The Spiritual Hierarchies
Their Reflection in the Physical World
By Rudolf Steiner
Copyright © 1928
Printed for Members of the School of Spiritual Science, Goetheanum,
Class I. No person is held qualified to form a judgment on the contents
of this work, who has not acquired — through the School itself or
in an equivalent manner recognised by the School — the requisite
preliminary knowledge. Other opinions will be disregarded, the authors
decline to take them as a basis for discussion.
Ten Lectures by Rudolf Steiner Ph.D., given in
Düsseldorf, April, 1909.
The Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World
is published in German as:
Geistige Hierarchien und Ihre Widerspiegelung in
der Physischen Welt. Tierkreis, Planeten, Kosmos.
These lectures take us into the exalted regions of the spiritual world,
illuminating the actions of the spiritual beings in the kingdoms of nature
and in the planetary and zodiacal spheres, and explaining the task allotted
to humanity in the continuous evolution of this hierarchical world.
From vol. 110 in the Bibliographic Survey, 1961, this volume is presented
here with the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung,
This e.Text edition is provided through the wonderful work of:
The Anthroposophical Publishing Company
for related titles available for purchase at
Thanks to an anonymous donation, this lecture series is now available.
| ||Cover Sheet
||April 12, 1909|
The ‘Plan of the World’ always existed.
Primeval world wisdom — The Holy Rishis. Mystery Schools —
Stanzas of Dzyan. Rosy cross. The Western Rishis. The Christ Impulse.
Buddha and Christ. Explanation of Pain and Death — Healing. The
Vision to the Stars and its meaning in olden days compared with now.
Dionysius the Areopagite. The Hierarchies — Angels to Thrones
and Saturn. The Bhagavad Gita.
||April 12, 1909|
The Elements. Warmth is twofold, inward and outward. Fire
separates light from smoke. Light is invisible. Our duty and power to
release the world bewitched. During man's life he is a place of
transition for elemental beings. Bhagavad Gita does not in quoted
passage refer to the human self, but to the elementals. Elemental
messengers of higher hierarchies. First Class are the fire elementals
bound in air, water, earth. Second Class: day and night elementals
released by man's activity and chained by his sloth and
callousness The Third Class: elementals of the waxing and waning moon
are released by optimism and chained down by discontent. Fourth
Class: the summer and winter elementals are released by piety and
chained by materiality.
||April 13, 1909|
Earth, Moon, Sun, Saturn. Angels, Archangels, Archai.
Saturn — a realm of invisible warmth. Herakleitos. On
Saturn inner warmth becomes outer warmth. Production and dissolution
of warmth; inhalation and exhalation of warmth — exhalation as
fire; resemblance to expansion and contraction in breathing. The
Rishis teaching: fire, sucked in becomes the Ego of the Archai. The
Archai beginning to leave the exhaled warmth outside without
re-inhaling it leads to manhood consciousness, objective
consciousness and consciousness of self. Saturn dissolved by the
Thrones. Pralaya or night. The karma of the Archai on Saturn brings
ancient Sun into existence. Warmth divides into light and smoke or
air. Archangels appear on Sun and secure a habitation. They have an
inner body of warmth inherited from Saturn which divided into
an inner body of light and an outer body of smoke. Exhalation, the
Suns day; inhalation, the Suns night. On Sun, the warmth eggs of
Saturn are hatched and pictures with inner life are produced, which
were the densest bodies used by the Archangels.
||April 13, 1909|
The eggs of warmth on Saturn were created by the thought of
the Archai; now-a-days thought goes no further than the astral.
Evolution is a system proceeding from taking and to giving. On Saturn
the Thrones gave their own warmth to the Archai, similar to the
silkworms. The Archai gave personality to the warmth. The expansion
of the Archangels. They are met by Cherubim. In the Sun-nights when
in the atmosphere light has left the air, in the air the Cherubim
reflect the figure which becomes the germ of the animal kingdom. The
||April 14, 1909|
Old Saturn was as large as a globe having as its centre the
sun of to-day and reaching as far as present Saturn. Evolution from
Saturn to Vulcan. The Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones come from an
earlier solar system. They have been in the vicinity of the highest
godhead of all, namely the Trinity. Seraphim receive the ideas of the
Trinity, Cherubim ponder over them, Thrones transform them into
action. These are called the first three-fold Hierarchy. The work of
the second threefold hierarchy described. The Spirits of Wisdom
transformed old Saturn to old Sun and condensed Saturn to such a size
that when it became Sun, it was of a size that would have its centre
in the present Sun and reach as far as the present Jupiter. The
planets are boundaries of the ancient worlds. The Spirits of Motion
condensed the old Sun to a watery globe called Moon, whose size from
the present Sun as its centre would reach to the present Mars. The
creation of Moon was different from the others, it implied later a
splitting into two globes so that the Sun contracted and was
surrounded by another body, in the orbit of the present Mars, and in
the periphery of the original single body. The origin of Evil and the
Fight in Heaven. The Planetoids.
||April 15, 1909|
Uranus and Neptune are quite different from the others. The
Ptolemaic and Copernican systems. The names of the Planets Mercury
and Venus have been interchanged. The range and mission of the
Angels, Archangels, Archai, Spirits of Form, etc. The Sons of Venus
or Mercury incarnated in Lemuria or Atlantis to become the teachers
of men. The Sons of Venus were Spirits of Personality, Dyani Buddhas
who guided humanity in Lemuria. The Sons of Mercury guided nations
and races, they are the beings of Mercury.
||April 16, 1909|
Habitations and nature of the Hierarchies (continued).
Physical body of an Angel is in water, etheric and astral body of an
Angel are in air and fire Spirits of Personality from Astronomical
views, descended to Lemuria and ensouled the physical body Archangels
from Mercury, descended into Atlantis and inspired the physical and
etheric bodies. Oracles. Manu the Sun-Oracle. The Rishis In
Post-Atlantis, Angels descended from Moon and ensouled physical,
etheric and astral bodies.
||April 17, 1909|
Jupiter or Sun Eagle or Scorpion. Saturn's rings.
Mars or Ancient Moon. Aquarius the Waterman. Earth, Taurus the Bull,
Chaldea, the ‘I am’, the voice and propagation.
||April 18, 1909|
Saturn, Sun, Moon are repeated at the beginning of the
Earth. The Saturn and Jupiter of to-day. The Milky Way. Our World
System is not round but bean shaped. The origin of a planet. The
Zodiac and the animal forms of man's body formed on old Saturn.
The Giant Ymir. Adam Cadmon of the Kabbala. If you want to understand
the centre, investigate the circumference. The formation of worlds is
the preparation of karma. As in big things so in small — so in
the nations. The time described when one person takes on the karma of
a nation. Hermes. This happens on every planet. From taking we
advance to giving, e g, the Thrones, etc. It is greater to give than
to receive. Man's development in Kamaloka. The astral must be
spiritualised before we can see into the spiritual worlds.
When the astral body is completely transformed the etheric body
becomes a counterpart of it. This is Nirmana Kaya when no remnants
are left in the astral world. Zarathustra penetrated the astral body
of Hermes Dharmakaya.
||April 18, 1909|
Leonardo's ‘Last Supper.’ Goethe.
Cologne Cathedral. Matter contracts towards a central point and then
disappears but reappears at the circumference. We cannot grasp this
so long as our mind remains in the space of three dimensions.
Uranus and Neptune have nothing to do with the creation of our world
and their Moons are retrograde. Uranus, and later Neptune withdraw
during the Mars development. All that lies outside us was generically
called Ouranos — the Heavens. Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones
are the only beings that have the direct light of God, and have had
it from the beginning. The second Hierarchy see God only in His
revelations. Masked priests in the Mysteries endeavoured to test,
frighten, and lure the Neophyte. Between Jupiter and Mars adverse
Spirits of Motion create obstacles in evolution. Some of the Angels
refuse to be tempted and they join with Sun. Luciferic beings impress
into the astral body of Lemurians the results of the fight in the
Heavens. The Angels are the first to have the possibility of error
and of evil and free will. Michael and the Dragon. The Bull of
Mithra. The Spirits of Motion were ordered to throw themselves
athwart evolution. During Lemuria, Atlantis, and later, the Ego was
in a cloud but assailed by Luciferic Angels. Other Angels, and
Archangels then came to help and guide man. They descended into the
physical, etheric and astral and a being was prepared to receive the
Ego. The Ego and the blood of Moses and Jesus of Nazareth. Christ
never interfered with man's free will. He did nothing to
propagate theory. He did not act by teaching but by His deeds and
death. St. Paul. Lucifer cannot enter the Ego. The Advent of Christ.
The redemption of Luciferic powers makes man stronger. It is the
Truth that makes free, from this comes Love. Love can only come
through Freedom. Arch-messengers or Archangels perform the tasks
allotted them but man will fulfil his own task. Man will be the
Hierarchy of Freedom and Love.