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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Atlantis and Lemuria
GA 11

X. The Second, or Hyperborean, Race

In the last chapter the Âkâshic studies are carried to that point of time at which man's soul is incarnated in the subtle matter of the firemist. We must understand very clearly that man only assumed dense matter, which he now regards as his own, at a later date, and then only very gradually. If we wish to form an idea of his bodily appearance at the stage of his development just depicted, we can best do so by thinking of it as water-vapour, or as a cloud floating in the air; but this representation is, of course, on which merely approaches the reality superficially; for the fiery-cloud “man” is inwardly vitalized and organized. But in comparison to that which he becomes later, we must picture him at this stage as psychically slumbering, as yet but dimly conscious. All that we can call intelligence, understanding, and reason are yet lacking in him. He moves about with a floating, rather than pacing, motion, by means of four limb-like organs, forwards, backwards, sideways, and in all directions. But as regards the soul of this being something has already been said.

We must not think, however, that the movements, or other expressions of life evinced by these beings, were irrational or unregulated. On the contrary, they were perfectly regulated, and nothing happened without purpose and meaning, the only difference being that the guiding power, or understanding, was not within the beings themselves; rather were they controlled by an intelligence outside themselves. Higher beings, more fully developed than they, hovered round them, as it were, and guided them; for that is the all-important and fundamental quality of the firemist, that human beings at this stage of evolution could incarnate in it, while at the same time higher beings could also incorporate therein, and could thus be in full intercommunication with man. Man had developed his inclinations, instincts, and passions, up to a point at which they could clothe themselves in the firemist; but the other order of beings here mentioned could, by the power of their reason, create within this firemist, by means of their intelligent activity. For these latter possessed still higher faculties by means of which they could reach up to higher regions. From these regions their determinations and impulses emanated, but the actual effects of these determinations were apparent in the firemist. All that was done on the earth by man originated in the regulated intercourse of the human firemist body with that of those higher beings.

We can therefore say that man strove to climb upwards; in the firemist he was to evolve higher qualities—in a human sense—than he had possessed before. The other beings, however, strove downwards towards the material. Their course of evolution was to seek expression for their creative forces in ever denser and denser material forms; but in a wider sense this in no wise meant a degradation for them. We must come to a very clear understanding on this point: it requires higher power and capacity to control denser than rarer forms of matter. These higher beings, too, had in former periods of their evolution a power as limited in extent as that of man at the present time. And they, like man to-day, once had dominion only over that which took place within them; they had no control over the outer coarse matter. They now strove to reach a condition in which they should magically direct external things, and were, therefore, at this period ahead of man in evolution. Man reached upwards, striving first to embody the mind in finer substances, so that it could afterwards direct its activity outwards. He had already assimilated reason, and now became possessed of magic power in order to permeate with reason the surrounding world. Thus man advanced upwards through the stage of the firemist, while his companions pressed downwards through the same stage in order to increase their power.

The forces which above all others were most effective in the firemist were those known to men as lower passions and impulses. Man, as well as the higher beings, makes use of these forces at the firemist period described; and these forces, working at that stage within the human form, have the effect of developing organs which enabled man to think, and thus to develop his personality. In the higher beings, however, these forces worked, at the stage with which we are now dealing, in such a manner that the beings mentioned could make use of them in order impersonally to bring about terrestrial conditions through their medium. By this means there arose on the earth, through these beings, forms which were themselves an image of the laws of reason. Thus, through the activity of the passional forces, there appeared in man the personal reasoning organs, and round about him, by means of the same forces, organisations replete with intelligence were formed.

Let us now think of this process as a little further advanced, or rather, let us bring before us what we find registered in the Âkâshic Records, when we glance at a somewhat later period: The moon has separated from the earth; a great revolution has thereby been accomplished. A great part of the heat has escaped from the objects surrounding man, whereby these objects have passed into a coarser and denser order of matter. Man must live in this colder environment, and he can only do so by altering his own matter; and a change of form goes hand in hand with this densification of substance. For the condition of firemist on earth has itself given place to one which is entirely different. The result of this is that the higher beings spoken of no longer have the firemist as a medium for their activity. Nor can they consequently any longer exercise an influence over the expression of man's soul-life, formerly their chief sphere of activity. But they have obtained power over the human form which they themselves had before created from the firemist.

This change of activities goes hand in hand with a transformation of the human form. One half of the latter, with two motory organs, has been transformed into the lower half of the body, which has thus become mainly the vehicle of nutrition and generation. The other half is, as it were, directed upwards. Out of the two other organs of motion grow rudimentary hands. And such organs as had once also served for nutrition and generation are remodelled into organs of speech and thought. Man stands upright. That is the immediate consequence of the moon's exit. And together with the moon the terrestrial globe is deprived of all those forces which, in the period of the firemist, had enabled man to practise self-fructification and to bring forth beings like himself without external influence. The whole lower half of his body—that which we often call his lower nature—is now subject to the formative influence, governed by reason, of those higher beings. That which these beings had themselves been able to regulate before in man, while the volume of forces, henceforth withdrawn into the moon, were still united with the earth, must now be organized by them with the co-operation of the two sexes. This explains why the moon has been regarded by Initiates as the symbol of generative forces, these forces clinging to it, as it were.

The higher beings, described above, being akin to the moon, are in a certain sense, moon-gods. Before the separation of the moon, they worked by its force in man; afterwards their forces worked from outside to effect the propagation of man. We may also truly say that those exalted spiritual forces which were formerly acting upon man's still higher instincts through the medium of the firemist have now descended to unfold their powers in the realm of reproduction. Lofty, divine forces are actually at work in regulating and organising this function.

In this we have the expression of an important teaching of Occult Science, which says that the high and sublime god-like forces are akin to the—apparently—lower forces of human nature. The word “apparently” must here be understood in its full significance; for it would be a complete misconception of occult truths to regard the force of generation in itself as something ignoble. It is only when man misuses this force and compels it to serve his passions and desires that evil lurks in it; but not when he ennobles it by the thought that it contains divine, spiritual strength. Then will he place these forces at the service of the evolution of the earth, and will carry out the plans of those higher beings by means of his own generative forces. To raise this entire domain and place it under divine laws—not to destroy it—is what Occult Science teaches us. The latter can be the only result of superficially understood occult principles, distorted into mistaken asceticism.

We see that man had developed in the upper half of his body something over which the higher beings we spoke of had no influence; over this part other beings now obtain authority. They are those who had, indeed, at earlier stages of development advanced beyond humanity, but had not yet risen so high as the moon-gods. They could, so far, develop no power in the firemist; but now that a later condition has appeared in which, through the firemist, something in man's reasoning organs had attained development, something to which they themselves had approached earlier—now their time has come.

In the case of the moon-gods the stage at which reason worked and organized outwardly had arrived earlier. In them this reason was present at the beginning of the firemist epoch. They could act outwardly on terrestrial objects, but the beings just described had not at an earlier period attained the development of an outwardly active reason, and therefore the firemist period found them unprepared. Now, however, reason is there. It is present in man, and they seize this human reason in order that they may work upon the things of earth through it. Just as formerly the moon-gods had worked upon the whole man, these work now on his lower half only, whereas the influence of the lower beings spoken of is at work upon his upper half.

Thus man is subject to a twofold guidance. In his lower nature he is subject to the power of the moon-gods, but in his evolved personality he has come under the leadership of those beings called collectively by the name of their regent “Lucifer.” For the Lucifer-beings complete their own evolution by making use of the awakened forces of man's reason. They could not attain this stage earlier. But they confer on man at the same time the disposition towards freedom, the tendency to distinguish “good” from “evil.” Under the sole guidance of the moon-gods the human reasoning organ is indeed formed, but these gods would have allowed the organ to slumber; they would have had no interest in using it for themselves. They had their own powers of reason. The Lucifer-beings had an interest in developing human reason, in guiding it to the objects of earth for their own sake, and therefore they became for humanity the teachers of all that can be accomplished through man's reason. They could, however, be no more than instigators. For they could not develop reason in themselves, but, as we have seen, they could only do so in man. There arose thus a twofold stream of activity on earth. The one, arising from the direct influence of the moon-deities, was regulated from the beginning by law and reason; for the moon-gods, having already finished their time of apprenticeship, were now beyond the possibility of error. On the other hand, the Lucifer-gods, who had intercourse with man, had first of all to work their way to the light of such knowledge. Under their guidance man had to learn the laws of his nature; under the guidance of Lucifer he must himself become as “a god among gods.”

The question arises: if the Lucifer-beings had not progressed in their evolution to the point of intelligent creation in the firemist, where did they fall behind? Up to what stage in the earth's evolution were they able to co-operate with the moon-gods? The Âkâshic Records show us that they were able to take part in earthly creation up to the period at which the sun separated from the earth. We are shown that up to this time they performed what, it is true, was work of a somewhat inferior nature to that of the moon-gods, but nevertheless they belonged to the band of divine creators. After the separation of earth and sun, an activity—the work in the firemist—began on the former for which the moon-deities, but not the Lucifer-Spirits, were prepared. For these a period of inactivity and waiting then began.

Now, when the universal firemist had rolled away and the human beings began to work on the formation of their intellectual organs, the Lucifer-Spirits could again emerge from their period of rest. For the creation of reason is correlated with solar activity, and the dawn of intelligence in human nature is the rise of an inner sun. This is affirmed not merely figuratively, but in an absolutely real sense. These beings found thus an opportunity of resuming their activity within the human being, in conjunction with the sun, when the firemist epoch had passed away from earth. From this it is easy to see the origin of the name “Lucifer”—that is, “Light-bearer”—and to understand why these beings are characterised in Occult Science as “sun-gods.”

The readings from the Âkâshic Records describing the first beginnings of our earth and its inhabitants are to be found in An Outline Of Occult Science—the most important of Dr Steiner's works which has so far appeared—in the fifth chapter entitled “The Evolution of the World and Man.” The reader will there find the present studies of the Âkâshic Records carried back to the origins of what we find in the worlds to-day.