Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Foundations of Esotericism
GA 93a

Lecture XXVI

Berlin, 28th October 1905

Today we shall speak about the Fourth Earth Round. In the course of our whole evolution we have seven Planetary conditions: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan; and in connection with each Planet we must consider seven Rounds. The passing through a Round may also be called a Kingdom, and the Fourth Round on the Earth we call the Mineral Kingdom. We are now on the Fourth Planet, in the Fourth Round and within this Round in the Fourth Condition of Form or Globe. The Fourth Round is always physical.

Thus we stand exactly in the middle of our Earthly evolution. This is frequently felt to be something extraordinarily important for man. We have behind us three Planets, three Rounds, three Globes and the same number still lie before us. But if we were standing on the Old Moon, we should see yet another Planetary condition before Saturn; if we were standing on future Jupiter we should no longer see Saturn, but in its place a Planet beyond Vulcan. The exact middle of our present evolution was with the Fourth Sub-Race of the Fourth Root-Race, with the original Turanians, the Fourth Atlantean Sub-Race.

A kind of spiritual darkness came about at a certain moment of evolution. Humanity entered into a dark age. This dark age is called Kali Yuga. What man knows today he still knows from the standpoint that was his in earlier epochs of his development. At the end of the Fifth Round mankind will once again be able to see spiritually, having the capacity of looking both backwards and forwards.

The Fourth Earth Round began with the emergence of the first Arupa Earth Globe from the darkness of Pralaya, in which everything had been dissolved. Then all that exists on the Earth today was present in a formless state as thoughts. We can gain a right concept of this when we limit ourselves as far as possible to what is physical and imagine this as thought seeds. The forms were not yet present, but only the thoughts preceding their manifestation. If we ask: Who then had these thoughts, we receive as answer: These were the thoughts of spiritual beings who are in connection with the Earth. Such spiritual beings as, for example, Jehovah and his hosts, who accomplished everything around us on the earth. At that time all thoughts were present as thoughts of the spiritual beings in the Arupa-Globe.

What was it then that caused the Gods to have as their aim just this thought of man? What was it that gave them the model? It was the Monads which were already present, but not yet connected with human beings. Slowly men developed as thoughts of the Gods.

Now the Arupa-Sphere densified; everything emerged as thought-forms. The whole Earth was filled with these; it was as though one were looking into a great model filled [with] small crystals. Present within it as models were all the forms of human beings, animals and plants. Spiritual beings worked on these as a master builder works on his models. They were put together from outside. The whole then passes over into astral substance. The astral Earth-Globe came into being. In between there were short Pralayas. Now again we have to do with the outwardly-working divine powers who poured forth the astral substance, filling the forms with light and colour. Here are to be found all the astral forms of human beings and animals, as well as the whole plant kingdom, in a great astral sea. This then densified ever more and more and the physical Earth arose as the Fourth Globe.

Until then, until the beginning of the Fourth Round, Sun and Moon were still united with the Earth; they formed one body with the Earth. During the great Pralaya preceding the First Earth Round, they had again merged with the Earth; and during the first three Earth Rounds the three remained together. There then arose a kind of biscuit form. In the Third Earth Round, out of the Earth-Sun-Ball, on one side the Earth protruded like a swelling, on the other side the Moon. At that time the main body actually trailed around with it two such sacks. Only in the Fourth Earth Round did the body regain its spherical form; then however there again arose the sack-like formations in the ether, protruding from both sides.

Thus here we have to do with an Earth that is still united with the Sun and also with the Moon. At that time most life was in the region between the Moon and the Earth. This has been correctly preserved in the Mohammedan Paradise saga.

Now the following occurred. When the Second Root-Race of the Fourth Earth Round approached, the Sun separated itself off, and in the Third Root-Race the Moon did so also. Everything evolved physically which previously had only been present on the astral Globe. Now too man appeared physically, but organised in such a way that he could take the Monad into his progressively purified astral body. Had man taken the Monad into himself earlier, he would have received with it Manas, Buddhi and Atma. He would have become very wise, but the wisdom would have been a kind of dream wisdom.

At first man had no power over the physical body and the etheric body. He could also do nothing about the lower passions coming over to him from the Moon; these appeared of necessity until the time when he entered upon the Earth epoch. If man had simply taken up the Monads into the ennobled animality he could not have fallen into error. He would have become what Jehovah had intended, endowed that is to say with all wisdom, but at the same time formed into a living statue. Then those beings intervened, who on the Moon had developed more quickly than in the ordinary course of Moon evolution. Lucifer is a power who has enthusiasm for wisdom which is as intense as the sense life of animals. He is equipped with all those things that come over from the Moon. If Lucifer alone had taken responsibility for evolution a battle would have arisen between him and the old Gods.

Jehovah's aim was the perfection of form. Lucifer would have been able to develop in astral substance his passion for premature spirituality. The result would have been a violent battle between the Jehovah-spirits and the hosts of Lucifer. There was the danger that through Jehovah some human beings would become living statues and that others would be too quickly spiritualised through Lucifer. Means of bringing about equilibrium would have to be obtained elsewhere. In order to annul the battle between Jehovah and Lucifer, the White Lodge, which was just in its beginning, had to obtain material from one of the other planets. This differed essentially from the astral substance that had come over from the Moon, from the astral-kamic animal substance. The possibility arose of leading over substance from other planets: new passions, less vehement but conceived on the basis of independence. The new material was brought over from Mars.69See further in lecture 15.2.1908 in The Influence of Spiritual Beings upon Man. Thus in the first half of our Earth evolution astral substance from Mars was introduced. A great advance was brought about through the introduction of this astral substance from Mars.

External civilisation on the Earth arose through the fact that hardening on the one side and spiritualisation on the other side were prevented. Lucifer made use of what had been given by the Mars forces. The new state of the Earth was given the name of Mars. Things continued in this way until the middle of the Atlantean Race. Then a new question arose. Man had absorbed wisdom, but in the future it would not be possible for wisdom alone to manifest in a form-creating way. One would have been able to build up the mineral kingdom through Lucifer, but Lucifer could not have given it life. Man could never have imparted life under the influence of the other powers. This was why a Sun God had to come, a higher being than Lucifer. There still existed what are known as the Solar Pitris. The most exalted among these is Christ. As Lucifer represents the Manas element, so the Buddhi element is represented by Christ.

The human astral bodies had still to receive a third impact. This was brought down from Mercury. Christ united his sovereignty with that of Lucifer. If one has the will to ascend the heights in order to find the way to the Gods one needs Mercury, the Divine Messenger. He is the one who prepared the path of Christ from the middle of the Atlantean Root-Race onwards in order later to enter into the astral bodies, which had received the mercurial element.

All our present metals have only gradually become what they are now. Gold, silver, platinum and so on all pass through certain conditions. When they are heated they become first hot, then liquid, then gaseous. This latter was once the condition of all metals in the gaseous Earth. Gold too first densified with the Earth: at one time it was entirely etheric gold. When we go back to the time when the Earth was still united with the Sun, there was as yet within it no solid gold. The particles of the white Sun-Ether became first fluid and then solid. These are the veins of gold which are now in the Earth. Gold is solidified sunlight. Silver is solidified moonlight. All mineral substances have gradually solidified. When human beings become ever more spiritualised, quicksilver will also become solid. At one time gold and silver formed drops just as water does now. The fact that mercury is still fluid is connected with the whole process of Earth evolution. It will become solid when the God Mercury has fulfilled his mission. In the middle of the Atlantean Root-Race quicksilver was brought down from Mercury in etheric form. Had we not had quicksilver we should not have had the Christ-Principle. In the drops of quicksilver we have to see what was incorporated in the Earth in the middle of the Atlantean epoch.

When the Mars Principle (Kama-Manas) was incorporated into the Earth, iron was brought down to the Earth from Mars. Iron originates in Mars. It was at first in astral form and later densified. When we trace the Earth to that period of time we find ever fewer warm-blooded animals. It was only in the middle of the Lemurian Age that warm blood made its appearance together with the Mars impulse. Iron came into the blood at that time. It is iron that in all occult writings is brought into connection with Mars, quicksilver with Buddhi-Mercury. Certain people learned this from the Adepts. The Earth was therefore understood as Mars and Mercury. Everything that did not originate from Mars and Mercury has come over from the Moon.

The days of the week are an image of planetary evolution. The sequence of the planets is inscribed in a wonderful way in the days of the week.













Tuesday, Mardi




Wednesday, Mercredi




Thursday, Jeudi




Friday, Vendredi


(the octave to Saturn)



In the saying that Christ trod on and crushed the head of the serpent70Luke Chapter 10 verse 19. we find a profound expression of esotericism. The serpent's head is mere wisdom; this must be overcome. True wisdom lies in the heart; this is why the serpent's head must be trodden underfoot. In the Hercules-Saga71See lecture 7.10.1904 in Greek and Germanic Mythology the same truth has already been expressed. He kills the Lernaean Hydra, whose head always grows anew. Mere Manas will always come again. Hercules must keep the blood at a distance (Kama), then the Hydra will be conquered. Blood came into the Earth with the Mars-Wisdom (Kama-Manas).

Deep meaning lies in many other things. The separation of the Moon preceded the Mars-Age. The Moon contains silver. Still earlier took place the separation of the Sun. Gold is condensed sunlight, hence the Golden Age; Moonlight and silver: the Silver Age; Mars and iron: the Bronze Age.72The Golden Age – Krita Yuga = about 20,000 years
The Silver Age – Treta Yuga = about 15,000 years
The Bronze Age – Dvapara Yuga = about 10,000 years
The Dark Age – Kali Yuga = about 5,000 years
Our Age comprises a future 2,500 years
Compare with the lectures The True Nature of the Second Coming 1910.

We are now in the middle, in the Fourth Globe. On the Fifth Globe there will arise the faculty of organising oneself from within outwards. Then the Earth will be transformed into a sphere on which man will create his form from within outwards. The Earth will then be a “Plastic” Globe. The Sixth Globe is the one on which the human being not only works plastically on his form, but will be able to place his own thoughts into the form. On the Fifth Globe man will be able, for instance, to form a hand; on the Sixth Globe he will be able to send his thoughts out into the surrounding world. On the Seventh Globe everything will again become formless. Everything will pass over once more into the seed condition.

We will now consider our present Ego. There are within it a multitude of mental images and concepts. When we observe the civilised world today we say: It is out of the Ego that the civilised world has arisen. All this was once within a human head; it was contained within the ego. From out of all this it was put together. All the things constructed by human skill have been born out of the Ego. In the middle of the Lemurian Age the Ego was still empty; man could as yet do nothing. Only gradually did he learn in the most primitive way to know the world from outside. His Ego was at that time like a hollow soap-bubble. When he saw a stone, it was reflected into him; perhaps he saw a sharp edge on it and with it he began to chip other stones. In this way he started to work formatively on the mineral world. What was in his surroundings reflected itself more and more into what was at first his empty Ego. At the end of the physical Globe everything will be present as reflected image in our Ego. When at last we have all this within us we will form it from within outwards. This will be the “plastic” condition on the next Globe. The master-builder of Cologne cathedral gathered his impressions into his ego. This content of his Ego will be vivified by Buddhi and later, on the Fifth Globe he will give all this form. On the Sixth Globe all this will be present as thought and on the Seventh Globe everything will be drawn together into the atom. In the next Round man will create the new plant kingdom out of the Ego.

In the middle of the Lemurian Age the Ego was like a hole bored into matter. All our Egos were at that time such holes in matter which since then we have filled up. In the next Round their content will issue in plant form, for in this Fifth Round there will take place with the plant kingdom what is now taking place with the mineral kingdom. The whole Earth will then be an immense, single living Being. Man will have achieved a conscious life of feeling and perception, and will then give it form outside himself. In the Sixth Round there will no longer be a plant kingdom; man will then allow living thoughts filled with feeling and perception to go out from himself as pure intellectual formations. In this Sixth Round on the Sixth Globe, in its Sixth Stage of development, corresponding to the Sixth Race, an important decision will be taken. Everything will have reached the Devachanic condition that has been able to develop out of all the kingdoms. If anyone has not progressed to the point that he can be raised to the stage of Devachan, he will remain in the animal state. This will take place according to the number 666, the number of the Beast.

In the Seventh Round humanity will be completely purified. The human kingdom will then attain its zenith. This Round is the quickest. The human being, when he emerges from it, will have become a God and will carry his development over to Jupiter.

In every Round the first Globe, or condition of form, is of such a nature that in fact we have not yet to do with a form, but the form is only present as incipient plan. This is why esotericism does not reckon the Arupa-Globe among the conditions of form, but with the conditions of life; this is the case also with the Seventh Globe, the Archetypal. Thus we have only five conditions of form. The first and the last Globes of each Round are conditions of life. All the conditions of the Rounds are also called conditions of life, because passing through a Kingdom represents a condition of life.

In the First Round life was in the First Elementary Kingdom, in the Second Round in the Second Elementary Kingdom, in the Third Round in the Third Elementary Kingdom, in the Fourth Round in the Mineral Kingdom. In the Fifth Round life will be in the Plant Kingdom, in the Sixth Round life will be in the Animal Kingdom and in the Seventh Round life will be in the Human Kingdom.

When one considers life in the Human Kingdom in the Seventh Round, this sheds its light into the next Round when man will have passed over into another condition of consciousness. The purpose of a Round consists in achieving a new stage of life. The purpose of the Seventh Round is to lead over into a new stage of consciousness. Thus the esotericist only reckons six conditions of life, counting the Seventh Round as a new condition of consciousness.

If we wish to write down in numbers the conditions of life, form and consciousness we get five Globes or conditions of form, six Rounds or conditions of life, ten Planets or conditions of consciousness. If we count the whole evolution from Saturn to Vulcan, we have expressed what we find with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky as the number of the Prajapatis 1065, that is to say, 10 – 6 – 5.