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An Outline of Occult Science

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

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An Outline of Occult Science



(Part 5)

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Following the pause in outer activity, what was previously the Sun emerges again out of cosmic sleep, becoming once more perceptible to the powers of spiritual observation. It was previously perceptible to these powers, but had disappeared from view during the period of rest. A twofold element now appears within the newly emerging planetary being that shall be called the Moon. This Moon, however, must not be confused with the part of it that is at present the earth's moon. The first thing to be noted is that that part of the world mass which, during the Sun period, had detached itself as a new Saturn, is once more within the totality of the new planetary organism. During the pause, this new Saturn had again united itself with the Sun. Everything that was within the original Saturn reappears at first as one cosmic formation. The second thing to be noted is that the human life bodies formed upon the Sun were absorbed during the pause by what, in a certain sense, forms the spiritual sheath of the planet. Thus these life bodies do not appear at this time as something united with the corresponding physical human bodies, but these latter appear at first by themselves. They bear within their inner nature all that has been worked into them on both Saturn and Sun, but they lack an ether or life body. Moreover, they are unable to incorporate this ether body immediately into themselves, for during the pause the ether body itself has passed through a development to which the physical bodies are not yet adapted. — In order that this adjustment may be achieved, once more a recapitulation of the Saturn activities occurs at the beginning of the Moon evolution. The physical life of man recapitulates the stages of the Saturn evolution, but under quite changed conditions. On Saturn, only the forces of a heat body were active within the physical human being; now the forces of the acquired gaseous body are also active within him. The latter, however, do not appear at once at the beginning of the Moon evolution. At that time it is as though the human being consisted only of heat substance, while within the latter the gaseous forces slumbered. Then comes a time when the first indications of these gaseous forces make their appearance, and finally, in the last period of the Moon recapitulation of Saturn activities, the human being reappears as he was during his life-endowed state of the Sun. At this time, however, all life still appears as a semblance of life. Then a pause occurs similar to the short pauses occurring during the Sun evolution, after which the instreaming of the life body, for which the physical body has now become ripe, begins again. As in the case of the Saturn recapitulation, this influx takes place again in three distinctly separate epochs. During the second of these, the human being is so far adjusted to the new Moon conditions that the Spirits of Motion are able to employ their acquired ability. It consists in allowing the astral body to flow forth from their own essential nature into the human being. They prepared themselves for this task during the Sun evolution and, during the pause between the Sun and Moon evolutions, they transformed what had thus been prepared into the ability alluded to above. This influx of the astral body lasts again for a time, then one of the shorter pauses ensues, after which the instreaming of the astral body of the Spirits of Motion continues until the Spirits of Form begin their activity. Because the Spirits of Motion allow their astral body to flow into the human being, he acquires his first soul qualities. As a result, he now begins to accompany the processes, which occur in him through the possession of a life body and which during the Sun evolution were still plant-like, with sensations and to feel pleasure and displeasure through them; this remains a changing inner ebb and flow of pleasure and displeasure, until the intervention of the Spirits of Form. Then these changing feelings become transformed in such a way that the first traces of longing and desire appear in the human being. He seeks to repeat what has caused pleasure and strives to avoid what has caused sensations of antipathy. Since, however, the Spirits of Form do not give up their own nature to him, but only allow their forces to flow in and out of him, the impulse of desire lacks inwardness and independence. It is guided by the Spirits of Form and bears an instinctive character.

On Saturn, the human physical body was composed of heat, which on the Sun was condensed to a gaseous state, or air. During the Moon evolution, when the astral flows into the physical body, the latter attains a further degree of condensation at a definite time and reaches a state that may be compared with the density of a present-day fluid. This state may be called “water.” We do not mean by this, however, our present water, but any fluid form of existence. The human physical body now gradually takes on a form composed of three substantial organisms. The densest is a water body. This is permeated by air currents, and all this is permeated by the activities of heat.

During the Sun stage, too, not all organisms attain their full and proper maturity. As a result, on the Moon there are organisms that stand only at the Saturn stage, while others have only attained the Sun stage. Because of this, two other kingdoms arise alongside the regularly developed human kingdom. One of these consists of beings who have remained behind at the Saturn stage and therefore possess only a physical body, which, even on the Moon, is unable to become the bearer of an independent life body. This is the lowest of the Moon kingdoms. A second kingdom consists of beings who have remained behind at the Sun stage and who, therefore, on the Moon are too immature to incorporate into themselves an independent astral body. These form a kingdom intermediate between the one just mentioned and the regularly advanced human kingdom. — But something else takes place. The substances composed merely of the forces of heat, and those composed merely of air also permeate the human beings. Thus it happens that on the Moon the latter bear within themselves a Saturn and a Sun nature. As a result, a kind of cleavage arises in human nature, and through this cleavage, after the Spirits of Form begin their activity, some thing significant is called into existence within the Moon evolution. A cleavage begins in the cosmic Moon body. A part of the Moon's substances and beings separates from the rest. Two cosmic bodies are thus formed from one. Certain higher beings who, prior to this, were closely linked with the unitary cosmic body, now take up their abode on one of these parts. The remaining part, in contrast, is occupied by the human beings, by the two lower kingdoms just characterized, and by certain higher beings who did not go over to the first cosmic body. This latter cosmic body, occupied by higher beings, appears like a reborn, but refined sun; the other is now the actually new formation, the ancient Moon, the third planetary embodiment of our Earth that follows after the Saturn and Sun evolutions. The separating, reborn sun carries away with it, from the substances arising on the Moon, only heat and air. Besides these two substances, the liquid, watery state is to be found on what remains over as Moon. The result of this separation is that the beings, departed with the reemerging sun, are unhampered in their further development by the denser Moon beings. They are thus able to advance unhindered in their evolution. As a result they acquire a still greater degree of power with which to work down upon the Moon beings from their sun. These Moon beings likewise acquire new possibilities of evolution. The Spirits of Form, in particular, have remained united with them and have solidified the nature of passion and desire. This expresses itself gradually by a further condensation of the human physical body also. The former purely watery element of this body now takes on a viscous fluidic form, and the aeriform and heat formations condense correspondingly. Similar processes take place also in the two lower kingdoms.

In consequence of the separation of the Moon from the sun body, the former has the same relationship to the latter that the Saturn body once had to the entire surrounding cosmic evolution. The Saturn body was formed from the body of the Spirits of Will — Thrones. From this Saturn substance everything was radiated back into cosmic space that the above-mentioned spiritual beings, living in the environment, experienced, and by means of the succeeding events, the reflecting radiation gradually awoke to independent life. The whole of evolution depends first upon the severance of independent being from surrounding life; the environment then imprints itself upon this severed being as though by reflection, and then this separated entity develops further independently. — In this way the Moon body severed itself from the sun body and then reflected back its life. Had nothing else happened, the following cosmic process would have to be described. There would be a sun body in which spiritual beings, adapted to it, would have their experiences in the heat and air element. Opposite this sun body there would be a Moon body in which other beings would evolve with heat, air, and water life. The progress from the Sun to the Moon embodiment would consist in the fact that the sun beings would have their own life before them, like a reflection, mirrored back to them from the Moon processes, and they would be able to enjoy it — an experience that during the Sun embodiment was still impossible for them. — But the processes of evolution did not stop here. Something occurred that was of the deepest significance for all subsequent evolution. Certain beings, who were adapted to the Moon body, seized upon the will element — the heritage of the Thrones — that was then at their disposal, and by means of it developed their own life, which shaped itself independent of the life of the sun. Alongside the experiences of the Moon, which stand only under the sun influence, other independent Moon experiences occur — revolts or rebellions, as it were, against the sun beings. The various kingdoms that had come into existence on the sun and Moon, especially the kingdom of our human forebears, were drawn into these conditions. Thus the Moon body contained within itself, spiritually and materially, a twofold life: one that stood in close union with the life of the sun, and one that deserted it and went its own independent way. This division into a twofold life expresses itself in all subsequent events of the Moon embodiment.

What this evolutionary period presents to supersensible consciousness may be characterized in the following pictures. The entire fundamental mass of the Moon is fashioned out of a half-living substance that is at times in sluggish, at times in animated movement. A mineral mass of rocks and earth elements, like that upon which the present human being treads, does not yet exist. We might speak of a kingdom of plant-minerals, only we must imagine that the entire foundational mass of the Moon is composed of this plant-mineral substance, just as the earth today consists of rocks, soil, and other matter. Just as at present we have towering masses of rocks, so at that time harder portions were embedded in the Moon's mass. These may be compared with hard, woody structures, or with horny forms. Just as plants spring up at present out of the mineral soil, so on the Moon the second kingdom — a sort of plant-animal — sprang up, covering and permeating the Moon ground. The substance of this kingdom was softer than the ground mass and more mobile in itself. This kingdom spread itself out over the other like a viscous sea. The human being himself may be called a kind of animal — man. His nature contained the essential elements of the other two kingdoms, but his being was completely permeated by an ether and an astral body, upon which the forces of the higher beings emanating from the severed sun were active. His form was thus ennobled. Whereas the Spirits of Form gave him a shape through which he was adapted to Moon life, the sun spirits made of him a being lifted above that life. By means of the capacities bestowed upon him by these spirits he had the power to ennoble his own nature, indeed, to lift to a higher stage that part of it that was related to the lower kingdoms.

The processes that have to be taken into consideration here, perceived spiritually, may be described in the following manner. The human forebear had been ennobled by beings who had deserted the sun kingdom. This ennobling extended especially to everything that could be experienced in the water element. The sun beings, who were rulers of the elements of heat and air, had less influence upon this water element, with the result that two kinds of beings were active in the organism of the human ancestor. One part of this organism was wholly permeated by the activities of the sun beings; in the other part, the seceded Moon beings were active. Through this fact, the latter part was more independent than the former. In the sun-part, only states of consciousness could arise in which the sun beings lived. In the Moon-part there existed a sort of cosmic consciousness, similar to the ancient Saturn state, only now at a higher stage. The human ancestor thus beheld himself as a copy of the cosmos, while his sun-part felt itself only as a copy of the sun. — These two kinds of beings began a sort of conflict within human nature, and through the influence of the sun beings an adjustment of this conflict was brought about by rendering the material organism, which made an independent cosmic consciousness possible, frail and perishable. It was necessary now for this part of the organism to be eliminated from time to time. During this elimination and for a certain time thereafter, the human ancestor was a being dependent only upon the influence of the sun. His consciousness became less independent; he lived in it in complete surrender to the life of the sun. The independent Moon part was then renewed. After a certain length of time, this process was repeated again and again. The human ancestor on the Moon thus lived in alternating conditions of clearer and duller consciousness, and this alternation was accompanied by a metamorphosis of the material aspect of his being. From time to time he discarded his Moon body and renewed it again later.

Seen physically, a great variation appears in the kingdoms of the Moon described here. The mineral-plants, the plant-animals, and the animal-men are differentiated according to groups. This will be understood if we bear in mind that, because certain organisms have remained behind at each of the earlier stages of evolution, these organisms have been embodied, endowed with the most varied qualities. There are organisms that still display the characteristics of the first epochs of the Saturn evolution, some those of the middle periods, and some those of its end. This is also true of all the stages of the Sun evolution.

Just as organisms connected with the progressively evolving cosmic body remain behind, so is this also the case with certain beings connected with this evolution. In the progressive development up to the appearance of the ancient Moon, several grades of such beings have already come into existence. There are, for instance, Spirits of Personality who, even on the Sun, have not yet attained their human stage; there are, however, others who, on the Sun, have retrieved their failure to rise to this stage. Many Fire Spirits, too, who should have become human on the Sun, have remained behind. Just as certain retarded Spirits of Personality withdrew during the Sun evolution from the body of the Sun and caused Saturn to arise again as a special cosmic body, so also in the course of the Moon evolution the beings described above withdrew to special cosmic bodies. Thus far we have spoken only of the separation into sun and Moon, but for the reasons given above, still other cosmic bodies detach themselves from the cosmic Moon body that made its appearance after the long pause between Sun and Moon evolutions. After a lapse of time there comes into existence a system of cosmic bodies, the most advanced of which, as may be easily seen, is the new sun. In much the same way that during the Sun evolution — as has already been described above — a bond of attraction was formed between the retarded Saturn kingdom and the Spirits of Personality on the new Saturn, now during the Moon evolution a bond is also formed between every such cosmic body and the corresponding Moon beings. It would carry us much too far to follow up in detail all the cosmic bodies that come into existence. It must suffice to have indicated the reason why a series of cosmic bodies is detached by degrees from the undivided cosmic organism that appeared in the beginning of mankind's evolution as Saturn.

After the intervention of the Spirits of Form on the Moon, evolution proceeds for a time in the manner described. After this, another pause in outer activity ensues, during which the coarser parts of the three Moon kingdoms remain in a state of rest, but the finer parts — chiefly the human astral bodies — detach themselves from these coarser organisms. They enter a state in which the higher powers of the exalted sun beings can work upon them with special force. — After the rest period, they again permeate the parts of the human being composed of coarser substances. Through the fact that, during the pause, they have absorbed powerful forces in a free state, they are able to prepare these coarser substances for the influences that the regularly advanced Spirits of Personality and Spirits of Fire must, after a certain time, bring to bear upon them.

These Spirits of Personality have attained a stage at which they possess the consciousness of inspiration. Not only are they able to perceive the inner state of other beings in pictures — as was the case in their former picture consciousness — but they are able to perceive the inner nature of these beings as a spiritual tone language. The Spirits of Fire, however, have risen to the degree of consciousness possessed by the Spirits of Personality on the Sun. As a result, both kinds of spirits are able to intervene in the matured life of the human being. The Spirits of Personality work upon his astral body, the Fire Spirits upon his ether body. The astral body thus receives the character of personality. It experiences henceforth not only pleasure and pain within itself, but it relates them to itself. It has not yet attained a full ego consciousness that says to itself, “I exist,” but it feels itself borne and sheltered by other beings in its environment. Looking up to them, as it were, it can say, “This, my environment, gives me existence.” The Fire Spirits work henceforth upon the ether body. Under their influence the movement of forces in this body becomes more and more an inner life activity. What thus comes into existence finds physical expression in a circulation of fluids and in phenomena of growth. The gaseous substances have condensed to a fluid. We can speak of a kind of nutrition in the sense that what is absorbed from without is transformed and worked over within. If we think perhaps of something midway between nutrition and breathing in the present day sense, then we shall have some idea of what happened at that time in this respect. The human being drew nutritive substances from the kingdom of the animal-plants. These animal-plants must be thought of as floating, swimming in — or even lightly attached to — a surrounding element in much the same way the present-day lower animals live in water or the land animals in the air. This element, however, is neither water nor air in the present sense of the word, but something midway between the two — a kind of thick vapor in which the most varied substances, as though dissolved, move hither and thither in the most varied currents. The animal-plants appear only as condensed, regular forms of this element, often differing physically very little from their environment. The process of respiration exists alongside the process of nutrition. It is not like what occurs on earth, but it is like an insucking and outpouring of heat. For supersensible observation it is as though, during these processes, organs opened and closed through which a warming stream flowed in and out. Through these organs the airy and watery substances are also drawn in and expelled, and because the human being at this stage of his evolution already possesses an astral body, this breathing and nutrition are accompanied by feelings, so that a kind of pleasure occurs when substances that are beneficial for the building up of the human being are drawn in from outside. Displeasure is excited when injurious substances flow in or even when they only approach the human being. — During the Moon evolution there was a kinship between the processes of breathing and nutrition, as described. Similarly the process of visualization was in close correspondence with the process of reproduction. Objects and beings in the environment of the humanity of the Moon did not produce immediate effects on any kind of senses. Visualization was of such a character that images were evoked in the dull dim consciousness by the presence of the things and beings in its neighborhood. These pictures had a much more intimate relationship with the actual nature of the environment than present-day sense perceptions which, through color, tone, and odor, only indicate the external aspects of things and beings. In order to have a clearer concept of this consciousness of the Moon humanity, let us imagine this humanity as being embedded in the above described vaporous environment. The most manifold processes occur within this mistlike element. Substances now unite, now separate. Certain parts condense, others become rarefied. All of this occurs in such a way that the human beings neither see nor hear it directly, but images are called forth by it in their consciousness. These may be compared to the images of present-day dream consciousness. For example, when an outer object falls to the ground and a sleeping man does not perceive the actual event itself, but instead experiences the rise of some kind of picture, he might, let us say, believe a shot was fired. The only difference is that the pictures of the Moon consciousness are not arbitrary as are the dream pictures of the present day. Although they are symbols, not copies, they correspond, nevertheless, to the outer events. A definite picture appears with a definite outer event. The Moon humanity is thus in the position to direct its actions in accordance with these pictures, just as present-day humanity directs its actions according to its perceptions. Notice, however, must be taken of the fact that conduct based on perception admits of freedom of choice, while action under the influence of the pictures indicated is impelled by a dull urge. — This picture consciousness is by no means one by which only outer physical processes are visualized, but through them the spiritual beings ruling behind the physical facts as well as their activities are imaginatively perceived. Thus the Spirits of Personality become, as it were, visible in the objects of the animal-plant kingdom; behind and within the mineral-plant beings the Fire Spirits appear. The Sons of Life appear as beings that the human being is able to picture mentally without connection with anything physical; he perceives them, as it were, as etheric soul forms. — Although these mental pictures of the Moon consciousness were not copies, but only symbols of the outer world, they did have a much more important effect upon the inner nature of the human being than the present visualizations of man transmitted through outer perception. They had the power to set the whole inner being in motion and activity. The inner processes shaped themselves in accordance with them. They were genuine formative forces. The human being took on the shape these formative forces gave him; he became, as it were, a copy of his processes of consciousness.

The further that evolution continues in this manner, the deeper and more incisive is the change that in consequence takes place in the human entity. The power that proceeds from these consciousness-images is gradually no longer able to extend over the entire human corporeality. The latter divides into two parts, two natures. Members are fashioned that are subject to the formative effect of the picture consciousness, and to a great degree they become a copy of the life of mental images in the sense of the above description. Other organs, however, withdraw from this influence. The human being, in one part of his nature is, as it were, too dense, too much determined by other laws to be able to conduct himself according to the consciousness-pictures. These withdraw from human influence, but they become subject to the influence of the exalted sun beings themselves. A rest period precedes this stage of evolution, during which the sun spirits gather the power to work upon the Moon beings under wholly new conditions. — After this pause the human being is distinctly split into two natures. One of these natures, not subject to the independent activity of the picture consciousness, takes on a more definite form and comes under the influence of forces that, to be sure, proceed from the Moon body, but within which they arise only through the influence of the sun beings. This part of the human being participates increasingly in the life that is inspired by the sun. The other part rises out of the former like a kind of head. It is in itself mobile, plastic, and becomes the expression and bearer of the dull life of consciousness of the human being. Yet the two parts are closely bound together. They send their fluids into one another, and their members stretch from one into the other.

A significant harmony is now achieved through the fact that, during the time in which all this happened, a relationship between sun and Moon has been developed that is in accord with the direction of this evolution. — It has already been pointed out in a previous paragraph (see page 150) how, as a result of their stage of evolution, the advancing beings sever their cosmic bodies from the general cosmic mass. They radiate the forces in accordance with which the substances form themselves. Sun and Moon have thus separated from one another in accordance with the necessity of establishing proper dwelling places for the corresponding beings. This conditioning of substance and its forces by means of the spirit, however, extends further. The beings themselves determine certain movements of cosmic bodies and their definite revolution around each other. In this way these bodies come into varying positions in, relation to each other. If the location or position of one cosmic body in relation to another is changed, then the effects of their corresponding beings upon one another are also changed. This happened with the sun and the Moon. Through the movement begun by the Moon around the sun, the human beings come now under the influence of the sun activity, now they turn away from this influence and are then more dependent upon themselves. The movement is a result of the secession of certain Moon beings already described and the adjustment of the conflict brought about by it. It is only the physical expression of the spiritual relationship of forces created by this secession. The revolution of one body around the other resulted in the previously described changing states of consciousness in the beings dwelling on the cosmic bodies. It can be said that the Moon alternately turns its life toward and away from the sun. There is a sun period and a Moon period; during the latter, the Moon beings develop on the side of the Moon that is turned away from the sun. For the Moon, however, something else was added to the movement of the heavenly bodies. The retrospective supersensible consciousness is able to see how the Moon beings themselves revolve around their own cosmic body in quite regular periods. At certain times they seek out the places where they can expose themselves to the influence of the sun. At other epochs they migrate to the regions where they are not exposed to this influence and where they can, as it were, reflect upon themselves.

In order to complete the picture of these processes, we have also to consider that at this time the Sons of Life reach their human stage. The human being on the Moon cannot yet use his senses, the primal indications of which had come into existence already on Saturn, for his own perception of external objects. At the Moon stage of evolution, however, these senses become the instruments of the Sons of Life. The latter make use of these senses in order to perceive by means of them. These senses, which belong to the physical human body, enter in this way into reciprocal relationship with the Sons of Life, who not only make use of them, but perfect them as well.

Through the changing relationships to the sun a change occurs, as described, in the conditions of life within the human being himself. Things shape themselves in such a way that each time the human being comes under the influence of the sun, he devotes himself more to the life of the sun and its phenomena than to himself. At such times he experiences the grandeur and majesty of the universe as this is expressed in the sun existence. He absorbs this. The exalted beings who have their habitation upon the sun exercise their power upon the Moon, which in turn has its effect upon the being of man. This effect does not extend to the entire human being; it affects particularly those parts of him that have withdrawn from the influence of his own picture consciousness. Thus the physical and ether bodies especially attain a certain size and form, but in order that this may occur, the phenomena of consciousness withdraw. When, now, the life of the human being is removed from the influence of the sun, he is occupied with his own nature. An inner vivacity begins chiefly in the astral body, but the external shape becomes less conspicuous, less perfect in form. — Thus during the Moon evolution there are these two clearly distinguishable, alternating states of consciousness — a duller state during the sun period and a clearer state during the period in which life is more dependent upon itself. The first state is, indeed duller, but it is for that reason also more selfless. Man surrenders himself more to the outer world, to the universe mirrored in the sun. There is an alternation in the states of consciousness that may be compared with the alternation of sleeping and waking in the present human being, as well as with his life between birth and death on the one hand, and with the more spiritual existence between death and a new birth, on the other. The awakening on the Moon, when the sun period gradually ceases, should be characterized as a state intermediate between our present waking every morning and our being born. Likewise, the gradual dimming of consciousness at the approach of the sun period may be likened to an intermediate state between going to sleep and dying, for a consciousness of birth and death similar to the one belonging to present-day man did not yet exist on the ancient Moon. In a kind of sun-life the human being surrendered himself to the enjoyment of this life. He was, during this time, withdrawn from his own life. He lived more spiritually. Only an approximate and comparative description of what the human entity experienced in these periods can be attempted. He felt as though the causative forces of the cosmos streamed into him, pulsated through him. He felt as though intoxicated with the harmonies of the universe of which he partook. At such times his astral body was as though freed from the physical body, and a part of the life body was likewise withdrawn from it. This organism composed of astral body and life body was like a marvelous, delicate musical instrument upon whose strings the mysteries of the universe resounded, and the members of that part of the human being upon which consciousness had but little influence took on forms in response to the universal harmonies, for in these harmonies the sun beings were active. Thus, through spiritual cosmic tones this human part was given form. The alternation between the brighter state of consciousness and this duller one during the sun period was not as abrupt as is the alternation between waking and a completely dreamless sleep for man today. The picture consciousness, to be sure, was not as clear as the present waking consciousness; the other consciousness, in turn, was not as dull as the dreamless sleep of today. Thus the human being had a vague notion of the play of universal harmonies in his physical body and in that part of the ether body that had remained united with it. At the time during which the sun was not shining, as it were, for the human being, the imaginative thought pictures pervaded his consciousness instead of harmonies. Especially those members of the physical and ether bodies that were under the direct power of consciousness were then vivified. In contrast, however, the other parts of the human being, upon which the formative forces from the sun now had no influence, passed through a kind of hardening and drying out process. When the sun period again drew near, these old bodies disintegrated; they severed themselves from the human being and then, as though from the grave of his old corporeality, he arose, inwardly newly formed, although he was still insignificant in this new shape. A renewal of the life-processes had taken place. Through the activity of the sun beings and their harmonies the new-born body again reached its perfection and the process described above repeated itself. Man experienced this renewal as the donning of a new garment. The kernel of his being had not passed through an actual birth or death, it only had shed its skin, as it were, by passing over from a spiritual tone-consciousness in which it yielded itself up to the external world, to one in which it was turned more toward the inner life. The old body had become unusable; it was cast off and then renewed. This characterizes more exactly what was described above as a kind of reproduction, and of which it was said that it is closely related to visualizing activity. The human being has generated his kind with respect to certain parts of the physical and ether bodies. Yet there is no engendering of a daughter being completely distinguished from its parent, but the essential kernel of the latter passes over into the former. This kernel does not produce a new being, but brings itself forth in a new form. Thus the Moon human being experiences a change of consciousness. When the sun epoch approaches, his visualizations become duller and duller, and a state of blissful surrender pervades him. Within his quiet inner being resound cosmic harmonies. Toward the end of this period the images in the astral body begin to revive. Man begins to feel and experience himself. He experiences something like an awakening from the blissfulness and quiet into which he was immersed during the sun period. In this connection yet another important experience occurs. With the new awakening of the picture consciousness the individual man perceives himself as though enveloped in a cloud that had descended upon him like a being from the cosmos. He feels this being as something belonging to him, as a completion of his own nature. He feels it as something that gives him his own existence; he feels it as his ego. This being is one of the Sons of Life. He feels toward this being somewhat as follows, “I lived in this being even during the sun period of the Moon when I had surrendered myself to the glory of the cosmos, but at that time it was invisible to me. Now, however, it becomes visible to me.” It is also from this same Son of Life that the power proceeds that produces the activity performed by man upon his own bodily nature during the sunless period. Then when the sun period again approaches, man feels as if he himself became one with the Son of Life. Even though he may not behold him, nevertheless he feels himself intimately united with the Son of Life.

The relationship to the Sons of Life was of such a character that not each individual human being had a Son of Life for himself, but a whole group of human beings felt that one of these beings belonged to it. Thus on the Moon the inhabitants lived divided into such groups, and every group looked up to a Son of Life as the common group ego. The difference between the groups became apparent through each group having a different form, especially in its ether bodies. But since the physical bodies are formed in accordance with the ether bodies, the differences in the latter were imprinted upon the former, and the various human groups appeared as so many different types of men. When the Sons of Life looked down upon the human groups belonging to them, they saw themselves, as it were, manifolded in the individual human beings. In this way they experienced their own egohood. They mirrored themselves in the human beings. This was also the task of the human senses at that time. We have seen that these did not yet transmit any external objective perceptions. But they reflected the being of the Sons of Life. What these Sons of Life perceived through this reflection gave to them their ego consciousness. It was, however, the images of the dull, vague Moon consciousness that were aroused in the human astral body by this reflection. — The effect of this activity of man, achieved in reciprocal relationship with the Sons of Life, brought into existence the first traces of the nervous system in the physical body. The nerves represent a sort of extension of the senses into the inner nature of the human body.

From this description it can be seen how the three categories of spirits, the Spirits of Personality, the Fire Spirits, and the Sons of Life, are active upon the Moon man. If the main period of the Moon evolution — the middle evolutionary period — is considered, we may say that it was then that the Spirits of Personality implanted independence, the character of personality, in the human astral body. It is due to this fact that during the time when the sun does not shine on the human being, as it were, he can turn in upon himself, is able to fashion himself. The Fire Spirits manifest themselves in the ether body to the degree that this body imprints upon itself the independent human structure. It is because of them that the human being feels himself to be again the same being each time after the renewal of his body. A kind of memory is thus given to the ether body through the Fire Spirits. The Sons of Life work upon the physical body in such a way that it is able to become the expression of the now independent astral body. They thus make it possible for this physical body to become a physiognomic copy of its astral body. On the other hand, higher spiritual beings, especially the Spirits of Form and the Spirits of Movement, intervene in the formation of physical and ether bodies insofar as these develop in the sun periods independent of the autonomous astral body. It is from the sun that their intervention occurs in the manner described above.

Under the influence of such facts the human being gradually matures in order to develop in itself the germ of spirit self, just as in the second half of the Saturn evolution the human being developed the germ of spirit man, and on the Sun the germ of life spirit. Through this, all relationships on the Moon change. Through the successive changes and renewals human beings have become ever more noble and delicate. They have also gained in strength. As a result, the picture consciousness was increasingly preserved also during the sun cycles. In this way it acquires an influence over the formation of the physical and ether bodies that formerly happened only through the activity of the sun beings. What happened on the Moon through the human beings and the spirits united with them became more and more like the former achievements of the sun with its higher beings. As a result, these sun beings could increasingly apply their forces for the sake of their own evolution and because of this the Moon became ready, after a certain length of time, to be reunited with the sun. — Spiritually perceived, these processes appear as follows. The revolting Moon beings have been gradually overcome by the sun beings and must now adjust themselves by becoming subject to them, so that the functions of both are in mutual harmony. — This happened only after long preceding epochs in which the Moon cycles became shorter and shorter and the sun cycles longer and longer. A cycle of evolution now begins during which sun and Moon are again a single cosmic organism. At this time the physical human body has become wholly etheric. — When this is said, it must not be imagined that under such conditions we cannot speak of a physical body. What has been formed as physical body during the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions still remains present. It is important to recognize the physical not only where it manifests outwardly physically. The physical can also be present in such a way that it can show externally the form of the etheric, and indeed, even show the form of the astral. It is important to differentiate between external appearances and inner laws. A physical body can become etherized or astralized, yet at the same time retain its physical laws. This is the case when the human physical body on the Moon has reached a certain degree of perfection. It becomes ether-like. When, however, supersensible consciousness — able to observe things of this kind — turns its attention to such an ether-like body, it appears to it permeated not by the laws of the etheric but by the laws of the physical. The physical is taken up into the etheric in order to rest there and be fostered as in a maternal womb. Later it appears again in physical form but at a higher stage. Were the human Moon being to keep its physical body in the grossly physical form, the Moon would never be able to reunite itself with the sun. By the acquisition of an etheric form, the physical body becomes more related to the ether body and it can, moreover, be permeated again more inwardly by those parts of the ether and astral bodies that, during the sun periods of the Moon evolution, had to withdraw from it. The human entity, which appeared like a double being during the separation of sun and Moon, becomes again a unified being. The physical becomes more soul-like, and the soul in turn more closely united with the physical. — The sun spirits, into whose direct sphere this unitary human being has now come, are able to work upon him quite differently from the time when they worked from without, downward upon the Moon. The human being is now more in a soul and spirit environment. Through this fact the Spirits of Wisdom can achieve a significant effect. They imprint wisdom in him. They ensoul him with wisdom. He becomes in this way in a certain sense an independent soul. To the influence of these beings is added that of the Spirits of Motion. They act especially upon the astral body in such a way that, under the influence of the beings described, it evolves a soul activity and a life of ether body filled with wisdom. The wisdom-filled ether body is the first germinal nucleus of what has been described in an earlier chapter as the intellectual soul in present-day humanity, whereas the astral body stimulated by the Spirits of Motion contains the germinal nucleus of the sentient soul. Because all this is brought about within the human entity in its increased state of independence, these germinal nuclei of the intellectual and sentient souls appear as the expression of spirit self. The mistake must not be made of thinking that, at this period of evolution, spirit self is something special, independent of the intellectual and sentient souls. These latter are only the expression of spirit self that signifies their higher unity and harmony.

It is of special significance that during this epoch the Spirits of Wisdom intervene in the manner described. They do this not alone in respect of the human being but also of the other kingdoms that have developed upon the Moon. When the sun and Moon again become united, these lower kingdoms are drawn within the sphere of the sun. All that was physical in them becomes etherized. Thus, just as human beings are to be found on the sun, so there are also to be found mineral-plants and plant-animals. These other creatures, however, remain endowed with their own laws. They feel, therefore, like strangers in their new surroundings. They appear with a nature that has little in common with that of their environment. But since they have an etheric form, the activity of the Spirits of Wisdom can extend to them also. All that has come from the Moon into the sun is now permeated with the forces of the Spirits of Wisdom. Therefore what is fashioned from the sun-Moon organism within this evolutionary period may be called the “Cosmos of Wisdom.” — When our Earth system, as a descendant of this Cosmos of Wisdom, appears after a rest period, all the beings coming to life again upon the Earth, springing forth from their Moon nuclei, show themselves filled with wisdom. Thus we see the reason why the present earth man, looking attentively at the things about him, can discover wisdom in the nature of their being. We can marvel at the wisdom in each plant leaf, in each animal and human bone, in the miraculous structure of the brain and heart. When man needs wisdom in order to understand things, that is, when he extracts wisdom from them, it shows that wisdom exists in the things themselves. For however much the human being might try to understand the things by means of ideas filled with wisdom, he would be unable to extract any wisdom from them were it not already embodied in the things themselves. Anyone who wishes by means of wisdom to comprehend things that, as he thinks, have not first received wisdom, may also imagine that he can take water out of a glass into which none has previously been poured. The Earth, as will be seen later on in this book, is the resurrected ancient Moon. It appears as a wisdom-filled organism because in the epoch described it has become permeated by the forces of the Spirits of Wisdom.

It will, it is hoped, appear comprehensible that in this description of the Moon conditions only certain transitory forms of evolution could be concentrated upon. Certain things in the progress of events had to be selected and emphasized for the description. This kind of description offers, to be sure, only single pictures, and the preceding descriptions of evolution may therefore seem lacking through not being woven into a web of definitely fixed concepts. In regard to such an objection attention may perhaps be drawn to the fact that the description has intentionally been given in less concise concepts. For it is not so much a question here of the construction of speculative concepts and ideas, but rather of a mental picture of what can present itself to the spiritual eye through supersensible perception directed to these facts. These facts do not appear in such sharp and definite outlines in the Moon evolution as is the case with the perceptions on our earth. In the Moon epoch we are concerned with vacillating, changing impressions, with fluctuating, mobile pictures, and with their transitions. Besides this, we must consider the fact that we are concerned with an evolution covering long, long periods of time and that in describing this, only momentary pictures can be seized on and fixed.

At the point of time when the astral body implanted in the human being has advanced him so far in his evolution that his physical body gives the Sons of Life the possibility of attaining their human stage, the actual climax of the Moon epoch is reached. At that time the human being also has attained all that this epoch can give him for his inner development on the forward path. The following cycle, that is, the second part of the Moon evolution, can be designated as one of ebb-tide. But it can be seen that with respect to the human environment and also to man himself something most important transpires just at this period. It is then that wisdom is implanted within the sun-Moon body. We have seen that during this ebb-tide the nuclei of the intellectual and sentient souls are engendered. Yet it is not until the Earth period that their unfolding and that of the consciousness soul occurs together with the birth of the ego, of independent self-consciousness. At the Moon stage, the intellectual and sentient souls do not yet appear as though the human being himself were able to express himself through them, but as though they were instruments for the Sons of Life belonging to the human being. If we wish to characterize the feeling that man had on the Moon in regard to this, we would have to say that he felt as follows. “The Son of Life lives in and through me; he beholds the Moon environment through me; he thinks in me about the things and beings in this environment.” The Moon man feels overshadowed by his Son of Life, he experiences himself as the instrument of this higher being, and during the separation of sun and Moon, when the Moon was turned away from the sun, he had a feeling of greater independence. At the same time he also felt as if the ego belonging to him, which had disappeared from his picture-consciousness during the sun cycles, now became visible to him. This was for the Moon human being what we might call alternation in the states of consciousness. This gave him the feeling, “In the sun period my ego soars away with me up into higher regions to sublime beings, and, when the sun disappears, it descends with me into lower worlds.”

A preparatory period preceded the actual Moon evolution. A kind of repetition of the Saturn and Sun evolution occurred at that time. Then, after the reunion of the sun and Moon in the ebb-tide period, two epochs can likewise be distinguished during which there take place, to a certain degree, even physical condensations. The psycho-spiritual states of the sun-Moon organism alternate with physical states. In these physical epochs the human beings, and likewise the beings of the lower kingdoms, appear in stiff forms, lacking independence, forms that were forecasts of what they were to become as more independent shapes later on in the Earth evolution. Thus we can speak of two preparatory periods of the Moon evolution and of two others during the time of ebb-tide. Such epochs can be called cycles. In what follows the two preparatory cycles, and that precedes the two cycles of ebb-tide — that is, in the time of the Moon separation — three epochs can also be distinguished. It is in the middle epoch of these three that the Sons of Life reach their human status. Prior to this there is an epoch during which all conditions lead to a concentration on achieving this main event. Then another epoch follows that can be described as a condition in which the beings become familiar with and develop the new creations. Thus the middle period of the Moon evolution is divided into three epochs. Together with the two preparatory and the two ebb-tide epochs, they make seven Moon cycles. It may thus be said that the entire Moon evolution runs its course in seven cycles. Between these cycles lie rest periods that have been mentioned previously. We shall arrive at a true conception of the situation only if we do not imagine abrupt transitions between periods of activity and those of rest. The sun beings, for example, withdraw, little by little, from their activity on the Moon. A time begins for them that, outwardly observed, appears like their period of rest, while upon the Moon itself, animated, independent activity reigns. Thus the period of activity of one kind of being extends into the rest period of other beings. If we take these things into account we can speak of a rhythmic rising and falling of forces in cycles. Indeed, similar divisions can also be observed within the seven Moon cycles described. We can then call the whole Moon evolution a great cycle, a planetary cycle; the seven divisions within one of these cycles, small cycles, and the divisions of these last again still smaller sub-cycles. This membering into seven times seven sections is already observable in the Sun evolution and is indicated also during the Saturn epoch. Yet we must consider the boundaries between the divisions as being blurred on the Sun and as being still more vague on Saturn. The boundary lines become more and more clearly defined the farther evolution proceeds toward Earth.

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