INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS
ON RUDOLF STEINER'S STAR-KNOWLEDGE

 

 

 

 

 

R.S.W.Bobbette

1998

3344 Barrie Hill Rd., Barrie. Ont. CAN L4M 4S4
705-735-2153

INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS ON RUDOLF STEINER'S STAR-KNOWLEDGE

Table of Contents

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Preface

It is difficult to prepare an unfamiliar reader for the content of Dr. Steiner's observations. These essays form an attempt to do that from the point of view of astronomy-astrology, although they did not originate from that impulse. Rather, in 1996 and 1997 I produced essays in an attempt to show clearly Steiner's view on two topics in dispute or confusion: 1) The application of the terms Mercury and Venus to the night sky; and, 2) The identification of the signs or constellations of the zodiac and their relation to the cultural epochs of man. These are contained here in slightly revised form. Because I intended to help solve an evident problem with these essays, as well as reflect the intelligible picture given by Steiner, they fully mention, if not quote, all non-redundant references I have found to date. While doing this, I noticed that a few other topics could be likewise covered. Thus the essays on comets, the `day-round zodiac', and the exclusion of Uranus and Neptune comprehensively represent what Steiner observed throughout the 180 - odd texts and lecture cycles reviewed. As is hopefully evident in the essays themselves, the ones on old and new star-knowledge, celestial movements and basic celestial influences are merely representative. Steiner's many details on sun, moon - specific planets and constellations - evolution, etc. require fuller treatment than possible in essay form, in my opinion

The content of essays contained here, is the result of research work from the point of view of gathering scientific facts. In this case these facts are most accurately represented by the direct quotes of the observer - Steiner. These facts can of course be expressed in terms other than Steiner's, but their content has been so hidden and confused that credibility and continuity become almost as important as content . . .

There is no intention here to promote any kind of mere `belief' in Dr. Steiner's work; however, few others have provided points of view on the possibility of intimate celestial effects on earth in clearly scientific and holistic terms. We need to open-mindedly test the pictures that emerge when his scattered facts are collected and correlated.

Personally, I would like to thank Phillip Thatcher, Magdelene Warner, and Sherry Wildfeuer. Their critical interest not only gave the initial impetus, but aided greatly in supporting the will to finish an introduction appropriate to the topic. The information in these essays has been taken from a much larger survey called Foundations at the Periphery: Rudolf Steiner's Observations On Star-Knowledge, comprising over four hundred pages and currently in working manuscript form. The last essay in this series, `References . . . ', is essentially a bibliography of the larger work. The attempt has been to maintain the exact character of the edition cited, so varying treatments of uppercase \ lower case and British vs. American spellings (etc.), occur.

This larger summary of Dr. Steiner's observations was begun because I can find it nowhere else . . . so I in it I organized, at first chronologically, information that can aid in outlining both general principles and specific relationships of stars, sun, planets and moon with earth and man. I have tried to limit myself to the most direct references of celestial phenomena or stages of human star-knowledge, with some purely methodological observations that qualify the nature of the information given.

For whatever reason, the first, almost introductory, change in relevant quotes comes with the year 1908. This could of course change, but what I have found to date shows brief facts of solar system evolution, or qualities and relationships of a few celestial bodies given from 1901 to 1907. Beginning in 1908, detailed descriptions and whole lecture cycles describe the nature of the solar system.

As an introductory summary of Rudolf Steiner's view of the nature of the solar system, observations he reported from 1901-1907 give a provocative picture. Reading them will show that there is a depth to be discussed; I would like to bring forward the following facts to aid in the orientation of the reader:

  1. The present solar system is the fourth incarnation of a pattern of seven `great cycles' or evolutionary planets, called respectively (old) Saturn, (old) Sun, (old) Moon, Earth, (future) Jupiter, (future) Venus, and (future) Vulcan. The speed of evolution slows to the point when the inception of human self-consciousness occurs, during late Atlantean times of our Earth, and is now speeding up again.
  2. Mankind has been present at various evolutionary stages throughout this pattern, and life in general is able to persist and evolve forms in states of purely fiery and gaseous conditions.
  3. The Zodiac is the creator of and exists beyond the physical existence of the evolutionary planets, this fact being reflected in the twelve daylight and twelve night-time hours.
  4. Civilization has epochs related to the occurrence of the vernal sun in different constellations of the Zodiac. The governance of each sign was revised to a then-consistent 2,160 years, with the sun entering Aries about 747B.C. and entering Pisces about 1413A.D. (see 3 & 8 Oct. 1905, June 1906, 25 Aug. 1906, 4 Sept. 1906)
  5. Sun, moon and earth were united in one body, but the sun had too fast, too dissolving a pace of evolution, so it had to depart the earth and moon. (see 1904)
  6. Sometime after the sun left the earth+moon, Mars penetrated the fiery, gaseous mass and left astral iron. Mercury left etheric mercury in mid-Atlantean times; thus occultists sometimes designate the evolutionary planet Earth, as “Mars - Mercury.” This had been incorporated into the naming of the days of the week. (see 1 & 28 Oct. 1905, June, 1906, 30 Aug. 1906)
  7. The moon departed because it had a too hardening, mummifying effect on the early albumin; but its leaving also weakened the reproductive forces of the earth and caused the sexes to arise. (see 1904, 31 Aug. 1906)
  8. The movements of sun, earth and planets are actually spirals within spirals.
  9. Radioactivity has only existed for a few thousand years because the Earth-evolution is on the decaying side. Rocks were formerly softer and `more alive'; they are progressively hardening and crumbling, including nuclear decay.

The Scientific Study of Rudolf Steiner's Clairvoyant Observations

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

In the 1890's, while working on a compilation of the scientific writings of Goethe, Rudolf Steiner crystallized the contrast between scientific approaches appropriate for inorganic decaying nature, and those appropriate for living organic nature. The crux of modern science's problem, epitomized today by myopic scientific data fed into ever greater computers, was summarized in a statement of Haeckel's, quoted by Steiner (Readings in Goethean Science, 1972, pg. 50). “If the psychic mechanics were not so infinitely complicated, if we were in a position to survey fully the historical evolution of the psychic functions also, we should be able to reduce them all to a mathematical soul formula.” Over against this attitude (one that has exploded over the planet!) Dr. Steiner had to insist on a method that more directly involved the human mind and spirit - themselves derived from and representative of the “infinitely complicated”. He pointed out that organic reality is not passively determined by external circumstances, as is mechanical-physical phenomena, “...but actively determines itself under their influence.” This fact requires the study and conception of “...a general form of the organism which includes within itself all the particular forms.” (Readings in Goethean Science, 1972, pg. 52)

“The ideal of inorganic science is to grasp the totality of all phenomena as a unitary system, in order that we may approach each phenomenon with the consciousness that we recognize it as a member of the cosmos. In organic science, on the contrary, the ideal must be to have in the utmost entirety possible, in the type and its phenomenal forms, that which we see evolving in the series of the single beings.

“Every single organism is the moulding of the type in a specific form. It is an individuality which governs and determines itself from a centre outward. It is a totality in itself - which in inorganic nature is true of the cosmos alone.” (Readings in Goethean Science, 1972 pg. 62)

Steiner's Work as Scientific Evidence

Anyone who is serious and doubts Dr. Steiner's understanding and ability as a serious research scientist can be eventually reassured by careful review of his early works on the methods of science and the nature of knowledge. These will not be discussed here. When the time came for him to begin reporting the results of his purely spiritual researches, he was well aware of the scientific requirement. At the turn of the 20th century, he noted: “My knowledge of things of the spirit is a direct result of my own perception, and I am fully conscious of this fact. In all the details and in the larger survey I had always to examine myself carefully as to whether every step I took in the progress of my perception was accompanied by a fully awake consciousness. Just as the mathematician advances from thought to thought without the unconscious or auto-suggestion playing a role, so - I told myself - spiritual perception must advance from objective imagination to objective imagination without anything living in the soul but the spiritual content of clear discerning consciousness.” (An Outline of Occult Science, 1972,).Scientifically, I have spent decades researching, and producing, detailed environmental surveys and reports of vegetation, wildlife, soils and landscapes and this background makes it clear that (despite the unusual to astonishing facts presented) Dr. Steiner was consistent with the requirements - and limitations - that precise observational organic science entails; except that supporting physical documentation was not an option!

However, Steiner's work is open to testing, and he made his feelings on this point very clear: “Although the book deals with the results of research that lies beyond the power of the intellect bound to the sense world, yet nothing is offered that cannot be comprehended by anyone possessing an unprejudiced reason, a healthy sense of truth, and the wish to employ these human faculties. The author says without hesitation that he would like, above all, to have readers who are not willing to accept on blind faith what is offered here, but who endeavor to examine what is offered by means of the knowledge of their own soul and through the experience of their own lives. (Here is not meant the spiritual scientific test by supersensible means of research, but primarily the test that is possible by healthy, unprejudiced thought and common sense.) He would like to have above all cautious readers who only accept what can be logically justified. Yet concerning the communications given here, it is not merely a question of communicating something, but that the communication be in conformity with a conscientious view of the sphere of life in question.” (An Outline of Occult Science, 1972)

Representative Sampling

Rudolf Steiner is perhaps the definitive holistic researcher. Although his few dozen books lay the foundation of this holism, the vast details relating to all pertinent topics are spread throughout some 6,000 lectures. These lectures are a large data base of facts that are reported (like environmental details) only when available to be observed, not in a merely convenient way. Steiner described this scientific quality very pointedly, on 22 Oct, 1915: “It is very necessary to gather together carefully the items of concrete knowledge that have been given and to correlate them. And that is why - how shall I put it? - that is why it has such a jarring effect (although this does not quite express what I mean) when one who is trying to speak about the spiritual world with full responsibility, is asked all kinds of questions about this or that point after the lectures. These people want to know everything, but on the other hand one has been endeavoring to speak only of what has been thought through to the end. One is forced, then, to speak about a whole number of matters into which there has not yet been opportunity for thorough investigation. It is, of course possible to give some reply, for the science of occultism is there; but when one has laid it down as a fundamental principle to speak only of what has been tested and verified, this kind of talking goes against the grain.” (The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century; 1973, pp. 130-131)

The scientific way to answer questions is to gather together and correlate items of concrete knowledge. But the huge task of reviewing some 6,000 lectures is made impossible for us working in English, with about half of these available in translation. Still, as a true data set, representative sampling should be possible, and I believe that it is. Broad sampling is also required because although lectures on specific topics were given, the nature of Steiner's holistic vision meant that many facts on all topics were related when pertinent to qualify any given topic. For example, a search for astronomical-astrological data has currently reviewed about 170 books and lecture cycles, of which 60 % had directly useful observations; and this group could not be predicted by main topic or title.

Another reason for the need of broad, representative sampling is known by everyone dealing with living reality in the open environment, and was expressed by Steiner on 17 Apr. 1909: “Taken superficially, you may find a number of apparent contradictions in the one or other lecture cycle. This is because in these lectures it is my task to speak not of speculative theories but about facts of clairvoyant consciousness, which appear in a different way when viewed from this or that angle. To use a comparison, the picture of a tree drawn from one side will look quite different from that drawn from another and yet, it is one and the same tree.” (The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World, 1970, pg. 96).

Imagine counting all the trees along a survey line, and because they do not look exactly the same on the way back, thinking they were different trees! And yet, if two metals are not exactly the same, they are different metals.

One important method, again sharing similarities with environmental science, can be called “Reading Past Facts”. Just think of a walk in the woods, how many different trees, shrubs, flowers, animals and their signs are presented to consciousness. To absorb, identify and relate all these quickly, or even eventually, is impossible. The species or events are seen, but identification proceeds only over time from the known to the unknown for each investigator or observer. If we stopped to identify every unknown, we would never make it through the woods!

The student of Steiner's reports is confronted with a similar situation. His holistic reviews contain many fruits on topics that may or may not be recognized. The context for understanding can only be achieved by not getting “hung up”, but by going forward to establish what is familiar and develop a framework to understand what we do not yet recognize.

Rudolf Steiner described his methods of clairvoyant training on many occasions, and for scientific purposes these supply the requirement for an open and repeatable method - as these are in the study of a living open environment rather than a dead, closed laboratory. These methods are open to study and attempted duplication, but as shown here, Steiner repeatedly noted that the directly important thing is to carefully study the facts that he presented with our open minds and common sense. I have found no more stark expression of this need than that mentioned 15 Dec. 1922: “This is the agonizing experience that is the natural corollary of the materialistic age for one who has true insight into Initiation-Science today. He sees how men on Earth lapse into materialism; but he also knows what this lapse means for the spiritual life. He knows that it means the eradication of the eyes, that in the existence awaiting them after death, men will only be able to grope their way about. In olden times when there was instinctive knowledge of the supersensible world, men passed through the gate of death able to see. That old, instinctive supersensible knowledge is now extinct. Today, spiritual knowledge must be consciously acquired - spiritual knowledge, I say, not clairvoyance. As I have always emphasized clairvoyance too can be attained, but that is not the essential here. The essential thing is that what is discovered through clairvoyant research shall be understood - as it can be understood - by ordinary human reason, healthy human reason. Clairvoyance is needed to investigate these things, but it is not needed for acquiring the faculty of sight in the supersensible world after death......

“However powerful a man's clairvoyant faculty might be in earthly life, however clear his vision of the spiritual world, if he were too easy-going to bring into the form of logical, intelligible ideas what he sees in the spiritual world, he would still be blinded in the spiritual world after death.”(Man and the World of Stars, 1963, pp. 60-62) The emphasis was given by Steiner.

The most meditative expression that I have found, of what is the focus of this paper, was spoken 1 May 1920: “What is of moment is to study the conclusions of Spiritual Science, not to satisfy a curiosity for clairvoyance.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pg. 144)

Star-knowledge Old and New:
Rudolf Steiner's Observations

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

One of the greatest breaks in human knowledge is that between what is preserved of the old, traditional teachings about the nature of the heavens, and modern astronomical understanding of the stars and planets. On the one hand, adherents to traditional knowledge mostly accept information of which they cannot know the original sources. On the other hand, modern star-knowledge is based on the never-to-be-experienced assumption that physical laws, demonstrated in recent times in near-earth environments, extend forever through space and time. The careful student can soon find many anomalies on both hands.

Rudolf Steiner was one of few serious scientific investigators to give full credit to both the old traditional and modern astronomical views of the heavens. As part of this full credit, he places the break in knowledge noted above in its proper context as a critical feature in the evolution of human consciousness. His research into the holistic nature of the human experience had its principal public expression between 1900 and 1925, and I would like to quote two passages from early and late in this time.

In 1901, he wrote: “In the first decade of the sixteenth century, at Castle Heilsberg in Prussia, the scientific genius of Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543) is erecting an edifice of ideas which will compel men in succeeding epochs to look up to the starry heavens with conceptions different from those which their ancestors had in antiquity and in the Middle Ages. To the latter, the earth was a dwelling-place resting at the center of the universe. The stars, on the other hand, were for them entities of a perfect nature, the movement of which proceeded in circles because the circle is the image of perfection. - In what the stars showed to the human senses one saw something belonging directly to the soul or the spirit. The objects and events of the earth spoke one language to men; another language was spoken by the shining stars which, in the pure ether beyond the moon, seemed to be a spiritual being that filled space . . . Through Copernicus the earth became for man a fellow creation among the heavenly bodies, a star that moved like others. Everything in the earth which appeared to man as being different, he could now attribute only to the fact that it is his dwelling place. He was compelled to stop thinking in different ways about the phenomena of this earth and about those of the remainder of the universe. His sensory world had expanded into furthest space. What reached his eye from the ether he now had to accept as belonging to the sensory world, like the things of the earth. He could no longer seek the spirit in the ether in a sensory fashion.

“All who henceforth strove for higher cognition had to come to terms with this expanded sensory world.” (Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age, 1960, pp. 220-224)

The same fact, expressed in a slightly different direction, was spoken of in a lecture on 2 Nov. 1924: “Man confronts a world that was once entirely divine-spiritual in nature, a world to which he belonged as an integral part of it. The world of his belonging was then divine-spiritual. But at a subsequent evolutionary stage this was no longer the case; the world was a cosmic revelation of the divine-spiritual, its essential being hovering behind the revelation. But that being lived, nevertheless, and was active in the revelation. The starry world was already in existence, with the divine-spiritual living and active as revelation in its shining out and in its movement. It would be accurate to say that in the way a star stood or moved was a direct demonstration of the activity of the divine-spiritual.

“Other times came. The starry world ceased to be a direct, immediate revelation of divine-spiritual activity. Rather did it live and move in continuation of such activity as had earlier been engendered in it. The divine-spiritual no longer lived in the cosmos as revelation, but only as ongoing effect. A definite split had appeared between divine-spiritual being and the universe; they were now separated.” (Karmic Relationships, Vol. III, 1977, pp. 27-28)

I have collected about 400 pages of observations Dr. Steiner made relating to knowledge of the stars and planets. This is not a comprehensive collection, but it is representative. He reports again and again, often in detail, the justification of the spiritual picture wisdom of the ancients as a true, albeit instinctive, human perception at a more creative stage of evolution. He also supports the justification of modern, calculated star-knowledge as applied to what is now “ongoing effect”, but as something that has validity only in terms of its concrete data, not in terms of its extrapolated theories.

Here, I will bring forward a not entirely subjective collection of relatively brief observations, in chronological order.

On 14 June 1906, Steiner discussed the nature of Chaldean astrology, and then went on to say: “Ptolemy's map of the heavens is usually placed next to that of Copernicus and then the former is declared false. This, however, is not true.” He then explained that Ptolemy's map is of the astral plane where the earth forms the centre and that of Copernicus is of the physical plane with the sun at the centre.

“Ptolemy's system will be rehabilitated in an epoch yet to come.” (Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse, 1993, pg. 140

A little later, on 1 Sept. 1906, he pointed out that: “In future times yet another, quite different picture of the world will prevail. Generally we hear that Copernicus taught only two things: that the Earth revolves on its own axis and that the Earth revolves round the Sun. It is seldom noticed that he taught also a third form of movement - that the whole solar system moves onward in a spiral. For the present this fact will be left aside, but in the future humanity will return to it. Copernicus stood on a frontier, and the old outlook was strongly present in him.” (At the Gates of Spiritual Science, 1970, pp. 101-102) About a year later, on 16 Sept. 1907, this fact was further elaborated: “Modern astronomy is supported by two postulates of Copernicus, but a third has yet to be taken into account. Copernicus said that the sun also moves. It advances in a spiral so that the earth, following the sun, moves in a complicated curve. The same is true for the moon that revolves around the earth. These movements are far more complicated than is assumed in elementary astronomy. You see here how the spiral has significance for celestial bodies, and these describe a form with which men will one day identify themselves.” (Occult Signs and Symbols, 1972, pg. 57)

What is perhaps one of Steiner's most direct statements regarding our topic was made 12 Apr. 1909: “Before the Atlantean catastrophe the spiritual eye of man swept the expanses of the universe and beheld spiritual beings everywhere.

“The physical centre, however, gradually became more clearly visible. Thus, the spiritual counterpart was lost when the physical aspect became manifest. The spiritual knowledge surrounding the stars, and of the beings who dwelt in them, was preserved in the Mysteries and spoken of by the Holy Rishis . . .

“When the pupils of these Mysteries pronounced Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in their respective languages, they were referring to a sequence of spiritual beings. Today, these words refer to the coarsest physical substance of the planets, and the most important aspect is thereby omitted. (The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World, 1970, pp. 9-10)

From 3-14 Apr. 1912, Steiner provided some of his most extensive descriptions of the nature of the heavens, which contain the following: “The whole physical system of heavenly bodies is a testimony of past times, telling of past occurrences. Whereas we, on our earth, are contemporary with the things which appear before our physical eyes, what we see in the starry heavens is actually Maya, for it does not represent an existing condition, but had its full significance in the past, and has remained behind.” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pp. 135-136)

This observation echoes the thought of materialistic astronomy that most stars are thousands to millions of light-years away. Therefor the qualities revealed by their light shows how they were millions of years ago, and certainly “does not represent an existing condition.” However, Steiner means the comment more deeply, and includes the physical aspects of planets, moons, comets, etc.

What amounts to an indictment of the Copernican view was given 18 Dec. 1912: “Anyone who asks from the standpoint of occultism what kind of world conception can be derived from the Copernican tenets will have to admit that although these ideas can lead to great achievements in the realm of natural science and in external life, they are incapable of promoting any understanding of the spiritual foundations of the world, for there has never been a worse instrument for understanding the spiritual foundations of the world than the ideas of Copernicus - never in the whole of human evolution. The reason is that all these Copernican concepts are inspired by Lucifer. Copernicanism is one of the last attacks, one of the last great attacks mode by Lucifer upon the evolution of man. In earlier, pre-Copernican thought, the external world was indeed maya, but much traditional wisdom, much truth concerning the world and the things of the world still survived. Since Copernicus, however, man has maya around him not only in his material perceptions but his concepts and ideas are themselves maya. Men take it for granted nowadays that the sun is firmly fixed in the middle and the planets revolve around it in ellipses. In the near future, however, it will be realised that the view of the world held by the school of Copernicus and Kepler is very convenient, but as an explanation of the macrocosm it is not the truth.” (Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosencreutz, 1984, pp. 174-175)

We have already noticed Steiner's rebuff of the ellipse idea, with his mention of the Copernican spirals - which corresponds with information known to, but mostly hidden by, modern astronomy's publicists.

Still, the Copernican indictment deepened on 16 Nov. 1917: “A different physical view of the world prevailed in pre-Copernican times, a view that may be called erroneous today . . . This world view did not yet result in human beings becoming destructive in the earthly sphere after passing through the portal of death.

“Only with the abrupt entry of Copernicanism, with its picture that the whole world spread out in space is also subject to the laws of space, with its picture that the earth circles around the sun, only with such pictures arising in the Copernican view is the human being chained to physical-sensible existence and prevented from rising appropriately into the spiritual world after death.” (Geographic Medicine, 1986, pp. 44-45)

Several paragraphs from 1 Nov. 1919 contain this kernel: “Even with the help of accessible Egyptian and Chaldean lore, external evidence does not carry us very far back in the history of humanity . . .

“If this ancient Paganism is rightly understood, it will be found to contain sublime, deeply penetrating wisdom . . .

“This ancient star-wisdom was in no way akin to the arithmetical astrology sometimes considered valuable today, but it was a wisdom voiced by the initiates in such a way that impulses for individual action and conduct went forth from the Mysteries.” (The Influence of Lucifer and Ahriman, 1954, pp. 7-9)

On 4 Nov. 1919, Steiner emphasized: “This is something we must bear particularly in mind - The human being living on earth within the old Pagan world view felt himself membered into the whole cosmos. He felt how the forces at work in the movements of the stars extended into his own actions, or, better said, into the forces taking effect in his actions. What later passed for astrology, and does so still, is but a reflection - and a very misleading one at that - of the ancient wisdom gleaned from contemplation of the stars in their courses and then used as the basis for precepts governing human action.” (The Influence of Lucifer and Ahriman, 1954, pg. 34)

Shortly after, on the 9th Nov. 1919, the presumptive nature of a foundation of modern astronomy is noted: “You look up to the stars, saying that something is streaming from them that can be perceived by man's sense-organs here on earth. - But what you behold when you gaze at the stars is not of the same nature as what you perceive on the earth in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms. In reality it proceeds from beings of intelligence and will whose life is bound up with those stars. The effects appear to be physical because the stars are at a distance. They are not in reality physical at all. What we see is in reality the working of will and intelligence which at a distance appears as light.” (The Influence of Lucifer and Ahriman, 1954, pg. 73)

Several details given on 29 and 30 Mar. 1920, began with the terse fact: “True, the connections of the whole universe are present in man: man is related to Saturn, Jupiter, etc.; but the relations are concealed in the depths of our organisation. At the risk of offending current modes of thought, I would suggest that the astronomical affiliations form the most deeply unconscious regions in man, they are transmuted into the most secluded of his organic processes.” (Spiritual Science and Medicine, 1989, pg. 121)

Ongoing discussions include, on 17 Apr. 1920: “There simply does not exist such a thing as mathematics calls `space'; but everywhere are lines of force, and these are not equal, they vary, they are differentiated . . .

“So when we are dealing with these various sections of space there is no sameness, for we must realise that each of these directions exerts a different influence upon us.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pg. 68)

And on 18 Dec. 1920: “What is this Copernican picture of the Universe? - It is in reality a picture built up purely on the basis of mathematical principles, mathematical-mechanical principles. The rudiments of it began, very gradually, to be unfolded in Greece, where, however, echoes of earlier thought - for example in the Ptolemaic view of the universe - still persisted. And in the course of time this developed into the Copernican system that is taught nowadays to every child.

“We can look back from this world-conception to ancient times when man's picture of the universe was very different. All that has remained of it are those traditions which in the form in which they exist today - in astrology and the like - are sheer dilettantism. That is what has remained of ancient astronomy, and it has also remained, ossified and paralyzed, in the symbols of certain secret societies, Masonic societies and the like. There is usually entire ignorance of the fact that these things are relics of an ancient astronomy. This ancient astronomy was quite different from that of today, for it was based, not upon mathematical principles but upon ancient clairvoyant vision.” (The Bridge Between Universal Spirituality and the Physical Constitution of Man, 1958, pp. 40-45)

Perhaps the most stark expression of the change from old to new star-knowledge was given on 11 Jan. 1924: “So that to have a correct picture of the world, it has to be drawn in the old Ptolemaic sense: the Earth in the centre of the Universe, and the other stars controlled and directed in their corresponding revolutions by the Earth . . . In actual fact, however, it is not so. It is not so on account of man's sin. Through man's sin, the Earth has gone over, in an unauthorised, unjustifiable manner, into the kingdom of the Sun; the Sun has become regent and ruler of earthly activities.” (Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation, 1982, pp. 62-63)

About a year later, on 4 Jan. 1925, we are warned about extending modern calculations into the distant past and future: “It would not have been possible to make any calculations relating to the constellations and star orbits in the ancient epoch; they were an expression of the free intelligence and free will activity of divine-spiritual beings. In the future they will again become incalculable.” (The Michael Mystery, 1984, pg. 92)

As a holistic reporter, Dr. Steiner had to present his observations as they related to the many topics of his concern. This places a great onus on investigators to collect and correlate what he says into an intelligible picture.

This sketch outline of Steiner's view of the contrast between, and natures of, ancient astrology and modern star-knowledge needs to be qualified with many more details, and to this end I append a list of pertinent references. The need of our age is to, as individuals, observe facts and draw our own conclusion in freedom. This is the reason for my form of presentation, which may seem pedantic and inartistic.

Aside from the characterisations pointed to here, Steiner offered many facts which build an essentially different star-knowledge than that available otherwise. For those practically interested in applying star-knowledge I would like to briefly list, without references, some of the major facts that I have not found current, or even elsewhere:

Those who choose to pursue the references given below will find evidence of the details just given, and much more. Steiner always wanted his facts to be carefully tested, but anyone familiar with any of the current approaches to star-knowledge can see that even the few hints just given make for a very different approach.

Appendix

An Esoteric Cosmology, 1987, Spiritual Science Library, pp. 78-79

At the Gates of Spiritual Science, 1970, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 35-36

The Influence of Spiritual Beings Upon Man, 1961, Anthroposophic Press, pg. 22

Egyptian Myths and Mysteries, 1971, Anthroposophic Press, pp. 41-42

The Being of Man and His Future Evolution, 1981, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 69-71

The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World, 1970, Anthroposophic Press, pp. 57-78

Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse, 1993, Anthroposophic Press, pp. 73,74&97

The East in the Light of the West, 1986, Garber Communications Inc., pp. 180-181 & 191-199

Metamorphosis of the Soul; Paths of Experience, Vol. I, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 9-11

The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, Anthroposophic Press, pp. 130-131

The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co., pp. 95-104

Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy, 1989, Spiritual Science Library, pp. 137-138

The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity, Spiritual Science Library, pg. 71

Christ and the Spiritual World and the Search for the Holy Grail, 1963, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 74-76

The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations, 1987, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 17-18 & 235-236

The Karma of Untruthfulness, Vol. II, 1992, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 188-194

Cosmic and Human Metamorphosis, 1989, Spiritual Research Editions, pp. 65-69

Three Streams in Human Evolution, 1965, Rudolf Steiner Press, pg. 100

Spiritual Science and Medicine, `1989, Steinerbooks, pp. 125-126 & 150-152

Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 70-72 & 111

Old and New Methods of Initiation, 1991, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 23 & 25

The Cycle of the Year, 1984, Anthroposophic Press, pp. 4-5

The Evolution of Consciousness, 1991, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 31-33

Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation, 1982, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 55-56

Agriculture, 1974, Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Assoc., pg. 115

Karmic Relationships, Vol. III, 1977, Rudolf Steiner Press, pp. 88-89

Rudolf Steiner's Basic Celestial Influences
Part I: The Zodiac

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

If, as holistic ecologists or even as interested observers, we inquire about the effects of celestial bodies and events on earth and its life, the abundance of social opinion really only gives us two points of view. Materialistic astronomy holds the sun far and away above all other celestial bodies, through its influences of gravity and solar radiations. These influences are recognised as prime motivators, but subsequent details are to be determined from strictly earthly forces and matter. The moon is admitted as the mover of tides, but influences beyond this and its pale reflected light are not thought much of.

Astrology, in its many forms, really seems to boil down to collections of statements. The array of celestial influence is expanded past sun and moon to include the planets and constellations of the zodiac. According to defined qualities, the influences of celestial relationships and aspects are said to be directly causal or at least representative of events and characteristics on earth. Proof is mostly in the form of looking back to agreeable coincidences, with disagreeable circumstances ignored or explained away. The predictive inabilities of this type of astrology are notorious - on the other hand there always seems to be enough accuracy to be tempting.

Astronomy sees no rational basis for the detailed, often humanly personal, influence claimed by astrology; astrology can present no “unified front”, no unifying view beyond various cultural traditions and individual, usually dreamy or mediumistic, clairvoyant statements..

Dr. Steiner offers a point of view that illumines the seeming quagmire of astrology with a clear-minded scientific approach to clairvoyance. Although the cold intellect of modern materialism will consider it wildly ironical, Steiner places astrology on a rational basis by reaching past the snowstorm of half-proven and unproven theories of astronomy and astrophysics to the view of our cosmos as a living, evolving whole.

It may seem trite to say that cosmic evolution is a complex subject, but it's a fact that is too seldom considered. Steiner always emphasised this point, and when trying to organise his observations, these themselves lead in many directions. One main direction that I will not pursue is the influence of the heavenly bodies on personal and collective human destinies. This (all too often egotistical) aspect of astrology was placed on a rational footing by Dr. Steiner's frequent descriptions resulting from the relationships between the spiritual realms of the different planets and zodiac constellations, and human souls between death and rebirth.

In this series of two parts, I would like to focus on Steiner's basic facts concerning more general characteristics of respectively the zodiac, and the planets. His facts speak for themselves - indeed, it is up to the reader to decide their acceptability. For a variety of reasons, I prefer to present them chronologically.

Steiner always presented the zodiac as the perennial creative force of the solar system. This influence was clearly described as early as 25 Aug. 1906: “What was it, then, that people saw in this process? The ancients saw it as an embodiment of the forces of nature. In the Winter these forces were asleep, but in Spring they were recalled to life by the Sun. Hence the constellation in which the Sun appeared in Spring symbolised these reawakening forces; it gave new strength to the Sun and was felt to be worthy of particular reverence. The ancients knew that with this movement of the Sun round the Zodiac something important was connected, for it meant that the Sun's rays fell on the Earth under quite different conditions as time went on. And indeed the period of 2,160 years does signify a complete change in the condition of life on Earth.” (At the Gates of Spiritual Science, 1970, pp. 35-36)

Modern astronomy considers the movement of the sun through the zodiac as an artifact of earth motions, but Steiner attributes this movement a basic, if not ultimate reality extending well beyond the physical existence of the earth itself; as on 22 Apr. 1907 . . . “Before the Lemurian age the sun, moon and earth, united in one body, moved forward in terms of the zodiac. Time was measured following this movement. For this reason, the twelve signs of the zodiac are characterized as the heavenly clock and drawn as such.

“A planet alternates between pralaya, a cosmic night, and manvantara, a cosmic day, just as we alternately pass through day and night. The planet passes through the signs of the zodiac during pralaya and manvantara; for that reason the twelve signs of the zodiac are counted twice, just as we also count two times twelve to equal twenty-four hours. The hours symbolize the signs of the zodiac.” (Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse, 1993, pg. 22)

Pralaya is the non-physical, highly spiritual “seed” stage of planetary evolution; manvantara, the physical and lower spiritual; roughly speaking!

On 27 Jan. 1908, as part of a broad discussion, Steiner gave a startling description of our relationship to the zodiac, and of our ultimate responsibilities: “The following will seem grotesque, even preposterous to those whose concepts are rooted in modern astronomy. Nevertheless it is a truth of cosmic evolution that when a planet like the earth has risen to sun-existence, when it has gradually achieved union with the Sun and even Sun-existence is transcended, there arises, as a still higher stage of evolution, something that in a certain way you can perceive in the heavens: there arises what we today call a `Zodiac' - it is the stage higher than that of the fixed star. Thus when beings are no longer restricted to the form of existence belonging to a fixed star but have expanded their evolution so powerfully that it extends beyond fixed stars and the fixed stars lie like bodies in it - then a higher stage is reached, the stage of Zodiac-existence. The forces which work from a Zodiac upon a planetary system themselves evolved, in former ages, in a planetary system and have advanced to the stage of a Zodiac.” (The Influences of Spiritual Beings Upon Man, 1961, pg. 22)

This staggering goal of our earth evolution is achieved through progressive metamorphosis, and so views that see celestial influences as eternally the same are not supported by Steiner. Indeed, following the above quote the astrologically and astronomically unheard-of fact is presented that: “ . . . The distribution of forces in our earth existence may be conceived as follows: - on the one side forces are descending from the Zodiac and, on the other, forces are ascending to the Zodiac.

“As far as human understanding goes, these forces began to descend during the Saturn-existence of our Earth and when Earth-existence proper had reached its middle point, the stage had arrived when they gradually began again to ascend. We have now passed beyond the middle point of our evolution, which fell in the middle of the Atlantean epoch.

“When, therefore, you think of the whole Zodiac, you must picture that some of its forces are descending and some are ascending. We think of the forces which are now involved in the ascending line of evolution, collectively, as Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra - because they actually belong to these constellations. The descending forces comprised, approximately speaking, in the five constellations of Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. Thus forces rain down from the Zodiac and ascend again: seven constellations of ascending, five descending forces. The ascending forces also correspond, in man, to the higher members of his being, to his higher, nobler attributes. The forces which are in the descending phase of evolution have first to pass through man and within him to attain to the stage at which they too can become ascending forces.” (The Influence of Spiritual Beings Upon Man, 1961, pp. 25-26)

On 17 Apr. 1909 there were details given as to the character of previous solar system evolution that has led to our earth, which he calls the old Saturn, old Sun and old Moon stages. Old Saturn reached only the density of fire, or warmth, and a particular influence on this stage of evolution was exercised by the spiritual beings represented by Leo in the Zodiac. Old Sun reached the density of air (gaseous), with the celestial influence of Scorpio significant. And the old Moon condensed to water (liquid), with a particular governance of the Waterman. All of these stages “peaked” at the elemental densities mentioned, and then died into the pralaya “seed stage” mentioned 22 Apr. 1907. Steiner then continues:

“We now come to the earth, which represents the fourth stage of evolution. The three earlier stages are repeated: A Saturn is formed; a Sun is formed and leaves a Jupiter behind, which is a repetition of the Sun; a Moon is formed and a Mars is left behind. Then the earth emerges, as I have described it, severed from the sun and with the part that is separated off as lunar slag. You recall that the first beginnings of the ego took place in ancient Lemurian times when the present moon separated itself off from the earth.

“Again, however, that could only happen because an impulse was given from the periphery that resulted in one rotation being completed. Sufficient maturity had now been reached to receive the first beginnings of the ego. This took place in ancient Lemurian time, and one pointed to the constellation of the Bull.” (The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World, 1970, pp. 101-107)

The beginning of the ego is identified with the beginning of the solid mineral condition called the earth element. Here we have the rational basis for zodiac sign / element relationships, although you may notice the reversal of air-water designations. A few days earlier (13 Apr.) while discussing these beings from a different perspective, Steiner pointed out that: “ . . . I have only spoken about four names of the zodiac. They represent the four principal expressions of the Cherubim, but in reality each of these cherubic beings has to the right and left of it a kind of follower or companion. Thus we have twelve-fold forces in the Sun's periphery belonging to the realm of the Cherubim.” (The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World, 1970, pp. 51-52)

The need to view celestial influences as spiritual, and a way to do this, was pictured 26 Mar. 1910: “And now we realize that the comparison with a clock is by no means far fetched. We relate the heavenly bodies of our solar system to the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, and we can find our bearings in the World of Spirit only by viewing it in such a way as to be able to assert that Spiritual Beings and events are realities; we compare the facts with the courses of the planets but the Spiritual Beings with the twelve constellations of the Zodiac. If we contemplate the planets in space and the zodiacal constellations, if we conceive the movements and relative positions of the planets in front of the various constellations to be manifestations of the activities of the Spiritual Beings and the twelve constellations of the Zodiac as the Spiritual Beings themselves, then it is possible to express by such an analogy what is happening in the World of Spirit.” (Macrocosm and Microcosm, 1968, pp. 107-109)

Some specific thoughts on the structure of the zodiac were mentioned on 11 Apr. 1920: “We cannot conceive of any other plane in celestial space as being of like value with the Zodiac, any more than we could conceive the plane which divides us in two and creates our symmetry, as being placed at random just anywhere . . . In the same way we must imagine that in the organisation of the Universe it is a matter of consequence whether a thing is above or below the Zodiac . . . Now just as we can think of this plane . . . so we can also think of another at right angles to it. Let us think of a plane extending from the constellation Leo to that of Aquarius on the other side. Then we can go further and imagine a third plane at right angles again from this one, running from Taurus to Scorpio. We have now three planes at right angles to one another in Cosmic space.

“If we think of the plane we have denoted as that of Will - the plane that namely separates us behind and before - we have the plane of the Zodiac itself.

“If we think of the plane running from Taurus to Scorpio, we have the plane of Thinking; that is, our thought plane would be coordinated to this plane. And the third plane would be that of Feeling.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pp. 38-39)

And some basic facts of zodiac influences were spoken of a little later, on 17 Apr. 1920: “There simply does not exist such a thing as mathematics calls `Space'; but everywhere are lines of force, directions of force, and these are not equal, they vary, they are differentiated. Man will not admit this as long as he lives in the world of the senses; but as soon as he ascends to the Imaginative life of the soul, he no longer experiences the directions of space as the same when facing Aries or Cancer, but feels their influence upon him as greatly differentiated.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pg. 68)

“Taking the case of an inhabitant of our part of the globe, we can see that at any given time he has facing him one half of the Zodiacal signs, while the other half are obscured by the earth.

“Let us say, from the direction of the sign Cancer proceeds a certain kind of influence. This would be opposed by an influence from Capricorn, but the latter is taken away, is intercepted . . . the influence of Cancer is thereby in a sense left in me, put into my hands, as it were.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pp. 70-72). Dr. Steiner gave many descriptions of specific zodiac influences that weave into and expand the briefer characterisation given here. The Spiritual Beings of the zodiac sacrifice themselves to create our solar system through series of planetary reincarnations. The planets come and go; the zodiac persists, although the nature of its influence evolves. This basic fact conditions the essentially spiritual influence they exert, working into the physical. Thus the zodiac is in the “background” of all considerations we may have of celestial influences.

Rudolf Steiner's Basic Celestial Influences
Part II: The Planets

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

In Part I we saw the rational basis, from Steiner's point of view, from which we can speak of a celestial influence of the zodiac. To put it bluntly, the zodiac-Beings created the solar system out of themselves; as noted before also, the manner of expression of their influence leads in many directions, and a second direction that will not be followed up here is the description of the Spiritual Beings of the Lower Hierarchies. However, no abstract “force” or influence is ever meant by Steiner, but always the living interaction of these many Beings with the elements, minerals, plants, animals and men.

Dr. Steiner describes the primordial solar system as containing all the planets, sun, moon and earth, all of which gradually separated to provide proper fields for the evolution of various beings; as on 27 June 1909: “ . . . Before the sun could withdraw, it became necessary for certain beings to segregate special fields of action for themselves, and these places figure today as the outer planets, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. It can therefore be said that overall matter, which contained sun and moon, comprised Saturn, Jupiter and so forth as well; and certain beings withdrew from the beginning with these heavenly bodies, beings requiring for their life precisely what these planets could offer . . . So the separation of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars occurred before the division of sun and earth, while later Venus and Mercury split off from the sun, and finally the moon from the earth.” (The Gospel of St. John and Its Relation to the Other Gospels, 1982, pp. 71-72)

Steiner often includes the sun and our moon in the general use of the term “planets”, and he also often includes the planets (but not moons) in his general use of the word “star”. Some principal influences of sun and moon were clearly described on 26 Aug. 1909:

“ . . . These forms have all developed as a result of the influence of the Sun and Moon from without, and this was the purpose of the withdrawal of these two bodies. The influence which worked upon the Earth from the Sun and the Moon charmed from it, as it were, everything that has since arisen upon it and all that surrounds us today. The outer forms of the minerals, the plants, the animals and of physical man have all been produced by the beings which work from the Sun; whereas the beings which work from the Moon have stimulated the soul life of men and animals. This is an approximate and broad sketch of evolution from the so-called Lemurian epoch into that of Atlantis. It was during the Atlantean epoch that, very slowly and gradually, the Earth began to wear an appearance more or less similar to that which we see around us to-day.” (The East in the Light of the West, 1986, pp. 66)

However, we shall see that a progressive emancipation from the direct influences of the planets (including our sun and moon) has occurred throughout evolution, as exemplified by the moon on 9 Dec. 1909: “Thus man frees himself inwardly by making the external rhythm into an inner one. He has long since freed himself from the rhythm which connected his inner being with the moon. Hence we have emphasised that man lives through the phases of the moon inwardly, but these experiences are not caused by the moon in the sky. The course of the moon shows a similar rhythm because man has retained the rhythm inwardly, though outwardly he has made himself free and independent of it.

“We are led in this way to regard the earth as a living being, but since it shows us only its physical body, with no evident signs of life or feeling or knowledge, its condition is nearer to that of the moon. Now we can understand why it is wrong, even taking only the external facts, to speak of a direct influence of the moon on the tides, and why we can say only that the ebb and flow of the tides corresponds to the phases of the moon. The tides, as well as the course of the moon are caused by deeper spiritual forces in the living earth.” (Metamorphosis of the Soul; Paths of Experience, Vol. I, 1983, pp. 145-151)

From the 3rd - 14th Apr. 1912, Dr. Steiner gave extensive descriptions of celestial phenomena, including the following clear picture of the nature of the planets:

“What I am saying is not mere theoretical idea or fancy, the fact actually is that matter, not coarse physical matter but fine etheric matter, fills the space within the orbit of Saturn in its lenticular, flattened ball-like form, as drawn here. It is just as much a fact that a second smaller space for Jupiter is filled with a different etheric substance which permeates the first; so that there is simple etheric substance only between the two orbits; within the two etheric substances permeate one another.

“The spiritual beings which we call the Spirits of Form work as forces within the etheric substance I have just mentioned; but they all have a common centre, and this is none other than the Sun . . . That means that the Spirits of Form corresponding to our planets, comprise, as it were, a synod or council of Spirits, having its seat in the Sun, and from there sets boundaries to certain masses of ether, so that what we call occult Saturn, occult Jupiter, come into being.

“But within the cosmos are certain spiritual beings corresponding to the Spirits of Form, but who, as it were, are rebels against those of their own class . . .

“At an outermost point of this etheric globe, in opposition to the Spirit of Form working from the centre of the Sun works the rebel, the Luciferic Spirit of Form . . . and at a point through the combined working of the forces working inwards from cosmic space, and those others working outwards from the Sun, there occurs an `inturning', which finally becomes detached, and that is the physical planet Saturn. Thus we have to imagine that where our physical eyes see the planet Saturn, there are two forces working together; . . . This produces an `inturned' structure; the ether is notched and this notch appears to the physical eye as the physical planet Saturn. Just the same occurs with the physical Jupiter, and with the physical Mars.

“The Spirits of Form working from the Sun extended the etheric substance to a certain distance; there worked the abnormal Spirits of Form in opposition, and caved the substance in, so that in reality a hollow was made in the etheric substance . . . Our Earth itself, in so far as it is an accumulation of matter, is a hollow in cosmic space, something bored into cosmic space . . . In a physical sense matter only exists when spiritual forms are broken up. Thus the planets out there are also broken-up forms.” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pp. 95-104)

We must see the interpenetrating, lens-shaped etheric bodies of the planets as the means by which their active influences permeate the earth, and add this to the “remembered' or internalized influences mentioned earlier. The physical planets are to be seen as “hands of the cosmic clock”, not causing the influences but indicating them. The intimate way the relationships between the planets and the zodiac differentiated the animal and plant worlds (called forth by the sun as noted above) was then described.

“Occult vision shows us that the cause of the varieties of the animal species does not simply originate on the earth; rather does the animal species receive its forms from cosmic space, and indeed the forces which produce the one species come from a different part of cosmic space from that whence come the forces which produce another. The forces which construct the various animal-forms stream down upon our earth planet from the other planets of our planetary system . . . Once upon a time, in far distant ages, there were only seven principal animal forms; but these seven forms were very mobile, determinable, so soft and plastic in their formation that they could easily be transformed; . . .

“The whole of cosmic space is filled with spiritual beings of the different hierarchies working in different ways from various directions on to the earth. And men were also aware that from certain points specially precise and definite forces worked down from cosmic space, which were of quite particular importance to the earth . . . Men did not then speak without reason of the Zodiac or Animal Circle; they knew why it was so called. In the heavenly spaces the case is as follows: The forces which worked down from the planet Mars, for instance and brought about in the still plastic substance, one of the seven principal forms, worked in a different way according to whether Mars stood before one sign of the Zodiac or before another . . . In this way the seven different forms were modified. . . . you can see that there are a very great number of possibilities.” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pp. 159-161)

“Certain plants are allotted to the forces of the Spirits of Motion who work from Mars, others to those who are on Venus, others to those on Mercury. They work in from their planet and according as they work in from one or the other, they impart to the plant the movement expressed in the coil of their leaves; it is the same movement which the corresponding planet makes; the absolute movement it makes in the heavens.

“Thus we have to compose the whole plant out of that which grows toward the sun or toward the centre of the earth and that which winds itself round and copies in the stipules the movements of the planets.” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pp. 170-172)

And similar influences, at formative stages, apply to the mineral kingdom: “Now through the co-operation of what comes from the planets for the minerals, what comes from the sun, and what streams in from the universe from the various directions arises the possibility that not only those basic types already mentioned come into existence in the mineral kingdom, but all sorts of other forms, all sorts of differently modified substances of the mineral kingdom been formed.”(The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pg. 198)

Considerably later, on 26 Mar. 1920, Steiner gave a clear picture of this formative influence of the planets on metals: “ . . . Suppose that a planet in extra-terrestrial space is in an especially favourable position for working on a certain portion of our sphere. Assume Saturn to be the planet in question and that Saturn can best exercise its full influence when the direction of other planetary influences strike the earth as far away as possible from its own, and do not mingle with nor deflect them; i.e., when Sun, Mars and other bodies are not in or near a line from Saturn to the earth. Then the Saturn force impinges directly on our planet. And if conditions are favourable in the portion of the earth directly under Saturn's influence, that unmixed and undeflected Saturnian influence causes a structure to be formed there, differing from that due to the action of Mars under similar conditions.

“Earth's substances are the combined result of forces from the stars. In the case cited as illustration, the effect of such action is shown in the production of lead . . . ” (Spiritual Science and Medicine, 1989, pp. 90-92)

The next day, the fact that the outer and inner planets exert certain influences in basically different ways was pointed out:“ . . . The earth has its own lunar principal working outwards from within. Physical manifestations such as the tides are not essentially telluric, but lunar; nevertheless they are not directly due to lunar influence (as recent theories claim), but to the lunar principle in the earth itself. There is an apparent correspondence between these effects and the moon, but there is, at least generally, no immediate connection in time. So when we trace the influence of the inner planets, we must look for their counter-image in the earth itself, so that the physical effect, the effect upon the physical, comes via the earth. And on the other hand, to the outer planets must be ascribed effects in the realm of soul and spirit.” (Spiritual Science and Medicine, 1989, pp. 103-106)

Prior to his description of the three planes of the zodiac (given in Part I of this essay), Steiner described the three planes related to the sun, on 9 Apr. 1920:

“If, however, we learn to describe Thinking, Feeling and Willing concretely in these three planes, and to place ourselves thus in space as psychic-spiritual beings, with our Thinking, Feeling and Willing - then just as we learn to apply to Astronomy three dimensions of space, so do we learn to apply to Astronomy the threefold division of man as a being of soul and spirit. And it becomes possible if we have here Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury and lastly Earth, then it becomes possible, if we look at the Sun, to observe it in its outer manifestation as something separating, as a dividing element . . . So too I shall no longer say of Mars and Mercury that the one is at such a distance and the other at such a distance from the Sun, but I shall know that if I regard the Sun as dividing partition, Mars being above must be of one nature and Mercury below of another.

“I shall now be able to place a similar plane perpendicularly through the Sun . . . But if I study cosmic space concretely, as I must my own being as a man, it is not a matter of indifference whether a planet is at one time on the left and at another time on the right . . .

“In the same way I make a third plane, and must again form a judgement in accordance with that. And if I extend my knowledge of Man to the Universe, I shall be obliged, as I connected the one plane with human Thinking, and the second plane with human Feeling, to consider the third plane as connected with human Will.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pp. 14-19)

A month later, on 9 May, the differentiation of celestial influences was further elaborated:

“ . . . I described yesterday that we have on the one side the astronomy that applies to the Sun - and also to the Earth. We ourselves are part of that astronomy, for we are organised into it as organisms containing solid substances. Lunar astronomy however, is different. We are organised into lunar astronomy in so far as it is connected with our fluid constituents.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pp. 174-175)

And on 20 Oct. 1923:“ . . . The Sun maintains its power through the fact that it comes into connection with the different regions of the universe. Human perception of these connections has resulted in relating the Sun's activities with what is known as the Zodiac, so that when sunlight reaches the earth from Leo, from Libra or from Scorpio, this always means something different. It also means something different for the earth if the Sun's light is strengthened or weakened by the other planets of our planetary system. And here different relationships arise in regard to the different planets; the relationships to the `outer planets' - Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - are different from those to the `inner planets', - Mercury, Venus and Moon.” (Man as Symphony of the Creative Word, 1991, pp. 28-31)

The last two extracts in this essay were given one month apart, on 9 Aug. and 9 Sept. 1924, respectively.

“ . . . It is quite correct to say that one planet has a particularly strong influence upon one part of the earth, another planet on another part . . . So we find that each of the planets works particularly strongly upon some specific part of the earth. They radiate their light from the various places where they stand in the heavens. The light of Venus, for instance, works quite differently upon the earth from the light of Mercury. This is connected with the different formations of mountains, of rocks.” (The Evolution of the Earth and Man, 1987, pp. 145-148)

“ . . . The sun has the most powerful influence of all. But it exerts its greatest influence upon everything on the earth that is dead, that must be called to new life every year - while the moon influences only what is living . . . The other planets have their influence upon what is of the nature of soul and spirit . . .

“So the planets exercise their influence upon the more delicate conditions of growth and of life. Hence we can say: When, like all the planets, Mars comes near the earth, we must not attach primary importance to this outer nearness. What is of far greater importance is how things in the universe are connected with the finer, more delicate states and conditions of life.” (The Evolution of Earth and Man, 1987, pp. 155-164)

Here we have, as with the zodiac, a primary rationale from which to consider planetary influences being effective on the earth - in earth's primordial state all planets intermingled forces and substances, and as separation occurred, remnants remained. Also, at the spiritual etheric and astral levels, the physical planets become `special events' at the outer circumference of the actual planets, which are lens-shaped, fill the inner space bounded by the physical planet's orbit, and interpenetrate one another and the earth.

It should be noted here that Steiner specifically excludes, again and again, Uranus and Neptune (and therefor Pluto) from sharing in these characteristics.

We are also given some general indications of how the physical planets, as indicators of the spiritual realities, can be seen to have different qualities according to their orientation in the three planes of the zodiac and the three planes of the sun, thus lending significance to the idea of `nodes' as the change from one plane to the other. Apogee and perigee, on the other hand, seem to be not much thought of. Hints as to separate astronomies for the `inner' and `outer' planets, the sun, and the moon, are given; and the point made that each planet has a particular influence on certain parts of the earth's geography, its flora, fauna and minerals.

Rudolf Steiner's Identification of the Zodiac

R.S.W.Bobbette
1997

Much has been written and could be said about zodiacs, all referring to the circle of the stars the sun passes in front of through its yearly course. The number of different zodiacs applied to this one circle lend a wonderful confusion to the discussion.

Rudolf Steiner reported a really staggering vision of the past, present and future importance of this circle of creative beings indicated by the stars, but I have not found a comprehensive definition of their division into zodiacal signs in his works I have surveyed so far. On the other hand, numerous facts he reported do allow a calculation of the zodiac signs he was talking about. I would like to present the most pertinent of these facts here in a chronological manner.

The first references to the zodiac I have found are on 26 Sept. 1905, when Steiner stated that the twelve levels of consciousness were related to the twelve sign of the zodiac; on 3 Oct., when the direct connection between cultural epochs and the precession of the equinoxes was listed such as on 8 Jan. 1918, below; and on 8 Oct. 1905, when he spoke of the spring equinox entering the constellation of the Ram or Lamb about 800 B.C. and that of the Fishes about 1800 A.D., defining a zodiacal period as 2,600 years. (These lectures are in Foundations of Esotericism, 1983)

By June 1906, Steiner had revised his zodiacal period to 2,160 years and indicated consecutive ages of the same span going backward from the Ram at 800 B.C. through the Bull, the Twins, and the sign Cancer. (in: An Esoteric Cosmology, 1987) On 25 Aug., Steiner repeated the approximate dates for the Twins, Bull and Ram. (in: At the Gates of Spiritual Science, 1970)

The first indication of the eternal scale of the zodiac and of the time-period governance of all signs came on 22 Apr. 1907; “Before the Lemurian age the sun, moon and earth, united in one body, moved forward in terms of the zodiac. Time was measured following this movement. For this reason, the twelve signs of the zodiac are characterized as the heavenly clock and drawn as such.

“A planet alternates between pralaya, a cosmic night and manvantara, a cosmic day, just as we alternately pass through day and night. The planet passes through the signs of the zodiac during pralaya and manvantara; for that reason the twelve signs of the zodiac are counted twice, just as we also count two times twelve to equal twenty-four hours. The hours symbolize the signs of the zodiac.” (Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse, 1993, pg. 22) Pralaya is the non-physical, highly spiritual “seed” stage of planetary evolution; manvantara the physical and lower spiritual, roughly speaking!

On 10 Sept. 1908, Steiner refined the entry of the equinox into the sign of the Ram to ca. 747 B.C..(in: Egyptian Myths and Mysteries, 1972) This will become a familiar date. On 15 Apr. 1909, he again gave the beginning of the Bull age as about 3000B.C. and the Ram age about 800 B.C..

Dr. Steiner seldom reported the association of specific stars with zodiac signs. One of the few instances I have found occurred on 18 Dec. 1910: “Take, for instance, the seven holy Rishis. The symbol of the Initiation into the Sun-Mysteries is the picture of the sun in Taurus. When the Sun stands in the sign of Taurus the spectacle in the firmament reveals the mystery of the particular Initiation of the Rishis. This Initiation took effect through the seven personalities who were the seven holy Rishis. This is also expressed in the fact that the Pleiades, a cluster of seven stars, shine from the same region of the heavens. That is, moreover, the region where the whole solar system entered into the Universe to which we belong.” (Background to the Gospel of St. Mark, 1968, pp. 206-211)

On 19 Jan. 1915, Steiner stated emphatically, “ . . . the time interval needed for the sun to progress from one constellation in the zodiac to the next is approximately 2,160 years, and this is important.” (The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations, 1987, pg. 70)

Steiner reported on 17 Sept. 1916, that the fourth post-Atlantean age began about 747 B.C. and ended about 1413 A.D., and that the fifth post-Atlantean age will continue for 2,160 years after 1413 A.D.. This thought was reinforced on 15 Jan. 1917: “This ecclesiastical element of cultus and hierarchy, which was a transformation of ancient Rome into the Roman Catholicism which streamed into Europe, is one of the impulses which continue to work like retarded impulses throughout the whole fifth post post-Atlantean period, but especially in its first third. You could, I might add, work out how long this is going to last. You know that one post-Atlantean period lasts approximately 2,160 years. One third of this is 720 years. So starting with the year 1415, this takes the main period to the year 2135.” (The Karma of Untruthfulness, Vol. II, 1992, pg. 114)

On 28 Jan., he explained: “You know that the position of the sun on the ecliptic at the spring equinox moves forward in the Zodiac. You know that this point has been designated, ever since mankind began to think, according to its position in the Zodiac. So from about the eighth century before the Mystery of Golgotha until about the fifteenth century after the Mystery of Golgotha, the sun of the spring equinox rose in the sign of the Ram, though not always at exactly the same spot. During this time the sun traversed the sign of the Ram. Since then, the sun of the spring equinox has been rising in the sign of the Fishes.” (The Karma of Untruthfulness, Vol. I, pg. 178)

Steiner again referred to the vernal sun on 13 Feb. 1917: “We know that now the sun rises in Pisces. Up to the fifteenth century it rose in Aries . . . ” (Cosmic and Human Metamorphosis, 1989, pp. 16-17)

On 13 Mar. 1917, Steiner threw some illumination on his lack of reference to the “connect-the-dot” star patterns normally identified as the zodiac. Referring to ancient man at the time of atavistic clairvoyance, Steiner said: “[Man] did not actually see the physical stars with external eyes; but he saw the spiritual part of the physical stars. Hence we must not look upon what is related of the ancient star-worship as though the ancients looked up to the stars and made all sorts of beautiful symbols and images.” (Cosmic and Human Metamorphosis, 1989, pp. 60-61)

On 18 Sept. 1917 the time span of the Graeco-Latin epoch was given as 747 B.C. to 1413 A.D.

On 5 Jan. 1918, Steiner said of the initiates of the Osiris myth, “They meant to say the old life in the Imagination vanished when the setting sun in Autumn stood in seventeen degrees of Scorpio and in the opposite point of the heavens the full moon rose in Taurus or in the Pleiades.” (Ancient Myths, 1971, pg. 18)

The correspondence between the post-Atlantean cultural epochs and the precession of the equinoxes is reported in detail on 8 Jan. 1918. The Ancient Indian epoch is identified with vernal Cancer; “Then the sun entered the sign of Gemini, the Twins, at the Vernal Equinox. And then as long as the Vernal Equinox continued to be in Gemini, we have to do with the second post-Atlantean cultural epoch, the original Persian . . . Then came the third; this was the age when the sun at the Venal Equinox entered Taurus, the Bull . . .

“Then came the Graeco-Latin time, the fourth post-Atlantean epoch. The sun entered Aries, the Ram, at the Vernal Equinox . . .

“But think of the great revolution that now comes with the 15th century when the Aries culture passes over to the Pisces (Fishes) culture. What the Pisces forces have become in the macrocosm are the forces in man connected with the feet. There is a transition from head to feet; the swing-over is an immense one.” (Ancient Myths, 1971, pp. 51-57)

Steiner reported on 11 Jan. 1918, “During the 2,160 years that followed the great Atlantean catastrophe mankind can be said to have been capable of development in a way quite different from what was possible later.” Two days later he noted, “Twelve epochs ago the sun was in the same position, so that towards the end of the Lemurian age there were conditions similar to ours.” (Ancient Myths, 1971, pp. 63-64 & 112-113) The latter day also saw him repeat 747B.C. as the beginning of the Graeco-Latin epoch. The dates for this epoch were again repeated on 11, 13 and 18 Oct.

On 19 Oct. 1918, Rudolf Steiner made this significant point: “Considered as a symptom, the French Revolution is extraordinarily interesting. It presents - in the form of slogans applied haphazardly and indiscriminately to the whole human being - that which must gradually be developed in the course of the epoch of the Consciousness Soul, from 1413 to the year 3573, with all the spiritual resources at man's disposal. The task of this epoch is to achieve fraternity on the physical plane, liberty on the psychic plane, and equality on the spiritual plane.” (From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, 1976, pp. 49-50) Again, on 25 Oct., he stated that the epoch of the Consciousness Soul began in 1413, and on 2 Nov. he said this date was the start of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch.

In an extensive discussion on 16 Apr. 1920, Steiner pointed to the well known fact that the sun moves backward (relative to its yearly course) against the stars at a rate of about one degree every seventy-two years. He has spoken all along of this movement underlying the sun's passage through the zodiac, but this is the first specific mention of the detailed rate that I have found. On 8 May 1920, he reported the duration of the Graeco-Latin epoch as 747 B.C.-1413 A.D.

On 24 Nov. 1921, the Greek epoch was identified with the sun in Vernal Aries, after the following comments: “The changing position of the Sun in the zodiacal constellations through the various epochs has been taken as an indication of the different forces which pour down to man from the world of the fixed stars.” (Self-Consciousness: The Spiritual Human Being, 1986, pp. 263-267)

The emphatic statement, “In 2,160 years the Sun has progressed from one Zodiacal sign into the next.”, was made on 29 Aug. 1923. (The Evolution of the World and of Humanity, 1989, pp. 188-189)

The first specific date of solar movement into zodiac signs I've seen occurred 1 Dec. 1923. “You know that on March 23, the Sun enters the Sign of the Fishes. I have told you before that the spring equinox is now in the Sign of the Fishes. The Sun remains in this Sign `til April 20, then passes into the Sign of the Ram . . . In the beginning of May the full force of the Ram is working; by the end of the month the Sun is already in the sign of the Bull.” (Beekeeping - Nine Lectures on Bees, 1964, pp. 37-38) All previous and subsequent quotes available to me show that the dates and zodiac signs are probably mistranscribed, as does the sense of the quote itself - the sun entering Pisces March 23 is already after the spring equinox.

On 20 Jan. 1924, we are back on familiar ground: “Now, you can look at the vernal point of the zodiac, where the sun rises every spring. This point is not stationary; it is advancing. In the Egyptian epoch, for example, it was in the constellation of Taurus. It has advanced through Taurus and Aries and is today in the constellation of Pisces; and it is still advancing..” (Anthroposophy and the Inner Life, 1994, pg. 29)

The last two references I have found include a description of the Platonic year on 17 Sept. 1924, and the following definite statement on 9 Sept. 1924: “If in the present epoch we look at the point in the heavens where the sun rises on the twenty-first of March, we find behind the sun the constellation of the Fishes (Pisces). The Sun has been rising in this particular constellation for hundreds of years, but always at a different point. Going back a few centuries we find that the point at which the sun rose in spring was still in the same constellation, but if we go back as far as the year 1200A.D., we find that the sun rose in the constellation of the Ram (Aries).” (The Evolution of the Earth and Man, 1987, pp. 155-164)

This concludes my survey of Dr. Steiner's evidence. It is clear that he does not relate the zodiac signs to any connect-the-dot patterns of stars. The zodiac signs represent relatively equal periods governed by the forces of twelve different choruses of spiritual beings behind the stars. These beings exist and continue to work beyond the physical existence of the planet and solar system itself. Their forces are mediated by the sun, both in the yearly passage through the seasons and in the Platonic year of the precession of the equinox, through 12 times 2,160 or 25,920 years.

The spring equinox is the great definer of the ages, and from the oft-repeated dates given by Steiner, we can calculate the approximate dates when the sun passes from one sign to another, throughout the year.

If we accept that the vernal equinox entered Pisces about 1413 A.D., then it has moved at a rate of about one degree (day) every seventy-two years for 584 years; slightly more than eight days past March 21. In its yearly round the sun now leaves Pisces about Mar. 29. If we take these dates as the midpoints of three-day gray areas or cusps, we can use Steiner's reported equal zodiacal ages (2,160 divided by 72 equals 30 days movement in precession) and extrapolate the following calendar for Steiner's zodiac signs:

Aries, beginning March 29

Taurus, April 29

Gemini, May 30

Cancer, June 29

Leo, July 29

Virgo, August 29

Libra, September 28

Scorpio, October 28

Sagittarius, November 28

Capricorn, December 28

Aquarius, January 27

Pisces, February 27

The stars the sun stands in front of during these dates are the zodiacal signs Dr. Steiner describes as representing beings and forces that essentially condition the nature of the sun, so that we can think of `Aries-sun', or `Leo-sun', etc. Readers familiar with any of the popularly employed zodiac sign definitions will at once notice both dramatic and subtle differences. However, we can only test the many facts Steiner gave regarding the zodiac if we know, from his own work collected and correlated, what zodiac he was talking about.

Rudolf Steiner's Identification of Mercury and Venus

R.S.W.Bobbette
1996
Rev. 1999

The first mentions of Mercury that I have found in Rudolf Steiner's lectures I've had access to, are on 1 and 28 Oct. 1905, in June 1906 and on 30 Aug. 1906. Mercury and Venus are mentioned 13 Sept. 1907 and on 8 Jan. & 15 Feb. 1908. There is nothing in these early lectures to suggest that there may be some question as to Steiner's identification of these planets discussed, and those of the night sky; but that situation rather quickly changed. Indeed, we find ourselves facing the following question that needs to be accurately answered: When Dr. Steiner described beings, qualities and relationships of Mercury and Venus, did he make it clear which astronomical body he was referring to?

Dr. Steiner himself indicated the method by which this (and other) questions may be answered when he said, referring to his own work: “It is very necessary to gather together carefully the items of concrete knowledge that have been given and to correlate them.” (The Occult Movement in the 19th Century, 1973, pp. 130-131) This is a huge task and I would appreciate any additions to what follows.

The famous unveiling of the open secret of the Copernican reversal of Mercury and Venus occurred in one short paragraph of an Apocalypse lecture cycle (20 June 1908), which otherwise contained no direct astrological or astronomical references: “Here I come to a point where a little secret, so to say, must be unveiled, one which may only be divulged at this point. In truth if we wish to speak esoterically, as the writer of the apocalypse has done, we must speak of Mercury as the morning star. By the morning star he meant Mercury: I have given the direction towards thine `I', to the morning star, to Mercury. - You may still find in certain books of the Middle ages, which describe the true state of affairs, that the stars of our planetary system are enumerated thus: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and then Earth is followed not as it is now by Venus, Mercury, but by the reverse, Mercury, Venus.” (The Apocalypse of St. John, 1943, pg. 71). This reversal was emphatically, but incidentally, repeated on 5 September, 1908, viz.: “Here I would like to add one thing, because misunderstandings have crept into the naming of the planets. In all occult nomenclature, what astronomers call Venus is called Mercury, and vice versa. Astronomers know nothing of the mysteries behind this, because in the past it was not desired that the esoteric names should be revealed. This happened in order to conceal certain things.” (Egyptian Myths and Mysteries, 1971, pp. 41-42).

The first scientifically important use of this reversal (in works available to me) occurs in April 1909 in the cycle called The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World (1970). The use of the planetary pattern of Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun,,, etc. by the mysteries of the ancient Greeks is presented by page 10. “But consider the situation that arose. Within the sanctuaries of knowledge one could speak of spiritual beings who surround the cosmic bodies. Outside, people came to speak more in terms of physical matter as sense perception became increasingly sharper. When the Holy Rishis uttered the word Mercury - they never actually used this word, but let us use it to make ourselves clear - did they mean the physical orb in the cosmos? No, not even the ancient Greeks, when speaking of Mercury implied the physical planet but rather the totality of spiritual beings inhabiting it. When the word Mercury was spoken in the sanctuaries of knowledge, it referred to supersensible worlds, to spiritual beings. When the pupils in these sanctuaries pronounce Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in their respective languages, they were referring to a sequence of spiritual beings. Today, these words refer to the coarsest physical substance of the planets, and the most important part is thereby omitted.”

On pages 74, 76 and 83, three diagrams showing the integration of the physical Copernican system with the astral-etheric Ptolemaic system all depict Mercury as the planet closest to the Earth and Venus closest to the Sun. The thought-provoking and careful discussion includes this statement: “You must picture the earth as the starting point and around it a sphere of influence reaching up to the moon. This is followed by a realm reaching up to Mercury, then one to Venus, and then one up to the sun. Now you may be astonished at the sequence of the planets as I have given it here. You might think that if this is the earth and this is the sun, that I should draw Mercury in the immediate vicinity of the sun, and then Venus. But that is not correct. The names of these two planets have been interchanged by a later astronomy. What is called Mercury today was known in ancient teachings as Venus, and the planet referred to as Venus nowadays was always known as Mercury. We cannot rightly understand what is said about Venus and Mercury in ancient writings if we assume them to refer to the present planets of these names. At the time when the world system was turned topsy-turvy, when the earth was robbed of its central position, not only the perspective was completely altered, but the opportunity was taken of interchanging the names of Mercury and Venus.” (pg. 75). Throughout the many pages of details in these lectures, Rudolf Steiner is clearly using the terms Mercury and Venus in accord with his diagrams and the reported fact of the reversal.

My next reference is in the 1910 cycle available as Macrocosm and Microcosm (1961). Referring to the application of the many facts he is presenting, Steiner says, “The moon revolves around the Earth and the planets usually called Mercury and Venus are nearer to the Sun and revolve around it. I emphasize here that in the course of time a change has taken place in the names of these two planets. The planet that is called Mercury to-day was formerly Venus, and the planet called Venus today was formerly called Mercury. Therefore you should think of these designations reversed, so that they do not correspond with current astronomical designations. The planet lying nearer the Sun must be known as Venus and the planet lying farther away from the Sun must be known as Mercury.” (pp. 35-44). Slightly later (12 June 1910), the use of the `Ptolemaic' Venus and Mercury pattern is listed without comment.

Discussions of Mercury and Venus on 3 September 1910 and 28 March 1911 are not decisively identified and must be considered in the context of preceding and following lectures.

The next quite important scientific reference occurred in Apr. 1912 (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951). Here many important general facts about the planets are given, but when the time comes to be specific we are again reminded of the misapplication of the astronomical names. (“Thus these normally developed Spirits of Motion so work down from the planets that they succeed one another in the process of human evolution, and reveal themselves in the great civilization impulses in the evolution of the earth which reach out beyond the sphere of the Spirits of the Age. Thus, for example, from that Spirit of Motion who worked down from the planet which present-day astronomy calls Venus, and which ancient astronomy called Mercury (for these two names have been exchanged), from that Spirit of Motion came originally the impulse of the civilisation which was expressed in Buddhism.” pg. 168). Indeed, here Steiner relates a most telling fact: “If we observe the planet Saturn in our system we find that the life stream which permeates the earth directly from him is connected with the substance we call lead: so we have a basic substance which is inwardly animated by Saturn. From Jupiter we get tin as the main substance; from Mars, iron; and in the occult sense, from Venus, copper. With regard to Mercury we must take into consideration that he was later confused with Venus. The life activity (in the sense of true occult nomenclature) produced creatively by Mercury, on account of its greater proximity when it penetrated the earth-organism, bears a still greater resemblance to the planet itself, for Mercury stands nearer the earth than the other planets. Therefor the substance has been given the same name as the cosmic body itself, namely, mercury or quick-silver.” (pp. 185-191).

On 11 June, 1912, specific use is made of the astronomical Venus which by now we know refers to traditional, Ptolemaic Mercury: “ . . . employing therefor in this case not the old terminology which was altered by Kepler, but the names that are customary in the astronomy of today . . . ” (Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy, 1989, pp. 173-176) On 3 Nov. 1912, the use of the Ptolemaic (occult) Venus is again specified to be the astronomical Mercury, and on 18 Nov. 1912, the Ptolemaic pattern is used unqualified, as on 15 & 22 Dec. of that year. In the lecture cycle Ancient Myths (1971), on 8 Jan. 1918, Steiner uses the Ptolemaic sequence to specify planet-Zodiac sign relationships (pp. 51-57).

The next unqualified use of the Ptolemaic sequence I have found is 26 & 27 Mar., 1920, (firstly; “There are not only these two elements in co-operation. Marshalled against them are the influences from the Moon and the so-called inferior planets, Mercury and Venus. The Moon, Mercury and Venus cause the earthward, downward tendency in the plant.” pp. 83-85. And secondly; “The study of metals in particular, on the lines indicated, leads to concrete relationships, so that we must ascribe their formations as follows. Lead results from the unimpeded action of Saturn, tin from that of Jupiter, iron from Mars, copper from Venus, and what is now termed quicksilver from Mercury.” pp. 90-92.). On 8 Apr. both sequences are included in one paragraph, and in future lectures we see that when discussing the inner planets collectively Steiner does not give meaning to their order. These are in the significant cycle Spiritual Science and Medicine, (1989).

The next day, Steiner's discussion again is given a Ptolemaic context: “And it becomes possible if we have here Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury and lastly Earth, then it becomes possible, if we look at the Sun, to observe it in its outer manifestation as something separating, as a dividing element.”(Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pp. 14-17), while on 2 May, Mercury and Venus are discussed as a group in no particular order. On 5 May, 1921, there is an inconclusive use of the Ptolemaic pattern. Someone might want to make a case for confusion out of a subsequent, unqualified astronomical listing, but this would have to ignore an introductory discussion that common sense says indicates Ptolemaic usage: “Just as this ancient astronomy was subsequently obscured after the fourth century and physical astronomy took the place of the old etheric astronomy in the fifteenth century . . . ” (Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, 1987, pp. 54-58)

A lecture on 12 Nov. 1922 shows an explicit Ptolemaic usage of Mercury and Venus: the soul descending to the earth through first the Venus and then the Mercury spheres.

On 26 Nov. and 3 Dec, 1922, unqualified astronomical sequences are given when Mercury Venus and Moon are discussed as a group, and on 10 Feb. 1923 a detailed description and illustration of the Copernican system is given before a discussion focused on planetary-medical relationships. However, this Copernican discussion does not revise previous Ptolemaic meanings but prefaces the statement: “..and it was only twenty-five to thirty-five hundred years ago that people looked upon the planets in a completely different scientific way.” (Health and Illness, Vol. II, 1983, pg. 153)

On 27 July & 28 August, 1923, the Ptolemaic usage of Mercury and Venus is explicit in an elaborated and clearly intended pattern, while on 20 Oct. 1923 the Copernican system is used in a clearly qualified way. The statement, “I'm drawing this in the sequence customary today in astronomy; I could also draw it differently.”, does not indicate any abandoning of what has been previously so forcefully stated and consistently applied. (Man as Symphony of the Creative Word, pp. 28-31)

Now we come to the June 1924 Agriculture Course (1974) On pages 22-27 Rudolf Steiner explicitly employs the Ptolemaic usage: “ . . . they had this sequence: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. Without astronomical explanations I will now speak of planetary life . . . ”. The juggling around of Moon, Venus and Mercury sequences in what follows only shows that for his purpose here the actual pattern is not important. For the significant listing of the pattern of planetary influences relating to animal structure, the Ptolemaic sequence is used (“The animal organism lives in the whole complex of Nature's household. In form and colour and configuration, and in the structure and consistency of its substance from the front to the hinder parts, it is related to these influences. From the snout towards the heart, the Saturn, Jupiter and Mars influences are at work; in the heart itself the Sun, and behind the heart, towards the tail, the Venus, Mercury and Moon influences.” pp. 35-41), while for the famous mouse-skin “Venus in Scorpio” specification he clearly specifies the Copernican usage.

The last references available to me include 16 Aug. 1924, when Steiner explicitly uses the Ptolemaic pattern to describe planetary influences on the seven-year cycles of human development. And in September 1924 astronomical Venus is named in an explanation of the influence of the “morning and evening star” during and after its transit of the sun every hundred years or so. (The Evolution of the Earth and Man, 1987, pp. 178-182)

This survey is necessarily incomplete, but it does represent a careful review of about 150 of Dr. Steiner's lecture cycles and books available in English. I have tried not to quote carelessly or out of context, but thoroughly and in a manner open to scrutiny. To act as an authority and dictate a point of view is not in keeping with the task of the age of the Consciousness Soul, which began when the spring equinox entered Pisces in 1413 and will end when it enters Aquarius in 3573. This age requires the mere enumeration of facts, allowing individuals to reach their own conclusions. This is a foundation stone of Steiner's work, and any judgments of mine that have crept in are from the requirements of common sense and accurate context in so brief a review.

It does seem to me, though, that areas of doubt are so few and susceptible to context, and areas of certainty so many, that we should be able to go forward and build a picture of what Dr. Steiner observes of these inner planets, confident we know which object in our night sky he is talking about.

Rudolf Steiner's Exclusion of Uranus and Neptune

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

Over several years of observing modern astronomy and astrology, the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto had come to point to the presumptuous for me. In astronomy, the calculated orbits of these planets - never before documented by man - are presented as if equally well known as long documented orbits, for example. In astrology, these planets never indicated by the ancients are dressed up as equal partners in the mythical astrological properties of the long known planets.

It was hard to get much beyond this feeling of the presumptuous, and the logical consequence that these planets would not turn out to be as so many people want to think. Then gradually through a larger survey, it became clear that Dr. Steiner, in his spiritual research, explicitly excludes Uranus and Neptune from the level of influence the other planets have through being co-participants in solar system evolution.

I'd like to present the evidence of Dr. Steiner's point of view, in chronological order.

13 Sept. 1907

“Our present Saturn received its name in ancient times when the wise ones could still give meaningful names to things. It was given its name out of its very nature. Today, this is no longer done. Uranus, for example, does not have such a justified name since it was discovered later.” (Occult Signs and Symbols, 1972, pp. 9-12)

15 Feb. 1908

“Thus there were beings at the very beginning of our Earth who were scarcely fitted to take part in further development, who were still so young in their whole evolution that any further step would have destroyed them. They had to receive a sphere of action, so to speak, on which they could preserve their complete youthfulness. This scene of action was the cosmic body which we call Uranus, and which therefor has but slight connection with earthly existence. Uranus has become the theatre for beings which had to remain at a very backward stage.

“Then evolution proceeded. Apart from Uranus, all that forms our universe was contained in an original pap-like mass.

18 Apr. 1909

“ . . . As Jupiter contracted, the beings who withdrew pressed together something that has nothing to do with our evolution; it was essentially related to the withdrawing beings. Thus, first Uranus was formed and later, during Mars evolution, Neptune arose. The names Uranus and Neptune were not appropriately chosen as had formerly been the case, though some meaning remains in the name Uranus. It was given at a time when an inkling of giving the right name still survived; everything beyond our own planetary system was given the collective name Uranus.

“Thus we see that the two planets, which our modern astronomy sets on a par with the other planets, have in fact quite another origin and have fundamentally nothing to do with our universe. They represent worlds that came about because beings, who still had something to do with us during ancient Saturn, withdrew and took up their dwelling outside our world. Many other facts can be deduced from this, for instance, that these planets have retrograding moons, and so forth.” (The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World., 1970, pg. 126)

3 - 14 Apr. 1912

“Let us take, for example, the planet which for a long period of time, has been reckoned as the outermost one in our system; Uranus and Neptune were added later, as we shall see; but to begin with we shall consider Saturn as the outermost.” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pp. 95-104)

“ . . . It is to be noted that the two outermost planets now reckoned as belonging to our system by physical astronomy - Uranus and Neptune - did not originally belong to our Solar System; they came much later into the sphere of attraction of our system: they then joined company and remained with it. They cannot therefor be reckoned in the same sense as the other planets as belonging to our system from Saturn onwards, for they, so to speak, belonged to it from the beginning.” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pg. 200)

30 July 1916

“Then we consider yet another planet, one not known to the ancient Hebrews, They were, however, aware of its sphere, which they thought of as beyond the planets; they thought of it as the crystal sphere that formed the vault of the heavens. Much later it was discovered that one could speak of Uranus as being there. But we can consider Uranus, even though it was discovered much later. The only difference is that the ancient Hebrews thought of a sphere in the place where Uranus was later located . . . ” (The Riddle of Humanity, 1990, pp. 18-23)

13 Mar. 1917

“Now the ancients rightly considered Saturn the most distant planet from our solar system; it is the farthest away. From the standpoint of materialistic astronomy it is quite justified to add Uranus and Neptune to our system; but they have a different origin and do not belong to the solar system; so that we may speak of Saturn as the outermost planet of our system.” (Cosmic and Human Metamorphosis, 1989, pp. 65-69)

26 Mar. 1920

“It is time today that the whole Copernican system was re-examined and superseded by another. The so-called outer planets are Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. (Uranus and Neptune are only members of the solar system in an astronomical sense; they do not really belong to it by origin; they are foreign bodies that have become attracted and attached to our system. They are guests, invited to our planetary system, and we are right to omit them.)” (Spiritual Science and Medicine, 1989, pp. 83-85)

2 May 1920

“Thus we may say that if we regard Saturn as the outermost planet (the other two, Uranus and Neptune, regarded today as of equal standing with Saturn, are really fugitives that have wandered in) . . . ” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pp. 151-156)

26 Nov. 1922

“They appear to us in such a way that between death and rebirth we look back in gratitude to the outermost planet of our earthly planetary system (for Uranus and Neptune are not Earth planets; they were added at a later stage).” (Man and the World of Stars, 1963, pp. 10-13)

The `outer planets' seem to need to be put in their place, and this done by watchfulness and lack of preconceived ideas. At least in terms of exclusion, Pluto is certainly part of this group. And people who rush to give occult symbols and meanings to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto probably tell us more about themselves than these - distant - visitors.

The Cosmic Feminine:
Steiner's View of Cometary Life

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

Comets, as noted by astronomers themselves, are a bewilderingly disparate group of objects. Comets have very long tails, or almost none; they skim the sun within 300,000 miles (where temperatures vaporize metals), or approach no closer than the cold space near earth; return every 3 - 10 years, a few dozen or hundreds, or millions, or never; they can have beautiful symmetry or are strangely asymmetrical.

Modern scientists are trying to accommodate comets as variations on a theme - not an easy task despite the fact that everyone knows a comet when they see one. Dr. Rudolf Steiner, in the course of his clairvoyant investigations, made regular descriptions of the nature of comets. He was not a theorist, and no “unifying concept” is intended. His observations should be added to those of material science, avoiding modern extrapolations and theories (itself not an easy task in this domain), and of course understanding the spiritual basis of his method. For the purpose of initial surveys of Steiner's facts, I prefer to simply list pertinent references chronologically.

His first description of comets is of a strictly esoteric character, and given on 2 Sept. 1906: “A comet is an assemblage of Kama, desire-substance, without the corresponding spiritual substance. The comet gets as far only as the astral body. The visibility of comets arises from the powerful friction caused by the astral body passing through etheric substance.” (At the Gates of Spiritual Science, 1970, pg. 146)

In the same year, Steiner predicted the occurrence of cyanides associated with comets due to their reflection of a previous stage of solar system evolution, but I have not yet had access to those lectures. The next reference I have is from 5 Mar. 1910, and includes a reference back to this prediction, which by then had been spectroscopically demonstrated. This followed a comparative description of certain aspects of comets and moon.

“Is there perhaps something in our solar system that brings about, as a kind of mirror-image on earth, the contrast between man and woman? Yes, this higher polarity can be designated as the contrast between the cometary and lunar natures, between comets and the moon. Just as the contrast of sun - earth is reflected in our head and limbs, so in feminine and masculine is reflected the contrast of comet - moon,” (The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, pg. 57) Then came the comment on cyanides noted above, pp. 60-61.

“We can also express it this way: as what is done by a woman out of passion, out of feeling, is related to the dry, reasonable masculine judgement, so is the regular, reasonable course of the moon related to the cometary phenomenon that projects apparently irregularly into our existence. Mark well - I do not mean the spiritual life of a woman but the feminine spiritual life. There is a difference. The spiritual life of a woman naturally includes masculine characteristics.” (The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, pp. 62-63)

“The comets appear at great intervals of time. Let us ask: when they appear, is their relation to human evolution as a whole such that they stimulate, as it were, the feminine principle in human nature? There is, for example, Halley's Comet, which now again has a certain actuality. The same could be said of many other comets. Halley's Comet has a quite definite task, and everything else that it brings with it stands in a particular connection to this task. Halley's Comet - we are speaking here of its spiritual aspect - has the task of impressing on human nature its own special being in such a way that this human nature and essence take a further step in the development of the I when the comet comes near the earth. It is that step which leads the I out to concepts on the physical plane. To begin with, the comet has its special influence on the two lower members of human nature, on what is masculine and feminine; there it joins company with the workings of the moon. When the comet is not there, the workings of the moon are one-sided; the workings change when the comet is present.

“The comet works upon the physical and etheric or life bodies of man in such a way that they actually create organs, delicate organs that are suitable for the further development of the I - the I-consciousness as it has developed especially since the embedding of the Christ impulse in the earth. Since that time the significance of the comet's appearance is that the I, as it develops from stage to stage, receives physical and etheric organs it can use.” (The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, pp. 64-65)

“Every cometary body thus has a definite task. Human spiritual life takes its course with a certain cosmic regularity, as it were - a bourgeois regularity one could say . . . In contrast to these events, there are things that always bring a step forward, that are naturally distributed over wider spans of time; these events occur under the influence of the comets. The various comets have here their different tasks, and when a comet has served its purpose it splinters. Thus we find that from a certain point of time onward, some comets appear as two and then splinter. They dissolve when they have completed their tasks. Regularity, all that belongs to the common round, is connected with the lunar influence; the entry of an elemental impulse, always incorporating something new, is connected with the influence of the comets.

“As when a new little child is born, so it is when, through the return of a comet, something quite new is produced. We must remember, however, that with certain comets the I is always driven more and more into the physical world, and this is something we must resist. If the influence of Halley's Comet were to continue, a new appearance of it might bring about a great enhancement of Buchnerian thought, and that would be a terrible misfortune. A reappearance of Halley's Comet should therefor give us warning that it might prove to be an evil guest if we were simply to give ourselves up to it, if we were not to resist its influence.” (The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, pp. 66-67)

“On the other hand, is it not wonderful that cometary existence takes hold of the depths of life, including the animal and plant life that is bound up with human life? Those who pay close enough attention to such things would observe how there is actually something altogether different in the blossoming of flowers from what is usually the case.” (The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, pg. 68)

Slightly later, on 18 Apr. 1910, Steiner discussed these points again, more briefly and from a slightly different angle: “Just as the movements of the planets circling the sun correspond to the regular events in the evolution of humanity, so the appearance of a comet corresponds to an influence that runs counter to the regular events. Rosicrucian research has demonstrated that every comet exerts a particular influence on human evolution. The present comet has as its particular influence an intense impulse towards materialism. Every time Halley's Comet has appeared, a new impulse toward materialism has taken place. Its appearance in 1759 corresponded with the epoch in which Voltaireanism was at its high point. The appearance in 1835 corresponded with the materialism of Moleschott, Buchner, and others. In the same way, in our time there will be a new impulse toward materialism, and the outer sign of this is the appearance of the comet. Those who let themselves be swayed by its influence will fall into the deepest materialism.” (The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, pg. 107)

Next month, on 10 May 1910, the 1906 prediction was again referred to: “There is thus a lunar body, the moon, which has gone too far in its evolution, and such bodies as have remained at an earlier stage of evolution, namely, the comets . . . A comet brings with it the laws of the earlier Moon and therefor renews these ancient laws. It also brings with it the cyanide compounds, as has recently been established by outer science and has been known for a long time to occult science. Just as oxygen and carbon compounds are necessary to us on earth, so the cyanides were essential on the ancient Moon. In 1906 I enlarged on this in Paris . . . “ (The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, pg. 113)

From 3-14 Apr. 1912, Dr. Steiner gave extensive descriptions of the solar system, which included these somewhat dramatic points about comets: “From man himself stream forth continually, erroneous, base, evil thoughts; these are, as we know, realities, which pass out into the astral world and continue to exist there; so that the astral sphere of a planet is filled, not only by the normal substances of its psychic being, but also by this out-poured substance . . . And in a curious way, the occult vision, which for a time has had the opportunity of observing cometary life, shows us that everything of a cometary or meteoric nature is ever striving to collect round itself all the harmful astral products, and remove them out of the planetary system.

“Occult vision shows us, that, however, as a matter of fact, just about when the comet disappears from physical sight, it dissolves, and continues its way through a world not limited to the ordinary three dimensions of space; it no longer exists in the ordinary world. It actually disappears on the one side and appears again on the other. Thus, in short, with the exception of a few comets which really have long-drawn elliptical orbits, the comets for the most part are so formed that they come in at the one side and disappear at the other, and when they reappear they have formed themselves anew. Why? Because as a comet approaches, it exercises a power of attraction - it is, at first, merely a sort of spiritual force centre; this centre attracts all the harmful astral streams, develops them around itself and thus takes on form. In its journey towards the other side it draws this along with it, until it gets beyond the region of the planetary system, when it casts it off into cosmic space. Then the centre of force builds itself again at the other pole without needing three-dimensional space, once more takes up the harmful matter and throws it out the other side.

“The sphere of the comets extends to the sphere of the Cherubim. We must therefor first know what is the nature of the Cherubim and Seraphim, in order to understand the substance and movement of the comets.” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pp. 121-130)

On 4 Jan. 1921, Steiner began a series of comments on comets as part of a fairly extensive review of astronomy.

“Upon these two thought-pictures, - that the orbital planes of the planets lie in the proximity of the plane of the Sun's equator and that the orbits are eccentric ellipses, - Kant, Laplace, and their successors built up the nebular hypothesis. Follow what emerges from this. At a pinch, and indeed only at a pinch, it is a way of imagining the origin of the solar system. But the astronomical system thus constructed contains no satisfactory explanation of the part played by the cometary bodies. They always fall out of the theory. This discordance of the comets with the theories which were formed, as described, in the course of scientific history, proves that the cometary life somehow rebels against a concept formed, not from the whole but from a part of the whole. We must be clear too, that the paths of the comets frequently coincide with those of other bodies which also play into our system and present a riddle precisely through their association with the comets. These are the meteoric swarms, whose paths very frequently - perhaps even always - coincide with the cometary paths. Here, my dear friends, taking into account the totality of our system, we are led to say: A sum of ideas has gradually been formed from the study of our planetary system as a whole, - ideas with which we cannot do justice to the seemingly irregular and almost arbitrary paths of the comets and meteoric swarms. They simply refuse to be included in the more abstract pictures that have been reached.” (The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy, undated typescript, pp. IV. 7-8)

And on the 8th Jan.: “So for the comets: by spectroscopic investigation and by comparison with the corresponding results for the planets, the idea arose that the phenomena might be explained electromagnetically. Such ideas will at most lead to analogies, which may no doubt have some connection with reality, but which will certainly not satisfy us if we are looking into it more deeply.

“Yet as I said, leaving this aside, there was one thing which emerged quite inevitably when the phenomena of comets were studied in more detail. While for the rest of the planetary system they always speak of gravitational forces, the peculiar position of the comet's tail in relation to the Sun inevitably drove the scientists to speak of forces of repulsion from the Sun - forces, as it were of recoil. The terminology is not the main point; it will of course vary with the prevailing fashion. The point is that science was here obliged to look for something in addition to - and indeed opposite to - gravity.

“In effect, with the comets something different enters our planetary system, - something which in its nature is in a way opposite to the inner structure of the planetary system as such . . .

“ . . . Yet in the early 19th century they had statistics purporting to connect them with good and bad vintage years. These too occur somewhat irregularly; their sequence does not seem to follow regular laws of nature. And even Hegel did not quite escape this conclusion. He thought it plausible that the appearance or non-appearance of comets should have to do with the good and bad vintage years.

“ . . . Kepler said: In the great Universe - even the Universe into which we look by night - there are as many comets as there are fishes in the ocean. We only see very, very few among them, while all the rest remain invisible either because they are too small or for some other reason. Even external research has tended to confirm Kepler's saying. The comets seen were recorded in olden time and it is possible to compare the number. Since the invention of the telescope ever so many have been seen than before. Also when looking out into the starry sky under different conditions of illumination - that is to say making provision for extreme darkness - a larger number of comets are recorded than otherwise. Even empirical research therefor comes near to what Kepler exclaimed, inspired as he was by a deep feeling for Nature.

“Now if one speaks at all of a connection between the Cosmos and what happens on the Earth, it surely is not right to dwell one-sidedly on the relation to our Earth of the other planets of our system and to omit heavenly bodies which come and go as the comets do. It is especially one-sided since we must now admit that the comets give rise to phenomena indicating the presence of quite other forces - forces opposite in kind to those which we usually attribute the cohesion of our planetary system. The comets do in fact bear something opposite into our system and if we follow it up we must admit that this too is of great significance. Something in some way opposite in nature to the force which holds it together comes with the comets into our planetary system.

“One more thing I will say today, if only to formulate the problem; we shall have time to go into these things in later lectures. Now that we have ascertained all this about the cometary bodies, let me compare the relation between our planetary system and the comets to what is there in the ovum of the female germ-cell, in its relation to the male element, the fertilizing sperm. Try to imagine, try to visualize the two processes, as you might actually see them. There is the planetary system; it receives something new into itself, namely the effects of a comet. There is the ovum, it receives into itself the fertilizing effect of the male cell, the spermatic zoid.

“Looking at the two phenomena side by side without prejudice, as you might do in ordinary life when you see two things, obviously comparable, side by side. Do you not find plenty of comparable features when you contemplate these two? I do not mean to set up any theory or hypothesis. I only want to indicate what you will see for yourselves if you once look at these things in their true connection.” (The Relationship of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy, undated typescript, pp. VIII, 114-19)

Dr. Steiner always emphasized that accurate descriptions of reality from various perspectives always entailed seeming contradictions - consider the description of an insect from above, from below, from the front, or behind! The discordance is only overcome by a view of the whole living being. At the end of these particular lectures, 18 Jan. 1921, a rather exceptional perspective on comets was given.

“Truth is that in studying cometary phenomena we get into difficulties if we conceive the cometary body too in the same way we are wont to think of a planetary body. The planetary body (I refer again to the same question of principle and method as in an earlier lecture), - the planetary body you may represent as though it were a self-contained body moving through on in space. You will not go much against the facts in so conceiving it. Not so a cometary body. Again and again you will find yourself in contradiction to the phenomena if you conceive it after the same pattern as the planetary body. You will never understand the cometary body, in the way it moves - or seems to move - through cosmic space, if you regard it as you are accustomed to regard the planetary bodies.

“See what becomes of it on the other hand if you regard it as I shall now describe. Take all the empirical facts that are available and try to thread them on this line of thought. Imagine that in this direction - towards the Sun, as we may say - the comet comes into being at every moment. It is for ever coming into existence in this direction. It pushes forward its cometary nucleus, or what appears as such. Behind, it melts away again. In this way it thrusts forward - for ever coming into being on the one hand, passing away again on the other. It is not a body in the same sense that a planet is, - not at all. It is perpetually coming into being and passing away again - renewed in front, accruing all the time in this direction; losing the old in its tail. It pushes forward like a mere effulgence, a mere phenomena of light; but please, I do not say that that is all it is.

“And now remember what we were saying a few days ago. There is not merely the Moon up there and the Earth here, but every planet has a certain sphere, and what we see is only a point at the periphery of the said sphere. The true Moon is the sphere, bounded by the lunar orbit. We, with the Earth, are in the lunar sphere. So also, in a certain sense, are we in the Solar Sphere and in the spheres of all the planets. The planets are not merely what is out there, moving in lemniscates, - what is at yonder point or yonder at any given moment. The visible point is only a specialized part of the whole; it is, as I was saying, like the area of germination in the germinal vesicle of the human embryo.

“If you remember this, then you will say to yourselves: Here now I have the Earth and Sun. In fact, two spheres are interpenetrating, thrusting into each other, - spheres which are really due to materialities of opposite tendency and kind. The one comes from the centre of the Sun, towards which negative matter is tending; the other from the centre of the Earth, from which positive matter is raying out. Positive and negative materialities are interpenetrating here. Naturally, the interpenetration will not everywhere be homogeneous. Not even clouds that move through one another would interpenetrate homogeneously. It is essentially inhomogeneous. Imagine how, in this mutual penetration, the different densities will impinge on one another. Then, in the penetration of the one substantiality by the other, you have the requisite conditions for such phenomena as comets to arise. Comets are ever-nascent phenomena, perpetually coming into being, passing away again; and if we draw our ideal picture of a planetary system, say the Copernican picture, with the Sun here and Uranus and Saturn here, we have not to imagine that the comet is arriving there from some great distance and then making its departure. Out there - outside the system - we need not to imagine it to exist at all. It is not there to begin with, but becomes; then, at the perihelion, changes the gesture of its form, which is in fact ever-becoming, ever-nascent. Out there at last it melts away again and is no more. The comet comes into being and passes away; that is its very nature. Hence it can sometimes have apparent paths that are not closed at all - parabolic paths or hyperbolic, - for there is nothing moving round such as would have to move in a closed path. All that there is comes into being, and may well do so in a parabolic direction and then vanish and be no more.

“Altogether, we must look upon the comet as a fleeting thing. In relation to Sun and Earth, it is a phenomena of compensation between ponderable and imponderable matter, - a meeting of the two kinds of matter, which do not immediately balance-out as when light extends in air. For in the latter instance too, there is a meeting of the ponderable and the imponderable; here however they spread continuously, homogeneously as it were, - do not impinge on one another. Take for example air, with light of a certain intensity passing through it. The light spreads homogeneously; but if so be the light does not adapt itself to the air quickly enough, a kind of inner friction will ensue between the ponderable and imponderable matter; only I beg you not to understand this in a mechanical sense but as an inward process. Follow the comet and its movement. It is a mutual friction of ponderable and imponderable matter that moves through space. It comes into being at every moment and passes away again.” (The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy, undated typescript, pp. XVIII, 9-12 emphasis Steiner's).

Recall that I had to introduce this essay with the fact that even modern astronomers consider comets to be bewilderingly disparate, and now consider what Steiner felt compelled to say about them on 30 Sept. 1922: “Julius Robert Mayer, however, asked this question. He found that every year a certain number of celestial bodies that are like comets fly into the sun. You see, those are the food the sun takes in. Even to this day, when we look up to the sun, we can see that the sun has a healthy appetite; it consumes a large number of comets every year. Just as we eat and thus develop energy, so the sun eats comets, so to speak, and thus develops warmth.

“Now, gentlemen, when comets have shattered and fallen down, we find their hard iron cores. But these are only the parts of the comet that fall down. We human beings also have iron in our blood . . . Since comets disintegrate into meteorites, which consist of iron, people say that the comets themselves are made of iron. But this is the same nonsense as believing that the human beings consist of iron because they have iron in their blood and a small lump of iron would be all that's left after they disintegrate.

“So, we find meteorites; they are the remains of shattered comets. But the comets themselves are something quite different; they are alive! The sun, too, is alive, has a stomach, and not only consumes comets, but eats exactly like we do.” (The Human Being in Body, Soul and Spirit, 1989, pp. 172-173)

On 7 July 1924, Steiner repeated his point of the evolutionary `youth' of the comets requiring that they have prussic acid, as the earth did at an earlier stage (“Old Moon”). (The Evolution of the Earth and Man, 1987, pp. 45-46). Later, on the 13th Sept., he repeated the relationship of comets to the quality of vintage, in company with sunspots. (The Evolution of the Earth and Man, 1987, pp. 171-173)

Although it is not exactly a description of comets, during the 1921 lectures, while discussing the nature of orbits in a mathematical sense, Dr. Steiner showed the mathematical basis for understanding his provocative observation that comets `leave space' and reappear again at the other side. After showing the progressive transformations of the mathematical equation called the Curve of Cassini, Steiner sums up with: “So you see, mathematics itself provides us with facts which oblige us to go out of space if we would preserve the continuity of the idea. The reality itself demands of us that in our ideas we go out of space. Even in mathematics therefore we are confronted with something which shows us that in some way we must leave space behind, if the pure idea is to follow its right path. Having ourselves set going the idea in beginning to think the process through, we must go on thinking in such a way that space is no longer of any help to us. If this were not so, we should not be able to calculate all possibilities of the equation.” (9th Jan., The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy, undated typescript, pp. IX 6-7 emphasis Steiner's).

CELESTIAL MOVEMENTS:
Some Hints From Rudolf Steiner

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

We all grow up with the tidy image in our mind of the nine planets, following nice lines of elliptical orbits around the sun - some nearer, some further away (Copernican view). Normally, we are told that this view replaced the mistaken older version, shown as five planets plus sun and moon following lines of circular orbits around the earth (Ptolemaic view).

If we pursue astronomy further, we find that planets occasionally appear to `pause' in their orbits, reverse direction briefly, and then continue on their way. A long history of observations shows that the sun itself is moving, so that following it, as it were, the whole solar system moves. The fact that this requires the conception of spiraling orbits is seldom, if ever, brought forward (except for the distant nebulae). For example, we see the following statement of fact: “Comparison of measurements of the stars made over long periods shows that in the direction of the constellation Hercules the stars appear on the whole to be getting farther apart; in the opposite direction (the constellation Columba), they appear to be drawing together. This indicates that the sun and the members of the solar system are moving as a group with respect to the stars.” However, descriptions of the realities of orbits and celestial mechanics do not even hint at spirals, but deal only with ellipses, parabola and hyperbola. (Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1972, Vol. 21, pg. 414)

We see here a fact that is hidden by modern science - no elliptical or circular orbit exists, they are all spirals. Far from hiding this fact, Dr. Steiner elaborates it; along with several other challenging hints. These are to be tested and followed up, in order to give mankind a more accurate consciousness of heavenly motions now and for a few thousand years to come. In later epochs, he noted, `celestial mechanics' will become incalculable as they will revert to the free motions of spiritual beings (The Michael Mystery, 1984, pg. 92)

I would like to present such of his hints as I have found, as referenced quotes given chronologically. These represent a survey of about 170 books and lecture cycles.

The first observation of celestial movements I have, certainly sets a provocative stage. On 13 Sept. 1907, Steiner noted: “You know that the earth revolves around the sun, that Mercury and Venus, as sisters of the earth, also revolve, and you know that the sun itself moves. Now occult astronomy has carried on exact investigations of this relationship. It has investigated not only the movement of the earth and the other planets, but also the movement of the sun itself. Here one comes to a definite point in cosmic space that is a kind of spiritual centre around which the sun, and with it our earth and all the planets, turn. The different bodies, however, do not move equally fast. It is just this relationship of the speed of their movements to one another that occult astronomy has determined. It proceeded from the fact that when we view Mars, Venus, and so forth, these heavenly bodies move at a certain speed, but the whole starry heaven is seemingly resting motionless. In the sense of true occult research, this repose is only apparent. In reality, this starry heaven moves a definite distance in one hundred years, and this distance throughout which the firmament progresses is designated as the basic number. If you assume this movement and compare the planetary movements with it, we find that Saturn's movement is two and one-half times that of Jupiter's; Jupiter's is five times that of Mars; Mars', twice that of the Moon. Saturn's movement, however, is 1200 times that of the whole celestial dome.

“Through the relationship of the different speeds of the planets, the fundamental tones of the harmony of the spheres arise that sound through the cosmos. The School of Pythagoras was justified in speaking of a celestial harmony. With spiritual ears one can hear it. When you spread fine powder as evenly as possible on a thin brass plate and then stroke its edge with a fiddler's bow, the powder moves in a definite line pattern. All kinds of figures will arise depending on the pitch of the tone. The tone effects a distribution of the material. These are called Chladny figures. When the spiritual tone of the celestial harmony sounded forth into the universe, it organized the planets into their relationships.” (Occult Signs and Symbols, 1972, pp. 9-12)

On 12 Jan. 1909, something previously discussed was more briefly reiterated: “ . . . The orbiting of a planet around its sun or of a satellite around its planet is by no means mere chance, nor is it unconnected with life, on the contrary it is regulated by those beings we have learnt about in the hierarchies of spirits. We have seen that it is absolutely untrue that the heavenly bodies rotate by themselves through merely lifeless forces.” (The Being of Man and His Future Evolution, 1981, pp. 69-71)

An extensive discussion of the heavens, ranging from 3-14 Apr, 1912, gave this remarkable hint: “When you see the forces developing in a spiral in a plant from stipule to stipule, you then have the activity of those forces which work down from the planets. And according as the forces of the offspring of the Spirits of Motion work down from this planet or that planet, does this peculiar line which puts forth the leaves vary. This gives a certain means of studying the actual orbits of the individual planets through their reflection; and when external science has once recognised this fact, it will have to correct a great deal of former astronomical systems. Certain plants are allotted to the forces of the Spirits of Motion who work from Mars, others to those who are on Venus, others to those on Mercury. They work in from the planet and according as they work in from one or the other, they impart to the plant the movement expressed in the coil of their leaves; it is the same movement which the corresponding planet makes; the absolute movement it makes in the heavens.” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, pp. 170-172)

The complicated forms of movements implied in the last observation were described in more detail, and included the sun and earth, on 1 Oct. 1916: “But spiritually, things are otherwise. You see, to an observer able to behold the spiritual, the following is presented, for example. He comes upon a certain movement of the sun; it takes this course (lemniscate). Seen from a certain point of view, it is the sun's course; but when I draw this line here and bring the sun back again, the point does not fall exactly on the earlier point; it lies somewhat above it. This is a real movement of the sun that can be perceived spiritually.

“But the earth, too, makes certain movements in the course of the year. Observed spiritually, it describes this orbit (intercepting lemniscate).

“You must picture it in three dimensions. If you picture the orbit of the sun lying in a plane, then the orbit of the earth lies in this plane - seen, that is, from the side. If here is the orbit of the sun drawn as a line the earth orbit is so: (intercepting).

“But, as you see from this, there is a point in the cosmos, where the sun and earth are both together, but not at the same time. When the sun is there on its path, or rather has left this point by a quarter of its path, the earth begins its movement at the point where the sun has left. After a certain time we are, in fact, on the spot in cosmic space where the sun was. Together with the earth, we actually pass in space through the spot where the sun has been. We sail through it. We do not only sail through it, however, because the sun leaves behind results of its activity in the space it has traversed, so that the earth enters into the imprints left behind by the sun and crosses them - really crosses them. Space has living content, spiritual content, and the earth enters and crosses, sails through, what the sun has called forth.

“There is a similar relationship with the other planets, too. At certain times we are approximately at the place where Mercury was, etc. The planets carry out quite complicated movements in universal space, and they enter into the imprints of each other. We have now the external picture, the purely geometrical picture. The other picture will be added, and only from a combination of the two will a later humanity attain the concept it must have.” (Inner Impulses of Evolution, 1984, pp. 145-147)

“ . . . Twice in the year we are where the sun has been operative in space. The first time it is as if the sun descended below the earth's path, and the second, as if the sun ascended and the earth's path was underneath.” (Inner Impulses of Evolution, 1984, pg. 149)

On 26 Mar. 1920, Steiner again noted the relationship of plant growth and planetary movement.

“It would be quite mistaken, however, to reckon only with the vertical upward impulse in plants, that depends on the sun . . . The solar force is, however, counteracted to some degree by that of the outer planets, in their spiral courses. For planets, as a matter of fact, do not move in an ellipse; their orbits are spiral. It is time that the whole Copernican system was re-examined and superseded by another.” (Spiritual Science and Medicine, 1989, pp. 83-85)

Steiner challenges the static, elliptical concept of celestial movement, again and again; as on 10 Apr. 1920: “An observer sees the Sun in this direction. The Earth progresses, but exactly in a line behind the Sun. When the Earth is here, the observer now sees the Sun in another direction. The Sun advances still further, the Earth following, and once again the observer sees the Sun in the other direction. That is to say, he sees the Sun at one time on the right, and another time on the left, owing to the way in which the Earth follows the Sun.

“This has been interpreted as demonstrating that the Sun stands still and the Earth revolves around it. In reality it is not so; the Earth moves along behind the Sun.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pg. 33)

Slightly later, on 18 Apr., a different approach was taken to the same fact:

“Whither does all this lead? If we have grasped the fact the motion of the daily metabolism corresponds to the motion of the Earth, we can no longer, with the Earth here, attribute to any one point a circular motion. On the contrary, we must form the conception that the Earth in actual fact proceeds along her path in such a way as to produce a line like that of a lemniscate. The motion is not a simple revolution, but a more complicated movement; each point of the terrestrial surface describes a lemniscate, which is also the line described by the metabolic process.

“Now all this will certainly make it clear that we can certainly speak of a daily motion of the Earth around her axis, but by no means of a yearly motion of the Earth around the Sun. For the Earth follows the Sun, describing the same path.

“Were the Earth revolving round the Sun, we should expect her axis, which owing to its inertia remains parallel, to point in the direction of different fixed stars during this revolution. But it does not! If the Earth revolved round the Sun, the axis could not indicate the direction of the Pole-star, for the point indicated would itself have to revolve round the Pole-star; . . . It is in a spiral, screw-like path that the Earth follows the Sun, boring her way, as it were, into cosmic space.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pp. 85-90)

Steiner's observation progressed another step on 2 May, 1920: “Now let suppose that Saturn pursues his movement also in a like curve (lemniscate) - only, of course, his path is different through cosmic space - with the 30 times less rapid movement than the Earth; if we picture these two curves, we must realise that each cosmic body which follows such a path (lemniscate) is obviously moved in this path by forces, but each one by forces of a different kind.

“To the modern materialistic view of the cosmos, Saturn is observed merely as a body moving about in cosmic space; and the same with the other planets. This is not the case; for if we take Saturn, the outermost planet of our Universe, we must represent him as the leader of our planetary system in cosmic space. He directs our system in space. He is the body for the outermost force which leads us round in the lemniscate in cosmic space . . . Were he alone to work, we should continually move in a lemniscate. But there are other forces in our planetary system which show a more intimate adjustment to the spiritual world - the forces that we find in Mercury and Venus. Through these forces our path is continually raised. Thus, when we look at the path from above, we have the lemniscate, but when we look at it from the other side, we obtain lines which are continually rising upwards; there is a progression . . .

“Planets such as Mercury and Venus, however, have a relation to the extra-spatial, the supersensible, the spiritual, to that which does not originally belong in space but has, as it were, come into it. Thus if we have the paths of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and in the same space, draw in also the paths of Mercury and Venus, you will get at most a projection of the Mercury or of the Venus orbit, but in no sense the orbits themselves. If we employ the three-dimensional space to sketch in the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, we come at most to a boundary, where we get something like a path of the Sun. But if we wish to draw the others, we can no longer do so in the three-dimensional space, . . . .we cannot draw the path of Venus and that of Saturn in the same space.” (Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, pp. 151-156)

Beginning 1 Jan. 1921, Dr. Steiner gave a series of lectures in which he dealt with the entire question of celestial movements. All the points made over the last few years were pulled together with mathematical and philosophical considerations. What I would like to bring forward for the purposes of this essay is a rather remarkable summing-up:

“ . . . We have to draw the path of the Earth with the Earth tending, in a sense, towards where the Sun has been, and then again the Sun towards the place where the Earth has been. We thus get one half of the Lemniscate - Earth, Sun, Earth, Sun. When this has been gone round, then it goes on. They move past each other, as you see. Thus we obtain the true path of Earth and Sun if we alternately imagine the Earth to be at the place where in our usual drawings we are wont to put the Sun, and the Sun at the place where we are wont to put the Earth. The fact is, we do not get a true relation of movement as between Earth and Sun if we assume either one or the other to be at rest. We must imagine both to be in movement, whereby the one follows the other, yet at the same time they go past each other. So then we have to picture it: seen in perspective, the Sun is alternately in the middle point of our planetary system and then again the Earth is where we normally conceive the Sun to be. They change places, taking turns as it were. But it is complicated, for in the meantime the planets too, needless to say, have changed their situation, which brings in no little complication . . . You see, we are in a way misled by the perspectives, to the establishment of an extremely simple system, whereas in fact it is by no means simple. It is as though with respect to the planets, Earth and Sun were taking turns, alternately being in the centre of the system.

“I confess that it is not at all easy for me to be telling you these things, which at the present stage might still be thought fantastic. We cannot now bring all the mathematical paraphernalia to bear on them, but I assure you they can be calculated in all detail.” (The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy, undated typescript, pp. XVII 7-8)

On the 4th June 1924, Steiner qualified his previous discussions of the sun's movement in a rather dramatic way: “Physical science speaks of a movement of the Sun; and it can do so, for within the spatial picture of the Cosmos which surrounds us, we perceive by certain phenomena that the Sun is in movement. But that is only an image of the true Sun-movement, - an image cast into space. If we are speaking of the real Sun it is nonsense to say that the Sun moves in Space; for Space itself is being radiated out by the Sun. The Sun not only radiates light; the Sun creates the Space itself. And the movement of the Sun is only a spatial movement within this created Space. Outside of Space it is a movement in Time. What seems apparent to us - namely, that the Sun is speeding on towards the constellation of Hercules - is only a spatial image of the Time-evolution of the Sun-Being.” (The Festivals and Their Meaning, 1981, pp. 313-318)

Here, Dr. Steiner has certainly identified a dormant problem of astronomy. He explored extensively the issues of which I have only given his hints, in Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, and The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy.

The Daily-round Zodiac: A Little Cosmic Mystery

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

Scattered throughout his career, Dr. Rudolf Steiner gave peeks at what is for me as yet, a little cosmic mystery. That is, he pointed to the idea that the sun traverses the zodiac (or its `equivalent' or `echo'?) daily. If I present the pertinent quotes, you will see what I mean.

On the 6th Dec. 1910, Dr. Steiner explained: “If you follow the course of the Sun in the daytime from the constellation of Aries, through Taurus, Gemini and so on, to Virgo, you must follow its progress at night from Libra on to Aquarius and Pisces. This is the direction of the Spiritual Sun.” (Background to the Gospel of St. Mark, 1968, pg. 73)

A few days later, on the 18th Dec., the point was made again: “John the Baptist had necessarily to receive and Aquarius Initiation, the expression indicating that the Sun was standing in the constellation of Aquarius. Try to understand it this way: On the day or light side of the Zodiac lie Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, then Libra. The constellations on the night or dark side of the Zodiac are Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Since the last two lie on the night side, the Sun's rays coming from them must not only traverse physical space but they must send the spiritual light of the Sun, which passes through the Earth, through spiritual space . . .

“If we trace the course of the Sun in the heavens we find that as the physical Sun sets the spiritual Sun begins to rise. In its day or summer course the Sun progresses from Taurus to Aries, and so on; in its night or winter course it will reveal to us the secrets of the Initiation of Aquarius or Pisces. Physically, the Sun's course is from Virgo to Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus, Aries; spiritually its course is from Virgo to Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius to Pisces. The spiritual counterpart of the course of the physical Sun is the passage from Aquarius to Pisces.” (Background to the Gospel of St. Mark, 1968, pp. 207-208)

As I said, Steiner gave us only `peeks' (so far as I've found) at this idea of a daily round related to or comparable to the zodiac. The next one I've found was given 17 Apr. 1917: “ . . . Constantine therefor embarked upon the ambitious plan to found Constantinople, and the work was completed in A.D.326. He intended that the foundation of the city should coincide with this turning-point in world history. He therefor chose to lay the foundation stone at the moment when the Sun stood in the sign of the Archer and the Crab ruled the hour. He followed closely the indications of the cosmic signs . . . ” (Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, 1972, pp. 138-139)

Indications of this daily round are few and far between; the last I know include, on 20 Jan. 1924: “Now, you can look at the vernal point of the zodiac, where the sun rises every spring. This point is not stationary; it is advancing. In the Egyptian epoch, for example, it was in the constellation of Taurus. It has advanced through Taurus and Aries, and is today in the constellation of Pisces; and it is still advancing. It moves in a circle and will return after a certain time. Though this point where the sun rises in the spring describes a complete circle in the heavens in 25,950 years, the sun describes this circle every day. It rises and sets, thereby describing the same path as the vernal point. Let us contemplate, on the one hand, the long epoch of 25,950 years, which is the time taken by the vernal point to complete its path; and on the other hand, the short period of twenty-four hours in which the sun rises, sets and rises again at the same point. The sun describes the same circle.” (Anthroposophy and the Inner Life, 1994, pg. 29)

And a little later, on 14 June 1924: “ . . . We should really speak of Aries-Sun, Taurus-Sun, Cancer-Sun, Leo-Sun, and so on. For the Sun is a different being in each case. Moreover, the resultant influence depends both on the daily course and on the yearly course of the Sun, as determined by its position in the vernal point.” (Agriculture, 1974, pg. 115)

The terse 1917 reference to “ . . . and the Crab ruled the hour.”, is also reflected in a predictive discussion given later in that year, on 25 Nov. 1917: “ . . . what will matter will be whether one carries out a certain process in the morning, evening, or at noon, or whether one allows what one did in the morning to be somehow further influenced by active forces of the evening, or whether the cosmic influences from morning until evening is excluded, paralyzed . . .

“It will be the task of the good, healing science to find certain cosmic forces that, through the working together of two cosmic streams, are able to arise on the earth. These two cosmic streams will be those of Pisces and Virgo . . . The good will be that one will discover how, from the two directions of the cosmos, morning and evening forces can be placed at the service of humanity: on the one side from the direction of Pisces and on the other side from the direction of Virgo.

“Those who seek to achieve everything through the dualism of polarity, through positive and negative forces, will not concern themselves with these forces. The spiritual mysteries that allow the spirituality to stream forth from the cosmos - with the help of the twofold forces of magnetism, from the positive and the negative - emerge in the universe from Gemini; these are the forces of midday . . . ” (The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, pp. 195-200) The long passage from which the above was extracted also indicates Sagittarius as “the forces of midnight”.

When I first noticed this reference to “day constellations” and “night constellations”, I thought of an allegory to the yearly passage through them, but there is definite reference to daily passage. The equally definite indications of practical importance mean that this is a “little mystery” worth pursuing.

References to Rudolf Steiner's Star-Knowledge

R.S.W.Bobbette
1998

The following is a simple listing of those references of Dr. Steiner's books and lecture cycles that I have found to contain what could be considered star-knowledge (employing Steiner's use of the term `star' to include planets), including relationships of the earth and moon. This also includes a scattering of methodological comments by Steiner, that I think useful or necessary; otherwise only the most direct comments I could find are meant. This summary of Dr. Steiner's observations is begun because I can find it nowhere else . . . I have tried to limit myself to the most direct references of celestial phenomena or stages of human star-knowledge; many indirect observations await collection and correlation also.

For whatever reason, the first, almost introductory, change in relevant quotes comes with the year 1908. This could of course change, but what I have found to date shows brief facts of solar system evolution, or qualities and relationships of a few celestial bodies given from 1901 to 1907. Beginning in 1908, detailed descriptions and whole lecture cycles describe the nature of the solar system.

An introduction to Dr. Steiner's view of solar system evolution and the consequent relationships between the heavenly bodies is necessary, or many of his statements are quite unintelligible. I will therefore add explanatory contexts that seem necessary.

As an introductory summary of Rudolf Steiner's view of the nature of the solar system, observations he reported from 1901-1907 give a provocative picture. Reading them will show that there is a depth to be discussed; I would like to bring forward the following facts to aid in the orientation of the reader:

  1. The present solar system is the fourth incarnation of a pattern of seven `great cycles' or evolutionary planets, called respectively (old) Saturn, (old) Sun, (old) Moon, Earth, (future) Jupiter, (future) Venus, and (future) Vulcan. The speed of evolution slows to the point of human self-consciousness during late Atlantean times of our Earth and is now speeding up again.
  2. Mankind has been present at various evolutionary stages throughout this pattern, and life in general is able to persist and evolve forms in states of purely fiery and gaseous conditions.
  3. The Zodiac is the creator of and exists beyond the physical existence of the evolutionary planets, which is reflected in the twelve daylight and twelve night-time hours.
  4. Civilization has epochs related to the occurrence of the vernal sun in different constellations of the Zodiac. The governance of each sign was revised to a then-consistent 2,160 years, with the sun entering Aries about 747B.C. and entering Pisces about 1413A.D. (see 3 & 8 Oct. 1905, June 1906, 25 Aug. 1906, 4 Sept. 1906)
  5. Sun, moon and earth were united in one body, but the sun had too fast, too dissolving a pace of evolution, so it had to depart the earth and moon. (see 1904)
  6. Sometime after the sun left the earth+moon, Mars penetrated the fiery, gaseous mass and left astral iron. Mercury left etheric mercury in mid-Atlantean times; thus occultists sometimes designate the evolutionary planet Earth, as Mars - Mercury. This had been incorporated into the naming of the days of the week. (see 1 & 28 Oct. 1905, June, 1906, 30 Aug. 1906)
  7. The moon departed because it had a too hardening, mummifying effect on the early albumin; but its leaving also weakened the reproductive forces of the earth and caused the sexes to arise. (see 1904, 31 Aug. 1906)
  8. The movements of sun, earth and planets are actually spirals within spirals.
  9. Radio-activity has only existed for a few thousand years because the Earth-evolution is on the decaying side. Rocks were formerly softer and `more alive'; they are progressively hardening and crumbling, including nuclear decay.

References that gave two to five pages of information are italicized, whereas those that gave over five pages of information are in bold type. The titles are listed in the order in which they were reviewed for the survey. To date, an additional 61 books and lecture cycles have been reviewed that had nothing to offer, directly, to this survey.

(1) Readings in Goethean Science, 1978, Bio-Dynamic Literature.

(2) An Outline of Occult Science, 1972, Anthroposophic Press.

(3) Foundations of Esotericism, 1983, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(4) At the Gates of Spiritual Science, 1970, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(5) The Occult Significance of Blood, 1967, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(6) The Inner Nature of Music and the Experience of Tone, 1983, Anthroposophic Press.

(7) Occult Signs and Symbols, 1972, Anthroposophic Press.

(8) The Influence of Spiritual Beings Upon Man, 1961, Anthroposophic Press.

(9) The Apocalypse of St. John, 1943, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co.

(10) Universe, Earth and Man, 1987, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(11) Egyptian Myths and Mysteries, 1971, Anthroposophic Press.

(12) The Deed of Christ, 1954, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co.

(13) The Principle of Spiritual Economy, 1986, Anthroposophic Press.

(14) The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World, 1970, Anthroposophic Press.

(15) Rosicrucian Esotericism, 1978, Anthroposophic Press

(16) The Gospel of St. John and Its Relation to the Other Gospels, 1982, Anthroposophic Press

(17) The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, 1983, Anthroposophic Press.

(18) The Festivals and Their Meaning, 1981, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(19) Genesis, 1959, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(20) The Spirit in the Realm of Plants, 1978, Mercury Press.

(21) The World of the Senses and the World of the Spirit, 1947, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co.

(22) Reincarnation and Karma, 1960, Anthroposophical Publ. Co.

(23) The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature, 1951, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co.

(24) Between Death and Rebirth, 1975, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(25) Life Between Death and Rebirth, 1968, Anthroposophic Press.

(26) The Effects of Spiritual Development, 1945, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co.

(27) Occult Reading and Occult Hearing, 1975, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(28) The Balance in the World and Man: Lucifer and Ahriman, 1948, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(29) An Occult Physiology, 1951, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(30) Chance, Providence and Necessity, 1988, Anthroposophic Press.

(31) The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century, 1973, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(32) Inner Impulses of Evolution, 1984, Anthroposophic Press.

(33) The Karma of Evolution of Materialism, 1985, Anthroposophic Press.

(34) Ancient Myths, 1971, Steiner Book Centre, Inc.

(35) The Challenge of the Times, 1941, Anthroposophic Press.

(36) The Influences of Lucifer and Ahriman, 1954, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co.

(37) Man - Hieroglyph of the Universe, 1972, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(38) Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind, 1987, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(39) Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, 1987, Anthroposophic Press.

(40) Man as a Being of Sense and Perception, 1958, Anthroposophical Publ. Co.

(41) The Human Soul in Relation to World Evolution, 1984, Anthroposophic Press.

(42) Planetary Spheres and Their Influence on Man's Life on Earth and in Spiritual Worlds, 1952, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(43) Man and the World of Stars, 1963, Anthroposophic Press.

(44) Health and Illness, Vol. II, 1983, Anthroposophic Press.

(45) Awakening to Community, 1974, Anthroposophic Press.

(46) The Cycle of the Year, 1984, Anthroposophic Press.

(47) Man in the Past, Present and Future, 1966, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(48) The Four Seasons and The Archangels, 1984, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(49) Beekeeping - Nine Lectures on Bees, 1964, Rudolf Steiner Publications.

(50) Agriculture, 1974, Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Assoc.

(51) True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigation, 1969, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(52) The Evolution of the Earth and Man, 1987, Anthroposophic Press.

(53) An Esoteric Cosmology, 1987, Spiritual Science Library.

(54) The Mission of the Folk Souls, 1989, Spiritual Research Editions Series XIII, Garber Communications Inc.

(55) Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age, 1960, Steinerbooks.

(56) Cosmic Memory, 1959, Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co.

(57) Metamorphosis of the Soul; Paths of Experience, Vol. I, 1983, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(58) The East in the Light of the West, 1986, Garber Communications Inc.

(59) The Karma of Untruthfulness, Vol. I, 1988, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(60) The Karma of Untruthfulness, Vol. II, 1992, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(61) Macrocosm and Microcosm, 1968, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(62) The Gospel of St. Matthew, 1965, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(63) First Scientific Lecture Course, undated typescript, Goethean Science Foundation.

(64) Evolution in the Aspect of Realities, 1989, Spiritual Research Editions, Series XXXV, Garber Communications Inc.

(65) Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy, 1989, Spiritual Science Library, Garber Communications Inc.

(66) Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosencreutz, 1984, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(67) Human and Cosmic Thought, 1961, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(68) Toward Imagination, 1990, Anthroposophic Press.

(69) Cosmic and Human Metamorphosis, 1989, Spiritual Research Editions, Garber Communications Inc.

(70) Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, 1972, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(71) Geographic Medicine, 1986, Mercury Press.

(72) Earthly Death and Cosmic Life, 1989, Spiritual Research Editions, Garber Communications, Inc.

(73) Three Streams in Human Evolution, 1965, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(74) From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, 1976, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(75) Spiritual Science and Medicine, 1989, Steinerbooks.

(76) The Bridge Between Universal Spirituality and the Physical Constitution of Man, 1958, Anthroposophic Press.

(77) Cosmosophy, Vol. I, 1985, Anthroposophic Press.

(78) The Human Being in Body, Soul and Spirit: Our Relationship to the Earth, 1989, Anthroposophic Press.

(79) The Spiritual Individualities of the Planets, The Golden Blade, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(80) The Evolution of the World and of Humanity, 1989, Spiritual Science Library, Garber Communications, Inc.

(81) Man as Symphony of the Creative Word, 1991, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(82) Mystery Centers, 1989, Spiritual Research Editions, Garber Communications Inc.

(83) Background to the Gospel of St. Mark, 1968, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(84) Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse, 1993, Anthroposophic Press.

(85) The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity, 19.. Spiritual Science Library, Garber Communications Inc.

(86) Christ and the Spiritual World and the Search for the Holy Grail, 1963, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(87) The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations, 1987, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(88) Self-consciousness; The Spiritual Human Being, 1986, Spiritual Science Library, Garber Communications Inc.

(89) Karmic Relationships, Vol. I, 1972, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(90) Old and New Methods of Initiation, 1991, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(91) The Evolution of Consciousness, 1991, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(92) The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, 1993, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(93) Curative Education, 1972, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(94) The Michael Mystery, 1984, St. George Publications.

(95) Fundamental of Therapy, 1983, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(96) Karmic Relationships, Vol. II, 1974, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(97) Karmic Relationships, Vol. III, 1977, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(98) Karmic Relationships Vol.. IV, 1983, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(99) Karmic Relationships Vol.. V, 1966, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(100) Karmic Relationships, Vol. VI, 1971, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(101) Karmic Relationships, Vol. VII, 1973, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(102) Karmic Relationships, Vol. VIII, 1975, Rudolf Steiner Press

(103) Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation, 1982, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(104) The Being of Man and His Future Evolution, 1981, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(105) The Riddle of Humanity, 1990, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(106) Pastoral Medicine, 1987, Anthroposophic Press.

(107) Anthroposophy and the Inner Life, 1994, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(108) The Origins of Natural Science, 1985, Anthroposophic Press.

(109) How Can Mankind Find the Christ Again?, 1984, Anthroposophic Press.

(110) Wonders of the World, Ordeals of the Soul, Revelations of the Spirit, 1963, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(111) Angels, 1996, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(112) World History in the Light of Anthroposophy, 1977, Rudolf Steiner Press.

(113) Earthly Knowledge and Heavenly Wisdom, 1991, Anthroposophic Press.

(114) Colour, 1992, Garber Communications Inc.

(115) The Universal Human, 1990, Anthroposophic Press.

(116) Education for Adolescents, 1996, Anthroposophic Press.

(117) The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy, undated typescript.


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