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The Threshold of the Spiritual World
GA 17

XIII. The First Beginnings of Man's Physical Body

Earlier in this book mention was made of a Moon and Sun condition, preceding the Earth condition, and only in that Moon period do there appear to clairvoyant consciousness impressions which are reminiscent of the impressions of earth-life. Such impressions are no longer to be gained when clairvoyant sight is directed to the still further distant past of the earth's Sun condition. The latter is revealed wholly as a world of beings and the actions of those beings. In order to get an impression of this Sun period, it is necessary to keep at a distance all ideas of the earth's mineral and plant life. For such ideas only have a meaning with regard to earlier conditions of the earth period; and, those of them which concern plant-life, to the long-past Moon period. To the earth's ancient Sun condition conceptions lead which may be prompted by the animal and human kingdoms of nature—conceptions, however, which do not merely portray what the senses disclose about the inhabitants of those kingdoms.

Now the clairvoyant consciousness of man finds within the etheric body active forces which form themselves into pictures of such a kind that they bring to expression the way in which the etheric body received, through the actions of spiritual beings during the ancient Sun period, its first beginning in the cosmic order of things. This beginning may be traced in its further development through the Moon and Earth periods. We find that in the course of these it was transformed, and through this transformation became what is now seen to be the active etheric body of man.

In order to understand the physical body of man, we require, however, a different activity of human consciousness. At first it appears as an outer counterpart of the etheric body. But close observation shows that man could never arrive at a complete development of his being, unless the physical body were something more than merely a physical manifestation of the etheric body. If this were so, definite willing, feeling, and thinking would take place in man, but they could not be so synthetised that the consciousness which expresses itself as an ego-experience could arise in the human soul. This becomes specially evident when the consciousness develops the quality of clairvoyance. Man's ego-experience can at first only take place in the physical world, when he is invested with his physical body. Thence he is able to take his experience into the elemental and spiritual worlds and interpenetrate his etheric and astral bodies with it. For man has an etheric and an astral body in which the ego-experience does not at first arise. Only in his physical body can that experience take place. Now if the human physical body is looked at from the spiritual world, it turns out that there is something in it, belonging to it intrinsically, which even from the spiritual world is not fully disclosed in its reality. If the consciousness enters the spiritual world in a clairvoyant capacity, the soul grows familiar with the world of thought-reality; but the ego experience, which through an adequate strengthening of soul-force may be carried into that world, is not woven simply out of universal thoughts; it does not yet feel in the world of cosmic thoughts anything in that environment which is equal to its own being. In order to feel this, the soul must advance still further into the supersensible. It must come to experiences in which it is abandoned even by thoughts, so that all physical experiences and all experiences also of thinking, feeling, and willing are, as it were, left behind it on its journey into the supersensible. Then for the first time does it feel itself one with a reality which so underlies the universe that it takes precedence of everything which man, as a physical, etheric, and astral being, is able to observe. Man then feels himself in a still higher sphere than the spiritual world so far known to him. We will call this world in which only the ego can experience itself, the super-spiritual world. From it even the region of thought-reality seems an outer world. When clairvoyant consciousness is transferred to this super-spiritual world, it goes through an experience which may be described and characterised somewhat as follows, by tracing the path followed by clairvoyant consciousness through its various stages.

When the soul feels itself in its etheric body, and elemental events and beings are its environment, it knows it is outside the physical body; but that physical body still exists as an entity, although when seen from without it appears transformed. To spiritual sight a part of it becomes detached, and is manifest as the expression of the deeds of spiritual beings who have been active from the beginning of the earth's existence up to the present time. Another detached part appears as the expression of something which was already in existence during the ancient Moon condition of the earth. This state of things continues as long as the consciousness is only experiencing itself in the elemental world. In that world the consciousness is able to become aware of the way in which man was constituted as a physical being during the ancient Moon period.

When the consciousness enters the spiritual world, another part of the physical body becomes detached. It is the part which was formed during the Moon period by the deeds of spiritual beings. But another part is left behind. It is that which existed during the Sun condition of the earth as man's physical entity at that period. But even of this physical entity something is left behind, when, from the standpoint of the spiritual world, everything is taken into account which happened during the Sun period through the deeds of spiritual beings.

What is then left behind is first revealed as the action of spiritual beings when the consciousness reaches the super-spiritual world. It is revealed as already existent at the beginning of the Sun period, and we have to go back to a condition of the earth before its Sun period. In my book Occult Science, I endeavoured to vindicate the use of the term Saturn period for this condition of the earth's existence. In this sense the earth was Saturn before it became Sun. And during that Saturn period the first beginning of the physical human body came into existence out of the cosmic world?process through the deeds of spiritual beings. That beginning was afterwards so transformed during the succeeding Sun, Moon, and Earth periods by the further actions of other spiritual beings that the present physical human body became what it now is.