WHAT IS THE EARTH IN REALITY
WITHIN THE MACROCOSM?
In these studies we have contemplated the evolution of the Cosmos and
Humanity from the most varied points of view. We have seen how man
derives from the extra-earthly Cosmos the forces of his being, with
the exception of those that give him self-consciousness. These come to
him from the Earth.
The significance of the earthly realm for man is thus explained. But
in this connection the question must arise: What is the significance
of the earthly realm for the macrocosm?
In order to approach the answer to this question, we must turn our
attention once more to what has already been described in these pages.
The consciousness of the seer finds the macrocosm increasingly alive,
the more his vision penetrates into the past. In the far distant past,
the macrocosm so lives that there ceases to be any question of
calculating the manifestations of its life. Out of this
living condition man is then brought forth as a separate being, while
the macrocosm enters more and more into the calculable
But in this it undergoes a slow process of death. In the same measure
in which man the microcosm arises as an independent
being from the macrocosm, the macrocosm dies.
In the present cosmic time, a dead macrocosm is existing. But it was
not only man who arose in the process of its evolution. The Earth too
came forth out of the macrocosm.
Deriving from the Earth the forces for his self-consciousness, man is
far too close to it in his inner life to perceive its nature clearly.
In the age of the Spiritual Soul, with the full unfolding of
self-consciousness, we have grown accustomed to focus our attention on
the spatial magnitude of the Universe, and to look on the Earth
as a speck of dust, insignificant compared to the great universe of
Hence it will seem strange, to begin with, when spiritual vision
unfolds the true cosmic significance of this alleged particle of
In the mineral ground of the Earth the other kingdoms of Nature
the animal and plant kingdoms are imbedded. In all this there
live the forces which manifest themselves in varied forms of
appearance through the seasons. Consider the world of plants. In
autumn and winter it manifests the physically dying forces. In this
form of appearance, the consciousness of the seer perceives the nature
of those forces which have brought about the gradual death of the
macrocosm. In spring and summer, forces of growth, springing and
sprouting forces, show themselves in the plant life. In the growing,
sprouting process, the seer's consciousness perceives not only what
brings forth the abundant blessing of the plant life for the given
year, but an excess. It is an excess of germinating
force. The plants contain more germinating force than they expend
upon the growth of foliage, flower and fruit. For the consciousness of
the seer, this excess of germinating force flows out into the
Now in the same manner a surplus of force streams out from the mineral
kingdom to the extra-earthly Cosmos. This force has the task of
carrying the forces from the plant-world to the right places in the
macrocosm. Under the influence of the mineral forces, the plant-forces
become a newly fashioned picture of a macrocosm.
Likewise there are forces proceeding from the animal nature. These
however do not work, like the plant and mineral forces, radiating from
the Earth. They work in such a way that the plant-nature, which the
mineral forces carry in clear formation into the great Universe, is
gathered into a sphere, so that the picture arises of a macrocosm
compact and self-contained on all sides.
It is thus the spirit-seeing consciousness beholds the essence of the
earthly realm, which stands as a new, life-kindling element within
the dead and dying macrocosm.
As when the old plant has died and fallen away, the new plant, however
large, is formed again from the seed in space so insignificant and
small so while the old dead macrocosm falls asunder a new
macrocosm is coming forth from this speck of dust, the
It is a true contemplation of the Earth-nature which sees in it on all
hands a germinating universe. We only learn to understand the kingdoms
of Nature around us when we feel in them the presence of this
In the midst of it man fulfils his Earth-existence. He partakes in the
germinating life as well as in the dead and dying. From the dead he
derives the forces of his thought. In the past, when the forces of his
thought were coming forth from the still living macrocosm, they did
not provide the foundation for self-conscious humanity. They lived, as
growth forces, in a human being who did not yet possess
self-consciousness. For themselves, the forces of thought must
not have life of their own if they are to provide a basis for the free
self-consciousness of man. With the macrocosm whose life has gone out,
they for themselves must be the dead shadows of what once was
living in the primeval Cosmos.
On the other side man shares in the germinating life of the Earth,
from which he has the forces of his will. These forces are indeed life
itself, but with his self-consciousness man does not take part in
their real nature. Deep down within the human being they radiate into
the shadows of his thought. The shadows of thought flow through them,
and in the flowing of free thought as it unfolds within the
germinating earthly nature, the full and free human self-consciousness
enters into man during this age of the Spiritual Soul.
The past throwing its shadows, the future fraught with the germs of a
new reality meet in the human being; and their meeting constitutes the
human life of present time.
That these things are so, is clearly revealed to the consciousness of
the seer the moment he enters that spirit-region which immediately
adjoins the physical and in which the active presence of Michael is
The life of all this earthly realm becomes clear and transparent when
we feel at its foundation the germ of a new Universe. Every single
plant and stone appears in a new light to the soul of man when he
becomes aware that each of these creations is contributing by its life
or by its form to this great fact: that the Earth in its unity is an
embryo the seed of a macrocosm newly rising into life.
One should but try to make the thought of these things fully living in
oneself, and one will feel how much it may signify for the human heart
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (in connection with the foregoing study: What is the Earth in reality within the Macrocosm?)
153. In the beginning of the age of the Spiritual Soul, it became the
custom to turn attention to the physically spatial greatness of the
Universe. Impressed above all by this immensity of physical
appearance, men speak of the Earth as a mere speck of dust within the
154. To the consciousness of the seer this speck of dust,
the Earth, is revealed as the germ and beginning of a new-rising
Macrocosm, while the old Macrocosm appears as a thing whose life has
died away. For the old Macrocosm had to die, that man might sever
himself from it with full Self-consciousness.
155. In the cosmic present, man partakes with the Thought forces that
make him free, in the dead Macrocosm; and with the Will-forces, whose
essence is concealed from him, in the germinating of this
Earth-existence the Macrocosm newly springing into life.