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Metamorphoses of the Soul
Paths of Experience Vol. 1

Schmidt Number: S-2119

On-line since: 15th January, 2008

LECTURE 9
Something about the Moon in the Light of Spiritual Science

Berlin, 9th December 1909

The lecture I am to give today puts me in a difficult position. I want to make some remarks which fall outside the way of thinking now called “scientific”. Since the views of most people are largely formed by the ideas generally current in scientific and popular-scientific circles, and since the subject-matter of this lecture will be far removed from any such ideas, the public at large may be inclined to regard my statements as mere fancies, derived from quite arbitrary cogitations, rather than for what they really are: the outcome of spiritual-scientific research.

I would ask you, therefore, to take this lecture as a sort of episode in our winter series, intended to point in a direction to which I am not likely to return this year, though it may occupy us further next year. The reason for touching on it now, is to show that what we are dealing with this winter as a science of the soul, branches out in many ways that lead from the immediate realm of human soul-life to the great connections we find in the wide universe, the whole cosmos.

Finally, I must ask you to remember that this lecture will deal only with one short chapter from a very large volume. It must be seen in strict relation to its title, “Something about the Moon in the Light of Spiritual Science”. It will not attempt to be in any way exhaustive.

In all sorts of popular books you will find this or that said about the moon from the standpoint of science today. But all you can learn from these sources or from the scientific literature will leave you quite unsatisfied as regards the real questions concerning this strange companion of the earth. As the 19th century advanced, the statements of science with regard to the moon became more and more cautious, but also less frequent; but today they will occupy us hardly at all. The picture of the moon's surface given by telescopes and astronomical photography, the descriptions of its surface-markings as crater-like formations, grooves, plains and valleys and suchlike, and the consequent impressions one can gain of the purely spatial countenance of the moon — all this will not concern us. The question for us today is a truly spiritual-scientific one — whether the moon has any special influence on or significance for human life on earth.

A significance of this kind has been spoken of from various points of view in the course of past centuries. And since everything that happens on earth, year in and year out, is related to the changing position of the earth relative to the sun, and is subject to the vast influence of the sun's light and heat, it was natural to wonder whether that other heavenly luminary, the moon, might not have some importance for life on earth, and especially for human life. In the comparatively recent past, people were inclined to speak of the moon as having a fairly powerful influence on earthly life. Quite apart from the fact that it has long been customary to attribute to the moon's attraction the so-called ebb and flow of the sea, the moon has always been regarded as affecting weather conditions on earth. Moreover, as late as the first half of the 19th century, serious scientists and doctors collated observations of how the moon in its various phases had a definite effect on certain illnesses, and even on the course of human life as a whole. It was then by no me