Rudolf Steiner Archive
Theosophy of the Rosicrucian
Planetary Evolution I
Schmidt Number: S-1542
On-line since: 4th July, 2002
WE shall most easily understand the progress of humanity through the
three incarnations, Saturn, Sun, and Moon, preceding the Earth, if we
add a further survey of man in sleep, in dream.
When man is asleep the seer beholds the astral body with the ego
enveloped in it as though floating over the physical body. The astral
body is then outside the physical and etheric bodies, but remains
connected with them. It sends threads, as it were, or rather currents
into the universal cosmic body, and seems partly embedded in it. Thus
in the sleeping man we have the physical, the etheric and the astral
body, but this last sends out tentacles towards the great astral
If we picture this condition as an enduring one, if here on the
physical plane there were only human beings who had the physical body
interpenetrated with the etheric body, while above hovered over them
an astral soul with the ego, then we should have the condition in
which mankind existed on the Moon. Except that on the Moon the astral
body was not strongly separated from the physical body; it sank down
into the physical body just as strongly as it expanded into the
But if you picture a state of sleep where no dream ever comes then you
have the condition in which humanity existed on the Sun. And if you
now imagine that the human being has died, that even his etheric body
is outside him, united to the astral body and ego, but yet that the
link is not quite dissolved, so that what is outside, embedded in the
whole surrounding cosmos, sends down its rays and works upon the
physical substance you then have the condition in which mankind
existed on Saturn.
Below on the cosmic globe of Saturn there was only what we have in our
purely physical body; it was surrounded, so to speak, by an etheric
astral atmosphere, in which the egos were embedded.
Human beings were already actually in existence on Saturn but in a
dull, dull consciousness. These souls had the task of maintaining in
an active and mobile state something that belonged to them down below.
They worked from above on their physical body, like a snail fashioning
its shell; they acted from outside, just like an instrument, on the
bodily organs. We will describe the appearance of that on which the
souls above were working; we must give some little description of this
physical Saturn, of Saturn in general.
I have already said that the part of the physical body elaborated then
was the foundation of the sense organs. The souls outside worked upon
the Saturn surface, upon what lived in man as rudiments of the senses.
They were actually in the cosmic space surrounding Saturn below were
their workshops, there they worked out the types for eyes and ears and
for the other sense organs.
Now what was the fundamental quality of this Saturn-mass? It is hard
to characterise, for we have scarcely a word in our language which is
suitable; our words are quite materialistic, they are only adapted to
the physical plane. There is one word however, that can express the
delicate work that was carried out there. One can denote it with the
expression: Reflection. The Saturn globe in all its parts had the
quality of reflecting everything, such as light, tone, perfume, taste,
that reached it from without; all was thrown back again; one perceived
it in cosmic space as a reflection in the mirror of Saturn. One can
only compare it with the effect of looking into the eye of our
neighbour, when our own picture looks out from it towards us.
Thus all the human souls were aware of themselves, but not only as a
picture in colour they perceived themselves in taste, in scent, in a
definite feeling of warmth. Saturn was thus a reflecting planet. The
human beings living in the atmosphere threw their essence and being
into it and out of the pictures that then arose, the rudiments of the
sense organs began to take form, for they were pictures that worked
Imagine yourself standing before a mirror from which your own figure
confronts you, and that this figure begins to create, is not a dead
form as in our modern lifeless mirror. There you have the creative
activity of Saturn, there you have the kind of way the human beings
lived on Saturn and accomplished their work.
This took place below on the Saturn globe; up above, the souls were in
the deep trance consciousness of which I spoke yesterday. They knew
nothing of this mirroring, they only occasioned it. In this dull
trance consciousness they had within them the entire cosmic All, and
thus the whole cosmic All was mirrored from their being. They
themselves, however, were embedded in a basic substance of a spiritual
nature, they were not independent but were only a part of the
spirituality surrounding Saturn. They could not therefore have a
spiritual perception, higher spirits perceived by means of them, they
were the organs of perception for other spirits.
A whole number of higher spirits were in the surroundings of Saturn;
all those whom Christian esotericism has called Divine Messengers,
Angels, Archangels, Primal Forces, Powers of Revelation. All these
were contained in the Saturn atmosphere. Just as the hand belongs to
the organism so did the souls belong to these Beings, and just as
little as the hand has an independent consciousness, so little had
they at that time a consciousness of their own. They worked out of the
consciousness of higher Beings, the consciousness of a higher world;
they thus fashioned the forms of their sense organs, which then became
creative, and they also moulded the Saturn substance. You must not
think of this substance of Saturn as being as dense as the present
human flesh. The densest condition that it could attain at all was not
as dense as our present physical air. Saturn became physical, but only
reached the density of fire, of warmth, the warmth in which our modern
Physics no longer admits any matter to exist. Warmth, however, for the
occultist is a finer substance than gas it has the characteristic of
continuous expansion. And since Saturn consisted of this substance it
had the power of spreading from within outwards, of raying out
everything, of reflecting. Such a body radiates everything; it has no
need to keep it all within itself.
Saturn was not a uniform substance but of such a composition that one
could have perceived a differentiation, a configuration. Later the
organs became rounded into cell-like balls, only that cells are small
and those were large as if you took a mulberry or blackberry.
You could not as yet have seen on Saturn, for the reflecting process
threw all light that came from outside back again. Within this Saturn
mass all was dark, only towards the end of its evolution was it
somewhat illumined. A number of beings were present in the surrounding
atmosphere of Saturn; not only you yourselves were active on your
sense organs. For the soul of man was not yet so far developed as to
be able to work alone, you worked in conjunction with other spiritual
beings, under their guidance, so to speak.
Certain beings worked on Saturn as independently as modern man; they
stood then at the human level. They could not be formed like modern
man, for warmth was the only substance of Saturn. In respect of their
intelligence, their ego-consciousness, however, they stood at the
level of present man though they could form no physical body, no
brain. Let us observe them somewhat closer. The present-day human
being consists of four members: Physical body, Etheric body, Astral
body and the Ego, and, prefigured in the ego, Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit
and Spirit-Man (Manas, Budhi, Atma). The lowest, although of its kind
the most perfect member on the Earth planet, is the physical body.
The next higher is the etheric body, then the astral body and the ego.
Now there are also beings who have no physical body, whose lowest
member is the etheric body. They have no need of the physical body in
order to occupy themselves in our sense world; in compensation they
have a member which is higher than our seventh.
Others have the astral body as their lowest member and in compensation
a ninth, and again others who have our ego as lowest member, have in
compensation a tenth member. When we consider the beings who have the
ego as lowest member we must say that they consist of:
Then come the eighth, ninth and tenth members, that which Christian
esotericism calls the Divine Trinity:
Son or Word
In theosophical literature one is accustomed to call these the three
These beings, whose lowest member is the ego, are those who come into
special consideration for us in the Saturn evolution. They were at the
stage where humanity stands today. They could exercise their ego under
the quite different conditions that I have described. They were the
human beings of Saturn and the ancestors of our present humanity.
They irradiated the surface of Saturn with their ego-hood, their
external nature, they were the implanters of ego-hood in the physical
corporeality that was forming on the surface of Saturn.
Thus they made it their care that the physical body was prepared in
such a way that it could later become the bearer of the ego. Only such
a physical body as you have today, with feet, hands and head and the
sense organs incorporated in it could be ego-bearer on the fourth
stage, the Earth. To this end the nucleus of it had to be already
implanted on Saturn. One also calls these ego-beings of Saturn,
Spirits of Egoism. *[Later called by Dr. Steiner, Spirits of
Egoism has a two-fold character; it is excellent and desirable or
obnoxious and evil. If at that time on Saturn and on the succeeding
planets the essential nature of egoism had not been again and again
implanted, man would never have become an independent being who can
say I to himself. Into your bodily nature there has been
instilled ever since Saturn the sum of forces which stamps you as an
independent being, cutting you off from all other beings. To this end
had the Spirits of Egoism, the Asuras, to work.
Among them are to be found two kinds, apart from slight deviations.
The one kind has elaborated egoism in a noble, self-reliant way, and
has risen higher and higher in the perfection of the sense of freedom:
that is the rightful independence of egoism. These spirits have guided
mankind through all the successive planets; they have become the
educators of men towards independence.
Now on each planet there are also Spirits who have remained behind in
evolution, they have remained stationary and not wished to progress.
You will recognise a law from this: If the most outstanding fall and
commit the great sin of not advancing with evolution, then
they become the very worst of all.
The noble sense of liberty has been reversed into wickedness, into its
opposite. Those are the Spirits of Temptation, and they must be taken
gravely into account; they lead to the evil side of egoism, even today
they are still in our environment, these evil Spirits of Saturn. All
that is bad draws its power from these Spirits.
When each planet has completed its evolution and becomes spiritual
again, it is, so to speak, no longer in existence. It passes over into
a condition of sleep in order to come forth once more. So too was it
with Saturn. Its next incarnation is the Sun, a Sun which you would
obtain if you were to mix together as in a cauldron all that is on the
sun, the moon and the earth, together with all the terrestrial and
spiritual beings. The Sun evolution is distinguished by the fact that
the etheric body drew into the prepared physical body below. The Sun
has a denser substantiality than Saturn, it is to be compared with the
density of the present air. The human physical substance, your own
body which you formed for yourselves, is to be seen on the Sun
interpenetrated by the etheric body. You yourselves belonged to a body
of air, as on Saturn to a body of warmth. Your etheric body was
already down below, but your astral body with your ego was enveloped
in the great general astral body of the Sun. And there you worked down
into the physical and etheric bodies, just as today in sleep when your
astral body is outside it works upon the physical and the etheric
body. At that time you were elaborating the first rudiments of all
that today are organs of growth, metabolism and reproduction. You were
transforming the elements of the sense organs from Saturn, some of
which maintained their character, while others were transformed into
glands and organs of growth.
All organs of growth and organs of reproduction are sense organs taken
hold of by the etheric body and transformed. When you compare the body
of the Sun with Saturn you find a certain difference. Saturn was stiff
like a reflecting surface, it rayed back everything that it received
of taste, smell and all sense-perceptions. This was not so in the Sun.
Whereas Saturn rayed back everything direct, without taking possession
of it, the Sun permeated itself with it, and then rayed it back; being
able to do so by virtue of having an etheric body. Its body,
penetrated by an etheric body, did as the plant does today with the
sunlight. The plant takes up the sunlight, permeates itself with it
and then gives it back again. If it is put in some dark place, it
loses its colour and languishes. There would be no green colouring
matter without light. So it was with your own body on the Sun, it
permeated itself with light and with other ingredients too, and as the
plant sends back the light after having drawn strength from it, so did
the Sun once upon a time ray back the light after having worked it
over inwardly. But it not only permeated itself with the light, but
with taste, scent, warmth, everything, and radiated it out again.
Hence your own body too was at the stage of the plant on the Sun. It
had not the appearance of a plant in the modern sense, for this has
only been formed on the Earth. What you bear within you as glands,
organs of growth and reproduction, were upon the Sun as mountains and
rocks are upon the Earth today. You worked upon them as one nowadays
tends and cultivates a little garden. The Sun radiated back the
ingredients of cosmic space, it shone in the loveliest colours, a
wonderful tone rang forth, an exquisite aroma streamed out from it.
The ancient Sun was a wonderful being in cosmic space. Thus at that
time on the Sun men worked at their own substance like certain
creatures, corals for instance, work from outside on their structure.
This took place under the guidance of higher beings, for there were
higher beings in the Sun's atmosphere.
We must concern ourselves with one special category who then stood at
the level reached by men today. On Saturn we have the Spirits of
Egoism who implanted the sense of freedom and self-reliance and stood
at the human level. On the Sun it was other beings, who had as lowest
member, not the ego but the astral body. They possessed astral body,
ego, Spirit Self, Life Spirit and Spirit Man and the eighth member,
named in Christian Esotericism Holy Spirit, and finally
the ninth member, the Son, the Word in the sense of St.
John's Gospel. They had not as yet the tenth member and instead of
this they had a lower member, the astral body. These were the Spirits
who were active on the Sun, they guided all astral activity. They
differ from modern man inasmuch as man breathes air, since air is in
the earthly environment; these Spirits, however, breathed warmth or
The Sun was itself a kind of being of air, surrounded by that
substance which had previously formed Saturn-fire, warmth. The part
that had densified had formed the gaseous Sun, and what had not
densified was a surging sea of fire. These beings could live on the
Sun and inhale and exhale warmth, fire; they were therefore called the
Spirits of Fire. They stood at the human level on the Sun and they
worked in the service of humanity. One calls them Sun Spirits or Fire
Spirits. Man at that time was at the stage of sleep-consciousness, the
Sun-Fire Spirits had already the ego consciousness. Since then they
too have developed further and ascended to higher degrees of
consciousness. One calls them in Christian Esotericism Archangels. And
the highest evolved Spirit Who was on the Sun as Fire Spirit, Who
today is still active upon the Earth, with very highly evolved
consciousness, this Sun or Fire Spirit is the Christ. In the
same way the most evolved Saturn Spirit is the Father God.
Christian Esotericism knows that there was incarnated in the body of
flesh and blood of Christ-Jesus precisely such a Sun-Fire Spirit, and
indeed the highest, the Regent of the Sun Spirits. That He might come
on to the Earth He had to make use of a physical body, He had to live
under the same earthly conditions as man, in order to be able to
Thus on the Sun we are concerned with a Sun-body, as it were, a body
of the Sun planet with Ego-Spirits, who are Fire Spirits, and with a
Regent of the Sun, the most highly evolved, the Christ. While the
Earth was the Sun, this Spirit was the central Spirit of the Sun; when
the Earth was Moon, He was more highly developed, but He remained with
the Moon; when the Earth was Earth, He was very highly developed and
remained with the Earth. He forms thus the highest planetary Spirit of
the Earth. The Earth today is His Body as at that time the Sun was.
Therefore you must take St. John's words literally, Whoever eats
my bread, treads me under foot. For the Earth is the Body of
Christ. And when men who eat bread, taken from the body of the earth,
walk upon the earth, then they tread under foot the Body of Christ.
Take these words quite literally, as all religious documents must be
taken. Only one must first know the true meaning of the letters and
then seek for the spirit.
One thing more. Not all beings within this Sun-mass came to the stage
of evolution of which I have spoken to you. Many stayed behind at the
stage of the Saturn existence. They could not receive into themselves
what streamed in from cosmic space and send it back after receiving
it; they had to send it back direct, they could not permeate
themselves with it. These beings therefore appeared on the Sun as a
kind of dark intermixture, as something that could not send out its
own light. Since they were enclosed in the Sun-mass surrounded by a
mass sending out its own light, they worked as dark places. We must
therefore distinguish between those places in the Sun which radiated
out into cosmic space what they had received, and those which could
radiate out nothing. Thus they worked as dark wedges within the
Sun-mass, they had learnt nothing in addition to what they had on
Saturn. Just as in the human body you do not find glands and organs of
growth everywhere, but the body is interspersed with dead parts which
have been incorporated, so was the Sun interspersed with these dark
Our present sun is the descendant of the Earth-Sun-body; it has cast
out the moon and the earth and has retained the most advanced part.
What was present in the former Sun-body as relics of Saturn are still
to be found in the present sun, as the so-called sunspots. They are
the last vestiges of Saturn, which remain in the shining sun-mass as
dark portions. Our occult wisdom discloses the hidden spiritual
sources of physical facts. Physical science substantiates the physical
causes of the sunspots through its astronomy and astrophysics; the
spiritual causes, however, lie in that residue remaining from Saturn.
We now ask what kingdoms were there on Saturn? Only one kingdom, the
last traces of which are contained in the present mineral. When we
speak of man's passing through the mineral kingdom, we must not think
of the present mineral. The last descendants of the Saturn mineral
must far rather be seen in your eyes, ears and other sense organs.
Those are the most physical, the most mineral parts of you. The
apparatus of the eye is like a physical instrument and even continues
unchanged for some time after death.
The single Saturn kingdom progressed on the Sun to a kind of plant
existence. Man's own body confronts us there growing like a plant.
What was left behind as Saturn kingdom was a kind of mineral kingdom
of the Sun, which had the form of stunted sense organs which could not
reach their goal. But all these beings on the Sun, these developing
human bodies, had as yet no nervous system within them. That was
incorporated for the first time on the Moon by the astral body. Plants
too have no nervous system. It is an error of physical science when it
ascribes one to them.
But the astral bodies, especially those that proceeded from the Fire
Spirits, sent a kind of stream into the substance that was down below
as physical and etheric bodies. These light streams divided in
tree-like forms. Their last traces are to be found in densified form
as the organ we call the Solar Plexus. This goes back to the ancient
in-streaming on the Sun, densified to substance and hence the name
You must picture the bodies which you had on the Sun as if currents
from above streamed into you, currents interlaced as a branching tree.
Thus the Sun is represented in the numberless interlacings which are
your solar-plexus. These branches were represented in German mythology
as the World Ash, which, however, means very much besides.
Then the Sun passed into a sleep-condition and was transformed into
what in occult science we call the Moon. In this we have to do with
yet a third incarnation of the Earth, which will again introduce to us
a directing Central Spirit.
As the highest Regent of Saturn, the Ego Spirit appears to us as the
Father God, the highest God of the Sun, the Sun-God, as Christ, so
will the Regent of the Moon-stage of the Earth appear to us as the
Holy Spirit with His Hosts, which in Christian esotericism are called
the Messengers of the Godhead, the Angels.
We have completed two Days of Creation, which in the esoteric language
To them we must add: Dies Lunae (the Moon-Day).
The existence of a directing Godhead of Saturn, Sun and Moon has
always been known.
The words Dies = Day and Deus = God have the same origin, so that Dies
may be translated either Day or Godhead. One can just as well say for
Dies Solis Sun-Day or Sun-God and mean by both the Christ Spirit.