Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib
Universe, Earth and Man
Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document
Universe, Earth and Man
The sacrifice of the substance by the Thrones, Kyriotetes, Dynami's, and Exusiai. Jehovah and the Elohim, and their co-operative activity in the stages of human Development.
The sacrifice of the substance by the Thrones, Kyriotetes, Dynamis, and Exusiai. Jehovah and the Elohim, and their co-operative activity in the stages of human Development.
In earlier lectures we have seen that the conditions of our earth have
gradually developed out of the cosmos; that in a far distant past the
earth was one with the orb which shines in the heavens today as the
sun, and that at a certain period this body separated off from the
Now, I have already stated that the Beings who at first sent their own
forces down from the sun to the earth, thus bringing about the
evolution of humanity, are the Spirits of Form. They are the Beings
nearest to earthly evolution. After the separation of the sun the
leader of the Spirits of Form remained with the earth, and later
departed from it with the moon. We can therefore speak of a
moon-deity; he is that deity who in the Biblical records is called
Jehovah, and the Sun Powers, those who sent light to earth from
outside, are called in the Bible the Elohim, or Spirits of Light.
Under the influence of the Elohim on one hand and Jehovah on the
other, balance was maintained in the evolution of man. You have learnt
that not only man goes through development, but that all the Beings in
the cosmos are undergoing development also. Those exalted Beings who
sent down their forces to us with the light the Spirits of Form
have also passed through a development; previously they were at
a lower stage and have gradually struggled upwards to their present
What was said just now regarding the Elohim and Jehovah applies to the
most mature of these spirits, those who have made themselves fully
capable of carrying on their development from the genesis of the
earth, either upon the sun or the moon; but there are Beings
everywhere who have fallen behind at some stage. Yesterday we heard
that planets, such as Venus and Mercury, owe their existence to the
circumstance that Beings have remained behind, between man on the one
hand and exalted Sun-Spirits on the other. They required a
dwelling-place more exalted than the earth, but were unable to inhabit
the sun because they were not sufficiently mature. These beings are
far beyond the evolution of humanity, but have not yet reached the
condition of the Sun spirits. They form a very important group of
beings as regards human evolution. On one hand we have very mature
Beings, on the other, between them and mankind, are others whom we
designate generally the Luciferic Beings, after their leader Lucifer.
Now we must try clearly to understand how Jehovah and the Elohim on
one hand, Lucifer and his hosts on the other, are concerned with the
evolution of man. Through the cooperation of the Sun-Gods with the
Moon-God a duality arose, and we shall best understand what entered
evolution at this point if we consider what the evolution of man had
Once more we will remind ourselves that the earth passed through an
incarnation, that of Saturn, when conditions were primeval; then,
after having passed through a state of rest, it entered the Sun
incarnation, then the Moon incarnation, and lastly that of our Earth.
Man in the course of his evolution has been connected with all these
embodiments of the earth. As we know him he is a very complicated
Being; he consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, and
ego, and these four principles play one into the other in a very
If any Being in our physical world had only a physical body it would
be a stone a mineral; in fact our mineral kingdom here on the
earth does only possess a physical body. A Being possessing in
addition to a physical body an etheric body has a plant-nature; our
vegetable kingdom consists of such Beings. A Being having physical
etheric, and astral bodies is at the animal stage; and only that Being
which in addition to these possesses an ego is at the stage of human
existence on earth. Now it is only a rough way of speaking to say that
man has these four principles within him; and we shall understand how
sketchy it is if we cast a glance over his long, very long, evolution.
Let us enquire which of these four principles is the oldest? It might
easily be supposed that as the human ego is the highest, that which
first makes man, man, it would be the oldest principle; but this is
not the case. Neither the ego nor the astral body nor the etheric body
was owned first by man, but the physical body it is the oldest.
The first rudiments of the physical body were formed as far back as on
ancient Saturn, but you must not imagine that this body looked then
anything like the body of today. When you consider the present
physical body you observe in the first place something solid, a
skeleton, that firmly constituted part described as solid;
next you observe fluid constituents of many kinds; further, the
physical body is permeated by air or gas; lastly, you find in it
something which, considered occultly, is substantial namely,
warmth, inner warmth.
Let us now consider man as regards this inner warmth and his outer
environment. His warmth does not depend upon his environment, in a
cold environment he does not, like the minerals, become cold, he is
not forced to regulate himself according to his environment, he has
within him the source of his own heat. Were you now to think
everything solid away from man, also everything liquid and everything
gaseous; if you imagine his physical body formed only of warmth, such
warmth as pulses in your blood, you will have what was present on
ancient Saturn. But that body was not formed as it is now, it had only
the most rudimentary germs of a form. This was particularly the case
in the middle of the Saturn period, for Saturn had initial, middle,
and final conditions. It would be very difficult to describe the early
condition of Saturn, because few people have developed the capacity
which would enable them to think of the conditions of Saturn before it
became condensed to the consistency of warmth.
When in spirit you transport yourselves to those times of a primeval
past, you must not imagine that had you been able to observe Saturn
from somewhere in space you would have seen anything. Saturn had no
light, it did not shine; only towards the end of its development did
it begin to do so. Had you approached it in the middle of its
evolution you would only have perceived its warmth, it was like an
oven without external limits, but which limited itself: you would have
entered an area of warmth.
You must not imagine this body of warmth as being uniform or
homogeneous; if you had been sensitive to differences of warmth you
would have found that there were lines of warmth within it in all
directions, that they stretched on every side; you would have
felt out warmth formations. The whole of Saturn consisted
of forms of warmth alone, and these were the original foundations of
the human physical body. Saturn did not go beyond this in any way that
was fruitful for human evolution.
We will now pass on to the Sun evolution. After a period of rest
Saturn changed into the Sun formation. Externally it is the case that
in the middle of the Sun period a condensation of its substance took
place. The Sun consisted not only of warmth, but also of gas and air
(in the occult sense), and everything within the Sun passed through
its evolution under conditions only possible in warmth and air.
To begin with, the following took place: The human being, who as he
consisted only of warmth could not assume an etheric body, was
permeated on the Sun by an etheric body; he now consisted of two
principles, namely, a physical body and an etheric body. Man's
physical body on the Sun was, however, quite different to what it is
now. Let us try to form an idea, if only a rough one, of the physical
body upon the ancient Sun. Imagine that we have breathed in air and
that the breathed-in air has passed into us. This air is now permeated
with a certain degree of warmth. Now think away everything but the
in-breathed air, which in effect forms an image of the whole human
body; think away all the solid and the liquid parts, keeping only the
air and the warmth in mind. You then have in imagination a form before
you such as would appear if you considered merely the in-breathed air
and its activity. If you observed the form of this in-breathed air and
the warmth the human being contains you would have approximately the
form man had at the middle of the Sun period.
You might now ask: If we have lines of warmth and, in addition to
these, currents of gas which form the physical body, how does the
clairvoyant see this gas in the Akashic Record? He perceives it in a
special way. When the warmth condenses into air and no other
conditions are present (as is the case now on earth, where the sun
pours in from outside) the moment this gas or air separates from the
form of warmth it begins to shine. Hence upon the Sun the physical
body was a kind of germinal body of warmth, composed of gaseous or
airy currents, which glittered in the most wonderful way and shone
with varied colours. The entire Sun-globe consisted of shining
warmth-bodies, which were the primary rudiments of our human physical
bodies. On the Sun man rose a stage higher; he added an etheric body
to the physical body. It was man himself who, as part of the structure
of the Sun, radiated forth the illuminating power of light into space;
his physical body, through taking into itself the etheric body, became
luminous. The physical body was now at the second stage of its
progress towards perfection, but the etheric body, which first became
luminous on the Sun, was only at its first stage.
Let us now follow man's further progress. The Sun gradually passed
over into the Moon incarnation, having meanwhile entered into a
condition of rest. On the material side the airy formation condensed
to a watery one, and thus the fluid element arose. The ancient Moon
was in fact a fluidic body, in it you might again have found physical
human bodies as plastic structures, consisting now of flowing sap, or
watery constituents, in which currents of air coursed just as breath
and warmth intermingle in man's body today. The physical body now
consisted of three parts water, gas or air, and warmth; and the
etheric body which it had previously possessed now passed over with it
into the Moon period. Man was now in a position to assimilate an
astral body, and from this time onwards he consisted of three
principles: the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body.
During the Moon period it was not possible for all the Beings
connected with it to maintain the same rate of progress in their
development. It was not only during the development of our Earth, but
also earlier, during the Moon development, that the Sun separated off
from the common world-body; so that in the middle of the Moon period
we have two spheres the Moon (earth plus moon) and the Sun,
which as you know had departed along with the most advanced of the
Spiritual Beings. Through the withdrawal of the finer forces and
higher Beings the grosser had been left behind upon the Moon; this
planet therefore (Earth plus Moon) began to densify and harden. You
must realize that even during the ancient Moon period the Sun with its
Beings worked for a time from outside upon the backward Moon-body.
It will now be necessary to describe more in detail these bodies which
had remained behind after the departure of the Sun, for we went
through a portion of our evolution upon them.
On Saturn there was only the physical body of man; he was at the
mineral stage. Upon the Sun he raised himself to the vegetable stage,
he had then physical body and etheric body, but at this stage certain
beings became backward, they did not rise so high as to the
human-plant existence upon the ancient Sun, they remained at the
Saturn stage. These were the forerunners of certain animals of the
present day. Man's past reaches back to ancient Saturn, whereas the
forerunners of a certain portion of our present animal kingdom had its
origin only on the Sun as a second kingdom to that of man. From the
same cause (the remaining behind of certain beings) man, when he had
worked himself upward on the Moon to a condition when he was the
possessor of three principles, was surrounded by two other kingdoms;
one a kingdom which on the Moon had remained behind at the stage of
plants, and one that was still at the stage of minerals, these last
were the forerunners of our present plants.
Our mineral kingdom did not as yet exist on the Moon. It came into
existence last, as a sort of deposit from the other kingdoms. Of
course anyone who affirms such things knows very well that it seems
nonsense according to present ideas to say that plants could originate
without the basis of a mineral kingdom, but formerly conditions were
entirely different. In fact, upon the ancient Moon man developed in
the animal kingdom; animals in the vegetable kingdom; and at the time
when the Moon was separated from the Sun all the kingdoms were
arranged in the following way:
The human kingdom (really animal kingdom, consisting of physical body,
etheric, and astral bodies).
The animal kingdom (really vegetable kingdom, consisting of physical
and etheric bodies).
The vegetable kingdom (really mineral kingdom, because it consisted
only of a physical body).
Our present mineral kingdom did not as yet exist.
Now, when the Moon and Sun separated the Beings and forces of the Sun
were completely liberated from the gross material of the Moon, so that
they could act all the more strongly. The result was that all three
kingdoms were raised about half a stage higher. The human astral body
was lifted out of its close connection with the lower principles, so
that viewing man at the beginning of the Moon period with his
physical, etheric, and astral bodies, one would later have perceived a
change. Through the Sun having departed and having begun to shine from
outside, the astral and etheric bodies were partly liberated. The
consequence was that something happened which we must try to picture
in the following way: Imagine that the man of today consisted only of
physical body, etheric body, and astral body; and that there now came
an external force which pushed out man's etheric and astral bodies; to
the clairvoyant these would now exist outside him, but through these
two bodies being liberated from the weight of the physical body man
could be raised about half a stage upward in evolution.
Something like this took place at the time of which I am speaking; man
was lifted up, he became a Being standing midway between the present
man and the present animal. In a Spiritual sense he was, however,
guided and directed by the exalted Sun-Powers.
In like manner the two other kingdoms were raised about half a stage,
so that about the middle of the Moon period we do not find our present
kingdoms, but intermediate ones: we have a human-animal kingdom, an
animal-vegetable kingdom, and a vegetable-mineral kingdom.
We on the earth walk upon a solid mineral ground; the Beings of the
ancient Moon walked on what was the lowest kingdom of the Moon
the vegetable-mineral. This basic substance of the Moon was not a
mineral substance such as we have on the earth, but something that was
half-alive. One has an approximate idea of what this basic substance
of the Moon was if we think of something resembling a mossy bog or
boiled spinach, a kind of mush, but living, bubbling. There were no
rocks projecting out of this mass, but there was something like dense,
woody, vegetable masses, horny structures; and these took the place of
our present rocks. To clairvoyant vision it appears as if man moved
upon a vegetable-mineral foundation which later underwent condensation
and became the stones of today. From out this substance grew the
animal-plants. These were more or less firmly rooted; they were more
movable, it is true, than plants are now, but they grew out of this
viscous element and had a certain degree of sensation when touched.
Animal-man rose from out the finest substances; he by no means reached
down into the grossest, but formed his physical body from the finest
This physical body, which was in a continual state of transformation,
had a very strange appearance: the clairvoyant is unable to discover
upon the ancient Moon a human head such as man possesses today.
Although the physical body was still soft and fluidic, he can find only
animal-like heads, and from out this animal-head formation the etheric
and astral bodies projected.
To physical sight all these animal-men had various forms that recall
our present animals, but they only remind us of these; it is only when
we rise from physical sight to astral vision that we perceive the
higher nature of the animal-man of the Moon. Such were the denizens of
the ancient Moon.
When we examine closely the course of human development and culture,
in so far as it is of a mental and spiritual nature, we find in many
instances that the myths and legends that have been handed down to us
are in many respects wiser than our present-day science. When more is
known about the spiritual foundations of the world men will recognize
in many of the myths, legends, and fairy tales a truly deep wisdom,
deeper than science, which has apparently progressed so far.
Let us return for a moment to the ancient Moon, in the basic substance
of which only the ancient animal-plants could flourish, and let us
leave the study of the further development of the Moon itself. We must
clearly understand that all these Moon-beings were the forerunners of
the present Earth-beings. Our present mineral kingdom has sprung from
the vegetable-mineral of the Moon epoch, from the animal-plants have
sprung our present plants, and from the backward animals, men. From
those men who do not progress have sprung the largest portion of our
present day animals. Thus we see that our minerals, our plants, our
animals, and our human beings are really the descendants of the Beings
of the ancient Moon.
There is today a remarkable plant which does not thrive in a mineral
soil, namely, the mistletoe. It is remarkable because when observed
clairvoyantly it is seen to be different from other plants. It
exhibits rudiments of an astral body passing into the mistletoe, as is
the case with animals. Although this plant has no sensation it has
something appertaining to the outer form of animals. This is because
it belongs to those backward plant-animals of the Moon period, which
were unable to become plants, and on this account cannot thrive on a
mineral soil, but require other plants on which to take root.
The mistletoe has preserved the condition of the ancient Moon. The
ancestors of some of the European peoples knew this fact and embodied
the knowledge in a wonderful legend. The Germanic and Norse peoples
recognized in Loki a power still belonging to those forces which
passed from the field of activity on ancient Moon to the Earth. When
the earth became Earth it came under the influence of other forces,
which these ancient peoples symbolized in the God Baldur. He
represents all those forces which work upon mature earth-beings, but
those who had remained at the Moon stage felt an inner relationship to
Loki, the Moon-God. Hence arose the wonderful legend telling how once
upon a time when the Gods were playing, all creatures swore an oath
that they would not injure Baldur; the mistletoe alone did not take
this oath. Why? Because it is not related to the earth forces
incarnated in Baldur, but is a backward Moon-creation, and so has
power to injure the basic earth-force Baldur. Loki had to be
served by a being belonging to himself. This legend has its origin
deep down in the hidden foundations of the world. Further, when we
know that in many respects what is opposed to healthy development must
be of service to unhealthy development, we understand the wise
intuition of our forefathers which led them to look to the mistletoe
for special curative forces and juices. They knew that of which we
have just spoken, hence the role they gave to the mistletoe. From this
example we can see that profound wisdom regarding the evolution of the
world is frequently hidden in myth and legend.
Through the withdrawal of a part of the etheric and astral body of the
animal-man upon the Moon the necessity arose, even at that time, for a
change of consciousness. But we must first speak of another
development which ran parallel with this.
Each of the stages of development that on Saturn, Sun, Moon,
and Earth was at the same time a stage in the development of
consciousness. Upon Saturn, consciousness was dim ... it was at the first
stage. Such consciousness as we have in dreamless sleep the
consciousness possessed by eternally sleeping plants is clearer
than that which man had upon Saturn, which may be compared to the
consciousness of minerals. Only on the Sun did man rise to a
consciousness such as is possessed by plants; through the astral body,
which he received upon the Moon, his consciousness rose one degree
higher, to that which we designate picture-consciousness. This may be
compared in a certain sense with our present dream-consciousness,
although our dreams have meaning only in exceptional cases. Upon the
Moon this was different, the pictures which then rose and disappeared
signified something. When another being approached a man he was unable
to perceive its outer form and colour, but he perceived something
which rose within himself (much as is now the case in dreams); a
picture rose within him of the inner nature of the approaching being,
and in accordance with the colour and character of this picture he
knew whether this being was friendly towards him or the reverse
whether he should remain or flee.
As already stated, a change of consciousness took place upon the Moon
during the time when the Sun was outside; there were periods of
alternating consciousness, times when consciousness was more vivid,
and times when it was dimmer. Today we have interchanging periods of
day and night. In the morning man draws into his physical body and
etheric body, and the eternal world with its beings and objects rises
before him. Everything around him becomes light and clear because he
makes use of his senses, but at night when he goes forth with his ego
and astral body, he has no instruments wherewith to perceive;
everything is dark around him.
In the same way, dreamless-sleep consciousness, which was first given
to man on the Sun, alternated with the waking, earth-consciousness.
These conditions were already prepared for on the ancient Moon. At
that time the etheric and astral bodies were not continuously outside
man, there were periods when they sank into his physical body; for the
ancient Moon already moved round the Sun, and this rotation brought
about conditions in which man was shone upon by the Sun at certain
times, and not at others. Through this an exit and entrance of the
etheric and astral bodies into the physical body were brought about.
The change was certainly not so strongly contrasted as at present.
During the periods of the withdrawal of these bodies from the Moon,
when man was shone upon by the forces of the Sun, he was in clear
consciousness in spiritual consciousness he perceived that
which was spiritual clearly, and when his etheric and astral bodies
sank back into the physical body his consciousness became darkened.
You see, it was the reverse of present conditions.
For long, long periods of time, alternating states of clear and dim
consciousness occurred upon the Moon, and it was in the dim state of
consciousness that without man being aware of it what is
called fructification took place. In order that the powers of
reproduction might be developed, and that man might bring forth, his
higher being had to sink down into the physical body, and when it was
released it rose again into the higher world. At that time preparation
was gradually made for what has since been fully developed upon earth.
Through the separation of the Sun, and because of its having given
stronger forces to its creatures, man along with all the other beings
was able to develop more highly. If the Sun had been limited for a
longer period by the ancient Moon it could not have acted so
powerfully; but once it was released from the hindrance of the
Moon-substances, the Moon and all its denizens were advanced rapidly.
After a time the Moon had attained such maturity that it could again
be absorbed by the Sun. This was followed by a condition when all the
planets which had been separated could also be again absorbed, when
they all reentered the spiritual state of rest which we call Pralaya.
After this pause there came forth once more what we may call the first
etheric germs of the Earth-body, out of which at a later period
everything was again differentiated.
Now let us enquire: Whence came the physical body upon Saturn, whence
came the etheric body on the Sun, and the astral body on the Moon?
These questions go to the very root of the matter. Anthroposophists do
not enquire like many who imagine they are enquiring philosophically.
For there are people who ask: Whence comes this or that? and when
answered they ask further and further without end. This is only done
as long as the inquirer has not risen to a spiritual observation of
the world. Reasonably, one must come at last to a point where the
significance of questions ceases. One might ask: Whence come these
furrows on the road? The answer is: A cart passed this way. Then comes
the further question: Whence came the cart? And one might answer: A
man on certain business was using it. They then ask: What kind of
business? At length the questions would come to an end; you would have
been led so far that you would have arrived in quite different realms.
If the subject of the interrogation is concerned with an idea, one
only arrives if one remains in abstractions, at endless questions.
But in concrete observations one arrives at last at Spiritual Beings,
and one then inquires no longer: Why are they doing this? But one
asks: What are they doing? It is necessary that one should educate
oneself to see the limitations of questions.
Occult observation reveals that in the beginning, when ancient Saturn
began to be formed, certain Spiritual Beings poured forth the
fundamental substance of Saturn warmth from their own
substance as a sacrifice. They had matured so far that they did not
need to absorb anything as nourishment, they were even in a position
to sacrifice themselves to pour out their own substance. These Beings
are the Thrones. It is they who through their sacrifice formed the
foundations of the human physical body. One who can occultly observe
the physical body on Saturn can say: It has flowed forth from the
substance of the Thrones. The physical body changes from stage to
stage, it develops ever higher, but that which we bear within us is
always the transformed substance of the Thrones.
We will now pass on to the Ancient Sun. Here the etheric body was
added to the physical body. Here again are Spiritual Beings lower than
the Thrones, whom we call Spirits of Wisdom. They had not developed
far enough on Saturn to be able to pour out their own being, but on
the Sun they had progressed far enough, and there now flowed from them
the substance of their etheric body. Since the Sun period we carry
within us our etheric bodies; these are of the substance of the
Spirits of Wisdom.
Upon the Moon the astral body was added to us. Here again there were
Spiritual Beings who sacrificed their substance. These were the
Spirits of Motion. Lastly we pass from the Moon to the Earth.
Here other Beings pour their force into us we receive the Ego.
To the three members we already possess is now added the
I . This is bestowed on us by the Spirits of Form or
Exusiai; they are the Elohim, who give to us their Sun-light, also
Jehovah, who, from the moon, gives form to the human spirit. Herein we
see the cooperation of the two categories of Spirits of Form who from
outside endow man with the rudiments of his Ego.
Thus we find that from stage to stage Spiritual Beings incorporate
within human evolution: on Saturn the Thrones; on the Sun the Spirits
of Wisdom; on the Moon the Spirits of Motion or Dynamis; and on the
Earth the Spirits of Form Jehovah and the Elohim. From all
these Beings man has received his present shape and formation, they
have allowed their own Being to pour into him. In the Bible we are
clearly shown how the Being of one of the Spirits of Form streamed
into the Being of man. Profound secrets lie behind what is found in
Imagine that one of the Spirits of Form united himself to the Moon as
Jehovah, that from thence he worked as a Spirit of Form upon man, and,
bestowing on him that which gave to him his divine form, God
made man after His Own image. He gave to him the form of the
Gods. The Spirits of Form gave to man the human form, that is, the
divine form. The Elohim poured the sun-force as light upon the earth.
The God Jehovah renounced the outer form of light; he streamed to earth
as a darker God, thus limiting Himself to the period between birth and
death. Through the air, which the light penetrates, the Spirits of the
air made themselves his companions. If we wish to form a picture of
what streams physically and spiritually from the sun to the earth we
have to see the sun's rays caught by the moon and returned to man; we
have to see these rays bringing with them that which streams to us
from the Jehovah Spirit; and how with them comes also that which
exists spiritually in the air.
The moment in which Jehovah poured forth His principle of force,
permitting part of His Being to flow into man, is indicated in the
Bible in the words: Jehovah poured into man the living breath,
and he became a living soul.
Such a statement ought to be taken quite literally, and we must try to
understand what it really contains. A thrill of awe pervades us when
we begin to understand such a statement, and when we learn its
meaning; telling as it does that after the Thrones on Saturn, the
Spirits of Wisdom on the Sun, the Spirits of Motion on the Moon had
poured their principles into man, then on the Earth the
Spirits of Form pervaded him. It is this mighty moment that is
referred to in words of the Bible quoted above.
In the next lecture we shall learn further of the Elohim and Jehovah,
and how they cooperated with Luciferic Beings throughout the Atlantean
epoch and on into our own.
Last Modified: 15-Feb-2019
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