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Occult Science - An Outline
GA 13

Chapter IV: Man and the Evolution of the World (Part 1)

We have seen from the foregoing chapters that the being of man is built up of four members: physical body, life-body, astral body, and the bearer of the Ego. The I or Ego of man works in the three other members and transforms them. Through this transformation arise at a lower stage sentient soul, intellectual soul and spiritual soul, while at a higher stage of man's existence Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit and Spirit-Man are evolved. These several members of man's nature stand in the most varied relations to the whole Universe. Their evolution is connected with the evolution of the Universe, and by a study of the latter we can gain insight into the deeper secrets of the being of man.

It can easily be seen that the life of man is related in many different directions to the environment, to the dwelling place wherein he evolves. External science has already by its own recognized facts and data been driven to the conclusion that the Earth—this dwelling-place of man in the widest sense of the word—has itself undergone evolution. It can tell us of conditions that once prevails in the Earth, where man in his present form did not yet exist upon our planet, and can then go on to show how humanity has evolved, slowly and gradually, from quite simple conditions of civilization to those that obtain today. Thus has external science too been led to the idea that there is a connection between the evolution of man and that of the heavenly body on which he lives—the Earth.

Spiritual science1The term ‘spiritual science’ is here used—as will be evident from the whole context—with the same meaning as ‘Occult Science’—that is to say, the Science of the Supersensible. traces this connection by means of a cognition that derives its facts from a perception that has been quickened by the spiritual organs. It follows man back on the path of his development, and perceives how the real, inner, spiritual being of man has passed through a succession of lives upon this Earth; and as it continues to pursue these researches, it arrives at length at a far distant point of time, when the inner being of man first entered upon an outward life (in the present-day meaning of the word.) It was in that earliest earthly incarnation that the I or Ego first began its activity within the three bodies—astral body, life-body and physical body; and it took with it, on into the life that followed, the fruits of this activity.

When we go back in the way thus indicated, we become aware that at that distant point of time the Ego finds the Earth in a condition wherein the three bodies of man are already evolved and have a certain connection with one another. Now for the first time the Ego unites with the entity that consists of these three bodies, and from this point onwards partakes in their further evolution. Hitherto, they have been evolving without a human Ego and have in this way reached the stage at which the Ego finds them.

Spiritual science must go still further back with its researches if it would find an answer to the question: How did the three bodies reach a stage of evolution such as enabled them to receive into themselves an I, and then too to the further question: How did the I itself come into being and how did it acquire the ability to work within the bodies?

An answer to these questions is possible only by tracing the rise an devolution of the Earth-planet itself in the light of spiritual science. By means of such research we arrive at a beginning of this Earth-planet. The mode of thought which builds on the facts of the physical senses alone, cannot pursue its inferences far enough to deal at all with this beginning of the Earth. There is a theory which, by inferences of this kind, arrives at the result that all the substance of the Earth has evolved from a primeval nebula. There is no occasion for us to enter her into a discussion of such ideas as this. For spiritual research as to consider not merely the material processes of Earth evolution, but before all the spiritual causes which lie behind all matter and substance. If we see before us a man in the act of lifting up his hand, this can start us on two different lines of thought. We may investigate the mechanism of the arm and of the remained of the body with the intention of describing how the action takes place as a purely physical process. But we can also direct our mind's eye to that which is going on in the man's soul and constitutes his motive for lifting up his hand. In a similar way the scientist trained in spiritual perception sees spiritual processes behind all the processes of the world of the physical senses. For him, all the changes in the material nature of the Earth-planet are manifestations of spiritual forces which are there behind the material. And as his spiritual observation reaches farther and farther back in the Earth's life, he comes at length to a point in evolution where the material first begins to be. The material evolves out of the spiritual; until then, the spiritual alone existed. By the exercise of spiritual observation we perceive the spiritual, and note how, as time goes on, it partially condenses, so to speak, to the material. We watch this taking place and, but that the process is on a higher level, it is very much as though we might be looking at a vessel filled with water, where by a finely regulated cooling process, lumps of ice were gradually taking shape. We see the ice condense out of what was water through and through. Similarly, by spiritual observation we can trace how the material things, events and entities condense, as it were, out of a previous existence which was spiritual through and through.

Thus the Earth-planet has evolved out of a cosmic spiritual entity. Everything material connected with the planet has condensed out of what was once united with it spiritually. But we must not imagine that a time ever came when all spiritual being had been transformed into material. That which confronts us in the latter is never more than part of the original and spiritual. Even throughout Earth's material evolution, the spiritual always remains the guiding and directing principle.

It stands to reason that the way of thought which would hold fast to the physical, sense-perceptible processes alone—and to what the intellect is able to infer from these—can say nothing whatever about the spiritual of which we are here speaking If a being could exist, endowed with senses to perceive only the ice and not the finer state of water from which the ice on cooling separates itself, then for such a being the water would not be there; he could perceive nothing of it until some of it was changed into ice. So too for the man who will admit only what presents itself to the physical senses, the spiritual which underlies the earthly processes must ever remain hidden. And if form the physical facts that he perceives today he is able to form correct conclusions as to earlier conditions of the planet, he will still reach back only to that evolutionary point where the spiritual began its partial condensation to the material. His mode of thought will not perceive the spiritual that preceded that process, any more than it can perceive the spiritual substance which even now holds sway, invisibly, behind the world of matter.

Not until the later chapters of this book will it be possible to speak of the paths whereby man attains the faculty to look back, in spiritual perception, to the earlier conditions of the Earth with which we are now dealing. Suffice it for the moment to point out that for spiritual research the facts of the most distant early times are not obliterated. When a creature has come into bodily existence, its bodily nature are not obliterated in the same way. They leave behind their traces, nay their exact images, in the spiritual foundation of the world. And if we are able to raise our faculty of perception and look through the visible world to the invisible, we arrive at length at a point where we have before us what may be compared to a mighty spiritual panorama wherein all the past events of the world are displayed. These abiding traces of all spiritual happenings may be called the “Akashic Records,” denoting as “Akasha-essence” that which is spiritually permanent in the world process, in contrast with the transient forms. Here once again it must be emphasized that researches in the supersensible realms of existence can only be made with the help of spiritual perception—that is to say, as regards the region we are now considering, by actual reading of the Akashic Records. Nevertheless here too, what has been said already in similar connections holds good: to investigate and discover the supersensible facts is possible only by supersensible perception; once found however, and communicated in the science of the supersensible, these facts can be understood with man's ordinary faculty of thought. There must only be the readiness to approach the subject with an open mind In the following pages the evolutionary conditions of the Earth according to the science of the supersensible will be communicated. The transformations of our planet will be followed down to the state of life in which it is today. Let anyone consider what he has before him today in pure sense-perception, and then give his attention to what supersensible knowledge tells of how this present has evolved from the primeval past. If he be truly open-minded, he will then be able to say to himself: In the first place, what this science tells is inherently logical; secondly if I assume the truth of what is communicated from supersensible research, I find I can understand how it is that things have eventually come to be such as they appear before me now.

The use of the word “logical” in this connection does not of course imply that errors in logic can never be contained in any particular statement from supersensible research. We are using the term here in no other way than it is used in ordinary life in the physical world, where logicality of statement is universally demanded—although some individual describing a particular set of facts may now and again be guilty of mistakes in logic. The situation is just the same in supersensible research. It may even happen that an investigator, able to perceive in supersensible domains, stumbles into errors in respect of logical description, and that a man who does not himself perceive supersensibly but has a good reasoning faculty, is subsequently able to correct him. As logic, however, no objection can be raised against the logic that is applied in supersensible research. Nor should it be necessary to emphasize that exception can never be taken to the facts themselves on merely logical grounds. Just as in the realm of the physical world one can never prove by logic whether or no a whale exists, but only by inspection, so it is with supersensible facts; they can be apprehended by spiritual perception and by that alone.

If cannot, however, be sufficiently stressed that for the student of supersensible realms it is a necessity, before he tries to approach the spiritual worlds with his own perception, to make sure that he is doing so from the right standpoint—the standpoint, that is, that he can reach through the above-mentioned logic and—what is no less important—through having come to recognize that, assuming the statements of Occult Science to be correct, the world wherever it is revealed to the senses appears intelligible. In effect, all conscious experience in the supersensible world remains uncertain, nay dangerous, a kind of groping in the dark, if the student disdains to undergo this preparation. And it is for this reason that the present book, before dealing with the actual path to supersensible knowledge, will communicate first the supersensible facts of Earth evolution.

One other point needs to be borne in mind in this connection. Someone who with pure thinking finds his way into what supersensible knowledge has to relate, is by no means in the same position as a man who listens to an account of some physical process which he is unable to witness for himself. Pure thinking is itself already a supersensible activity. True, inasmuch as it belongs to the life of sense, it cannot of itself take us to the supersensible events. But when applied to the supersensible events that are told out of supersensible perception, pure thinking does of itself grow into the supersensible world. Indeed one of the very best ways to attain perception of one's own in supersensible domains, is to grow into the higher world by thinking over what supersensible knowledge communicates. For with this way of entry the greatest clarity is ensured. Hence a certain school of spiritual-scientific research regards pure thinking as the soundest kind of first step in any spiritual-scientific training.

It will be readily understood that this book cannot set out to show, in connection with every detail of the Earth's evolution as perceived in the spirit, how the supersensible finds again and again its confirmation in the outwardly manifest. This certainly was not implied when we said that the hidden can everywhere be shown and proved in its manifest effects. Rather did we mean that everything man meets in life can become clear and intelligible to him, step by step, if he will but place the manifest events into the light that is made possible for him by Occult Science. Only in a few characteristic instances will reference be made in these pages to the confirmation of the hidden in the manifest, in order to show by a few examples how it is possible to find on every hand such confirmation in the practical pursuit of life, have we but the will to do so.

Following back the evolution of the Earth with spiritual-scientific research, we come to a spiritual condition of our planet. If however we pursue the investigation still further, we find that this spiritual has already been in a kind of physical embodiment before. That is to say, we encounter a past physical planetary condition which afterwards became spiritual and then, becoming material once more, was at length transformed into our Earth. Our Earth thus appears as the re-embodiment of a primeval planet. But spiritual science is able to go even further back, and as it does so it finds the whole process repeated again twice over. Thus our Earth has passed through three previous planetary conditions, with intermediate states of spiritualization in between. The physical proves to be more and more fine and delicate, the farther back we trace the Earth's embodiment.

Against the descriptions that will now follow it may quite naturally be objected: How can any reasonable person entertain the postulate of world-conditions so immeasurably remote? The answer is, that to a man who can look with understanding at the spiritual that is there now, hidden within what is manifest to the senses, insight also into former sates of evolution, however distant, cannot appear essentially impossible. If we do not recognize the hidden spiritual existence that is around us even at the present time, then it will indeed be meaningless to speak of an evolution such as is here in mind. But once we are able to recognize the presence of the spiritual here and now, we shall find the earlier condition given or implied in the immediate vision of the present, just as the condition of the one-year-old infant is implied in the appearance of a man of fifty. Yes, someone may say, but in this instance we have among us, beside people of fifty, children of a year of—and all the intermediate stages too. That is quite true; but the same is also true of the evolution of the spiritual to which we here refer. Anyone possessing clear insight and discrimination will recognize that a complete observation of the present—which will necessarily include its spiritual part too—cannot but perceive there also are evolutionary conditions of the past, preserved side by side with those stages of existence which have reached the present evolutionary level. Just as children of a year old are present side by side with men and women of fifty, so within all that goes on upon Earth at the present time we can still behold primordial happenings, if only we are able to hold distinct from one another the diverse stages of evolution.

Man, in the form and figure in which he is now evolving, does not emerge until the fourth of the above planetary embodiments—the Earth proper. The essential feature of man's present form is that he consists of the four members: physical body, life-body, astral body and Ego. This form however could not have emerged at all, had it not been prepared by the preceding facts of evolution. The preparation took place through the gradual evolution, during the earlier planetary embodiment, of beings who had already three of the four members of the present human being, namely physical body, life-body and astral body. These beings, whom we may call in a certain respect the ancestors of man, had as yet no I, but they evolved the other three members and the mutual connections of these three up to the point where they were ripe, subsequently to receive the I. Thus on the preceding embodiment of the planet, man's ancestor had reached a certain degree of maturity in three members. With this he passed into the state of spiritualization, out of which the new planetary condition—that of the Earth—subsequently arose. In this Earth were contained, like seeds, the thus far matured ancestors of man. By undergoing entire spiritualization and re-appearing in a new form, the planet could give the seeds it contained within it, with their physical body, life-body and astral body, not only the opportunity to evolve again up to the height which had been theirs before, but the further possibility, having attained this height, to go beyond it by receiving in addition the I. Earth evolution falls accordingly into two parts. In the first the Earth appears as a re-embodiment of the earlier planetary condition, although by virtue of the spiritualized condition it has meanwhile undergone, this recapitulation represents a higher stage than that of the former embodiment. Within it the Earth contains the seeds of the ancestors of man which have come from the earlier planet. To begin with, the seeds evolve up to the level on which they were before. When they have reached it, the first period is at an end. And now, since its own evolution is at a higher stage, the Earth can bring the seeds also to a higher level; it can make them capable of receiving the I. Thus the second period of Earth evolution is characterized by the unfolding of the I in physical body, life-body and astral body.

Through Earth evolution man is thus lifted a stage higher in his development. Now this was also the case in the former planetary embodiments. For something of the human being was already in existence on the very first of these. In order therefore to come to a clear understanding of man's present nature, we have to trace his evolution back to the far primeval past—to the above-mentioned first planetary embodiment. In supersensible research this first planetary embodiment may be called Saturn, the second may be designated Sun and the third, Moon; the fourth is the Earth. One thing, however, must be strictly borne in mind in regard to these designations. They must not, to begin with, be associated in any way with the identical names as applied to the members of our present solar system. “Saturn,” “Sun” and “Moon” are here intended simply as the names for past evolutionary forms which the Earth has gone through. As to the relation of these pristine worlds to the heavenly bodies that constitute our present solar system—that will emerge in the further course of our studies. Then too the reason for the choice of the names will become evident.

The conditions on the four planetary embodiments will now be described. It can only be done in merest outline; for the events, the Beings and their destinies were truly no less manifold on Saturn, Sun and Moon than they are on Earth itself. Attention will be drawn to a few characteristic features that can help to illustrate how the present conditions of our Earth have evolved out of the former ones. The farther we go back in evolution, the less will the conditions be found to resemble those of the present time. Yet they can only be described by resorting to ideas and images derived from present conditions. Thus when we speak in this connection of light, warmth and the like, it must not be forgotten that what is thus referred to is not precisely the same as what we now call light and warmth. The notation is justified nevertheless, for the observer in the supersensible perceives in the earlier stages of evolution something from which the present light, warmth, etc. have come to be. And anyone who carefully follows the descriptions will be well able to gather, from the whole context into which things are placed, the kind of conceptions he will need in order to have pictures and images that truly convey the character of the events that took place in those remote ages of the past.

The difficulty is, however, undeniably great for those planetary conditions which precede the Moon embodiment. For the conditions of the Moon period still show a certain likeness to those of the Earth, and in attempting to describe them these similarities with the present day give one a point of contact and enable one to express in clear ideas what has been supersensibly perceived. It is a very different matter when we come to describe the Saturn and Sun evolutions. What confronts the clairvoyant observer here is as different as possible from the things and beings that now belong to the horizon of man's life. This makes it exceedingly difficult even to bring the corresponding facts into the domain of the supersensible consciousness at all. But since the present human being cannot be understood without going back to the Saturn state, some description of it must none the less be given. And the description will not be misunderstood if it is borne in mind that the difficulty exists, and that many of the things here said are to be taken not so much as an exact description but more as a hint and indication of the facts.

What has just been said, as well as what will be said in the following pages, might not unnaturally be held to contradict the statement made previously as to the persistence of the earlier conditions within the present. Nowhere, it might be said, is there a former Saturn, Sun or Moon condition existing side by side with the present Earth condition, still less a form of human being such as is here described as having existed in those earlier conditions. It is quite true: there are not Saturn, Sun or Moon men running about among Earth men in the way that little children of three run about among the men and women of fifty. But within the hum an being as he is on Earth these earlier conditions of mankind are indeed perceptible—supersensibly. To recognize that this is so, we need only have acquired a power of discernment extending to the full horizon of the facts of life. As the child of three is present beside the man of fifth, so are present, beside the alive and waking man of Earth, the corpse, the man asleep, and the dreaming man. Granted that these various forms of manifestation of man's being do not immediately reveal, as we see them before us, the several stages of his evolution, nevertheless clear and objective contemplation will behold in them the corresponding stages.

Of the four present members of the human being the physical body is the oldest. Moreover it is the physical body which has attained the greatest perfection in its kind. Supersensible research shows that this member of the human being existed already in Saturn evolution. It is true, as will emerge in these descriptions, that the form it had on Saturn was utterly different from man's present physical body. The physical body of man as it is on Earth can only exist in its proper nature inasmuch as it is connected with a life-body, an astral body and an Ego, as has been described in earlier chapters of this book. On Saturn, there was ads yet no such connection. The physical body was passing through its first stage in evolution without a human life-body or astral body or Ego being incorporated in it. During Saturn evolution it was only maturing towards the stage of receiving a life-body, and before this could happen, Saturn had first to pass into a spiritual state and then be re-incarnated as the Sun. In the Sun embodiment of the Earth, what the physical body had become on Saturn unfolded once more, as from a seed. Only then could it be permeated with an etheric body. Through receiving into it an etheric body, its nature was changed: the physical body was raised to a second level of its perfection. A like thing happened during the Moon evolution when the ancestor of man, having evolved from Sun to Moon, received into himself the astral body. The physical body was thereby changed again; this time it was raised to a third level of perfection. The life-body too was changed; henceforth it stood upon its second level of perfection. On Earth, into the ancestor of man consisting now of physical body, life-body and astral body, the Ego was incorporated. Therewith the physical body reached its fourth degree of perfection, the life-body is third, the astral body its second; while the Ego even now is only at the first stage of its existence.

If we really set out to consider man with an open mind, we shall have no difficulty in forming a right idea of the varying degrees of perfection of the several members. Compare, for example, the physical body with the astral in this respect. The astral body, it is true, being of the nature of “soul,” stands at a higher level in evolution than the physical; and when in future time the astral body has come to perfection, it will signify far more for man's whole being than the present physical body. Yet the latter in its kind has attained no mean height of development. Consider the structure of the heart, planned as it is in accordance with the highest wisdom! Or look at the miraculous structure of the brain; or at that of a single part only of some bone—the upper end of the thigh-bone, for example. We find there a network or scaffolding of tiny rods, arranged according to an inner principle. The structure of the whole is so compact as to produce with the minimum use of material the best possible effect at the joint-surfaces—the best distribution of friction, for example, hence affording the right kind of mobility. So do we fined in different parts of the physical body arrangements that give evidence of the working of a deep wisdom. And if we go on to observe the harmony that prevails in the co-operation of the parts within the whole, we shall surely agree that this member of the human being has reached a certain perfection of its kind. The fact that here and there seeming inefficiencies appear, or that disturbances in structure or in function can occur, is unimportant in comparison. Nay more, we can even find that such disturbances are in a sense only the necessary shadows cast by the light of a wisdom which is poured out over the organism as a whole.

And now compare with this the astral body as the bearer of joy and sorrow, of cravings and passions. How full of uncertainty it is in its joy and sorrow! What manifold cravings and passions work themselves out in it that are adverse to the higher aims of man, and are often meaningless! The astral body is only on the way to the achievement of that harmony and self-containedness which we see already before us in the physical. So too it could be shown how the etheric body in its kind proves more perfect than the astral body, but less so than the physical. And the same line of thought will show with no less certainty that the real kernel of man's being, namely the I or Ego, is now only at the beginning of its evolution. For how much has the Ego yet accomplished of its task, which is to transform the other members until these become a revelation of itself?

For one acquainted with spiritual science, the insight arrived at in this way by external observation is intensified by something else. It might well be argues that the physical falls a pretty to disease. Now spiritual science is able to show that a large proportions of illnesses are due to some fault or failing in the astral body being transmitted to the etheric, and, through the latter, disturbing the harmony of the physical body, which in itself is perfect. This deeper connection—which can here be no more than indicated—and with it the essential cause of many a disease, eludes that mode of science which would restrict itself to physical and sense-perceptible facts. More often than not, the connection is as follows. Injury to the astral body is followed by morbid symptoms in the physical, not in the same life in which the injury is done, but in a subsequent life. Consequently the laws that prevail here are significant only for those who are ready to admit the repetition of man's life on Earth. But even if one did not wish to concern oneself with these deeper realms of knowledge, common observation would reveal only too clearly that man gives himself up to cravings and enjoyments which undermine the harmony of the physical body. Now cravings, passions, enjoyment and the like have their seat not in the physical but in the astral body. In effect, the latter is in many respects still so imperfect that it can actually mar the perfection of the physical body.

Here again let it be emphasized that the connections indicated are by no means intended to prove the statements of spiritual science as to the evolution of the four members of man's being. The proofs are derived in every case from spiritual research, which reveals that the physical body has behind it a fourfold transformation to higher stages of perfection, and the other members less, as has been explained. It was only desired to point out that these communications from spiritual research are related to facts of which the consequences are even outwardly observable, in the degrees of perfection of physical body, life-body and the remaining members.

If we would form an idea—pictorial, but approximating to reality—of the conditions during Saturn evolution, we must bear in mind that of the things and beings now belonging to the Earth and included in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms of Nature, virtually nothing was in existence then. The beings of these three kingdoms arose only in later periods of evolution. Of the beings of the Earth which are physically perceptible today man alone was present at that time, and of him only the physical body. But even now there are, belonging to the Earth, not only the beings of the mineral, plant and human kingdoms, but other beings too, who do not manifest in physical corporeality. Such beings existed also in the Saturn evolution, and their activity upon the scene of Saturn resulted in the Subsequent evolution of man.

If we turn, first of all, with spiritual organs of perception, not to the beginning or end but to the middle period of evolution of the Saturn embodiment of the Earth, we find a condition consisting essentially of “warmth” alone. There is nothing to be found of gaseous or liquid, let alone of solid constituents. It is only in the later embodiments that these other states emerge. Let us assume that a human being with present-day sense-organs were to approach this Saturn as an observer. Of all the sense-impressions of which he is capable, nothing would meet him there, save the sensation of warmth. Imagine him approaching ever nearer and nearer. The most he would perceive as he reached it would be that the part of space occupied by Saturn was in a different warmth-condition from the remaining spatial environment. Nor would he find the Saturn space itself uniformly warm. Warmer and cooler portions would be alternating with one another in the most diverse ways. Along certain lines, radiant warmth would be perceived. Such lines would not simply go on and on in one direction; irregular figures would be arising from the differences of warmth. Thus he would have before him a kind of heavenly body, a being in the cosmos, inwardly organized and differentiated, appearing in manifold and constantly changing states, and composed of warmth alone.

It will be difficult for man of today to imagine something that consists of warmth alone, for is not accustomed to recognize heat or warmth as existing in itself; he is accustomed only to perceive it in connection with hot or cold gaseous, liquid or solid bodies. To one who has entirely adopted the physical conceptions of our time it will appear senseless to speak of “warmth” in the way we have done. He may well reply that there are solid, liquid and gaseous bodies, but “heat” or “warmth” denotes no more than a condition pertaining to one or other of these three. When the smallest particles of a gas are in motion, he will say we perceive this motion as warmth, but where there is no gas there can be no such motion, therefore no warmth.

The researcher in spiritual science sees the matter differently. Warmth, to him, is something of which he can speak in the same sense as of a gas, or of a liquid or solid body. It is only a yet finer substance than gas. Moreover, to him the gas itself is none other than warmth condensed, in the sense in which a liquid is condensed vapor or a solid body condensed liquid. Thus the spiritual scientist speaks of warmth-bodies, just as he speaks of gaseous and vaporous bodies.

To follow the spiritual researcher into this sphere, it is only necessary to admit the existence of a perception belonging entirely to the soul. In the world that is presented to the physical senses, warmth undoubtedly appears as a condition of what is solid, liquid or gaseous. But this is no more than the external side of warmth, or we may say, its effect. And it is really of this effect of warmth alone that physicists speak, not of its inner nature. Let us try for once to look away from the warmth-effects that we receive from outside and fix out attention purely on the inner experience we have when we say the words: “I feel warm,” or “I feel cold.” It is this inner experience alone that can give an idea of what Saturn was in the above-described period of its evolution. We might have passed right through the part of space it occupied; there would have been no gas to exert pressure, no solid or liquid body from which impressions of light could be received. But at each point of space we should have felt, inwardly and without impressions from outside: “Here there is this or that degree of warmth.”

In a heavenly body of this kind there are not the conditions for the animal, plant or mineral creation of our present world. (Hence it can hardly be necessary to remark that the suggested assumption could not possibly take place in fact. A man of the present day could not, just as he is, confront Old Saturn as an observer. The suggestion had only an explanatory purpose.)

The beings of whom supersensible cognition becomes aware when observing Saturn were at a very different stage of evolution from the present, sense-perceptible beings of the Earth. Beings appear there, to begin with, who had not a physical body like the body man has today. When “physical body” is spoken of, we must beware of thinking of man's present physical corporeality. For we have carefully to distinguish between physical body and mineral body. A physical body is one that is governed by the physical laws that are observable today in the mineral kingdom. The present physical body of man is not only governed by the physical laws; it is also permeated with mineral substance. On Saturn there can bas yet be no question of physical-mineral body of this kind. There, there is only a physical corporeality, governed by physical laws—which laws express themselves solely in warmth-effects. Thus the physical body on Saturn is a delicate, tenuous, ethereal body-of-warmth. And the entire Saturn consists of these warmth-bodies. They are the first beginnings of the present physical-mineral body of man, which has evolved out of the old warmth-body by receiving into it the gaseous, liquid and solid substances that developed only at a later stage.

Among the Beings who come before the supersensible consciousness in the moment when it is confronted by the Saturn stage of evolution, and of whom we may speak as dwellers upon Saturn in addition to man, there are for instance some who had no need of a physical body at all. On the other hand they had one member beyond the members of man's being. Man has the Spirit-Man as his highest member; these Beings have a still higher one, and between etheric body and Spirit-Man they have also all the other members that we find in man: astral body, Ego, Spirit-Self, and Life-Spirit. As our Earth is surrounded by an atmosphere, so too was Saturn, only with Saturn the atmosphere was of a spiritual kind.1If one wanted to express more precisely the inner experience one has in spiritual investigation, one would have to say not “Saturn was surrounded by an atmosphere” but “when the supersensible consciousness becomes aware of Saturn, there also appears before it an atmosphere of Saturn,” or “other Beings appear, of such and such kind.” To translate this into the wording ”this or that is there” is assuredly permissible, for in the last resort the very same change is made in applying the ordinary usages of speech to what the soul experiences in sense-perception. This point should nevertheless be borne in mind throughout the following description. It is indeed implicitly contained in the context. For it consisted of Beings—those already mentioned, and other Beings too. And there was a continual interaction between these Beings and the warmth-bodies of Saturn. The Beings let down the members of their nature into Saturn's physical warmth-bodies. And while in these themselves there was no life, the life of the Beings that dwelt in their encircling sphere expressed itself in them. The warmth-bodies might indeed by compared to mirrors; only it was not the above-named Beings themselves that were mirrored in them, but their life-conditions. In Saturn itself one could not have discovered anything that was alive, and yet Saturn had a vivifying influence on its environment in the heavenly spaces, for it rayed back—sent back, as it were—an echo of the life which was sent down to it. The whole of Saturn appeared like a mirror of the heavenly life. Certain sublime Beings whose life Saturn rays back, may be called Spirits of Wisdom. (In Christian spiritual science they bear the name Kyriotetes, i.e. Dominions.) Their activity on Saturn does not be any means begin with the middle epoch of evolution which is here being described. Indeed in a certain sense it is by then already at an end. Before they could become conscious of the reflection of their own life, proceeding from the warmth-bodies of Saturn, they had first to make these bodies capable of bringing about such a reflection. Hence their activity began soon after the commencement of Saturn evolution, at a time when the Saturn corporeality was still chaotic substance which could not have reflected anything.

In setting out to contemplate this chaotic, undifferentiated substance, we have already transplanted ourselves in spiritual observation to the beginning of Saturn evolution. What can be observed there does not by any means bear the later character of warmth. To characterize it, we can only speak of a quality which may be compared to the human Will. Through and through, it is nothing else than Will. Here therefore we are dealing with a condition that is purely of the nature of the soul. If we look for the source of this Will, we find that it arises from the outpouring of sublime Beings who had, by stages scarcely to be even dimly divined, brought their evolution to such a height that when the Saturn evolution began, they were able to let Will pour forth from Their own being. When the outpouring has lasted for a certain time, the activity of the Spirits of Wisdom unites with the will, with the result that the Will, which up to now might be said to have no inherent properties of its own, gradually acquired the property of raying forth Life, raying it back into the heavenly spaces.

The Beings who find Their blessedness in pouring out Will at the beginning of Saturn may be called “Spirits of Will.” (In Christian esoteric science they are called the Thrones.)

When by the working together of Will and Life a certain stage of Saturn evolution has been reached, other Beings too begin to work. They also are in the surrounding sphere of Saturn. We may call them Spirits of Movement; in Christian terminology they are Dynamis or Mights. They have no physical body and no life-body; their lowest member is the astral body. When the Saturn bodies have attained the faculty of reflecting life, the life which is thus rayed back can become permeated with the properties which have their seat in the astral bodies of the Spirits of Movement. As a result, it appears as though expressions of emotion, feeling, and other soul-forces were being hurled out from Saturn into the heavenly spaces. The entire Saturn seems like a being that is ensouled, manifesting sympathies and antipathies. But these manifestations are not its own; they are but the reflection of the soul-activities of the Spirits of Movement.

When this too has lasted through a certain epoch, the activity of yet other Beings begins, whom we will call Spirits of Form. Their lowest member is also an astral body, but it is at a different stage in evolution from the astral body of the Spirits of Movement. The manifestations of feeling which the Spirits of Movement communicate to the life that is rayed back from Saturn are of a general kind, whereas the astral body of the Spirits of Form (in Christian language Exusiai or Powers) works in such a way that it seems as though manifestations are being hurled out into cosmic space from many single beings. The Spirits of Movement, we might say, make Saturn as a whole appear as an animate being endowed with soul. The Spirits of Form divide this life of Saturn into so many separate living entities, so that eventually it appears like a conglomeration of soul-beings.

Picture to yourself a mulberry or a blackberry, composed as it is of ever so many tiny berries. To the supersensible observer Saturn looks like this in the evolutionary epoch here described. It is composed of the single Saturn beings who have no life or soul of their own, but ray back the life and soul of the Beings that dwell around them.

And now at this stage in the evolution of Saturn certain Beings intervene, who again have the astral body for their lowest member, but have brought it on so far in its evolution that it works like a human I of the present time. Through them the I looks down from the surrounding spaces on to Saturn, and communicates its nature to the single “live” beings. Hence something is sent forth from Saturn into the heavenly spaces, that resembles the impression made by human personality in our present cycle of life. The Beings who bring this about may be called “Spirits of Personality” (in Christian terminology they are the Archai, First Beginnings, or Principalities.) These Beings communicate to the particles of the Saturn body a semblance of the character of personality. The Spirits of Personality have their real personality in the surrounding sphere. They cause their own being to be rayed back to them from the Saturn bodies, and this very process bestows upon the Saturn bodies the fine substantiality which was described above as “warmth.” Throughout the whole of Saturn there is no inwardness; but the Spirits of Personality behold and recognize the image of their own inwardness, in that it streams out to them as warmth from Saturn.

While all this is happening, the Spirits of Personality are at the stage at which the human being is today. They are going through their “human” epoch. To see this fact in its true light, we must be ready to conceive that a being can be a “human” being without necessarily having the form and figure man has today. The Spirits of Personality are “men” upon Saturn. Their lowest member is not the physical body but the astral body with the Ego. Therefore they cannot express the experiences of their astral body in a physical and an etheric body in the same way as can the man of today. Nevertheless they not only have an I or Ego but are aware of it, for the warmth of Saturn, by raying back this Ego, brings it home to their consciousness. They are, in effect, “human beings” under conditions differing from the earthly.

In the further course of Saturn evolution, facts of quite another kind ensue. Hitherto it was all a reflection of life and feeling that were outside; henceforth there is a kind of inner life. A life of light begins, flickering here and there within the Saturn world and dying down again. At some places a quivering of glowing light will appear, at others something more like rapid lightning-flashes. The Saturn warmth-bodies begin to glimmer and glisten, even to radiate light. The attainment of this stage affords once more the possibility for certain Beings to unfold their activity. These are the Beings who may be designated “Fire Spirits” (in Christian terminology, Archangeloi, Archangels.) They have an astral body of their own at this stage of their existence but they cannot by themselves give it any stimulus. They would be quite incapable of arousing any feelings or sensation were it not for the fact that they can work upon the warmth-bodies which have reached the stage here indicated. Working in this way makes it possible for them to perceive their own existence; they perceive it by the influence they exercise. They cannot say to themselves “I am,” rather would they have to say: “My environment enables me to be.” They have perception; indeed their perceptions consist in the above-described light-effects on Saturn. These are in a certain sense their I. This gives them a peculiar form of consciousness. We may describe it as a picture-consciousness. It may be conceived as of the nature of man's dream-consciousness; only we must imagine it far more vivid, far more animated than human dreaming. Nor is it a mere meaningless ebb and flow of pictures; the dream-pictures of the Fire Spirits and the warmth-bodies of Saturn, the seeds of the human sense-organs are first implanted in the stream of evolution. The organs whereby today man perceives the physical world light up in their first, delicate ethereal beginnings. Phantoms-of-man, revealing as yet no other outward sign than these “light” archetypes of the sense-organs, become perceptible in Saturn to the faculty of clairvoyance. Man's sense-organs are thus the fruits of the activity of the Fire Spirits. But these are not the only Spirits concerned in their creation. Simultaneously with the Fire Spirits, other Beings appear upon the scene—Beings so far advanced in evolution that they are able to make use of the seeds of the sense-organs for witnessing the cosmic processes of Saturn's life. These are the Beings whom we may designate “Spirits of Love” (In Christian language, Seraphim.) Were it not for them, the Fire Spirits could not have the consciousness above described; for they gaze upon the processes taking place in Saturn with a consciousness that enables them to transmit pictures of these processes to the Fire Spirits. For themselves they forgo all the advantage they might have through witnessing the Saturn events. They renounce every enjoyment it could afford them, every delight; they give that all up, so that the Fires Spirits may have it.

These events are followed by a new period in Saturn's existence. To the play of light another thing is added. It may well seem quite made to many people when we tell what now confronts supersensible cognition. Within the Saturn body something like sensations of taste begin to go surging to and fro. Sweet, bitter, sour, etc. are perceived at diverse places in the interior of Saturn; while in the heavenly spaces without, all this gives the impression of sound, a kind of music. And in these processes, once more, Beings find it possible to unfold their activity on Saturn. These Beings may be called the “Sons of Twilight,” or “Sons of Life” (in Christian language they are the Angeloi or Angels.) They begin to interact with the surging, eddying forces of taste in the interior of Saturn, and by this means their etheric of life-body develops an activity that we may designate as a kind of metabolism. They bring life into the interior of Saturn; processes of nutrition and excretion begin to take place there. Not that the Beings themselves bring about these processes directly; the processes arise indirectly, through their activity. And now this inner life makes it possible for yet other Beings to enter the heavenly body. Let them be called the “Spirits of the Harmonies” (in Christian terminology called the Cherubim.) These Beings transmit to the Sons of Life a kind of dim consciousness of man today. It is like the consciousness that belongs to man in dreamless sleep, which is of such a low degree that in a manner of speaking it does not “come to consciousness” at all; man remains unaware of it. Yet it is there. It differs from day-consciousness in kind as well as in degree. Our present-day plants possess this “dreamless sleep” consciousness. It affords no perceptions of an outer world in the human sense of the word, but it regulates the life-processes and brings them into harmony with those in the outer Universe. At the Saturn stage with which we are here dealing, the Sons of Life cannot perceive the regulations; but the Spirits of the Harmonies perceive it. They therefore are the real regulators.

All this life goes on in what we have described as the phantoms-of-man. These therefore appear to the spiritual eye as though they were alive; and yet their life is but a semblance of life. It is the life of the Sons of Life who as it were make use of these phantoms in order to live out their own life.

Let us now direct our attention to these phantoms-of-man with their semblance of life. During the period with which we have been dealing, they are of ever-changing form. Now they will resemble one shape, now another. In the further course of evolution the shapes become more definite, and sometimes even last for a while. This is due to their being now permeated by the influences of the Spirits who were at work in the very beginning of Saturn evolution, namely the Spirits of Will (the Thrones.) As a result, the phantom-of-man appears to be endowed with the simplest, darkest form of consciousness. We must conceive it as being yet more dim than that of dreamless sleep. Under present-day conditions, the minerals possess this consciousness. It brings the inner nature of the object or being into unison with the physical external world. On Saturn it is the Spirits of Will who regulate this unison, with the result that man appears like an impress of the Saturn life itself. What the Saturn life is on a large scale, man is now at this stage on a small. And with this the first seed is given of what is still only in the seedling stage even in the man of today, namely Spirit-man (Atman.) Inwardly—within Saturn—this dull human will manifests itself to the faculty of supersensible perception by effects which may be compared to “smells.” Outwardly—out into the heavenly spaces—there is a manifestation as of personality, a personality, however, that is not guided by an inner I, but regulated from outside like a machine. It is the Spirits of Will who regulate it.

Surveying the above, we see that form the middle condition onward the stages of Saturn's evolution could be characterized by comparing their effects with sense-impressions of the present time. Thus it was possible to say: Saturn evolution manifests as warmth; afterwards a play of light is added, then a play of taste and sound, until at length there appears what reveals itself inwardly—to the interior of Saturn—in sensations of smell, and outwardly like a human I working in a machine-like way. How is it then with the manifestations of Saturn evolution before the state of warmth is reached? They cannot be compared with anything whatsoever that is accessible to outer sensation. The warmth-condition is preceded by one which man today experiences only in his inner being. When he gives himself up to ideas which he forms for himself within his soul without the occasion being thrust upon him by any impression from outside, then he has within him something which no physical senses can perceive—something which is accessible, as a perception, to higher spiritual sight alone. The warmth-condition of Saturn is in effect preceded by manifestations which exist only for one who can perceive the supersensible. Three such conditions may be named: pure warmth-of-soul, not outwardly perceptible; purely spiritual light, which outwardly is darkness; and spiritual being which is complete in itself. Pure inner warmth accompanies the appearance on Saturn of the Spirits of Movement, pure spiritual light that of the Spirits of Wisdom, while pure inward being is connected with the first outpouring of the Spirits of Will. Thus with the appearance of the Saturn warmth, our evolution first emerges from an inner life of pure spirituality, to an existence manifesting outwardly.

One more thing must be added, with which the present consciousness may find it still more difficult to come to terms. With the warmth-conditions of Old Saturn there also first emerges what we call Time. The previous conditions are in fact not temporal at all. They belong to the realm which, in spiritual science, may be named Duration. All that is said in this book of conditions in the Realm of Duration must therefore be understood in this sense. It must be borne in mind that any expression implying time-relationships is used only for the sake of comparison and exposition. In human language even those things which, in a manner of speaking, precede time, can only be characterized with words in which the time-conception is implicit. We must remember that though the first, second and third Saturn states did not take place “one after the other” in the present-day sense of the words, we cannot, after all, avoid describing them in sequence. Moreover, in spite of their duration of simultaneity, they depend on one another, and the dependence is such as to be comparable with a succession in time.

With this reference to the earliest evolutionary states of Saturn, light is also thrown on all further questionings as to the “whence” of these conditions. In a purely intellectual way it is possible, of course, in the case of every given origin, to ask again after its origin. But in relation to the facts this will not do. We can easily bring it home to ourselves by a comparison. If we see ruts in a road we may ask, “Whence do they come?” We may receive the answer, “From a carriage.” Then we can ask again, “Where did the carriage come from, and where was it going?” Here again an answer founded on facts is possible. We can still go on to ask, “Who was in the carriage? What were the intentions of the person using it? What was he doing?” But we shall at length reach a point where our questioning is brought to a natural conclusion by the facts themselves. And if we go on asking questions beyond this point, we are departing from the purpose of the original question; we only prolong the questioning, as it were, mechanically. In cases like the one here cited as an illustration, we can readily see where the facts themselves will put a natural end to questioning. With the great questions of the Universe it is not so easy. None the less, if we think it over carefully, we shall recognize that all questions of “Whence” must come to an end with the Saturn conditions we have been describing. For we have here reached a sphere where the beings and processes are no longer to be accounted for by reference to that from which they take their origins, but by what they are in themselves.

The eventual result of Saturn evolution is to be seen in the fact that the seed of man has grown an developed to a certain point. It has attained the low, dim state of consciousness which was described above. We must not imagine that this began to evolve only in the last stage of Saturn. The Spirits of Will are working throughout all the conditions, but it is in the last period that the result of their activity is most apparent to supersensible perception. Altogether, no hard and fast line can be drawn between the activities of the several groups of Beings. When it is said: first the Spirits of will are active, then the Spirits of Wisdom, and so forth—it does not mean that they are active at that stage only. They work throughout the whole of Saturn evolution; their working is, however, most readily observed in the times thus indicated, when the several Beings have as it were their periods of leadership.

The whole of Saturn evolution thus appears as an elaboration, by the Spirits of Wisdom, Movement, Form, etc. of that which was poured out in the beginning by the Spirits of Will. The spiritual Beings themselves undergo evolution in the process. The Spirits of Wisdom, for example, after having received their life rayed back to them from Saturn, are at another stage than before. Their own faculties have advanced to a higher level, and there follows for them something not unlike what sleep is for the human being. Periods of activity on Saturn are followed by times when they are living as it were in other worlds; and then their activity is turned away from Saturn. Consequently, supersensible perception sees in the Saturn evolution here described, a rise and fall. The former lasts until the state of warmth has developed and matured. Then, with the play of light, a waning process begins. And when through the working of the Spirits of Will the phantoms-of-man have taken shape and form, the spiritual Beings have by then all gradually withdrawn. Saturn evolution dies away into itself, and disappears as such. A kind of interval of rest begins. The germ or seed of man passes as it were into a state of dissolution; not that it vanishes entirely—rather it is in the condition of a plant seed which, resting in the Earth, will ripen by and by into a new plant. So does the seed of man rest in the bosom of the world, there to await a new awakening. And when the time for its awakening has come, then the spiritual Beings have on their part acquired—under different conditions—the faculties to work still further upon the seed of man. The Spirits of Wisdom have in their etheric body attained the power to do more than enjoy the reflection of Life—as on Saturn; they are now able to pour Life out of themselves, endowing other beings with it. The Spirits of Movement are now as far advanced as were the Spirits of Wisdom upon Saturn. Their lowest member upon Saturn was the astral body; henceforth they have in addition an etheric or life-body of their own. And the other spiritual Beings too have reached a further stage in their evolution. Hence in the further evolution of the seed of man these spiritual Beings can all work in quite another way than they did upon Saturn.

But now at the end of Saturn evolution the seed of man had, as it were, dissolved; and in order that the Spirit-beings—more highly evolved as they now are—may continue where they left off before, it must briefly recapitulate the stages it went through on Saturn. And this is precisely what shows itself to supersensible perception. Emerging once more from its hidden state, the seed of man begins to unfold by its own inherent faculty—by virtue of the forces with which it was imbued on Saturn. It comes forth out of the darkness as a being-of-will, and raises itself to the semblance of life, of soul-likeness and so forth, until it reaches the manifestation of machine-like personality which belonged to it at the close of Saturn evolution.

The second of the great evolutionary periods—the Sun stage—uplifts the human being to a higher level of consciousness than he attained on Saturn, although compared with man's present consciousness, his condition on the Sun might still be called unconsciousness. For it is well-nigh equivalent to the state in which he now finds himself in absolutely dreamless sleep. We might also compare it with the low degree of consciousness in which our world of plants is slumbering today. For supersensible perception there is, as a matter of fact, no such thing as unconsciousness there are but differing degrees of consciousness. Everything in the world is conscious.

Man attains this higher state of consciousness in the course of Sun evolution through the fact that the etheric or life-body is now incorporated in him. But this cannot take place until the Saturn conditions have been recapitulated. Such recapitulation has a quite definite meaning. When the interval of rest is over, what was previously Saturn emerges from the “cosmic sleep” as a new world-entity—as Sun. But the whole situation within which evolution takes place is now changed. The Spirit-beings whose working upon Saturn we described have progressed to new conditions. The seed of man, however, as it emerges on the newly formed Sun, appears, to begin with, just as it become on Saturn. It has accordingly first of all to transmute the several evolutionary stages it underwent on Saturn, in order to adapt them to the conditions on Sun. Hence the Sun epoch begins with a repetition of the Saturn events, but a repetition adapted to the changed conditions—the Spirits of Wisdom begin their work of pouring the etheric or life-body into the physical. The higher stage that man attains upon Sun may be characterized as follows. The physical body, formed already upon Saturn in its germinal beginnings, is raised to a second level of perfection, in that it now becomes the bearer of an etheric or life-body. The etheric or life-body itself attains, during the Sun evolution, the first degree of its perfection. But for these stages of perfection to be achieved—the second for the physical and the first for the life-body—the intervention of other Spiritual-beings too is needed, just as it was for the Saturn stage.

When the Spirits of Wisdom begin with their inpouring of the life-body, the Sun entity, which until now was dark, begins to radiate light. Simultaneously the first signs of an inner quickening appear in the seed of man: life begins to be. What on Saturn had to be described as a mere semblance of life, is now becoming real life. The inpouring goes on for a time, and then an important change comes over the seed of man; it differentiates into two parts. Hitherto, the physical body and life-body have been in intimate union as a single whole; now, the physical begins to separate off as a distinct part—although it still remains permeated with the life-body. Thus we now have to do with a twofold human being. One part of man is physical body, permeated through and through with life-body; the other consists of life-body alone. This severance takes place during an interval of rest in the Sun life, when the light-radiance which had begun to appear dies down again. It happens during what may be called a “cosmic night.” This interval of rest is however far shorter than the aforesaid interval between the Saturn and Sun evolutions. When it is over, the Spirits of Wisdom continue for a while to work upon the two-fold human being, just as they worked on him before, when he was single and undivided. Thereafter, the Spirits of Movement come in with their activity; they permeate with their own astral body the life-body of the human being. The life-body thus attains the faculty to carry out certain inner movements in the physical—movements that are comparable to those of the saps and fluids in a plant of the present day.

The whole of Saturn consisted of warmth alone. During Sun evolution this warmth-substance condenses to a state which may be likened to that of our present gas or vapor. It is the condition we can denote as Air. The first beginnings of it show themselves after the Spirits of Movement have come in with their activity. To supersensible consciousness the following appears. Within the warmth-substance delicate, tenuous structures emerge, which are brought into regular movement by the forces of the life-body. These structures make manifest the physical body of the human being as it is at this stage in its evolution. They are permeated through and through with warmth, and are also enveloped as if by an integument of warmth. Warmth-creations with air-forms incorporated in them, the latter engaged in regular and constant movement—so may be describe the human being, physically speaking, at this stage. If we want to maintain the suggested comparison with the plant of the present day, we must remember that we are not dealing with a compact plant but with a form consisting of air or gas, the movements of which are not unlike those of the sap in the present plant.1The gas appears to supersensible consciousness through the light-effects which it sends forth. Hence we might also speak of forms of light presenting themselves to spiritual vision.

This evolution is then carried further. After a time an interval of rest once more ensues; and when this is over, the Spirits of Movement continue with their work, until it is supplemented by that of the Spirits of Form, as a result of whose activity the gaseous structures, hitherto constantly changing, now assume more permanent shape. This too is brought about through the Spirits of Form pouring their forces in and out of the life-body of the human beings. Previously, when the Spirits of Movement alone were working upon them, the gaseous bodies were in incessant motion; only for a moment did they ever maintain their shape. Henceforward they will now assume, for a time, distinguishable forms.

Once more, after a certain time, comes an interval of rest; and when that is over, the Spirits of Form resume their activity. Then, however, altogether new conditions appear within Sun evolution.

For now the point is reached where Sun evolution has attained its middle epoch. It is the time when the Spirits of Personality, who reached their human level upon Saturn, rise to a higher stage of perfection, thus transcending the stage of humanity. They attain a consciousness which, in the regular course of evolution, present-day man does not yet possess. He will attain it when the Earth—the fourth of the planetary stages in evolution—has reached its goal and the next planetary period will have begun. At that time, man will no longer perceive around him merely what the present physical senses communicate to him; he will be able to observe in pictures the inner soul-condition of the beings that surround him. He will have picture-consciousness, still however retaining full self-consciousness. For in his picture-vision, there will be nothing dim or dreamlike. He will perceive things of the soul—in pictures it is true, yet so that the pictures will express realities just as physical colors and tones do today. In our time it is only by spiritual-scientific training that man can raise himself to this kind of seership. The training will be dealt with in a later chapter.

Such seership the Spirits of Personality attain as their normal gift of evolution in the middle of the Sun stage. And it enables them, during Sun evolution, to work upon the newly formed life-body of the human being in the same way as they worked upon his physical body during Saturn. As upon Saturn the warmth rayed back to them their own personality, so now the gaseous forms ray back to them in shining light the picture-visions of their seership. They behold—supersensibly—what is now taking place on Sun. Nor is their seeing by any means mere observation. For in the pictures that stream outward from the Sun, it is as though something of that force which man on Earth denotes as Love were making itself felt. And as we look—in soul—more closely, we find the cause of this. Into the light as it rays outward from the Sun, sublime Beings have mingled their activity. These are the “Spirits of Love” (in Christian language, Seraphim) already named in the preceding pages. Henceforth they work upon the human etheric body (or life-body) in co-operation with the Spirits of Personality. The combined activity of these Beings enables the life-body to take a further step on its path of evolution. It becomes capable not only of transforming the gaseous structures which are within it, but of so working upon them that the first suggestions of a reproductive process appear in the living human entities. Secretions are as it were driven forth—or we might say, “perspired”—by the already-formed gaseous organisms, and assume form in their turn in the likeness of their mother-organism.

Before we can go on to describe the further evolution of the Sun, we must point to a fact which is of the greatest importance in the whole cosmic process. In the course of a given epoch not all the beings attain the goal of their evolution. Some fall short of it. During Saturn evolution, for example, not all the Spirits of Personality attained the “human” stage appointed for them. Nor did all the human physical bodies that developed upon Saturn reach the degree of maturity which could enable them to become the bearers on Sun of an independent life-body. As a result, beings and structures are present on the Sun, unsuited to the conditions that obtain there. These must now make good what they have missed on Saturn. During the Sun stage spiritual perceptions can therefore observe the following. When the Spirits of Wisdom begin with their in-pouring of the life-body, the whole body of the Sun becomes as it were clouded. For it is interspersed with structures which belong essentially to Saturn—warmth-structures that are unable to condense in the proper way to air. These are the human entities which have remained behind at the Saturn stage. They cannot become bearers of a normally developed life-body.

What is thus left behind of Saturn's warmth-substance, divides on the Sun into two portions. One is as it were absorbed by the human bodies, and constitutes henceforth, within the human being, a kind of lower nature. Thus on Sun the human being receives something into his bodily nature that corresponds in reality to the Saturn stage. Now as the Saturn body of man made it possible for the Spirits of Personality to rise to their “human” level, so on the Sun does this Saturn part of man render a like service to the Fires Spirits. These rise to their human stage by pouring their forces in and out of it, just as the Spirits of Personality did on Saturn. This too takes place during the middle epoch of Sun evolution, for then the Saturn part of the human being is sufficiently mature for the Fire Spirits (The Archangeloi) to pass through their human stage with its assistance.

Another portion of the Saturn warmth-substance separates off and comes to an independent existence alongside of and among the Sun human beings, constituting thus a second kingdom, developing a fully independent, but purely physical body—a body of warmth. There is therefore in this second kingdom no independent life-body to receive the activity of the fully evolved Spirits of Personality. But now certain Spirits of Personality have also stopped short at the Saturn stage; they did not attain there the level of humanity. Between them and this second kingdom of the Sun, there is a bond of attraction. They must now relate themselves to this retarded kingdom in the same way as their more advanced companions related themselves upon Saturn to the human beings. For upon Saturn these too had developed only a physical body. But on the Sun itself there is no possibility for this work to be done by the backward Spirits of Personality. They therefore separate themselves from the Sun and form an independent heavenly body outside it. From this heavenly body that has left the Sun, the retarded Spirits of Personality work upon the creatures of the second Sun kingdom.. The single cosmic entity that Saturn was before, has thus become two. Henceforth the Sun has a second heavenly body in its environment, representing a kind of re-birth of Saturn—as it were, a new Saturn. From this new Saturn the second kingdom of the Sun is endowed with the character of personality. Its beings have no personality upon the Sun itself; but they reflect to the Spirits of Personality on the new Saturn their personality. In among the human beings on the sun, supersensible consciousness can observe forces of warmth, whose working intermingles with the regular evolution of the Sun. Herein we have to perceive the Spirits of the new Saturn wielding their power.

Observation of the human being during the middle epoch of Sun evolution reveals it to be divided into a physical body and a life-body. The latter is the scene of activity for the more advanced Spirits of Personality, in unison with the Spirits of Love. The physical body is now intermingled with a portion of the retarded Saturn nature, and here the activity of the Fire Spirits is at work. In what the Fire Spirits achieve in this retarded Saturn nature, we have to recognize the forerunners of the present sense-organs of Earth man. (It will be remembered that already upon Saturn the Fire Spirits were concerned in elaborating within the warmth-substance the seeds of the human senses.) On the other hand, in that which is accomplished by the Spirits of Personality in union with the Spirits of Love (the Seraphim,) we have to perceive the first beginnings of man's present glandular organs.

But now the work of those Spirits of Personality who dwell on the new Saturn is not exhaustively described in what was said above. Their activity goes beyond the second kingdom of the Sun; they also establish a kind of connection between this second kingdom and the human senses. The warmth-substances of this second kingdom stream through the human senses in their germinal condition, pouring continually in and out of them. In this way the human being rises on Sun to a kind of perception of the lower kingdom that is there beside him. It is, in the nature of the case, a very dim perception—corresponding in all respects to the dull Saturn consciousness of which we spoke before. And it consists essentially in varying effects of warmth.

All that has here been described as pertaining to the middle epoch of Sun evolution, lasts for a certain time; and then, once more there is an interval of rest. After the interval, things go on for awhile in the same way as before, until a point is reached in evolution when the human etheric body is mature for a united working of the Sons of Life (The Angeloi) and the Spirits of Harmony (the Cherubim.) To supersensible consciousness manifestations now appear within the human being which may be likened to perceptions of taste, and which reveal themselves outwardly as sounds. It will be remembered that we resorted to a similar comparison in our description of Saturn evolution. Here however, on Sun, all that does on in the human being is far more inward, is full of a more independent life.

The Sons of Life hereby attain the dim picture-consciousness which the Fire Spirits reached on Saturn. The Spirits of Harmony (Cherubim) are their helpers in this. They behold in spirit what is now taking its course in Sun evolution; but they deny themselves all the fruits of this their contemplation, all feeling of the Wisdom-filled pictures that arise there, and pour them like wondrous magic scenes into the dream-consciousness of the Sons of Life. These in turn weave the forms they behold into man's etheric body, which rises thereby to higher and higher stages in its evolution.

Again there is an interval of rest. Again the whole arises out of the “sleep of worlds” and, after it has continued its course for a time, the human being is mature enough to be able to arouse within him the forces of his own. These are the forces which were poured into his being by the Thrones during the last epoch of Saturn evolution. The human being now continues his evolution in an inner life which, in its manifestation to consciousness, may be likened to an inward sensation of smell. Outwardly, over against the heavenly spaces, he reveals himself as a personality. We have already seen how at the end of Saturn evolution, personality manifested like a machine. Moreover, as at that time the first seed was developed of what is still in a seedling state even in the man of today, namely Spirit-Man or Atma, so now and in like manner the first seed is formed of Life-Spirit or Budhi.

After all this has gone on for a certain time, there is once more an interval of rest And, as has happened before, after the interval the former activity of the human being is resumed for a while. Then new conditions enter in, arising out of a fresh intervention on the part of the Spirits of Wisdom. Through this the human being becomes able to feel the first traces of sympathy and antipathy with his environment. It is as yet not real feeling; nevertheless, it is a forerunner of feeling. For the inner activity of life, the manifestations of which could be described as resembling perceptions of smell, reveals itself outwardly as if in a kind of primitive speech. When an agreeable smell or taste, glimmer of light, or other manifestation is inwardly perceived, the human being makes it known outwardly by a sound. Similarly too with an inwardly distasteful perception. And now, as a result of all these developments, the true meaning of Sun evolution for the being of man has been attained. He has reached a higher level of consciousness than was his Saturn. It is the consciousness of sleep.

After a while the point has also been reached when the higher Beings connected with the Sun stage must pass to other spheres, there to assimilate the potentialities they have implanted in themselves by the work they have done on the human being. A greater interval of rest supervenes, such as there was between Saturn and Sun. All that has been evolved on Sun passes into a condition like that of a plant when its forces of growth are resting in the seed. But as these come forth again to the light of day in a new plant, so after the interval of rest is over, all that was life upon the Sun emerges again out of the bosom of the worlds and a new planetary existence begins. We shall well understand the meaning of such an interval of rest or “sleep of worlds” if we turn our thought for a moment to some one of the above-named groups of Beings—the Spirits of Wisdom, for example. On Saturn, these Beings were not yet so far advanced as to be able to pour forth from themselves an etheric body. The experiences they underwent there served however to prepare them for this activity. During the interval they transmitted what had been prepared in them, into the actual faculty, with the result that on Sun they were ready to let the life stream out from them and so endow the human being with a life-body of his own.

When the interval of rest is over, what formerly was Sun comes forth again from the “sleep of worlds.” That is to say, it becomes perceptible once more to those powers of spiritual sight which had formerly been able to observe it but from which it vanished in the interval of rest. The planetary being emerging now in its new form shall be designated “Moon”—but we must not confuse it with that fragment of it which constitutes the present Moon, the satellite of the Earth. Two things are to be noted, as it re-emerges. In the first place, the new Saturn, which separated off during Sun, is now again within the planetary being. During the interval of rest, it has re-united with the Sun. The whole content of the original Saturn comes forth again to begin with as a single cosmic entity. Secondly, the life-bodies of the human beings, that were formed upon Sun, have been absorbed during the interval of rest by the planet's spiritual envelope—for such, as a sense, it is. Hence at this point of time the life-bodies do not appear in union with the human physical bodies; these emerge, to begin with, by themselves. Though bearing in their nature all that has been achieved in them on Saturn and on the Sun, they are still without the etheric or life-body. Nor indeed would they be able to receive it at once, for in the interval of rest the etheric body itself has undergone an evolution to which they are not yet adapted. And so now, at the beginning of Moon evolution, another repetition of the Saturn events takes place, in order to achieve this adaptation.

The physical life of man passes in recapitulation through the stages of Saturn evolution, but under altogether changed conditions. For on Saturn the forces of a warmth body alone were at work in it, whereas now there are also those of the gaseous body which it has assimilated. The latter do not however emerge at once. In the beginning of Moon evolution it is as though the human being consisted of warmth-substance alone, with the gaseous forces still asleep within it. Then follows a period when these emerge in their first indication. And at length, in the last period of the Saturn repetition, the human being has already the appearance he had when he was alive on Sun. Yet all “life” at this stage proves to be no more than a mere semblance of life. For there must first be an interval of rest, like the short intervals of rest during Sun evolution. Then begins once more the inpouring of the life-body, for which the physical body has now made itself mature. This inpouring takes place, as did the Saturn repetition, in three distinct epochs. In the second of these, the human being is so far adapted to the new Moon conditions that the Spirits of Movement can bring into action the faculty they have acquired. Out of their own nature they can now pour the astral body into the human beings. For this work they prepared themselves during Sun evolutions, and in the interval of rest between Sun and Moon they have transmuted what they had prepared into the actual faculty. This inpouring of the astral body lasts for a certain time, and then again one of the smaller intervals of rest ensues; after which the inpouring is continued, until the Spirits of Form enter with their activity. Through the Spirits of Movement pouring into him the astral body, the human being acquires his first qualities of soul. The processes that take place in him by virtue of the life-body—which in Sun evolution were still of a plant-like character—these he now begins to follow with sensation, feeling pleasure in them or disliking them. But the sympathies and antipathies thus aroused remain in ever-changing ebb and flow, until the Spirits of Form come in and play their part. Thereupon the ever-changing feelings become so transformed that there emerges in the human being what we may regard as a first sign of wish and craving. He strives for a repetition of what gave enjoyment, and seeks to avoid what roused a feeling of antipathy. Since however the Spirits of Form do not communicate their own nature to the human being but only cause their forces to pour in and out of him, this craving is without inwardness or independence. It is guided by the Spirits of Form, and gives the impression of being purely instinctive.

On Saturn the physical body of the human being was a body of warmth; on Sun there was a condensation to the gaseous condition, to “air.” Now, in Moon evolution, when the Astral is poured in, the moment is reached when the physical attains a further stage of condensation. It comes into a condition comparable to that of a liquid in our time. This new state may be designated “water,” meaning however not our present water but any liquid form of existence. The human physical body comes now gradually to assume a form composed of three organic structures, distinct form one another in their substance. The densest is a “water body;” this is permeated through and through by airy currents, and warmth effects continue also to pervade the whole.

But now, as on Saturn, so in the Sun stage too, not all the forms attain the corresponding maturity. Hence we find upon Moon, forms which are even now still at the Saturn stage, and some also which have reached but remain at the stage of Sun. Two other kingdoms thus emerge, beside the properly developed human kingdom. One consists of beings which, having remained at the Saturn stage, have physical body alone; and this physical body is not yet able, even now on Moon, to become the bearer of an independent life-body. These beings form the lowest kingdom. A second kingdom is composed of beings who have stopped short at the Sun stage, and are accordingly not ready on Moon to incorporate within them an independent astral body. They constitute an intermediate kingdom, between the aforesaid and the normally advanced human kingdom.

A further event has now to be noted. The substances with forces of warmth alone, those also that have stopped short as forces of air, permeate the human beings too. These, therefore, on Moon, bear within them a Saturn and a Sun nature. Thereby a kind of split has come about in human nature, and in consequence of this, an event of great significance takes place in Moon evolution. Soon after the Spirits of Form have come in with their activity, a severance begins to be prepared for in the heavenly body of the Moon. A portion of the substances and beings is split off from the remainder. Out of the single heavenly body, two separate ones evolve. The first is taken for their dwelling-place by certain higher Beings, hitherto more intimately united with the heavenly body in its single state. The second is occupied by man, together with the two lower kingdoms above-mentioned and also certain higher Beings who do not pass over to the first. The former heavenly body, with the higher Beings, appears now as a Sun re-born and at the same time refined; the latter is henceforth the essentially new creation—“Old Moon,” as it has to be called—the third planetary embodiment of our Earth, following on the Saturn and Sun embodiments.

Of the substances that have come into existence on Moon, the new-born Sun, as it goes forth, takes with it only warmth and air; while on the remained which is left behind as Moon, beside these two the watery state is also to be found. In consequence of the severance, the Beings who have gone forth with the new-born Sun are no longer hampered in their evolution by the denser beings of the Moon. They are now able to progress untrammeled in their own becoming, and they attain thereby the greater strength to work—now from without, from their dwelling-place, the Sun—upon the beings of the Moon. Thus do the Moon beings too attain new possibilities of evolution. What is for them particularly significant is that the Spirits of Form have remained united with them. These establish more firmly the desire-nature of the human being, and by degrees this comes to find expression in a further condensation of the physical body. Where hitherto it has been but watery, it begins to assume a more viscous form, and the structures of air and of warmth are densified to correspond. Similar changes take place also in the two lower kingdoms.

In consequence of having separated from the Sun, the Moon is now related to the Sun in the same way as once was Saturn to the whole of the surrounding cosmic evolution. Saturn was formed out of the body of the Spirits of Will (Thrones.) From the Saturn substance rayed back into cosmic space all that was experienced in consciousness by the Spirit-beings in its environment. And through the events that followed, this raying-back gradually work to independent life. Such is the essence of all evolution. Independent being is first separated out from the life of the environment, then the environment engraves itself—as it were, by reflection—upon the separated being, and then the latter evolves further, independently.

So did the Moon body sever itself from the Sun, and, to being with, simply reflect the life of the Sun body. If, therefore, nothing else had happened, the situation in the cosmos would have been as follows. There would have been a Sun body, where spiritual Beings well adapted to its nature had their experiences in the elements of warmth and air. Over against it would have been a Lunar body, wherein other Beings were evolving, living a life of warmth and air and water. And the progress from the Sun to the Moon embodiment would have meant for the Sun Beings that in what was happening on Moon they would have beheld their own life as in a mirror, and would in this way have been able to receive it and enjoy it, which during the Sun embodiment had not yet been possible. But evolution took another turn. Something took place which was of the very deepest significance for all succeeding evolution. Certain beings, who were adapted to the Moon body, possessed themselves of the element of Will (a heritage from the Thrones) which stood at their disposal, and evolved therewith a life of their own, that grew up independently of the Sun life.

Alongside the experiences on Moon which were entirely subject to the Sun's influence, independent experiences now arose—states of rebellion, as it were, or of opposition to the Sun Beings. And the various kingdoms that had arisen on Sun and Moon—above all, the kingdom of the forefather of man—became involved in these new conditions. Spiritually and materially, the Moon body contained now within it two kinds of life—one that was in intimate union with the Sun's life, and another which, having “fallen” from this, went on its own independent way. This division into a twofold life comes to expression in all the succeeding events of the Moon embodiment.

That which presents itself to supersensible consciousness at this epoch in evolution, can be described in the following picture. The ground mass of the Moon was formed of a semi-live substance, which was in constant movement, sometimes sluggish, sometimes quick and lively. There is as yet no solid mineral mass like the rocks and other constituents of the Earth on which man treads today. We might describe it as a kind of plant-mineral kingdom. Only, we have to imagine the whole ground and body of the Moon consisting of this plant-mineral substance, just as the earth today consists of rocks and stones, arable soil, etc. As here and there rocks protrude from the Earth today, so in the Lunar mass, harder portions also were embedded. These might be likened to forms made of hard wood or horn. Moreover, as plants today spring from the mineral soil, so was the ground of the Moon bedecked, and also penetrates, by a second kingdom, consisting of a kind of plant-animal. The substance of this kingdom was softer than the ground and more mobile in itself. It spread over the lower kingdom like a turgid sea. And as for man himself, he might be described as animal-man. He had in his nature the constituents of the two other kingdoms; but his being was permeated through and through by a life-body and an astral body, upon which the forces of the higher Beings on the Sun were working, thereby ennobling his form and figure. The Spirits of form gave him a form and figure that adapted him to the Moon life; the Sun Spirits, on the other hand, made him a being that was lifted beyond this life. With the faculties bestowed on him by these Spirits, man had the power to ennoble his own nature; he could even lift up on to a higher level that within him which was akin to the lower kingdoms.

Seen in their spiritual aspect, these developments may be described as follows. Man's ancestor had also been ennobled by beings who had fallen away from the Sun kingdom. Their ennobling influence extended, above all, to everything that could be experienced in the watery element. Upon this element, the influence of the Beings of the Sun was not so great; they were rulers in the elements of warmth and air. The outcome of all this was that a twofold nature began to declare itself in man's organism. One part of it was permeated through and through by the influence of the Sun Beings; while in the other, the fallen beings, the Moon beings, were working. The latter part was thus more independent. In the former, no other states of consciousness could arise than those in which the Beings of the Sun were living, while in the latter there lived a kind of cosmic consciousness, such as had belonged to the Saturn state, but on a higher level. Through it man's ancestor saw himself as an “Image of the Universe,” while in the “Sun” part of his being he would feel himself only as an “Image of the Sun.”

These two natures in man began now to come into a kind of conflict. And for this conflict a balance was established by the influence of the Sun Beings making transient and frail the more material part of man's organism whereby he was enabled to have the independent World-consciousness. Henceforth this part had to be thrown off from time to time. During the process and for some while after, man's ancestor was a being subject to the Sun influence alone. His consciousness became less independent; he lived in utter devotion to the Solar life. Thereupon the independent—Moon—part would be renewed once more; and after a while the whole process be repeated. This happened time and again. Thus did the ancestor of man live on the Moon in alternating states of consciousness—now duller, now clearer; and the alternation was accompanied by a changing and renewal of his being in its material aspect. From time to time he would lay aside his Moon body, then after awhile put it on once more.

Seen in their physical aspect, the aforesaid kingdoms of the Moon show great variety. The mineral-plants differ from one another, group by group; so do the plant-animals and the animal-men. This we shall readily understand if we recall that certain structures have remained behind at each of the preceding stages. Forms very varied in quality will thus had been embodied. Some there are which still reveal the initial properties of Saturn; others, those of its middle epoch; others again, those of its end. So too for all the successive evolutionary stages of the Sun.

Nor is it only the forms and structures belonging to the heavenly body that remain behind as it goes forward in its evolution. The same applies to many of the Beings connected with it. With the advance of evolution to Moon, a number of different ranks of such Beings are to be found. There are Spirits of Personality who even on Sun did not attain their human level, while there are others who made good there what they and missed before, and rose to the human stage. The same with the Fires Spirits who should have become human beings on Sun: a number of these have also remained behind. And as in Sun evolution certain Spirits of Personality, having remained behind, withdrew from the Sun and made Saturn arise anew as a distinct heavenly body, so too in the course of Moon evolution do the Beings aforesaid remove themselves on to separate heavenly bodies. So far, we have spoken only of the separation into Sun and Moon, but in the same manner other heavenly forms were also separated from the Moon body which emerged after the great interval between the Sun and Moon stages of evolution; so that we have in time a whole system of heavenly bodies, the most advanced of which, as will readily be seen, must be the new Sun. And now, as in Sun evolution there was a bond of attraction between the backward Saturn kingdom and the Spirits of Personality on the new Saturn, so, in like manner, bonds of attraction now arise between the several heavenly bodies and the corresponding Moon beings. It would lead us much too far afield to trace here in detail all the heavenly bodies that emerged. Let is suffice to have pointed out the reason why, as time went on, from the single heavenly body which arose as Saturn in the beginning of human evolution, a whole number of heavenly bodies detached themselves one after another.

After the Spirits of Form have come in with their activity, Moon evolution continues for a time along these lines. Then there is once more an interval, during which the coarser parts of the three Moon kingdoms remain in a kind of quiescent state, while the finer parts—and notably the astral bodies of the human beings—free themselves from these coarser structures. They come into a condition where the higher forces of the sublime Beings of the Sun can work upon them with peculiar intensity.

After this interval of rest, the finer portions penetrate once more into the parts of the human being that are of coarser substance. What with the strength they have acquired in their free condition during the interval, they can now make these coarser substances ready to receive the influence which, after a time, the normally progressive Spirits of Personality and the Fire Spirits will bring to bear on them.

The Spirits of Personality have risen meanwhile to a stage at which they have the consciousness of Inspiration. Not only can they, as in their former picture-consciousness, perceive in picture form the inner states of other beings; they can behold their very inwardness, expressed in a language as it were of spiritual music. Meanwhile the Fire Spirits have risen to the consciousness which the Spirits of Personality possessed on Sun. Both kinds of Spirits are thus able to enter, and play their part in, the now more ripened life of the human being. The Spirits of Personality work on his astral body, the Fire Spirits on his etheric body. The astral body receives thereby the character of personality. Henceforth it not only experiences pleasure and pain, it also relates them to itself. Not yet does it rise to the full consciousness of “I” which says to itself “I am;” Rather does it feel sustained and sheltered by other beings in its environment. Turning its gaze upward, as it were, to these, it can exclaim: “This my environment upholds me in existence.”

Meanwhile the Fire Spirits work upon the etheric body. Under their influence the motion of the forces in this body becomes gradually more and more of an inward life activity. It finds physical expression in a movement of the saps and fluids and in phenomena of growth. The gaseous substances have been condensed to watery, and we may now begin to speak of a kind of nutrition—in the sense that what is received from without is inwardly transmuted and assimilated. If we imagine something intermediate between the nutrition and the breathing of today, we shall have a fair idea of what was taking place in this direction. The human being derived his “food-stuffs” from the animal-plant kingdom. These animal-plants we must imagine hovering and floating in a surrounding element (or sometimes also loosely rooted in the ground,) rather as the lower animals of today live in the water, or the terrestrial animals in the air. But the element in which the animal-plants lived was neither water nor air in the present sense; it was something intermediate between the two—a kind of dense vapor wherein the most diverse substances, being as it were dissolved in it, moved hither and thither in manifold currents. The animal-plants seemed like forms within this element that were only rather more regular and condensed. Physically they were often but little different from their surrounding element. Besides the process of nutrition, there was also a breathing process. But it was not as it is on Earth; it was more like an in-drawing and out-pouring of warmth. To the supersensible observer of these processes, it is as though organs were opening out and drawing to again, while a warmth-giving stream pours in and out of them, and air and water substances are conveyed inwards and outwards. And since the human being has already at this stage an astral body of his own, both breathing and nutrition are accompanied by inner feelings. A kind of pleasure is experienced when substances that are helpful for building the human being, are absorbed; discomfort is felt when harmful substances flow in, or even when they only come too near.

Now as the breathing process was during Moon evolution nearly related to that of nutrition, so was the process of ideation—the forming of mental images—to the reproduction process. The things and begins in Moon man's environment exercised no immediate effect on any human senses. Man's mental life was rather of the following character. In this dim twilight consciousness, pictures were called up by the presence of these things and begins; and the pictures were far more intimately related to the real inner nature of the environment than are our sense-perceptions, which reveal—in colors, sounds, smells, etc.—merely its outer aspect. To gain a better idea of Moon man's consciousness we should imagine him steeped in the vapor-like environment above described. Manifold processes are taking place within it. Substances are combining, substances are separating; some parts grow more condensed, others thin out, become more tenuous. All this goes on in such a way that though the human beings do not directly see or hear it, it calls forth pictures in their consciousness. These may be likened to the pictures of our dream-consciousness today. Let us say, an object falls to the floor. The sleeper does not perceive the real process, but instead some arbitrary picture—for example, he thinks a shot is being fired. The pictures of Moon consciousness, however, unlike our dream-pictures, are not arbitrary. Though they are not copies but symbols only of outer processes, nevertheless they correspond to them. For a particular outer process one picture will arise and no other. Moon man is thus in a position to order his conduct according to the pictures, just as today man orders his conduct according to his perceptions. Only, observe the difference; conduct based on our perceptions is subject to free choice whereas action under the influence of these pictures takes place as though impelled by a deep inner urge.

We must not however imagine that in this picture-consciousness we have no more than a symbolization of outer physical processes. Through the pictures, the spiritual Beings holding sway behind the physical facts—these spiritual Beings and their activities are also presented to consciousness. Thus in the creatures of the animal-like kingdom the Spirits of Personality are as it were made visible, while the Fires Spirits appear behind and within the mineral-plant beings. Other beings too appear, whom man can conceive without connection with anything physical; he beholds them rather as ethereal and soul-like forces. These are the Sons of Life.

The mental pictures of Moon consciousness being not copies but symbols of the outer beings, their influence on the inner life of the human being was on this very account all the greater; it was far greater than that of the mental pictures man has today, that are communicated by external perception. The pictures of Moon consciousness were capable of arousing his whole inner life to movement and action. The inner processes took shape to accord with them, they were formative forces in the true sense of the word. The human being became even as they formed him. He became, so to speak, the image of his own processes in consciousness.

But now the farther evolution goes on in this way, the more does it entail a deeply incisive change for the human being. The power proceeding from the pictures in consciousness grows gradually less and less to extend over his whole bodily nature. Some members are subject in their formation to the formative plastic influences of the picture-consciousness, and become to a large extent an image of the mental life in the way that has been indicated; but there are other organs that withdraw themselves from this influence. In part of his being, man is as it were too dense—determined too much by other laws—for him to follow the pictures he has in his consciousness. These organs withdraw from his influence. But they come under another; they come under the influence of the sublime Sun Beings themselves. This stage in evolution is however seen to be preceded by an interval of rest, wherein the Sun Spirits gather up their forces, in order to work upon the beings of the Moon under these quite new conditions.

After the interval of rest, the human being is seen to be divided into two natures. One is withdrawn from the independent working of his picture-consciousness. It takes on a more definite shape and comes under the influence of forces which, though they proceed from the body of the Moon, can only arise there through the influence of the Sun Beings. This portion of man's being partakes increasingly in the life that is kindled by the Sun. The other rises out of this one, like a kind of head. It is mobile and pliable, shaping itself so as to express and sustain the dream-like consciousness in which man lives. The two portions are however intimately bound up with one another. They send each other their respective fluids, and the members of each extend into the other.

While all this has been taking place, a relationship of Sun and Moon has arisen, which accords with the trend of this evolution. A significant harmony is thereby brought about.

It has already been shown how the spiritual Beings, as they go forward through the stages of their evolution, detach from the great cosmic mass various heavenly bodies, to be their dwelling-places. It is the Beings who radiate the forces by which the cosmic substances are organized and differentiated. The separation of Sun and Moon was thus a necessary event, to lead up to the provision of proper dwelling-places for the several spiritual Beings. But this determination of substance and of its forces by the Spirit goes still farther. For it is the spiritual Beings who give rise to certain movements of the heavenly bodies, revolutions one about another, with the result that the heavenly bodies change their relative positions; and every change in their relative position of one heavenly body to another means a change in the mutual influences of the Beings.

This is what happened with regard to Sun and Moon. A movement of the Moon about the Sun is induced, which at certain times brings the human begins more into the sphere of the Sun's influence, while at other, alternative times they are enabled to turn away from it and so be thrown more upon their own resources. The movement is an outcome of the above-mentioned “fall” of certain beings of the Moon, and of the balance established in settlement of the conflict which ensued. It is simply the physical expression for the spiritual relationship of forces that was engendered by the “fall.” Through the one heavenly body moving around the other, there arise in the Beings who inhabit them such alternative states of consciousness as were described above. It can indeed be said that the Moon alternatively turns her life towards the Sun and away from it. There is a sun time and a planetary time. During the latter the Moon Beings grow and evolve on a side of the Moon which is turned away from the Sun. It must however be added that something else comes into play on the Moon, beside this motion of the heavenly bodies. Supersensible consciousness, as it looks back, can see the Moon Beings themselves migrating round their planet at regular intervals of time. Sometimes they seek the regions where they can give themselves up to the Sun's influence, at other times they journey to regions where they are not subject to it—where they can, as it were, muse upon their own life and being.

To complete the picture, it is moreover to be observed that in this epoch the Sons of Life attain their human stage. We have seen how the first beginnings of the human senses came into being upon Saturn. Even now on Moon, moan cannot yet use these senses for his own perception of external objects; at this stage, however, they can become instruments for the Sons of Life. The Sons of Life use them in order through them to have perception. Thus these senses, that belong to the physical body of man, enter into mutual relation with the Sons of Life. For the Sons of Life do not merely make use of them; they also work upon them and perfect them.

Through these alternating relations to the Sun, recurring changes arise, as we have seen, in the life-conditions of man himself. It happens in the following way. Each time that he is subjected to the influence of the Sun, man devotes himself to the Sun life and its manifestations rather than to himself. At such times he feels the greatness and majesty of the Universe as expressed in the shining of the Sun. He inhales, at it were, sublime and cosmic greatness. It is then that the lofty Beings, who have their dwelling on the Sun, are exerting their influence upon the Moon. And the Moon, in turn, is working—not upon the whole human being, but chiefly upon those parts of him which have withdrawn from the influence of the pictures he has in his consciousness. The physical body and the life-body especially attain at these times a certain magnitude and a certain perfection of form. In the manifestations of consciousness, on the other hand, there is a decline. But when the life of the human being is turned away from the Sun, he occupies himself more with his own nature. Then inner life and mobility begin in the astral body, while the outer figure grows less comely, less perfect in formation.

There are therefore during Moon evolution two alternating states of consciousness, quite distinct from one another. The one during the Sun period is more dim; the other—in the epoch when life is thrown more on its won resources—is clearer. The former condition, while it is dimmer, is at the same time more selfless, for man then lives more in devotion to the outer world—to the Universe as reflected in the Sun This alternation in states of consciousness may be compared, in the man of the present day, both to the alternation of sleeping and waking, and also to that of life between birth and death on the one hand and, on the other, the more spiritual existence between death and a new birth. Man's awakening on Moon, when the Sun time draws to a close, might thus be described as something intermediate between the awakening of present-day man each morning, and his birth. So too the gradual dimming of consciousness as the Sun time approaches is like an intermediate state between our dying and our falling asleep; for it must not be supposed that an Old Moon there was yet a consciousness of birth and death such as man has today. In the Sun time the human being abandoned himself to the enjoyment of a kind of Sun-life. He was lifted away form his own life and lived more spiritually. We can do no more than attempt an approximate and comparative description of what he then experienced. He felt as if the very forces of the Universe, as if all their influences were streaming in upon him, throbbing through his being. He felt intoxicated by the cosmic harmonies in which his life participated. At such times his astral body was in a way freed from the physical, and with it part of the life-body too was drawn away; and this entity of astral body and life-body was like a delicate and wonderful musical instrument, upon the chords of which the cosmic Mysteries resounded. And the members of that part of man on which his consciousness had little influence were then shaped and molded in accordance with the harmonies of the Universe. For in these harmonies the Beings of the Sun were working. This part of man was thus in very truth shaped and formed by the tones of spiritual, cosmic sounds.

The transition from the brighter state of consciousness to the duller one was not so marked as in the transition from the waking condition to the dreamless sleep of man today. The picture-consciousness was not, indeed, as bright as waking consciousness today, neither was the other state of consciousness as dull as our dreamless sleep. Man had a certain apprehension, though a dim one, of the playing of the cosmic harmonies in his physical body and in that part of his etheric body which had remained united with the physical. And when the Sun was, as it were, no longer shining for him, the mental pictures came into his consciousness in place of the cosmic harmonies. Life was then kindled more in those members of the physical and etheric bodies which were subject to the direct influence of his own consciousness, while the other parts of man—the formative, creative forces no longer working on them from the Sun—went through a kind of withering and hardening process. And as the Sun time drew near once more, the old bodies fell away. They detached themselves from the human being, and out of his old bodily nature, as though out of a grave, man came forth once more—new-formed within, though crude as yet in outer shape and stature. The life-process in him had undergone renewal. After this, the new-born body—under the influence of the Sun Beings with their cosmic harmonies—grew and unfolded to its perfect state once more, and then the whole process was repeated.

Man felt this renewal like the putting-on of a fresh garment. He had not, with the kernel of his being, gone through an actual birth or death. He had but passed from a spiritual consciousness of cosmic Sound—when he was in a state of devotion to the outer Universe—to a consciousness that was directed upon his own inner being. He had cast his skin. The old body having grown unfit for use had been laid aside—and renewed.

Herewith we have also indicated more precisely what was characterized above as a kind of reproduction that was closely related to the life of ideation—the forming of mental images. In respect of certain parts of the physical and etheric body it is true to say that the human being brought forth his kind. But this does not mean that we have then a daughter-being fully distinct from the parent-being. The kernel of the latter passes over to the former, thus bringing forth—not a new being—but itself in a new shape. When the Sun time draws near, his mental pictures grow fainter and fainter, a sense of blissful devotion fills him, and in the peace and silence of his inner being the universal harmonies resound. Towards the end of this period the pictures in the astral body become alive again; man begins to be increasingly aware of himself. He feels as though he were awakening form the blissful rest in which he has been immersed during the Sun time. Another significant experience meets him here. With the renewed lighting-up of the pictures in consciousness, the human being sees himself enshrouded as it were within a cloud, which has descended on him like a Being from the great Universe. This Being, he feels, belongs to him, is a kind of completion of his own nature. He it is, he feels, that grants him his existence, that grants him his I. The Being is one of the Sons of Life. Man's feeling towards him can be expressed somewhat as follows—“In him I lived, even in the Sun time when I was given up to the sublime glory of the Universal All. Only, then he was not visible to me; now he is becoming visible.” And it is this Son of Life from whom the force proceeds that enables man to work upon his own bodily nature during the Sun-less time. Then, when the Sun time draws near once more, man feels as though he himself were becoming one with the Sun of Life. Even then he does not see him, but he feels deeply and inwardly united with him.

The relation of the human beings to the Sons of Life was not such that each single human being had his Son of Life to himself, but a whole group would feel that a Son of Life belonged to it as a group. Men lived, on Moon, separated in this way into groups, and each group felt in common “group-Ego” in a Son of Life. The different between the groups made itself felt notably in the etheric body, which had a special form in each group. Since however the physical body takes its form from the etheric, the differences in the latter were impressed upon the former, and the several groups may be regarded as so many human species. When the Sons of Life looked down upon the human groups belonging to them, they saw themselves manifolded, as it were, in so many single human beings. And that gave them the feeling of their own Ego-hood. They saw the reflection of themselves in the human beings. Herein too lay the function of the human senses at that time. We have already seen that the senses did not yet transmit any perceptions of external objects, but at this stage they reflected the being of the Sons of Life. What the Sons of Life perceived through this reflection, gave them their “I” consciousness. And what was kindled in man's astral body by the same reflection—was none other than the picture-content of his dim Moon consciousness. The effect of this activity of man in mutual interaction with the Sons of Life finds expression in the physical body in the beginnings of the nervous system. The nerves make their appearance there like prolongations of the senses into the inward parts of the body.

From all this a clear picture emerges of how the three kinds of Spirits—the Spirits of Personality, the Fire Spirits and the Sons of Life—worked upon Moon man. Fixing our attention on the main period—the middle epoch—of Moon evolution, we may say: The Spirits of Personality implant independence, the character of personality, in the human astral body. It is due to this that man is able, in the times when—so to speak—the Sun is not shining for him, to turn in upon himself and labor at his own formation. The Fires Spirits are at work in the etheric body, in so far as the same independent character becomes impressed upon it too. It is owing to their influence that after each renewal of this body man feels himself still the same being. This is because the etheric body is endowed by them with a kind of memory. The Sons of Life work on the physical body. They make it possible for the physical body to become an expression of the new independent astral body—to become, as it were, a physiognomical image of it. On the other hand, higher spiritual Beings are also working into the physical and etheric bodies in so far as in the Sun periods these bodies grow and develop apart from the independent astral body. This applied especially to the Spirits of Form and the Spirits of Movement. Their intervention takes place form the Sun, as has been described.

Amid all these various influences, the human being matures to the point where he begins to develop within him the seed of Spirit-Self, just as the seed of Spirit-Man arose in the second half of Saturn evolution and the seed of Life-Spirit on Sun. And now all the conditions on Moon undergo change. Through the successive metamorphoses and renewals the human beings have been growing every nobler, purer and finer in their nature; at the same time they have also gained in strength. Hence they are able increasingly to preserve the picture-consciousness even on into the Sun periods, with the result that this consciousness gains influence on the formation of the physical and the etheric bodies, which formerly was effected through the working of the Sun Beings alone. All that happens upon Moon through the agency of the human beings and the Spirits connected with them, comes more and more to resemble what was formerly brought about by the Sun and the higher Beings that belong to it. In consequence of this, the Sun Beings are able to apply their forces more and more to their own evolution. The Moon too grew ready after a time to be united again with the Sun.

Spiritually regarded, these processes reveal themselves as follows. Little by little, the “fallen” Moon Beings have been overcome by the Sun Beings and must henceforth come into line with them. The deeds of the Moon Beings must become part and parcel of the deeds of the Sun Beings, to whom they are now subordinate. This change requires long epochs of time, during which the Moon periods grow ever shorter and shorter and the Sun periods longer and longer. And then there comes once more a period of evolution during which Sun and Moon form a single cosmic entity. The physical human body has now become entirely ethereal. When this is said, it must not however be imagined that under such conditions there is no physical body. That which has been evolved as physical body during the times of Saturn, Sun and Moon, remains as such. The fact is, we must not limit our recognition of the physical to where it manifests in an outwardly physical form. The physical can also exist in such a way as to present outwardly the form of the etheric, nay even of the astral. We must distinguish here between outward appearance and inner law and principle. A physical can become ethereal and astral, while still retaining the physical laws in its inner nature. And this is what happens when on the Moon the physical body of man has reached a certain stage in its perfection. It becomes ethereal in form. But when the supersensible consciousness that can perceive such things, turns its attention to this body, then, although ethereal in form, it shows itself to be imbued with the laws, not of the etheric but of the physical. In effect, the physical has then been received into the etheric, to rest in it as in a mother's womb and to be nurtured there. Afterwards it will emerge in a physical form once more, but on a higher level. If the human beings of Moon had had to maintain their physical bodies in gross physical form, the Moon could never have been reunited with the Sun. By assuming etheric form, the physical body becomes more akin to the etheric body, and is thus able to be imbued again more intimately with those portions of the etheric and astral bodies which had to be withdrawn from it in the Sun-time epochs of Moon evolution. Man, having appeared like a twofold being during the severance of Sun and Moon, now grows once more into a single whole. The physical takes on more of the quality of soul; and the soul-life is at the same time more bound up with the physical.

Upon this human being, single and coherent, the Spirits of the Sun into whose realm he has now entered can work quite differently than they could before, when they were sending their influences tot he Moon from without. Man is now living in an environment that is more of the soul and spirit. This enables the Spirits of Wisdom to come in with an activity of deep significance. They imbue man with Wisdom—ensoul him with Wisdom. Thereby he becomes in a sense an independent soul. Then to their influence is added that of the Spirits of Movement, who work above all upon the astral body. Under the influence of these high Beings, the astral body develops within it quickness of soul and a Wisdom-filled life-body. This Wisdom-filled etheric body is the germ of what was described in an earlier chapter—in respect of the man at present time—as intellectual soul, while the astral body, animated as it now is by the Spirits of Movement, is the seed and beginning of the sentient soul. And since all this is brought about in the human being at a time when his independence is enhanced, these beginnings of intellectual soul and sentient soul appear as the expression of the Spirit-Self. We must not make the mistake of imagining the Spirit-Self to be, in this period of evolution, a separate entity beside the intellectual and the sentient souls. The latter are only the expression of the Spirit-Self, which in its turn signifies their higher union and harmony.

The intervention of the Spirits of Wisdom in this epoch is of peculiar significance. For they intervene not only for the human beings but for the other kingdoms too, which have developed upon Moon. When Sun and Moon are joined again, these lower kingdoms are also drawn into the realm of the Sun. All that was physical in them is etherealised. So now there are in the Sun not only human beings, but also mineral-plants and plant-animals. These other beings still maintain however their own nature, their own laws of being. Consequently they feel themselves strangers in their new surroundings. For they emerge there with a nature which is scarcely in accord with their environment. Since, however, they are etherealised, they too are accessible to the influence of the Spirits of Wisdom. Indeed, all that has come over from Moon into Sun is now permeated with the forces of these Spirits. That which the Sun-Moon entity has become during this time in evolution may accordingly be called “Cosmos of Wisdom.”

When after an interval of rest the system of our Earth emerges as the successor to this Cosmos of Wisdom, and the created beings that have come over from Moon as seeds come alive again on Earth, then all these beings reveal themselves as filled and permeated with Wisdom. And now we see how it is that Earth man, as he contemplates the things around him, is able to discover Wisdom in their very nature. We can admire the Wisdom in every leaf, in every bone of animal or man, or again in the marvelous construction of the brain and the heart. If man needs Wisdom to understand the things—if, that is, he can examine them and draw forth Wisdom from them—it proves that Wisdom is inherent in them. Try as he will to understand the things of the Earth with Wisdom-filled ideas, man could extract no Wisdom from them if Wisdom had not first been implanted in them. Anyone who would presume to grasp by Wisdom things of which he thinks that they have not first received that Wisdom, may just as well suppose that he can draw water form a glass into which water has not first been poured. Earth—as will be shown later—is Old Moon reborn. And it manifests as a creation filled with Wisdom, because in the epoch here described the Spirits of Wisdom imbued it with their forces.

It will readily be understood that in the above account of Moon conditions it has only been possible to depict a few transient forms of this whole stage of evolution. Out of the whole course of events we have had to lay hold, as it were, on certain elements, singling them out for description. One might feel dissatisfied with a method of exposition that can give no more than isolated pictures, and regret that Moon evolution had not been brought into a nexus of well defined concepts. If objection is taken on this ground, all one can say is that these descriptions have purposely been given in concepts less sharp and definite. For the intention here is not so much to provide speculative concepts and built-up scheme of thought, but a mental picture of what can actually appear before the spiritual eye when supersensible vision is directed to the facts. And for Moon evolution this has far less of sharp and clear-cut outline than have our perceptions on Earth. In the Moon epoch we have to do much more with changing, varying impressions, with fleeting, mobile pictures and their transitions from one to another. It must moreover be borne in mind that we are considering an evolution that continues through long, long ages, and in any description of it we can after all do no more than hold fast momentary pictures here and there.

The culminating point of the Moon epoch is reached at the moment when the human being, through the astral body which has been implanted in him, has advanced so far in evolution that his physical body gives to the Sons of Life the means to attain their human stage. For at this point the human being has also attained all that the Moon epoch can give him for himself, for his own inner begin, on his forward path. The ensuing time—the second half of Moon evolution—may therefore be described as a waning period. Yet in this time, as we have seen, something of great importance is nevertheless achieved, both for man's environment and also for man himself. Wisdom is implanted into the heavenly body of Sun-Moon. Moreover it is in this declining period that the seeds are sown of the intellectual and the sentient souls. Their unfoldment, however, and that of the spiritual soul—and withal, the birth of the I in free self-consciousness—does not take place until the Earth. At the Moon stage the intellectual and sentient souls do not by any means appear as though the human being were already expressing himself through them; rather do they seem like instruments for the Sons of Life who are associated with Man's being. If one wanted to describe how man felt in this respect on Old Moon, one would have to express his consciousness in some such words as these—“In me and through me lives the Son of Life. Through me he beholds the Lunar environment, the Moon; in me he thinks upon the things and beings that Moon contains.” Moon man, in fact, feels himself overshadowed by the Son of Life. He feels himself as the tool or instrument of this higher Being. During the severance of Sun and Moon, in the times when he is turned away from the Sun, he feels, it is true, more independent; he also feels as thought the I belonging to him—which in the Sun times vanished from his picture-consciousness—for so we may describe it—gives the human being on Moon the feeling: “In the Sun time my Ego soars away with me to higher realms, to Beings lofty and sublime; then it descends with me, when the Sun vanishes, into deeper worlds.”

Moon evolution proper was preceded by a preparatory stage; a kind of repetition of Saturn and Sun evolutions took place. And now, in this declining period, after the reunion of Sun and Moon, we can similarly distinguish two epochs, during which there were to some extent even physical condensations. So do physical soul-spirited conditions of the Sun-Moon body alternate with one another. In the physical epochs the human being, and also the beings of the lower kingdoms, appear as though foreshadowing in “set forms that are without independence, what they will afterwards become in a more independent way during the Earth time.

Thus we have two preparatory epochs of Moon evolution and again two epochs in the declining time, Such epochs may be called “cycles” or “rounds.” In the intervening time, after the two preparatory epochs but before the epochs of decline—in the time, that is to say, when Moon and Sun are severed—we shall be able to recognize three distinct epochs. The middle one is the time when the Sons of Life reach their human stage. It is preceded by an epoch when the conditions are all leading up to this central event, and it ids followed by another, wherein the Sons of Life enter more fully into the new creations and carry their development further. These three epochs when taken together with the two of preparation and the two of decline, make seven rounds in all. Moon evaluation as a whole may therefore be said to take its course in seven rounds. Between the rounds are intervals of rest, such as we have already had frequent occasion to describe. But if we want to have a true picture of what happens, we must not imagine an abrupt transition from activity to interval of rest. The Sun Beings, for example, gradually withdraws from their activities on the Moon. A time begins for them which, seen from without, appears as their interval of rest, while on the Moon itself, quick, independent activity continues. In this way the period of activity for one kind of Being will often extend into the period of rest for another. Taking this into account, we may speak of a rhythmic waxing and waning of forces in cyclic epochs. Nay more, a similar division is also recognizable within each of the seven Moon cycles above indicated. The whole of Moon evolution may be described as one great—or planetary—cycle; the seven divisions within it as small cycles, and their sub -divisions are still smaller ones. This seven times sevenfold division can be observed also in Sun evolution, and even in the Saturn epoch there is a suggestion of it. It should however be borne in mind that the dividing lines are to some extent obliterated in the Sun epoch and still more so in Saturn. They grow increasingly distinct, the farther evolution proceeds towards the Earth epoch.

At the close of the Moon evolution that has been described in outline in the foregoing pages, all the forces and Begins connected with it pass into a more spiritual form of existence, that is on an entirely different level both from the form of existence during the Moon period and also from that during the Earth evolution which follows. A being with faculties sufficiently highly developed to be able to perceive all the details of Moon and Earth evolutions, will not necessarily be able to see what takes place in the interval between the two. For him, the Beings and forces would, at the close of the Moon period, vanish as it were into the void, and then after a lapse of time emerge again from the dim twilight of the cosmic womb. Only a being with far higher faculties could trace the spiritual events that are enacted in the intervening time.

When the interval is over, the Beings who took part in the evolutionary processes on Saturn, Sun and Moon reappear, endowed with new faculties. By their former deeds, the Beings who stand above man have attained the power to bring his evolution so far forward that in the Earth epoch which follows on the Moon he will be able to develop a new mode of consciousness, that stands at a stage higher than the picture-consciousness he had in the Moon epoch. But man must first be prepared to receive this new gift. During the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions he has incorporated into his being the physical body, the etheric body and the astral body. But these members received only those faculties and forces which enabled them to live for a picture-consciousness. The organs, and also the whole form and figure which would enable them to perceive a world of external objects are lacking. Just as a new plant will unfold no more than is contained, as potentiality, in the seed that comes from the old one, so too, at the beginning of the new stage in evolution, the three members of man's nature emerge with forms and organs such as allow of the development only of a picture- consciousness. For the unfolding of a higher stage in consciousness they will have first to be prepared.

The preparation takes place in three stages. During the first, the physical body is lifted to a height of development such as enables it to undergo the necessary change into a form and figure which can provide the basis for objective consciousness. This preliminary stage of Earth evolution may be described as a repetition of the Saturn period of a higher level. For in this period, as in the Saturn time, higher Beings are working upon the physical body alone. When the evolution of this physical body is far enough advanced, all the Beings have to pass once more into a higher form of existence, before the life-body can advance in its turn. The physical body has, as it were, to be re-cast, in order to be able to receive, when it unfolds again, the more highly evolved life-body. After this interval devoted to a higher form of existence, there follows a kind of recapitulation of Sun evolution on a higher level, for the further development of the life-body. And then—after a further interval—the like is done, in a recapitulation of Moon evolution, for the astral body.

Let our attention now be turned to the events of evolution after the close of the third of these repetitions. All the Beings and forces have become spiritualized once more, rising during the process of spiritualization into far higher worlds. The lowest of the worlds where something of them is still to be perceived is the very world where man now sojourns between death and new birth—the several regions, namely, of Spiritland. Thereafter the Beings gradually descend once more into lower worlds. Before the physical evolution of the Earth begins, they have come down so far that their lowest manifestations can be beheld in the astral or soul-world.

All that exists of man during this period is still in astral form. For a right understanding of this stage in his development it is important to realize that although man has in him physical body, life-body and astral body, the physical body is not yet present in a physical form. What makes this physical body physical at this stage is not physical form but the fact that while possessing astral form it bears within it physical laws. It is an entity with physical laws and principles in a form that is of the nature of soul—and the like holds good of the life-body.

To the eye of the spirit the Earth at this stage in its evolution appears at first as a world-entity which is all soul and spirit—that is to say, in which even the physical and living forces show a soul-like form. In this world-entity is potentially contained all that is destined subsequently to metamorphose into the creatures of the physical Earth. It radiates light; but the light is not yet such as physical eyes could have perceived—even if they had existed then. It shines only for the opened eyes of the seer, shines for him in the light that is of the soul.

Within this soul-entity there now takes place what may be described as a condensation, with the result that after a time in the very midst of the soul-entity a form of fire makes its appearance, even such a fiery form as Saturn was in its densest state. This form is woven-through with the influences of the various Beings who are partaking in the evolution. Like a surging forth and a diving down into the fiery sphere of the Earth—such is the interplay we can observe between the Beings and the heavenly body. We are not therefore to think of this fiery sphere of the Earth as being of the same substance throughout. Rather it is like an organism that is permeated with soul and spirit. As to those beings who are destined to become on Earth human beings in their present form, they can take very little share in this diving down into the fire-body. They are still in a condition that obliges them to remain almost entirely in the uncondensed surrounding sphere, where they are within the womb of higher spiritual Beings. At this stage they touch the fire-Earth with a single point only of their soul-form, with the result that the warmth condenses a portion of their astral form. Thereby Earth life is kindled in them. For the most part, their being still belongs to worlds of soul and spirit; only through this contact with the earthly fire does warmth of life begin to play around them. If therefore we would make us a picture—at once sensible and supersensible—of man at this beginning of the physical Earth, we must conceive a soul-form of egg-like shape, contained in the encircling sphere of Earth, and surrounded at its lower surface in the way an acorn is by a cup; only, the substance of this “cup” consists entirely of warmth or fire. Now as a consequence of this envelopment by warmth, not only is life kindled in the human being, but at the same time a change takes place in his astral body. Into it is implanted the first beginning of that which afterwards becomes the sentient soul. We may say therefore that, at this stage, man consists of sentient soul, astral body, life-body, and of a physical body that is woven of fire. In the astral body are surging up and down the spiritual Beings who partake in his existence. Through the sentient soul man feels himself bound to the Earth. He has in this time a predominating picture-consciousness where the spiritual Beings in whose womb he lies reveal themselves; and only like a point within this consciousness is the sensation man has of the body that belongs to him. It is as though he were looking down from the spiritual world upon an earthly possession, of which he feels: “That is thine.”

Stage by stage the condensation of the Earth continues, and the above-described differentiation in man grows gradually more distinct. Then comes a moment in evolution when the Earth is so far condensed that only a part of it remains fiery, while another part has assumed a form of substance that may be described as “gas” or “air.” With man too a change is brought about. Henceforth not only is he touched by the warmth of Earth, but air-substance too begins to be imparted to his fire-body. And as the warmth kindled the life in him, so does the air as it plays around him evoke within him what can be described as—spiritual—sound. His life-body rings forth with sound. Simultaneously, a portion of his astral body becomes separated out as the first germinal beginning of the intellectual soul that emerges later.

To envisage what is going on at this time in the soul of man, we must remember that the higher Beings are continuously surging up and down in the air-and-fire body of the Earth. In the fire-Earth it is, to begin with, the Spirits of Personality that are of importance for man. And while he is being called to life by the Earth-warmth, his sentient soul says to itself: “These are the Spirits of Personality.” In the air too, higher Beings are in like manner making themselves known. They are the ones we have already named, following Christian esoteric usage, the Archangels; and it is their influence that man feels as inward sound when the air is wafted round him. Then does his intellectual soul say to itself: “These are the Archangels.” For what man perceives at this stage through his connection with the Earth does not yet consist of so many physical objects. He lives in the sensations of warmth that rise up to him, and in sounds; and within these streams of warmth and surging waves of sound he feels the presence of the Spirits of Personality and the Archangels. He cannot yet perceive these Beings directly, only through the veils, as it were, of warmth and sound. While the perceptions of warmth and sound are penetrating into his soul, pictures of the higher Beings in whose sheltering care he feels himself to be, are continually rising and falling within him.

And now evolution continues, its progress finding expression once again in a further condensation. Watery substance is incorporated into the Earth-body, which consists now of three members: the fiery, the airy and the watery. But before this, an important event takes place. Out of the fire-air Earth an independent heavenly body splits off, which will in its further course become the present Sun. Hitherto Earth and Sun have been a single body. After the severance of the Sun , Earth still contains within it, to begin with, all that is in and on our present Moon. The separation of the Sun takes place because higher Beings—for their own evolution and for that which they have yet to do for the Earth—can no longer endure the matter which is now condensed as far as water. Out of the whole Earth-mass they separate the substances which alone are suited to their use, and take their departure to make themselves a new dwelling-place in the Sun. Henceforth they work on to the Earth from without, from the Sun. Man, on the other hand, needs for his further evolution a scene of action where matter will condense still more.

Hand in hand with the incorporation of watery substance into the Earth-body, once again a change is wrought in man himself. Henceforth not only does the fire pour into him, and the air play around him, but watery substance too is incorporated into his physical body. Simultaneously his etheric part undergoes a change; he now begins to perceive it as a delicate body-of-light. Formerly, man felt streams of warmth rise upward to him from the Earth, while tones made him conscious of air being wafted towards him; now, his body is penetrated also by the watery element, whose inpouring and outpouring he beholds as waxing and waning light. Moreover, in his soul too a change has taken place. To the first beginning of sentient and then of intellectual soul, that of the spiritual soul has been added. In the element of water work the Angels; they are the real kindlers of light. For man it is as though they were appearing to him in light.

Certain higher Beings who were formerly in the Earth-body itself now act upon it from the Sun. In consequence of this, all influences that are at work on the Earth are changed. Man, fettered to the Earth, would no longer have been able to feel within him the influences of the Sun Beings, were his soul turned perpetually towards the Earth from which his physical body is derived. Henceforth he is brought into alternating states of consciousness. At certain times the Sun Beings tear his soul away from the physical body; so that he is now alternately in the lap of the Sun Beings in a pure life of soul and then again in a condition where, united with the body, he receives the influences of the Earth. When he is in the physical body, the streams of warmth flow up towards him, the airy masses resound around him, the waters our in and out of him. When he is outside the body, the pictures of the higher Beings, in whose womb he is, go surging through his soul.

Earth at this stage of evolution lives through two alternating times. At one time it can play around the human souls with its substances and enwrap them with bodies; at another, the human souls have withdrawn from it and only the bodies are left. Earth with its human beings is then in a state of sleep. It is by no means out of keeping with the facts to say that in those pristine ages the Earth underwent a day-time and a night-time. (In terms of physical space this can be expressed as follows. Through the mutual influence of the Beings of Sun and Earth, the Earth comes into movement in relation to the Sun, and in this way the alternation of the above-described periods of night and day is brought about. It is day when the surface of the Earth where man is evolving is turned towards the Sun; when it is turned away it is night—that is, the time during which man's life is entirely a life of soul. But we must not imagine that the movement of the Earth around the Sun in that primeval age was like the movement it describes today. Conditions were altogether different. Nevertheless, it is good already at this point to begin to sense that the movements of the heavenly bodies into such relative movements and positions as enable the spiritual conditions to work themselves out in the physical.)

Turning out gaze upon it during its nocturnal time, the body of the Earth would look to us like a corpse. For it is largely composed of the disintegrating bodies of human beings whose souls are in another form of existence. The watery and aeriform organic structures of which the human bodies consist disintegrate in the night and are dissolved in the remaining mass of the Earth. That part alone of the human body which was formed from the very beginning of Earth evolution by the interaction of fire with the human soul, and which then in course of time grew ever denser and denser—that part alone remains, but quite inconspicuous, like a seed. It will easily be seen that we must not imagine the “periods of day and night” here described as bearing very much resemblance to what these terms denote for the present Earth. When at the beginning of the day-time the Earth again comes under the immediate influence of the Sun, the human souls press forward into the region of physical life. Touching the seeds, they cause these to sprout and grow into an outer form which looks like an image of the human being such as he is in his soul-nature. Something not unlike a tender act of fertilization takes place here between man's soul and the seed-like body. Then do the souls thus incarnated begin once more to draw to themselves the air and water-masses and incorporate them into their bodies. The differentiated body expels and inhales the air—a first beginning of the later breathing process. The water too is absorbed and expelled; nutriment in a primeval form begins. These processes, however, are not yet perceived as outward happenings. Only in the case of the above-described “fertilization” do we find the soul engaged in a kind of external perception. As it touches the seed which the Earth is holding out towards it, the soul is dimly aware of awakening to physical existence. What it then perceives may be conveyed approximately in the words: “That is my form.” This feeling—we might also describe it as a dawning sensation of I—remains with the soul throughout the time of its union with the physical body. The absorption of the air, on the other hand, is still experienced in an entirely spiritual way. It appears in the form of sound-pictures surging and dying away, which “form” the seed that is undergoing differentiation. Surrounded on all hands by surging waves of sound, the soul feels how it is forming and shaping its own body according to the forces of these sound-tones. At this stage in evolution, human forms and figures begin to take shape, the like of which cannot be observed by present-day consciousness in any outer world. They evolve like plant and flower-forms of the most delicate texture; being inwardly mobile they give rather the appearance of waving, fluttering flowers. During his time on Earth, man lives through a blissful feeling of being fashioned into such forms as these. The absorption of the watery parts of the Earth is felt in the soul as an access of force, as an inner strengthening. Outwardly it appears in the physical entity of man as growth. As the direct working of the Sun declines, the human soul loses the power to control these processes. Little by little, they are cast aside. Only those parts remain, which bring about the maturing of what we described as the seed. Man himself deserts his body and returns into the spiritual form of existence. (Not all parts of the Earth are used up in the construction of the human bodies. We must not imagine that the Earth in its nocturnal time consists entirely of disintegrating corpses and seeds which await their re-awakening. These are embedded in other forms, fashioned out of the substance of Earth, the nature of which will be revealed later.)

And now the condensation-process goes still further. To the watery element is added the solid—we may call it the element of “earth.” Man too begins during his Earth time to incorporate the earth-element into his body. And then it immediately becomes evident that the forces which his soul brings with it from the body-free condition no longer have the same power as heretofore. Formerly the soul fashioned its body from the fiery, airy and watery elements, according to the tones that rang out from them and the pictures of light that they set playing all around. Now that the form is solidified, the soul can no longer do this. Other powers enter into the forming process. That which remains behind when the soul departs from the body is no longer merely like a seed, to be kindled to life by the returning soul. Henceforth it actually contains within itself the quickening power. The soul at its departure leaves not merely its image behind on Earth but, implanted in the image, a portion also of this quickening power. At its reappearance upon Earth, it is no longer able ton its own to awaken the image to life. The calling-to-life must take place within the image itself. Henceforth the spiritual Beings who work on to the Earth from the Sun maintain the quickening force in the human body even when man himself is not upon the Earth. Now therefore the reincarnating soul is aware not only of the sounds and pictures-of-light that surge around, wherein it feels the higher Beings who are immediately above it; in receiving the earth-element the soul experiences the influence of those still higher Beings who have established their scene of action on the Sun.

Formerly, man felt himself belonging to the Beings of soul and spirit with whom he was united when free of the body. His I was still sheltered within their womb. From now on, the I confronted him during physical incarnation, along with all the other things that were around him. Independent images of man's soul and spirit existed henceforth on Earth. Compared to the present human body they were fine and delicate in substance. For only in a very rarefied state did “earth” enter into their composition—rather as when the man of today receives into his organ of smell the finely distributed substances of some outer object. The human bodies were like wraiths, like shadows. Distributed as they were over the whole Earth, they came under different kinds of Earthly influence at different parts of the Earth's surface. While the bodily images, being in accordance with the soul of man that quickened them, were heretofore essentially alike over the whole Earth, diversity began now to appear among the human forms. Thus was the way prepared for what afterwards showed itself in variety of race.

Now that the bodily man had grown more independent, the former intimate union between the Earthly human being and the world of soul and spirit was to some extent dissolved. Henceforth, when the soul left the body, the latter experienced something like a continuation of life.

Had evolution gone on in this way, the Earth would needs have hardened under the influence of its solid element. Supersensible cognition, looking back upon these conditions, sees the human bodies, when their souls depart from them, growing more and more solid. After a time, human souls returning to Earth would no longer have found any suitable material with which to unite. It would all have been used up in filling the Earth with the lignified relics of their incarnations.

At this juncture an event took place which gave to the whole of evolution a new turn. Everything that could conduce to a permanent hardening in the solid substance of the Earth was eliminated. This was the time when our present Moon left the Earth. The influences that contributed to permanence of form and had hitherto worked directly from within the Earth, worked henceforth indirectly in a weakened manner from the Moon. The higher Beings upon whom this “forming of form” depends, had resolved to let their influences come no longer from within the Earth but from without As a result, there now appeared in the human bodily organisms a diversity which may rightly be regarded as the beginning of the separation into male and female. The delicately constituted human forms that previously inhabited the Earth had brought forth the new human form, their descendant, by the interaction within them of two forces—the seed-force and the life-giving, quickening force. These descendants now underwent a change. In one group of them worked more of the seed-force of the soul and spirit; in the other, more of the quickening seed-force. This was due to the fact that with the departure of the Moon from the Earth, the earth-element had toned down its power. The working of the two forces on upon the other now became more gentle, more tender than it had been when it took place within a single living body. Consequently the descendant organism too was more tender, more delicate. Entering upon its life on Earth in this tender condition, it only gradually assimilated the more solid parts. Thus, or the human soul returning to Earth, the possibility of union with the body was restored. The soul no longer called the body to life from without, for now the quickening process took place on Earth; but it united with the body and made it grow—although a certain limit was set to the body's growth. Owing to the separation of the Moon the human body became plastic for a while; but the longer it continued to grow on Earth, the more did the hardening forces gain the upper hand, until at length the soul could partake but feebly in its organization. Thereupon the body fell into decay, while the soul ascended to other—spiritual—modes of lie.

Stage by stage, while this configuration of the Earth is proceeding, the forces man has been acquiring during Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions, begin gradually to partake in his further development. First, the astral body—still containing the life-body and the physical body dissolved within it—is kindled by the Earthly fire. Then it separates into a finer, specifically astral part—the sentient soul—and a coarser, etheric part which will from now on be touched also by the earth-element. The etheric of life-body, hitherto latent, makes its appearance. And while in the astral man the intellectual and the spiritual soul are developing, the coarser parts, receptive to sound and light, are separated out in the etheric body.

Finally, in the moment when the etheric body condenses sill more, so as to become—from a “light” body—a fire body, or body-of-warmth, the stage in evolution is reached when the solid earth-element begins to be incorporated in the human being. Having condensed to fire, the etheric body can now unite—by virtue of the forces of the physical body that have been implanted in it—with the substances into the body, which has in the meantime grown more solid. And this is where the higher Beings come in who dwell on the Sun. They breathe into man's body the air. Whereas by virtue of his past, man has within him the power to permeate himself with the Earth's fire, higher Beings have to guide the breath of air into his body. Before the hardening took place, the life-body of man, as the receiver of sound, guided the stream of air and permeated the physical body with life. Now man's physical body begins to receive a life that comes from outside. The consequence is that this life grows independent of the soul part of man. The soul of man, when withdrawing from Earth, leaves behind not a mere seed of his form, but a complete living image of himself. The Spirits of Form remain united with the image; they carry over to the descendants, when the soul has left the body, the life which they have bestowed. In this way what we may call “heredity” develops. And when the soul of man appears again on Earth, he feels himself within a body whose life has been transmitted from the ancestors. To such a body he feels especially attracted. Something like a memory evolves of the progenitor with whom the soul feels at one. Through the sequence of the descendants this memory continues like a common consciousness. The I flows downward through the generations.

At this stage in his evolution man felt himself an independent being during his time on Earth. He felt the inner fire of his life-body united with the outer fire of the Earth. The warmth, as it flowed through him, he could feel as his own I. Here in these streams of warmth, woven through and through with life, we have the first beginnings of the circulation of the blood. But in the air that streamed into him man did not altogether feel his own being. For in the air the forces of higher Beings were at work. Nevertheless, part of the forces and influences within the air that poured through him still remained his own, namely, that portion which had already become his own through the etheric forces he had formerly developed. Man had, therefore, a portion of the airy currents under his command. Inasmuch as this was so, not alone higher Beings but he himself was working at his formation and configuration. He shaped the airy parts within him in accordance with the picture in his astral body. While air was streaming into his body from without, to become there the foundation of his breathing life, a portion of the air was differentiated off within him, into an organism inherent in his own nature. This became the basis of the later nervous system. Thus through warmth and air did man at this time have his connection with the surrounding world of the Earth.

On the other hand he was not sensible at all of the assimilation of the solid earth-element. Though this element also played its part at his incarnation, he could not perceive its introduction directly but only in a dimly conscious picture form, as a manifestation of Beings far above him—the entry into his body of the fluid element of Earth. Now that his earthly form has become denser, these pictures have undergone a change in his consciousness. The solid element being now mingled with the fluid, the introduction of that too must needs to be felt as proceeding from the higher Beings, working from without. Man can no longer have the power in his own soul to guide this assimilation, for the body which it has now to serve has been built up from outside. He would indeed spoil its form if he attempted to do so. Thus what he assimilates from without appears to him as guided by edicts proceeding from the higher Beings who work at the formation of his body. Man feels himself as an Ego; he has within him, as a part of his astral body, his intellectual soul, through which he experiences inwardly in pictures what is going on outside him, and with which he permeates his delicate nervous system. He feels himself as a descendant of forefathers, by virtue of the lie streaming through the generations. He breathes—and feels his breathing as brought about by the higher Beings who have been described as the Spirits of Form. To these he also feels beholden for all that through their impulses is brought to him from without, as nourishment. Darkest of all to him is his origin as an individual. The nearest he comes to any feeling of it is a sense of having an influence from the Spirits of Form, as they manifest in the forces of the Earth. Man is guided and directed in his relation to the outer world. This comes to expression in that he is conscious of activities of soul and spirit that are going on behind his physical world. He does not perceive the spiritual Beings in their own form, but he experiences sounds and colors and the like within his soul and knows that in this world of ideal images live the deeds of spiritual Beings. What they communicate sounds forth to him; what they reveal appears to him in pictures of light. The most inward feeling Earth man has of himself comes to him through the conceptions he gains of the element of fire or warmth. He can already distinguish his own inner warmth from the streams of warmth in his environment. In the latter the Spirits of Personality reveal themselves. But man has no more than a dim consciousness of what is there behind thee outer streams of warmth. He feels in them the influence of the Spirits of form. When mighty activities of warmth manifest in his environment, then the feeling arises in the soul: “Now, glowing through the Earth's horizon are the spiritual Beings, a spark of whose fire has detached itself to become the warmth that fills my inner being.”

In the workings of light, man does not yet distinguish in quite the same way an outer and an inner. When pictures of light emerged in his environment, they did not always give rise to the same feeling in the soul of man. There were times when he felt them as coming from outside. This was when he had descended from the body-free condition and entered into incarnation—periods, that is, of his growth on Earth. But as the time drew near, when the seed of the new Earth man was taking shape, the pictures faded and man retained no more than something like inner memories of them. In these pictures of light, the deeds of the Fire Spirits (Archangels) were contained. The Fires Spirits appeared to man as ministering spirits of the Warmth-Beings who planted a spark of fire in his inner nature. When these outer manifestations faded, man experienced them as mental images (as memories) within him. He felt united with their forces; and so indeed he was. For by virtue of what he had received from them he was able to work upon the sphere of air that surrounded him. Under his influence it began to ray forth light. That was a time when Nature forces and human forces were not yet separate from one another as they afterwards became. Whatever took place upon Earth proceeded still to a large extent from the forces of human beings. An observer, looking from beyond the Earth upon the events of Nature that were taking place there, would not have seen in these mere outer processes, independent of man; he would have recognized in them the influence also of human beings.

The perceptions of sound took yet another form for Earth man. From the very beginning of his Earthly life, he perceived them as coming from without. And while the light-pictures were so perceived only until the middle period of his existence on Earth, external sounds could still be heard even after this middle period. Only towards the end of his life did Earth man become insensitive to these; and then there remained to him still the inner memories of them. The sounds bore within them the manifestations of the Sons of Life (the Angels.) When towards the end of his life man felt himself inwardly united with these forces, he could then, by imitating them, call forth mighty activities in the water-element of the Earth. Under his influence arose a surging of the waters—within the Earth and over its surface.

Only in the first quarter of his Earthly life did man have any conscious experience of taste, and even then it appeared to his soul like a memory of experiences in his body-free condition. So long as he had the sense of taste, the solidification of his body by the absorption of outer substances continued. In the second quarter of his Earthly life, though growth might still continue, man's form and figure was already fully developed. At this period, he could only perceive other living beings beside himself through the warmth, light and sound. Effects that they produced. For he was not yet able to form any conception of the solid element. Of the watery he received only, in the first quarter of his life, the taste effects above mentioned.

A reflection of this inner soul-condition of man could be seen in his external, bodily form. Those parts which contained the beginning of what afterwards became the form of the head, were the most perfectly evolved. The remaining organs appeared only as appendages, and were shadowlike and indistinct. But not all Earth men were alike in form and figure. Some there were in whom, according to the conditions under which they lived, the “appendages” were more, or less, developed—the variation depending upon their dwelling-place on Earth. Where they became more deeply involved in the Earth world, the appendages appeared more prominent. There were also human beings who at the beginning of the physical development of Earth had, by virtue of their preceding evolution, been the most mature and had accordingly experienced the contact with the fire-element at the very outset, when Earth had not yet condensed to air, and who were now able to develop more perfectly the beginnings of the head. These were, in their inner life, of all human beings the most harmonious. Others had not been ready for contact with the fire-element until the Earth had evolved within it also the air; they were more dependent on external conditions. The former kind were clearly aware through the warmth, of the Spirits of Form, and their feeling of themselves in Earthly life was as though they retained a memory of belonging to the Spirits of Form, of having been united with them in the body-free condition. The others had the memory of the body-free condition only to a lesser degree; they were chiefly aware of their membership of the spiritual world through the light-effects of the Spirits of Fire (Archangels.)

There was in addition a third kind of human being, still more deeply entangled in Earthly existence. These had not been able to be touched by the fire-element until such time as the Earth, already separated from the Sun, had received into it the element of water. The feeling they had of belonging to the spiritual world was slight, notably at the beginning of their Earthly life. Only when the working of the Archangels, and more especially of the Angels made itself felt in their inner mental life, did they become aware of it. On the other hand, at the beginning of their Earthly time they were full of eager impulse for action—for such actions, namely, as could be performed within the conditions of the Earth itself. In such human beings the other organs (the appendages) were especially developed.

In the time when, before the separation of the Moon, the Moon forces were bringing about in the Earth a constantly increasing measure of solidification, it befell that among the descendants of the “seeds” left behind by men on Earth, there were some in whom the human souls returning from the body-free condition could no longer incarnate. Their form was much too hardened, and under the influence of the Moon forces had grown all too unlike the human figure to be able to receive the soul. This meant that certain human souls no longer found it possible to return to Earth. Only the most mature, only the strongest felt themselves equal to the task of so transforming the Earthly body during its growth that it could blossom forth into the true human form. Hence but a portion only of the human bodily descendants became vehicles for Earth men. Another portion, owing to their hardened form, could only receive souls that were at a lower level than the souls of men. Some of the human souls, on the other hand, being thus compelled to cease partaking in Earth evolution during that epoch, were brought into a different kind of life-history. Even at the time of the separation of the Sun, there had already been souls who could no longer find a place on Earth. These were transplanted for their further evolution to another planet. Under the guidance of cosmic Beings, this planet wrested itself free of the general World-substance which had been united with the physical evolution of Earth at its beginning, and out of which the Sun itself had also separated. This was the planet whose physical expression is known to external science as Jupiter. (Here we are speaking of heavenly bodies and planets and of their names, in precisely the same way as was customary in a science of former times. The meaning will e clear from the context. The physical Earth is but the physical expression for an organism of soul and spirit, and the same is true of every other heavenly body. He who perceives the Supersensible does not mean by the name “Earth” the mere physical planet, nor by “Sun” the mere physical fixed star. And in like manner, when he speaks of Jupiter, Mars, etc., he is referring to far-reaching spiritual complexes. Naturally, the heavenly bodies have since the times of which we are here telling undergone fundamental changes in their form and purpose—in a certain respect, even in their position in the heavenly spaces. Only one who is able to follow back their evolution into far distant ages, can recognize the connection of the present planets with their forebears.)

It was thus on Jupiter that such souls continued their evolution. Later one, when then Earth was inclining still more to the solid state, another dwelling-place had to be created for souls who, though able for a time to inhabit the hardened bodies, could no longer do so when the hardening had gone too far. For these, there arose in Mars a dwelling suited to their further evolution. Then again there were souls who at a still earlier time, when the Earth was united with the Sun and was incorporating in itself the air element, proved unadapted to partake in its evolution. These souls were affected too strongly by the Earthly corporeal form. They had therefore to be withdrawn, already at that time, from the immediate influence of the Sun forces. The Sun forces must work upon them from without. They found on Saturn a place for their further evolution. Thus in the course of its evolution the number of human forms on Earth steadily decreased. Forms began to appear in which human souls were not incarnated—forms which were able to receive only astral bodies, even as man's physical body and life-body had done on Old Moon. While Earth was growing waste and void as to human inhabitants, these beings now established themselves upon it. In the last resort, all human souls would have had to leave the Earth—had it not been for the severance of the Moon. This made it possible for human forms which at that time could still be humanly ensouled, to withdraw the human seed or embryo during their Earthly life from the Moon forces emanating directly from the Earth, and let it mature within themselves up to the point where it could safely be exposed to these forces. This meant that, while the seed or embryo was taking shape within the human being, it came under the influence of those Beings who guided by the Mightiest among them, had severed the Moon from the Earth, so as to carry Earth's evolution forward over a critical point.

When the Earth had developed the air-element within it, there were astral beings in the sense of the above description—as relics from the Old Moon—who had remained farther back in the evolution than the lowest of human souls. These became the souls of the forms which had to be deserted by man even before the separation of the Sun, and were the forefathers of the animal kingdom. In course of time, they evolved especially those organs which in man existed as appendages. Their astral body had to work upon the physical and the life-body in the same way as was the case with man on Old Moon. This, then, is how the animals originated; and they had souls which could not dwell in the single creature. The soul extended its being to the descendant of the parent form. Animals that are in the main descended from a single form, have one soul together. Only when, as a result of special influences, the descendant departs from the parent form, does a new animal-soul come into incarnation. And it is in this sense that in spiritual science we speak of specific (or generic) souls, or “group souls” of the animals.

Something not unlike this took place at the time of the separation of the Sun from the Earth. Out of the watery element forms emerged which were no farther on in their development than man had been before his evolution on Old Moon. Such forms were only able to receive an astral influence when it worked upon them from without; and this could not happen until after the departure of the Sun from the Earth. Each time that the Sun period of the Earth set in, the Astral of the Sun roused up these forms to build themselves their life-body from out of the Ethereal of the Earth. Then, when the Sun was turned away from the Earth, this life-body was dissolved once more in the common body of the Earth. As a result of this working together of the Astral of the Sun and the Ethereal of the Earth, physical forms arose out of the watery element which were the forebears of the present plant kingdom.

Man has become on Earth an individualized soul-being. His astral body, poured into him on Old Moon by the Spirits of Movement, has been organized on Earth into the sentient, the intellectual and the spiritual soul. When his spiritual soul was so far developed as to be able, during Earth life, to build itself a body well adapted to contain it, the Spirits of Form endowed him with a spark of their own fire. The I was kindled in him. Every time he left the physical body, man was in the spiritual world, where he encountered the Beings who had given him his physical body, his life-body and his astral body during the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions, and had perfected these up to the Earth level of development. But now that the spark of fire of the I had been kindled in his life on Earth, a change had come about in the body-free life as well. Before this moment in his evolution, man had no independence in relation to the spiritual world. He did not in that world feel himself as a separate, single being, but as membered into the sublime organism composed of higher Beings above him. Now, however, the “I” experience on Earth began to work on into the spiritual world; there too, man began to feel himself as a single unit. Yet at the same time he also felt he was eternally united with that world. In the body-free condition he found again in a higher aspect the Spirits of Form whom he had perceived in their manifestation upon Earth through the spark of his own I.

The severance of the Moon from the Earth involved also new experiences for the body-free soul in the spiritual world. For it was only through the transference from the Earth to the Moon of a portion of the form-building forces that it was made possible still to develop upon Earth such human forms as could receive a soul's individuality. Thereby the individuality of man was brought into the realm of the Moon Beings. And even in the body-free condition, the after-echo of Earthly individuality could only be effective inasmuch as there too the soul remained within the realm of those mighty Spirits who had brought about the separation of the Moon. It happened in the following way. Immediately after leaving the Earth, the soul could only see the sublime Beings of the Sun as it were in a reflected radiance cast by the Beings of the Moon. But until it had been sufficiently prepared by beholding this reflected radiance, did the soul come fact to face with the sublime Sun Beings themselves.

The mineral kingdom of the Earth also arose by being thrust out from the evolution of mankind. Its structures represent what was still left in a hardened condition when the Moon was separated from the Earth. The soul-nature that felt drawn to these structures was of a kind which, having remained at the Saturn stage, was fitted to create only physical forms. All the events of which we are speaking here—or will be speaking in the sequel—are to be thought of as taking place in the course of immense epochs, the precise determination of which is beyond our present scope.

The above descriptions have given a picture of the evolution of the Earth from its external aspect. Seen from the aspect of the Spirit, the following emerges. The spiritual Beings who drew the Moon away from the Earth and bound up their own existence with it—becoming in this way Beings of the Earth's Moon—sent down their forces from that heavenly body to Earth and thereby determined the form and structure of man's organization. Their influence was directed to the I or Ego which man had by then acquired; it made itself felt in the interplay of the I with the astral, etheric and physical bodies. It was due to these Beings that the possibility arose in man, consciously to mirror in himself the wisdom-filled configuration of the World, and to portray it, as by reflection, in an act of knowledge. Let the reader recall here the description that was given of how in the Old Moon time, through the Moon's severance from the Sun, man had attained a certain independence in his organization—a freer state of consciousness than could proceed directly from the Sun Beings themselves. During the period of Earth evolution we are now describing, this free and independent consciousness appeared again—a heritage from Old Moon evolution. Under the influence of the Moon Beings, it could have been harmonized once more with the great Universe, and made into a faithful image of it. And this would indeed have come to pass had no other influence intervened. Man would have become a being with a consciousness whose content mirrored back the Universe in the pictures of the life of knowledge, as by natural necessity, not be his own free intention. But it did not happen so. At the very time of the Moon's severance, certain spiritual Beings intervened in human evolution, who had retained so much of their own Moon nature that they could not partake in the departure of the Sun from the Earth, while on the other hand they were also excluded from the influences of the Beings who worked on to the Earth from the Moon. These Beings with an Old Moon nature were banished, as it were, by an abnormal evolution, to the Earth. In their Moon nature was contained precisely that quality which had rebelled against the Spirits of the Sun during Old Moon, and had at that time been of real benefit to man, inasmuch as it had brought him to a free and independent consciousness. As a consequence of their peculiar evolution during the Earth epoch, they now became the opponents of those who, working from the Moon, desired to make man's consciousness an infallible knowledge-mirror of the World. The very same thing which on Old Moon had helped man to a higher level, proved itself now a factor of resistance to the new conditions that had been made possible in the course of Earth evolution. The opposing powers had brought with them from their Old Moon nature the faculty to work upon the human astral body in such manner as to make it—in the sense of the above descriptions—independent. This faculty they used; they gave the astral body—for the Earth epoch too—a certain independence, as against the unfree consciousness determined by necessity, that was being induced in it by the Beings of Earth-Moon.

It is not easy to express in ordinary language what the influence of these spiritual Beings was like in that primeval time. We must not conceive it to have been like the present-day influences of Nature, not yet like the influence of man on man, when by his words one man awakens in another forces of inner consciousness, whereby the other learns to understand something or is moved to some virtue of vice. The primeval influence to which we here refer was not a “natural” influence at all, but a purely spiritual one. It worked also in a spiritual way: it was transmitted, as a spiritual influence, from the higher Spirit Beings to the human being in a manner that accorded with his state of consciousness at that time. If we imagine it like an influence of Nature, we completely fail to perceive its real essence. If on the other hand, we say that the Beings with the Old Moon nature approached man with intent to win him over for their aims by “tempting” him, then we are using a symbolical expression, which is all right, so long as we are aware of its symbolic nature and realize that behind the symbol lies a spiritual fact.

This influence on man, proceeding from Spirit-beings who had remained behind in the Old Moon condition, entailed for him a twofold consequence. His consciousness was divested of the character of a mere mirror of the Universe, for there was kindled in the human astral body the power to regulate and control the pictures in consciousness. Man became the master of his own faculty of cognition. On the other hand, since it was the astral body which was made the source of this control, the Ego, in spite of being in reality above the astral, fell into a state of perpetual dependence on it. This meant that for the future man was exposed to the constant influence of a lower element in his own nature. It was now possible for his life to sink beneath the high level on which the Earth-Moon Beings had placed him in the cosmic process. And in the sequel there remained the constant influence upon his nature of the abnormally developed Beings of the Moon. These latter may be called—in contrast to those who from Earth-Moon formed man's consciousness to be a mirror of the Universe, yet gave him no free will—the Luciferian Spirits. They brought man the power to unfold a free activity in his own consciousness, but brought him at the same time the possibility of error and of evil.

As a result of these events, man came into a different relation to the Sun Spirits than was predestined for him by the Earth-Moon Beings. The latter wanted to evolve the mirror of his consciousness in such a way that the influence of the Sun Spirits would predominate in his entire life of soul. But this intention of theirs was frustrated, and in the human beings an opposition was set up between the influence of the Sun Spirits and the influence of the Spirits who were undergoing an irregular Moon evolution, with the result that man was rendered incapable of recognizing the physical influences of the Sun for what they were; they remained hidden from him behind the earthly impressions of the outer world. Filled with these impressions, the astral in man was drawn into the domain of the I. Had it not been for this, the I of man would have been content simply to feel the spark of fire bequeathed him by the Spirits of Form, remaining subject to their commands in all that appertained to the outer fire. But now the I began to use the fire-element, with which it had itself been informed, to influence the phenomena of warmth in the surrounding world. Thus a bond of attraction was established between the I and the Earth fire, and man became entangled, more than had been predestined for him, in the realm of earthly matter. Previously he had had a physical body, consisting as to its main parts of fire, air and water, and with only a shade or, as it were, a phantom of earth substance added. Now the body became more densely compact of earth. Previously, man had moreover been living—as a being rather delicately organized—in a kind of floating, soaring movement above the solid ground of Earth; now he had to descend from the surrounding sphere to the parts of Earth which were already more or less solidified.

That such physical effects were possible as a direct outcome of spiritual influences, is explained by the fact that these influences were of the kind we have described. They were not Nature influences nor were they like the influences of soul that work from man to man. The latter do not extend their effects so far into the bodily as did the spiritual forces with which we are dealing here.

Because man exposed himself to the influences of the outer world under the guidance merely of his own ideas, subject as these were to error, because moreover he lived by cravings and passions which he did not allow higher spiritual influences to regulate, the possibility of illness arose. And another marked effect of the Luciferian influence was the following. Henceforth man was unable to feel his single life on Earth as a continuation of body-free existence. He now received such Earthly impressions as he could experience through the astral element with which he had been inoculated, and these impressions joined themselves on to the forces that destroy life. Man experienced this as the doing away of his Earthly life. Death, brought about by human nature itself, now made its appearance. Here we touch a significant secret of man's nature—the connection of the human astral body with illness and death.

Peculiar conditions now arose for the life-body of man. If was placed in such a position between the physical and astral bodies as to be withdrawn to a certain extent from the faculties man had acquired through the Luciferian influence. A portion of the life-body remained outside the physical body, and was accordingly controllable by higher Beings who, under the leadership of one of their sublime number had left the Earth at the separation of the Sun, to occupy another dwelling-place. Had this portion of the life-body remained united with the astral body, man would have seized on supersensible forces which had belonged to him before, and put them to his own use; he would have extended the Luciferian influence to these supersensible forces. In so doing man would in time have severed himself completely from the Beings of the Sun, and his Ego would have become an entirely Earthly Ego. For at the death of the physical body (or even during its disintegration) the Earthly Ego would have been obliged to take up its abode in another physical body—in a descendant body—without first passing through a time of union with higher spiritual Beings in a body-free condition. Man would thus have attained the consciousness of his I, but only as an Earthly I.

This result was averted by he special development described above in connection with the life-body, a development that was brought about by the Earth-Moon Beings. The true individual Ego was thereby loosed from the merely Earthly Ego, so that man during this earthly life felt himself only partly as his own I, while at the same time he felt that his Earthly Ego was a continuation of the Earthly Ego of his forefathers through the generations. Thus during life on Earth the soul felt a kind of Group Ego reaching back to distant ancestors, and the individual man felt himself a member of the group. It was only on entering into the body-free condition that the individual Ego could feel itself a single being. And even this individualization was impaired inasmuch as the Ego was still burdened with the memory of the Earthly consciousness—the consciousness, that is, of the Earthly Ego. This memory clouded man's vision of the spiritual world, which began to be veiled over between death and birth, as it was already for man's physical vision upon Earth.

The many changes that took place in the spiritual world while human evolution was passing through these conditions, found physical expression in the gradual regulation of the mutual relationships of Sun and Moon and Earth—and, in a wider sense, of other heavenly bodies too. One consequence of these relationships may here be singled out: the alternation of day and night. (The movements of the heavenly bodies are regulated by the Beings who inhabit them. The movement of the Earth whereby day and night arise, was brought about by the mutual relations of the higher Spirit-Beings above humanity. And it was in like manner that the Lunar motion came about; for after the severance of Moon from Earth, the rotation of the former about the latter enabled the Spirits of Form to work upon the physical body of man in the right way—in the proper rhythm.) By day the Ego and astral body of man were working in the physical body and the life-body. By night this work ceased; the Ego and astral body left the physical and the life-body. During this time they were entirely within the domain of the Sons of Life (Angels,) the Fire Spirits (Archangels,) the Spirits of Personality and the Spirits of Form. The physical body and life-body were also received into their sphere of influence by the Spirits of Form, and in addition by the Spirits of Movement, the Spirits of Wisdom and the Thrones. In this way the harmful influences which had been brought to bear on man during the day through the aberrations of the astral body could be made good again.

Human beings now began to multiply again on Earth, there was no longer any reason why human souls should not proceed to incarnate in the descendants. For the way in which the Earth-Moon forces were now working enabled the human bodies to take such shape as adapted them perfectly for the embodiment of human souls. Now therefore the souls, formerly translated on to Mars, Jupiter, etc., were guided once more to the Earth. For ever human descendant born in the sequence of the generations, a soul was thus made available. And so it went on or a long time: the coming of fresh souls to settle on the Earth corresponded to the increase in the population. And when these souls left the body through Earthly death, they retained like a memory, in the body-free condition, the echo of their Earthly individuality. This memory worked in such a way that when a body proper for its habitation was born again on Earth, the soul would incarnate in it once more. Thus is came about that among the progeny of men, there were some with souls coming from outside—appearing again on Earth for the first time since the primeval ages of its evolution—and others with souls that were not reincarnating. As evolution continued, the “young” souls appearing for the first time grew ever less and the reincarnated more in number. Nevertheless, for long ages of time the human race still consisted of these two kinds of human beings.

Henceforth, on Earth man felt himself united with his forefathers through the common Ego of the group. But the experience of the individual I was correspondingly intense in the body-free condition between death and a new birth. The souls who came fresh from heavenly spaces to take up their abode in human bodies were in a different situation from those who had one or more Earthly lives behind them. The former brought with them to physical life on Earth only those conditions of soul which they owed to the influence of the higher spiritual world and to the experiences they had undergone outside the Earth's domain. The others had, in earlier lives on Earth, added conditions of their own making. The destinies of the former souls were determined entirely by facts that lay outside the new Earth conditions, while those of the reincarnated souls depended also on what they themselves had done in their former lives under the conditions that prevailed on Earth. And so it came about that along with reincarnation, individual human Karma began to show itself.

Through the withdrawal of the human life-body from the influence of the astral body—in the way indicated above—the relationships of reproduction remained outside the horizon of man's consciousness, and were subject to the guidance of the spiritual world. Whenever a soul had to descend into the Earth sphere, the impulses for reproduction arose in man on Earth. For Earthly consciousness the whole process was veiled to some extent in mystery and darkness.

But now also during Earthly life this partial separation of the life-body from the physical had its results. Spiritual influence was able to effect a notable enhancement of the faculties inherent in the life-body, which manifested in a peculiar development of the power of memory. Independent logical thinking was only in its very first beginnings in that period of man's existence. But the power of memory was almost unlimited. Another effect showed itself in a more outward manner in the fact that man had an immediate “feeling” knowledge of the potent virtues of all living things. He could enlist in his own serve the forces of life and reproduction inherent in animal, and more especially in plant natures. He could withdraw from the plant the force that impels it in its growth, and use this force, just as nowadays forces are taken from lifeless nature—the latent force of coal, for instance—and used to set machines in motion. (Further details on this subject will be found in my book on Atlantis and Lemuria)1See the volume entitled Cosmic Memory: Prehistory of Earth and Man, published in 1959 by Rudolf Steiner Publications Inc., Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A. The title of the corresponding volume in German is Aus der Akasha Chronik. (Note by Translators.)

Man's inner life of soul was also altered in diverse ways through the Luciferian influence; many kinds of feelings and emotions could be cited which owed their origin to it. Mention may here be made of a few of these changes. Previously the human soul, in whatever it had to do and create, worked in accordance with the aims of higher spiritual Beings. The plan for what had to be achieved was settled in advance. And in the measure in which his consciousness was evolved, man could even foresee how, in pursuance of the preconceived plan, things must necessarily develop in the future. This forward-seeing consciousness was lost when a veil of earthly perceptions was woven across the revelations of the higher Beings and hid from man's view the real forces of the Sun Beings. The future now became uncertain, and this meant that the possibility of feeling fear was implanted in the soul. Fear is a direct consequence of error.

At the same time we see how with the Luciferian influence man became independent of certain forces to which he had hitherto been entirely subject. Henceforth he could make resolves—quite on his own. Freedom is thus the result of this influence. Fear, and feelings akin to fear, are but concomitant phenomena of man's evolution towards freedom.

There is a spiritual aspect to this emergence of fear. Within the forces of the Earth, under whose influence man had been brought by the Luciferian powers, other powers were at work—powers which had begun to evince irregularity far earlier in evolution than the Luciferian. Along with the Earth forces, man began now to receive into his being the influences of these other powers. They instilled into feelings which without them would have worked quite differently, the quality of fear. We may name them here the Ahrimanic beings; they are the same as are called by Goethe, Mephistophelian.

Now although at first the Luciferian influence made itself felt only in the most advanced human beings, it soon began to extend over others too. The descendants of the more advanced mingled with those of the less advanced, with the result that the Luciferian force penetrated also to these. Moreover the life-body of the souls returning from the planets could not be protected to the same extent as the life-body of the descendants of those who had remained on Earth. The protection of the latter was the work of a sublime Being who had the leadership in the Cosmos at the time when the Sun separated from the Earth. In connection with the development we are here considering, this Being appears as the Ruler in the kingdom of the Sun. With Him there journeyed to the Solar dwelling-place such sublime Spirits as had attained the necessary maturity in their cosmic evolution.

But there were also Beings who at the separation of the Sun had not reached this height of development. They had to look for other scenes of action. And these are the Beings through whom it had come to pass that Jupiter and other planets split off from the common World-substance which was in the physical organism of the Earth in the beginning. Jupiter became the habitation of Beings who had not matured to the level of the Sun. The most advanced among them became the leader of Jupiter. As the leader of the Sun evolution became the higher Ego, working in the life-body of the descendants of the human beings who had remained on Earth, so did the Jupiter leader become the higher Ego which passed like a common consciousness through other human beings—those, namely, who traced their descent to a mingling of the offspring of the men who had remained on Earth with those who had only appeared on Earth at the time of the air element and had then gone off to Jupiter. The latter may accordingly be named in spiritual science “Jupiter men.” They were those human descendants who in that ancient time had still been receiving human souls—souls, however, which at the beginning of Earthly evolution had not yet been mature enough to partake in the first contact with the fire-element. These were souls between the human and the animal kingdoms.

And there were still other Beings, who—once more under the leadership of a Highest among them—had separated Mars out of the common World-substance as their dwelling-place, and they exercised their influence upon a third kind of human being who had also arisen by intermingling, the “Mars men.” (This kind of knowledge throws light on the fundamental causes and origins of the planets in our solar system. All the heavenly bodies of this system have come into being through the varying degrees of maturity of the Spirits who inhabit them. Naturally. we cannot enter here into all the details of these cosmic differentiations.)

Those human beings on the other hand, who beheld the presence in their life-body of the high Being of the Sun Himself, may be called “Sun men.” The Being who lived in them as a higher Ego—only in the generations, needless to say, not in the single individuals—is the One to whom diverse names were subsequently given, when men acquired conscious knowledge of Him. To the men of the present time He is the One in whom the relation of the Christ to the Cosmos is revealed.

We can also distinguish “Saturn men.” In them there appeared as higher Ego a Being who, with his companions, had to leave the common substance of the World even before the separation of the Sun The Saturn men were a type of human being in whom, not only in the life-body but in the physical body too, there was a portion which remained withdrawn from the Luciferian influence.

But now it was so, that in the lower kinds of human beings the life-body was after all too little protected, and could not sufficiently resist the encroachments of the Luciferian nature. Such human beings could so far extend the arbitrary power of the fiery spark of the I which was within them as to be able to call forth in their environment mighty workings of fire, of a harmful nature. This led eventually to a stupendous Earth catastrophe. A great portion of the then inhabited Earth was destroyed in these fire-storms, and with it perished also the human beings who had fallen into error. Only a very small number of them, having remained comparatively untouched by error, could save themselves by taking refuge on some region of the Earth that had so far been protected from the harmful influence of men. One land in particular proved suitable as such a dwelling-place for the new humanity. It was situated at the part of the Earth's surface which is now covered by the Atlantic Ocean. The portion of mankind that had remained most pure from error migrated thither. Other parts became inhabited only by stray remnants. The continent which then existed between the present Europe, Africa and America may be called in spiritual science, Atlantis. (The above-described period of human evolution, preceding the Atlantean, is dealt with from a certain aspect in the relevant literature. It is there called the Lemurian epoch of the Earth, whereas the time when the Moon forces had not yet unfolded their most powerful effects may be called the Hyperborean age. This epoch was preceded by yet another, which coincides with the very earliest time of physical Earth evolution. In Biblical tradition the time before the entry of the Luciferian beings is referred to as the time of Paradise, and the descent on to the Earth—man's entanglement in the world of the senses—as the expulsion from Paradise.)

It was during evolution in the region of Atlantis that the actual separation of humanity into the men of Saturn, Sun, Jupiter and Mars took place. Previously, no more than the initial tendencies in this direction had shown themselves. The division also into the waking and the sleeping state now entailed yet other important consequences, which came strongly into evidence in Atlantean humanity. During the night, man's astral body and Ego were in the realm of the Beings above him, reaching as far as to the Spirits of Personality. Through the portion of his life-body which was not united with the physical he could have perception of the Sons of Life (the Angels) and the Fire Spirits (the Archangels.) For he could remain united, during sleep, with this portion of the life-body. His perception however of the Spirits of Personality remained indistinct, and this was directly due to the Luciferian influence. But with the Angels and Archangels, other beings also became visible to man in this condition. These were being who, having remained behind on Sun and Moon, had not been able to enter upon Earth-existence at all; they had had perforce to remain in the world of soul and spirit. Under the Luciferian influence, however, man drew them into the realm of his own soul when it was separated from the physical. Thus he came into touch with beings whose influence upon him was in the highest degree seductive. They multiplied in his soul the impulses that led him astray, especially the impulse to misuse the forces of growth and reproduction, which now stood at man's disposal owing to the partial separation of the physical body from the life-body.

Now there were individual human beings of the Atlantean epoch who were to a large extent enabled to avoid entanglement in the world of the senses. Through them the Luciferian influence was changed from a hindrance in man's evolution into a means for his higher progress. For with its help they were enabled to unfold a knowledge of the things of Earth sooner than would otherwise have been possible, and in so doing, they strove to remove error from their mental life and to bring to light from out of the world's phenomena the primal intentions of the Spirit-Beings. They kept themselves free from impulses and cravings of the astral body directed merely to the world of the senses. Thus they became less and less liable to error, and were brought in this way into conditions of consciousness whereby they had perception purely in that part of the life-body which was separated from the physical. At these times it was as though the physical body's power of perception were extinguished and the body itself dead. But through the life-body these human beings were wholly united with the kingdom of the Spirits of Form, and could learn from them how they were led and guided by the sublime Being who had been the Leader in the severance of Sun and Earth, and through whom the understanding for the “Christ” was subsequently revealed to man. Such men were Initiates. But because the human individuality had now, as we have seen, come into the domain of the Moon Beings, even the Initiates could not, as a rule, be touched directly by the Sun Beings. He could be revealed to them only, as it were in reflection, through the Moon Beings. Thus they beheld not the Sun Being Himself, but His reflected radiance. These Initiates became the leaders of the rest of mankind, to whom they were able to communicate the secrets they saw. They trained up disciples, teaching them the paths to the attainment of the condition that leads to Initiation. The knowledge of what had formerly manifested through “Christ” was attainable only by such as belonged to the Sun humanity in the sense above described. These cultivated their secret knowledge and the ministrations which led up to it, at a special sanctuary which shall here be named the Christ—of the Sun—Oracle. (Oraculum meaning a place where the intentions of spiritual Beings are perceived.)

What is here said in reference to the Christ will be misunderstood unless the following is borne in mind. Supersensible knowledge has to recognize, in the appearance of Christ on Earth, an event to which those men of earlier ages who knew the meaning and purpose of Earth evolution could point, as to an event that was to come in the future. It would be a mistake to presume in those Initiates a relationship To Christ which has only been made possible by the event they prophesied. This much they could prophetically understand and bring home to their disciples: “Who so is touched by the might of the Sun Being, sees the Christ coming towards the Earth.”

Other Oracles were called into life by the members of Saturn, Mars and Jupiter humanity, whose Initiates carried their vision no farther than to those Beings who could be revealed to them—as “higher Egos”—in their life-bodies. Thus there arose the adherents of the Saturn, the Jupiter and the Mars Wisdom. Beside those modes of Initiation, there were again still others, for human beings who had received into themselves too much of the Luciferic nature to permit of so great a part of the life-body being separated from the physical as was the case with the Sun humanity; more of it is held back there by the astral body. Human beings of this type were not able, even in their more advanced states of consciousness, to reach through to the prophetic Christ Revelation. Their astral body being more under the influence of the Luciferian principle, they had harder experiences to undergo in preparation, before they could receive, in a less body-free condition than the others, not indeed the revelation of the Christ Himself, but that of other sublime Beings; for there were Beings who, though they had left the Earth at the time of the separation of the Sun, were not upon so high a level as to be able to partake continuously in the Sun's evolution. After the severance of Sun and Earth they went forth again from the Sun, taking with them another separate dwelling-place and this was Venus. Their leader was the Being who now became the “higher Ego” for the above-described Initiates and their followers. A similar thing happened with the leading Spirit of Mercury in connection with still another kind of human being. And so there arose the Venus and the Mercury Oracles.

There was moreover a further class of human beings who had absorbed most of all the Luciferian influence. They could only reach up to a Spirit-Being who with his associates had been thrust forth again soonest of all from the evolution of the Sun. This Being has no special planet in the cosmic spaces but lives to this day in the surrounding sphere of the Earth itself, with which he re-united after his return thither from the Sun. The human beings to whom he revealed himself as their higher Ego may be called adherents of the Vulcan Oracle. Their vision was more directed than that of all the other Initiates to the phenomena of Earth. They laid the first foundation for what afterwards arose among men as arts and sciences. The Mercury Initiates, on the other hand, founded the science of things more supersensible; and to a still higher degree the Venus Initiates did the same. The Vulcan, Mercury and Venus Initiates differed from the Saturn, Jupiter and Mars Initiates in the following way. The latter received their secrets more as a revelation from above, more in a finished state, while the former were already receiving knowledge more in the form of thoughts and ideas that were their own. The Christ-Initiates stood between the two; together with the direct revelation, they received at the same time the faculty to clothe their secrets in the form of human concepts. The Saturn, Jupiter and Mars Initiates had to express themselves more in symbolic pictures; the Christ, Venus, Mercury and Vulcan Initiates could make their communications more in the form of ideas and thought-pictures.

All that was given to Atlantean humanity in this way, came to them through their Initiates, but the rest of mankind also received special faculties through the working of the Luciferian principle, inasmuch as the great cosmic Beings turned to good what might otherwise have been quite detrimental. One such faculty is that of speech. Speech came to man through his condensation into physical materiality and through the separation of a part of his life-body from the physical body. In the times that followed the separation of the Moon, man, to begin with, felt himself united with his physical forefathers through the Ego of the group. But in course of generations this common consciousness, uniting descendants with their forefathers, was gradually lost. Thus with the later descendants the “inner memory” reached back only to a fairly recent ancestor, not any longer to the more ancient forefathers. It was only in conditions resembling sleep, where men came in contact with the spiritual world, that the memory of this or that ancestor would emerge. Then would a man often deem himself one with some such ancestor, whom he believed to have reappeared in himself. This was, in fact, a mistaken idea of reincarnation, which arose especially in the last period of Atlantis. The true teaching about reincarnation was to be found only in the schools of the Initiates. For the Initiates were able to behold how the human soul passes in the body-free condition from incarnation to incarnation. They alone could implant the truth to their pupils.

In the far distant past of which we are here speaking, the physical form and figure of man was as yet very different from what it is today. It was still to a great extent the expression of qualities of soul. The human being was of a finer, softer materiality than he afterwards became. Where his members are now quite rigid, they were plastic, soft and pliable. A man more filled with soul and spirit was of gentle build, mobile, expressive. One who was less spiritually developed had coarser bodily forms, immobile, not so plastic. Improvement in the life of the soul tended to draw man's members together; such a man would remain small in stature. Backwardness of soul, entanglement in sensuality, came to expression in gigantic bodily proportions. While man was still in his period of growth, the body took shape according to what was growing in the soul—and this to an extent which must seem fabulous, indeed quite fantastic, to present-day ideas. Depravity of passion, or of instinct or desire brought with it a monstrous enlargement of the material in man. The present human form has arisen by the contraction, condensation, and rigidification of Atlantean man. Before the time of Atlantis, man had presented a faithful image of his soul, of his inner being, but the very events and processes that took place in Atlantean evolution contained the inner causes which led to the human being of post-Atlantean time, who in his physical form and statue is firm and well-established, comparatively little dependent on his qualities of soul. (The animal kingdom grew dense in its forms, in far earlier epochs than man.) The laws which at the present time underlie the molding and shaping of forms in the kingdoms of Nature can certainly not be extended to the more remote ages of the past.

Towards the middle of the Atlantean period of evolution, a great calamity began gradually to overwhelm mankind. The secrets of the Initiates should have been carefully protected from those human beings who had not by due preparation purified their astral bodies from error. For is such attained insight into the hidden knowledge—into the laws whereby the higher Beings guided the forces of Nature—they might enlist these laws in the service of their own mistaken needs and passions. The danger was all the greater, since, as we have seen, men were coming into the realm of lower spirit-beings who were themselves unable to partake in the regular evolution of the Earth and therefore worked against it. These beings were perpetually influencing men, imbuing them with interests which worked against the true welfare of mankind. And then too, the men of that time still had the faculty to place at their own disposal the forces of growth and reproduction in animal and human nature.

Nor was it only the ordinary run of human beings, but some of the Initiates too succumbed to the temptations of lower spirit-beings, and even went so far as to employ the above-named supersensible forces for an end that was directly opposed to the evolution of mankind. For this purpose they gathered round them as associates men who were uninitiated and who applied the secrets of the supersensible working of Nature for decidedly lower ends. A widespread corruption of humanity ensued. The evil grew to greater and greater dimensions.

Now the forces of growth and reproduction, when torn from their mother-soil and independently employed, stand in a mysterious relationship to certain forces that work in air and water. Mighty and ominous powers of Nature were thus let loose by the deeds of men, leading eventually to the gradual destruction of the whole territory of Atlantis by catastrophes of air and water. Atlantean humanity—the portion of it, that is, which did not perish in the storms—was compelled to migrate. As a result too of the great storms, the whole face of the Earth changed. Europe, Asia and Africa on the one hand, and America on the other, began gradually to assume their present shape. Vast numbers of human beings migrated into these countries. For us in our time those above all are of importance who went eastward from Atlantis. Europe, Asia and Africa gradually became colonized by descendants of the Atlanteans. Peoples of many kinds took up their abode in these countries, people that stood at many different levels of evolution—and also of corruption. And in their midst went the Initiates, the Guardians of the secrets of the Oracles. In various regions the Initiates established holy places where the services of Jupiter, Venus, etc. were cultivated in a good—or in an evil—sense. Most detrimental of all was the betrayal of the Vulcan secrets. For the adherents of the Vulcan Mysteries had their attention concentrated upon things of Earth. By this betrayal was brought into a state of dependence upon spiritual things who in consequence of their preceding evolution were disposed to reject all that came from the spiritual world that had evolved through the separation of the Earth from the Sun. Such was the tendency they had developed, and they worked in accordance with it, precisely in that element which was arising in man inasmuch as he had sense-perceptions in the physical world—perceptions behind which the spiritual remained hidden. These beings now attained great influence over many of the human inhabitants of Earth, and the immediate outcome of it was to deprive man more and more of any feeling for things spiritual.

In those times, the size, form and plasticity of man's physical body were still largely determined by qualities of soul. Hence the results of the betrayal appeared in changes of this very kind in the human race. Where supersensible forces were placed in the service of lower instincts, passions and desires—where, that is, the prevalent corruption took this particular form—human figures would arise that were monstrous and grotesque in size and shape. These could not, however, survive beyond the Atlantean epoch; they died out. Physically speaking, post-Atlantean humanity evolved form Atlantean forebears whose bodily figure had already become firm enough not to give way to the soul-forces which had grown to be so contrary to their true nature. There was a period in Atlantean evolution when the laws prevailing in and around the Earth were such as to subject the human figure precisely to those conditions under which it had to grow firm. Human racial forms which had hardened before this time could continue to propagate themselves for a good while to come, but by degrees the souls incarnating in them found themselves so restricted that these races too had to die out. Many of the forms were nevertheless able to maintain themselves right into the post-Atlantean times; indeed, some of them that had remained mobile enough, survived in a somewhat altered condition for a very long time. On the other hand, the human forms which had retained their plasticity beyond the above-mentioned period, became bodies for those souls in particular who had suffered in a high degree the harmful influence of the betrayal. Such forms were destined to die out early.

In consequence of these developments, other beings had, since the middle of the Atlantean time, been making themselves felt in the realm of human evolution, owing to whose influence man was induced to enter the world of the physical senses in an unspiritual manner. So much so that in place of the true form of this world, hallucinations could appear to him, phantasms, and delusions of all kinds. Man was thus exposed not only to the Luciferian influence but also to that of these other beings, to whose existence we have already alluded. The leader of them may be called after the name he received later on in the ancient Persian civilization, Ahriman. (Mephistopheles is the same being.) Through this influence man came after his death among powers which caused him to appear even there as a being whose inclination was entirely towards the things of Earth and of the life of the senses. The free and open outlook into all that was going on in the spiritual world—of this he was deprived more and more. He had to feel himself in the grip of Ahriman and to a certain extent excluded form community with the spiritual world.

One Oracle sanctuary was of peculiar importance. Amid the general decline this sanctuary had preserved the ancient service in the purest form. It belonged to the Christ Oracles, and was accordingly able to preserve not only the secret of the Christ Himself but those of the other Oracles as well. For in the manifestation of the supreme Spirit of the Sun, the leaders of Saturn, Jupiter, etc. were also unveiled. In the Sun Oracle was known the secret of producing, in one or other human beings, life-bodies such as the best of the Initiates of Jupiter, Mercury, etc. had possessed. By means which they had in their power, but into which we cannot enter in further detail here, the Initiates of the Sun Oracle caused the impress of the best life-bodies of the old Initiates to be preserved, and then stamped on chosen human beings of a later time. The Venus, Mercury and Vulcan Initiates could also do the like with astral bodies.

A time came when the leader of the Christ-Initiates saw himself left alone with a few associates, to whom he could, to a very limited degree, impart the secrets of the world. For they were men in whom, owing to their natural endowment, there was least of all of the separation between physical body and life-body. In that age of time such men were altogether the best suited for the further progress of mankind in those times. Conscious experiences in the realm of sleep were coming to them less and less. More and more did the spiritual world become closed to them. They also lacked understanding for all that had been revealed in more ancient times when man was not in his physical but only in his life-body which had formerly been separated from it. This reunion was now gradually taking place in mankind ads a whole, as a result of the transformation which their Atlantean dwelling-place and the Earth in general had undergone. The physical body and the life-body of man were tending more and more to coincide. This meant that the formerly unlimited powers of memory were being lost, and the life of thought was beginning. The portion of the life-body that had now united with the physical transformed the physical brain into the essential instrument of thought. And now at last did man really begin to feel his I within the physical body; now at last did self-consciousness awaken there. To begin with, this happened with a small portion only of mankind, first among whom were the companions of the leader of the Sun Oracle. The remaining masses of mankind, spread over Europe, Asia and Africa, preserved in varying degrees remnants of the ancient states of consciousness. They had therefore immediate experience of the supersensible world.

The companions of the Christ Initiate were men of highly developed intellect, while of all the people of that time they had the least experience in the supersensible domain. The Christ-Initiate journeyed with them from West to East, to a region of central Asia. He wanted to protect them as far as possible from contact with men who were less advanced than they in the evolution of consciousness. He educated them according to the hidden things that were to him open and visible, and worked in this way especially on their descendants. Thus did he train up a group of human beings who had received into their hearts the inner impulses that responded to the secrets of the Christ-Initiation. Out of this group he chose the seven best, that they might be able to have life-bodies and astral bodies corresponding to the impressions of the life-bodies of the seven best Atlantean Initiates. In this way he trained up a successor to each of the Christ, Saturn, Jupiter, etc., Initiates. These seven Initiates became the teachers and guides of those who in the time after Atlantis had settled in the South of Asia, more particularly in ancient India. Endowed as they were with after-images of the life-bodies of their spiritual predecessors, what these great teachers had in their astral bodies—namely, the knowledge and understanding which they had themselves assimilated and made their own—did not come up to what was revealed to them through their life-bodies. For these revelations to speak to them, they had to silence their own faculty of cognition. Then did there speak, from them and through them, the sublime Beings who had also spoken for their spiritual forebears. Save in the times when these great Beings were speaking through them, they were simple, unassuming men, endowed merely with such culture of intellect and heart as they had themselves acquired.

In India there was living at this time a type of human being that had preserved to a marked degree a living memory of the ancient Atlantean soul-condition that permitted of conscious experience in the spiritual world. In very many of them remained also a strong urge of heart and mind towards such experiences in the supersensible world. By a wise guidance of destiny the main portion of this type of mankind, who were from the best of the Atlantean population, had found their way into Southern Asia. They were then joined by others who migrated thither at different times. Such was the complex of humanity to which the Christ-Initiate assigned his seven great disciples to be their teachers. These gave their wisdom and their commandments to this ancient Indian people. In many a one among these ancient Indians only slight preparation was required to kindle in him the scarcely extinct faculties that could lead to observation in the spiritual world. Indeed the longing for that world was to the Indian a fundamental, ever-present mood of soul. Within that world, he felt, was the primeval home of mankind. Man had been transplanted from it into this world which can endow him with external sense-perception and the intellect connected with it; but he felt the supersensible world as the true one and the sense-world as a fallacy of man's perception—an illusion, a maya—and strove by every means in his power to gain insight into the true world. In the illusory world of the senses he could summon up no interest—or only in so far as it manifests as a veil of the supersensible.

The power that could go out from the seven great Teachers to human beings such as these was tremendous. All that could be revealed through them entered deeply and livingly into the Indian soul. Gifted moreover as the Teachers were, by virtue of the life-bodies and astral bodies that had been bequeathed to them, with high spiritual forces, they were able also to work magically on their pupils. They did not really teach; they worked as though by magic from man to man. Thus arose a civilization permeated through and through with supersensible Wisdom. What is contained in the Wisdom-books of the Indians (the Vedas) reproduces, not the lofty Wisdom-teachings in their primal form—guarded as these were and cared for by the great Teachers in those ancient times—but only a faint echo of the same. The eye of seership alone, as it looks back, can detect behind the written, an unwritten, pristine Wisdom. One feature which especially emerges in this primal Wisdom is the harmonious sounding-together of the diverse Wisdoms of the Oracles of Atlantean time. Each of the great Teachers could unveil the Wisdom of one of these Oracles, and the different aspects of Wisdom gave together a perfect harmony, for behind them stood the fundamental Wisdom of the prophetic Christ-Initiation. The Teacher who was the spiritual successor of the Christ-Initiate did not, it is true, show forth what the Christ-Initiate did not, it is true, show forth what the Christ-Initiate himself had been able to unveil. The latter remained in the background of evolution. He could not, to begin with, transmit the high office to any member of post-Atlantean mankind. The Christ-Initiate who was with the seven Indian Teachers differed from him in this respect: he had been able, as we know, completely to assimilate to human concepts and ideas his vision of the Mystery of Christ. Whereas the Indian Christ-Initiate could but present a reflected radiance of this Mystery in signs and symbols, such power of ideation as he had been able to attain by his own effort being inadequate to comprehend it. Nevertheless, out of the union of the seven Teachers there arose in a sublime Wisdom-picture a knowledge of the supersensible world, only single parts of which had been able to be revealed in the ancient Atlantean Oracle. The Guiding Powers of the great cosmic world were unveiled; men learned, as it were in whispered tones, of the one great Sun Spirit, the Hidden One, enthroned above the Spirits who manifested through the seven Teachers.

What is here to be understood by the term “ancient India” is not coincident with what the words are generally taken to mean. Of the time of which we are speaking no outer documentary records exist. The people now commonly known as Indians belong to a stage of historic evolution which developed long afterwards. We have thus to recognize a first post-Atlantean period of the Earth, in which the civilization here described as Indian was dominant. After it a second post-Atlantean period took shape, in which the civilization hereafter referred to as the ancient Persian became dominant. Still later, there evolved the Egypto-Chaldean civilization, also to be described in the following pages. During the development of these second and third post-Atlantean culture-epochs, ancient India lived through a second and a third epoch of its own, and the third is the one usually spoken of as “ancient India.” We must accordingly not confuse it with the description given here.

Another feature of the ancient Indian culture was what subsequently led to the division of men into castes. The dwellers in ancient India were descendants of Atlanteans who belonged to the diverse kinds of humanity—Saturn men, Jupiter men, etc. The supersensible teachings they received made it quite plain to them that a soul has not been placed by chance into this or that caste, but by its own self-determination.

Nor was it difficult for the men of ancient India to accept this teaching, inasmuch as in many of them what has been described as “inner harmony” of their ancestors could still be called to life. Such memories were, however, also apt to lead all too easily to a mistaken idea of reincarnation. As in the Atlantean age, it had been through the Initiates alone that the true idea of reincarnation could be attained, similarly in ancient India it was attainable only by direct contact with the great Teachers. And it is undeniable that the erroneous idea became widely prevalent among the peoples who were scattered over Europe, Asia and Africa in consequence of the downfall of Atlantis. The Initiates who had gone astray during the Atlantean evolution had communicated this secret too to immature persons, and so it came to pass that men tended increasingly to confuse the true idea with the mistaken one. It must not be forgotten that a kind of dim clairvoyance had remained to these people as a heritage from Atlantean time. As the Atlanteans had in sleep entered into the region of the spiritual world, so did their descendants experience the same spiritual world in abnormal states, intermediate between sleeping and waking. Pictures then arose in them of that olden time to which their ancestors had belonged; and they believed themselves reincarnations of human beings of that time. Teachings on reincarnation, that were incompatible with the true ideas possessed by the Initiates, spread over the whole Earth.

As a result of the prolonged migrations from West to East ever since the beginning of the Atlantean catastrophe, a group of peoples had settled in the regions of Western Asia, the descendants of whom are known to history as the Persians and kindred races. Supersensible knowledge must however look back to far earlier times than those of which history tells. We are here concerned with very early forefathers of the later Persians. Among these arose, following upon the Indian, the second great civilization-epoch of post-Atlantean evolution. The people of this epoch had a different task. Their longs and inclinations were not directed solely to the supersensible world. They were a people well fitted for the physical world of the senses. They learned to love the Earth. They valued what man can win for himself on Earth and what he can then also acquire by making use of its forces. Their achievements as a warlike nation and the means they invented to possess themselves of the treasures of the Earth, correspond with this trait in their character. Theirs was not the danger of yearning so intensely for the supersensible as to turn right away from the “illusion” of the physical world. Rather they were in danger of cherishing so strong a feeling for this physical world that their souls might lose all connection with the world of the supersensible. The Oracle-sanctuaries too, which had been transplanted hither from the ancient land of Atlantis, shared in the general character of the people. Of all the forces which men had once been able to acquire by conscious experience in the supersensible world and which—in certain lower forms—were still at their command, this people cultivated the power so to direct the phenomena of Nature that these may serve the personal interests of man. They still possessed great power over Nature-forces that subsequently withdrew from the control of human will. The Guardians of the Oracles were in command of inner forces connected with fire and other elements. They may indeed rightly be called magicians. The heritage of supersensible knowledge and supersensible forces which they had preserved from ancient times was feeble, no doubt, compared with what men had been able to attain in the far distant past. Nevertheless, it found expression in a multitude of forms, from noble arts which had in mind only the true weal of man, down to the most abominable practices. The Luciferian nature worked in these men in a peculiar way. It had brought them into connection with all that can divert man from the intentions of those higher Beings who, had Lucifer not intervened, would have had the sole guidance of human evolution. Some of them, who were still gifted with relics of the old clairvoyance that belonged to the condition between waking and sleeping, felt themselves strongly attracted to the lower beings of the spiritual world. A strong spiritual impulse needed to be given to this whole people, to counteract these qualities in their character. From the same fountain-head from which the ancient Indian spiritual life had proceeded, a leader was given them by the Keeper of the secrets of the Sun Oracle.

The leader, whom the Guardian of the Sun Oracle assigned to the ancient Persian spiritual culture, may be called by the name that is familiar to us in history as Zoroaster or Zarathustra. It must however be emphasized that he belonged to a far earlier time than history attributes to the bearer of the name. Here, as you know, we are not concerned with outer historical research, but with spiritual science. Whoever feels bound to associate the bearer of the name Zarathustra with a later date, will be able to find himself in harmony with what spiritual science tells, when he realizes that he is thinking of a successor of the first great Zarathustra—one who took his name and labored in the spirit of his teaching.

The impulse Zarathustra had to give to his people may be described as follows. He showed them that the world of the physical senses is not void of spirit, as it appears to be when man allows himself to fall exclusively under the influence of the Lucifer Being. To this Being man owes his personal independence and his sense of freedom, but Lucifer has to work in him in harmony with the opposite spiritual Being. For the ancient Persians it was of first importance that they should keep alive their feeling for this opposite spiritual Being. Owing to their inclination to the physical world they were in danger of merging altogether into the Luciferian beings. Now Zarathustra had received form the Guardian of the Sun Oracle an Initiation that made it possible for the revelations of the sublime Beings of the Sun to be vouchsafed him. In special states of consciousness, to which he had been brought by his training, he could behold the Leader of the Sun Beings, who had taken the human life-body under His protection in the way that has been described. He knew that this Being had charge of the spiritual guidance of the evolution of mankind, but that the right time must be awaited before He would be able to descend from cosmic space on to the Earth. To this end it was necessary that He should be able to live in the astral body of a human being, even as He had worked in the life-body since the entry of the Luciferic influence. A human being must appear on Earth who had restored the astral body to a stage of development such as it would have attained, had it not been or Lucifer, at an earlier point of time—namely at the middle of the Atlantean evolution. Had Lucifer not come, man would have attained this stage more quickly, but without personal independence and without the possibility of inner freedom. Now he as to reach it even with the possession of these qualities.

Zarathustra in his moments of vision foresaw that a time would come in man's evolution when there would be a human being possessing an astral body of this kind. He knew also that until that time the spiritual forces of the Sun could not be found on Earth, but that supersensible vision could perceive them within the spiritual realm of the Sun; he himself could behold them when he looked upward to the Sun with the eye of seership. And he proclaimed to his people the nature of these forces which, although in the meantime they are discoverable in the spiritual world alone, are yet destined in the future to descend to Earth. Such was Zarathustra's prophecy of the great Sun Spirit of Spirit of Light (Ahura Mazdao, Ormuzd, the Aura of the Sun.) To Zarathustra and his disciples the Spirit of Light revealed Himself as the Being who from the spiritual world inclines His countenance to man and works within mankind, preparing the future. It was the Spirit revealing the nature of Christ before His appearance upon Earth, whom Zarathustra proclaimed as the Spirit of Light. In Ahriman (Angra mainyu) on the other hand, he described a Power whose influence, if man blindly gives himself up to it, works harmfully upon the life of soul. This Power is none other than the one described above, who had attained particular dominion on the Earth since the betrayal of the Vulcan secrets.

Together with his message of the God of Light, Zarathustra taught also of those spiritual Beings who are revealed to the pure vision of the seer as the companions of the Light-Spirit, in contrast to the tempters who become manifest to the unpurified remnants of the clairvoyance preserved from Atlantean time. For it had to be made clear to the Persian people of that olden time, how in the soul of man, in so far as he directs his energy to doing work in the physical world, a battle is raging between the power of the God of Light and the power of His Opponent; and man had to be shown how he must bear himself, so that the Adversary may not lead him down to the abyss, but on the contrary his evil influence be turned to good by the forces of the God of Light.

A third civilization-epoch of post Atlantean time was born among people who in the great migrations had eventually come together in Asia Minor and Northern Africa. It evolved among the Chaldeans, Babylonians and Assyrians on the one hand, and among the Egyptians on the other. In these people the feeling for the physical world was developed in still another way than in the ancient Persians. They had received far more than other people of the spiritual predisposition which provides the right foundation for the development of thought, of that gift of intelligence that had begun to manifest in man since later Atlantean times. It is, as we know, the essential task of post-Atlantean mankind to unfold those faculties of soul which can be gained through awakened forces of thought and mind and feeling, forces not stimulated directly by the spiritual world, but arising out of the fact that man observes the world of sense, lives his way into it and works upon it. The conquest of the physical world by his own human faculties must be regarded as the mission of post-Atlantean man. Stage by stage the conquest advances. Even in ancient India the condition of man's soul was already such as to direct his attention to this world; but he still regarded it as illusion, and his spirit inclined towards the supersensible world. The ancient Persian people made the endeavor to conquer this physical world of the senses. To a large extent, however, they still relied on forces of soul that remained to them as heritage from a time when man was able to reach right up into the supersensible world. In the peoples of the third epoch, these supersensible faculties were by then in great measure lost to the soul. Man had now to search out in the world of sense that lay around him the manifestations of the Spiritual and continue his soul's development by discovering and inventing the means of civilization in what this world provides.

As man learned to elicit from the physical world of sense the laws of the Spiritual that underlies it, the sciences came into being; and as he came to recognize and manipulate the forces of this world, arts and crafts arose; man began to have his tools and his technique. To a man of the Chaldean and Babylonian peoples the world of the senses was no longer an illusion. In its various kingdoms, in mountain and ocean, in wind and water, it was a revelation of the spiritual deeds of Powers that were there behind it, whose laws he was studying to apprehend. To the Egyptian, the Earth was a field for his labor, given to him in a condition which it was his task so to transform by his own faculties of intelligence, that it might bear the stamp of man's ascendancy. The sanctuaries which had been transplanted from Atlantis into Egypt came chiefly from the Oracle of Mercury. There were, however, also others—Venus Oracles for instance. Into all that could be nurtured in the Egyptian people from these sacred places, a new seed of civilization was implanted. This was the work of a great leader, who had been trained within the Persian Mysteries of Zarathustra. (He was the reincarnation of a disciple of the great Zarathustra.) We may call him Hermes, taking once more an historic name. What he received form the Zarathustra Mysteries, enabled Hermes to find the right way of giving guidance to the Egyptian people In their life on Earth between birth and death they had been turning their minds towards the physical world so as to recognize in it the laws and workings of the underlying Spirit-world, but their immediate vision of the latter was decidedly restricted. The spiritual world could not therefore be described to them as a world into which they might find their way while living on Earth. In place of this, however, they could be shown how in the body-free condition after death man would be living in the world of Spirit-beings who during his time on Earth appear through their counterparts in the physical and sense-perceptible realm. Hermes taught them: In so far as man employs his forces upon Earth to work in it in accordance with the aims of the Spirit Powers, he fits himself to be united with these Powers after death; and those who between birth and death have worked the most zealously in this direction, will be united with Osiris, even with the sublime Being of the Sun.

On the Chaldean and Babylonian side of this stream of civilization, the inclination of men's minds towards the physical and sensible was stronger than it was on the Egyptian. They investigated the laws of this world; and although they turned their gaze from the sense-perceptible images or prototypes to the spiritual archetypes, these peoples remained in many ways entangled in the world of sense. Instead of the Spirit of the star, the star itself was placed in the foreground; instead of other Spirit-beings, their earthly images or idols. It was only the leaders who attained genuine and deep knowledge of the laws of the supersensible world and of its connection with the sensible. More so than anywhere else did a contrast make itself felt here between the wisdom of the Initiates and the mistaken beliefs of the people.

Utterly different were the conditions that prevailed in those regions of Southern Europe and Western Asia where the fourth post-Atlantean epoch of civilization grew and blossomed. We may define it as the Graeco-Latin epoch. In these countries, descendants of human beings from the most diverse regions of the more ancient world had come together. Here were Oracle-sanctuaries, successors to the various Atlantean Oracles. Here too were men who inherited as a natural gift fragments of old clairvoyance, and others who by special training could with comparative ease attain the same. At select places not only were the traditions of the old Initiates preserved, but worthy successors to them arose, and the disciples who were trained by these were able to rise to high levels of seership. Moreover these people had in them an impulse to create within the world of sense a realm which should express the spiritual in the physical in perfect form. Among many other things, Greek Art was an outcome of this impulse. We have only to look with the eye of the spirit at a Grecian temple, and we can perceive how in this wonder-work of Art the sense-perceptible material has been so formed and fashioned by man that in its every detail it gives expression to the spiritual. The Grecian temple is a veritable “home of the spirit.” In its forms we behold what can otherwise be apprehended only by the spirit-vision of one who sees the supersensible. A temple of Zeus (or Jupiter) was so formed as to present to the outer eye a visible worthy abode for what the Guardian of the Zeus (or Jupiter) Initiation saw with the eye of the spirit. And it is the same with all the Art of Greece. The wisdom-treasures of the Initiates flowed by mysterious paths into the poets, artists and thinkers. In the cosmologies and philosophic edifices of the Greek thinkers we find again the secrets of the Initiates, in the form of concepts and ideas.

Manifold influences of the spiritual life—secrets of Asiatic and African places of Initiation—found their way into these peoples and their leaders. The great teachers of India, the associates of Zarathustra, the followers of Hermes, had all of them trained up disciples; and these disciples, or their successors, now founded places of Initiation in which the old wisdom-treasures came to life again in a new form. Such were the “Mysteries” of antiquity. Here pupils were prepared, so as to be brought in due time into those states of consciousness where they could attain vision into the spiritual world. (Some details concerning these Mysteries of antiquity will be found in my book Christianity as Mystical Fact. More will also be said about them in later chapters of the present work.) From these centers of Initiation flowed treasures of wisdom to those who in Asia Minor, in Greece and in Italy guarded the spiritual secrets. Within the Grecian world important centers of Initiation arose in the Orphic and Eleusinian Mysteries. In the Pythagorean School of Wisdom the mighty wisdom-teachings and methods of primeval times worked on. Pythagoras himself had in course of his great journeys been initiated into the secrets of the most diverse Mysteries.

In post-Atlantean time the life of man between birth and death has had its influence also on the body-free condition after death. The more man turned his interest to the physical world, the greater was the possibility for Ahriman to find his way into the soul during earthly life, and then maintain his power over it after death. In the peoples of ancient Indian the danger was as yet very slight. During their life on Earth they had felt the world of the physical senses as an illusion; thereby they withdrew themselves after death from the power of Ahriman. The danger was correspondingly greater for the ancient Persian people, who in the time between birth and death had turned their gaze with interest upon the physical world. They would all too readily have fallen a prey to the snares of Ahriman, had not Zarathustra, with his teaching of the God of Light , impressed it so earnestly upon them that behind the world of the physical senses is the world of the Spirits of Light. According to the measure of what their souls received of the whole world-of-ideas which these teachings were capable of arousing, in such measure did they withdraw themselves from the clutches of Ahriman during earthly life and therewith also for their life after death, in which they would have to prepare themselves for a new life on Earth. In Earthly life the power of Ahriman misleads man into regarding the sense-perceptible, physical existence as the one and only reality, thus shutting himself off entirely from any kind of outlook into a spiritual world. In the spiritual world, Ahriman brings man to complete isolation, leading him to center all his interest upon himself alone. Men who at death are in the power of Ahriman are born again as egoists.

In the spiritual science of our time, life between death and a new birth can be portrayed, such as it is when Ahriman's influence has to a certain extent been overcome. It has been so described by the present writer in other works, and in the first chapters of this book. And it is important that this should be done, so that man may be shown what he can indeed experience in yonder form of existence if he has gained the clarity of spiritual vision to behold what is actually present there. Whether a given individual experiences more or less, will depend upon how far he can overcome the Ahrimanic influence. Man is gradually approaching more nearly to what he can be in the spiritual world. How this, that he can be, is marred by other influences, must none the less be clearly envisaged when we are studying mankind's evolutionary course.

Among the Egyptian people Hermes saw to it that men should prepare themselves during earthly life for communion with the Spirit of Light. In that time, however, the interests of men between birth and death were already such that they were able only to a slight extent to look through the veil of the physical. Consequently, the spiritual vision of their souls was apt to remain clouded after death. Their perception of the World of Light was dim.

But the overclouding of the spiritual world after death came to a climax for the souls who passed into the body-free condition out of a body of the Graeco-Latin culture. In earthly life they had cultivated the physical life of the senses so that it blossomed forth under their hands. In so doing they had condemned themselves to a shadow-like existence after death. Hence the Greek felt life after death as an existence of the Shades. It is no empty phrase but a real feeling of the truth when the Hero of that time, devoted to the healthy life of the senses, exclaims: “Better to be a beggar upon Earth than a king in the realm of Shades.” All this was still more marked in those of the Asiatic peoples who had in their very reverence and worship concentrated on the sensual images alone instead of on the spiritual archetypes. Such was indeed the situation of a great part of mankind during the Graeco-Latin epoch. The fact is here brought home to us that man's mission in post-Atlantean time—the conquest of the physical world—could not but lead to his estrangement from the spiritual world—could not but lead to his estrangement from the spiritual world. Thus is greatness on the one hand necessarily bound up with decline upon the other.

Man's connection with the spiritual world was meantime nurtured in the Mysteries. There the Initiates were able to special states of soul to receive revelations from the spiritual world. In greater or less degree, they were successors to the Atlantean Guardians of the Oracles. To them was unveiled what had been veiled by the impulses of Lucifer and Ahriman. Lucifer concealed from man all that of the spiritual world which had, until the middle of the Atlantean time, been pouring into the human astral body without any participation on his part. If the life-body had not been partially separated from the physical, man could have experienced within him this region of the spiritual world as an inner revelation of the soul. Owing to the Luciferian intervention it was only in special states of soul that he could do so. A spiritual world then appeared to him in the garment of the astral. The Beings of this world revealed themselves in forms that possessed the members only of man's higher nature, and made manifest in these, in astrally visible pictures, their several spiritual virtues. Superhuman Beings revealed themselves to man in this way.

After the intervention of Ahriman another kind of Initiation was added. Ahriman had, since the middle of the Atlantean epoch, veiled all that of the spiritual world which would, but for his intervention, have appeared behind the perceptions of the physical senses. This was now unveiled to the Initiates, inasmuch as they practiced in their souls all the faculties man had acquired since that time, beyond the measure needed for bringing about the clear impressions of the physical and sense-perceptible world. It was revealed to them that spiritual Powers underlay the forces of Nature. They could tell of spiritual Beings behind outer Nature. It was given them to behold the divine creative Powers underlying the forces that are at work in the realms of Nature beneath man. All that had worked on from Saturn, Sun and Moon, forming man's physical body, life-body and astral body, as well as the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms of Nature—all this made up the content of one kind of Mystery-secrets. These were the secrets over which Ahriman held his hand. What had led, on the other hand, to the sentient soul, intellectual soul and spiritual soul, was made manifest in a second kind of Mystery-secrets. But there was something of which the Mysteries could only tell prophetically, namely that in the fullness of time a human being would appear with an astral body such that, in spite of Lucifer, the Light-world of the Spirit and the Sun would come to consciousness in him through the life-body, apart from any special states of soul. And the physical body of this human being would be such that for him the realms of the spiritual world which Ahriman is able to conceal until physical death occurs would become manifest. Physical death can alter nothing in this human beings' life, will have no power over it. In such a human being the I shines forth with so strong a radiance that even in his physical life the spiritual comes to full manifestation. Such a being is the bearer of the Spirit of Light, to whom the Initiates had two ways of ascent, in that they were led in special states of soul either to the spirit of the superhuman realm or to the very essence of the powers of external Nature. Inasmuch as they foretold that in course of time such a human being would appear, the Initiates in the Mysteries were prophets of the Christ.

One particular prophet in this sense arose within a nation who possessed by natural inheritance the qualities of the peoples of Western Asia, and by education the teachings also of the Egyptians. This was the nation of the Israelites, and the prophet to whom we refer was Moses. So abundantly had the influences of Initiation been received by Moses that in certain states of soul the Being revealed himself to him who had undertaken, from the Moon, a long while ago in the normal course of Earth's evolution, the function of shaping human consciousness. In thunder and lightning Moses recognized not mere physical phenomena but the manifestations of this Spirit. And at the same time the other kind of Mysteries had also worked upon his soul. These enabled him to behold in astral visions the Superhuman, and perceive how it becomes the human through the I. Thus He who was to come revealed Himself to Moses from two sides, as the highest form of the I.

With Christ there appeared in human form and figure what the high Being of the Sun had prepared as the great pattern for humanity on Earth. And with this Appearance, all the wisdom of the Mysteries had in a certain respect to assume a new form. Hitherto this wisdom had existed only to enable man to bring himself into a state of soul where he could behold the realm of the Sun Spirit beyond the confines of Earthly evolution. From now on, the wisdom-contents of the Mysteries had a different mission; they had to make man capable of recognizing Christ-become-Man, and then of learning to understand—from this center of all wisdom—both the natural and the spiritual worlds.

In the moment of His life when His astral body had within it all that which is capable of being veiled by the Luciferian intervention, Christ Jesus began to come forward as a Teacher of mankind. From this moment on, the possibility was implanted in human evolution of receiving the wisdom whereby the physical goal of Earth can gradually be attained. And in the moment when the Mystery of Golgotha was fulfilled, another faculty was instilled into mankind—the faculty whereby the influence of Ahriman can be turned to good. Out of his lie on Earth man can henceforth take with him through the Gate of Death that which will free him from isolation in the spiritual world. Not only for the physical evolution of mankind is the Event of Palestine the center and focal point; the same is true for the other worlds to which man belongs. When the Mystery of Golgotha had been accomplished, when the Death on the Cross had been suffered, then did the Christ appear in the world where the souls of men sojourn after death, and set limits to the power of Ahriman. And from this moment on, the region which the Greeks had called the “realm of Shades” was shot through by a spiritual lightning-flash announcing to its dwellers that Light was now returning to it again. What was achieved for the physical world through the mystery of Golgotha shed its light also into the spiritual world.

Hitherto the post-Atlantean evolution of mankind had meant for the physical world an ascent—but at the same time a decline for the spiritual world. Everything that flowed into the world of the senses came from sources that had existed in the spiritual world from the most ancient times. Since the Event of Christ, human beings who lift themselves to the Christ Mystery can carry with them into the spiritual world what has been gained here in the world of the senses. And from the spiritual world it flows back again, forasmuch as the human beings, when they reincarnate, bring with them what the Christ Impulse has become for them in the spiritual world between death and new birth.

All that was conferred upon human evolution through the coming of Christ, has been working in it like a seed. Only by degrees can the seed ripen. Up to the present, no more than the minutest part of the depths of the new wisdom has found its way into physical existence. We are but at the beginning of Christian evolution. In the successive epochs that have elapsed since His appearance, Christian evolution has been able to unveil only so much of its inner essence as men and nations were capable of receiving, capable also of assimilating to their power of understanding. The first form into which this recognition could be case, may be described as an all-embracing ideal of life. As such it showed itself in striking contrast to the forms of life which had evolved in contrast to the forms of life which had evolved in post-Atlanteans humanity. We have described the conditions under which the evolution of mankind had been going forward since the re-population of the Earth in the Lemurian epoch. We saw how the human beings have to be traced back in their soul nature to diverse beings who, coming down from other worlds, incarnated in the bodily descendants of the old Lemurians. The varieties of race are a consequence of this. And when the souls reincarnated, all kinds of different interests arose in them, as an outcome of their Karma. While all this was working itself out, there could not exist for man the ideal of a “universal humanity.” Mankind went forth from unity in the beginning, but Earth evolution hitherto had led to diversity. In the figure of Christ live also the forces of the sublime Being of the Sun, and in these forces every human I will find its source and its foundation. Even the Israelites still felt themselves as a nation, with each man merely as a member of the nation. As man came to understand—to begin with, purely in thought—that in Christ Jesus lives the ideal Man, unaffected by any and every tendency to separation, Christianity became the ideal of universal brotherhood. Beyond all separate interests and kinships there arose the feeling that the inmost Self of man has in every one the same origin. (Beside all earthly ancestors appear the common Father of all men. “I and the Father are One.”)

In the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries A.D. a new civilization-epoch was preparing in Europe. The actual beginning of it was in the fifteenth century, and we are still living in it now. Intended as it was by slow degrees to replace the fourth, the Graeco-Latin, this is the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. The peoples who after manifold wanderings and destinies came forward as the bearers of this epoch, were descended from those Atlanteans who had been least affected by what had taken place meanwhile in the four preceding epochs. They had not penetrated to the countries where the civilizations of these earlier epochs took root. They had instead transmitted the heritage of Atlantean civilizations in their own way. Among them were many who had preserved in large measure the heritage of the old dim clairvoyance—the intermediate state between waking and sleeping. Such men knew the spiritual world from their own experience and could tell their fellow-men of what goes on there. In this way there arose a world of stories about spiritual beings and events. The fairy-tales and sagas of the peoples came originally from these real experiences in the spirit; for in many human beings the dim clairvoyance lasted on into times by no means remote from the present. Others there were who, though they had lost the old clairvoyance, developed the new faculties in relation to the physical experiences of clairvoyance. And beside all this, the Atlantean Oracles also had their successors here; centers of the Mysteries were to be found on every hand. The Initiation-secret chiefly developed in these centers was of the kind that leads to the revelation of that spiritual world which Ahriman keeps hidden. The spiritual Powers underlying the elemental forces of Nature were revealed. In the mythologies of the European peoples can be found traces of what the Initiates in the Mysteries were able to make known to men. Yet these mythologies also contain the other secret, though in a less perfect form than either the Southern or Eastern Mysteries. The superhuman Beings were known in Europe too; but they were seen in perpetual warfare with the associates of Lucifer. The God of Light was indeed proclaimed, but not in such form and figure as would enable one to say with assurance that He would conquer Lucifer. Nevertheless these Mysteries too were irradiated by the figure of the Christ that was to come. Of Him it was prophesied that His Kingdom would replace the kingdom of that other God of Light. (The sagas that tell of the Twilight of the Gods, and kindred legends, originated in this knowledge of the European Mysteries.)

Influences such as these tended to produce in the man of the fifth civilization-epoch a duality of soul—a duality that has lasted on to this day and shows itself in many ways. From olden time these souls had preserved the leaning towards the spirit, yet not so strongly as to be able to maintain the inner link between the spiritual world and the world of the senses. They cherished the connection only in the devotion of the heart, in the life of feeling—not as an immediate beholding of the Supersensible. Meanwhile man's vision was increasingly directed to the world of the senses and to its conquest. And the forces of intellect awakened towards the close of the Atlantean epoch—all those forces in man, whose instrument is in the physical brain—were developed with this end in view: the understanding and the mastery of the world of the senses. Two worlds have been evolving, as it were, in the human breast.1An allusion to the line in Goethe's Faust: “Two souls, alas, reside within my breast.” The one is devoted to physical and sense-perceptible existence, the other is receptive to the revelations of the Spirit and though lacking direct vision, is ready to permeate the spiritual with feeling and emotion.

The inner tendencies to this duality of soul were already present when the Christ teaching found its way into the countries of Europe. The people received this new message of the Spirit into their hearts and drank it in with deep feeling, but could not build the bridge from it to what the intellect, directed to the senses, was discovering in outer physical existence. What we know today ad the antagonism between external science and spiritual knowledge is nothing but a consequence of this fact. The Christian mysticism of Eckhart, Tauler and others is an outcome of the permeation of heart and feeling with Christianity. The science that is directed solely to the outer world of sense and to the results that follow its application in life, is a consequence of the other tendency that lives in the soul. The achievements of our time in outer material civilization are unquestionably due to this division of tendency. Through being turned in a one-sided way towards the physical, those faculties of man whose instrument is in the brain could be so far enhanced as to make possible the science and technical civilization of today. And it was among the European peoples alone that this material civilization could originate. For they, among all the descendants of the Atlanteans, did not develop into actual faculties the inclination towards the physical world of sense until the inclination had reached maturity. Letting it slumber until then undisturbed, they lived on their inheritance of clairvoyance from Atlantis and on the communications of their Initiates. While outwardly their spiritual culture was devoted entirely to these influences, their aptitude for the material conquest of the world was all the time slowly ripening.

And now, at the present time, the dawn of the sixth post-Atlantean epoch is already making itself felt. For whatever is to emerge at a certain time in human evolution, will always be slowly maturing in the preceding time. One thing can even now begin to evolve in its initial stages, namely the finding of the thread which will unite the two spheres that claim man's devotion—the material civilization, and life in the spiritual world. To this end it is necessary on the one hand that the results of spiritual seership be received and understood, and on the other, that in man's observations and experiences of the sense-world the revelations of the Spirit be recognized. The sixth civilization-epoch will bring to full development the harmony between the two.

Herewith the studies in this book have reached a point where we may turn from the perspectives of the past to those of the future. But it will be better to precede the latter by a study of the Knowledge of Higher Worlds and of Initiation. Then, after this study and in connection with it, we shall be able to indicate in brief the outlook for the future, in so far as that can be done within the framework of this book.