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FOUNDATIONS AT THE PERIPHERY:
RUDOLF STEINER'S OBSERVATIONS ON STAR KNOWLEDGE
14 Jan. 1913
Thus in the Mars sphere men can be emancipated from the tendency to uniformity resulting from the effects of public opinion which are detrimental for their further progress on Earth. Whereas in earlier times Mars was said to be the planet of warlike traits, it is now the Buddha's task gradually to transform these warlike traits in such a way that they become the foundation of the sense for freedom and independence needed in the present age. Whereas nowadays men have the tendency to surrender their sense of freedom and succumb to the fetters of public opinion, on Mars between death and rebirth they will strive to throw off these fetters and not bring them again into life on earth when they return to new incarnations. (24, pg. 130)
21 Jan. 1913
The light of the moon influences the plant. The lunar forces determine the width of a plant. The plant that grows tall and thin is little influenced by the moon. Even the whole cosmos is involved in the growth of plants. The ego works into the physical and etheric bodies as the sun influences plant growth. Similarly, the astral body is related to the moon. Our ego creates a replacement for the influences of the sun, and our astral body for those of the moon. This justifies what the initiate means when he says man has been formed as an extract of the forces of the cosmos. As the sun is the central point of the plant world and rays forth its light in all directions, in the same way light must permeate the physical and etheric bodies. The sunlight is not only physical, it is also of a soul-spiritual nature separated from the cosmos and become the `I' or ego. (25, pp. 155-156)
12 Mar. 1913
Let us say that a man has inscribed one of his imperfections into the moon sphere. While passing through the Mars sphere he has inscribed there a quality of his character through the fact that he acquired in that sphere a certain element of aggressiveness that was not previously in him. Now on the return journey he passes through the Mars sphere again and comes back to the earth. He lives on the earth and has received into his karma what he has inscribed in the Mars sphere but at the same time it stands recorded above him. Up there is Mars, in a certain relationship to the Moon. (The outer planets indicate the relative positions of the Spheres.) Because Mars stands in a certain relationship to the Moon, the inscription of the aggressive element and the man's imperfections are, as it were, in the same constellation. The consequence is that when the one planet stands behind the other they work in conjunction. This is the time when the individual in question will tackle his imperfection with the aggressive quality acquired from Mars. So the position of the planets really does indicate what the man himself has first inscribed into these spheres.
When in astrology we ascertain the positions of the planets and also their relative positions to those of the fixed stars, this gives some indication of what we ourselves have inscribed. The outer planets are in this case a less important factor. What actually has an effect upon us is what we ourselves have inscribed in the various spheres. Here is the real reason why the planetary constellations have an effect upon man's nature. It is because he actually passes through the several planetary spheres. When the Moon stands in a certain relationship to Mars and to some fixed star, this constellation works as a whole. That is to say, the Mars quality, Moon and fixed star work in conjunction upon the man and bring about what this combined influence is able to achieve.
So it is really the moral inheritance deposited by us between death and rebirth that appears again in a new life as a stellar constellation in our karma. That is the deeper basis of the connection between the stellar constellation and man's karma. Thus if we study the life of a man between death and a new birth we perceive how significantly he is connected with the whole cosmos. (25, pg. 255)
4 Feb. 1913
The plant cannot have an afternoon sleep at will; it has to regulate itself entirely in accordance with the course of the stars. We must direct our feeling from the plant to the world of the stars, to the sun. [This same feeling must be directed from the physical and etheric bodies of man, to the astral body and I. The clairvoyant sees the sun as if speaking to the plants saying `Yes, this physical and etheric body of the plants belong to me, because they need what I can send them' This exact attitude is that of the ego to the physical and etheric bodies of man.] . . . so does he (also) learn to speak of his astral body, as the moon and also the planets would have to speak to the plant. (85, pp. 40-41, précis by RSWB)
Only by being able to put self-knowledge into practice can the soul find entrance to the regions beyond Saturn, therefor even beyond out solar system and leading into that cosmic life from which souls must bring the qualities that ensure progress on the Earth.
The external progress of mankind originates in the new impulse brought from beyond the Saturn region; in this way the various culture-epochs progress and new impulses take effect. (24, pp. 181-183)
5 Feb. 1913
[The solar forces work to build up the brain and the upper part of the spinal cord, except the lower twenty-eight pairs. Currents flowing from beings who are linked with the life of the moon build up the lower twenty-eight spinal cord nerves. Sun-forces: Amshaspands. Moon-forces: Izards] (85, pg. 49, précis by RSWB)
7 Feb. 1913
[The secrets of the Egypto-Chaldaic astrology had to reappear in the 5th post-Atlantean epoch, especially those of the sun, moon, and the shifting influences . . . as they pass through the signs of the Zodiac. There had to be a difference in the way the Mysteries were presented, because it had to work right into the consciousness-soul, the personality of man. The persons who expressed the transit of the cosmic forces through the signs of the Zodiac were called King Arthur's Round Table. King Arthur and Guinevere were sun and moon. The slaying of monsters and dragons was the purifying of the astral body.] (85, pp. 67-69, précis by RSWB)
[In the latter part of Egypto-Chaldaic civilization clairvoyance still existed that allowed perception not only of the physical stars but also the spiritual beings united with these stars.] (85, pg. 71, précis by RSWB)
1 Apr. 1913
In the Mars region, the lowest region of spiritland, where the soul acquires an understanding of `Thou art that', or, as we should put it today, receives the Buddha-impulse, it frees itself from everything that is earthly. After the soul has become inwardly free of this - and the Christ Impulse is needed here - it also liberates itself spiritually by recognising that all ties of blood are forged on Earth and therefor belong by nature to the Earth. But the soul then passes on to new conditions.
The soul can pass through the Jupiter region only if it is able to liberate itself from the particular confession to which it belonged on Earth; merely to understand the others is not enough. For during the passage through the Jupiter region it will be decided whether it has experienced everything that can be offered by a particular creed.
Only by being able to put self-knowledge into practice can the soul find entrance to the regions beyond Saturn, therefor even beyond our solar system and leading into that cosmic life from which souls must bring the qualities that assure progress on the Earth.
The external progress of mankind originates in the new impulse brought from beyond the Saturn region; in this way the various culture-epochs progress and new impulses take effect.. (24, pp. 181-183)
13 May 1913
Here on earth we are situated at a point on the earth's surface. Our organs are within us, whereas the starry heavens are outside. The opposite is the case after death. Then man grows to a cosmic dimension. When he has expanded up to the Moon sphere, the spiritual that belongs to the Moon becomes an organ within him. It becomes after death what the brain is for us on earth as physical human beings. Each planetary body becomes an organ for us after death inasmuch as we have expanded to its orbit. The Sun becomes a heart for us. As here we bear the physical heart within our body, so there we carry the spiritual part of the Sun within us. There is only one difference. We are perfect physical human beings when, after the embryonic evolution, all the organs have formed; they are simultaneously present. After death we acquire these organs little by little, one after another. We are then in this respect, considered externally, quite similar to a plant-like being that also forms its organs successively. We may, for example, compare the organ we receive on Mars with the lungs and the larynx. (25, pg. 304)
21 Mar. 1913
It is interesting to compare three kinds of food in relation to their cosmic significance - First, milk and milk products, secondly the plants and the foods that are prepared from them, and finally flesh foods. From occult observation of the cosmos you would find milk substance on earth, but on no other planet of our solar system. What is produced in a similar manner within the organism of living beings on other planets in our solar system would be something totally different from terrestrial milk. If we examine the plant system of our earth, and compare it occultly with the plant systems of other planets, with what corresponds to it on other planets, we must say that the forms of the plants on our earth are different from those of other planets on our solar system, but the inner being of the plants on earth is not merely terrestrial, but belongs to the solar system, that is, that the plant-nature of our earth is related to that of the other planets of our solar system. Thus there is a solar element in our plants that can also be found on other planets of our solar system. As for the animal kingdom, it follows from what has been said about milk that the animal kingdom on earth - and this can easily be demonstrated occultly - is radically different from any corresponding kingdom on other planets. Everything that milk supplies to the human organism prepares man for life on earth, unites him with terrestrial conditions, but does not actually chain him to the earth. It makes him a citizen of the earth, but does not prevent him at the same time from being a citizen of the whole solar system.
Flesh food has a different effect. Through a meat diet he binds himself especially to the planet earth. Whilst milk enables him to be a citizen of the earth, as a temporary stage in his development, flesh food condemns him, unless he is raised to a higher stage by something else, to make his sojourn on earth a permanent sojourn to which he adapts himself completely.
Vegetarian diet is a diet that stimulates in the organism those forces which bring man into a kind of cosmic union with the whole of the planetary system. (26, pp. 20-22)
Let us take, for example, protein which is present in the hen's egg. We must clearly understand that this animal protein is not merely what the chemist finds in his analysis, but that, in its structure, it is the result of cosmic forces. Fundamentally these cosmic forces only work upon the protein after they have first acted upon the earth itself and above all upon the moon which accompanies the earth. The cosmic influences upon protein are therefor indirect; they first act upon the earth which, in its turn, reacts upon the composition of the protein with the forces it receives from the cosmos. It is the moon which plays the major part, but only because it first receives the forces from the cosmos and then, with the forces that it radiates, reacts upon the animal protein. It could not originate directly out of the cosmos; it is entirely a product of that which the earth must receive from the cosmos
Again, what we know as the fatty substance of living beings which also forms part of human food, especially of those who eat meat, has a different effect. What we call fat, irrespective of whether a person eats it or whether the body itself manufactures it, is built up in accordance with entirely different cosmic laws from those which form protein. Whilst the cosmic forces of the Beings of the Spirits of Form are concerned with the latter, those Beings called the Spirits of Movement are chiefly concerned with the production of the fatty substance. No living being could assimilate protein on the one hand, of fat on the other hand, without the cooperation from the cosmos, even though indirectly, of the Spirits of Form and the Spirits of Movement. As the whole physical organism becomes more mobile the soul learns to distinguish two different experiences; one which so permeates us inwardly that we feel: to this I owe my physical organisation, my physical form...we are then aware of the proteins within us. And when we feel: this makes us indifferent to our inner isolation, this lifts us, as it were, above our physical body , this makes us more phlegmatic in relation to our inner feeling ...then the origin of this latter experience is the presence of the fat in the physical body.
The consumption of sugar creates, as it were, a kind of innocent egohood which may form a counterpoise to the necessary selflessness in the moral and spiritual sphere. Otherwise man would all too easily be tempted to become not only selfless, but also to become a dreamer and visionary, to lose the capacity for sound judgement on mundane affairs.
These things may even lead to an understanding of something that can also be observed externally. In countries where, according to statistics, sugar consumption is low, the inhabitants have a less defined personality than in countries where consumption is high. If you visit countries where the people show more individuality, where each individual is self-contained, and then move on to countries where the inhabitants betray more the typical racial characteristics, show less individuality in their outward appearance, you will find that in the former countries sugar consumption is high, in the latter very low." (26, pp. 24-27)
"What the solid substance of the earth absorbs in the form of solar forces, what the earth absorbs in its sheaths of air and water, in its changing conditions of warmth, what it absorbs in that part of the earth (now no longer physically perceptible) which participates in the harmony of the spheres, the life forces it receives directly from the sun - all this is related to the inner forces which act upon the human heart through the circulation of the blood. In reality all these forces act upon the circulation of the blood and through the blood upon the heart. It is the blood that drives the heart and not the heart that drives the blood. And the whole of this organisation which is concentrated in the activity of the heart is none other than the human microcosmic reflection of those macrocosmic activities that the earth first receives from the sun.
The human brain has little to do directly with the solar activities of the earth. Directly, I say; but indirectly, as an organ of perception, it is very much concerned with them in that it perceives, for example, the external light and colours; but that is perception. But directly, in its structure, in its inner mobility, in its whole inner life, the brain has little, in fact virtually nothing to do with the activities of the sun upon the earth; it is more concerned with all that rays down upon the earth from beyond the solar system. It is concerned with the cosmic conditions of the whole starry heavens, but not with the more limited conditions of our solar system. What we call the cerebral substance is more closely related to the moon, but only insofar as the moon is not dependent upon the sun, has preserved its independence of the sun.
You will gather from this that, in a certain respect, even the structure of the brain is a sort of reflection of the position of the heavenly bodies at the time of a man's birth in that geographical region where he is born. Through his brain man belongs to the whole stellar universe; through his heart and everything connected with it he belongs to the sun; through his digestive system and everything associated with it he is, in another sense a terrestrial being.
By provoking disturbances through his choice of physical food, for example, he may trespass against the purely terrestrial laws governing digestion and which also work as solar laws in the activity of the heart and in the form of cosmic laws outside the solar system in the activity of the brain... During sleep the digestive activity extends to the brain, penetrates into the brain. On waking the intellectual activity penetrates to the brain and the assimilative activity of the brain declines. When thinking remains dormant during sleep, the digestive activity works into the brain and when a person wakes up and notices an after-effect of this, this experience may well be a true barometer of the wholesome or unwholesome nature of his food. Man feels, as it were, the introduction of an organic activity into his brain as deadening, stabbing sensations which may sometimes appear, if he has eaten something unsuitable, as little centres of insensibility in the brain. (26, pp. 30-34)
23 Mar. 1913
We gradually become aware that in the course of time we perceive differentiated life. Just as in the physical body the individual organs are differentiated and become inwardly more alive and independent of one another, so the different periods of the continuous time-sequence become, to a certain extent, more independent of each other. And this is connected with the fact that with the development of our own etheric body we participate in the life of the external ether which surrounds us on all sides. We are surrounded not only by air, but also by the ether and this ether lives a real life in time.
Midsummer is the time when we feel most clearly that, with our etheric body, we are, so to speak, thrown back upon ourselves and that with the earth we live a particular kind of life so that the earth then affects us inwardly very little. As a matter of fact, if we wish to compare the change of seasons with something in ourselves, we must compare spring, summer and autumn, in this sequence, with the sleeping time of the earth, and autumn, winter and spring, in this order, with the waking time of the earth. And when we speak of the Spirit of the Earth, we must imagine that in the hemisphere where summer reigns the Spirit of the Earth during summertime is in the same condition, so to speak, that we are when we sleep. Of course it is different in the case of the earth. Man is either asleep or awake; in the case of the earth, one hemisphere is awake, whilst the other is asleep and vice versa.
We have to imagine that during summer the Spirit of the Earth separates in a certain way from its physical body, that is to say, from the earth itself, and that this Spirit of the Earth lives in summer in the same relationship to its physical body as man to his body during sleep.
But because the hemisphere of the earth that we inhabit has its sleeping time during summer, man, together with his etheric body is, to a certain extent, left to his own resources and the consequence is that thanks to esoteric development he is able - if he has developed the capacity - to perceive his etheric body better and more clearly in summer than in winter.
We perceive that the seasons have worked upon this cerebral part of our etheric body so that our etheric brain is in some respects a complex organ. It has been built up, as it were, by different spiritual Beings who manifest their capacities in successive epochs. We now gain insight into a very important teaching that was cultivated especially in created from out of the cosmos by spiritual Beings called Amshaspands. And these Amshaspands exercised their sovereignty during summer, and indeed still hold sway today, replacing one another successively, the first ruling in early spring, the second in spring and so on up to the sixth and seventh. Seven, or rather six of these spiritual Beings work consecutively in time; they are the creative Spirits who - precisely because they work consecutively so that when one has completed his work the other takes over - create an entity as complex as the etheric body, especially the etheric body in the human brain. Six or seven spiritual Beings play into our brain.
Man has brought over with him into his earthly existence the aptitudes which were rayed in by these Spirits during the ancient Moon period; but because he bears them within his own etheric body, he can still feel today - when these spiritual Beings no longer have a direct effect on the inner etheric body of our brain - he can still feel the relationship with them and it is this which he feels in summer. (26, pp. 50-54)
A time will come when - taking into account the difference between summer and winter - people will realise that it is absurd to arrange the curriculum in any other way than as follows: several hours in the morning will be devoted to study, the afternoon will be free and then again in the evening several hours will be devoted to study. The morning will be devoted to mathematics, the evening to the reading of poetry. (26, pg. 62)
30 Dec. 1913
[The forces of the cosmos, particularly those of the sun, would have built up human senses locked in extreme sympathy and antipathy except that the Nathan Jesus Being, inspired (permeated) by the Christ far back in the Lemurian age, modified the activity of the sun so that mankind could look with wisdom at all the nuances of sense-perception.
In the Atlantean age the vital organs of humans tended towards extreme greed or loathing. These organs derived from the planets, so the Nathan Jesus Being, permeated by the Christ, incarnated from planet to planet to implant moderation in the vital organs.
The three soul powers, thinking, feeling and willing were destined for chaos so in the further course of evolution, the Nathan Jesus Being assumed a cosmic form in the same sphere as the moon, so that through the permeation with Christ, harmony would be created in the interactions of Sun, Moon and Earth.] (*6, pp. 56-61, précis by RSWB)
31 Dec. 1913
[Zarathustra recognised the 6 Amshaspands, who with their 6 antipodes are symbolised in cosmic space by the signs of the Zodiac. These rule over the 28-31 Izeds that rule over the days of the month. The Zarathustrians saw that time was something living and supersensible, so, while spiritualising the term, we may call this world picture `Chronology' . . .
In the third post-Atlantean epoch the . . . secrets of the world were no longer discerned only through the relations between the Rulers of Time in the supersensible, for these were becoming manifest in the realm of sense-existence. In the courses of the stars, in the signature of their movements in cosmic space, men could now perceive how harmony and melody in cosmic happenings are brought about. This picture of the world I would like to call Astrology. All that was disclosed in the true Chronology and the true Astrology was activated by the influences of the Christ permeated Nathan Jesus Being before the Atlantean catastrophe.] (86, 74-76, précis by RSWB)