Age 28 – Age of the Threshold / By Orna Bendor
Age 28 is considered a threshold crossing age, and is also called: The Zero Point. Until age 21, the sun, moon and other planets act upon a person in an orderly fashion and renew his life forces; during ages 21-28 the whole zodiac acts upon him externally, without the person having to exert any effort.
As of age 28 the planets cease to act upon him. Meaning, a person is required to renew himself from his internal powers and start using the tools he acquired during his life thus far. The person is called to let go of past qualifications that are not tied to his future and would not serve his future development.
Together with this parting from past capabilities and past identity, a first possibility for freedom opens up, but also for responsibility. It is initiated at that age and will be fully expressed at age 49, in what is called ‘the age of slave liberation’. Interestingly, age 28 is mysteriously related to ages 14 and 49, according to the Law of Reflections1.
At the age of 14 a certain aspect of the individual fate of a person is revealed – something the makes him unique and that is related to his karma.
At the age of 28, a threshold crossing occurs – that is related with departing from qualifications and talents that are no longer relevant to his future and destiny.
Age 49, “the age of slaves liberation” – a person may be released from his past karma and can embark on a new path to freedom.
Many people are not able to cross that threshold and part from their past karma; breaking through that threshold requires relinquishing the old. Spiritually-wise, one who does not pass the threshold ‘dies’ to a certain extent. Some people physically die at that age. A phenomenon that was coined as : the 27 Club2 .
At the age of 28 I returned to Israel after spending a year studying choir conducting and musical education in Budapest. I did not return to Jerusalem. I left my home, friends and workplace, and decided to start over in Tel Aviv. I joined a spiritual group – a move that later turned out to mark the beginning of my spiritual development. In addition, I also gave up playing music as a profession. By doing so, I relinquished qualifications that belonged to my past karma and stopped relying on them, for the sake of my future karma.
Case study – Shani
Following her release from military service, Shani (false name) worked in a successful family business, starting from a desk stewardess and advancing up to the role of marketing and advertising management; according to her, that was her natural path. She describes:” At the age of 28, I have decided to clear all that was familiar (and comfortable..) in my life thus far and start from scratch. To do so I had to leave my work in the family business. My father refused to accept that, and I couldn’t tell to him that I am leaving; that’s why I realized I had to distance myself physically. I chose to travel to a place I did not know, as far away as possible, and India was calling me. My father thought it was just a caprice and refused to find a replacement for me. A few days before my departure I managed to convince him to do so. I quickly overlapped with my replacement and on the day of my flight still went to work (with a business suit and a calendar full of meetings..) and then flew to India that evening. Only on the plane, I opened the book “Lonely Planet” for the first time and started reading about India. The process of parting from my father and from the company was long. I had to distance myself for my father to understand that the sky would not fall while I was away, and that he should respect and accept my wish. I actually had to ‘divorce’ from the family business and in some respect from my father as a ”boss”. Indeed, I traveled away and returned after 6 months, left my apartment in a luxurious high-rise building and moved to a tiny house in a village.
Leaving and travelling were for me a meaningful leap from my past to my future life. Beforehand, I couldn’t imagine myself away from the business, from work, and the special atmosphere of family and workers around the business. My presence there defined me, and at the same time confined me. As far as I was concerned there was no “Shani” outside the business. I wanted to find out who I was without the role in the family business. Who is that unknown person? This experience, of leaving the family business, was regarded in my surroundings as a craze. It was considered abnormal to leave behind what was supposedly destined for us since we were born. When I left, I discovered myself without that coating, without the protection and limitation, without the hugging envelope that was also suffocating. That move was very significant for the rest of my life: since then to this day, I live in the countryside and not in a city, I practice and study whatever interests me in the soul-body field, and enjoy intimacy and family life in my own way, while continuously learning and growing in every aspect of my life”.
1 The Law of Reflections indicates the connections between different non-chronological ages in which the occurrence of similar events are experienced in different levels of consciousness.
2 Forever 27 Club – was coined for a group of rock & blues singers that died at the age of 27. That term became a familiar expression in the American youth culture and rock music, as some artists who were regarded as prominent in their time, passed away at the age of 27. For example, Kurt Cobain, the soloist and leader of the Nirvana band, and was considered one of the most important singers and musicians of his time, committed suicide at age 27. Other singers that died at that age: Brian Jones ( the founder of the Rolling Stones), Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendricks, Jim Morrison, and many more. This phenomenon generated a lot of curiosity without an explanation.
* Extended reference to this age:
“Up to the twenty-first or twenty-second year, the sun, moon, and planets are working in succession into human growth. Then from the twenty-first to the twenty-eighth year the constellations of the fixed stars work. To be sure, this escapes ordinary observation. Only mystery wisdom tells of the entire zodiac playing into the human being between the beginning and the end of the twenties. Then the world becomes severe. It no longer wants to work into a person; it becomes harsh. Of this strange new relation of the human being to the world in the twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth year — that the world hardens toward us — of this, today’s science hardly knows anything. Aristotle taught it to Alexander when he told him that we push against the crystal heaven and find it hard. Thus “the crystal heaven,” beyond the sphere of the fixed stars, acquires meaning for human comprehension. And one begins to realize that when we come to the end of our twenties, we find no more forces in the cosmos for our own renewal. Why do we not die, then, at twenty-eight years? Well, the surrounding world does in fact let us die at twenty-eight. It is true. Whoever sees humanity’s relation to the world, whoever looks consciously out into the world, must say, “O world, in reality you sustain me only until my twenty-eighth year!” Only when one realizes this does one finally begin to understand the real nature of the human being.
For now what happens when the world withdraws its formative forces — forces that previously we had always been free to use to build ourself up? At this remarkable moment, when in the twenty-eighth year we begin to show clearly that the earlier forces of growth are now completely gone, some people begin to die off. Some hold on a little longer to the forces of growth that are flowing away. But even Goethe had grown smaller when he measured himself carefully. This was when he began to work again on the second part of Faust. Earlier he had already begun to fade. From the moment when the world deserts us, we have to manage our renewal ourselves, out of forces we have received up to that moment. Certainly when the parts of our organism that can be renewed are becoming fewer and fewer, we cannot work to give ourselves a new body in the same glorious measure that children use up to the change of teeth, when they are forming their first very own body from the model. But we have collected many, many forces from sun and moon and stars which we are carrying within us and which we need when at twenty-eight we have to begin to renew our physical-material body ourselves. This is the moment in earth-life when we find that we are now given complete responsibility for our human form. This moment of our life when we are put entirely on our own is the point of time toward which we have been striving, and from which we must go on. (Plate III, middle) We strive from childhood when we are receiving many cosmic forces, strive more and more toward a point lying at the end of our twenties, when we no longer build our growth out of cosmic forces. Whatever we do after that moment, we do from forces out of our own body. In the middle is the point at which we stop working with cosmic forces and begin to develop forces out of our own body.
We often find a premature activity happening in some child from forces out of the child’s own body. We become aware of it from certain pathological symptoms the child shows from the bones, for instance, becoming brittle, and particularly from becoming fat. But the connection between these things is not easily seen. In every moment of life a person is either striving toward this twenty-eighth-year point or away from it. You must realize that it is a kind of zero point, a kind of hypomochlion, a zero moment in time when we stand between ourselves and the world. Always in our inner dynamics we are striving toward it or from it. Whatever is happening in us is a striving toward a zero or away from a zero, something we do toward or away from nothingness. We are striving toward the point where the world is no longer active and we are not yet active. Between the two conditions is a kind of zero. There is something in us that is oriented toward nothingness. It is this that makes us free beings; that is why we can hold responsibility. It is rooted in the human constitution that we are responsible free beings, because at the moment of transfer from the world to ourselves we go through a point of zero. Just as the beam of a pair of scales goes through a point of zero from right to left, from left to right, and that point does not follow the laws to which the rest of the scales is subject. You can think when you have a pair of scales, (Plate III, right) here the mechanical laws you have learned are in force; this gives the scales an exact form — either this above and that below or the opposite. That is the law of scales, the law of leverage. You can carry the scales around; their relation remains the same everywhere, subject always to those mechanical laws wherever you take them — except at this point. This point is free. You can carry the point around as if it were not connected to a pair of scales: the scales remain unchanged. And so it is, when you take hold of yourself in your soul experiences at that point toward which first you strive, from which afterward you strive away: first the world is active, afterward you yourself, and here nothing is active. With the tendency toward and the tendency from, here where a hypomochlion sits, here can live freely that human capacity which is determined neither by nature nor by the world. Here is the point of origin of human freedom. Here is where responsibility is born.”(1).
“Originally, they said, man was pre-destined to come to the earth in such a way that he could form his own physical body from the substances of earth, just as he gathers to himself his ether-body from the cosmic ether-substance. But he then fell a prey to the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences, and he thereby lost the faculty, out of his own nature to build his physical body. Therefore he must take it from heredity.
“.. If, in his working on himself, he is altogether dependent on the model, then he forgets — if I may put it so — what he himself brought with him. He takes his cue entirely from the model. Another human being, having stronger inner forces as a result of former lives on earth, takes his direction less from the model; and you will see how greatly such a human being changes in the second phase of life, between the change of teeth and puberty.
This is precisely the task of school. If it is a true school, it should bring to unfoldment in the human being what he has brought with him from spiritual worlds into this physical life on earth.
Thus, what the human being afterwards takes with him into life will contain more or less of inherited characteristics, according to the extent to which he can or cannot overcome them.
Now all things have their spiritual aspect. The body man has in the first seven years of life is simply the model from which he takes his direction. Either his spiritual forces are to some extent submerged in what is pressed upon him by the model; then he remains quite dependent on the model. Or else, in the first seven years, that which is striving to change the model works its way through successfully.
This striving also finds expression outwardly. It is not merely a question of man’s working on the model. While he is doing so, the original model gradually loosens itself, peels off, so to speak — falls away. It all falls away, just as the first teeth fall away. Throughout this process, the forms and forces of the model are pressing on the one hand, while on the other hand the human being is trying to impress what he himself has brought with him to the earth … There is a real conflict in the first seven years of life. Seen from the spiritual standpoint, this conflict is signified by that which finds expression — outwardly, symptomatically — in the illnesses of childhood. The typical diseases of childhood are an expression of this inward struggle.
Needless to say, similar forms of illness often occur later in life. In such a case — to take only one example — it may be that the patient did not succeed very well in overcoming the model in the first seven years of life. And at a later age an inner impulse arises, after all to rid himself of what has thus karmically remained in him. Thus in the 28th or 29th year of life, a human being may suddenly feel inwardly roused, all the more vigorously to beat against the model, and as a result, he or she will get some illness of childhood.”(2).
1 – Steiner R. (1924).”Course for Young Doctors: Meditative Contemplations and Instructions for Deepening the Art of Healing”. GA318. Lecture 4.
2 – Steiner R. (1924). Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I . Schmidt Number: S-5627.
*This essay was written with the help of Yael Armoni – a biographical counselor and teacher at Hotam School.