Universe, Earth and Man
The sacrifice of the substance by the Thrones, Kyriotetes, Dynamis, and Exusiai. Jehovah and the Elohim, and their co-operative activity in the stages of human development.
8 Aug 1908, Stuttgart
In earlier lectures we have seen that the conditions of our earth have gradually developed out of the cosmos; that in a far distant past the earth was one with the orb which shines in the heavens today as the sun, and that at a certain period this body separated off from the earth.
Now, I have already stated that the Beings who at first sent their own forces down from the sun to the earth, thus bringing about the evolution of humanity, are the Spirits of Form. They are the Beings nearest to earthly evolution. After the separation of the sun the leader of the Spirits of Form remained with the earth, and later departed from it with the moon. We can therefore speak of a moon-deity; he is that deity who in the Biblical records is called Jehovah, and the Sun Powers, those who sent light to earth from outside, are called in the Bible the Elohim, or Spirits of Light. Under the influence of the Elohim on one hand and Jehovah on the other, balance was maintained in the evolution of man. You have learnt that not only man goes through development, but that all the Beings in the cosmos are undergoing development also. Those exalted Beings who sent down their forces to us with the light — the Spirits of Form — have also passed through a development; previously they were at a lower stage and have gradually struggled upwards to their present position.
What was said just now regarding the Elohim and Jehovah applies to the most mature of these spirits, those who have made themselves fully capable of carrying on their development from the genesis of the earth, either upon the sun or the moon; but there are Beings everywhere who have fallen behind at some stage. Yesterday we heard that planets, such as Venus and Mercury, owe their existence to the circumstance that Beings have remained behind, between man on the one hand and exalted Sun-Spirits on the other. They required a dwelling-place more exalted than the earth, but were unable to inhabit the sun because they were not sufficiently mature. These beings are far beyond the evolution of humanity, but have not yet reached the condition of the Sun spirits. They form a very important group of beings as regards human evolution. On one hand we have very mature Beings, on the other, between them and mankind, are others whom we designate generally the Luciferic Beings, after their leader Lucifer.
Now we must try clearly to understand how Jehovah and the Elohim on one hand, Lucifer and his hosts on the other, are concerned with the evolution of man. Through the cooperation of the Sun-Gods with the Moon-God a duality arose, and we shall best understand what entered evolution at this point if we consider what the evolution of man had been previously.
Once more we will remind ourselves that the earth passed through an incarnation, that of Saturn, when conditions were primeval; then, after having passed through a state of rest, it entered the Sun incarnation, then the Moon incarnation, and lastly that of our Earth.
Man in the course of his evolution has been connected with all these embodiments of the earth. As we know him he is a very complicated Being; he consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego, and these four principles play one into the other in a very complicated manner.
If any Being in our physical world had only a physical body it would be a stone — a mineral; in fact our mineral kingdom here on the earth does only possess a physical body. A Being possessing in addition to a physical body an etheric body has a plant-nature; our vegetable kingdom consists of such Beings. A Being having physical etheric, and astral bodies is at the animal stage; and only that Being which in addition to these possesses an ego is at the stage of human existence on earth. Now it is only a rough way of speaking to say that man has these four principles within him; and we shall understand how sketchy it is if we cast a glance over his long, very long, evolution.
Let us enquire which of these four principles is the oldest? It might easily be supposed that as the human ego is the highest, that which first makes man, man, it would be the oldest principle; but this is not the case. Neither the ego nor the astral body nor the etheric body was owned first by man, but the physical body — it is the oldest. The first rudiments of the physical body were formed as far back as on ancient Saturn, but you must not imagine that this body looked then anything like the body of today. When you consider the present physical body you observe in the first place something solid, a skeleton, that firmly constituted part described as “solid”; next you observe fluid constituents of many kinds; further, the physical body is permeated by air or gas; lastly, you find in it something which, considered occultly, is substantial — namely, warmth, inner warmth.
Let us now consider man as regards this inner warmth and his outer environment. His warmth does not depend upon his environment, in a cold environment he does not, like the minerals, become cold, he is not forced to regulate himself according to his environment, he has within him the source of his own heat. Were you now to think everything solid away from man, also everything liquid and everything gaseous; if you imagine his physical body formed only of warmth, such warmth as pulses in your blood, you will have what was present on ancient Saturn. But that body was not formed as it is now, it had only the most rudimentary germs of a form. This was particularly the case in the middle of the Saturn period, for Saturn had initial, middle, and final conditions. It would be very difficult to describe the early condition of Saturn, because few people have developed the capacity which would enable them to think of the conditions of Saturn before it became condensed to the consistency of warmth.
When in spirit you transport yourselves to those times of a primeval past, you must not imagine that had you been able to observe Saturn from somewhere in space you would have seen anything. Saturn had no light, it did not shine; only towards the end of its development did it begin to do so. Had you approached it in the middle of its evolution you would only have perceived its warmth, it was like an oven without external limits, but which limited itself: you would have entered an area of warmth.
You must not imagine this body of warmth as being uniform or homogeneous; if you had been sensitive to differences of warmth you would have found that there were lines of warmth within it in all directions, that they stretched on every side; you would have “felt out” warmth formations. The whole of Saturn consisted of forms of warmth alone, and these were the original foundations of the human physical body. Saturn did not go beyond this in any way that was fruitful for human evolution.
We will now pass on to the Sun evolution. After a period of rest Saturn changed into the Sun formation. Externally it is the case that in the middle of the Sun period a condensation of its substance took place. The Sun consisted not only of warmth, but also of gas and air (in the occult sense), and everything within the Sun passed through its evolution under conditions only possible in warmth and air.
To begin with, the following took place: The human being, who as he consisted only of warmth could not assume an etheric body, was permeated on the Sun by an etheric body; he now consisted of two principles, namely, a physical body and an etheric body. Man's physical body on the Sun was, however, quite different to what it is now. Let us try to form an idea, if only a rough one, of the physical body upon the ancient Sun. Imagine that we have breathed in air and that the breathed-in air has passed into us. This air is now permeated with a certain degree of warmth. Now think away everything but the in-breathed air, which in effect forms an image of the whole human body; think away all the solid and the liquid parts, keeping only the air and the warmth in mind. You then have in imagination a form before you such as would appear if you considered merely the in-breathed air and its activity. If you observed the form of this in-breathed air and the warmth the human being contains you would have approximately the form man had at the middle of the Sun period.
You might now ask: If we have lines of warmth and, in addition to these, currents of gas which form the physical body, how does the clairvoyant see this gas in the Akashic Record? He perceives it in a special way. When the warmth condenses into air and no other conditions are present (as is the case now on earth, where the sun pours in from outside) the moment this gas or air separates from the form of warmth it begins to shine. Hence upon the Sun the physical body was a kind of germinal body of warmth, composed of gaseous or airy currents, which glittered in the most wonderful way and shone with varied colours. The entire Sun-globe consisted of shining warmth-bodies, which were the primary rudiments of our human physical bodies. On the Sun man rose a stage higher; he added an etheric body to the physical body. It was man himself who, as part of the structure of the Sun, radiated forth the illuminating power of light into space; his physical body, through taking into itself the etheric body, became luminous. The physical body was now at the second stage of its progress towards perfection, but the etheric body, which first became luminous on the Sun, was only at its first stage.
Let us now follow man's further progress. The Sun gradually passed over into the Moon incarnation, having meanwhile entered into a condition of rest. On the material side the airy formation condensed to a watery one, and thus the fluid element arose. The ancient Moon was in fact a fluidic body, in it you might again have found physical human bodies as plastic structures, consisting now of flowing sap, or watery constituents, in which currents of air coursed just as breath and warmth intermingle in man's body today. The physical body now consisted of three parts water, gas or air, and warmth; and the etheric body which it had previously possessed now passed over with it into the Moon period. Man was now in a position to assimilate an astral body, and from this time onwards he consisted of three principles: the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body.
During the Moon period it was not possible for all the Beings connected with it to maintain the same rate of progress in their development. It was not only during the development of our Earth, but also earlier, during the Moon development, that the Sun separated off from the common world-body; so that in the middle of the Moon period we have two spheres — the Moon (earth plus moon) and the Sun, which as you know had departed along with the most advanced of the Spiritual Beings. Through the withdrawal of the finer forces and higher Beings the grosser had been left behind upon the Moon; this planet therefore (Earth plus Moon) began to densify and harden. You must realize that even during the ancient Moon period the Sun with its Beings worked for a time from outside upon the backward Moon-body.
It will now be necessary to describe more in detail these bodies which had remained behind after the departure of the Sun, for we went through a portion of our evolution upon them.
On Saturn there was only the physical body of man; he was at the mineral stage. Upon the Sun he raised himself to the vegetable stage, he had then physical body and etheric body, but at this stage certain beings became backward, they did not rise so high as to the human-plant existence upon the ancient Sun, they remained at the Saturn stage. These were the forerunners of certain animals of the present day. Man's past reaches back to ancient Saturn, whereas the forerunners of a certain portion of our present animal kingdom had its origin only on the Sun as a second kingdom to that of man. From the same cause (the remaining behind of certain beings) man, when he had worked himself upward on the Moon to a condition when he was the possessor of three principles, was surrounded by two other kingdoms; one a kingdom which on the Moon had remained behind at the stage of plants, and one that was still at the stage of minerals, these last were the forerunners of our present plants.
Our mineral kingdom did not as yet exist on the Moon. It came into existence last, as a sort of deposit from the other kingdoms. Of course anyone who affirms such things knows very well that it seems nonsense according to present ideas to say that plants could originate without the basis of a mineral kingdom, but formerly conditions were entirely different. In fact, upon the ancient Moon man developed in the animal kingdom; animals in the vegetable kingdom; and at the time when the Moon was separated from the Sun all the kingdoms were arranged in the following way: —
- The human kingdom (really animal kingdom, consisting of physical body, etheric, and astral bodies).
- The animal kingdom (really vegetable kingdom, consisting of physical and etheric bodies).
- The vegetable kingdom (really mineral kingdom, because it consisted only of a physical body).
Our present mineral kingdom did not as yet exist.
Now, when the Moon and Sun separated the Beings and forces of the Sun were completely liberated from the gross material of the Moon, so that they could act all the more strongly. The result was that all three kingdoms were raised about half a stage higher. The human astral body was lifted out of its close connection with the lower principles, so that viewing man at the beginning of the Moon period with his physical, etheric, and astral bodies, one would later have perceived a change. Through the Sun having departed and having begun to shine from outside, the astral and etheric bodies were partly liberated. The consequence was that something happened which we must try to picture in the following way: Imagine that the man of today consisted only of physical body, etheric body, and astral body; and that there now came an external force which pushed out man's etheric and astral bodies; to the clairvoyant these would now exist outside him, but through these two bodies being liberated from the weight of the physical body man could be raised about half a stage upward in evolution.
Something like this took place at the time of which I am speaking; man was lifted up, he became a Being standing midway between the present man and the present animal. In a Spiritual sense he was, however, guided and directed by the exalted Sun-Powers.
In like manner the two other kingdoms were raised about half a stage, so that about the middle of the Moon period we do not find our present kingdoms, but intermediate ones: we have a human-animal kingdom, an animal-vegetable kingdom, and a vegetable-mineral kingdom.
We on the earth walk upon a solid mineral ground; the Beings of the ancient Moon walked on what was the lowest kingdom of the Moon — the vegetable-mineral. This basic substance of the Moon was not a mineral substance such as we have on the earth, but something that was half-alive. One has an approximate idea of what this basic substance of the Moon was if we think of something resembling a mossy bog or boiled spinach, a kind of mush, but living, bubbling. There were no rocks projecting out of this mass, but there was something like dense, woody, vegetable masses, horny structures; and these took the place of our present rocks. To clairvoyant vision it appears as if man moved upon a vegetable-mineral foundation which later underwent condensation and became the stones of today. From out this substance grew the animal-plants. These were more or less firmly rooted; they were more movable, it is true, than plants are now, but they grew out of this viscous element and had a certain degree of sensation when touched. Animal-man rose from out the finest substances; he by no means reached down into the grossest, but formed his physical body from the finest substances.
This physical body, which was in a continual state of transformation, had a very strange appearance: the clairvoyant is unable to discover upon the ancient Moon a human head such as man possesses today. Although the physical body was still soft and fluidic, he can find only animal-like heads, and from out this animal-head formation the etheric and astral bodies projected.
To physical sight all these animal-men had various forms that recall our present animals, but they only remind us of these; it is only when we rise from physical sight to astral vision that we perceive the higher nature of the animal-man of the Moon. Such were the denizens of the ancient Moon.
When we examine closely the course of human development and culture, in so far as it is of a mental and spiritual nature, we find in many instances that the myths and legends that have been handed down to us are in many respects wiser than our present-day science. When more is known about the spiritual foundations of the world men will recognize in many of the myths, legends, and fairy tales a truly deep wisdom, deeper than science, which has apparently progressed so far.
Let us return for a moment to the ancient Moon, in the basic substance of which only the ancient animal-plants could flourish, and let us leave the study of the further development of the Moon itself. We must clearly understand that all these Moon-beings were the forerunners of the present Earth-beings. Our present mineral kingdom has sprung from the vegetable-mineral of the Moon epoch, from the animal-plants have sprung our present plants, and from the backward animals, men. From those men who do not progress have sprung the largest portion of our present day animals. Thus we see that our minerals, our plants, our animals, and our human beings are really the descendants of the Beings of the ancient Moon.
There is today a remarkable plant which does not thrive in a mineral soil, namely, the mistletoe. It is remarkable because when observed clairvoyantly it is seen to be different from other plants. It exhibits rudiments of an astral body passing into the mistletoe, as is the case with animals. Although this plant has no sensation it has something appertaining to the outer form of animals. This is because it belongs to those backward plant-animals of the Moon period, which were unable to become plants, and on this account cannot thrive on a mineral soil, but require other plants on which to take root.
The mistletoe has preserved the condition of the ancient Moon. The ancestors of some of the European peoples knew this fact and embodied the knowledge in a wonderful legend. The Germanic and Norse peoples recognized in Loki a power still belonging to those forces which passed from the field of activity on ancient Moon to the Earth. When the earth became Earth it came under the influence of other forces, which these ancient peoples symbolized in the God Baldur. He represents all those forces which work upon mature earth-beings, but those who had remained at the Moon stage felt an inner relationship to Loki, the Moon-God. Hence arose the wonderful legend telling how once upon a time when the Gods were playing, all creatures swore an oath that they would not injure Baldur; the mistletoe alone did not take this oath. Why? Because it is not related to the earth forces incarnated in Baldur, but is a backward Moon-creation, and so has power to injure the basic earth-force — Baldur. Loki had to be served by a being belonging to himself. This legend has its origin deep down in the hidden foundations of the world. Further, when we know that in many respects what is opposed to healthy development must be of service to unhealthy development, we understand the wise intuition of our forefathers which led them to look to the mistletoe for special curative forces and juices. They knew that of which we have just spoken, hence the role they gave to the mistletoe. From this example we can see that profound wisdom regarding the evolution of the world is frequently hidden in myth and legend.
Through the withdrawal of a part of the etheric and astral body of the animal-man upon the Moon the necessity arose, even at that time, for a change of consciousness. But we must first speak of another development which ran parallel with this.
Each of the stages of development — that on Saturn, Sun, Moon, and Earth — was at the same time a stage in the development of consciousness. Upon Saturn, consciousness was dim ... it was at the first stage. Such consciousness as we have in dreamless sleep — the consciousness possessed by eternally sleeping plants — is clearer than that which man had upon Saturn, which may be compared to the consciousness of minerals. Only on the Sun did man rise to a consciousness such as is possessed by plants; through the astral body, which he received upon the Moon, his consciousness rose one degree higher, to that which we designate picture-consciousness. This may be compared in a certain sense with our present dream-consciousness, although our dreams have meaning only in exceptional cases. Upon the Moon this was different, the pictures which then rose and disappeared signified something. When another being approached a man he was unable to perceive its outer form and colour, but he perceived something which rose within himself (much as is now the case in dreams); a picture rose within him of the inner nature of the approaching being, and in accordance with the colour and character of this picture he knew whether this being was friendly towards him or the reverse — whether he should remain or flee.
As already stated, a change of consciousness took place upon the Moon during the time when the Sun was outside; there were periods of alternating consciousness, times when consciousness was more vivid, and times when it was dimmer. Today we have interchanging periods of day and night. In the morning man draws into his physical body and etheric body, and the eternal world with its beings and objects rises before him. Everything around him becomes light and clear because he makes use of his senses, but at night when he goes forth with his ego and astral body, he has no instruments wherewith to perceive; everything is dark around him.
In the same way, dreamless-sleep consciousness, which was first given to man on the Sun, alternated with the waking, earth-consciousness. These conditions were already prepared for on the ancient Moon. At that time the etheric and astral bodies were not continuously outside man, there were periods when they sank into his physical body; for the ancient Moon already moved round the Sun, and this rotation brought about conditions in which man was shone upon by the Sun at certain times, and not at others. Through this an exit and entrance of the etheric and astral bodies into the physical body were brought about. The change was certainly not so strongly contrasted as at present.
During the periods of the withdrawal of these bodies from the Moon, when man was shone upon by the forces of the Sun, he was in clear consciousness — in spiritual consciousness he perceived that which was spiritual clearly, and when his etheric and astral bodies sank back into the physical body his consciousness became darkened. You see, it was the reverse of present conditions.
For long, long periods of time, alternating states of clear and dim consciousness occurred upon the Moon, and it was in the dim state of consciousness that — without man being aware of it — what is called fructification took place. In order that the powers of reproduction might be developed, and that man might bring forth, his higher being had to sink down into the physical body, and when it was released it rose again into the higher world. At that time preparation was gradually made for what has since been fully developed upon earth. Through the separation of the Sun, and because of its having given stronger forces to its creatures, man along with all the other beings was able to develop more highly. If the Sun had been limited for a longer period by the ancient Moon it could not have acted so powerfully; but once it was released from the hindrance of the Moon-substances, the Moon and all its denizens were advanced rapidly. After a time the Moon had attained such maturity that it could again be absorbed by the Sun. This was followed by a condition when all the planets which had been separated could also be again absorbed, when they all reentered the spiritual state of rest which we call Pralaya.
After this pause there came forth once more what we may call the first etheric germs of the Earth-body, out of which at a later period — everything was again differentiated.
Now let us enquire: Whence came the physical body upon Saturn, whence came the etheric body on the Sun, and the astral body on the Moon?
These questions go to the very root of the matter. Anthroposophists do not enquire like many who imagine they are enquiring philosophically. For there are people who ask: Whence comes this or that? and when answered they ask further and further without end. This is only done as long as the inquirer has not risen to a spiritual observation of the world. Reasonably, one must come at last to a point where the significance of questions ceases. One might ask: Whence come these furrows on the road? The answer is: A cart passed this way. Then comes the further question: Whence came the cart? And one might answer: A man on certain business was using it. They then ask: What kind of business? At length the questions would come to an end; you would have been led so far that you would have arrived in quite different realms. If the subject of the interrogation is concerned with an idea, one only arrives if one remains in abstractions, at endless questions. But in concrete observations one arrives at last at Spiritual Beings, and one then inquires no longer: Why are they doing this? But one asks: What are they doing? It is necessary that one should educate oneself to see the limitations of questions.
Occult observation reveals that in the beginning, when ancient Saturn began to be formed, certain Spiritual Beings poured forth the fundamental substance of Saturn — warmth — from their own substance as a sacrifice. They had matured so far that they did not need to absorb anything as nourishment, they were even in a position to sacrifice themselves to pour out their own substance. These Beings are the Thrones. It is they who through their sacrifice formed the foundations of the human physical body. One who can occultly observe the physical body on Saturn can say: It has flowed forth from the substance of the Thrones. The physical body changes from stage to stage, it develops ever higher, but that which we bear within us is always the transformed substance of the Thrones.
We will now pass on to the Ancient Sun. Here the etheric body was added to the physical body. Here again are Spiritual Beings lower than the Thrones, whom we call Spirits of Wisdom. They had not developed far enough on Saturn to be able to pour out their own being, but on the Sun they had progressed far enough, and there now flowed from them the substance of their etheric body. Since the Sun period we carry within us our etheric bodies; these are of the substance of the Spirits of Wisdom.
Upon the Moon the astral body was added to us. Here again there were Spiritual Beings who sacrificed their substance. These were the Spirits of Motion. Lastly we pass from the Moon to the Earth.
Here other Beings pour their force into us — we receive the Ego. To the three members we already possess is now added the “I.” This is bestowed on us by the Spirits of Form or Exusiai; they are the Elohim, who give to us their Sun-light, also Jehovah, who, from the moon, gives form to the human spirit. Herein we see the cooperation of the two categories of Spirits of Form who from outside endow man with the rudiments of his Ego.
Thus we find that from stage to stage Spiritual Beings incorporate within human evolution: on Saturn the Thrones; on the Sun the Spirits of Wisdom; on the Moon the Spirits of Motion or Dynamis; and on the Earth the Spirits of Form — Jehovah and the Elohim. From all these Beings man has received his present shape and formation, they have allowed their own Being to pour into him. In the Bible we are clearly shown how the Being of one of the Spirits of Form streamed into the Being of man. Profound secrets lie behind what is found in the Torah.
Imagine that one of the Spirits of Form united himself to the Moon as Jehovah, that from thence he worked as a Spirit of Form upon man, and, bestowing on him that which gave to him his divine form, “God made man after His Own image.” He gave to him the form of the Gods. The Spirits of Form gave to man the human form, that is, the divine form. The Elohim poured the sun-force as light upon the earth. The God Jehovah renounced the outer form of light; he streamed to earth as a darker God, thus limiting Himself to the period between birth and death. Through the air, which the light penetrates, the Spirits of the air made themselves his companions. If we wish to form a picture of what streams physically and spiritually from the sun to the earth we have to see the sun's rays caught by the moon and returned to man; we have to see these rays bringing with them that which streams to us from the Jehovah Spirit; and how with them comes also that which exists spiritually in the air.
The moment in which Jehovah poured forth His principle of force, permitting part of His Being to flow into man, is indicated in the Bible in the words: “Jehovah poured into man the living breath, and he became a living soul.”
Such a statement ought to be taken quite literally, and we must try to understand what it really contains. A thrill of awe pervades us when we begin to understand such a statement, and when we learn its meaning; telling as it does that after the Thrones on Saturn, the Spirits of Wisdom on the Sun, the Spirits of Motion on the Moon had poured their principles into man, then — on the Earth — the Spirits of Form pervaded him. It is this mighty moment that is referred to in words of the Bible quoted above.
In the next lecture we shall learn further of the Elohim and Jehovah, and how they cooperated with Luciferic Beings throughout the Atlantean epoch and on into our own.