itself completely from theology is by stating King Solomon was reincarnated as Jesus who received the Christ spirit at the time of His baptism. And again, siting Hiram Abiff was reincarnated as John the beloved whose initiatory name was Lazarus. They take it a step further completely alienating themselves from any form of Christian doctrine by stating that Lazarus would reincarnate yet again as Christian Rosenkreutz.

That last bit I find interesting as The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz is probably one of the best meditative manuals for initiation into the mysteries of Christ I have ever read. (I’ll definitely be doing a series on that book complete with meditations at a later date.)

Anyways.

By placing Queen Sheba in between Hiram Abiff and King Solomon the painter is subtly telling us what truly connects these two men. If you notice, Queen Sheba is draped in a sort of spiritual aura reaching out to both men. Even the color blue isn’t accidental. Any ardent meditator who’s spent time in the Temple within their hearts can contest to the significance of blue and our heart spaces. It is my understanding that Queen Sheba is a representation of Sophia in this instance. Both men are archetypes of the two principle aspects of the spiritual path. One- Solomon- has vision emanating from within while the other- Hiram- builds said vision. This is another allegory that states we are to develop Inner Wisdom and project into the world from that place of Wisdom. Sophia- the Divine Feminine being the bridge between the two. (If that leaves you with any questions just ask in the comment section.)

Once again, we find the Zodiac arching over the three figures. Now, instead of diving deeper into Steiner’s Cosmic worldview I’m going to leave you with a passage found in the book of Wisdom:

“For he gave me sound knowledge of what exists, that I might know the structure of the universe and the force of its elements, The beginning and the end and the midpoint of times, the changes in the sun’s course and the variations of the seasons, Cycles of years, positions of stars, natures of living things, tempers of beasts, Powers of the winds and thoughts of human beings, uses of plants and virtues of roots— Whatever is hidden or plain I learned, for Wisdom, the artisan of all, taught me.

-Wisdom 7;17-22

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