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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Supersensible Man
GA 231

A Course of five lectures given at The Hague, 13th to 18th November, 1923, on the occasion of the founding of the Anthroposophical Society in Holland.

The translation of these lectures has been made by Mary Adams from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer and published in German under the tide: Der übersinnliche Mensch anthroposophisch erfasst.

Lecture I November 13, 1923
The spirit-forms of the planets, the movements of the planets, the Cosmic Rhythm and Melody, the Cosmic Speech, have their several microcosmic counterparts in the form of man's skin and sense organs, in his nervous and glandular systems, in his internal organs and blood circulation, and in his muscular and bony systems. The activity of the Hierarchies in each of these members of man's being is described.
Lecture II November 14, 1923
Man's journey through the spiritual worlds after death. His whole form becomes a physiognomy, expressing his moral and spiritual character. He meets those who are connected with him by des- tiny; he “grows together” with them, and on reaching the Sun sphere their common destinies shine forth into the Cosmos. After the “Midnight Hour of Existence,” the return journey begins. The four kinds of world, — physical and perceptible by the senses, neither physical nor perceptible, perceptible but not physical, physical but not perceptible.
Lecture III November 17, 1923 a.m.
The journey is further described. In the Moon sphere are the primeval Teachers of mankind, but also cosmic forces related to the sub-human in man, and Ahrimanic Beings. In the Mercury sphere man finds the Beings of the Third Hierarchy. In the Venus sphere he meets with the powers of Cosmic Love. In the Sun sphere he feels the influence of the Second Hierarchy and begins to see Earth life as a “world beyond.” Sun-substance, thrown out as comets and meteorites, contains the cosmic iron by means of which Michael mediates between the super-sensible and the material worlds.
Lecture IV November 17, 1923 p.m.
In the Mars sphere man experiences Cosmic Speech, in the Jupiter sphere Cosmic Thought, and in the Saturn sphere Cosmic Memory. In the region of the Fixed Stars, influences from boundless spirit-worlds begin to form the head for the next incarnation. As man then returns through the Spheres, the foundations are laid in each for the corresponding earthly faculty; and in the Sun sphere, while the spiritual archetype of the heart is being formed, man has a growing sense of his own self-contained existence — distinct from the great Universe. As he now gradually approaches Earth, his spiritual consciousness, which has been clear and vivid, begins to fade and is transformed into forces of growth.
Lecture V November 18, 1923
Imaginative perception brings man into a new relationship with the minerals; contemplating the quartz crystals on the mountain side, he feels himself one with the Earth and with the whole Cosmos. To Inspired perception the metals within the Earth reveal the Soul of the Earth, the metal ores become for man cosmic memories. In the smelting of metals by fire, yet deeper spiritual knowledge is revealed. Man learns how the Creative Powers of the World metamorphose in their interworking between Earth and Cosmos; he sees them at work in the little child who is learning to walk, to speak and to think; he sees them too in the hidden working of human destiny. Becoming thus inwardly united both with the secrets of Nature and with the secrets of the Spirit, man knows himself to be a Microcosm, a “little world”