[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

Highlight Words

The Apocalypse of St. John

Apocalypse of John: Lecture X


WE have seen that in the Apocalypse of John we have a description of what takes place in Initiation, or rather, the experience of a Christian during Initiation. In the concluding lectures, when we have briefly considered the whole of the Apocalypse, we shall still have to answer the question: What, really, is this document from an historical point of view? Why does such a document exist? But now, as we have reached the important point revealed in our last lecture, when our earth passes into a spiritual condition, though first of all into an astral condition, when certain remarkable beings appear in what has condensed in matter and split away from the normal progress of our earth evolution, it will be useful before we proceed further to make a general survey of certain things contained in the outline of our anthroposophical world conception. For you have seen that in all we have had to consider, certain conceptions as to numbers play a role, and now we are about to form a conception of what the seven-headed and ten-horned beast is, and what the two-horned beast is.

To begin with, we must find our bearings with regard to the outline of the evolution of the world. This runs its course in absolute conformity with certain numerical relations. The layman will be tempted to say — when he hears that the number seven and other numbers play such a great rôle in our studies — “Oh yes, these Anthroposophists are dishing up those old superstitions connected with the number seven, twelve and so on.” And when our contemporaries hear of something which develops regularly according to the number seven, they then begin to speak of superstition, although they themselves are really living in exactly the same superstition with respect to something of which they have a little knowledge; for they say, for example, that the rainbow consists of seven colours, the scale of seven tones, since the eighth is only a repetition of the first. And in many other realms one speaks of the number seven — and rightly so. In our study of the great cosmic relationships we speak of the number seven in no other sense than the physicist does when he speaks of the seven colours, and, in acoustics, of seven tones. For us the number seven is simply the result of occult experience, just as the scientist observes and counts the seven colours, so does the spiritual investigator count seven consecutive conditions in the world's evolution. And because the initiates in the Mysteries always knew about these things and expressed them, they passed over into the common consciousness; and the number seven was found to be of a particular significance. Exactly because the number seven was founded on cosmic relationships, it passed over into common belief, and of course, also into superstition. If we remember what has been said concerning the secret of the seven trumpets, the seven seals, the seven Letters, and what has been said concerning the seven consecutive ages of the Atlantean epoch, we see that in the evolution of the world there are really consecutive periods which are repeated in conformity with the number seven. We shall now give an outline of cosmic evolution, showing that this number governs all its parts.

We have heard that the Earth before it was Earth was Moon, before it was Moon it was Sun planet, and before it was Sun it was Saturn. After the Earth-condition it will pass over into the Jupiter-condition, and then into the Venus-condition, and lastly into the Vulcan-condition, so that we have seven consecutive planetary embodiments of our earth; Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. Now these are the greatest divisions in our whole evolution which with spiritual vision we are able to survey to a certain extent. We have described the three preceding conditions of the Earth. We shall now try to understand the purpose of this evolution and why the Earth passes through these seven conditions. These seven conditions coincide with the development of human consciousness. Each of these conditions: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan, characterizes a definite condition of human consciousness. Let us turn our attention back to the ancient Saturn period. We know that the various parts of which man is now constituted, did not exist at that time, but only the very first beginnings of his physical body. Obviously these first rudiments could not develop such a consciousness as man has to-day. Other beings had a human consciousness, but at that time the present man had a consciousness such as the minerals now have on the physical plane. We call this a deep trance-consciousness. The first germ of man had this consciousness upon Saturn. This Saturn evolution was gone through in order that man night gradually rise to higher states of consciousness. That was the first stage of consciousness, the deep trance-consciousness. Of course it must not be imagined that the degree of consciousness remained the same throughout the whole of the Saturn period, but on the whole the consciousness of man upon Saturn may be characterized as a deep trance-consciousness. It is dimmer even than the consciousness which man has to-day in dreamless sleep, for that was then the consciousness he passed through at the second stage, during the Sun evolution. This is the consciousness now possessed by the plants around us in the physical world.

Then came the Moon stage of evolution. Man then possessed a consciousness which can be understood more easily because in dream-consciousness man has at least a last remnant of the Moon-consciousness. To-day this dream-consciousness is an intermediate condition between dreamless sleep and the ordinary, waking, clear day-consciousness. Thus the third stage of consciousness was reached on the Moon, and it may be compared to the present dream-filled sleep, but it was much more vivid and real. Dream-filled sleep yields a consciousness which consists of odds and ends of ideas and pictures and is but slightly related to the real external world. The Moon-consciousness, which was a consciousness of dream-pictures, had very significant relations with the outer world. It corresponded exactly to what was present in the soul-spiritual environment. There was a repetition of this during the Atlantean epoch. We call it the dream-picture-consciousness; it might also be called the somnambulic-consciousness. The fourth state of consciousness is reached and passed through on our Earth; it is what we call the clear day-consciousness or objective-consciousness.

During the Jupiter period man will rise to a still higher degree of consciousness of which most people to-day have no inkling, when all that we have described has taken place and all that is yet to be added from the Apocalypse of John which is still to be described. Then, when man is saved, so to speak, when he has risen from the abyss or escaped from decadence, when he has risen into the astralized and spiritual earth, this will be the foundation for his attainment upon Jupiter of the consciousness which we may call the “conscious picture-consciousness.” If this is to be described it can only be done from the experiences of the Initiates. For initiation is indeed nothing but the acquisition of the capacity to attain at all earlier stage of evolution what normal humanity will gain at a later stage. In the conscious picture-consciousness man is just as self-conscious as he is to-day from morning to evening, but he perceives not only the external objects, but in his soul's field of vision he has pictures; indeed, they are pictures which are by no means dim, but rather are incorporated in the clear consciousness of day. Thus the clear day-consciousness plus the Moon-consciousness gives the Jupiter-consciousness. Man keeps what he now has and in addition gains the capacity of perceiving the element of soul and spirit. To-day the Initiate not only sees man as he is physically, but shining around him he perceives all kinds of spiritual forms which are the expression of his desires, instincts and thoughts; in a word, his aura. It glows and sparkles around the human form like delicate flames, partly like a cloud of light. All this can be seen in the human astral body by the Initiate, just as the outline of the physical body is seen by the ordinary physical eyes; all this is a picture of what takes place in the soul. The Initiate experiences a consciousness which may be described as Moon-consciousness plus Earth-consciousness.

Then upon Venus comes a sixth state of consciousness which may be described as the inspired-consciousness, the consciousness of inspiration. It is called the consciousness of inspiration because at this stage of consciousness the Initiate perceives not only the feelings, desires, impulses, etc., of the soul, but also its whole inner character as a uniform sound. He begins to perceive that which pervades the world of — shall we say — colour and form-structures as the music of the spheres, so that each single being stems like a musical form within that which had previously been perceived as an astral picture.

The seventh stage of consciousness which will exist on Vulcan we may call the Intuitive-consciousness. Intuition is not the triviality ordinarily understood by the word to-day when one imagines one is able to divine something through a vague feeling — that is a misuse of the word. In the schools of the Initiates, Intuition is applied to the highest stage of consciousness we can imagine, when the soul identifies itself with the spiritual beings and lives within them. Although the soul remains quite individual, it rests within all the objects and beings of its field of vision.

The seven stages of the earth's whole evolution thus present to its seven consecutive states of consciousness. Now each of these must in its turn also be attained in seven stages, and we call these seven stages, which must be passed through every time, Stages of Life. So that we distinguish seven stages of consciousness, and in each of these, seven stages of life. It is difficult in our language to find words to express these seven stages of life. If we merely take our earth into account, we may describe the stages of life by speaking of the seven kingdoms, for the stages of life on earth coincide with the kingdoms. Here we may describe the first stage of life as the first elementary kingdom, the second as the second, the third as the third elementary kingdom, the fourth as the mineral kingdom, the fifth as the vegetable kingdom, the sixth as the animal kingdom and the seventh as the human kingdom. Now we might say that at each of these stages of consciousness-seven such stages of life, or kingdoms, are passed through. But if we were similarly to describe the seven stages of life on Saturn as the first, second and third elementary kingdoms, as mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms, this would only give rise to false conceptions, for the expressions for these kingdoms are coined in accordance with our earthly experiences. And in those primeval times the kingdoms were formed quite differently from what they now are on the earth. We can only say that analogous to these kingdoms there were seven kingdoms on Saturn and seven on the Sun. The seven kingdoms of the Moon were more like the present kingdoms; and as far as the seven stages of life on the earth are concerned, these have become the seven kingdoms of the earth. And on the earth we can, indeed, describe these more easily, although it is extremely difficult to give an idea of the three elementary kingdoms. People think they have a true conception of the mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms, though this is not really the case. Perhaps you will succeed in forming some kind of idea of the three elementary kingdoms if you consider the following. Imagine parts of the mineral kingdom, stones, metals, etc., becoming finer and finer, so that you see less and less of them; they dissolve, so to speak, into finer and finer substance. Suppose it all volatilizes into an extremely delicate, transparent, invisible substance. If you continually refined these substances you would at length produce something which is no longer mineral kingdom but the third elementary kingdom. Then we should rise to a second and a first elementary kingdom. It is difficult for our present qualities of perception to form ideas about these kingdoms which are secreted in and condensed into our world. It is as if these elementary kingdoms had condensed and disappeared, so to speak, into our world. They precede our mineral kingdom. We have seen when this mineral kingdom itself was formed. In earlier periods of the earth's evolution the mineral kingdom existed in the condition of the elementary kingdoms.

Now the other four kingdoms. We see the mineral kingdom around us, also the vegetable, animal and human kingdoms. But we must clearly understand that these designations are really not quite correct in the spiritual scientific sense. The layman describes the present minerals as belonging to the mineral kingdom, the plants as belonging to the vegetable kingdom, the animals as belonging to the animal kingdom and man to the human kingdom. From the lay point of view this is correct, and for all the trivial things of life it suffices, but in the occult sense it is incorrect. For at the present time man is perfected alone in the mineral kingdom. Only in future periods of evolution will he rise to the plant, animal and. human kingdoms. As man has an “I”-consciousness at the present time we may certainly call him man, but we must not yet say that he is incarnated in the human kingdom in the sense of Spiritual Science. To this end something else is necessary of which we must now speak.

What can man comprehend to-day? That is the point. He can to-day understand only the mineral kingdom. As soon as the comes to the vegetable kingdom he no longer understands it, the mineral kingdom he can understand. From the forces of the mineral kingdom he can construct houses, machines, etc. When he comes to learn in the same way to observe what the forces are in a plant which makes it grow tall, only this will lift him with his consciousness into the vegetable kingdom. And by learning to comprehend how an animal can feel — at the present time he has only an external view of it — he becomes a member of the animal kingdom. And when he understands not only his own “I” but that of another, when he fully understands a man inwardly, then only does he belong to the human kingdom.

You will best understand that man can now comprehend only the mineral kingdom if you make the following observation. Imagine that a great number of learned men say that plants and animals are nothing more than complicated minerals. And these learned ashen are expecting a time when they will so combine material substances that these will become plants and animals. They are under the illusion that one can understand the plants as mineral beings, because they have no idea that there is any-thing else besides the mineral kingdom. Indeed, many say, “You Anthroposophists dream that there is an etheric body, something which extends beyond the merely mineral; but you will dream no more when we succeed in making a living being in our laboratory just as we now produce sulphuric acid from the separate substances, from carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, etc.” It is believed that a living being can be constructed in the same way in which sulphuric acid can be produced; it is believed that purely materialistic science will one day be able to do this. It is believed that Anthroposophists are foolish enough to doubt that the time will come when plants will actually be produced in the retort. This time will come. But students of Spiritual Science have always known that this time will come; they know that the time will come when man will take the plant nature into his own being, just as he now has the mineral nature within him. And just as he builds houses of minerals, just as he now uses the forces of the mineral kingdom, so will lie in the future, out of the familiar forces of the plant kingdom, produce plant forms and still higher things in the laboratory, without resorting to seeds, without having to call to his aid forces of nature unfamiliar to him. But if this possibility of producing a living organism in the laboratory were to come prematurely, from the point of view of true Spiritual Science this is what would be called black magic. Man must fast become ripe for each succeeding step of evolution. There is a saying well known in Spiritual Science, which rums: Man will only produce living organisms in the experimental laboratory, as he now produces mineral products, when the laboratory-table has become the altar and the mixing of the chemical substances a sacramental act. This is a saying which has always been found in occult circles. Truly, as long as a person enters the laboratory in the belief that he can work with unholy feelings the same as with holy ones, so long will he never be able, with the will of those who guide evolution in the right way, to produce anything living in the laboratory. This will only be possible when it is realized that a mineral product may indeed be produced, even if a scoundrel is standing at the laboratory table, but that a living thing can never be produced under these circumstances. For into the living being flows — when it is put together — something which is M. the man himself. If the man were a villain, what was villainous would flow over, and the being produced would be an expression of villainy. Only when it is realized that man as a whole being works with his whole inner being in what he produces, will the world be ready to produce something that is alive, plants, animals and human beings, in free activity. Man will then have risen into the plant kingdom when he understands the plain nature as he now understands the mineral. He will have risen to the animal kingdom when he understands feelings in such a way that he can make a sensitive being through his own spirit-power, just as he now makes as external object. And he will have ascended to the human kingdom when he can form man anew in free activity.

Thus man is now living in the mineral kingdom; and he is fundamentally the only being which has developed fully in the mineral kingdom, whilst the beings in the other kingdoms stand in many respects at much lower stages than the one designated in Spiritual Science as the mineral kingdom. Thus the plants show as a kind of preparatory stage what man will experience when he himself shall one day be in the plant kingdom. But the plants arc not really in the plant kingdom; they are, at the most prototypes; not archetypes, but pointers to a future kingdom in which man will be, when he inwardly passes through the plant nature, just as he is now passing through the mineral nature. This plant kingdom in which man will be, will be distinguished by other things, its nature may be characterized by a moral statement which is, indeed, often repeated intellectually but by no means comprehended. To-day man lives in such a way that the individual, even if he does not acknowledge it, is convinced that it is possible for a person to be happy although his neighbour may be unhappy. It is certainly quite possible for one person to feel happy in spite of others being unhappy. Even if it be acknowledged, speaking intellectually, that the highest moral principle is that which makes all men happy, in practice, people are convinced that the happiness of one is quite possible without others being just as happy as he. When man is in the plant kingdom he will have reached a stage of evolution morally, at which it will be impossible to feel happy as an individual if others of his kind are unhappy. “The happiness of the individual is inseparably connected with the happiness of all.” This statement will rule when man is taken up into the plant kingdom. No man could then feel happy in any way if his happiness were obtained at the expense of others.

Thus you see that there are very few who are capable of perceiving such subtle ideas as we must have in Spiritual Science if we wish to understand everything. But you also see that than still has long vistas of evolution in front of him. All this he must attain, and very little of it exists as yet.

Thus we speak of seven kingdoms through which man himself passes. Upon Jupiter there will be again seven kingdoms which will still be somewhat similar to the seven earth kingdoms, but they will nevertheless be quite different from these. Upon Venus there will again be seven, and again upon Vulcan. Here we can by no means call them kingdoms any longer, the idea “kingdom” is no longer suitable. If we bear all this in mind we must say that we have (primarily) seven stages of development of consciousness, the Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan stages, and at each stage of consciousness seven stages of life, through which every single being which gods through the degree of consciousness must pass. Each stage of life must again pass through seven stages of form, and, indeed, un such a way that you have to consider your present physical stage of farm to be in the very middle. Before anything becomes physical it is astral; before it is astral, it is at a certain spiritual stage which is called lower devachan; and before anything descends to this stage it is in a higher stage of devachan. Here we have three stages of form. The first may be designated as formless. The next stage of form we designate as the stage of lower devachan. Then we come to the astral stage. When the astral condenses it becomes physical. Then the physical dissolves again and returns to a more perfect astral; this passes to a more perfect lower devachanic, and this to a higher devachanic. The physical condition of form is in the middle.

Each kingdom (each stage of life) passes through seven conditions of form. You must distinguish between physical and mineral, for they are not the same. As to-day the physical coincides with the mineral in appearance, the two may easily be confused. The mineral kingdom or stage of life passes through all the stages of form; it can be laid down as mineral kingdom above in the higher region of devachan. It then descends into the lower spiritual region (lower devachan) and is still the mineral kingdom, then into the astral — here it is astrally prepared — and then it condenses to the physical. Thus in each kingdom we have seven conditions of form.

Each condition of consciousness can only run its course in seven conditions of life; each condition of life in seven conditions of form. That is 7 x 7 x 7 conditions. In fact, an entire evolution such as that of the earth passes through 7 x 7 x 7 conditions of form. Our earth was once Saturn; this went through seven conditions of life and each condition of life through seven conditions of form, Therefore you have forty-nine conditions of form upon Saturn, forty-nine upon the Sun, forty-nine upon the Moon, etc.; 7 x 49 == 343 conditions of form. Man passes through 343 conditions of form in the course of his evolution. When Saturn was at the very outset of its evolution it began in the highest spiritual to which we can attain, as a structure in the highest part of devachan. That was the first condition of form, and it was entirely mineral. As such it descended to the physical kingdom, and reascended to higher devachan. And here begins the great difficulty, for you must now say, if you wish to use the expressions named: Man passes into the next kingdom. But these expressions do not apply to Saturn. Upon Saturn man passes in this way through forty-nine conditions. The curious thing is that you may now ask: “Man had to pass through conditions of life on Saturn, but he only acquired an etheric body on the Sun. Flow, then, can one say that he goes through conditions of life?” They were not yet as they were later when he had a life body, they were vicarious. This is brought about through the activity of higher beings. Man has no independent life upon Saturn, but higher beings permeate him with their etheric body, with their astral body, “I,” etc. In any case you must understand that upon Saturn man has passed through forty-nine conditions, upon the Sun forty-nine, and forty-nine upon the Moon. Upon the earth of these forty-nine conditions he has only passed through the first three conditions of life and is now in the fourth — in the mineral kingdom. In the first condition of life he was in the first elementary kingdom and there passed through seven conditions of form; in the second condition of life he was

Diagram 1

in the second elementary kingdom and passed through seven conditions of form; he was in the third elementary kingdom and passed through the seven conditions of form. He is now in the fourth elementary kingdom, which is the same as the mineral kingdom, and he is approximately in the middle of this, somewhat beyond the middle.

From all that we have outlined you will have seen that the whole earth passes through 343 conditions. I beg you to picture it in this way: Saturn originates and passes through forty-nine conditions; it is primarily a fiery mass, a body of heat, and goes through various conditions, but it is always the same globe that passes through these forty-nine conditions. In the same way, the Sun is always one and the same globe which passes through the forty-nine conditions. But there are intermediate conditions. It is as if between the several embodiments of the earth there were a kind of spiritual interval. It is the same with the planets as with man, the planets also pass through spiritual intervals, which lie between the periods of manifestation.

If you clearly understand that in the course of our evolution we have seven conditions of consciousness, you will also perceive how this is connected with what is described in our various books. They are cosmic systems. You will there read that our Earth developed out of an ancient planetary system which is described as Moon. We then went further back from the Moon to the Sun, and from the Sun to Saturn. Each of these conditions is divided into the seven conditions of life — formerly called Rounds; Rounds are the same as conditions of life. And those now called conditions of form were formerly called globes. The latter expression was extremely misleading, for it led to the idea that these seven globes were side by side.

These conditions, from the most remote form, which was almost formless, down through the physical and up again to the formless, are not seven globes existing side by side, but seven successive conditions. The same globe that is now physical was first of all spiritual, then it became denser and denser. It is the same globe simply condensed. Then a portion of it became astral, then a portion physical; it is always the same globe. It dissolves again like salt in warm water, it again becomes astral. We have ascended to this astral where, in the Apocalypse, the vials of wrath are described; there the earth becomes astral again.

Diagram 2

Thus you see how the number seven governs the whole of evolution. In the last few days we have given a skeleton outline of this, as it were, in the form of pictures, sometimes truly grotesque pictures, and in any case, such as deviate very much from what can be seen to-day in the physical world. If you conceive of it in this way it is approximately as if you were to erect the scaffolding for a house, the most external part that is intended to be used by the masons. That has, however, nothing to do with the subject; these are only thoughts about the subject, so to speak. We must rise from this purely intellectual scheme, which assists us indeed to understand, to the living structure, by using the pictures which are to be seen in the astral for the various conditions; then only have we what is called occult wisdom. As long as you build up a scaffolding you remain in the thought customary to you in the physical world. The whole scheme we have sketched is only physical thought. This is related to the full reality not at all like the inner framework of a house to the complete building, but only like the outer scaffolding upon which the builders stand. This has to be taken down again when the building is completed. In the same way the scaffolding of thought has to be taken down again if one wishes to have the truth before one as it really is. If one considers this abstraction as the reality, then one is not by any means speaking of true Spiritual Science but only of the concept which the man of the present day can form regarding the spiritual facts. The way in which spiritual facts are presented abstractly at the present time may be seen in such a diagram as I have made, but this in itself is unfruitful. I had to put it before you because we also need such a diagram, but fundamentally it is of no use to one who wishes to progress upon the truly spiritual path. If you describe the whole world, up to the highest spiritual facts, by means of such diagrams, this only has meaning for your present incarnation. In the next you must learn another diagram. This can only be thought by using the brain; it is only adapted for the brain. But as the brain disintegrates at death, the whole schematic presentation then falls to pieces. On the other hand, if you comprehend — at first in pictures of fantasy — that which really happens, what we have described as the consecutive pictures of the seals seen by spiritual vision, that is something which is not bound up with your physical brain, and which you retain because it does not originate from physical thinking, but from facts seen clairvoyantly. Therefore one must take care not to mistake for spiritual wisdom that which is striven for after the pattern of physical comprehension, which would also schematize the higher worlds. This is a description by means of the ordinary physical intellect. Of course, the physical intellect must play a part; on this account it is even useful to present such a diagram, and we may now carry it a step further.

We have seen that we pass through 343 conditions of form. Now, the subject grows more complicated when we learn that the matter does not end here, but that roan must also pass through various conditions with each condition of form. In our mineral condition of life during the Earth period three conditions of form have preceded the present physical condition of form and three others will follow it. But now the physical again passes through seven conditions, and these are the seven of which we have spoken in previous lectures; the first when the sun is still united with the earth, the second when it separates, the third when the moon withdraws, the fourth that of the Atlantean humanity. The Atlantean humanity lives in the fourth epoch of the development of the physical condition of form. Thus within each condition of form you have again seven epochs or so-called root-races, although the expression “race” applies only to the middle condition. We are now living in the fifth epoch, the post-Atlantean epoch, between the great Atlantean flood and the great War of All against All. The sixth will follow this and then the seventh. The sixth epoch is indicated in the Apocalypse of John by the seven seals, and the seventh by the seven trumpets. Then the earth passes over into the astral. That is a new condition of form which again will have its seven epochs.

And still our diagram is not at an end. Each epoch as it runs its course between such events as the great Atlantean flood and the great Was of All against All must again be divided into seven ages. As regards the fifth epoch there are the Indian age of civilization, the Persian age of civilization, the Assyrian-Babylonian-Chaldean-Egyptian-Jewish age, the Graeco-Latin age, our own age, then the sixth, which is indicated in the Apocalypse by the community of Philadelphia, and the seventh age of civilization which will follow that.

Thus if we imagine the whole of evolution consisting of nothing but short ages such as these — which, however, are long enough — we have 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 stages of development such as the ancient Indian or the ancient Persian. The number of different conditions of this nature which man passes through between Saturn and Vulcan is 16807:

7 x 7 x 7 == 343.
7 x 343  == 2401.
7 x 2401 == 16807.

Thus you see how the number 7 governs development in the successive periods throughout the whole of evolution. Just as the tones in music progress from octave to octave, so does the whole of evolution take place in octaves of development.

Let us now recall that we have seven of these conditions out of the 16807 in our epoch between the great Atlantean flood and the great War of All against All, and that previously we had seven more in the Atlantean epoch. But we also remember that man went through four of these seven ages of the Atlanteans epoch under quite different conditions from the last three. You know the kind of conditions we have to enumerate. Four of the conditions out of the total number, man went through during the Atlantean epoch in such a way that he felt himself as a group-soul, as we have described, as eagle, lion, bull and man. He gradually developed these four group-souls during these four root-races of the Atlantean epoch. Now because races always continue, just as, for instance, the Indian has continued, although later ones have developed (they pass into one another), for this reason the four heads indicating the group-souls also remained at the beginning of the fifth age of Atlantean civilization and we have this four-headed beast. Now when ma began to harden himself from the etheric into the physical, he developed four different parts of the body in accordance with his fourfold group-soul. And through the former group-soul consciousness changing into the individual-consciousness, man had within him a con-junction of the earlier four-foldness at the beginning of the fifth age of Atlantis. He bears within him the four heads which are summed up in his head which gradually arises. It is composed of the four group-heads as it developed in the course of the fifth period. Man has four parts of the physical body corresponding to the four heads. These are the four horns. So that you may imagine that because man was etheric, he had four heads, four animal heads, only the last is already human-animal, for that is what is meant. He was four-headed, and each force-system corresponding to one of these heads formed physical organs. We saw in our last lecture that there was a force-system which formed the heart, namely, that which is connected with the lion head. The various organs of man are like condensations of the corresponding parts of the etheric body. This is the view of the writer of the Apocalypse. He says: That which is physical is a densification of the etheric. Just as you would think: “This skin thickens and forms a callosity,” so the Apocalyptist thinks: “man exists etherically and this condenses and becomes physical.” And because man is fourfold, consisting of four group-souls, four condensations are formed. These constitute his physical body. This is the reason why one described as “horn” that which in the physical body corresponds to the etheric body. Horn is a callous thickening. Man is described, as far as he had developed in the fourth age of the Atlantean epoch, as an anneal with four heads and four horns. He then evolves further towards an individual human being. This begins in the neighbourhood of the present Ireland. Man passes through the last three ages in such a way that he possesses the germ of the ego-being. He no longer develops an animal body outwardly, but has risen to the human stage. He matures his human nature more and more until he absorbs the Christ-principle. If we regard present-day man, we see that he was not always as he appears to-day. In order for him to become what he now is, he had to pass through four animal group-souls, he had to be incarnated in bodies corresponding to the present lion form, the bull form, the eagle form and the human form. He then pressed forward and became more and more human, and the form of the earlier group-soul disappeared. It is no longer there, man has assumed human shape.

We must now understand an important event which then took place when man assumed human form, for without this under-standing one cannot comprehend the Apocalypse of John; it was an event of the greatest importance. Up to this event when man passed into the human soul-nature, something was totally hidden from his vision which later was revealed. Man had a kind of dim, hazy consciousness. When he wakened in the morning he saw everything surrounded by misty formations, so to speak; and when he went to sleep he was in the spiritual world. This appeared to him in pictures; for such is the nature of the spiritual world. I shall now describe something which took place before man passed over physically into the human condition, before he passed from the group-soul nature to full “I”-consciousness.

That which he lived through here upon the earth consisted only of a number of experiences. He then went to sleep and during his sleep was in a dim consciousness in a spiritual world where he lived among gods and spirits, of which an echo remains in the myths and legends. He then experienced mighty pictures; for example, the picture in which he encountered two other beings who threw stones behind them, and out of these stones other beings like themselves grew out of the earth. These were experiences which man had throughout the fourth age of the Atlantean epoch. To express it plainly, we must say that reproduction took place in sleeping-consciousness, not in the waling-consciousness. When man was outside his physical body and in the spiritual world, he accomplished in this condition of picture-consciousness deeds which had to be brought about. The whole act of reproduction was veiled in a spiritual element and appeared to him in the picture of throwing stones behind him. The act of reproduction was enveloped in spiritual consciousness; it lay behind the day-consciousness. Man had no knowledge of sex. In the day-consciousness he did not see himself as existing in two sexes, his soul was untouched by any thought of sex. Not that it did not exist; it did exist, but it rested in the obscurity of a spiritual consciousness; during the day-consciousness he knew nothing of it. With the acquisition of the first germ of the “I”-consciousness man first became aware of sex. That is the moment presented to us in the Bible when Adam and Eve become aware that there is such a thing as sex. This important event took place at this stage in the earth's evolution.

If with spiritual vision you look back to the time which preceded that time, you see only that part of man which is the instrument of the spirit. The other part was invisible, Only the upper part of man could be seen. From the point of time we have mentioned the whole man began to be seen. It is now comprehensible why men began to cover themselves up. Previously they saw nothing which required covering. In this way man gradually emerged into the external world.

If we consider the outer human form as the condensed part of the etheric, we have in the fourth Atlantean age the four horns in addition to the four group-soul heads. Now, however, in the last three ages of Atlantis something twofold begins to develop physically. At each stage where a group-soul head was to develop, a double physical, male and female, was formed. In the first four stages you find man formed with four heads, the condensed etheric with four horns. We now have three more heads which are invisible because the external human forum absorbs then. These three are only perceptible to spiritual vision, three etheric heads, a principal human head between two others which are like shadows beside it, like a double shadow. Thus when the Atlantean flood burst, we have seven group-soul heads, of which the last three always appear in such a way that they have their physical part in a double form, as male and female. From this you see that at the end of the Atlantean epoch the entire group-soul nature of man — although the later portion remains invisible — has seven heads acid ten horns. The horns of the first four heads are not separated into male and female, but only the last three. Man has the seven heads and ten horns within him. He must now work upon these through the reception of the Christ-principle so that they shall he destroyed, so to speak. For each time a man dies the sevens-headed and ten-horned nature can clearly be seen in his astral body. This is merely held together like a piece of india-rubber which has been correspondingly formed. Now suppose a person hardened himself during our epoch against the Christ-principle and were to conic to the time of the great War of All against All without having had the Christ-experience, suppose he were to come to this time and had thrust the Christ away from him, then when the earth passes over into the astral, that which was there and which he ought to have changed, would spring forth, it would spring forth in its old form. The beast with the seven heads and ten horns would appear, whereas in those who have received the Christ-principle, sex will again be overcome. The hardened ones will keep the six-horned sexuality and will appear in their totality as the beast with the seven heads and ten horns of which the rudiments were laid down in the Atlantean epoch. They will be transformed through the reception of the Christ-impulse, but if Christ is rejected they will remain and will reappear in the epoch indicated by the falling of the vials of wrath and the earth splitting, as it were, into two parts, one in which the Christ-men appear with white garments as the elect, even in the epoch of the seals; and the other part in which men appear in the form of the beast with seven heads and ten horns. Then appears another beast with two horns, symbolized by the number 666.

Last Modified: 15-Nov-2017
The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com