The Foundations of Esotericism
Berlin, 26th October 1905
We are now living in the Fifth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race. This Root-Race is usually called the Aryan Race and includes as the First Sub-Race the Ancient Indian, which developed in the region of Southern Asia. A primeval Southern Asiatic population dwelt there long, long before the coming into being of the Vedas. Everything we have in the Vedas is a faint echo of that infinitely profound religious wisdom which was taught by the Ancient Rishis. Later we find in the near East the Ancient Persian Race which received its religious teaching and its culture from Zarathustra. 65This refers to the actual or first Zarathustra. In the public lecture on ‘Zarathustra’ 19.1.1911 Turning Points in Spiritual History, Rudolf Steiner says: ‘Greek historians have frequently pointed out that the period ascribed to Zarathustra must be placed very far back, between 5000 to 6000 years before the Trojan War’. The later Zarathustrian cultures in Asia are but echoes of this teaching. Then as the Third Sub-Race, we find the Egyptian, Chaldean, Babylonian, Assyrian peoples, out of which the Semitic-Jewish civilisation gradually developed. There then arose the Fourth Sub-Race, the Graeco-Roman civilisation in Southern Europe, which lasted until the ascent of the Germanic peoples in Northern, Central and Western Europe. Two further civilisations are yet to follow. Seven Sub-Races together form a Root-Race.
The preceding Root-Race inhabited Atlantis, that part of the Earth which later was flooded by the Atlantic Ocean. To this Root-Race belong the following Sub-Races: Firstly the Rmoahals, secondly the Tlavtlis, thirdly the Toltecs, fourthly the original Turanians, fifthly the original Semites, sixthly the Akkadians, seventhly the Mongols.
Still further back we come to the continent of Lemuria, between Africa, Asia and Australia. There we come into times with quite other conditions. Then we go still further back to the Second Root-Race, the Hyperborean, and to the First Root-Race, the Polarian. Now therefore two Sub-Races and two Root-Races are still to follow.
As we go back we come to a human being composed of an ever finer and finer substance. At the beginning of its evolution, the Earth consisted of fine etheric substance. At that time all beings were also made up of such substance. At the end of its evolution the Earth will again consist of this fine etheric substance. Such conditions through which the Earth passes, beginning with the finest etheric substance, then becoming densified and again returning to a condition of fine physical etheric substance, constitute a Globe. Thus the physical Globe develops out of a still finer condition than that of the finest physical ether. The etheric develops out of the astral and returns to the astral.
On the preceding Globe all beings were in an astral condition. Today the astral Globe no longer floats somewhere or other in heavenly space but the beings which were upon it densified and the astral Globe densified with them. This Globe is the Earth itself. The transition from the astral Globe to the physical is a transformation of condition. On the astral Globe also seven successive conditions developed. One has become accustomed in theosophical literature to call these conditions Races; thus there were seven astral Races. The astral Globe also densified only gradually to astral substance. Earlier the astral Globe was still finer and indeed consisted of substance out of which our thoughts are woven today. For this reason it is called mental substance and the Globe a Mental-Globe. There on this Mental-Globe existed seven successive Mental-Races of humanity with all that was connected with them. Preceding this there was a still finer condition of development, of even finer substance; the Arupa Mental-Globe; ‘Arupa’ because no actual forms existed, but everything was only indicated. These one calls four Globes; in reality however, they are four successive forms of the Earth. Thus we have seven Rounds.
Now let us follow the course of the physical Earth until it reaches the end of its evolution. It again passes over into an etheric Earth, then into an astral Earth. On the previous astral Earth the beings were still indeterminate, receiving their form from forces outside themselves. When man is again on an astral Earth he will be able to give himself his own form. On the previous astral Earth Jehovah and his hosts had given man his form. On the plastic-astral Earth however man will give himself his form out of his inner force; hence this is called the ‘plastic’ Globe and in this respect the following Globes, a Rupa and an Arupa Globe will have similar conditions. Man must refine himself so completely that finally he will only be like a seed, in a germinal condition containing everything which he has absorbed into himself. All experiences are then within him, as though concentrated in a point as force. The seeds that were present on the First Globe did not yet contain this. On the Last Globe however the seeds contain everything that they experienced on the different Globes.
Between the single material stages of these Globes there is no gradual differentiation, but a somewhat abrupt process. Just as one can take salt, dissolve it in water and let it crystallise again, so a Globe comes into a sleeping condition (Pralaya) and out of this emerges the following Globe. Between two waking conditions the Globes go through a short sleeping condition. When man arrives at the last, seventh stage he goes through a longer sleeping condition. He is enriched and can again proceed on his way at a higher stage. For this reason he must first go through a longer Pralaya. This longer Pralaya is however not an undifferentiated, uniform sleep condition but very differentiated.
When someone has so far developed occult faculties that he sleeps consciously in dreamless sleep he has developed a Devachanic consciousness. This enables him to follow what takes place between death and a new birth. This consciousness can be enhanced. Then he has the faculty of observing what takes place between the Globes. As a third stage of consciousness he becomes able to observe what goes on between the Rounds. This third condition therefore corresponds to a consciousness between two Rounds. To be able to observe what takes place between two Earth lives is the first degree of higher consciousness; between two Globes the second, and between two Rounds the third degree. Conscious sleep, which leads to this awareness is of a quite different nature.
Between the last Round of a Planetary condition and the first of the one which follows, five further conditions lie on the other side of consciousness. The seven Rounds and the five conditions of Pralaya are together called the twelve stages of the Cosmic Year. Then the whole thing is gone through again, but at a higher stage.
We are now in the Fourth Round of the Earth and three others preceded it. Before the germs of man as he is today were there, the human being was already three times present in a seed-like condition; once in every Round. In each Round we have seven stage of development which are called Globes, and again seven on every Globe, which are called Races. Seven such Rounds together make up a Planetary condition or evolution. The First Round began with an Arupa condition and densified to the Earth. Four times already has our Earth become physical. Three times will it become so again. Every such densification and dissolution belongs to a Round. Seven such Rounds are called a Planetary System or Evolution.
When the first Earth Round emerged, everything that had descended from what had developed on the Old Moon was there germinally. Between the last Moon-Round and the first Earth-Round there was a long Pralaya condition. At that time the Moon-men were the human forefathers, standing between present day man and present day animals, according to their lower nature. Present-day animals are Moon-men descended to a lower level and human beings are Moon-men who have ascended higher. But on the Moon the plants too are different from those of today. The plant kingdom stood between the present mineral and plant kingdoms, similar to a peat bog that is half mineral and half plant. The Old Moon was actually a great plant. Its ground consisted of intertwined plants. At that time rocks did not exist. The plant-like mineral kingdom first densified on the Earth to the present mineral kingdom. Our present quartz, malachite and so on have consolidated out of the Moon plants; the Dolomites have arisen out of primeval plants. Thus on the Moon there was a kingdom lying between the mineral and the plant. In this was rooted the Moon vegetation; it needed the Moon ground. The kinds of vegetation that on the Earth have not found a connection with the soil have become parasitic, they must still always grow on plants, for example the mistletoe. This grows on plants, just as on the Old Moon all vegetation grew on a half plant-like foundation. Loki, the Moon god, killed Baldur with the mistletoe, the Moon plant. So we find on the Moon:
A kingdom between the mineral and plant kingdoms
A kingdom between the plant and animal kingdoms
A kingdom between the animal and human kingdoms.
These were the seeds which came over to the Earth.
During the First Earth Round the human kingdom gradually separated itself off. Man became more human, the animal more animal. The external body of man became slowly more human. During the Second Round the animal kingdom separated itself off, during the Third the plant kingdom, during the Fourth the mineral kingdom. Then man made a further ascent. The first three Rounds were repetitions of earlier conditions and a preparation, in order in the Fourth Round, in the Lemurian Race, to take up something new. Now man works upon the mineral kingdom. A time will come when, as the product of his activity, he will have worked over and transformed the mineral kingdom, so that no particle will then remain whose nature has not been changed by the artifice of man. Then the whole can be transmuted into pure astral forms.
That is the redemption of a kingdom. In the Fourth Round man will have redeemed the mineral kingdom, when he will have transformed it by his work upon it. Then everything goes into Pralaya; no mineral kingdom will be there, but the whole Earth will have become a plant. Man will then have been raised half a stage higher and everything else with him; for example in the Fifth Round, Cologne Cathedral will grow as a plant.
One is not working in vain when one gives form to the mineral kingdom. The Cologne Cathedral will eventually grow as plant world out of what will then be the ground. In the atmosphere of the Fifth Round, we find in living cloud formations everything which today has been painted. There we have to do with a repetition at a higher stage where all our work in the mineral world around us grows.
In the Fifth Round we redeem the plant world, in the Sixth the animal and in the Seventh Round the human kingdom. Then man will be mature enough to tread a new Planet. In order that he might develop upwards, the other kingdoms had to some extent to be pushed downwards and he must later redeem them. After the Seventh Round and a Pralaya he will go over to another Planet.
Seven Rounds plus seven Globes, and added to each of the latter, seven Races, together make up three hundred and forty three conditions of the Earth. The entire Earth evolution has the purpose of creating in man waking day-consciousness, whereas the purpose of the entire Moon evolution had the purpose of developing in man picture consciousness. This was preceded by dreamless sleep consciousness on the Sun; at that time man was still a sleeping plant. A still earlier condition, that of deep trance, was present on Saturn, a condition which today still appears in certain pathological cases. Thus the purpose of single planetary evolutions is to develop successive conditions of consciousness.
- Old Saturn = Deep Trance-consciousness
- Old Sun = Dreamless Sleep-consciousness
- Old Moon = Dreaming Sleep or picture consciousness
- Earth = Waking consciousness or awareness of objects
- (Future) Jupiter = Psychic or conscious picture-consciousness
- (Future) Venus = Super-pyschic or conscious life-consciousness
- (Future) Vulcan = Spiritual or self-conscious universal consciousness
Just as now human circumstances conform to fundamental laws of Nature, so in the future will they conform to what is moral. They will be graded in accordance with the stages of Karma, seven degrees of morality (ethical human categories). The caste system is a precursor of this later moral gradation. Categories of Karma will be indicated in this way.