is seen on looking back into Man's repeated Earth-lives
When it is possible to look back with the suitable spiritual
organs of knowledge into a man's previous earth-lives,
observation shows a number of such earth-lives in which the man
was already a ‘person.’ His exterior resembled that of the
present day, and he had an inner life that bore an individual
stamp. Earth-lives appear, which shew signs of the existence of
the Intellectual or Mind-Soul, but not yet of the Spiritual
Soul; others again, in which only the Sentient Soul is as yet
developed and so on.
This was so in the ages of Earthly History, and has been so
already for a long time before.
Pursuing the observation however, one comes back to ages in
which it was not yet so. There one finds Man, both in respect
of inner life and outer habit, still interwoven with the world
of the divine spiritual beings. Man is there an earth-man, but
not yet detached from divine spiritual being, thinking and
still earlier times, a detached and separate Man vanishes
altogether from sight. There is nothing to be seen but divine
Spirit-Beings, holding Man within their lap.
These three stages of his evolution, Man has gone through
during his time on earth. The transition from the first to the
second lies in the late Lemurian age, from the second to the
third in the Atlantean age.
Just as, in his present earth-life, Man carries everything that
has entered his life as a memory within him, so too he carries
within him as cosmic memory everything which he has gone
through in the manner above described. What is the soul-life on
earth? It is the world of memories, open every moment to take
in new perceptions. In this interplay of memory and new
experience Man lives his inward earthly life.
But this inward earthly life could never come to expression, if
there were not still existing at the present time in Man, as a
cosmic memory, those things that one sees when one looks back
in spirit to the first stage of his growth to earth-manhood,
when he was not yet detached from the divine spirit-beings.
what then went on in the world, all that remains in living
existence upon earth to-day is the process carried out in the
human nerves-and-senses system. In external Nature, all the
forces which were active in those times have died out, and are
only to be seen in their dead forms.
Thus, in the thought-world of Man, there is living as
present revelation something which, to have earthly existence,
must have as its basis what had been evolved in Man before ever
he attained to individual life on earth.
the life between death and new birth, Man every time goes anew
through this stage. Only, that into the world of divine
Spirit-Beings — who now again receive him even as once they
bore him within themselves — he now carries his own full
individual entity, in the form it has acquired during his lives
on earth. He is, between death and new birth, both in the
present and at the same time in all the times through which he
has traveled in recurring earth-lives and recurring lives
between death and new birth.
is otherwise with what lives in the human feeling-world.
This feeling-world of Man is connected with experiences
which followed immediately after those in which Man as such was
not yet revealed — with those experiences namely which Man
lived through as Man, indeed, but not yet detached from the
divine-spiritual being, thinking, willing. There would be no
world of feeling for Man to disclose at the present day,
if the foundations from which it springs were not laid in his
rhythmic system. In this rhythmic system we possess the cosmic
recollection of the second stage of Man's evolution, described
Thus in Man's feeling-world there are working together
his human soul-life of the present, and the after-effects of an
the life between death and new birth, the time of which we are
here speaking, with all that fills it, is known to Man as the
bounds of his cosmos. What the starlit sky is to Man in his
physical life, the same part is played for him spiritually in
his life between death and new birth by his existence between
his complete union with the divine Spirit-world and his
detachment from it. There, shining at the ‘world's bourne’ he
sees not the physical heavenly bodies, but in the place of each
star the collective group of divine Spirit-Beings who are in
reality the star.
And in connection with the will only — not with
feeling nor thought — there lives on in Man
whatever those earth-lives have to shew, which begin, on
observation, to display Cosmos and gives Man his exterior form,
remains reserved in this exterior form as a cosmic
recollection. This cosmic recollection lives on as forces in
the human form. These are not directly the forces of the
will, but are that which gives in the human organization
the groundwork for the will-forces.
This is a region of Man's being which lies outside the ‘world's
bourne’ in his life between death and new birth. Man there
conceives of it as of something that will again be part of his
human existence in his new earth-life.
his nerves-and-senses system, Man is to-day still bound up with
the Cosmos in the same manner as he was when he shewed only as
a first life-seed amid the divine-spiritual being.
his rhythmic system, Man still lives to-day in the Cosmos as he
lived when he already was Man, but not yet detached from
his metabolic and limb-system, the basis for the development of
will, Man's life is such that he has working on in this
system the after-effect of all that he has gone through in his
personal, individual earth-lives, ever since these began, and
also in the intervening lives between death and new birth.
From the forces of earth, Man has that alone which lends him
the consciousness of Self. The physical, bodily basis, too, of
this Self-consciousness is an effect of the earth's action.
Everything else in the human being is extraterrestrial and
cosmic in its origin. The astral body as conveyer of sensation
and thought, together with its etheric and physical
basis — all the life-stir of the ether-body, and even all
that is working physically and chemically in the physical
body — all this has its origin beyond the earth. Strange as
it may seem, the physical and chemical action which takes place
within Man is not derived from the earth.
That Man develops this extra-earthly, cosmic life within him,
is the work of the planets and the other stars.
What he develops in him by their aid, is carried by the
Sun and its forces to the Earth. The Human-Cosmic is by
the Sun transplanted to earthly territory. By virtue of the
Sun, Man lives as heavenly being upon Earth. That property
only, whereby Man exceeds the limits of his human
form — the capacity to bring forth his kind — is a gift
of the Moon.
course these are not the only effects of the Sun's and the
Moon's action; highly spiritual effects proceed from them
When the Sun about Christmas-time begins to gain increasing
power for the Earth, this is its action in the physical earthly
sphere, exhibited rhythmically in the cycle of the year;
it is an expression of the spirit in Nature. The evolution of
mankind is one unique part in a so-to-speak gigantic
world-year. In this world-year it is World-Christmas or ‘Holy
Night’ when the Sun does not merely act on the Earth through
the spirit of Nature, but when the soul of the Sun, the Christ
Spirit, comes down from above into the Earth.
in each single man, that which he realizes individually in his
own life is connected with a cosmic memory, so will the yearly
Christmas be felt in its truth by the human soul, if the cosmic
and heavenly Christ-Event is thought of as working on
continually — conceived not merely as a human but as a
cosmic recollection. Not Man alone at Christmas-time celebrates
in remembrance the Descent of the Christ, but the Cosmos
On looking back into a man's
repeated earth-lives, they may be distinguished into three
different stages: First a very early one, in which Man is
not yet existent as an individual form of being, but as a
life-seed amid divine spiritual being. Looking back into
this stage, one finds not as yet a Man, but only divine
Spirit-Beings (the Principalities or Primeval Powers, the
Following on this comes a middle
stage in which Man is already discernible as an individual
form of being, but not yet detached from the thinking and
willing and being of the divine-spiritual world. He has not
yet, as that time, his present personality, which is
involved with his appearance on earth as an entirely
distinctive being, detached from the divine spiritual
The third stage is the present one.
Man realizes himself, as he stands forth in his own human
form, detached from the divine spiritual world; and he
realizes the world as an environment over against which he
takes his place as an individual personality. This stage
began in Atlantean times.