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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Awareness - Life - Form
GA 89

Names of the days in the week and human evolution

Enclosure in a letter to Marie von Sivers dated 25 November 1905

The evolution of our planetary system is reflected in the days of the week. We only need to be clear in our minds that esoterically the Earth has to be replaced by the two planets Mars and Mercury. The first half of Earth evolution, from the beginning to the middle of the Atlantean period (1st 2nd 3rd and half the 4th race) relates to Mars, the second half (half of 4th 5th 6th 7th race) to Mercury. When the spirits which had evolved on Moon emerged from the darkness of pralaya (1st round of Earth), human beings had developed the following as potential: 1) physical body (from Saturn); 2) ether double-body (from Sun); 3) sentient body (from Moon). Following everything laid down as potential on Moon, it was now possible for the sentient soul to develop in addition—without any external influence—in the first Earth half (1st 2nd 3rd round); the sentient soul itself fused with the sentient body. In accord with the trend following the straight line of evolution, the human being was thus made in such a way that it would solidify as an entity made up according to the system shown in Fig. 2.

Bodies of Man
Fig. 2

Something new was needed if the human being was to develop further. Powers had to be planted on to the Earth in the first half of its evolution which had not come to it from the three earlier cosmic bodies. The spirits that guided Earth evolution took such powers from Mars during the first half of this evolution, and from Mercury during the second half. The Mars powers gave renewal to the sentient soul (astral body). It became what in my Theosophy is called rational soul. With the powers gathered from Mercury, this rational soul was reinvigorated so that it did not stop at its own level of evolution but opened up to be spiritual soul. And within the spiritual soul, the ‘Spirit Self’ (manas) was born. This will be the principle to govern man on Jupiter. It will be the same with the life spirit (budhi) on Venus, and with atman on Vulcan. Putting the different aspects of the human being parallel in this way to the planets and their powers, in so far as the latter have a part in developing those aspects, we get the scheme in Fig. 3.

Bodies of Man
Fig. 3

Man was not on Mars; but his rational soul has the esoteric relationship to this planet that its powers have been brought down from it. In terms of space we have to consider that before it grew etheric (i.e. physical) itself in its fourth round, the Earth had gone through Mars, which was etheric at the time. In diagrammatic form, it would be like Fig. 4.

Bodies of Man
Fig. 4

This passage actually continued on into the physical Earth period; during it, the guiding spirits took the kama matter needed for the rational soul from Mars, and as this matter has its physical vehicle in the warm blood (the Ares blood of the fighter human being), iron was incorporated in the Earth at that time, being a component of the blood.

In the same way, man will never truly inhabit Mercury, yet he has been connected with Mercury’s kama matter (really kama-manas matter) from the middle of the Atlantean world, and the guiding spirits have provided the human spiritual soul with powers deriving from this. The physical vehicle to come to Earth due to this Mercurial influence is mercury (quicksilver). Once the earth has reached the stage of plasticity, it will pass through Mercury in terms of space. The earth itself will then be astral, Mercury etheric. In diagrammatic form it would look like Fig. 5.

Bodies of Man
Fig. 5

The initiates laid this whole evolutionary progress down in the sequence of days in the week:

  1. Saturday = Saturn day
  2. Sunday
  3. Monday
  4. Tuesday = mardi = Mars day (diu being the Germanic Ares, Mars or god of war)
  5. Mercury day = mercredi = Woden’s day (Woden/Wotan being the German Mercury; see Tacitus’ Germania)
  6. Jupiter day = jeudi = Thor’s day (Thor being the Germanic Jupiter)
  7. Venus day = vendredi = Frig’s day (Frig being the Norse Venus)
  8. Vulcan day was not established, as this is a recapitulation, just as octave is recapitulation of the tonic.
Occult schools teach another system of days which does not contradict the first but is compatible with it. The system is that each day is divided into four, with a planet assigned to each part. The whole is based on the sequence of planets in terms of their distance from Earth (Fig. 6).
Bodies of Man
Fig. 6

The sequence of planets for the quarters of days is thus Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, after which one starts again with Moon, Mercury, etc. The 7 days are over when Moon comes in first place again.

The system is based on the ratio 4 : 7 (tetragram). The meaning is that for the first part of the day, one of the basic parts is related to the planet to which it belongs in terms of powers (Fig. 7).

Bodies of Man
Fig. 7

Such a system shows us how the human being is built on the basis of the macrocosm, and therefore relates in many different ways to the changes in relative position of bodies in the macrocosm.