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Perception of the Nature of Thought

Sun Activity in Earthly Evolution

By Rudolf Steiner

GA 161

A lecture delivered in Dornach, on January 10th, 1915. Authorized translation from the German of Notes unrevised by the lecturer. Published here with the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland. Translated by M. Cotterell.

Also known as: Perceiving the Thought Being ... Lecture 2 of 13 from the lecture series: Ways of Spiritual Cognition and the Rejuvenation of the Artistic Lifestyle. Published in German as: Wege der Geistigen Erkenntnis und der Erneurung Kuenstlerischer Weltanschauung. No. 161 in the Bibliographical Survey, 1961.

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Perception of the Nature of Thought

— Sun Activity in Earthly Evolution —

Lecture given by Rudolf Steiner,
Dornach, 10 January 1915,
GA 161

Translated by M. Cotterell

Bearing in mind what we sought to study yesterday, let us consider how matters actually stand in regard to what we call man's Saturn evolution.

If we remember the course of yesterday's lecture [note 1], we know that there is concealed within us, within our human being, something that was first implanted in us during the Saturn period, namely, the first rudiments of our physical bodily nature. What we have acquired from the ancient Saturn evolution can be met with nowhere today in the external world. In primeval ages the Saturn evolution arose and again passed away; it possessed characteristics, forces, which seek in vain if we look around us today. For even if we look out to the stars in cosmic space we do not at first find what prevailed within the old Saturn evolution.

After this ancient Saturn evolution had died away, there came as you know, the Sun evolution and then the Moon evolution and today we are living in the Earth evolution. Three evolutionary periods have gone by. And all that formed their peculiar characteristics has passed away with them and is no more to be found in our field of vision. We can only find the characteristics of the Saturn evolution among the hidden occult activities which pulsate through the world. We can still, as it were, uncover the forces which at that time worked upon our physical body.

If you recollect what was shown in my book Outline of Occult Science you are aware that there was an active co-operation at that time between the Spirits of Will and the Spirits of Personality. This co-operation still exists today though it cannot be discerned externally. We find it if we look into what we call our personal karma. Please note, my dear friends, that our personal karma is woven in such a way that what befalls us in successive earth lives is connected as cause and effect. The forces active in our personal stream of destiny cannot be investigated by the official Natural Scientist. He will find nothing among the forces disclosed in the field of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Physiology etc., which calls forth the connection of cause and effect that comes to expression in our personal karma. The laws prevailing