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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Theosophy of the Rosicrucian
GA 99

X. Planetary Evolution II

3 June 1907, Munich

WE spoke yesterday about the various incarnations of our Planet, about the Saturn and Sun incarnations, and we will only briefly bring to mind that man on the Sun-planet, the forerunner of our Earth, was developed to the degree of having a physical body and an etheric body, that he had therefore risen to a kind of plant-existence. I have also told you how different this plant existence was from that which you know in the surrounding plant world today. We shall see that plants as they surround you today have only arisen on our planet Earth. We have also to a certain extent described how these human ancestors on the Sun, inasmuch as they had an etheric body, brought to expression in the physical body chiefly those organs which we know nowadays as the glandular organs of growth, reproduction and nutrition. All this was to be seen on the Sun as on our Earth we see rocks, stones and plants. There was in addition a kingdom that we can call a backward Saturn kingdom, which contained the elements of the later mineral. There is no question of mineral as we know it today being present on the Sun, but there were bodies which had not acquired the power of receiving an etheric body and which had therefore in a certain respect remained behind at the mineral stage that man had formerly passed through on Saturn. We must therefore speak of two kingdoms as being formed on the Sun. People have become accustomed in theosophical writings to say that man has gone through the mineral, the plant and the animal kingdoms. You see that is an inexact way of talking, the mineral kingdom on Saturn was quite differently formed. In its formations the first germs, the earliest indications of our sense organs were prefigured. Nor was there a plant kingdom on the Sun like the present one, but all that lives in man today as organs of growth was of a plant-like nature, i.e., all glandular organs; they were plant-like because they were permeated by an etheric body.

Now we must imagine that this Sun-existence passed through a kind of sleep condition, a darkening, a dormant period. You must not think, however, that the passing of a planet through a sleep-condition meant a sort of inactivity, a condition of nothingness. It is just as little inactive as the Devachan condition of man. The human Devachanic state is no inactive one; on the contrary, we have seen that man exists there in continuous activity, and co-operates in the development of our Earth in the most important way. It is only for the modern consciousness of man a kind of sleep state; for another consciousness, however, it appears as a much more active, more real condition. All these transition periods denote a passing through celestial, higher conditions in which important things for the planets are carried out. The theosophical expression for them is “Pralaya.”

We will now imagine that the Sun has passed through such a condition and that from the Sun there has developed the third stage of our Earth, called in occultism the Moon. If we had been able to observe this process, we should have been shown somewhat as follows: We should have seen in the course of millions of years the Sun existence change and disappear, and after further millions of years light up again after a twilight state. That is the beginning of the Moon Cycle.

When the Sun first lit up again there was no question of a division between Sun and Moon, they were still together as in the Sun period. And next there came about what one calls a recapitulation of the earlier conditions; what had taken place on Saturn and the Sun was recapitulated at a certain higher stage. Then a remarkable alteration took place in the condition of this newly emerged Sun. The Moon gathered itself into a globular mass apart from the Sun; two planets, or rather a fixed star and a planet arose from the old Sun system, a larger and a smaller body were formed: Sun and Moon.

The Moon of which we now speak contained not only what the present moon contains, but rather all the various substances and beings contained in the present earth and moon. If you were to stir all this together you would have that Moon of which we are speaking and which at that time had separated itself from the Sun.

The Sun became a fixed Star by reason of taking out the best substances together with the spiritual beings. As long as it was a planetary Sun it still contained all of this within itself. But since it now gave up to an independent planet everything that had hindered the beings in their higher development it became a Fixed Star. And now we have the cosmic scene before us of a higher evolved body as Fixed Star and moving round this in space a planet that is of lesser worth-the Moon-containing in itself the present moon and present earth.

This movement of the Moon round the Sun was quite different from the movement of our present earth. If you examine this you can distinguish two movements. First, the earth revolves round the Sun, and secondly round itself. Through the latter movement which takes place approximately 365 times in a year, arises, as you know, day and night, and through the former arise the four seasons. This, however, was not the case on the Old Moon. That Moon was in a certain respect a more polite body to its Sun than our earth is, for it always moved round the Sun in such a way as to show it the same side, it never turned its back upon it. While it passed once round the Sun it turned only once round itself Such a different kind of movement, however, had a great effect on the beings who were evolving on the planet.

Now I will describe to you the Moon planet itself. Here I must say, first of all, that the human being was again a little more advanced than on the Sun or Saturn. He had come so far as to consist not only of physical body and etheric body, but there was now the astral body in addition. We therefore now have a human being formed of physical body, etheric body, and astral body, but as yet no ego. The consequence was that the Moon human beings progressed to the third state of consciousness we have described, the picture consciousness, the last relic of which we have in the dream-picture-consciousness of man today. By virtue of the incorporation of the astral body into the other bodies, changes took place in these, and especially in the physical body. We have seen that on the Sun the glandular organs were the most highly developed part of the physical body, and that certain places were interpenetrated by currents which later hardened to the present solar-plexus. Through the work of the astral body upon the physical body on the Moon arose the first beginnings of the nervous system; the nerves attached themselves in a way similar to what you have today in the nerves of the spine.

Now consider one thing; man had as yet no independent. Ego, only the three other bodies were independent. This human ego was in the atmosphere surrounding the Moon, just as formerly the etheric body had been on Saturn and the astral body on the Sun, and from there this ego, embedded in its divine origin, worked upon the physical body. If we remember that at that time the ego still worked as a companion of divine beings, that it had not yet emancipated itself, fallen out from this divine spiritual essentiality, then we see that the ego in its path to earth has undergone in a certain way a kind of deterioration and in a certain way also an advance. An advance inasmuch as the ego has become independent, a deterioration, however, since it has now become exposed to all doubt, errors, wickedness and evil.

The egos worked from the divine-spiritual substance. If an ego works down today from the astral plane on to the physical body, it is a group-soul of the animals. The ego worked at that time into the three bodies from outside as these group-souls today work into the animals. It could, however, create higher bodies than those of the present animal kingdom since it worked from the divine substance. There were living beings on the Moon which in appearance and in their whole nature stood higher than the highest apes today, but not so high as the present man. There was an intermediate kingdom between present man and the animal kingdom. Then there were two more kingdoms, both of which had remained behind. One of these had not been capable of taking up the astral body after the Sun existence and had therefore remained at the stage in which the glandular organs were on the Sun. This second kingdom of the Moon stood between the present animals and the present plants; it was a kind of plant-animal. There exists today on earth no directly similar creature, we can only recognise rudiments of it. There was still a third kingdom, which had preserved the Saturn condition, even on the Sun; it stood between mineral and plant. Thus on the Moon we have three kingdoms: plant-mineral, animal-plant and man-animal.

The minerals of today on which we walk about did not exist on the Moon; there were not as yet what we call rocks, arable land, humus. The lowest kingdom stood between plant and mineral. The whole substance of the Moon consisted of this kingdom. The Moon surface somewhat resembled a peaty soil, on which there were also plants forming a kind of pulpy plant-mass. The Moon-beings went about on a vegetable-mineral mass of a pulp-like consistency. This was the state on the Moon during certain periods of its development-one could also compare it with a boiled lettuce. There were no rocks in the present sense, the nearest approach were certain formations occurring here and there which you can compare with the growths formed by the wood or the bark of certain trees. The Moon-mountains consisted of such lignification, such wooden masses of lignified plant-pulp. It was like a kind of aged plant grown dry. This was the earliest beginnings of the mineral kingdom and upon it flourished those plant-animals; they could make no independent movements, they were fixed to the ground, as the corals are today.

In our myths and sagas, in which lies deep wisdom given by initiates, a memory is preserved of this, and above all in the legend of the death of Baldur. The Germanic Sun-god or god of Light had once a dream in which his approaching death was foretold to him. That made the gods, the Asen, who loved him, very sad; they pondered over means of saving him. The Mother of the gods, Frigga, put all the beings of the earth on solemn oath that not one of them would ever kill Baldur; they all swore and so it seemed impossible that Baldur should ever fall a victim to death. On one occasion the gods were at play, and during the game they threw every possible sort of thing at Baldur without hurting him, they knew that he was invulnerable. Loki, the god of darkness, the opponent of the Asen, cogitated, however, on how to kill Baldur. Then he heard from Frigga that she had made all beings swear not to kill him. Quite outside, however, there was a plant, the mistletoe, which was unaffected, this she disclosed to him; she had administered no oath to it. The crafty Loki took the mistletoe, brought it to the blind god, Hödur, and he, not knowing what he did, killed Baldur with it. So the evil dream was fulfilled through the mistletoe. It has always played a special role in popular custom, something sinister, ghostly, was expressed through it. What was taught about the mistletoe in the old Trotten and Druid Mysteries passed over to the populace as legend and custom.

These are the facts: On the Moon there was this mineral-plant pulp and upon it flourished the plant-animals of the Moon. Now there were some who evolved further and reached a higher condition on the Earth; others, however, had stayed behind at the Moon stage, and as the Earth arose could only assume a stunted form, they had to preserve the habits they had on the Moon. On Earth they could only live as spongers, parasites, on a plant-like foundation. So the mistletoe lives on other trees, since it is a relic left behind of the old plant-animals of the Moon.

Baldur was the expression of what evolves further, of what brings light to the Earth; Loki, on the contrary, the representative of the dark forces, the backward forces, hates what has progressed, has gone on developing; therefore Loki is the opponent of Baldur. None of the creatures of Earth could undertake anything against Baldur, the god who gave light to the Earth, for they were his equals, they had undergone evolution. Only a being still at the Moon-stage and feeling itself united with the ancient god of darkness was capable of killing the god of light. The mistletoe is also a definite curative remedy, as are poisons in general. Thus do we find deep facts of cosmic wisdom in the old folklore and customs.

Now we call to mind the beings on Saturn who had the Ego as the outermost body, and remember that on the Sun there were such as had the astral body as their external sheath. On the Moon there were beings whose external sheath was the etheric body. They consisted of etheric body, astral body, ego, Spirit-self, Life-spirit and Spirit-man and of one member more, the eighth, of which we cannot yet speak in the case of man, the Holy Spirit. We could only have seen them as phantom-like beings in their etheric body; they had at that time the same degree of evolution as man today possesses. Christian esotericism calls them Angels. They are beings who today stand directly above man since they have evolved to the stage of the Holy Spirit; one also calls them Spirits of Twilight or the Lunar Pitris. The Spirits of Ego-hood on Saturn had as their Leader a Being whom man calls the Father-God. The Spirits of Fire on the Sun had as their Leader the Christ, or in the sense of St. John's Gospel, the Logos. On the Moon the Leader was the same Spirit as is known in Christianity as the Holy Ghost. Those beings who had passed through the human stage on the Moon had no need to descend as far as the physical body here on the Earth.

The planetary formations had become ever denser and denser. Old Saturn in its densest state had only a warmth consistency. The Sun in its densest state consisted of what we see today in gases, in air. You must, to be sure, picture these substances as somewhat denser than the present warmth-substance and the gases. And in the Moon-stage the gaseous substances of the Sun had so far densified that they produced that pulpy, thickish, fluid flowing mass of which all the beings, even the highest, the animal-men, consisted on the Moon. You have more or less this substance if you imagine the white of a hen's egg, somewhat thickened, and into this substance of the human being the nervous system was incorporated.

The Moon was surrounded by a kind of atmosphere formed quite differently from that of the Earth. We understand its character if we think of a passage in Goethe's Faust; it is where he wants to conjure up the spirits, he wants to make fire-air—air in which watery, mist-like substances are dissolved, which would then enable spirit beings to incorporate in it. This air permeated by watery substances (one calls it Fire-air, or Fire-mist) was breathed by the beings of the Moon. They had no lungs, even the highest beings breathed through something akin to gills, as present-day fishes do.

This fire-air, called “Ruach” in the Hebrew tradition, can actually be made manifest in a certain way. “Ruach” has been lost to modern man, the old alchemists could, however, set up the necessary conditions for it, and could bring elemental beings into their service by its means. This fire-mist was thus something fully known in the old alchemical times, and the farther back we go, the more power had man to produce it. Our forefathers on the Moon breathed fire-mist. It has evolved further, has differentiated itself into our present air and into whatever has arisen on the Earth under the influence of fire.

The smoke-like, steam-like Moon atmosphere, which had a certain degree of heat, was interpenetrated, at certain times more, at others less, by currents which hung down from the air somewhat like cords, and sank into the human bodies and permeated them. The human body on the Moon hung on a kind of strand, which extended into the atmosphere, as today the child in the maternal body hangs on the navel-cord. It was like a cosmic navel-cord and out of the fire-mist substances entered the bodies comparable to what man himself creates today with the blood. The “I,” however, was outside man and sent through these cords into the bodies something similar to blood, and this substance streamed in and out of them. The beings never came in contact with the Moon-surface, they hovered and circled around it, as if they were flowing and floating. The Moon men-animals moved as the present water animals move in water. It was the work of the angels, the Spirits of Twilight, to let these blood-juices flow into the human beings.

These very different conditions had another consequence. On the Moon a kind of blood-system began. From the cosmos there streamed in and out a substance resembling blood, as now the air streams in and out of the body, and there also arose for these Moon-men a capacity which only appears with the blood. This was the first sounding of inner tones for experiences of the soul. It is only when beings possess an astral body, that sensation arises, and they could express this sensation in tones, and indeed in a remarkable way. They were not definitely formed sounds, they could not have cried out with pain, there was no independence of giving vent to sound, of crying out, but it occurred simultaneously with certain experiences. At definite seasons there took place on the Moon what one could call a development of the propagation impulses, and the inner experiences of the beings at those times could be expressed in sound; otherwise they were silent. At a definite position of the Moon to the Sun, in a certain season, the Old Moon sounded forth into the cosmos. The beings upon it cried out their germinative power into the cosmos. We have relics of this preserved in the cries of certain animals, of the stag, for instance. The cry was more the precipitation of general processes, not of individual experiences which are voluntarily expressed. A cosmic event was finding its expression.

We must take all this as but approximate description, for we are bound to words which are coined for things only come into existence in our Earth period. We should first have to invent a language if we would express what is seen by the eye of the Seer. All the same these descriptions are important, for they are the first way of coming to the truth. Only through pictures, through imagination do we find the way to vision. We should make no abstract concepts, mechanical schemes, nor draw up diagrams of vibrations, but let pictures arise within us; that is the direct path, the first stage of knowledge. For as surely as man was present at that time with his forces, so true is it that if he pictures things to himself, this will guide him to the conditions in which he then existed.

After all the beings on the Moon had passed through their evolution and could ascend to higher stages, the time came when Moon and Sun again united, reverted to one body and so entered into Pralaya. And then after they had gone through this dormant state together, a new existence shone out, the earliest proclamation of our Earth-existence.

Now followed a short recapitulation of the first three conditions on a higher level. First the Saturn existence, then the Sun, and then the Moon once more split off and circled round the other body. But this Moon still had the Earth within it.

Then comes a further highly important change. All that is Earth threw out of itself the present moon. That means the worst substances and beings, the unserviceable, and these are contained in the present moon. All that was flowing watery substance in the Old Moon, is frozen on the present moon (that can be proved by physical means); and what was capable of developing further remained behind as Earth. Higher development takes place on the Earth through the separation of the Old Sun into these three bodies: Sun, Moon and Earth.

This separation happened millions of years ago, in the old Lemurian time. And from those ancient Moon-beings, which have been described as plant-mineral, plant-animals and animal-men have arisen the present mineral, the present plant, the present animal and the man who has become able to receive into himself the Ego which formerly hovered around him and was united with the Godhead. The union of the I with the human being took place after the separation of Sun, Moon and Earth, and from this point of time onwards Man has been capable of developing the red blood in himself, and of ascending to the level he has reached today.