[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

An Outline of Occult Science

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

Highlight Words

An Outline of Occult Science



(Part 4)

Part 1 |  Part 2 |  Part 3 |  Part 4 |  Part 5 |  Part 6 |  Part 7  ]

The second of the great evolutionary periods alluded to, the “Sun stage,” effects the raising of man to a condition of consciousness higher than that which he attained on Saturn. Compared with the present consciousness of man, this Sun stage could, to be sure, be designated as “unconsciousness,” for it closely approximates the state in which the human being now exists during completely dreamless sleep. It might also be compared with the low degree of consciousness in which our plant world is at present slumbering. For supersensible perception there is no such thing as “unconsciousness,” but only varying degrees of consciousness. Everything in the world possesses consciousness. — The human being attains a higher degree of consciousness in the course of the Sun evolution because at that time his nature is invested with the etheric or life body. Before this can occur, however, the Saturn conditions must be recapitulated, as described above. This recapitulation has a quite definite significance. When the period of rest, of which we have spoken in the previous description, has come to an end, what was formerly Saturn issues forth out of “cosmic sleep” as a new cosmic being, the Sun. But as a result, the conditions of evolution are changed. The spiritual beings, whose activities on Saturn have been described, have now advanced to other conditions. The germinal human being, however, first appears on the newly formed Sun just as it was at the end of the Saturn evolution. It must first transform the various evolutionary stages that it had reached on Saturn, so that they conform with the conditions on the Sun. The Sun epoch, therefore, begins with a recapitulation of the occurrences on Saturn, but adjusted to the changed conditions of the life of the Sun. When the human being has developed to the point where the stage of his evolution acquired on Saturn conforms to the conditions of the Sun, the already mentioned Spirits of Wisdom, the Kyriotetes, begin to let the ether or life body flow into the human physical body. The more advanced stage that man attains on the Sun may be characterized by saying that the physical body, germinally formed already on Saturn, is raised to a second stage of perfection by becoming the bearer of an ether or life body. This ether or life body itself attains the first degree of its perfection during the Sun evolution. In order, however, that this second degree of perfection of the physical body and the first degree of perfection of the life body be attained, it is necessary in the further course of the life of the Sun that yet other spiritual beings interpose themselves in a way similar to what was already described for the Saturn stage.

When the Spirits of Wisdom begin to pour the life body into man, the Sun, previously dark, now begins to radiate. At the same time the first signs of an inner activity appear in the germinal human being; life begins. What on Saturn had to be characterized as an appearance of life, now becomes actual life. This pouring in of the life body continues for a certain length of time, after which an important change takes place in the human germ, namely, it divides into two parts. Whereas previously the physical body and life body formed one closely-bound whole, the physical body now begins to detach itself as a separate part. This detached physical body, however, continues also to be permeated by the life body. We have now before us a twofold human being. One part is a physical body worked upon by a life body, the other part is pure life body. This separation takes place during an interval of rest in the life of the Sun. During this interval, the radiation that had already begun is again extinguished. The separation takes place, as it were, during a “cosmic night.” This interval of rest is much shorter than the interval of rest between the Saturn and Sun evolutions, of which we have spoken previously. After the expiration of this interval, the Spirits of Wisdom continue to work for a time upon the twofold human being just as they had worked before on the single-membered human being. The Spirits of Motion then begin their activity. They let their own astral body surge through the human life body. As a result, it acquires the capacity to carry on certain inner movements within the physical body. These movements may be likened to the movements of sap in our present-day plants.

The Saturn body consisted solely of heat substance. During the Sun evolution this heat substance condenses to a state that may be compared with the present state of gas or vapor. It is the state that may be designated by the word “air.” The first appearance of such a state manifests itself after the Spirits of Motion have begun their activity. The following spectacle presents itself to supersensible consciousness. Within the heat substance something appears like delicate structures that are set into regular motion by means of the forces of the life body. These structures represent the human physical body at that stage of evolution. They are completely permeated by heat and enclosed by a mantle of heat. Physically speaking, this human being may be said to consist of heat structures into which air forms are articulated that are in regular motion. If we wish to keep to the above comparison with the plants of the present day, we must remain conscious of the fact that we are not dealing with a compact plant formation, but with a gaseous or aeroform structure, the movements of which may be compared with the movements of the sap in present-day plants. The gas appears to supersensible consciousness through the effect of light, which the gas permits to stream forth from itself. We might thus also speak of light structures that are perceptible to spiritual vision. This evolution then proceeds further. After a certain length of time a pause again ensues, after which the Spirits of Motion continue their activities until these are supplemented by the activities of the Spirits of Form, the effect of which produces permanency in the previously continuously changing gaseous forms. This, too, takes place through the fact that the Spirits of Form permit their forces to flow in and out of the human life body. Previously, when only the Spirits of Motion were acting upon them, these gaseous structures were in ceaseless motion, holding their form only momentarily. Now, however, they assume temporarily distinguishable shapes. — Again after a certain length of time there ensues a period of rest, at the end of which the Spirits of Form continue their activities. Then entirely new conditions arise within the Sun evolution.

We have reached the point where the Sun evolution has arrived at the central stage of its development. It is at this time that the Spirits of Personality — who had reached their human stage on Saturn — rise to a still higher stage of perfection. They surpass their human stage and acquire a consciousness that our present earthly humanity has not yet attained in the regular course of its evolution. It will reach this stage of consciousness when the Earth — that is to say, the fourth planetary evolutionary stage — shall have reached its goal and passed over into the subsequent planetary period. Man will then not only be able to perceive in his environment what at present is transmitted to him by the physical senses, but he will be able to observe in pictorial images the inner soul states of the beings in his environment. He will possess a picture consciousness; but at the same time retain full self-consciousness. His pictorial perception will not be dreamy and dull. He will perceive the soul pictorially, yet at the same time these soul pictures will be the expression of realities just as now physical colors and tones are expressions of realities. At the present time, a human being can only develop such perception in himself through spiritual-scientific training. The nature of this training will be dealt with in a later part of this book. — During the Sun stage, the Spirits of Personality acquire this perception as a normal part of their evolution. Because of this they become, during the Sun evolution, capable of working upon the newly formed human life body just as they worked upon the physical body on Saturn. Just as at that time heat reflected back to them their own personality, so now the gaseous shapes reflect back to them in resplendent light the pictures of their perceiving consciousness. They behold supersensibly what takes place upon the Sun, and this perception is by no means mere observation. It is as though something of the force that on earth is called love were making itself felt in the images that stream forth from the Sun. If we observe more closely with our soul powers, the reason for this phenomenon may be discovered. Exalted beings are now working actively in the light radiating from the Sun. These beings are the already designated Spirits of Love — Seraphim. They work, henceforth, on the human ether or life body in co-operation with the Spirits of Personality. By means of this activity, the life body itself advances a stage on its evolutionary journey. It acquires the capacity, not only to transform the gaseous structures within it, but to fashion them in such a way that the first indications of a reproduction of the living human being appear. Exudations are driven out, sweated out of these gaseous structures, which assume shapes similar to their maternal forms.

In order to characterize the further evolution of the Sun, it is necessary to draw attention to the important fact of cosmic history, that in the course of an epoch all the beings involved do not by any means reach the goal of their evolution. There are some who fall short of it. Thus during the Saturn evolution not all of the Spirits of Personality actually reach the human stage for which they were originally destined in the manner described. Likewise, not all of the human physical bodies, formed on Saturn, attain the degree of maturity that would have made them capable of becoming bearers of an independent life body on the Sun. The result is that upon the Sun there exist beings and formations that do not fit into its conditions. These have to retrieve, during the Sun evolution, what they failed to attain upon Saturn. Hence, during the Sun stage the following can be observed. When the Spirits of Wisdom begin to pour in the life body, the body of the Sun, as it were, becomes turbid — darkened. Structures are mingled with it that in reality would belong to Saturn. These are heat structures that are unable to condense properly to air. These are the human beings who have remained behind at the Saturn stage. They are unable to become bearers of a regularly developed life body. — The heat substance of Saturn, which remained behind in this way, divides itself into two sections on the Sun. One section is absorbed, as it were, by the human bodies and forms a kind of lower nature within the human being. This human being at the Sun stage thus takes into his corporeality something actually corresponding to the Saturn stage. Just as the human body of Saturn made it possible for the Spirits of Personality to rise to their human stage, so now this Saturn part of the human being performs on the Sun the same task for the Spirits of Fire. These Spirits of Fire rise to the human stage by allowing their forces to surge in and out of this Saturn part of the human being, just as this was performed by the Spirits of Personality on Saturn. This, too, happens at the central stage of the Sun evolution. At that time the Saturn part of the human being is so far matured that with its help the Spirits of Fire — Archangels — are able to pass through their human stage. — Another section of the Saturn heat substance acquires an independent existence alongside and in the midst of the human beings on the Sun. This then forms a second kingdom alongside the human kingdom, a kingdom that develops upon the Sun a fully independent, but purely physical, body, a body of heat. The result is that the fully developed Spirits of Personality cannot exert their activity upon an independent life body In the manner described. There are, however, certain Spirits of Personality who have remained behind at the Saturn stage. These had not at that time reached the human stage. Between them and the second kingdom, which became independent on the Sun, there exists a bond of attraction. Their behavior toward the retarded kingdom on the Sun must now be similar to the behavior of their advanced companions toward the human beings on Saturn. On the latter, the human physical body was alone developed. Upon the Sun itself, however, there is no possibility of a similar activity by the retarded Spirits of Personality. They, therefore, withdraw from the main body of the Sun and form an independent cosmic body outside of it. From it the retarded Spirits of Personality work back upon the beings of the Sun's second kingdom already described. Thus two cosmic bodies are formed out of the one that was formerly Saturn. The Sun has now in its environment a second cosmic body, one that represents a kind of rebirth of Saturn, a new Saturn. From this new Saturn, the character of personality is bestowed upon the second kingdom of the Sun. Hence in this second kingdom we are concerned with beings who have no personality of their own upon the Sun itself, but who reflect back to the retarded Spirits of Personality on new Saturn these spirits' own personality. By means of supersensible consciousness it is possible to observe the play of heat forces among the human beings on the Sun; these heat forces send their influence into the regular Sun evolution; in them may be seen the sway of the designated spirits of new Saturn.

During the middle part of the Sun evolution the human being is organized into a physical body and a life body. Within him there takes place the activity of the advanced Spirits of Personality and the Spirits of Love. A part of the retarded Saturn nature is mixed with the physical body, within which the Spirits of Fire are active. In the effects of the activity of the Spirits of Fire upon the retarded Saturn nature the precursors of the sense organs of the present earth man can be seen. It has been shown how even on Saturn the Spirits of Fire were at work forming germinal sense organs in the heat substance. In what is accomplished by the Spirits of Personality in co-operation with the Spirits of Love we can discern the germinal beginnings of the present human glandular system. — The work of the Spirits of Personality dwelling upon the new Saturn is not exhausted in what has been described above. They extend their activity not only to the above-mentioned second Sun kingdom, but they effect a kind of connection between this kingdom and the human senses. The heat substances of this kingdom flow in and out through the germinal human sense organs. Through this fact the human being on the Sun acquires a mode of perceiving the lower kingdom existing outside himself. This perception is, of course, only a dull perception, corresponding wholly to the dull Saturn consciousness of which we have spoken above, and it consists essentially of various heat effects.

Everything that has been described as existing in the middle of the Sun evolution lasts for a certain time. Then another period of rest begins, following which evolution goes on for a time in the same way until it reaches a stage when the human ether body is sufficiently matured to permit the beginning of a united activity of the Sons of Life, Angels — and the Spirits of Harmony — Cherubim. To supersensible consciousness, manifestations appear within the human being that may be likened to the perceptions of taste, which express themselves outwardly as tones. Something similar had to be described already for the Saturn evolution. Only here on the Sun everything, within the human being is more individual, fuller of independent life. — The Sons of Life acquire, as a result, the dull picture consciousness that the Spirits of Fire had attained on Saturn. In this the Spirits of Harmony are their helpers. The Cherubim actually perceive spiritually what is now taking place within the Sun evolution, but they renounce all the fruits of this perception; they forego the feelings produced by these wisdom-filled images that arise there; they allow these to flow into the dreamy consciousness of the Sons of Life as magnificent, magic visions. These Sons of Life in turn work the imagery of their visions into the human ether body, thus enabling it to reach ever higher stages of evolution. — Again a pause sets in; again the whole cosmos arises out of a “universal sleep,” and after a time the human being becomes mature enough to employ his own forces. These are the forces that streamed into him through the activity of the Thrones during the last part of the Saturn period. This human being now develops an inward life that manifests itself to consciousness in a way comparable to an inner perception of smell. Outwardly, however, toward cosmic space, this human being presents himself as a personality, yet as a personality not directed by an inner ego. It appears more like a plant giving the impression of personality. We have seen already at the end of the Saturn evolution that personality manifests itself like a machine. Just as at that time the first germ of spirit man (atma) was developed, which is still today only germinally present in man, so similarly here in the Sun period the primary nucleus of life spirit (buddhi) is formed. — At a certain time after this has occurred, another period of rest ensues; at its end, as in previous similar instances, human activity proceeds for a time. Then conditions arise that prove to be a new intervention of the Spirits of Wisdom, through which the human being becomes capable of experiencing the first traces of sympathy and antipathy toward his surroundings. In all this there is no actual sensation present, yet it is a forerunner of it, for the inner life-activity, which in its manifestation might be characterized as perceptions of smell, expresses itself outwardly as a kind of primitive language. If a pleasant scent, or taste, or glimmer of light is perceived inwardly, the human being expresses this outwardly by means of a tone, and this also occurs in regard to an inwardly antipathetic perception. — In fact, the actual meaning of the Sun evolution for the human being is gained by means of all the processes that have been described. This human being has now reached a higher stage of consciousness than on Saturn. This is the dreamless consciousness of sleep.

After a time, the point of evolution is also reached when the higher beings bound up with the Sun stage must pass on to other spheres in order to assimilate what they have acquired for themselves through their activities on the being of man. A major period of rest ensues, similar to that that took place between the Saturn and Sun evolutions. Everything that was fashioned on the Sun passes over into a condition that may be likened to that of the plant when its powers of growth lie dormant in the seed. But just as these forces of growth come to the light of day in a new plant, so, after the rest period, all life upon the Sun comes forth again out of the cosmic womb and a new planetary existence begins. The significance of such a pause, such a cosmic sleep, can be well understood if we direct our spiritual gaze toward one of the orders of beings mentioned, for instance, toward the Spirits of Wisdom. On Saturn, they were not yet far enough advanced to be able to let an ether body flow out of themselves. Only through the experiences they passed through upon Saturn have they been prepared for this. During the pause, they transform into actual capacities what previously had only been prepared in their inner being. Thus upon the Sun they are so far advanced that they can let life flow out of themselves and endow the human entity with a life body of its own.

Part 1 |  Part 2 |  Part 3 |  Part 4 |  Part 5 |  Part 6 |  Part 7  ]

© 2021 Steiner Online Library. All rights reserved.

Steiner Online Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, EIN 85-2621701. Donations are tax-deductible.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Contact Us