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FOUNDATIONS AT THE PERIPHERY:
RUDOLF STEINER'S OBSERVATIONS ON STAR KNOWLEDGE
12 Jan 1909
If we look back to our old Moon we find that it also separated itself from the sun for a certain length of time, though a large part of what is the moon today was then part of the earth. But outside there was a sun, and when such heavenly bodies belong together then their forces, which are the expression of their beings, always have an influence on regulating the life of their creatures. The orbiting of a planet around its sun or of a satellite around its planet is by no means mere chance, nor is it unconnected with life, on the contrary it is regulated by those beings we have learnt about in the hierarchies of spirits. We have seen that it is absolutely untrue that the heavenly bodies rotate by themselves through merely lifeless forces.
Modern man, with his materialistic mode of thought, laughs at the idea that in earlier times certain conditions in man's life were organised in connection with the four quarters of the moon. Now just with the moon in particular there is in a wonderful way a cosmic reflection of the relationship existing between the astral and the etheric body, The moon moves round its cycle in four times seven days. Those are the positions of the etheric body, and these four times seven positions of the etheric body are exactly mirrored in the four quarters of the moon. It is by no means nonsense to look for a connection between the phenomena of the rising temperature we described and just these quarters of the moon. Just think, there really is a different quarter of the moon at the end of seven days, just as there is another quarter of the etheric body and the astral body covers a different quarter of the etheric body. Originally the relationship of the human astral body to the etheric body was indeed regulated by spiritual beings bringing the moon into a corresponding orbiting of the earth. And you can see how the things are to a certain extent connected, in that even modern medicine reckons with an ancient heritage of rhythmic knowledge. As the rhythm of the body is ten times twenty-eight and the physical body is as it were back at the same point ten times twenty-eight days later, there are about ten times twenty-eight days between conception of a human being and his birth, ten lunar months. (104, pp. 69-71)
25 Feb. 1909
This awakening of the astral body can also be observed in another phenomenon. Before the twelfth century, the depths of mystery contained in the Holy Communion were especially well understood. It was not widely discussed, but rather was accepted in a manner that enabled a human being to feel everything that was contained in the words, `This is My body and this is My blood.' Christ meant with these words that He would be united with the earth and become its planetary spirit. And because flour is the most precious thing on earth, bread became for human beings the body of Christ, and the sap flowing through plants and vines became to them something of His blood. (13, pg. 260
22 Mar. 1909
The Luciferic Spirits gave man material desires; as their counter-measures the higher Beings introduced illness and suffering as the consequences of material desires and interests, to the end that he should not succumb to this world of sense. And so there is exactly as much suffering and pain in the world as there is interest only the physical and the material. The scales are held in perfect balance; the one does not outweigh the other - so many passions and desires on the one side, so much illness and pain on the other. (12, pg. 10)
10 Apr. 1909
Not a single thought would flare up in our souls if ego and astral body did not work in concert, thus giving rise to a commensurate, interdependent functioning of the blood and the nervous system. The future science of human beings will some day be amazed at today's scientific theory, which holds that thoughts originate solely in the nervous system. This belief is incorrect because the process responsible for the interaction of thoughts must be seen as a dynamic interaction between blood and nervous system.
The origination of thought inside our soul corresponds to rolling thunder in the cosmos. Likewise, when lightening flashes in the air, and when air and fire interact to produce thunder, this corresponds to the fire of our blood and the activity of our nervous system. This produces what one might metaphorically call an inner thunder that echoes in our thoughts, albeit gently, quietly and imperceptibly. The lightening in the clouds corresponds to the fire and the warmth in our blood, whereas the air outside, including all the elements it contains in the universe, corresponds to everything that passes through our nervous system. And just as lightning in its counterplay with the elements produces thunder, so the counterplay of blood and nerves produces the thought that flashes up in the soul. (13, pp. 94-95)
12 Apr. 1909
Before the Atlantean catastrophe the spiritual eye of man swept the expanses of the universe and beheld spiritual beings everywhere.
The physical centre, however, gradually became more clearly visible. Thus, the spiritual counterpart was lost when the physical aspect became manifest. The spiritual knowledge surrounding the stars, and of the beings who dwelt in them, was preserved in the Mysteries and spoken of by the Holy Rishis. (14, pg. 9)
When the pupils in these sanctuaries pronounced Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in their respective languages, they were referring to a sequence of spiritual beings. Today, these words refer to the coarsest physical substance of the planets, and the most important aspect is thereby omitted. (14, pg. 10)
Now, when the primeval divine teaching spoke of perceptible phenomena in our surroundings, particular emphasis was laid on what, to them, was the most important natural phenomenon surrounding man on earth - fire. In all explanations of what occurred on earth a central position was allotted to the spiritual investigation of fire. (14, pg. 15)
Actually, we feel our own inner warmth, we are hot or cold, and yet one is little inclined to concern oneself with what is gaseous, watery or solid in one's organism, that is, with what is air, water and earth in ourselves. We only begin to be aware of ourselves in the element of warmth. Ancient and modern spiritual science both proclaim fire or warmth to be the first stage at which matter becomes soul.
Fire or warmth was central to all observation of nature; it was the gateway by means of which one penetrated from the outer to the inner. It is truly like a door in front of which one can stand. One can behold it from outside, one can open it, and one can behold it from within. That is the true place of fire among natural phenomena. (14, pg. 17)
One cannot see light, but only the solid, fluid and gaseous elements through the effects of light. Spiritual science, therefore, says that light makes everything visible but cannot itself be seen. This is an important statement; light is imperceptible. It cannot be perceived by means of our external senses. We can perceive the solid, the fluid and the gaseous, and we can still perceive outwardly warmth or fire, but here an inner perception begins. The light as such we can no longer perceive externally. (14, pg. 18)
When an object is heated but does not produce any light, the generated warmth that one can perceive with the senses also contains a spiritual element. When the heat becomes so intense that light arises and smoke is produced, a part of the spiritual component that was in the heat goes over into smoke. Spiritual beings connected with the fire have, so to speak, to allow themselves to be made opaque, to be bewitched in the smoke. Thus everything of a turbid nature, of the solidification connected with warmth is associated with the bewitchment of spiritual beings. (14, pg. 19)
Now let us look at the world that surrounds us. The solid stones, the streams, the evaporating water that rises as mist, the air - all things that are solid, liquid or gaseous - are, in fact, densified fire. Gold, silver and copper are densified fire. In the far distant past everything was fire; everything was born of fire, but in all forms of densification, spiritual beings lie bewitched! (14, pg. 20)
Something is continually passing from these elementals into man, and it goes on from morning until night. As we look out into the world, hosts of elementals, who were, or are continually being bewitched into the process of densification, are continually entering into us from our surroundings. (14, pg. 21)
During life on earth man builds a cross-road for elementals. When man has gone through life in the spiritual worlds and returns in a subsequent incarnation through the gate of birth, all elemental beings whom he did not release, accompany him into physical existence. Those whom he releases do not accompany him any longer; they return to their original condition. (14, pg. 22)
[Detailed description of the following summary: Beings bound to and creating earth, water and air are further bound by thoughtless and unfeeling staring at or perception of matter, but released by reflection and feeling about things. Beings bound to and creating night are further bound by uncaring laziness but are released by industrious activity. Beings bound to and creating the waning moon are further bound by sullen, peevish discontentment but are released by a cheerful and harmonious view of life. Beings bound to and creating winter are further bound by gross materialism and denial of the spirit but are released by devout spiritual attention.] (14, pp. 22-26, précis by RSWB)
If you are active in such a way that elementals are led back to the light, the day, the waxing moon, and the summer season of the year, you free those elemental beings whom you need so very much; at your death they rise into the spiritual world. If you connect yourself with the smoke, staring at solid matter, or if you connect yourself to the night through apathy, to the spirits of the waning moon because of your ill-humour, and to the spirits who are chained in the winter time through godlessness or lack of spirituality, then you condemn elementary beings to reincarnate with you. (14, pg. 27)
13 Apr. 1909
[`Reversed' Zodiac illustration,] (14, pg. 48)
We might say that just as the earth is surrounded by the atmosphere, so was the old Sun surrounded by the realm of the Cherubim for the benefit of the Archangels. The Archangels, as they went forth into cosmic space, beheld their mighty helpers.
How did these great helpers meet them, and what was their appearance? Naturally, this can only be seen by looking with clairvoyant perception into the Akashic Record. These great universal helpers appeared in quite definite etheric forms. Our forefathers, still conscious of these important facts through tradition, represented Cherubim as strangely winged beasts with variously shaped heads: The winged Lion, the winged Eagle, the winged Bull, and the winged Man.
For the Cherubim, in fact, drew near, to begin with, from four sides.
The Archangels who dwelt as man on the old Sun beheld the four different types of Cherubim approaching from four sides. Because of this, the Archangels were able to remain longer in the spiritual realm that surrounded the old Sun than would otherwise have been possible.
The Cherubim, however, were also in the heavens during sun nights when the light did not stream out. During such periods, the Sun planet was darkened and there was only warm gas, no light; currents of warm gases streamed inside the Sun globe. The Cherubim were all around it and sent their activity downwards into the dark gas. This accounts for the fact that out of the Sun mist on the old Sun the first germs were laid down for what we today call the animal kingdom.
Just as the first germs of the human race were laid down in man's physical body on ancient Saturn, so the earliest beginnings of the animal kingdom were in the smoke, in the gas of the old Sun. (14, pp. 49-50)
Therefor, our forefathers who were familiar with these important facts of spiritual cosmology from the Mysteries, called the beings who manifested their influences from various sides of the universal space on the old Sun, the zodiac (animal circle). That is the original meaning of the zodiac. The first beginnings of man were laid down on ancient Saturn; the substance, which today constitutes our physical body, was poured out, sacrificed by the Thrones. On the old Sun the beginnings of the animal kingdom were laid down; the first animal forms were conjured forth from the gas, condensed from the heat substance, in which the Cherubim reflected themselves. Thus, the first animals became Sun reflections of the zodiac. Here is a true inner relationship between the zodiac and the first animals on the old Sun. Our present animals are caricatures of the beings who were in the process of becoming animals on the Sun.
The shapes of our present animals, even if they are caricatures, were drawn from the periphery of the cosmos, from the forms of the zodiac. You may have noticed that I have only spoken about four names of the zodiac. They represent the four principal expressions of the Cherubim, but in reality each of these cherubic beings has to the right and the left of it a kind of follower or companion. Thus we have twelve-fold forces in the Sun's periphery belonging to the realm of the Cherubim. They were already present in a rudimentary form on ancient Saturn. The twelve powers belonging to the realm of the Cherubim accomplished their task in the way indicated.
But how are these related to the usual names of the zodiac? We shall refer to this in the next few days, for there has been a change in the sequence of the names. One generally begins with the Ram, Bull, Twins, Cancer, Lion, then comes Virgin and the Scales. The Eagle had to accept the name Scorpio for a definite reason owing to a later transformation. Then come the two companion signs, the Archer, Sagittarius, and the goat, Capricorn. Man is called Waterman for a particular reason that we will come to learn. Finally, we have the Fishes. The true forms out of which the zodiac originated only shimmer through in the Bull and the Lion, less so in Man, who is exoterically referred to as the Waterman. (14, pp. 51-52)
14 Apr. 1909
Before a system of Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim comes about, it must first have been a solar system. This means that a sun must have reached the stage when it could unite itself again with its planets; then it can become peripheral. The sun itself becomes a zodiac. What we have come to know as the exalted beings in the zodiac are the remnants that have passed over to us from a previous solar system. What previously evolved within a solar system can now work creatively into cosmic space and bring a new solar system to birth out of its own forces. Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones represent for us the highest hierarchy among divine beings because they have already accomplished their development as a solar system and have risen to an exalted rank of cosmic sacrificial service.
As a result, these beings have come into the closest vicinity of the most exalted divinity of which we can speak, the Trinity, the threefold divine power. (14, pg. 57)
The name Seraphim, rightly understood in the sense of ancient Hebrew esotericism, is always interpreted as referring to beings who receive the loftiest ideas and aims of a cosmic system from the Trinity. The Cherubim, who belong to the next hierarchy, have the task of elaborating in wisdom the aims and ideas received from the Gods. The Cherubim are thus spirits of exalted wisdom, capable of transposing into workable plans what is indicated by the Seraphim. The Thrones, the third rank of the hierarchies, counting from above, have the task - figuratively speaking, of course - of putting into practice the lofty cosmic thoughts that have been conceived in wisdom, thoughts received by the Seraphim from the Gods and pondered over by the Cherubim. (14, pg. 58)
Those powers that acquired their faculties in former cosmic systems worked from without. Beings of lesser maturity worked from within. (14, pg. 61)
Ancient Saturn was a huge cosmic globe, the size of which encompassed the whole solar system, and it had the Sun at its centre. It was a mighty globe reaching out as far as the present orbit of the planet Saturn. The old Sun was a globe that extended as far as the present Jupiter. That marks the boundary of the old Sun. One can picture the orbits of our planets as boundaries for the extension of former cosmic bodies. (14, pg. 63)
. . . the Mights or Dynameis . . . compressed the mass of the old Sun up to the boundary of the present Mars, and Mars represented the boundary line for the size of the old Moon. (14, pg. 64)
15 Apr. 1909
[Repeat of the precession of the spring equinox through the zodiac, entering the Bull about 3,000B.C. and the Ram about 800B.C. ](14, pg. 73, précis by RSWB)
You must picture the earth as the starting point and around it a sphere of influence reaching up to the moon. This is followed by a realm reaching up to Mercury, then one to Venus, and then one up to the sun. Now you may be astonished at the sequence of the planets as I have given it here. You might think that of this is the earth and this is the sun, that I should draw Mercury in the immediate vicinity of the sun, and then Venus. But that is not correct. The names of these two planets have been interchanged by a later astronomy. What is called Mercury today was known in ancient teachings as Venus, and the planet referred to as Venus nowadays was always known a s Mercury. We cannot rightly understand what is said about Venus or Mercury in ancient writings and teachings if we assume them to refer to the present planets of these names. At the time when the world system was turned topsy-turvy, when the earth was robbed if its central position, not only the perspective was completely altered, but the opportunity wad taken of interchanging the names of Mercury and Venus. (14, pg. 75)
[Illustration of combined Copernican and Ptolemaic orbital systems.] (14, pg. 76, précis by RSWB)
When speaking of the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems, one must be clear that the Ptolemaic system has preserved something of the constellation of the ruling spirits. (14, pg. 77)
As far as the spiritual influences are concerned, the earth and not the sun stands at the centre of the cosmic system. It was maintained by the men of all periods who place emphasis on spiritual development that certainly the sun is a nobler heavenly body; beings superior to man have developed there, but in evolution everything depends on man as he dwells on earth. Furthermore, the sun separated off so that man's development might proceed in the right way. (14, pg. 78)
The beings closest to the earth and active in its immediate vicinity up to the moon are the Angels. From this realm they guide the lives of individual human beings from incarnation to incarnation. But something more is required to distribute appropriately the masses of people of a nation so as to allot them their tasks on the face of the earth. Simple reflection will show that the cooperation of the cosmos is necessary. Whether a nation is endowed with this or that sort of character does not depend on earthly but on cosmic conditions. Consider, for instance, how one race acts differently from another, each with its particular skin and hair characteristics. Such things are due to cosmic relationships regulated from out of heavenly spaces. It comes from a realm extending up to Mercury and whose sphere of influence reaches up to Archangelic activity. The guidance of the whole development of humanity on earth is effected from more distant heavenly spaces, which extend as far as Venus. The guidance of the earth itself proceeds from the very centre of the whole system. (14, pg. 79)
16 Apr, 1909
If you wish to find an Angel, you must bear in mind that his physical aspect down here is merely a reflection of his spiritual principles that are visible only in the supersensible world. You will find the physical bodies of Angelic beings in flowing, running water, in the haze rising from evaporating stretches of water, also in wind and in the lightening flashing through the air, and other occurrences of this kind. One of the first stumbling blocks is that one is firmly convinced that a physical body must have a definite boundary. The human being finds it difficult to realize that in rising and falling mists, in evaporating streams, in the blowing of the wind, in the flashing of lightening through clouds, we behold the revelation of Angelic beings, and behind the physical body, which is not limited as that of man, one has to seek the spirit.
The human being must develop his members as a self-enclosed entity. That is why he cannot imagine that a physical body can be so blurred and hazy that it need not have definitely outlined contours. You must imagine, for example, that eighty Angels may have the densest part of their physical nature in one stretch of water. One sheet of water here and another stretch far distant may belong to the same Angelic being. Clairvoyant sight in the astral world is needed to behold the ego and Manas of Angelic beings; they look down upon us from higher worlds. To find Angelic beings we must investigate the realm of the solar system that extends as far as the orbit of the moon. (14, pp. 85-86)
To gain a total picture of an Archangelic being, we must look in two places; it is not as with man in whom everything is united in one being. In the case of an Archangel, we have a spiritual part above and a reflection of the spirit down below. A physical body and an etheric body can only be united if the physical body consists only of air and fire. In other words, you could not sense the physical body of an Archangel in the rushing water, for instance. You could only perceive it in wind and fire, and you would have to seek the supersensible counterpart clairvoyantly in the spiritual world.
The physical bodies of the Archai can only be perceived in flames of fire. When we see the flashing fire of lightening, we can say that there we have something of the Archai, but above in the spiritual world we can find clairvoyantly the counterpart that is separate in this case from the physical body.
With regard to the Archai . . . [they] . . . dwell within a realm that extends up to the astronomical Mercury (Venus according to the Mysteries). (14, pg. 87)
17 Apr. 1909
Taken superficially, you may find a number of apparent contradictions in the one or other lecture cycle. This is because in these lectures it is my task to speak not of speculative theories but about facts of clairvoyant consciousness, which appear in a different way when viewed from this or that angle. To use a comparison, the picture of a tree drawn from one side will look quite different from that drawn from another and yet, it is one and the same tree. (14, pg. 96)
They are by no means identical like a group of twelve similar soldiers, for instance. They differ considerably from one another. Each bears its individual stamp, so that as one looks upwards from various points, one sees quite separate beings. So, in order to locate particular Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim, one designates them by a particular constellation. It is like a signpost. In that direction there are the Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim known as the Twins, over there, the Lion, etc. The constellations of the zodiac are more than mere signposts but, as a first stage, it is important to realize that, when we refer to the zodiac, we are speaking of spiritual beings.
The Thrones are the first to exert their activity on the heat structure that we denote as ancient Saturn. They cause their own heat substance to seep into the mass of Saturn. That is how, as I have described, a series of `eggs' (perhaps a strange word to use, yet they have this form) appear all around this structure. (14, pg. 99)
In fact, the warmth-eggs, as I have drawn them previously, are enclosed by two currents, namely, an outer stream of soul warmth and an inner stream of heat, which would have been perceptible to the outer senses. Because of the working together of the outer and inner heat, the Saturn-eggs began to rotate. Each single egg describes a full circle and comes, in turn, under the influence of the various Thrones, Seraphim and Cherubim situated at the periphery.
Then something strange occurs. On its journey, this egg finally reaches its place of origin again. (I am simply describing the observations of spiritual science.) When it reaches this point it becomes stationary; it cannot go any further. Every egg is created at one particular point, travels around in a circle and is stopped at the point where it originated. When all the eggs have arrived and are stopped at one particular point, they fall on top of each other and form one single egg. This globe consists of the densest part of the fire substance, which in the narrower sense of the word is called Saturn because that is the position of our present planet Saturn.
As previous stages are in a certain sense repeated, so were whole processes repeated at the origin of our earth. Our present Saturn came about in a similar way; it was held back at a particular point, not at the same point as in the case of ancient Saturn, however, because things shift for various reasons. But the process of origin is the same. (14, pp. 100-101)
[Saturn-eggs of elemental fire brought to rest by Leo, and relationship to human heart.] (14, pp. 101-102, précis by RSWB)
[Formation of living globes of elemental air on old Sun and their being killed under Scorpio.] (14, pp. 102-104, précis by RSWB)
The present Mars is a repetition of the old Moon. The old Moon reached up as far as the present position of Mars. That is one part of the old Moon; the other part is the present moon, which is a slag-heap. The living part, which represents the other pole, remained with Mars after the former condition was repeated. During this period of the old Moon - or old Mars, if you prefer - mankind received the astral body, in other words, the first form of consciousness. This occurred because an impulse had been given at a particular place; it revolved around in a circle and returned to the point from which it had begun. This happened in the region of the zodiac known as the Waterman.
We now come to the earth, which represents the fourth stage of evolution. The three earlier stages are repeated: A Saturn is formed; A Sun is formed and leaves a Jupiter behind, which is a repetition of the Sun; a Moon is formed and a Mars is left behind. Then the earth emerges, as I have described it, severed from the sun and with the part that is separated off as lunar slag. You recall that the first beginnings of the ego took place in ancient Lemurian times when the present moon separated itself off from the earth.
Again, however, that could only happen because an impulse was given from the periphery that resulted in one rotation being completed. Sufficient maturity had now been reached to receive the first beginnings of the ego. This took place in ancient Lemurian times, and one pointed to the constellation of the Bull. (14, pp. 106-107)
Celestial bodies such as Saturn, Jupiter and Mars came about because, originally, a shell or skin was formed; because the globes were laid on top of each other, the structure densified so as to become visible in cosmic space. (14, pg. 108)
18 Apr. 1909
The karma of the first half of evolution fulfills itself in the second. During the second half, things are destroyed that were built up during the first half. The cosmic process of becoming creates karma; the passing away of worlds in the broadest sense of the word is none other than pain under the burden of karma and the wiping away of that karma. As in big things, so it is also in small ones and it applies to each planet. For each planet mirrors faithfully the conditions prevailing in the cosmos at large. (14, pg. 115)
. . . As Jupiter contracted, the beings who withdrew pressed together something that has nothing to do with our evolution; it was essentially related to the withdrawing beings. Thus, first Uranus was formed and later, during Mars evolution, Neptune arose. The names Uranus and Neptune were not appropriately chosen as had formerly been the case, though some meaning remains in the name Uranus. It was given at a time when an inkling of giving the right name still survived; everything beyond our own planetary system was given the collective name Uranus.
Thus we see that the two planets, which our modern astronomy sets on a par with the other planets, have in fact quite another origin and have fundamentally nothing to do with our universe. They represent worlds that came about because beings, who still had something to do with us during ancient Saturn, withdrew and took up their dwelling outside our world. Many other facts can be deduced from this, for instance, that these planets have retrograding moons, and so forth. (14, pg. 126)
3 May 1909
Now the sun and moon work in various ways from outside. The way the sun works in the region of the North Pole is very different from the way it works at the Equator. We get the impression of tremendous contrasts that acquired a meaning the moment the sun began to shine on to the earth from outside. You know, of course, that the nearer we get to the North Pole, the greater the difference between winter and summer. And right at the North Pole half the year is day and half the year night. When you think of these differences, then what spiritual science has to say about these things will make sense. It tells us that at the North Pole itself earth conditions in Lemurian times were the closest to those conditions existing on the earth when the sun and moon were still united with it. Today, of course, these conditions are quite different. But even today it is still to a certain extent true that at the North Pole the strongest influence is from the earth's centre to its surface, and the influence of the sun and the moon are at their least. What has made itself felt since Lemurian times, in the great increase of forces raying in from outside, has had the least influence of all at the North Pole, so the effect of the centre of the earth on its surface and everything living upon it is here at its greatest. On the other hand the influence of the sun and moon is strongest around the equator, and this was already so in Lemurian times. (104, pp. 112-113)
10 May 1909
[Through clairvoyant development, Atlantean initiates achieved vision and experience of higher spiritual beings beyond the earth and up to the region of the stars.
During these times there were mystery centers that were especially concerned with the various planets in our solar system and the spiritual powers standing behind them. For this reason there were Mars, Venus, Sun, Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn and Moon oracles. The greatest was the Sun oracle which could survey and watch over all the others.] (84, pp. 73-74; précis by RSWB)
14 May 1909
When the ancient Egyptians spoke of the stars they meant the spiritual aspect of the stars, which they still knew. In the past they had seen beings hovering through space, now only spheres were seen, moving in elliptical circles. (84, pg. 97)
4 June 1909
Those who are unacquainted with the principles of occult investigation may believe that it would be better if such facts had not previously been made known. But in the spiritual world there is a definite law, the significance of which we will make clear by example. Suppose that in a certain year some properly trained clairvoyant had perceived this or that in the spiritual world. Now imagine that ten or twenty years later, another equally trained clairvoyant could see the same thing even if he had known nothing whatsoever about the result obtained by the first clairvoyant. If you were to believe that this could happen, you would be making a great mistake, for the truth is that a fact of the spiritual world that has once been discovered by a clairvoyant or by an occult school, cannot be investigated a second time if the would-be investigator has not first been informed that it has already been discovered. If, therefor, in the year 1900 a certain fact had been investigated and in the year 1950 another clairvoyant reaches the stage of being able to perceive the same thing, he can succeed only if he has realized that someone has already investigated and fathomed it. Therefor, already known facts in the spiritual world can be perceived only when their import has been consciously grasped as communications already made. This is the law that establishes for all epochs the foundation of universal brotherliness. It is impossible to penetrate into any domain of the spiritual world without a link having first been made with what has already been fathomed by the Elder Brothers of humanity. The spiritual world sees to it that nobody can become a law unto himself, saying, `I am not concerned with what is already there. I shall investigate only for myself.' None of the facts communicated in spiritual science today could be perceived by individuals, however highly developed and advanced, if they had not been previously known. Because a link must be there with what has already been discovered, the theosophical movement had also to be founded on this basis.
In a comparatively short time from now, many individuals will become clairvoyant, but they would be able to see only unreality, not the truth, in the spiritual world if they had not heard of what had already been investigated. First one must have knowledge of these truths, such as given by theosophy, or the science of the spirit, and only then can they be actually perceived. Even a clairvoyant must get to know what has already been discovered, and then, after conscientious training, he can perceive the facts himself. It may be said that the divine beings fertilize a faculty of seership only once in a human soul and if the single, virginal fertilization has been achieved, then other human beings must pay attention to what this first soul has discovered in order to have the right to see it themselves. This law lays the foundations of an inner, universal brotherliness, a true brotherhood of men. From epoch to epoch wisdom has passed through the occult schools and been faithfully harbored by the Masters, and we, too, must help to preserve this treasure and maintain brotherliness with those who have already achieved something if we wish to make our way into the higher regions of the spiritual world. What is striven for on the physical plane as moral law is natural law in the spiritual world. (15, pp. 14-16)
There is a superficial belief of science that there is no great difference between plant seed and animal egg. In the animal egg, form and life are transmitted from progenitor to offspring: life is transmitted. In the seed of the lily nothing except the form is preserved and it is transmitted to the new lily. We must, therefor, say that the whole planet upon which plant life unfolds is surrounded by collective life containing the impulse that enables the life of the plant to arise from it, and from the plant seed only the form. From the life of the old lily nothing passes over to the flower bed or flower pot in which the seed is lying. That the new lily is imbued with life is due to the fact that the seed has been received into the universal life of our earth. (15, pg. 20)
9 June 1909
During the recapitulation of the Saturn embodiment. Uranus, Vulcan and Saturn separated from the earth. During the recapitulation of the Sun embodiment, Jupiter and Mars separated. After the sun has left the earth, Mercury and Venus separate from it. After the separation of the sun, the earth cast out the moon. The dispersal of Old Moon was brought about by the forces of the progressed beings who drew out the solar body, while the normal and retarded beings produced the moon circling around it. In all the Mysteries these happenings were called the strife in heaven. The detached planetoids are the ruins of that battlefield. It is here that the primal secret of the origin of evil must be sought. (15, pg. 81)
[Details of Lemurian Age before the moon forces left the earth] Everything that should have been habitable down below was often hardened, crusted, withered, mummified. There was actually a period when souls were seeking in vain for bodies for their own evolution on earth. The consequence was that certain beings could not at that time have returned to the physical plane as men. They could not have incarnated again on the earth. These beings went to other cosmic bodies that had separated from the sun, namely to Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. There was a time when the majority of these beings who should normally have incarnated on the earth according to their nature and their stage of evolution, placed themselves under the protections of the beings of Mars, Jupiter, Venus or Saturn, having ascended to and populated these cosmic bodies. Only the strongest souls found it possible to cope with the stubborn bodies and keep them flexible. Please understand me well. It was only the best soul material that then came again to earth, because its power to master the stubborn bodies was the greatest. But under such conditions evolution could not have progressed. (15, pp. 82-83)
10 June 1909
It was thus that the concept of race developed in ancient Atlantis. In occultism it is said that there were human beings in Atlantis whose bodies were inhabited by souls who had previously been on Mars, Jupiter, Venus and so on. The external forms of these bodies differed for this reason. (15, pg. 91)
27 June 1909
. . . Before the sun could withdraw, it became necessary for certain beings to segregate special fields of action for themselves, and these spheres figure today as the outer planets, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. It can therefore be said that overall matter, which contained sun and moon, comprised Saturn, Jupiter, and so forth, as well; and certain beings withdrew from the beginning with these heavenly bodies, beings requiring for their life precisely what these planets could offer . . . So the separation of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars occurred before the division of sun and earth, while later Venus and Mercury split off from the sun, and finally the moon from the earth. (16, pp. 71-72)
7 July 1909
Now, consider anything whatever that pertains to the earth: when do you understand it aright? When you say, That is part of the body of Christ. What was Christ able to say to those who would learn to understand him? As He broke bread made from the grain of the earth He could say, This is my body. And what could He say to them as He gave them the juice of plants? This is my blood.
Because He had become the soul of the earth, He could say of the solid substance, `This is my flesh', and of the plants fluid, `This is my blood' - just as you say of your flesh, this is my flesh, and of your blood, this is my blood. And those who are able to grasp the true meaning of these words of Christ create for themselves thought images that attract the body and the blood of Christ in the bread and wine, and they unite with the Christ Spirit. (16, pg. 271)
According to occult teaching every body consists of twelve members. The one uppermost is called Ram; the adjacent one Bull; the one with the hands, Twins; the chest is called the Crab; everything in the region of the heart is the Lion; below it - the trunk - is the Virgin; the hips, the Scales; below this, Scorpion; and still further down: the thigh, the Archer; the knee, the Goat; the lower leg, the Water-carrier; and the feet, the Fishes. (16, pg. 285)
24 Aug. 1909
Not only in olden times were there people who could turn their gaze towards these higher worlds and see them in the same way as we see the outer world with our physical eyes and understand it with our intellect. There have been such people at all periods of human evolution and there are such today. Humanity never has been dependent on the mere study of the truths recorded in history, nor is man dependent on receiving these teachings about higher worlds from any special physical place. Everywhere in the world the current of higher wisdom and knowledge may be tapped. It would be no wiser for our schools to teach mathematics or geography today by means of old documents, written in ancient times, than it is for us, when studying the great wisdom of the supersensible worlds, to consider only ancient, historical accounts. Therefor it will be our present task to approach the things of the higher worlds, the beings of the supersensible regions themselves, to review many things that are known, less known, or quite unknown about these higher worlds, and then to ask ourselves what the people of older and of ancient times had to say about these things. (58, pp. 9-10)
25 Aug. 1909
During the earliest period of Earth evolution the substances and beings now to be found in the present Sun and Moon were united with the Earth; the present Sun beings separated from Earth, which remained in connection with what later separated off as our Moon; after the separation of Moon, Earth remained alone, between it and Sun. These three bodies were one in the beginning; only later did the Sun and the Moon develop out of the Earth.
Let us now inquire as to the spiritual meaning of this separation. We will leave out of consideration the first separation occurring during the Old Moon period and look at what happened in this connection during the Earth period. Certain beings pass through their evolution on Earth, and Sun and Moon afford evolutionary opportunities to others. Beings at a different stage of development from that of man separated from the Earth with the Sun, because their evolution could not proceed otherwise. At the time, therefor, of the separation of Sun from Earth, we are faced with the fact that man was left behind, since the nature of his evolution demanded the conditions afforded by Earth. The other beings, whose evolution could not proceed upon Earth, separated from it the substances necessary for them, and built their Sun abode. Thence they influence and work upon the Earth. In the physical sunbeams as they lighten and warm the Earth, we see streaming the activities of the sun spirits; the sunbeams are the outer, corporal [sic] manifestation of sun beings. That is the meaning of the separation of Sun from Earth.
What was the meaning of the separation of Moon? Man could not have kept pace with the evolutionary tempo of the sun-beings if they had remained in union with Earth. The evolutionary tempo of Earth was slackened by the separation of Sun, but it was not suitable for human beings - it was too slow. Man would have become hardened or mummified, if Moon had remained in connection with Earth. Earth would gradually have become a planetary body from which the men would have developed with forms like dead bodies that lack inner spiritual and psychic life. Moon had to withdraw from Earth in order that the right evolutionary tempo for the being of man might be set up. If Sun had remained with Earth man would have been forced into an outer life and activity which he could not have endured; if Moon had remained he would have become impervious to stimulus, he would have dried up, lacking vital force. The stimulus received by man from Sun was an external one which would have produced too rapid a tempo. In the same way as Sun stimulates the life of the flowers in the fields, would man's thoughts, feelings and will have been stimulated from without, but at such a rate that he would have been burnt up by physical and spiritual sun fire. The source of this stimulus left Earth and in this way its influence was weakened. At first, because of the hardening tendency inherent in Earth, the Sun's influence had too little effect - and a portion of these hardening factors had to leave with Moon. Therewith came into the evolution of Earth and of man a new vitalising principle, the stimulating influence of which was exactly contrary to that of the Sun from without. The new stimulus came from within. The life of the soul in the physical world could develop only because man was saved from this hardening and mummification by the withdrawal of Moon.
Ask of one whose spiritual sight is able to penetrate into the Cosmos as to the origin of man's perception of the external world, and his answer will be that it is to be found in the physical or spiritual sun elements; ask what lies at the basis of inner experience, of thought, of feeling, of conscience, for example, and it will be found that this is due to the moon, to those beings who separated their substance from the earth with the moon. The presence of moon substances in the earth would have prevented the inner mobility of soul life.
We must remember that it was not merely for the sake of man that the separation of the sun and moon from the earth came to pass, but also for the sake of those beings whose evolution was at first bound to that of humanity. In the sun dwell beings who need the sun for their evolution, just as the evolution of man needs the earth. To remain with the earth would have been death to their existence; but the separation resulted in their becoming able by degrees to reach a stage where their beneficent influences could flow down to the earth from without. When the seer observes the light, when he perceives external objects, he realises at a certain stage of his evolution that it is the sun beings which live behind the physical phenomena of colour, sound, and so on, but that these beings themselves had to develop to their present stage; these sun spirits are the upper spiritual beings contacted through the phenomena of the sense world.
Let us now ask how the inner stimulus was given to save mankind from hardening, from ossification. Certain beings were needed which at the appropriate time, withdrew the moon substances from the earth. These beings realised that the act of the sun beings was not sufficient, and that they must protect the earth from ossification by withdrawing the moon from the earth. They were in a certain respect higher than the sun spirits. These latter, when the sun was still united with the earth, felt themselves obliged for the sake of their development to find another dwelling place, but the other spirits were able to remain with the earth even after the sun spirits had gone out. And this made it possible for them to save human evolution at a certain point of time by separating the moon from the earth. Thus they were in a certain respect higher than the sun beings . . . they were able to separate a substance from the earth relatively coarser than that connected with the sun spirits and by becoming rulers of this coarse substance to prove their greater power. For those who are able to transform evil into good are more powerful than those who rule over the good and make it, possibly, a little better.
Those are the beings behind the phenomena of the life of the soul, who by separating the moon from the earth, made thinking, feeling, willing, and conscience possible. They come from the moon region, a spiritual kingdom which in a certain respect is higher, more powerful than that of the sun spirits, which are to be found behind external Maya. Maya is two-fold; there is the external Maya of the sense world, and the inner Maya of soul life. Behind the first stand those spiritual beings who have their centre in the Sun; behind the Maya of the inner life stand the other beings who belong to a more powerful kingdom. (58, pp. 51-56)
30 Aug. 1909
During the Egyptian epoch, while the sentient soul was being intensively developed, thoughts were as vivid in the soul as is to-day the perception of colour, or scent, or taste. To-day they have grown fainter and more abstract. In the Egyptian epoch they were concrete. They were more like visible thoughts; although not thoughts which could be said to take objective shape in the physical world they were nevertheless thoughts carrying with them a conviction that they had not been puzzled out, but rose in the soul like inspirations, surging in suddenly and presenting them in a flash. These people did not say that they breathed wisdom in, but that they were permeated by living thoughts, which sprang up out of the soul, which were impelled from the spiritual world into our own. Thus does everything change in the course of time. And so a man belonging to the Chaldaic-Egyptian epoch no longer was conscious of the wisdom of the world spread out as a tapestry of light around him, to be breathed in. He was conscious of possessing thoughts which rose within him as inspirations. And the content of the science thus rising in man's being is Chaldaic astro-theology and Egyptian Hermetic wisdom. That which lives in the stars and moves them in their courses, that which pulsates in all things, could no longer be, as it were, read by man, but it revealed itself to his innermost being in the form of the ancient wisdom of the Chaldaic-Egyptian period. (58, pp. 180-181)
Consider your own soul life! It does not spread itself out in `space', it runs its course in `time'. Thoughts and feelings follow one another (in `time'). That which is outside is spread out in space, in simultaneous co-existence. Accordingly an event had to happen which may be called the outflow into space and co-existence of something which till then had only lived in time. And that event duly took place; something which had hitherto lived only in time became from that epoch onward a co-existing life in space. In this manner occurred a change of profound importance and one to which expression was given in an equally profound manner.
All previous human spiritual evolution in leading out beyond the external world of space led also into external time. Now everything that comes under the laws of time is regulated by the measure and nature of the number seven. We learn to understand the evolution of the world by basing it on the number seven and counting, for example, the seven stages of Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth (or Mars-Mercury), Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan. In everything which has to do to do with time we proceed aright by making use of the number seven. In `time' we are everywhere led to the number seven. All the schools and lodges whose teaching leads out of space into time have seven as a fundamental number when they lead to the supersensible. This number seven is associated with the holy Rishis, and with the holy teachers of other nations down to the seven wise men of Greece. But the fundamental number of space is twelve, and in flowing into space, time is revealed according to the number twelve. At the point where time flows out into space the number twelve dominates. We have twelve tribes in Israel, also twelve apostles at the moment when Christ, Who had previously revealed Himself in time, poured out into space. (58, pp. 186-188)
31 Aug. 1909
Take, for instance, a man whose spiritual vision is so far opened that he can examine data of the Akashic Records of the past. He may use the number seven as a guide and realise that what runs its course in time is built up on the basis of the number seven; that which repeats itself in various forms can very well be analysed by using the number seven as a foundation and proceeding from this as a basis. In this sense it is right to say that since the earth goes through various embodiments we have to look for its seven incarnations; Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan. Because human civilisations pass through seven incarnations we must seek their connections by once more using the number seven as a basis. Let us for instance consider the civilisations in post-Atlantean times. The old Indian is the first, the second is the old Persian, the third the Chaldaic-Egyptian, the fourth the Graeco-Latin, the fifth our own and we are expecting two more, the sixth and the seventh to succeed our own. We can also find our way in the study of the Karma of an individual by trying to look at his three former incarnations. By starting with the incarnation of a man of the present day and looking back at his three former incarnations it is possible to draw certain conclusions concerning his next three incarnations. The three former and the present incarnations, plus the three following make seven again. Seven is a clue for everything that happens in time.
On the other hand the number twelve is a clue for all things that co-exist in space. Science which at the same time was wisdom was always conscious of this. It said: `It is possible to find the right way by connecting the spatial relationship of everything that occurs upon the earth with the twelve permanent points in space - the twelve signs of the zodiac in the cosmos.' These are the twelve basic points with which everything in space is connected. This declaration was not an arbitrary yield of human thinking; but the power of thought in those early times had learned from reality and so ascertained the fact that space was best understood when it was divided into twelve constituent parts, thus making the number twelve a clue for all spatial relations. But where the question of changes came in, that is to say in the time element, the seven planets were given as a clue by a still older science. Seven is here the clue. (58, pp. 191-193)
But there is also an inner relationship of space and time which I can only indicate here in bare outline with which the numbers twelve and seven have something to do. And my illustration shall be made as was usual in the mysteries when the relations of twelve to seven in the cosmos was being portrayed. It has been said that if we do not consider universal space in an abstract sense, but really relate earth conditions to universal space, we must refer those earth conditions to the circle described by the twelve essential points of the Zodiac, viz. Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. These twelve points of the zodiac were not alone the real and veritable world symbols for the very oldest divine spiritual beings, but the symbols themselves were thought to correspond, in a certain sense, with reality. Even when the earth was embodied as old Saturn, the forces issuing from these twelve directions were at work upon that ancient planet; so they were later on the old Sun, and on the old Moon, and are now and will continue to be in the future. Therefor they have as it were the nature of permanence, they are far more sublime than that which arises and passes away within our earth existence. That which is symbolised by the twelve signs of the zodiac is infinitely higher than that which is transformed in the evolutionary course of our planet from old Saturn to old Sun and from that to old Moon and so on. Planetary existence arises and passes away, but the Zodiac is ever there. What is symbolised by the points of the Zodiac is more sublime than what upon our earth plays its part as the opposition between good and evil.
In an earlier chapter I called your attention to the fact that on penetrating into the astral realm we enter a world of change - where something which from one point of view works for good, may from another point of view appear as evil. These differences between good and evil have their meaning in evolution and seven is the key number. That which is the symbol of Gods in the twelve points in space, in the twelve points of permanence is above good and evil. (58, pp. 198-199)
As soon as that which in the spiritual world (which I have said is permanent, eternal, having nothing to do with time) passes into time, it divides itself into good and evil. Of the twelve points of permanence there remain belonging to the good, the five actually within the sphere of good and the two on the border, making seven. Therefor we speak of seven as remaining over from the twelve. When we wish to speak of that which is good and which acts as our guide in time, we must speak of seven wise men, of seven Rishis, for this corresponds with reality. Hence also comes the conception that seven signs of the Zodiac belong to the world of light, to the upper world, and that the lower five beginning with Scorpio belong to the world of darkness.
This is only a mere indication serving to show that space, when it forsakes its sphere of eternity and takes into itself created things which run their course in time, is divided into good and evil; and in bringing out the good, seven is raised out of the twelve; seven then becomes the true number for temporal conditions. For truths which belong to time, we must take the number seven as our clue; the remainder, the number five would lead us into error. That is the inner meaning of these things. (58, pp. 201-202)
14 Oct. 1909
It is a mistake to assume - as it so often is nowadays - that the human soul has always been just as it is in our century. The soul has changed; its receptivity was quite different in the past. A person was satisfied then if he received the picture given in the myth, for he was inspired by the picture to bring intuitive vision of the outer world much more directly before his soul. Today myths are regarded as fantasy; but when in former times the myth sank into a person's soul, secrets of human nature were shown to him. When he looked at the clouds or the sun and so forth, he understood as a matter of course what the myth had set before him. In this way something we could call higher knowledge was given to a minority in symbolic form. While today we talk and must talk in straightforward language, it would be impossible to express in our terms what the souls of the old sages or initiates received, for neither the initiates nor their hearers had the soul-forces we have now developed.
In those early times the only valid forms of expression were pictorial. These pictures are preserved in a literature which strikes the modern reader as very strange. Now and then, especially if one is prompted by curiosity as well as by a desire for knowledge, one comes across an old book containing remarkable pictures which show, for example, the interconnections between the planets, together with all sorts of geometrical figures, triangles, polygons, and so on. Anyone who applies a modern intellect to these pictures, without having acquired a special taste for them, will say: What can one do with all this stuff, the so-called Key of Solomon as a traditional symbol, these triangle and polygons and such like?
It was no longer possible to see in the outer world anything that revealed deep inner secrets. Symbols had come to be regarded as mere fantasies. One thing only survived: a recognition that the supersensible world corresponded to the supersensible in man, so that a man could say to himself: You are able to think, but your thought is limited by space and time, while in the spiritual world there is a Being who is pure thought. You have a limited capacity for love, whereas in the spiritual world there is a Being who is perfect love. (57, pp. 9-11)
11 Nov. 1909
I have repeatedly emphasised that clairvoyance is not necessary for understanding the finding s of clairvoyant research. Clairvoyance is indeed necessary for gaining access to the spiritual facts, but once the facts have been communicated, anyone can use unprejudiced reason to understand them. Impartial reason and healthy intellect are the best instruments for judging anything communicated from the spiritual worlds. A true spiritual scientist will always say that if he could be afraid of anything, he would be afraid of people who accept communications of this kind without testing them strictly by means of reason. He is never afraid of those who make use of unclouded intelligence, for that is what makes all these communications comprehensible.
However, a man may feel too weak to call forth in himself the forces necessary for understanding what he is told concerning the spiritual world. In that case he turns away from all this through an instinct for self-preservation which is right for him. He feels that to accept these communications would throw his mind into confusion. And in all cases where people reject what they hear through Spiritual Science, an instinct of self-preservation is at work; they know that they are incapable of doing the necessary exercises - that is, of practicing asceticism in the true sense. A person prompted by the instinct for self-preservation will then say to himself: If these things were to permeate my spiritual life, they would confuse it; I could make nothing of them and therefor I reject them. So it is with a materialistic outlook which refuses to go a step beyond the doctrines of a science it believes to be firmly founded on facts. But there are other possibilities, and here we come to a dangerous side of asceticism. People may have a sort of avidity for information about the spiritual world while lacking the inner urge and conscience to test everything by reason and logic. They may indulge a liking for sensationalism in this field. Then they are not held back by an instinct for self-preservation, but are driven on by its very opposite, a sort of urge for self-annihilation. If anyone takes something into his soul without understanding it, and with no wish to apply his reason to it, he will be swamped by it. This happens in all cases of blind faith, or when communications from the spiritual worlds are accepted merely on authority. This acceptance corresponds to an asceticism which derives not from a healthy instinct for self-preservation, but from a morbid impulse to annihilate the self, to drown in a flood of revelations. This has a significant shadow-side in the human soul: it is a bad form of asceticism when someone gives up all effort and chooses to live in faith and in reliance on others. (57, pg. 88)
21 Nov. 1909
One obligation should be observed: no matter how highly initiated we are, no matter how great our power of vision, it will not profit us, unless we are able to permeate our clairvoyant visions with concepts, with thoughts. We should not remain standing by our clairvoyant visions, but we should transform everything into thoughts which we take from our physical life. It is man's task to absorb what he can experience on earth. In the physical world he must acquire that which does not exist in the spiritual world, and he must bring these experiences into the spiritual world. (128, pg. 11)
7 Dec. 1909
Let us look at what happened when the clairvoyant of ancient times yielded to revelations from within themselves. They turned their gaze away from the outer world because what was revealed there could tell them nothing about the spiritual world. They even turned their gaze away from the sun and stars and listened only to what was within. There, a great inspiration about the secrets of the world was revealed, and they had a picture of the structure of the cosmos. What these ancient clairvoyants knew about the stars and their movements, about the laws of the starry worlds, and about the spiritual worlds was not acquired through external observation. Rather, the ancients knew something about Mars, Saturn, and so on because they had revealed themselves within these people. The laws of the universe, which are inscribed in the stars, were also inscribed within the human soul and revealed themselves there in inspirations. Just as the laws of the universe, which rule the stars, were revealed in the soul, so the laws that rule the world were now to be revealed to the Abrahamic people through outer reasoning and deduction - that is, those laws had to be grasped through outer revelation. (115, pp. 38-39)
9 Dec. 1909
In all sorts of popular books you will find this or that said about the moon from the standpoint of science today. But all you can learn from these sources or from the scientific literature will leave you quite unsatisfied as regards the real questions concerning this strange companion of the earth. As the 19th century advanced, the statements of science with regard to the moon became more and more cautious, but also less frequent; but today they will occupy us hardly at all. The picture of the moon's surface given by telescopes and astronomical photography, the descriptions of its surface-markings as crater-like formations, grooves, plains and valleys and suchlike, and the consequent impressions one can gain of the purely spatial countenance of the moon - all this will not concern us. The question for us today is a truly spiritual-scientific one - whether the moon has any special influence or significance for human life on earth.
A significance of this kind has been spoken of from various points of view in the course of the past centuries. And since everything that happens on earth, year in and year out, is related to the changing position of the earth relative to the sun, and is subject to the vast influence of the sun's light and heat, it is natural to wonder whether that other heavenly luminary, the moon, might not have some importance for life on earth, and especially for human life.
In the comparatively recent past, people were inclined to speak of the moon as having a fairly powerful influence on earthly life. Quite apart from the fact that it has long been customary to attribute to the moon's attraction the so-called ebb and flow of the sea, the moon has always been regarded as affecting weather conditions on earth. Moreover, as late as the first half of the 19th century, serious scientists and doctors collated observations of how the moon in its various phases had a definite effect on certain illnesses, and even on the course of human life as a whole. It was then by no means a mere popular superstition to consider the influence of the moon in relation to the ups and downs of fever, of asthma, of goitre and the like; there were still doctors who recorded such because they felt compelled to believe that the phases of the moon had some influence on the course of human life and on health and disease in particular.
With the rise of that scientific way of thinking which had its dawn and sunrise in the middle of the 19th century, the inclination to allow the moon any influence on human life diminished continuously. Only the belief that the moon causes the tides of the sea survived. (57, pp. 135-136)
Fechner himself realised that he had not achieved any world-shattering result; he had to recognise that the moon had no very great influence on the weather, but the facts did point to some influence. And he had, as you will have seen, proceeded quite scientifically, taking account only of observations carefully recorded for definite places. He made similar researches in relation to fevers and other bodily phenomena, and here to he obtained small positive results. It could hardly be denied that phenomena of this kind may take a different course under the waxing and under the waning moon. Thus the old view of the moon fought its last fight in the middle of the 19th century through the work of this highly gifted man, Fechner. (57, pp. 138-139)
The flood-tide is thought to be obviously connected with the attractive force of the moon, and is looked for when the moon reaches its meridian. When the moon leaves the meridian, the flood is expected to change to ebb. But we need only remark that in many places ebb and flow occur twice, while the moon stands at the meridian only once during the same period. And there are other facts. You can learn from travel-books that in many parts of the earth the flood by no means coincides with the moon's meridian; in some places it occurs up to two and a half hours later. Certainly, science has thought up excuses to account for this: we are told that the flood is retarded. But there are also certain springs which show an indubitable ebb and flow; in some cases the well ebbs when the ocean tide is at flood, and vice versa. We are told that these cases, too, are examples of retarded ebb or flow - in some cases so retarded as to run into the other phase. Of course this kind of explanation can explain almost anything.
One question has been rightly asked: whence does the moon get this power to attract the sea? The moon is much smaller than the earth and has only about a seventieth of the earth's attractive power, while to set the great masses of the sea into motion would require millions of horsepower. Julius Robert Mayer made some interesting calculations on this question and it leads on to numerous other problems. Hence we can say: Here is something which is regarded as scientifically irrefutable, and yet, although no objections are heard, it is in fact highly vulnerable.
One very significant fact, however, remains. Although the position and influence of the moon is such that it is hard to speak of an immediate relation of cause and effect, it holds true that a definite flood occurs every day - in relation to the moon's meridian - about fifty minutes later than on the previous day. The regular sequence of ebb and flow does therefor correspond to the course of the moon, and that is the most significant fact of all. Thus we cannot speak of the moon at its meridian as having an actual influence on flow and ebb, but we can say that the course of the moon's orbit does stand in a certain correspondence with the course of the earth's tides. (57, pp. 141-142)
Now there is something else to say about these states of waking and sleeping. Our waking life is directly connected with the course of the sun - though indeed this is not quite true of people today, especially in towns. But if we look at simple country life, where this relation between outer nature and human living still largely prevails, we find that for most of the time people are awake while the sun is up and asleep while the sun is down. This regular alternation of waking and sleeping corresponds to the regular action of sunlight on the earth and all that springs from it. And it is not merely a picturesque way of speaking but deeply true to say that in the morning the sun recalls into the physical body the astral body and the ego, together with the Sentient Soul, the Intellectual Soul and the Consciousness Soul; and while he is awake man sees everything around him by means of the sun and its radiance. And when man has once more united all the members of his being in daylight consciousness, it is the sun which summons him to ordinary life. We shall now easily recognise, if we are not taking a superficial view of these things, how the sun regulates the relationship of man to itself and to the earth. Let us now look more closely at three aspects of this relationship.
With regard to his threefold soul-nature, comprising Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul and Consciousness Soul, man is inwardly independent; but he is not with regard to their bearers, the astral, etheric and physical bodies. These three sheaths are built up from the outer universe, and in order that they may serve man in his waking life, they are built up through the relationship between sun and earth.
As we have seen, the Sentient Soul lives in its instrument, the sentient body. The sentient body owes its characteristics to the region which a man calls his home. Everyone has a home somewhere, and it matters whether he is born in Europe or America or Australia. For the physical and etheric bodies it makes no direct difference, but it does matter directly for the sentient body. Although man is gradually becoming more free from these effects on his sentient body, we still have to say: human beings whose roots are in their native soil, human beings in whom a feeling for their homeland is particularly strong, who have not yet overcome by strength of soul the power of the physical and are drawn to their place of birth - if such human beings have to move to another region, they are not only apt to become bad-tempered and morose, but may actually fall ill. Sometimes, then, the mere prospect of returning home is enough to restore them to health, for the source of their illness is not in the physical body or the etheric body but in their sentient body, whose moods, emotions and desires spring directly from the environment of their native land.
Through higher development, which enhances his freedom, man will overcome the influences which bind him to his native soil; but a comprehensive view shows that a man's situation on earth varies in accordance with the relation of the place where he lives to the sun; for the angle at which the sun's rays strike the earth varies from place to place. We can indeed trace in certain instinctive activities, which then become culturally assimilated, that they derive partially from the homeland of the people concerned.
Let us take two examples: the use of iron and the milking of animals for food. We shall find that it is only in certain areas of Europe, Asia and Africa that these two practices developed. In other areas they were unknown in early times. And where they came into use later on, they were introduced by emigrants from Europe. We can trace exactly how throughout Siberia the milking of animals dates from remote antiquity, and extends only as far as the Behring Sea; there is no record of it among the original inhabitants of America. It is similar with iron.
A second dependence concerns the etheric body. As bearer of the Intellectual Soul, the etheric body shows itself to be dependent in its activity on the seasons of the year; hence on the relation of sun to earth as expressed in the course of the seasons. A direct proof of this can of course come only through Spiritual Science, but you can convince yourselves by external facts that this statement is correct. For example, it is only in regions where a balanced alternation of seasons occurs that the inner activity of the soul as Intellectual Soul can develop; this means that only in such regions can a necessary bearer or instrument of the Intellectual Soul evolve in the etheric body of man. In the far north we find that when elements of culture are brought in from elsewhere, the soul has great difficulty in struggling with the etheric body, which is having to live under conditions characterised by excessively long winters and short summers. The Intellectual Soul will then find it impossible to forge out of the etheric body an instrument it can easily handle.
If we go to the tropics, we find that just the lack of regular seasons produces a kind of apathy. Just as the forces of plant life vary in the course of the year, so do the forces of man's etheric body: they find expression in the joy of spring, the longing for summer, the melancholy of autumn, the desolation of winter. These regular changes are necessary if a proper instrument for the Intellectual Soul is to be created in the human etheric body. Thus we see again how the sun affects human beings through its changing relation to the earth.
Now let us take the physical body. If the Consciousness Soul is to work right into the physical body, we must follow in ordinary life a rhythm similar to the alternation of day and night. Anyone who never slept would soon notice that he was unable to control effectively his thoughts about the world around him. A regular alternation of waking and sleeping builds up our physical body in a way that can provide an instrument for the Consciousness Soul. Thus we have seen how man's three bodies, astral, etheric and physical, are built up by the sun.
But what external influences play into the human being while he is asleep, while he is living in the spiritual world and has left his physical and etheric bodies behind?
While we are asleep we get something from the spiritual world to replace the forces that have been used up by our activities during the preceding day. Is it possible in this case also to point to an external influence, as we did to the daytime waking hours? Yes, it is, and what we find is in remarkable accord with the length of the phases of the moon. I am not maintaining that this external influence coincides exactly with the moon's phases, or that the phases themselves produce corresponding effects, but only that the course of these effects is comparable with the course of the phases of the moon. I will give two examples to show what I mean.
You will be well aware that people who are given to creative thought and the free play of imagination are not equally productive at all times. Poets, for example, if they are honest with themselves, have to admit now and then that they are out of tune, unable to write anything. People who observe this in themselves know that the productive periods, for which a certain imaginative frame of mind and a warmth of feeling are necessary, alternate in a remarkable way with periods when nothing can be accomplished. They know, too, that the soul has a fourteen-day period of productivity, after which anyone who has to do with creative thinking goes through an empty period, when the soul is like a squeezed out lemon. During this empty period, however, he can apply himself to work over what he has done. If artists and authors would take note of this, they would soon see how true it is.
This alternation of periods is influenced not by daytime conditions, but by the times when the soul and the ego are outside the physical and etheric bodies. And so, for a fourteen-day period, productive forces are, as it were, poured into the human being while he is independent of his physical and etheric bodies, and then, during the next fourteen days, no such forces are poured in. That is the rhythm. It applies to all human beings, but is more clearly evident in the sort of people just mentioned.
For the modern spiritual researcher there are two periods: one of fourteen days when he can make observations: he feels particularly strong and communications from the spiritual world press in on him from all sides. Then comes a period during which he is particularly well able, thanks to the forces just received, to penetrate with his thinking the illuminations, the imaginations and inspirations that have come to him from the spiritual world, to work over them so that they may acquire a strictly scientific form. The period of inspiration does not coincide with full moon and the working period with new moon. All we can say is that a comparison is possible between the two periods and full and new moon. Why should this be so?
When we study our earth, we find that it has evolved out of an earlier state. Just as each one of us has come in soul and spirit from a former incarnation, so has the earth emerged from a former planetary incarnation. But our earth retains relics of events which occurred under earlier conditions during its previous incarnation. And these relics are to be seen in the course of the moon around the earth, as we see it today. From a spiritual-scientific point of view the moon is reckoned as part of the earth. For what is it that keeps the moon circling round the earth? It is the earth itself, and here spiritual science and external science are in complete agreement. External science, too, regards the moon as having been split off from the earth, and having gained the force which keeps it in orbit through having once formed part of the earth. The earth itself has retained in its satellite these earlier conditions because it needs to have them shining into its present. Can we find any reason for this need?
Let us take man himself and observe how he lives as a soul in his body and how he is exposed to the course of the sun. We then must say: For normal consciousness today, everything associated with the sun is restricted to the life between birth and death. This is something you can test - ask yourselves whether what normal consciousness experiences during waking hours, in its threefold dependence on native place, the changing seasons and the alternation of day and night, is not restricted to the life between birth and death. Man would have nothing else in his consciousness, nothing more would illuminate it, if there were only the action of the sun on the earth and only this relation between earth and sun. That which plays over from one incarnation to the next and appears again in a new life, must be sought in the soul-spiritual element which permeates man's outer body and during sleep passes astral body and ego out of the physical and etheric bodies. At death also it leaves the body, and reappears in a new form at the next incarnation. Here is a rhythm which directs our attention to a similar rhythm associated with the moon.
If now we consider human evolution, we see that the work of ego on the Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul and Consciousness Soul has developed only on earth under the conditions that prevail between earth and sun. But the earth's relation to the moon reflects a former condition in its own evolution. Man's present phase of evolution, through Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul and Consciousness Soul, points to a period during which the bearers of the above soul-members, the astral, etheric and physical bodies, were being prepared. Then, just as the action of the sun is now still necessary for the proper development of these three bearers, the moon forces were at work preparing them. Today the moon forces were once in harmony with man and prepared him to be what he is today; likewise the earth during its moon condition prepared our present earth. Thus we can say that the lower nature of man, on which are built the Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul and Consciousness Soul, points back to earlier conditions which the earth has preserved in the orbit of the moon as we see it today.
We can see ,too, how man's inner being, as he passes from one incarnation to the next, must have a rhythm corresponding to the moon's. During earlier stages of the earth's evolution, it was not the transitory physical that was associated with the moon, but the inner activity which was working on the physical, just as the external physical is today being worked upon by the sun. The earth has preserved in the moon something of its earlier conditions, and so has man in his inner, eternal being. In this inner being he is now evolving higher qualities which were formerly an external influence and which are now to be developed by his own inner capacities.
Thus man frees himself inwardly by making the external rhythm into an inner one. He has long since freed himself from the rhythm which connected his inner being with the moon. Hence we have emphasised that man lives through the phases of the moon inwardly, but these experiences are not caused by the moon in the sky. The course of the moon shows a similar rhythm because man has retained the rhythm inwardly, though outwardly he has made himself free and independent of it.
We are led in this way to regard the earth as a living being, but since it shows us only its physical body, with no evident signs of life or feeling or knowledge, its condition is nearer to that of the moon. Now we can understand why it is wrong, even taking external facts, to speak of a direct influence of the moon on the tides, and why we can say only that the ebb and flow of the tides corresponds to the phases of the moon. The tides, as well as the course of the moon are caused by deeper spiritual forces in the living earth.
Because man was once directly dependent on the moon, it follows that if his consciousness is damped down, its functioning will be ordered by the course of the moon. This is an atavistic effect which brings out man's old connection with the moon's phases. A characteristic of mediums is that their consciousness is so far lowered that they revert to an earlier stage of evolution, and the old influence of the moon makes itself felt in them. It is similar in certain cases of illnesses where the consciousness is lowered.
We could indeed mention a whole series of other phenomena connected with man's embryonic existence, before he emerges from the depths of nature into the light of day; they are of course not caused by the moon and do not coincide with the moon's phases but reflect the same rhythm, because they go back to primary causes which were present while the earth was passing through earlier conditions of existence. (57, pp. 145-151)