Torquay, 16 August, 1924
I have already spoken of the different states of consciousness which can be developed out of the forces of the human soul. Initiation-knowledge is dependent upon the fact that our knowledge of the world stems from these different states of consciousness.
Today we propose to ascertain how man's relationship to the world is determined by these different states of consciousness. First of all, let us recall that a single level of consciousness, that of daily waking consciousness, suffices to meet the needs of everyday existence. In our present epoch man has the possibility of developing two further states of consciousness in addition to his normal waking consciousness, but initially they cannot serve as valid criteria for immediate purposes of knowledge.
The one is the state of dream consciousness in which man experiences reminiscences of his daily life or faint intimations of the life of the spirit. But in ordinary dream life these reminiscences and intimations are so distorted, so commingled with uncorrelated, grotesque images and symbols that nothing can be learnt from them.
If, with the aid of Initiation-knowledge, we wish to know what realm man inhabits when he dreams, the answer would be somewhat as follows: in normal life man possesses a physical body, the body which is perceptible .to the senses and which is an object of scientific study. This is the first member of man's constitution, the member which everyone imagines he understands, but which in effect, as we shall see later, he understands least of all today.
The second member is the etheric body which is described in more detail in my publications, especially in my book Theosophy. The etheric body or body of formative forces is a delicate organization, imperceptible to ordinary sight. It can be perceived only when man has developed the first state of consciousness which is able to accompany the dead in the first years after death. This etheric body is more intimately linked with the Cosmos than the physical body whose whole organization is more independent.
The third member of man's constitution — it seems best to adhere to the old terminology — is called the astral body. This is an organization that is imperceptible to the senses; neither can it be perceived in the same way as the etheric body. If we were to try to perceive the astral body with the cognitive faculty by means of which we perceive the external world today or with the insights of the next higher consciousness that is in touch with the dead, we should see nothing but a void, a vacuum, where the astral body is located.
To sum up: man possesses a physical body that is perceptible to the senses; an etheric body perceptible to Imagination by virtue of the forces that can be developed through the practice of concentration and meditation in the manner already indicated. But if we try to perceive the astral body with the aid of these forces, we meet with a void, a spatial vacuum. This void is filled with content only when we attain the emptied consciousness which I have described, when we can confront the world in full waking consciousness in such a way that, though sensory impressions are obliterated and thinking and memories are silenced, we remain none the less aware of its existence. We then know that in this void we have our first spiritual vehicle, the astral body of man.
A further member of the human organization is the Ego itself. We perceive the Ego only when the emptied consciousness is progressively developed.
When we dream, our physical and etheric bodies are detached from the astral body and Ego which are in the spiritual world, but we cannot perceive with the astral body and Ego if we possess only normal consciousness. We perceive external impressions of the world around because the physical body is endowed with eyes and ears. At the present stage of man's evolution we find that in ordinary life his astral body and Ego, unlike the physical body, are not endowed with eyes and ears. Thus, when he withdraws from his physical and etheric bodies in order to enter the dream-state, it is as if he had a physical body in the physical world bereft of eyes and ears, so that all around were dark and silent. But it was never intended that the astral body and the Ego should always remain without organs, without eyes and ears of the soul. Through spiritual training of which I have spoken in my books, it is possible to awaken these spiritual organs in the astral body and Ego and thus to see into the spiritual world through the insight born of Initiation. Then man withdraws from his physical and etheric bodies and perceives the spiritual, just as in his physical and etheric bodies he perceives the physical, and in a certain sense, the etheric as well. The man who achieves this insight then achieves Initiation.
Now what is the position of the ordinary dreamer? Try and imagine concretely the process of falling asleep. The physical and etheric bodies are left behind in the bed whilst the astral body and Ego slip out of the physical vehicle. At this moment the astral body is still vibrating in harmony with the physical and etheric bodies. The astral body has participated in all the inner activities of eyes and ears and of the will in the functioning of the physical and etheric bodies throughout the day. The astral body and the Ego have shared in all this. When they quit the body, the vibration continues. But the day experiences, as they continue to vibrate, come in contact with the surrounding spiritual world and there arises a chaotic, confused interplay between the activity of the external spiritual world and the continued vibrations of the astral body. The individual is caught up in all this and is aware of the confusion. All that he has brought with him has left its impact upon him, continues to vibrate and becomes the dream.
It is obvious that this will contribute little to the understanding of reality. What is the position of the Initiate? When he slips out of his physical and etheric bodies, he is able to obliterate the reminiscences and after-vibrations that still persist. He suppresses, therefore, all that proceeds from the physical and etheric bodies. Moreover through concentration, meditation and the development of emptied consciousness, the Initiate has been able to acquire eyes and ears of the soul. He does not now perceive what is happening within himself, but what is happening in the spiritual world outside him. In place of dreams he now begins to perceive the spiritual world. Dream consciousness is a chaotic counterpart of spiritual perception.
When the Initiate has first developed these inner astral organs, clairvoyance and clairaudience, he finds himself in a continual state of conflict and endeavours to suppress these reminiscences, these after-vibrations from the physical and etheric bodies. When he enters into the world of Imaginations, when he has an intuitive perception of the spiritual, he must fight a continual battle to prevent the dreams from asserting themselves. There is a continual interplay between that which seeks to dissolve into dreamlike fantasy and delude him, and that which represents the truth of the spiritual world.
Ultimately every aspirant becomes familiar with this conflict. He comes to realize that, at the moment he strives to enter consciously into the spiritual world, he experiences recurrent after-images of the physical world, disturbing images that intrude upon the true pictures of the spiritual world. Only through patience and persistence can he resolve this intense inner conflict.
Now if we are too easily satisfied when dream images flood our consciousness, we may readily dream ourselves into an illusory world instead of entering into a world of spiritual reality. The aspirant, in effect, must possess an exceedingly strong, intelligent inner control. Imagine what this demands of him. If we are to speak of spiritual investigation, or of methods for attaining to the spiritual world, we must draw attention to these things. If we wish to take the first steps towards an understanding of the spiritual world, we must show real enthusiasm for the task. Inner lethargy, inner indifference or indolence are obstacles in the path of its fulfilment. Our inner life must be active, lively and responsive. But there is a danger of losing ourselves in day-dreams, of spinning a web of illusion. We must be able, on the one hand, to soar into the empyrean on wings of fancy and, on the other hand, we must be able to temper this inner activity and responsiveness with prudence and sober judgment.
The Initiate must possess both these qualities. It is undesirable simply to indulge one's emotions; it is equally undesirable to submit to the dictates of the intellect and to rationalize everything. We must be able to strike a balance between these two extremes. We must be able to dream dreams and yet be able to keep our feet on Earth. As we enter into the spiritual world we must be able to participate in the dynamic world of creative imagination, but at the same time have firm control over ourselves. We must have the capacity to be a poet richly endowed with imagination, yet not succumb to its lures. We must be able, at any moment in our search for spiritual knowledge, to be fired by a creative impulse. We must be able to control the drift towards a world of fantasy and rely upon practical common sense. Then we shall not become victims of illusion, but experience spiritual reality.
This inner disposition of soul is of vital importance in true spiritual investigation. When we reflect upon the nature of dream consciousness and recognize that it conjures up chaotic images out of the spiritual world, we realize at the same time that, in order to acquire spiritual knowledge, the whole force of our personality must now enter into the psychic energy that otherwise persists in a dreamlike state. Then for the first time we begin to understand what ‘entering into the spiritual world’ implies. I said that dream consciousness conjures up the spiritual. This would appear to contradict the statement that the dream consciousness also conjures up pictures derived from the corporeal life. But the body is not only physical, it is wholly permeated with spirituality. When someone dreams that an attractive and tasty meal is set before him and he proceeds to consume it, though he has not a tithe of the cost of the meal in his pocket, then in the symbol of the meal he is presented with a picture of the real spiritual, astral content of the digestive organs. There is always a spiritual element in the dream despite the fact that the spirit has its seat in the corporeal. The dream always contains a spiritual element; but very often it is a spiritual element associated with the body. It is necessary to realize this fact. .
We must understand that when we dream of snakes, their coils are a symbol of the digestive organs or of the blood vessels in the head. We must penetrate into these secrets, for we can only arrive at an understanding of these subtle, intimate elements that must be developed in the soul when we undertake spiritual investigation through the science of Initiation and give the closest attention to these matters.
The third stage through which man passes in ordinary life is that of dreamless sleep. Let us recall this condition: the physical and etheric bodies lie in the bed; outside these bodies are the astral body and Ego-organization. The after-vibrations and reminiscences from the physical and etheric bodies have ceased. It is only in his Ego and astral body that man inhabits the spiritual world. But, having no organs, he cannot perceive anything. Darkness surrounds him; he is asleep. Dreamless sleep means that we live in the Ego and astral body and are unable to perceive the vast, majestic world around us. Take the case of a blind man. He has no visual perception of colours and forms. So far as these are concerned, he is asleep. Now picture a man living in his astral body and Ego, but without organs of perception. In relation to the spiritual he is asleep. Such is man's condition in dreamless sleep. The purpose of concentration and meditation is to develop spiritual eyes and ears in the astral body and Ego-organization. Then man begins to behold the spiritual plenitude around him. He perceives spiritually with that which in normal consciousness is lost in sleep and which he must rouse from its slumber through meditation and concentration. The otherwise uncoordinated elements must be integrated. Then he gazes into the spiritual world and shares in the life of the spiritual world in the same way as he normally shares in the life of the physical world through his eyes and ears. This is true Initiation knowledge. One cannot prepare a person for spiritual perception by external means; he must first learn to organize effectively his inner life which is normally so chaotic.
Now at all times in the history of humanity it was an accepted practice to prepare selected individuals for Initiation. This practice was interrupted to some extent during the epoch of extreme materialism, i.e. between the fifteenth century and today. During these centuries the real significance of Initiation was forgotten. Men hoped to satisfy their quest for knowledge without Initiation and so they gradually came to believe that only the physical world was their proper field of enquiry. But what is the physical world in reality? We shall not come to terms with it if we consider only its physical aspect. We only understand the physical world when we are able to apprehend the spirit that informs it. Mankind must recover this knowledge once again, for today we stand at the crossroads. The world presents a picture of disruption and increasing chaos. Yet we know that amidst this chaos, this welter of dark, obscuring passions that threaten to destroy everything, the intuitives are aware of the presence of spiritual powers who are actively striving to awaken in man a new spirituality. And preparation for Anthroposophy consists fundamentally in listening to this voice of the spirit that can still be heard amid the clamour of our materialistic age.
I said that in all ages men endeavoured to develop the human organization in such a way that they could perceive the spiritual world. Conditions varied according to the epoch. When we look back to ancient Chaldean times, or to the epoch of Brunetto Latini, we find that men were more loosely linked with their physical and etheric bodies than is the case today when we are firmly anchored in those bodies. And this is to be expected; it is the inevitable consequence of our education today. After all, how can we expect to communicate with spiritual beings when we are compelled in many cases to learn to read and write before the change of teeth? Angels and spiritual beings cannot read or write. Reading and writing have been developed in the course of human evolution in response to physical conditions. And if our whole being is orientated towards purely scientific investigation we shall obviously have difficulty in withdrawing from our physical and etheric bodies.
Our present age finds a certain satisfaction in ordering our entire cultural life in such a way that we cannot have any possibility of spiritual experience when we are separated from our physical and etheric bodies. I have no wish to inveigh against our contemporary culture, nor do I wish to criticize it. It is the inevitable expression of the epoch. I shall discuss the implications later; meanwhile we must accept things as they are.
In ancient times the astral body and Ego, even in waking consciousness, were much more loosely associated with the physical and etheric bodies than they are today. The Initiates, too, were dependent upon this loose association of the bodies that was natural to them. Indeed, in the remote past, nearly everyone could be initiated into the Mysteries. But it was only in the far distant times of the primordial Indian and old Persian cultures that everybody could be raised above his human station.
Then, in later epochs, the selection of candidates for Initiation was limited to those who had little difficulty in withdrawing from their physical and etheric bodies — men whose astral body and Ego enjoyed a relatively high degree of independence. Certain conditions were a prerequisite for Initiation. This in no way prevented every effort being made to bring the aspirant to the highest stage of Initiation commensurate with his potentialities. But beyond a certain point success depended upon whether the aspirant could attain to independence in his astral body and Ego easily or only with difficulty. And this was determined by his makeup and natural disposition. Since man is born into the world, he is inevitably dependent upon the world to a certain extent between birth and death.
The question now arises whether man today is subject to similar limitations when embarking on Initiation. To a certain extent that is so. Since I wish to give a full and clear account in these lectures of the true and false paths leading to the spiritual world, I should like to point out the difficulties in the way of Initiation today.
The man of ancient times was more dependent upon his natural endowments when he became an Initiate. Modern man also can be brought to the threshold of Initiation, in fact, through appropriate psychic training he can so fashion his astral body and Ego-organization that he is able to develop spiritual vision and perceive the spiritual world. But in order to complete and perfect this vision he is still dependent today on something else, something of extreme subtlety and delicacy. I must ask you not to come to any final conclusions about what I shall say today until you are familiar with the content of my next lectures. I can only proceed step by step.
In Initiation today man is dependent to a certain extent on age. Let us take the case of a man who is thirty-seven when he begins his Initiation and has good expectations of life. He begins to practise meditation, concentration or some other spiritual exercises, either under guidance, or independently, in accordance with some instruction manual. As a result of repeated meditation on some theme, he acquires, first of all, the capacity to look back over his life on Earth. His earthly life appears before his inward eye in the form of a uniform tableau. Just as in normal three dimensional vision objects are situated in Space — the front two rows of chairs and their occupants here, over there a table and behind it a wall; we see the whole in perspective in simultaneity — so at a certain level of Initiation we see into Time. One has the impression that the passage of Time is spatial. Now we see ourselves at the age of thirty-seven. We had certain experiences at thirty-six, at thirty-five and so on, back to the time of our birth. In retrospect we see a uniform tableau before us.
Now let us assume that at a certain stage of Initiation a man reviews his life in retrospect. At thirty-seven he will be able to look back into the period from birth to the age of seven approximately, the time of the change of teeth.
Then he will be able to look back into the period between the ages of seven and fourteen, up to the age of puberty. And then he is able to look back into the period between fourteen and twenty-one and the rest of his life up to his thirty-seventh year. He can survey the panorama of his life in spatiotemporal perspective, so to speak. If he can add to this perception the consciousness born of the emptied waking consciousness, a certain power of vision flashes through him. He acquires insight, but his insight assumes widely different forms. The experiences from birth to the age of seven, from the age of fourteen to twenty-one, and those of later years evoke different responses in him. Each life-period responds in its own way; each period has its own power of vision.
Now let us consider the man of sixty-three or sixty-four. He is able to look back over the later periods of his life. The period between the ages of twenty-one and forty-two appears relatively uniform. Then follows further differentiation. There are significant differences in his perceptions between the ages forty-two to forty-nine, forty-nine to fifty-six, fifty-six to sixty-three. All these periods are an integral part of his make-up. They represent the spiritual aspects of his life on Earth. If he develops this inward vision, he sees that his different insights are dependent upon the level of his being at a particular age. The first seven years of childhood awaken in him a different insight from that of the years between seven and fourteen. In the period of adolescence, from fourteen to twenty-one, it is again different; the years between twenty-one and forty-two bring further differentiation, to be followed in its turn by the somewhat differentiated powers of insight that belong to the later periods of life.
Let us assume that we have acquired the capacity to have memory-pictures of our life experiences and, in addition, have attained the insight derived from the emptied consciousness which has obliterated the memory-pictures. The forces of Inspiration now become operative, so that we no longer survey our life-periods through the physical eye, but through the spiritual eye, the new organ of vision. Through Inspiration we have reached a point when we no longer conjure up pictures of our life-periods with their separate happenings, but perceive them through spiritual eyes and ears. At one time we see clairvoyantly the life-period between seven and fourteen, at another clairaudiently the period between forty-nine and fifty-six, just as formerly we heard and perceived in the external world when we used our eyes and ears. In the world of Inspiration we make use of the power derived from the period between the ages of seven and fourteen and from the period between the forty-second and forty-ninth years. In this world the life periods become differentiated organs of cognition. Thus we are, to a certain extent, dependent upon our age for the range of our vision. At thirty-seven we are perfectly capable of speaking from first-hand experience of Initiation, but at the age of sixty-three we would speak with deeper knowledge, because, at that age, we have developed other organs. The life-periods create organs. Now let us assume that we propose to describe personalities such as Brunetto Latini or Alanus ab Insulis, not from information derived from books, but from clairvoyant knowledge. (These examples will be familiar to you because we have already spoken of them in the last few days.) If we try to describe them when we have reached the age of thirty-seven, we discover that we are in touch with them spiritually in the awakened consciousness of sleep. We can converse with them, metaphorically speaking, as we do with our fellowmen. And the strange thing is that when they discuss spiritual matters with others, they can only speak with them from their present level of wisdom and inner spirituality. Then we realize how very much we can learn from them. We must listen to them and accept in good faith what they have to teach.
Now you will realize that it is no light matter to stand in the presence of a personality such as Brunetto Latini in the spiritual world. But if we have made the necessary preparations we shall be able to determine whether we are victims of a dream delusion or in the presence of a spiritual reality. It is possible therefore to evaluate the communications we receive.
Suppose, then, at the age of thirty-seven we were to converse with Brunetto Latini in the spiritual world. This should not be taken literally, of course. He would talk to us of many things; then, perhaps, we should like to have more precise, more detailed information. Thereupon he would say: ‘in that case we must retrace our steps from the present, the twentieth century, back through the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries, to the century in which I lived when I was Dante's teacher. If you wish to accompany me along this path you must wait until you are a little older, until you have a few more years behind you. Then I can tell you everything and satisfy your thirst for knowledge. You can become a high Initiate, but, in reality, you cannot accompany me along this path into the past by spiritual volition alone.’ — For this to be possible you must have grown older. If you wish to make certain of returning without hindrance to the spiritual world with the person in question, you must have passed your forty-second year at least and have reached the age of sixty.
These things will show you the deeper aspects of man's being and the significant part they play in youth and age. Only when we draw attention to these things are we in a position to understand why some die young and others live to a ripe age in their different incarnations. I shall have more to say about this later.
We have seen how man, as he develops, progressively deepens and extends his perception of the spiritual world. I have shown how his relationship with a being existing as a discarnate soul in the spiritual world, such as Brunetto Latini, changes with the conditions of evolution, depending on whether he uses for spiritual perception the organs developed in youth or in age.
The panoramic survey of the world and its evolution that unfolds before the soul of man in this way can be extended to other fields. The question is: in what way can we enlarge human consciousness, human insight, and give it another direction? Today I will indicate one such direction and enter into further details in the following lectures.
In the normal consciousness of our earthly life we know only the Earth environment between birth and death. If there were an end to our chaotic dream life, if we were to have perception in a state of deep, dreamless sleep instead of normal consciousness, we should no longer experience a purely Earth environment around us. But we are, in effect, endowed with other conditions of perception and consciousness than the normal.
Let us now consider the following: our everyday consciousness is related to our immediate environment. Since we cannot see into the interior of the Earth our immediate environment is the sphere of normal consciousness. Everything else in the Cosmos, Sun, Moon and all the other stars shine into this sphere. Sun and Moon send down to Earth clearer indications of their presence in the Cosmos than the other heavenly bodies. Physicists would be astonished if they could experience in their own way — for they refuse to consider our approach — the prevailing conditions in the sphere of the Moon or the Sun. For the descriptions given in the text-books of astronomy, astrophysics and the like are wide of the mark. They offer only the vaguest indications. In ordinary life when we wish to make a person's acquaintance and later have an opportunity of speaking to him, we do not normally say: I have only a vague impression of this person; he must retreat to a distance where he is almost out of sight. Then I shall have a much clearer impression of him and will describe him.
The physicists of course have no choice; it is the result of necessity and they can only describe the stars when they are a long way off. But a transformed and enlarged consciousness lifts us into the world of stars. And the first thing we learn from this is to speak of these worlds of stars quite differently from the way in which we speak of them in ordinary life.
In normal consciousness we see ourselves standing here on Earth, and at night the Moon over against us in the heavens. In order to see differently, we must enter into another kind of consciousness and sometimes that takes a considerable time. When we have attained this consciousness and are able to perceive our experiences, all that we have lived through from birth to the age of seven, to the change of teeth, with the consciousness that is in touch with the dead, with a consciousness that has achieved Inspiration and so become inner power of vision, then we see a totally different world around us. The ordinary world grows dim and indefinite.
This other world is the Moon sphere. When we have attained to this new consciousness, we no longer see the Moon as a separate entity, we are actually living in the Moon sphere. The Moon's orbit traces the furthest limits of the Moon sphere. We know ourselves to be within the Moon sphere.
Now if a child of eight could be initiated and could review the first seven years of its life, it could live in the Moon sphere in this way. Indeed, a child would not have the slightest difficulty in entering into the Moon sphere because it has not yet been corrupted by the influences of later years.
Theoretically this is a possibility; but, of course, a child of eight cannot be initiated.
When we use the power derived from the first life-period, from birth to the age of seven, for spiritual vision, we are able to enter into this Moon sphere which is radically different nom the sphere perceived by ordinary consciousness. An analogy will help to illustrate my point.
In embryology today the biologist studies the development of the embryo from the earliest stages. At a certain stage in the development of the embryo a thickening of the membrane occurs at an eccentrically situated point on the external wall. Then encapsulation takes place and a kind of nucleus is formed. But whilst this is clearly visible under the microscope, we cannot say: this is nothing but the germ, the embryo, for the rest is also an integral part.
The same applies to the Moon and the other stars. What we see as the Moon is simply a kind of nucleus and the whole sphere belongs to the Moon. The Earth is within the Moon sphere. If the germ could rotate, this nucleus would also rotate. The Moon's orbit follows the boundaries of the Moon sphere.
The ancients who still knew something of these matters did not speak therefore of the Moon, but of the Moon sphere. The Moon, as we see it today, was to them only a point at the furthest boundary. Every day this point changes position and in the course of twenty-eight days traces for us the boundaries of the Moon sphere. When our inner experiences between birth and the seventh year become inspirational vision, we acquire the power to enter into the Moon sphere as our perception of the Earth is gradually lost.
When the experiences of the second life-period, between the change of teeth and puberty, are transformed into inspirational vision, we experience the Mercury sphere, the second sphere. We live together with the Earth in the Mercury sphere. The experiences of the Mercury sphere only become visible through the organ of vision that we can create for ourselves when we look back consciously and with clear perception into the experiences of our life on Earth between the ages of seven and fourteen. With the inspirational vision derived from the years between puberty and the age of twenty-one, we experience the Venus sphere. The ancients were not so ignorant as we imagine; with their dreamlike knowledge they knew a great deal about these things and they endowed the planetary system that we experience after the years of puberty with a name associated with sexual awareness which begins at this period.
Then when we look back consciously on our experiences between the ages of twenty-one and forty-two, we know that we are within the Sun sphere.
When the separate life-periods are transformed into organs of the inner life, they endow us with the power to enlarge step by step our cosmic consciousness.
It would be untrue to say that we cannot know anything of the Sun sphere before our forty-second year. We can learn about it from the Mercury beings for they are fully acquainted with it. But in that event our experience comes to us indirectly, through super-sensible teaching. Now in order to have direct experience in the Sun sphere in our own consciousness, in order to be able to enter into it, we must not only have lived in the period between the ages of twenty-one and forty-two, but we must have passed our forty-second year, we must be able to look back over the past, for only in the retrospective survey are the mysteries revealed.
And again, when we are able to look back upon our life up to the forty-ninth year, the mysteries of Mars are revealed. If we can look back upon our life up to the age of fifty-six, the Jupiter mysteries are revealed. And the deeply veiled, but extraordinarily illuminating mysteries of Saturn — mysteries which, as we shall see in the following lectures, veil the profound secrets of the Cosmos — are revealed when we look back upon the events and happenings between the fifty-sixth and sixty-third years.
Thus you will realize that man is in fact a microcosm. He is related to those things that he never perceives in normal consciousness. But he would be unable to fashion, or to order his life, if the Moon forces were not active within him from birth to his seventh year. He perceives later on the nature of their influence. He would not be able to re-create his experiences between the ages of seven and fourteen, if the Mercury mysteries were not active within him; nor would he be able to re-create his experiences of the years between fourteen and twenty-one — the period when powerful creative forces pour into him, if he is karmically predisposed to receive them — if he were not inwardly related to the Venus sphere. And if he were not united with the Sun sphere, he would not be able to develop ripe understanding and experience of the world between the ages of twenty and forty-two, the period when we pass from early manhood to maturity. In ancient times the system was not very different: the craftsman served his apprenticeship until he reached the age of twenty-one, then he became “travelling man” and ultimately “master.” Thus, all man's inner development between his twenty-first and forty-second years is related to the Sun sphere. And all his experiences during his declining years between the ages of fifty-six and sixty-three can be attributed to the influences of the Saturn sphere.
Together with the Earth we exist within seven interpenetrating spheres, and in the course of our life we grow into them and are related to them. The original pattern of our life between birth and death undergoes a metamorphosis through the influence of the starry spheres which mould us from birth to death. When we have reached the Saturn sphere, we have passed through all that the Beings of the planetary spheres can of their bounty accomplish for us. Then, in the occult sense, we embark upon a free and independent cosmic existence which looks back upon the planetary life from the standpoint of Initiation, an existence that in certain respects is no longer subject to the compulsions of earlier life-periods. However, I shall speak further on these matters in the following lectures.