WHAT IS REVEALED WHEN ONE LOOKS BACK
INTO REPEATED LIVES ON EARTH
When we are able to look back with spiritual knowledge into the former
Earth-lives of a human being, we find that there are a number of such
lives in which man was already a person. His outward form
was similar to what it is today, and he had an inner life of
individual stamp and character. Earthly lives emerge, revealing that
the Intellectual or Mind-Soul was present in them, but not as yet the
Spiritual Soul; others appear, in which only the Sentient Soul was
developed and so forth.
We find it so in the epochs of Earthly History, and indeed it was so
long before these epochs.
But as we look back still farther, we come into ages of time when it
was not yet so ages in which we find Man interwoven still, both
in his inner life and in his outer formation, with the world of
Divine-Spiritual Beings. Man is already there as earthly man, but he
is not yet detached from Divine Spiritual Being, Thinking and Willing.
And in yet earlier epochs man as a separate being disappears
altogether; there are present only the Divine Spiritual Beings,
bearing man within them.
Man has undergone these three stages of evolution during his earthly
time. The transition from the first to the second took place in the
latest epoch of Lemuria; that from the second to the third in
Now just as in his present earthly life man bears his experiences
within him in the shape of memory, so does he bear within him as a
cosmic memory all that he has undergone in the way above described.
What is the earthly life of the soul? It is the world of our memories,
ready at every moment to have fresh perceptions. In this interplay of
memory and fresh experience, man lives, his inner life on Earth.
But this inner life on Earth could not unfold at all if there were not
present still in man, as a cosmic memory, what we see when we look
back with spiritual vision into the first stage of his becoming
Earthly Man the stage in which he was not yet detached from
Of all that took place in the world at that time, there is livingly
present on the Earth today, that alone which is unfolded within the
human system of nerves and senses. In outer Nature, all the forces
that were then at work have died and can now only be seen in their
Thus in the human world of Thought there lives as a present
manifestation something which, in order to have earthly existence,
requires as its basis the very thing that was already evolved in man
before he attained individual, earthly being.
Every time he passes through the life between death and a new birth,
man experiences this stage anew. But into the world of
Divine-Spiritual Beings, which receives him again even as it once
entirely contained him into this world he now carries his full
individual existence which has taken shape during his lives on Earth.
Between death and a new birth, man is indeed in the present, but he is
living also in all the time that he has undergone through repeated
lives on Earth and lives between death and a new birth.
It is different with that which lives in the Feeling-world of man.
This is related to those experiences of the past which came
immediately after the ones in which man was yet unmanifest as such. It
is related, that is to say, to experiences which man already underwent
as man but when he was not yet separated from Divine-Spiritual Being,
Thinking and Willing. Man in the present could not unfold the world of
Feeling if it did not arise on the foundation of his rhythmic system.
And in his rhythmic system we have the cosmic memory of the
above-described second stage of his evolution.
Thus in the world of Feeling the present in the human soul
is working together with that which works on in him from an ancient
In the life between death and a new birth, man experiences the
contents of the epoch of which we are here speaking as the boundary of
his Cosmos. What the starry heavens are to man in the physical life on
Earth, his existence between his full union with the Divine-Spiritual
world and his severance from it, is to him spiritually in the life
between death and a new birth. In that life, there appear to him at
the world-boundary, not the physical heavenly bodies, but
in the place of each star the sum-total of Divine-Spiritual Beings,
who, as we know, are in reality the star.
Connected with the Will alone and not with Feeling or with Thought,
there lives in man that which is manifested by those earthly lives
which, when we look back on them, reveal already the personal,
individual character. That which from cosmic sources gives to man his
outer form, is preserved in this outer form as a cosmic memory. This
cosmic memory lives in the human form as a totality of forces. But
these are not the immediate forces of the Will; they represent that in
the human organism which is the foundation of the forces of the Will.
In the life between death and a new birth, this region of the
human being lies beyond the world-boundary. Man there
conceives of it as of something that will belong to him once more in
his new life on Earth.
In his system of nerves and senses, man is today still united with the
Cosmos in the way he was when he was manifest only germinally within
the Divine-Spiritual womb.
In his rhythmic system, man is today still living in the Cosmos in the
way he lived when he was already there as man, but not yet detached
from the Divine-Spiritual.
In his system of metabolism and limbs the foundation for the
unfolding of his Will man lives in such a way that all that he
has undergone in his personal individual lives on Earth, ever since
these began, and in his lives between death and a new birth, works on
within this system.
From the forces of the Earth, man receives that alone which gives him
consciousness of self. The physical bodily foundation of
self-consciousness is due also to what the Earth brings about. But
everything else in the human being has a cosmic origin, external to
The sentient and thought-bearing astral body with its etheric-physical
foundation, all the moving life in the etheric body, and even that
which works physico-chemically in the physical body, is of
extra-earthly origin. Strange as this may seem, the physico-chemical
which is at work within the human being is not derived from the Earth.
The fact that man evolves this extra-earthly, cosmic life within him,
is due to the working of the planets and other stars.
All that he thus unfolds, the Sun with its forces carries to
the Earth. By the Sun, the human-cosmic element is transplanted into
the earthly realms. By the Sun, man lives as a heavenly being on the
Earth. And that alone, whereby he transcends his own human formation
namely, his power to bring forth his kind is a gift of
Needless to say these are not the only influences of Sun and Moon.
Lofty spiritual influences also proceed from them.
When about Christmas-time the Sun increases more and more in power for
the Earth, it is the yearly influence manifesting
rhythmically in the physical-earthly realm which is an
expression of the Spirit in Nature. The evolution of mankind is a
single member in what we may describe as a gigantic cosmic year, as
will be evident from our preceding studies. And in this cosmic year
the cosmic Christmas is at the point where the Sun not only works
towards the Earth out of the Spirit of Nature, but where the
Christ-Spirit, the Soul of the Sun, descends on to the Earth.
As in the single human being what he experiences individually is
connected with the cosmic memory, so will the human soul have a right
feeling of the yearly Christmas when he conceives the heavenly and
cosmic Christ-Event as working on and on, comprehending it as a
memory not only human but cosmic. For at Christmas-time not only man
remembers in celebration the descent of Christ, but the Cosmos does so
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (with respect to the preceding study: What is revealed when one looks back into repeated Lives on Earth)
144. Looking back into a human being's repeated lives on Earth, we
find three distinct stages. In a remote past, man did not exist with
individuality of being, but as a germ in the Divine and Spiritual. As
we look back into this stage we find not yet a human being but
Divine-Spiritual Beings: the Primal Forces, Principalities or Archai.
145. This was followed by an intermediate stage. Man existed already
with individuality of being, but he was not yet detached from the
Thinking and Willing and Being of the Divine-Spiritual World. At this
stage he had not yet his present personality, with which he appears on
Earth as a being completely self-possessed, detached from the Divine
146. The present condition is the third and latest. Here man
experiences himself in human form and figure, detached from the
Divine-Spiritual World; and he experiences the world as an environment
with which he stands face to face, individually and personally. This
stage began in Atlantean time.