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Awakening Anthroposophy
in the World

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(Part 6)

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

After the conclusion of the Moon evolution described in the foregoing sketch, all beings and forces concerned appear in a more spiritual form of existence, a form that stands at a quite different level from that of the Moon period and also from that of the subsequent Earth evolution. A being who possessed such highly developed capacities of cognition that he could perceive all the details of the Moon and Earth evolutions would not necessarily be able also to perceive what happens between the two evolutions. For such an individual, the beings and forces at the end of the Moon period would disappear as though into nothingness and after the lapse of an interim make their appearance again out of the dim darkness of the cosmic womb. Only a being possessing still higher faculties could follow up the spiritual events that occur in this interim.

At the end of the interval of rest from outer activity, the beings who had taken part in the evolutionary processes on Saturn, Sun, and Moon appear with new abilities and faculties. The beings standing above men have acquired, through their previous acts, the capacity to develop the human being to such a point that, during the Earth period following the Moon period, he can unfold in himself a degree of consciousness that stands one stage higher than the picture-consciousness possessed by him during the Moon period. Man, however, must first be prepared to receive what is to be bestowed upon him. During the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions he invested his being with a physical, life, and astral body, but these members of his being have received only the capacities and forces that enable them to live in a picture-consciousness; they still lack the organs and structure enabling them to perceive a world of outer sense objects as it is required for the Earth stage. Just as the new plant only develops what is inherent in the seed coming from the old plant, so in the beginning of the new stage of evolution the three members of human nature appear with structures and organs that make possible the development of picture-consciousness only. They must first be prepared for the development of a higher stage of consciousness. — This takes place in three preliminary stages. In the first stage, the physical body is raised to a level where it is possible to make the necessary transformation that can be the basis for an objective consciousness. This is a preliminary stage of the Earth evolution, which may be termed a repetition of Saturn at a higher level, for during this period, just as during the Saturn evolution, higher beings work only upon the physical body. When the physical body has progressed far enough in its evolution, all beings must again pass over into a higher form of existence before the life or ether body can also advance. The physical body must be remodeled, as it were, in order to be able, when it unfolds again, to receive the more highly developed life body. After this intermediate period devoted to a higher form of existence, something like a repetition of the Sun evolution takes place on a higher level for the purpose of developing the life body. Again after an intermediate period something similar happens for the astral body in a repetition of the Moon evolution.

Let us now turn to the events of evolution after the completion of the third of the recapitulation periods just described. All beings and forces have again become spiritualized. During this spiritualization they have ascended into sublime worlds. The lowest of these worlds in which something of these beings and forces can still be perceived during this period of spiritualization, is the same world in which the present human being dwells between death and re-birth. These are the regions of the land of spirits. The beings and forces then gradually descend again to lower worlds. Before the physical Earth evolution begins, they have descended so far that their lowest manifestations are to be perceived in the astral or soul world.

Everything human existing at this period still possesses its astral form. In order to understand this state of humanity, special attention should be given to the fact that man possesses a physical body, a life body, and an astral body, but that the physical body as well as the life body do not yet exist in a physical or etheric form, but in an astral form. What at that time makes the physical body physical is not its physical form but the physical laws that are present in it, although it has an astral form. It is a being ruled by physical laws appearing in soul form. This is also true of the life body.

At this stage of evolution the Earth stands before the spiritual eye as a cosmic being that is wholly soul and spirit, and in which the physical and life forces still appear in soul form. Within this cosmic structure everything that is to be transformed later into the creatures of the physical earth is contained in a germinal state. This cosmic Earth being is luminous, but its light is not one that physical eyes could perceive, even were they present, for it gleams with soul radiance only for the opened eye of the seer.

In this cosmic being something now takes place that may be called a condensation, which after a time results in a fire form appearing in the midst of this soul structure, a form similar to Saturn in its densest condition. This fire form is interwoven with the activities of the various beings who participate in evolution. What may be observed as a reciprocal activity between these beings and the celestial body is like an emerging from the Earth fire-ball and a reimmersing in it. Therefore the Earth fire-ball is by no means a uniform substance, but something like an organism permeated with soul and spirit. The beings who are destined to become human beings in our present form on the Earth are still in a condition in which they participate the least in the activity of immersion in the fire-body. They still remain almost wholly in the non-condensed environment. They still are within the bosom of the higher spiritual beings. At this stage they touch the fire Earth only with one point of their soul form, with the result that the heat causes a part of their astral form to condense. Through this fact, Earth life is enkindled within them, but the largest part of their being still belongs to the world of soul and spirit. Only through the contact with the Earth fire does the warmth of life play around them. If we wish to form a sensible-supersensible picture of this human being in the beginning of the physical Earth period, we must imagine an egg-shaped soul form, existing in the surroundings of the Earth enclosed by a cup at its lower end like an acorn. But the substance of the cup consists purely of heat or fire. The enkindling of life within the human being was not the only result of this enclosure in heat, but simultaneously with it a change in the astral body occurred. Inserted into it is the primal nucleus of what later becomes the sentient soul. Therefore, it may be said that at this stage of his existence man consists of sentient soul, astral body, life body, and physical body woven of fire. The spiritual beings who take part in human existence surge up and down in the astral body; through the sentient soul man feels himself bound to the body of the Earth. At this time, therefore, he has a preponderant picture-consciousness in which the spiritual beings manifest themselves. He lies within their bosom, and the sensation of his own bodily existence appears only as a point within this consciousness. From the spiritual world he looks down, as it were, upon an earthly possession about which he feels, “That is mine.” — The condensation of the Earth advances further and further and with it the characterized organizing of man becomes ever more distinct. At a definite point of time in its evolution the Earth becomes condensed to such a degree that only a part remains fiery. Another part has taken on a substantial form that may be represented as gas or air. A change now takes place also in man. Not only the Earth heat touches his organism, but air substance is drawn into his fire body. Just as heat has enkindled life in him, so air playing about him produces an effect that may be likened to spiritual tone; his life body resounds. At the same time the astral body detaches a part of itself; this becomes the primal nucleus of what appears later as the intellectual soul. — In order to form a picture of what is taking place at this time within the human soul, we must realize that beings higher than men surge up and down within the air-fire body of the Earth. In the fire Earth we have first the Spirits of Personality who are of importance to man, and when the latter is aroused to life by the Earth heat, his sentient soul says to itself, “These are the Spirits of Personality.” Likewise, the beings who have been called Archangels — in the sense of Christian esotericism — proclaim themselves in the air body, and when the air plays about the human being it is their activities that he experiences in himself as tone; the intellectual soul says to itself, “These are the Archangels.” Thus, at this stage man does not yet perceive through his connection with the Earth what might be called an aggregation of physical objects, but he lives in sensations of heat arising in him and in sounding tone; in these heat streams and tone waves he perceives the Spirits of Personality and the Archangels. He cannot, however, perceive these beings directly; he can only sense them through the veil of heat and tone. While these perceptions coming from the Earth penetrate his soul, still rising and falling within it are the images of the higher beings in whose bosom he feels his existence.

The evolution of the Earth now advances further and its continuation expresses itself again in condensing. The Earth receives the watery substance into its body, which now consists of three members — the fiery, the airy, and the watery elements. Prior to this an important event takes place. An independent cosmic body severs itself from the fire-air Earth. This becomes in its subsequent evolution the present sun.1 Previously, Earth and sun were one body. After the separation of the sun, the Earth2 still contains within it all that comprises the present moon. The separation of the sun takes place because exalted beings can no longer endure the matter now condensed to water in their own evolution and in their task for the advancement of the Earth. They extract from the general Earth mass the substance alone suited to their purposes and withdraw in order to establish a new habitation in the present sun. They now send down their activities from the sun to the Earth. Man, however, needs for his further development a place of action in which substance continues to condense.

The incorporation of the watery substance into the Earth body is accompanied by a change in the human being. Not only does fire stream into him and air play about him, but watery substance is incorporated into his physical body. At the same time his etheric part undergoes a change and he perceives it now as a delicate body of light. Previously he felt the streams of heat arising from the Earth, he experienced air pressing upon him through tones. Now the watery element also penetrates his fire-air body, and he perceives its instreaming and outstreaming as a flashing up and dimming of light. In his soul also a change has taken place. To the germs of the sentient and intellectual souls is now added that of the consciousness soul. In the water element the Angels are active; they are also the actual producers of light. The human being feels as though they appeared to him in light. — Certain higher beings who were previously within the Earth body now work down upon it from the sun; through all this there is a change in the effects on the Earth. Man chained to the Earth would no longer be able to sense the effects of the sun beings within himself if his soul were constantly turned toward the Earth from which he has received his physical body. An alternation now takes place in the states of human consciousness. The sun beings tear the human soul away from the physical body at certain times so that man now lives alternately within the bosom of the sun beings, purely as a soul, and at other times in a condition where he is united with the body and receives the influences of the Earth. If he is in the physical body, the streams of heat surge up to him; the air masses sound around him; the waters flow in and out of him. If he is outside his body, his soul is then permeated by the images of the higher beings in whose bosom he lives. — At this stage of its evolution the Earth experiences two alternating periods. During the one, it is permitted to weave its substances around the human souls and invest them with bodies; during the other, the souls desert it and only the bodies remain. It, together with the human beings, is in a sleeping state. It is entirely possible to say that at this time of the far distant past the Earth passes through a day and a night period. (This expresses itself physically and spatially in the movement of the Earth in relation to the sun as a result of the mutual action of the sun and Earth beings. In this way the alternation in the characterized day and night period is effected. The day period occurs when the Earth surface upon which man is evolving is turned toward the sun. The night period, that is, the time during which man leads a purely soul existence, occurs when this surface is turned away from the sun. It should not, however, be imagined that in that primeval epoch the Earth's movement around the sun was at all like that of the present. The conditions were then quite different. It is, however, useful to realize here that the movements of the heavenly bodies arise as a result of the relationships the spiritual beings inhabiting them bear to one another. The heavenly bodies are brought into such positions and movements through soul and spirit causes that the spiritual states are enabled to unfold themselves in the physical world.)

Were we to turn our glance toward the Earth during its night period we would see its body in a corpse-like state, for it consists in large part of the decaying bodies of human beings whose souls dwell in another state of existence. The organic, watery, and aeriform structures constituting the human bodies fall into decay and resolve themselves into the rest of the Earth mass. Only that part of the human body, which at the very beginning of the Earth evolution took form through the co-activity of fire and the human soul, and in consequence became continually denser, remains in existence like an outwardly inconspicuous germinal nucleus. What is said here about day and night should, therefore, not be taken to be at all similar to what is indicated by these terms at the present earth stage. If at the beginning of the day period the Earth again is a participant in the direct effect of the sun, then the human souls penetrate into the realm of physical life. They come in contact with the nuclei mentioned above and cause them to germinate so that the latter assume an external form that appears like a copy of the human soul nature. It is something like a gentle fructification that occurs between the human soul and the germinal human body. These souls thus embodied now begin also to draw in the surrounding air and water masses and to incorporate them into their bodies. The air is expelled from the organized body and then drawn in again; this is the first indication of what is later to become the breathing process. The water is also drawn in and then expelled; this is the origin of the process of nutrition. These processes are not yet externally perceived. A kind of outer perception occurs through the soul only in the already mentioned fructifying process. Then the soul feels dully its awakening into physical existence by coming in contact with the germinal body the Earth offers it. It hears something that may be expressed in the words, “That is my form!” and this feeling, which might also be called a dawning of the ego-feeling, remains in the soul during its entire connection with the physical body. The process of assimilating air, however, is felt by the soul as something entirely of a soul-spirit nature, entirely pictorial. It appears in the form of an up and down undulating tone-configuration that gives shape to the developing embryonic body. The soul feels itself surrounded completely by undulating tone, and it is conscious of how it fashions its own body according to these tone forces. Thus, at that stage, human forms took shape that are not observable by present-day human consciousness in an external world. They fashion themselves in plant and flowerlike structures of delicate substance that are inwardly mobile, appearing like fluttering flowers, and during the Earth period the human being experiences the blissful feeling of being fashioned into such forms. The absorption of the watery parts is felt in the soul as a source of power, as an inner strengthening. Seen from without it appears as growth of the physical human structure. With the waning of the direct effect of the sun the human soul also loses the power to control these processes. By degrees they are discarded. Only those parts remain that permit the above characterized germinal nucleus to ripen. The human being, however, forsakes his body and returns to the spiritual state of existence. (Since not all parts of the Earth body are used in fashioning human bodies, it should not be imagined that during the night period the Earth consists solely of decaying corpses and germinal nuclei awaiting to be wakened. All of these are embedded in other forms that take shape from the substances of the Earth. The condition of these will be shown later.)

The process of Earth-substance condensation now continues. The solid element, which may be called “earthy,” is added to the watery element. With this the human being also begins to invest his body with the earthy element during his sojourn on Earth. As soon as this investing process begins, the forces that the soul brings with it from the time it is freed from the body no longer have the same power as previously. Formerly, the soul fashioned the body for itself from the fiery, airy, and watery element according to the tones sounding around it and the light shapes playing about it. The soul is unable to do this with the solidified form. Other powers now intervene in the fashioning process. In the part of the human being that remains when the soul abandons the body, now not only a germinal nucleus is present, which is quickened by the returning soul, but an organism is present that contains also the vivifying force itself. By its severance, the soul does not leave behind on Earth merely a likeness of itself, but It also implants a part of its vivifying power into the likeness. When the soul reappears on Earth, it can no longer only awaken the likeness to life, but the quickening must take place in the likeness itself. The spiritual beings who affect the Earth from the sun sustain the quickening force in the human body although man himself is not on Earth. By incarnating, the soul feels not only the resounding tones and light shapes in which it senses the presence of the beings standing next above it, but through the intake of the Earth element it feels the influence of the still higher beings who have established their field of activity on the sun. Previously man felt himself belonging to the beings of soul and spirit with whom he was united when body-free. His ego still existed within their bosom. This ego now confronts him during physical embodiment while at the same time the surrounding world encompasses him. Independent likenesses of the soul-spirit nature of the human being were now on Earth, likenesses that, when compared with the present human bodies, were structures composed of delicate substantiality, for the earthy parts mingled with them only in the finest state, in a way comparable to the modern human being's absorption of the finely diffused substances of an object with his organ of smell. Human bodies were like shadows. Since they were distributed over the whole Earth, however, they became subject to the Earth influences, which varied at different points of its surface. While previously the bodily likenesses corresponded to the soul-men who animated them and, for that reason, were essentially similar to one another over the whole Earth, now variations appear among human forms. In this way what later emerged as race differentiation was prepared. — Coincident with the growing independence of the human bodily being there was a loosening of the previous close connection between the earth man and the soul-spirit world. When the soul now left the body, the latter lived on in a sort of continuation of life. — If evolution had continued in this way, the Earth would have had to harden under the influence of its solid element. Supersensible knowledge, looking back upon these conditions, perceives how the human bodies abandoned by their souls solidify more and more. After a time the souls returning to Earth would have found no usable material with which they might unite. All the substances suitable for the human being would have been employed in filling the Earth with the woodlike remains of incarnations.

An event then occurred that gave a different direction to the whole process of evolution. Everything was eliminated that could contribute to permanent induration in the solid Earth substance. At that time our present moon3 withdrew from the Earth, and what had previously contributed directly to the fashioning of permanent forms in the Earth worked now indirectly in a diminished way from the moon. The higher beings upon whom this fashioning of form depends had decided no longer to bestow their effects upon the Earth from within it, but to bestow them upon it from the outside. As a result there appeared a variation in the bodily human structure that must be regarded as the beginning of the separation into two sexes, male and female. The human structures composed of fine substance that previously inhabited the Earth, permitted — through the co-operation within themselves of both these forces, the germinal and the engendering force — the new human form, their descendant, to come into existence. These descendants now transformed themselves. In the one group of such descendants, the soul-spirit germ force was more effective; in the other group it was the life-giving, engendering force that was more effective. This was caused by the weakening of the power of the Earth element through the withdrawal of the moon from the Earth. The interworking of both forces became more delicate than it was previously when it occurred in a single living individual. As a result the descendant, too, was more delicate, finer. He entered the earth4 existence in a delicately formed structure and only by degrees did the more solid substances pervade it. This gave the possibility for the soul — returning to earth — to unite itself again with the body. Now the soul quickened the body no longer from without, for this quickening occurred on the earth itself, but it united itself with it and caused it to grow. A certain limit, however, was set to this growth. As a result of the moon separation, the body had for a time become flexible, but the longer it continued to grow on the earth, the more the solidifying forces gained the upper hand. Finally, the soul was less and less able to participate in the organization of the body. The latter decomposed as the soul ascended to soul-spirit existence.

It is possible to trace how the forces that man gradually appropriated during the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions participate by degrees in human advancement during the fashioning of the earth just described. First, it is the astral body — which also contains both the life or ether body and physical body in a condition of dissolution within itself that is enkindled by the earth fire. Then this astral body is organized into a rarefied astral part, the sentient soul, and into a coarser part, the etheric, which is now affected by the earth element. With this the previously formed ether or life body makes its appearance. While the intellectual and consciousness souls fashion themselves within the astral human being, the coarser parts of the ether body, which are susceptible to tone and light, organize themselves within it. It is at the time when the ether body condenses itself still further, so that it is transformed from a light body into a fire or heat body, that the stage of evolution is reached in which, as described above, the parts of the solid earth element are incorporated into the human being. Because the ether body has condensed itself to the density of fire, it is now able through the forces of the physical body previously implanted in it to unite itself with the substances of the physical earth that have become attenuated to a condition of fire. It would, however, be unable by itself to infuse the body, which has become more dense in the meantime, also with the airy substances. Here, as indicated above, the higher beings dwelling on the sun interpose and breathe the air into it. Whereas man, by virtue of his past, has thus the power to infuse himself with earthly fire, higher beings guide the instreaming breath of air into his body. Before solidification, the human life body, as a receiver of tone, was the guide of the air stream. It permeated its physical body with life. This physical body now receives life from without. In consequence of this, this life becomes independent of the soul part of the human being who, by leaving the earth, not only leaves his germinal form behind, but also a living likeness of himself. The Spirits of Form remain united with this likeness; they lead the life bestowed by them upon the individual over to the descendants also after the human soul has left the body. Thus, what may be called heredity is developed. When the human soul appears again on earth, it feels itself in a body, the life of which has been transferred to it from the ancestors. It feels itself especially attracted to just such a body. As a result something is formed like a memory about the ancestor with whom the soul feels itself at one. Such a memory passes like a common consciousness through the line of descendants. The ego flows down through the generations.

At this stage of evolution, man felt himself during his earth existence as an independent being. He felt the inner fire of his life body united with the external fire of the earth. He was able to feel the heat streaming through him as his own ego. In these currents of heat, interwoven with life, the first tendency to form a blood circulation is to be found. The human being did not, however, quite feel his own being in what streamed into him as air. In this air the forces of the already described higher beings were active. But that part of the effective forces within the air streaming through him, which belonged to him already by virtue of his previously created ether forces, had remained. He was ruler in one part of these air currents and to the degree that this was so, not only did the higher beings operate in fashioning him, but he himself also assisted in his own formation. According to the images of his astral body he fashioned the air portions. While air thus streamed into the human being from without, becoming the basis of his breathing, a part of the air he contained developed into an organism that was then impressed into him; this became the foundation of the later nervous system. Thus man of that time was connected with the external world of the earth by warmth and air. On the other hand, he was unconscious of the introduction into his organism of the solid element of the earth; this element co-operated in bringing about his incarnation on earth, yet he was unable to perceive directly its infusion into himself, but could only perceive it in a dull state of consciousness in the pictures of higher beings who were active in this element. In such a picture form — as an expression of beings standing above him — man had previously perceived the introduction of the liquid earth elements into himself. As a result of the densification of his earth form, these pictures have now undergone a transformation in his consciousness. The liquid is admixed with the solid element. The infusion of this latter element also must thus be felt as something proceeding from higher beings acting from without. The human soul no longer possesses the power to infuse this element into itself, for this power must now serve the human body, which is built up from outside. Man would spoil its form were he to direct the introduction himself. What he infuses into himself from outside appears to him to be directed by the command of the higher beings who work on the fashioning of his bodily structure. Man feels himself as an ego, he has his intellectual soul within himself as a part of the astral body, through which he experiences inwardly in pictures what is taking place externally, and which permeates his delicate nervous system. He feels himself as the descendant of ancestors by virtue of the life flowing, through generations. He breathes and feels it as the effect of the higher beings, described as Spirits of Form, and he accepts what is brought to him through their impulses from the external world as nourishment. What is most obscure to him is his own origin as an individual. In regard to this he is only aware of having experienced an influence from the Spirits of Form expressing themselves in the forces of the earth. He was directed and guided in his relationship to the external world. This is expressed by his possession of a consciousness of the activities of spirit and soul taking place behind his physical environment. He does not perceive the spiritual beings in their own form, but in his soul he feels the presence of tone, of color, and other manifestations, and he knows that the deeds of spiritual beings live in this world of mental images. What these beings communicate to him, resounds to him; their manifestations are revealed to him in pictures of light. Through mental images received from fire and heat the earth man is most inwardly conscious of himself. He already distinguishes between his inner heat and the heat radiations of the earthly environment. In the latter the Spirits of Personality manifest themselves. The human being, however, has only a dim consciousness of what exists behind the radiating outer heat. He feels in these radiations the influence of the Spirits of Form. When powerful heat effects appear in the human environment, the soul feels within itself: “Now spiritual beings are sending their glow around the earth; from this a spark has been liberated, warming my inner being through and through.” — In the phenomena of light, the human being does not yet differentiate in the same way between the outer and inner worlds. When light images arise in the surroundings, they do not always produce the same feeling in his soul. There were times when he felt these pictures of light as something external. This was at the time when he had just descended from the body-free state into incarnation. It was his period of growth upon the earth. When the time approached for the fashioning of the germ for the new earth man, these pictures faded, and the human being only retained something like memory pictures of them. In these light pictures the deeds of the Fire Spirits, the Archangels, were contained. The latter appeared to man as the servants of the beings of heat who introduced a spark into his inner nature. When their external manifestations were extinguished, he felt them as memory pictures in his inner nature. He felt himself united with their forces, and this was indeed the fact. For he was able to act upon the surrounding atmosphere through what he had received from them. The atmosphere began to shine through this influence. This was a time when nature forces and human forces were not yet separated as they were later. What occurred on the earth proceeded to a large degree from the forces of man himself. Anyone who might have observed the processes of nature on the earth from the outside would not have seen in them merely something that was independent of the human being; he would have perceived in them the effects of human activity. The perceptions of tone took place in a different way for the earth man. From the beginning of earth life they were perceived as outer tones. Whereas the air images were perceived from without right up to the middle period of human earth existence, the outer tones could still be heard after this middle period. Only toward the end of life was the earth man no longer sensitive to them. The tone memories remained with him. In them were contained the revelations of the Sons of Life, the Angels. If the human being toward the end of his life felt himself united inwardly with these forces, then he was able by means of imitation of these forces to produce powerful effects on the water element of the earth. The waters surged in and over the earth under his influence. The human being had notions of taste only during the first quarter of his life, and even then they appeared to the soul like a memory of the experiences passed through in the body-free state. As long as he possessed this memory, the solidification of his body through absorption of outer substances continued. In the second quarter of earth life growth continued, although man's form was already completely developed. At this time he could perceive other living beings beside him only through their warmth, light, and tone effects, for he was not yet capable of visualizing the solid element. Only from the liquid element he obtained, in the first quarter of his life, the described effects of taste.

The external bodily form was an image of this inner soul condition of man. The parts that contained tendencies toward the subsequent head form were developed most perfectly. The other organs gave the impression of appendages. They were shadowy and unclear. The earth men, however, were varied in regard to form. In some the appendages were more or less developed according to the earthly conditions under which they lived. They were varied according to the earthly dwelling places of the human beings. Wherever the latter were entangled in the earth world to a greater degree, the appendages appeared more in the foreground. Those human beings who, as a result of their previous development, were the most mature at the beginning of physical earthly evolution, who right at the beginning — before the Earth had condensed to air — experienced the contact with the fire element, could now develop the head capacities most perfectly. These were the human beings who were most harmonious in their nature. Others were ready to come into contact with the element of fire only when the Earth had already developed the air element. These human beings were more dependent upon outer conditions than those described above who were able to feel the Spirits of Form clearly by means of heat and who during their earth life felt — as though preserved in a memory — that they belonged to these spirits and were united with them in their body-free condition. The second type of human being had only a slight memory of the body-free state; this type felt its relationship to the spiritual world chiefly through the light activity of the Fire Spirits, the Archangels. A third type of human being was still more entangled in earth existence; it was the type that could be affected by the fire element only when the Earth was separated from the sun and had received the watery element into its composition. The feeling of relationship to the spiritual world was especially weak in human beings of this type at the beginning of earth life. Only when the effect of the activity of the Archangels, and chiefly of the Angels, made itself evident in the inner mental life, did they feel this connection. On the other hand, at the commencement of the earth epoch they were full of active impulses for deeds that can be carried out in earthly conditions. These human beings were especially strongly developed in their appended organs.

Prior to the separation of the moon from the Earth, when the latter, through the presence of the moon forces, tended more and more toward solidification, it happened that because of these forces there were some among the descendants of the abandoned germinal human beings left behind on earth, in which the human souls, returning from the body-free state of existence, could no longer incarnate. The form of such descendants was too solidified, and, because of the moon forces, had become too dissimilar to the human form to be able to receive a human soul. Certain human souls, therefore, found it no longer possible under such circumstances to return to the Earth. Only the ripest and strongest souls were able to feel themselves equal to the task of remodeling the Earth body during its growth so that it blossomed forth bearing the form of a human being. Only a part of the bodily human descendants attained the ability to bear the earthly man. Another part, on account of the solidified form, was only able to receive souls of an order lower than the human being. A number of the human souls were compelled to forego Earth evolution at that time. They were, therefore, led to another course of life. There were souls who had been unable, even at the time when the sun separated from the Earth, to find a place in the latter. In order to develop further they were removed to a planet that, under the guidance of cosmic beings, had been severed from the common universal substance that at the beginning of physical Earth evolution was bound up with it, and from which the sun also had detached itself. This planet is the one whose physical expression is known to modern science as Jupiter. (We speak here of the celestial bodies, planets, and their names in exactly the same way as was the custom of a more ancient science. What is meant becomes clear from the context. Just as the physical earth is only the physical expression of a soul-spirit organism, so is that the case with every other celestial body. The supersensible observer does not intend to designate merely the physical planet by the name earth, not merely the physical fixed star by sun, but he has in mind a much wider spiritual connotation; this is also true when he speaks of Jupiter, Mars, and the other planets. The celestial bodies have changed essentially in regard to their configuration and task since the time spoken of here; in a certain respect, even their location in heavenly space has changed. Only someone who has traced back, with the penetration of supersensible knowledge, the evolution of these heavenly bodies right into the distant primeval past is capable of recognizing the connection between the present-day planets and their ancestors.) The souls described evolved further on Jupiter, and later on, as the earth showed an increasing tendency to become more solidified, still another dwelling place had to be fashioned for souls who, although they found it possible to inhabit these solidifying bodies for a certain length of time, could no longer do so when the solidification had advanced too far. For these a place on Mars was provided for their further evolution. Even at the time when the Earth was still bound to the sun and its air element had been inserted into its constitution, it became evident that certain souls proved to be unfit to participate in Earth evolution. They were too strongly affected by the earthly body configuration. Thus even at that time they had to be withdrawn from the direct influence of the sun forces. The latter had to act on them from without. For these souls, a place on Saturn was created for their further development. Thus in the course of Earth evolution the number of human shapes diminished; configurations appeared in whom human souls did not incarnate. They could receive only astral bodies in the same way the human physical and life bodies had received them on the ancient Moon. While the earth became a waste in regard to its human inhabitants, these beings colonized it. All human souls would have been compelled to forsake the earth finally, had not the withdrawal of the moon from the earth made it possible for the human forms — in which human souls at that time were still able to incarnate — to withdraw the germinal human being during their earth life from the influence of the moon forces that came directly from the earth and to let it mature within themselves as long as necessary until it could be surrendered to these moon forces. As long as the germinal human being then shaped Itself within the inner human nature, it came under the influence of the beings who had, under the guidance of their mightiest companion, separated the moon from the earth in order to carry the evolution of the latter over a critical point.

After the Earth had developed the air element within itself, there were astral beings, as described above, left over from the ancient Moon, who were greater laggards in evolution than the lowest human souls. These became the souls of the forms that had to be forsaken by human beings even before the separation of the sun from the Earth. These beings are the ancestors of the present animal kingdom. In the course of time, they developed the organs especially that were present in the human being only as appendages. Their astral body had to affect the physical and ether bodies in the same way that this was the case for human beings on the ancient Moon. The animals thus created had souls that could not reside in the individual animal. The soul extended its nature upon the inheritors of the forebear's form. The animals originating from a single configuration have a common soul. Only when the descendant under especial influences departs from the form of its forebear does a new animal soul commence its embodiment. We may speak in this sense in spiritual science in regard to animal souls of a species or group soul.

Something similar occurred at the time of the separation of the sun from the Earth. Forms emerged from the watery element that were no further evolved than the human being prior to evolution on the ancient Moon. They were able to receive the effect of the activity of an astral element only when this influenced them from outside. That could only occur after the separation of the sun from the Earth. With every repetition of the sun period of the Earth, the sun's astral element animated these forms in such a way that they constructed their life bodies from the Earth's etheric element. When the sun again turned away from the Earth, this life body dissolved into the common body of the Earth. As a result of the co-operation of the astral element of the sun with the ether element of the Earth there emerged from the watery element the physical structures that formed the ancestors of the present-day plant kingdom.

Upon the earth the human being has become an individualized soul-being. The astral body, which had flowed into him through the Spirits of Motion during the Moon evolution, became tripartite as sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul upon the earth. When his consciousness soul had advanced far enough so that during earth life it could form a body fit to receive it, the Spirits of Form endowed the human being with a spark of their own fire. The ego, the I, was enkindled within him. Every time the human being left the physical body he found himself in the spirit world in which he encountered beings who had given him his physical body, his life or ether body, and his astral body during the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions and had brought them up to the level of the Earth evolution. Since the enkindling of the fire spark of the ego during earth life, a change had taken place also for the body-free life. Prior to this point in the evolution of his nature, man had no independence in regard to the spirit world. Within this spirit world he did not feel himself as an individual, but as a member of an exalted organism composed of the beings standing above him. The ego experience on earth now extends itself also into the spirit world. Man feels himself now to a certain degree as a unity in this world, but he feels also that he is constantly united with the same world. In the body-free state he finds again in a higher configuration the Spirits of Form whom he had perceived on earth in their manifestation through the spark of the ego.

With the separation of the moon from the earth, experiences that were connected with that separation developed also for the body-free soul in the spirit world. Only because a part of the shaping forces had been transferred from the earth to the moon was it possible to reproduce, on the earth, the human shapes that were able to receive the individuality of the soul. Through this fact the human individuality entered the sphere of the moon beings. The reflection of the earth individuality could only be effective in the body-free state through the fact that in this state also the soul remained in the sphere of the mighty spirits who had caused the moon separation. The process took place in such a way that immediately after the soul had forsaken the earth body it could perceive the exalted sun beings only in the reflected splendor of the moon beings. It was only after gazing at this splendor for a considerable length of time that the soul was sufficiently prepared to behold the sublime sun beings themselves.

The earth's mineral kingdom also came into existence through having been expelled from the general evolution of mankind. Its structures are what remained solidified when the moon separated from the earth. Only that part of soul nature felt itself attracted to these forms that had remained on the Saturn stage and is thus fit only to fashion physical forms. All events under consideration here and in the following pages occurred in the course of vast lengths of time. We cannot, however, enter here into a discussion of chronology.

The events described here present Earth evolution from the external side. When observed spiritually it can be said that the spiritual beings who withdrew the moon from the earth and united their own existence with it, thus becoming earth-moon beings, caused a certain configuration of the human organism to take place by sending forces from this cosmic body down upon the earth. Their activity was directed upon the ego acquired by the human being. This activity made itself felt in the interplay between this ego and the astral body, ether body, and physical body. As a result it became possible for man to reflect within himself consciously the wisely fashioned configuration of the world, to reflect it as though in a mirror of knowledge. It may be remembered in our description how, during the ancient Moon period, the human being acquired through the separation of the sun at that time a certain independence in his organism and a less restricted degree of consciousness than could be derived directly from the sun beings, This free, independent consciousness reappeared during the characterized period of Earth evolution as a heritage of the ancient Moon evolution. But this very consciousness, brought again into harmony with the cosmos through the influence of the earth-moon beings referred to above, could be made into a copy of it. This would have happened had no other influence made itself felt. Without such an influence man would have become a being in whom the content of consciousness would not have reflected the cosmos in the images of cognitional life through his own free volition, but as a necessity of nature. This did not occur. Certain spiritual beings took an active part in the evolution of mankind just at the time of the moon separation, beings who had retained so much of their Moon nature that they could not participate in the separation of the sun from the earth; they were excluded also from the activity of the beings who, from the earth-moon, directed their activity upon the earth. These beings with the ancient Moon nature were confined with their irregular development to the earth. In their Moon nature lay the cause of their rebellion during the ancient Moon evolution against the sun spirits, a rebellion that was at that time beneficial to the human being by its having led him to an independent state of consciousness. The consequences of the peculiar development of these beings during the Earth epoch entailed their becoming — during that time — enemies of the beings who, from the moon, wished to turn human consciousness into a universal mirror of knowledge under the compulsion of necessity. What on the ancient Moon had helped man to a higher state proved to be in opposition to the possibilities that had developed through Earth evolution. The opposing powers had brought with them, out of their Moon nature, the force to work on the human astral body, namely, in the sense of the above descriptions, to make it independent. They exercised this force by giving the astral body a certain independence now also for the earth period — in contrast to the compelled (unfree) state of consciousness that was caused by the beings of the earth-moon. It is difficult to express in current language how the activity of the characterized spiritual beings affected human beings in the indicated primeval period. We may neither think of this activity as something like a present-day nature force, nor as something like the action of one man upon another when with words the first man calls forth in the second inner forces of consciousness, through which the second learns to understand something or is stirred to perform a moral or immoral deed. The effect described as taking place in the primeval age was not a nature effect but a spiritual influence, having spiritual effects, transferring itself spiritually from the higher beings to the human being in accordance with his state of consciousness at that time. If we think of this matter as a nature activity then we miss entirely its true, essential character. If we say, on the other hand, the beings endowed with the ancient Moon nature approached the human being in order to “seduce” him for their own ends, we employ a symbolic expression that is good as long as we remain conscious of its symbolical character and are at the same time clear in our own minds that behind the symbol stands a spiritual fact, a spiritual reality.

The effect that proceeded from the spiritual beings who had remained behind in their ancient Moon state had a twofold consequence for man. His consciousness was divested of the character of a mere reflector of the cosmos, because the possibility was aroused in the human astral body to regulate and control, by means of it, the images arising in the consciousness. Man became the master of his knowledge. On the other hand, it was just the astral body that became the starting point of this control, and the ego, set above this body, became thus steadily dependent upon it. As a result the future human being was exposed to the continuous influences of a lower element in his nature. It was possible for him during his life to sink below the height at which he had been placed by the earth-moon beings in the course of world events. The continuous influence of the characterized irregularly developed Moon beings remained with him throughout the subsequent periods. These moon beings, in contrast to the others who from the earth-moon satellite fashioned human consciousness into a cosmic mirror but gave no independent will, may be called Luciferic spirits. These spirits brought to the human being the possibility of unfolding a free activity in his consciousness, but at the same time also the possibility of error, of evil.

The consequence of these processes was that man came into quite a different relationship with the sun spirits from the one for which he was predestined by the earth-moon spirits. The latter wished to develop the mirror of his consciousness in such a way that the influence of the sun spirits would be the dominant one in the whole of human soul life. These processes were thwarted, and in the human being the contrast was created between the sun spirit influence and the influence of the spirits with an irregular Moon evolution. Through this contrast the human being became unable to recognize the physical sun activity as such; it remained concealed behind the earthly impressions of the outer world. The astral nature of man filled by these impressions was drawn into the sphere of the ego. This ego, which otherwise would have felt only the spark of fire bestowed on it by the Spirits of Form, and in everything that concerned the outer fire would have subordinated itself to the commands of these spirits, this ego now — because of the astral element injected into it — exerted its influence also upon the outer heat phenomena. Through creating a bond of attraction between itself and the earth fire, the ego entangled man in earthly matter more than was predestined for him. Whereas previously he had a physical body, which in its principal parts consisted of fire, air, and water, and to which was added only something like a shadowy semblance of earth substance, now the body became denser because of the presence of earth substance. Whereas man existed previously like a finely organized being swimming, hovering over the solid earth surface, he was compelled now to descend from the earth's environment down upon such parts of the earth as were already more or less solidified.

That such physical effects could result from the above described spiritual influences becomes comprehensible through the fact of their being of the sort described above. They were neither nature influences nor soul influences acting from one human being upon another. The latter do not extend their effects as far into the bodily nature as do the spiritual forces that are here under consideration. Because the human being exposed himself to the influences of the outer world through his own visualizations subject to error, because he lived under the impulsion of desire and passion that did not permit of regulation by higher spiritual influences, the possibility of disease appeared. A special effect of the Luciferic influence, however, was that man could now no longer feel his single earth life as a continuation of the body-free existence. He received now earth impressions that could be experienced through the inoculated astral element and that united themselves with the forces destroying the physical body. Man felt this as the dying out of his earth life, and through it death, caused by human nature itself, made its appearance. With this a significant mystery in human nature is indicated, namely, the connection of the human astral body with sickness and death.

Special relationships now appeared for the human life body. It was placed in a relationship to the physical and astral bodies that, in a certain sense, deprived it of the faculties the human being had acquired through the Luciferic influence. A part of this life body remained outside the physical body, so that it could not be controlled by the human ego, but only by higher beings. These higher beings were the same who, at the time of the sun separation, had forsaken the earth under the leadership of one of their exalted companions in order to take up another dwelling place. If the characterized part of the life body had remained united with the astral body, man would have put supersensible forces to his own use that formerly were his own. He would have extended the Luciferic influence also to these forces. As a result man would have thus gradually separated himself entirely from the sun beings, and his ego would have become completely an earth-ego. Consequently, after the death of the physical body — indeed even during its deterioration — this earth-ego would have been obliged to inhabit another physical body — the body of a descendant — without going through a union with higher spiritual beings in a body-free condition. Man would have become conscious of his ego, but only as an earth-ego. This was averted by the above-mentioned event, involving the life body, caused by the earth-moon beings. The actual individual ego was released from the mere earth-ego to such a degree that man felt himself only partially as his own ego during earth life; at the same time he felt that his own earth-ego was an extension of the earth-ego of his forebears throughout the generations. In earth life the soul felt the existence of a sort of group ego right back to the earliest ancestor and man felt himself as a member of the group. Only in the body-free state was the individual ego able to feel itself as an independent being. But this state of separateness was impaired because the ego was afflicted with the memory of the earth consciousness, the earth-ego. This darkened the vision of the spirit world, which began to cover itself with a veil between death and birth as was the case for physical vision on earth.

The physical expression of all the changes that occurred in the spirit world while human evolution went through the described conditions was the gradual regulation of the reciprocal relationships of sun, moon, and earth, and in a broader sense also of the other heavenly bodies. The alternation of day and night can be emphasized as being one consequence of these relationships. (The movements of the heavenly bodies are regulated by the beings inhabiting them. The movement of the earth through which day and night occur was caused by the reciprocal relationships of the various spirits standing above man. In like manner also the movement of the moon was caused, in order that after its separation from and the revolving around the earth the Spirits of Form could act in the right way, with the right rhythm, upon the physical human body.) During the day the human ego and astral body worked in the physical and life bodies. At night this activity ceased. The ego and astral body left the physical and life bodies. They entered during this period entirely into the realm of the Sons of Life (the Angels), of the Spirits of Fire (the Archangels), of the Spirits of Personality, and the Spirits of Form. Besides the Spirits of Form, the Spirits of Motion, the Spirits of Wisdom, and the Thrones included at that time the physical and life bodies in their sphere of action. It was thus possible that the injurious influences, which during the day were exercised upon the human being through the errors of the astral body, could be repaired.

As the human beings now multiplied again on earth, there was no longer any reason why human souls should not have incarnated in their descendants. The influence of the earth-moon forces of that time permitted human bodies to develop, that were thoroughly fit to embody human souls. The souls who previously were removed to Mars, to Jupiter, and to other planets, were led to the earth. There was in consequence a soul present for every human descendant born within the cycle of generations. This continued through long periods, so that the soul migrations to the earth corresponded to the increase in the number of human beings. The souls who left the body at death retained in the body-free state the echo of the earthly individuality like a memory. This memory acted in such a way that when bodies corresponding to the souls were born on earth, they reincarnated in them. As time went on, there were among, the human offspring human beings who had souls coming from the outside, who had for the first time since the earliest ages of the Earth appeared again upon it, and there were others having earthly-reincarnated souls. In the subsequent period of the Earth evolution, there were fewer and fewer of the young souls appearing for the first time and more and more of the reincarnated souls. Nevertheless, for long ages the human race consisted of the two kinds of human beings resulting from these facts. On earth, man felt more united by a common group-ego with his forebears. The experience of the individual ego was, however, all the stronger in the body-free state between death and a new birth. The souls who came from celestial space and entered human bodies were in a different position from those who already had one or more earth lives behind them. The former brought along with them for the physical earth life only the conditions to which they were subjected by the higher spiritual world and by their experiences made outside the earth region. The others had themselves in previous lives added new conditions. The destiny of the former souls was determined only by facts that lay outside the new earth relationships. The destiny of the reincarnated souls was also determined by what they themselves had done in previous lives under earthly conditions. With reincarnation there appeared at the same time individual human karma. — Through the fact that the human life body was withdrawn from the influence of the astral body, in the manner indicated above, the conditions of reproduction also were not within the scope of human consciousness, but were subject to the dominion of the spiritual world. If a soul was to sink down to the sphere of the earth, the reproductive impulses of the human earth being appeared. To earthly consciousness the entire process was to a certain degree enveloped in a mysterious obscurity. — But the consequences of this partial separation of the life body from the physical appeared also during earth life. The capabilities of this life body could be easily increased by means of spiritual influence. In the life of the soul this expressed itself through an especial perfection of memory. Independent, logical thinking was at this period only in its very beginnings. The capacity of memory was, on the other hand, almost limitless. Externally, it was evident that the human being had direct knowledge — tinged with feeling of the active forces of every living thing. He was able to employ in his service the forces of life and reproduction of animal nature, and chiefly those of plant nature. He could extract, for example, the force that causes plant growth and employ it in much the same way that the forces of inanimate nature are used at the present time, for example, the way the forces slumbering in coal are extracted and employed to set machines in motion. — Also the inner soul life of man was changed through the Luciferic influence in the most manifold way. Many examples of feelings and sensations due to it could be given. Only a few instances, however, will be described. Prior to the advent of the Luciferic influence, the human soul carried out all its activities in line with the intentions of higher spiritual beings. The plan of all that should be accomplished was determined from the beginning, and to the degree that human consciousness was developed it could foresee how, in the future, evolution would be compelled to proceed in accordance with the preconceived plan. This prophesying consciousness was lost when the veil of earthly perceptions was woven over the manifestation of higher spiritual beings and the real forces of the sun nature concealed themselves in these perceptions. The future now became uncertain. With this uncertainty, the possibility of the sense of fear implanted itself in the soul. Fear is the direct result of error. — But we also see how under the Luciferic influence man became independent of certain forces to which he previously submitted himself without will. Now he could make decisions by himself. Freedom is the result of this influence, and fear and similar feelings are only the accompanying phenomena of the progress of man to freedom.

Seen spiritually, the way fear appears indicates that within the earth forces — under the influence of which the human being had come through the Luciferic powers — other powers were active that had followed an irregular course in evolution much earlier than the Luciferic powers. With the earth forces man absorbed the influence of these powers into his being. They gave the character of fear to feelings that would have manifested quite differently without the presence of these powers. These beings may be called “Ahrimanic.” They belong to the category called, in the Goethean sense, “Mephistophelian.”

Although the Luciferic influence made itself felt at first only in the most advanced individuals, it soon spread out also to others. The descendants of these advanced human beings intermingled with the less advanced described above. By this means the Luciferic power injected itself also into the latter. But the ether body of the souls returning from the planets could not receive the same degree of protection enjoyed by the ether body of the descendants of those who had remained on earth. The protection of these latter life bodies came from an exalted Being in whose hands rested the leadership of the cosmos at the time the sun withdrew from the Earth. This Being appears in the realm here under consideration as ruler of the kingdom of the sun. With Him exalted spirits who through their cosmic evolution had attained the necessary maturity migrated to the sun abode. There were, however, other beings who had not, at the time of the sun separation, attained such heights. They were compelled to seek other abodes. It was through these very beings that Jupiter and the other planets broke loose from the common world substance that originally composed the physical Earth organism. Jupiter became the dwelling place of the beings who had not reached maturity enough to attain the heights of the sun. The most advanced of these became the leader of Jupiter. In just the same way that the leader of the sun development became the higher ego that was active in the life body of the descendants of the human beings who had remained on earth, this Jupiter leader became the higher ego that permeated, as a common consciousness, the human beings who had originated from an interbreeding of the offspring of those who had remained on the earth and those other human beings who, in the way described above, had appeared upon the Earth only at the time of the advent of the air element and who had then gone over to Jupiter as a dwelling place. These human beings are designated by spiritual science as “Jupiter men.” They were human descendants who in that ancient time still had received human souls into their nature, but who at the beginning of Earth evolution were not mature enough to come in contact with the fire. They were souls standing at the stage midway between the realm of human and animal souls. There were also beings who under the leadership of one of their most exalted members had separated Mars from the common world substance as a suitable dwelling place. They exerted their influence upon a third kind of man, who had come into existence through interbreeding, the “Mars man.” (From this knowledge a light is thrown upon the origin of the planets of our solar system. For, all bodies of this system have originated through the various stages of maturity of the beings dwelling on them. It is, however, not possible here to enter into a discussion of all the details of cosmic organization.) The human beings who, in their life body, perceived the presence of the lofty Sun Being Himself may be designated “sun men.” The Being Who lived in them as “Higher Ego” — naturally only in the whole race, not in the individual — is the One to Whom later, when man acquired a conscious knowledge of Him, various names were given. He is the Being in Whom the relationship that the Christ has to the cosmos manifests itself to the human beings of our time. We can, in addition, distinguish “Saturn men.” With them there appeared a being as higher ego who with his associates had been compelled to forsake the common world substance prior to the sun separation. In this species of human being not only the life body had remained partly untouched by the Luciferic influence, but also the physical body.

In the case of the inferior kinds of human beings, however, the life body was not sufficiently protected to enable it to withstand the Luciferic influence. These human beings could extend the unruly power of their ego's fire spark to such a degree that they were able to call forth in their environment powerful, destructive fire effects. The consequence was a tremendous terrestrial catastrophe. The fire storms caused a large part of the inhabited earth of that time to perish and with it the human beings who had lapsed into error. Only the smallest part who had remained partly untouched by error was able to escape to a district of the earth that had remained until then protected from corrupting human influence. Such a dwelling place, which was especially appropriate for the new mankind, appeared in the land that existed on the spot of the earth now covered by the Atlantic Ocean. It was to this place those human beings withdrew who were most untouched by error. Only scattered human groups inhabited other regions of the earth. The earth region existing at that time, situated between modern Europe, Africa, and America, is called “Atlantis” by spiritual science. (In the corresponding literature reference is made, in a certain way, to the phase of human evolution characterized above that precedes the Atlantean period. The name “Lemurian age” is given to the period of the earth that preceded the Atlantean age. On the other hand, the age in which the moon forces had not yet unfolded their chief activity is designated the “Hyperborean.” Preceding this age there was still another that coincides with the very first period of the physical Earth evolution. In the biblical tradition, the period before the influence of the Luciferic beings was active is described as the age of Paradise, and the descent of the human being out of this region to the earth, and his subsequent entanglement in the world of the senses, as the expulsion from Paradise.)

Evolution on Atlantis is the time of the actual separation of mankind into the Saturn, Sun, Jupiter, and Mars men. Before that, there had been only the predisposition toward this separation. The division into waking and sleeping states had special consequences for the human being that appeared especially in Atlantean humanity. During the night, man's astral body and ego were in the realm of the beings standing above him — right up to the realm of the Spirits of Personality. By means of that portion of the life body not united with the physical body, the human being was able to have a perception of the Sons of Life (the Angels), and the Spirits of Fire (the Archangels). For he was able to remain united during sleep with the part of the life body not permeated by the physical body. The perception of the Spirits of Personality remained indistinct because of the Luciferic influence. Beside the Angels and Archangels, other beings also became visible to man when in the state described above, beings who, having remained behind on the sun and moon, could not enter earth existence. They had to remain in the world of soul and spirit. Man, however, drew them — by means of the Luciferic nature — into the realm of his soul that was separated from the physical body. Thus he came in contact with beings who worked upon him in a corrupting way. They increased the urge toward error in his soul, especially the urge toward the misuse of the forces of growth and reproduction that were under his control through the separation of the physical and life body.

It was possible, however, for individual men of the Atlantean period to entangle themselves to a small degree in the realm of the senses. Through them the Luciferic influence was transformed from an obstacle to human evolution into an instrument of higher advancement. Through this Luciferic influence they were in the position of unfolding the knowledge of earthly things earlier than would otherwise have been possible. In doing so, these human beings sought to remove erroneous ideas from their thought life, and through the phenomena of the world to fathom the original purposes of spirit beings. They kept themselves free from the impulses and desires of the astral body, which were only inclined toward the world of the senses. In this way they became ever freer from the errors of the astral body. This produced conditions in them by means of which they perceived only with that part of the ether body that was separated from the physical body in the manner described. In these conditions the physical body's power of perception was practically extinguished and the body itself was as though dead. These human beings were then completely united through the ether body with the realm of the Spirits of Form and were able through them to learn how they were being led and guided by the exalted Being Who held the leadership at the time of separation of sun and Earth. Later, through this exalted Being an understanding of the Christ unfolded itself in human beings. Such men were initiates. But since the individuality of man had, as already described above, entered the region of the moon spirits, these initiates also remained, as a rule, untouched directly by the Spirit of the Sun. He could be shown to them only by the moon spirits as though in a reflection. Thus they did not see the Being of the Sun directly, but saw only His splendor. They became the leaders of the other portion of mankind to whom they could communicate the mysteries they beheld. They trained disciples to whom they indicated the paths leading to the state resulting in initiation. The knowledge, previously revealed through Christ, could be attained by human beings only who belonged — in the way described — to the order of “sun men.” They cultivated their mysterious wisdom and the functions leading to it in a special place on the earth, which will be called here the Christ or Sun oracle — oraculum meaning the place where the purposes of spiritual beings are heard. What is said here about the Christ will only be understood if we keep in mind the fact that supersensible knowledge perceives in His appearance on earth an event that was foreseen for ages by wise men as taking place at some future time, wise men who were familiar, long before this event, with the meaning of Earth evolution. We would be in error were we to presuppose in the case of these initiates a connection with the Christ that was made possible only through this event. But they could comprehend prophetically and make their disciples understand that whoever is touched by the power of the Sun Being sees the Christ approaching the earth.

Other oracles came into being through the members of the Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter humanities; their initiates directed their vision only up to the beings who could reveal themselves in their ether bodies as the corresponding higher egos. There thus arose adherents of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars wisdom. Besides these methods of initiation, there were others for human beings who had acquired too much of the Luciferic nature to allow as large a portion of their ether body to be separated from the physical body as was the case with the sun men. Their astral body retained a greater part of the life body in the physical body, nor could they be brought, by means of the described state of initiation, to a prophetic revelation of the Christ. On account of their astral body, which was considerably influenced by the Luciferic principle, they were compelled to go through more complicated preparations, and then, in a less body-free state than the others, they were unable to behold the manifestation of the Christ Himself, but only that of other higher beings. There were certain spiritual beings who at the time of the sun separation had forsaken the Earth, but who had not yet attained a sufficiently high development to enable them to participate permanently in the sun evolution. After the separation of sun and Earth they withdrew a portion of the sun as a dwelling place. This we know as Venus. The leader of these spiritual beings became the higher ego of the above described initiates and their adherents. Something similar occurred in regard to the leading spirit of Mercury for another kind of human being. In this way the Venus and Mercury oracles had their origin. Certain human individuals who were affected most by the Luciferic influence were able to reach up only to a certain being who, with his associates, had been the earliest to be expelled from the sun development. This being has not a special planet in the cosmos, but lives in the environment of the earth itself, with which he has been again united since his return from the sun. The human beings to whom this being manifested himself as higher ego may be called members of the “Vulcan oracle.” Their eyes were turned more toward earth phenomena than was the case with the other initiates. They laid the first foundation for what appeared later on among human beings as “science” and “art.” The Mercury initiates, on the other hand, laid the basis for the knowledge of the more supersensory things, and to a still higher degree, this was done by the Venus initiates. The Vulcan, Mercury, and Venus initiates distinguished themselves from the Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars initiates through the fact that the latter received their mysteries more as a revelation from above, in a more finished state, whereas the former received their knowledge revealed more in the form of their own thoughts, of their own ideas. In the middle stood the Christ initiates. They received, together with the direct revelation, the ability to clothe their mysteries in the form of human concepts. The Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars initiates had to express themselves by way of symbols; The Christ, Venus, Mercury, and Vulcan initiates were able to make their communications in the form of definite concepts.

What was attained in this manner by the Atlantean humanity came about in an indirect way through the initiates. But the rest of humanity also gained special abilities through the Luciferic principle, because through the lofty cosmic beings certain faculties, which might otherwise have led to disaster, were transformed into a blessing. One such faculty is speech. It was bestowed upon man through his solidification within physical matter and through the separation of a part of his ether body from the physical body. During the time after the moon separation the human being felt himself at first united to his physical forebears through the group ego. This common consciousness, however, which united descendants with forefathers, was gradually lost in the course of generations. The later descendants had then an inner memory reaching back only to a not very distant ancestor, not any longer to the earlier forebears. Only in a state similar to sleep, in which the human beings came in touch with the spiritual world, did the picture of this or that ancestor emerge again in memory. Human beings, in certain instances, then felt themselves at one with this ancestor whom they believed had reappeared in them. This was an erroneous concept of reincarnation, which emerged chiefly in the last part of the Atlantean period. The true teaching about reincarnation could only be learned in the schools of the initiates. These latter perceived how, in the disembodied state, the human soul passes from one incarnation to another, and they alone could impart the truth about it to their disciples.

The physical form of man was, in the primeval past that is under discussion here, still widely different from the present human shape. It was to a high degree still the expression of soul faculties. The human being consisted of a finer, softer substance than the one he acquired later. What today is solidified was in the limbs soft, supple, and easily molded. A human being who expressed more intensely his soul and spiritual nature had a delicate, active and expressive body structure. Another with less spiritual development had crude, immobile, less easily molded bodily forms. Advancement in soul qualities contracted the limbs; the figure remained small. Retardation in soul development and entanglement in the world of the senses expressed itself in gigantic size. While man was in the period of growth, the body, in accordance with what occurred in the soul, assumed forms of a certain kind that to the present-day human mind must appear fabulous, indeed, fantastic. Moral corruption through passions, impulses, and instincts resulted in an enormous increase in the material substance in man. The present-day human physical form has come into existence through contraction, condensation, and solidification of the Atlantean; whereas before the Atlantean age the human being was a faithful copy of his soul nature, the processes of the Atlantean evolution bore the causes in themselves that led to the post-Atlantean human being who in his physical shape is solid and little dependent on soul qualities. (The animal kingdom became denser in its forms at much earlier periods of the earth than the human being.) The laws that lie at present at the foundation of form-fashioning in the kingdoms of nature are not valid under any circumstances for the more distant past.

Toward the middle of the Atlantean period of evolution a great evil gradually began to manifest itself within mankind. The mysteries of the initiates ought to have been carefully guarded from individuals who had not purified their astral bodies of error through preparation. When such human beings acquire a certain insight into mystery knowledge, into the laws by which the higher beings guide the forces of nature, they then place these laws at the service of their perverted needs and passions. The danger was all the greater, since human beings, as already described, came into the realm of lower spiritual beings who, unable to carry out the regular Earth evolution, acted contrary to it. These spiritual beings influenced human beings constantly by arousing in them interests that were, in truth, directed against the welfare of mankind. But human beings had still the ability to use the forces of growth and reproduction of animal and human nature for their own purposes. — Not only ordinary human beings, but also a number of the initiates succumbed to the temptations of lower spiritual beings. They went so far as to use the described supersensible forces in a way that ran counter to the development of mankind, and for this activity they sought associates who were not initiated and who — for lower ends — seized upon the mysteries of the supersensible working of nature. The consequence was a great corruption of mankind. The evil spread further and further, and since the forces of growth and reproduction, when diverted from their natural functions and used independently, stand in a mysterious connection with certain forces that work in air and water, mighty, destructive nature forces were unfettered by human deeds. This led to the gradual destruction of the Atlantean region through terrestrial catastrophes of air and water. The Atlantean humanity — insofar as it did not perish in the storms — was compelled to emigrate. At that time the earth received through these storms a new face. On the one side, Europe, Asia, and Africa received gradually the shapes they bear today. On the other side, America. To these lands went great migrations. For our present day the most important of these migrations were those that went eastward from Atlantis. What is now Europe, Asia, Africa, became gradually colonized by the descendants of the Atlanteans. Various folk established their abode in these continents. They stood at varying degrees of development, but also at varying degrees of depravity. In the midst of these migrating peoples marched the initiates, the guardians of the oracle mysteries. These guardians founded in various regions of the earth institutions in which the services of Jupiter, Venus, and other oracles were cultivated in a good, but also in an evil manner. The betrayal of the Vulcan mysteries exercised an especially adverse influence, because the attention of their adherents was chiefly directed toward earthly matters. Mankind, through this betrayal, was made dependent upon spiritual beings who, in consequence of their previous development, held a negative attitude toward everything that came from the spiritual world, which had evolved through the separation of the Earth from the sun. According to the capacity thus developed, they acted in the element that was formed in the human being through his having perceptions of the sense world, behind which the spirit is concealed. These beings acquired henceforth a great influence over many human inhabitants of the earth, and this influence made itself evident through the fact that the human being was more and more deprived of the feeling for the spirit. Since in these times the size, form and flexibility of the human physical body was still affected to a large degree by the qualities of the soul, the consequence of this betrayal of the mysteries came to light in changes in the human race in this respect also. Where the corruption of the human beings became especially evident through the placing of supersensible forces at the service of lower impulses, desires, and passions, grotesque human shapes were created, monstrous in size and structure. These were not able to continue in existence beyond the Atlantean period. They died out. The post-Atlantean humanity has fashioned itself physically after the model of the Atlantean ancestors in whom already such a solidifying of the bodily shape had taken place that this did not surrender to the influence of soul forces that had become contrary to nature. — There was a certain period of time in the Atlantean evolution in which, through the laws holding sway in and around the earth, conditions prevailed for the human form under which it had to solidify itself. To be sure, the human racial forms that had solidified prior to this period were able to reproduce themselves for a long time; nevertheless, the souls incarnating in them gradually became so narrowly confined that such races had to die out. Many of these racial forms, however, continued in existence on into the post-Atlantean period; certain forms that had remained sufficiently supple continued to exist in a modified form for a long time. Human forms that had remained flexible beyond the characterized period now became chiefly the bodies for souls that experienced intensively the detrimental influence of the betrayal of the Vulcan mysteries as already indicated. They were destined to die out quickly.

Thus, since the middle of the Atlantean period of evolution, beings had asserted themselves within the realm of human development whose activity affected mankind in such a way that it became acquainted with the physical sense world in a non-spiritual manner. In certain instances this went so far that instead of the true shape of this world manifesting itself, it appeared to the human being in phantoms, chimeras and illusions of all sorts. Not only was man exposed to the Luciferic influence, but also to the influence of the other beings about whom we have spoken above, and whose leader may be called Ahriman in accordance with the designation he received later on in the Persian cultural period. (Mephistopheles is the same being.) After death man came through this influence under powers that allowed him to appear also in that realm only as a being who is inclined toward earthly-sensory conditions. The free view into the processes of the spiritual world was by degrees taken away from him. He was obliged to feel himself in the power of Ahriman and to a certain degree had to be excluded from union with the spiritual world.

Of special significance was one oracle sanctuary that in the universal decline had preserved the ancient cultus in its purest form. It belonged to the Christ oracles, and on account of this it was able to preserve not only the Christ mystery itself, but also the mysteries of the other oracles. For through the manifestation of the most exalted Sun Spirit, the regents of Saturn, Jupiter, and other oracles, were also revealed. The sun oracle knew the secret of producing, for this or that individual, the kind of human ether bodies that were possessed by the highest initiates of Jupiter, Mercury, and other oracles. With the means at their disposal, which are not to be discussed any further here, counterparts of the most perfect ether bodies of the ancient initiates were preserved and later implanted into the individuals best fitted for the purpose. Through the Venus, Mercury, and Vulcan initiates, such processes could take place also for the astral bodies. There came a time when the leader of the Christ initiates found himself isolated with some of his associates to whom he was able to communicate the mysteries of the world only to a very limited degree. For the associates were the kind of human beings upon whom nature had bestowed physical and etheric bodies with the least degree of separation between them. Such men were the best suited, in this epoch, for the further advancement of mankind. Gradually they had fewer and fewer experiences in the realm of sleep. The spiritual world had become more and more closed for them. But they were also lacking the understanding for all that had unveiled itself in ancient times when man was not in his physical but only in his ether body. The human beings in the immediate neighborhood of this leader of the Christ oracle were the most advanced in regard to the union of the physical body with that part of the ether body that previously had been separated from it. This union appeared by degrees in mankind in consequence of the transformation of Atlantis and the earth generally. The physical and ether bodies of human beings coincided more and more with one another. As a result, the previous unlimited faculty of memory was lost and human thought life began. The part of the ether body bound to the physical body transformed the physical brain into the actual organ of thought, and only from that time onward did the human being feel his ego in the physical body. Only then did self-consciousness awake. At the outset, this was the case with a small portion of mankind only, chiefly with the immediate companions of the leader of the Christ oracle. The other groups of human beings who were scattered over Europe, Asia, and Africa, preserved in the most varied degrees the remnants of the ancient states of consciousness. They, therefore, experienced the supersensible world directly. — The companions of the Christ initiate were human beings with highly developed intelligence, but of all human beings of that time their experiences in the realm of the supersensible were the least. With them, this Christ initiate migrated from west to east, toward a certain region in inner Asia. He wished to protect them from coming in contact with the people of less advanced states of consciousness. He educated these companions in accordance with the mysteries revealed to him, and chiefly worked in this way upon their descendants. Thus he trained a host of human beings who had received into their hearts the impulses that corresponded to the mysteries of the Christ initiation. From this host he chose the seven best in order that they might have ether and astral bodies corresponding to the counterparts of the ether bodies of the seven greatest Atlantean initiates. He thus trained initiates to be the successors of the Christ initiate, of the Saturn, of the Jupiter, and of the other oracle initiates. These seven initiates became the teachers and leaders of the people who in the post-Atlantean epoch had settled in the south of Asia, chiefly in ancient India. Since these great teachers were endowed with the counterparts of the ether bodies of their spiritual ancestors, what was contained in their astral bodies, that is to say, their own self-wrought knowledge and understanding, did not extend to what was revealed to them through their ether body. They had to silence their own knowledge and understanding when these revelations strove to manifest in them. Then out of them and by means of them the high beings spoke who had spoken also for their spiritual ancestors. Except during the periods when these high beings spoke through them, they were simple men gifted with the degree of understanding and sympathy that they themselves had acquired.

In India there lived at that time a kind of human being which had preserved chiefly a living memory of the ancient soul state of the Atlanteans, a state which permitted experiences in the spiritual world. In a large number of these human beings there was also present a tremendous urge of the heart and mind to experience this supersensible world. Through the wise guidance of destiny the main body of this kind of men, representing the best sections of the Atlanteans, had reached South Asia. Besides this main body, other sections had settled there at various times. The Christ initiate already mentioned appointed his seven great disciples as teachers for this assemblage of human beings. They gave their wisdom and their laws to this people. For many of these ancient Indians little preparation was needed to arouse in them the scarcely extinct faculties that led to a perception of the supersensible world. For the longing for this world was a fundamental mood of the Indian soul. The Indian felt that in this supersensible world was the primeval home of mankind. From it he was removed into a world that is revealed only through the perceptions of the outer senses and grasped by the intellect bound to these perceptions. He felt the supersensible world as the true one and the sensory world as a deception of human perception, an illusion (Maya). By all possible means the human being strove to gain insight into the true world. He was unable to develop any interest in the illusory sense world, or at least only insofar as it proved to be a veil over the supersensible world. It was a mighty power that the seven great teachers exercised upon such people. What could be revealed through this power penetrated deeply into the Indian souls. Since the possession of the transmitted life and astral bodies endowed these teachers with sublime powers, they were able to act magically upon their disciples. They did not actually teach. They produced their effects from person to person as though through magic powers. Thus a culture arose that was completely permeated by supersensible wisdom. What is contained in the books of wisdom of India — in the Vedas — is not the original form of the exalted wisdom, which in the most primeval ages was fostered by the great teachers; it is but a feeble echo of this wisdom. Only supersensible retrospection can discover an unwritten primeval wisdom behind the written records. A particular characteristic of this primeval wisdom is the harmonious concordance of the wisdom of the various oracles of the Atlantean age. For each of these great teachers was able to unveil the wisdom of one of these oracles, and the different aspects of wisdom produced a perfect concordance because behind them stood the fundamental wisdom of the prophetic Christ initiation. The teacher, however, who was the spiritual successor of the Christ initiate did not present what this Christ initiate himself was able to reveal. The latter had remained in the background of evolution. At the outset, he could not transmit his high office to any member of the post-Atlantean civilization. The difference between the Christ initiate of the seven great Indian teachers and the Christ initiate of the Atlantean sun oracle was that the latter had been able to transform completely his perception of the Christ mystery into human concepts, whereas the Indian Christ initiate could only represent a reflection of this mystery in signs and symbols. This was so because his humanly acquired conceptual life did not extend to this mystery. But the result of the union of the seven teachers was a knowledge of the supersensible world, presented in a great panorama of wisdom, of which in the ancient Atlantean oracles only the various parts could be proclaimed. Now the great regencies of the cosmic world were revealed, and the one great Sun Spirit, the “Concealed One,” was gently alluded to — He Who was enthroned above those other regents who were revealed by the seven teachers.

What is meant here by the “ancient Indians,” is not what is usually understood by the use of that term. There are no external documents of that period of which we are speaking here. The people usually designated as Indian corresponds to an evolutionary stage of history that came into existence a long time after the period under discussion here. We are able to recognize a primal post-Atlantean epoch in which the characterized Indian culture was dominant. Then a second post-Atlantean epoch began in which the dominant culture, as spoken of in this book, was the ancient Persian; still later, the Egypto-Chaldean culture evolved; both of these have still to be described. During the unfolding of these second and third post-Atlantean cultural epochs, ancient India also experienced a second and a third cultural period. What is usually spoken of as ancient India originated in this third epoch. Therefore, what is presented here should not be confused with the ancient India of history.

Another aspect of this ancient Indian culture is what later led to a division of men into castes. The inhabitants of India were the descendants of Atlanteans who belonged to various human races: Saturn men, Jupiter men, and other planetary men. By means of supersensible teaching it was understood by these ancient Indians that it was not by accident that a soul was placed in this or that caste, but rather by self-determination. Such a comprehension of the supersensible teaching was facilitated especially through the fact that many human beings could arouse the above characterized inner remembrance of their ancestors, which, however, led easily to an erroneous idea of reincarnation. Just as in the Atlantean period the true idea of reincarnation could be acquired only by coming in contact with the initiates, in the most ancient India it could be obtained only by becoming in direct contact with the great teachers. The above-mentioned erroneous idea of reincarnation was spread most widely among the peoples who, as a result of the submergence of Atlantis, were scattered over Europe, Asia, and Africa, and because certain initiates, who during the Atlantean evolution had followed false paths, had also communicated this mystery to immature disciples, human beings mistook more and more the false doctrine for the true. In many instances these human beings retained a sort of dreamlike clairvoyance as an inheritance of the Atlantean period. Just as the Atlanteans entered the region of the spiritual world during sleep, so their descendants experienced this spiritual world in an abnormal intermediate state between waking and sleeping. Then there arose in them images of an ancient time to which their ancestors had belonged. They considered themselves reincarnations of human beings who had lived in such an age. Teachings about reincarnation that were in contradiction to the true ideas of the initiates spread over the whole earth.

In the regions of the Middle East a community of people had settled as a result of the long continued migrations that had spread from the west eastward since the beginning of the destruction of Atlantis. History knows the descendants of these people as the Persians and their related tribal branches. Supersensible knowledge, however, must go back much further than the historical periods of these people. At the outset we have to consider the earliest ancestors of the later Persians, from whom — after the Indian — the second great cultural period of the post-Atlantean evolution arose. The peoples of this second period had a different task from the Indian. In their longings and inclinations they did not turn merely toward the supersensible; they were eminently fitted for the physical-sensory world. They grew fond of the earth. They valued what the human being could conquer on the earth and what he could win through its forces. What they accomplished as warriors and also what they invented as a means of gaining the earth's treasures is related to this peculiarity of their nature. Their danger did not lie in the fact that because of their love of the supersensible they might turn completely away from the “illusion” of the physical-sensory world, but because of their strong inclination toward the latter they were more likely to lose their soul connection with the supersensible world. Also the oracle establishments that had been transplanted into this region from their homeland, ancient Atlantis, carried in their methods the general character of the Persians. By means of forces, which man had been able to acquire through his experiences in the supersensible regions and which he was still able to control in certain lower forms, the phenomena of nature were employed to serve personal human interests. This ancient people still possessed, at that time, a great power with which it controlled certain nature forces that later were withdrawn from all connection with the human will. The guardians of the oracles controlled inner powers that were connected with fire and other elements. They may be called Magi. What they had preserved for themselves from ancient times as heritage of supersensible knowledge and power was, to be sure, insignificant in comparison with what the human being had once been able to do in the far distant past. It took on, nevertheless, all sorts of forms, from the noble arts whose purpose was only the welfare of mankind, to the most abominable practices. In these people the Luciferic nature ruled in a special manner. It had brought them into connection with everything that led the human being away from the intentions of higher beings who, without the Luciferic influence, would have simply advanced human evolution. Those sections of this people who were still endowed with the remnants of ancient clairvoyance — that is to say, with the remnants of the above described intermediate state between waking and sleeping — felt themselves also much attracted to the lower beings of the spiritual world. To this people a special spiritual impetus had to be given that counteracted these characteristics. A leadership was given to this people from the same source from which the ancient Indian spiritual life had also sprung, that is, from the guardian of the mysteries of the sun oracle.

The leader of the ancient Persian spiritual culture who was chosen by the guardian of the sun oracle for the people now under consideration may be called by the same name that history knows as Zarathustra or Zoroaster. But it must be emphasized that the personality designated here belongs to a much earlier age than the historical bearer of this name. It is not a question here of outer historical research but of spiritual science, and whoever must think of a later age in connection with the bearer of the name Zarathustra, may reconcile this fact with spiritual science by realizing that the historical character represents a successor to the first great Zarathustra whose name he assumed and in the spirit of whose teaching he worked. — Zarathustra gave his people an impulse by pointing out that the physical world of the senses is not merely something devoid of spirit that confronts man when he comes under the exclusive influence of the Luciferic being. Man owes to this being his personal independence and his sense of freedom, but this Luciferic being should work within him in harmony with the opposing spiritual being. It was important for the prehistoric Persian to be aware of the presence of this spiritual being. Because of the Persian's inclination toward the physical sense world he was threatened by a complete amalgamation with the Luciferic beings. Zarathustra, however, had been initiated by the guardian of the sun oracle and through this initiation the revelations of the exalted sun beings could be imparted to him. In exceptional states of consciousness, into which his training had brought him, he was able to perceive the leader of the sun beings who had taken under his protection the human ether body in the previously described manner. He knew that this Being directs human evolution, but also that He could descend to the earth from cosmic space only at a certain point in time. In order that this might come about it was necessary that He should affect the astral body of a human being to the same degree that He affected the human ether body since the beginning of the interference of the Luciferic being. For that purpose a human being had to appear on earth who had retransformed the astral body to a condition to which this body, without Lucifer, would have attained in the middle of the Atlantean evolution. Had Lucifer not appeared, the human being would have attained this same condition much earlier, but without personal independence and without the possibility of freedom. Now, however, despite these characteristics the human being was to regain this same high condition. Zarathustra was able to foresee by means of his clairvoyance that in the future of mankind's evolution it would be possible for a definite human personality to possess such a required astral body. He knew also that it would be impossible to find the spiritual sun powers on earth prior to this future age, but that it was possible for supersensible perception to behold them in the region of the spiritual sun. He was able to behold these powers when he directed his clairvoyant glance toward the sun, and he divulged to his people the nature of these powers that, for the time being, were to be found only in the spiritual world and that later were to descend to the earth. This was the proclamation of the sublime Sun or Light Spirit — the Sun Aura, Ahura Mazdao, Ormuzd. This Spirit of Light reveals Himself to Zarathustra and his followers as the Spirit who turns His countenance from the spiritual world toward mankind and who prepares the future within mankind. It is the Spirit who points to the Christ before His advent on earth, whom Zarathustra proclaims as the Spirit of Light. On the other hand, Zarathustra represents in Ahriman — Angra Mainju — a power whose influence upon the life of the human soul causes the latter's deterioration when it surrenders itself one-sidedly to it. This power is none other than the one previously characterized who, since the betrayal of the Vulcan mysteries, had gained especial domination over the earth. Besides the evangel concerning the Spirit of Light, Zarathustra also proclaimed the doctrine of the spiritual beings who become manifest to the purified sense of the seer as the companions of the Spirit of Light and to whom a contrast was formed by the tempters who appeared to the unpurified remnants of clairvoyance that was retained from the Atlantean period. Zarathustra strove to make clear to the prehistoric Persian how the human soul, as far as it was engaged in the activities and strivings of the physical-sensory world, was the field of battle between the power of the Light God and His adversary and how the human being must conduct himself so as not to be led into the abyss by this adversary but whose influence might be turned to good by the power of the Light God.

A third post-Atlantean cultural period began with the peoples who, by participation in the migrations from Atlantis, had finally assembled in the Middle East and North Africa. Among the Chaldeans, Babylonians, Assyrians on the one hand and the Egyptians on the other, this culture was developed. Among these peoples the understanding for the physical world of the senses was evolved in a way different from that of the prehistoric Persians. They had developed, much more than others, the spiritual capacity that is the foundation for the ability to think, for intellectual endowment, which had come into existence since the last Atlantean epochs. It was the task of the post-Atlantean humanity to unfold in itself the soul faculties that could be gained through the awakened powers of thought and feeling that are not directly stimulated by the spiritual world, but come into existence by man's observation of the sense world, by becoming familiar with it, transforming it. The conquest of this physical-sensory world by means of these human faculties must be considered the mission of post-Atlantean humanity. From stage to stage this conquest advances. Although in ancient India the human being was directed toward this world by means of his soul state, he still considered this world an illusion and his spirit was turned toward the supersensible world. In contrast to this, there arose in the prehistorical Persian people the desire to conquer the physical world of the senses, but this was attempted, to a large measure, with the powers of soul that had remained as heritage of a time when man could still reach up directly into the supersensible world. In the peoples of the third cultural epoch the soul had lost to a large degree its supersensible faculties. It had to investigate the revelations of the spirit in the sensory surroundings and by means of discovery and invention of the cultural means, springing from this world, develop itself. Human sciences arose by means of research within the physical sense world into the spiritual laws standing behind it; human technique and artistic activities and the tools and instruments used to advance them were developed by recognizing the forces of this world and the need of employing them. For the human being of ancient Chaldea and Babylonia the sense world was no longer an illusion, but with its nature kingdoms, its mountains and seas, its air and water, it was a revelation of the spiritual deeds of powers standing behind these phenomena, whose laws he endeavored to discover. To the Egyptian the earth was a field of activity given to him in a condition which he had to transform through his own intellectual capacity, so that it bore the imprint of human power. Oracle establishments of Atlantis, originating chiefly from the Mercury oracle, had been transplanted into Egypt. There were, however, others also, for example, the Venus oracle. A new cultural germ was planted into what could thus be fostered in the Egyptian people through these oracle establishments. It originated with a great leader who had undergone his training within the Persian Zarathustra mysteries. He was the reincarnation of a personality who had been a disciple of the great Zarathustra himself. If we wish to adhere to a historical name, he may be called “Hermes.” By absorbing the Zarathustra mysteries he could find the right path on which to guide the Egyptian people. This folk, in earth life between birth and death, directed its mind to the physical sense world in such a way that although it could behold the spiritual world behind the physical only to a limited degree, it recognized in the physical world the laws of the spiritual world. Thus the Egyptian could not be taught that the spiritual world was a world with which he could become familiar on earth. But he could be shown how the human being would live in a body-free condition after death with the world of the spirits who during the earth period appear through their imprint in the realm of the physical-sensory. Hermes taught that to the degree the human being employs his forces on earth in order to act within it according to the aims of spiritual powers, it is possible for him to be united after death with these powers. Especially those who have been most zealously active in this direction during life between birth and death will become united with the exalted Sun Being — with Osiris. On the Chaldean-Babylonian side of this cultural stream the directing of the human mind to the physical-sensory was more marked than on the Egyptian side. The laws of this world were investigated and from the sensory counterparts perception was directed to the spiritual archetypes. The people, nevertheless, remained stuck fast in the world of the senses in many respects. Instead of the spirit of the star, the star itself, and instead of other spiritual beings, their earthly counterparts were pushed into the foreground. Only the leaders acquired really deep knowledge of the laws of the supersensible world and their interaction with the sense world. Here a contrast between the knowledge of the initiates and the erroneous beliefs of the people came into evidence more strongly than anywhere else.

Quite different conditions prevailed in Southern Europe and Western Asia where the fourth post-Atlantean cultural epoch flourished. We may call this the Greco-Latin cultural epoch. In these countries the descendants of human beings of the most varied regions of the ancient world had gathered. There were oracle establishments that followed the example of the various Atlantean oracles. There were men who possessed, as a natural faculty, the heritage of ancient clairvoyance, and there were some who were able to attain to it with comparatively little training. In special places the traditions of the ancient initiates were not only preserved, but there arose worthy successors who trained pupils capable of raising themselves to exalted stages of spiritual perception. Simultaneously, these people bore the impulse in themselves to create a realm within the sense world that expressed in perfect form the spiritual within the physical. Beside much else, Greek art is a consequence of this impulse. One need only penetrate into the Greek temple with spiritual vision to recognize that in such a marvel of art the physical material is transformed by the human being in such a way that every detail is an expression of the spiritual. The Greek temple is the “dwelling place of the spirit.” In its forms is to be seen what otherwise only the spiritual vision of supersensible perception can recognize. A Zeus or Jupiter temple is shaped in such a way that for the physical eye it represents a worthy abode for what the guardian of the Zeus or Jupiter initiation perceived with the spiritual eye. Thus it is with all Greek art. In mysterious ways the wisdom of the initiates poured into poets, artists, and thinkers. In the cosmogonies of the ancient Greek philosophers we find again the mysteries of the initiates in the form of concepts and ideas. The influence of spiritual life and the mysteries of the Asiatic and African centers of initiation flowed into these peoples and their leaders. The great Indian teachers, the companions of Zarathustra, and the adherents of Hermes had trained their pupils. These or their successors now founded initiation centers in which the ancient knowledge was revived in a new form. These are the mysteries of antiquity. Here the pupils were prepared to reach states of consciousness through which they were able to attain a perception of the spirit world.5 From these initiation centers wisdom flowed to those who fostered spiritual impulses in Asia Minor, in Greece, and Italy. (In the Greek world the important initiation centers of the Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries arose. In the Pythagorean school of wisdom the after-effects of the great doctrines and methods of the wisdom of primeval ages appeared. In his wide journeying Pythagoras had been initiated into the secrets of the most varied mysteries.)



  1. The early stage of our present sun, now spelt with small s. (Tr.)

  2. Earth spelt thus, with a capital E, means the cosmic body containing the moon and other planets after the sun separation. (Tr.)

  3. The early stage of our present moon, hereafter spelt with small m. (Tr.)

  4. The early stage of our present earth, hereafter spelt with a small e. (Tr.)

  5. More detailed descriptions of these mysteries of antiquity are to be found in my book, Christianity as Mystical Fact. More on this subject is given in the last chapter of this book.

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

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