The Finnish National Epic about the spiritual evolution of mankind according to Rudolf Steiner’s Weltanschauung
Angus Hawkins – 1994
(apologies for the formatting – this was rescued from an old Word file)
A Way of Thinking
Body, Soul and Spirit
Stages of Evolution
Dreams and Consciousness
The Arian Root Race
Objectivity and Subjectivity
Christ the real Lucifer
Back in the Physical
The Quantum Theory
Immolation of the Gods
All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages…
Shakespeare, As You Like It
Why I ever came to Finland to study was never really clear. However, once I started on this essay I realised that I’d already primed myself by reading bits of Steiner whilst still in England and I’d also had the Kalevala in my hand unaware of its beauty and importance to the Finnish people. Interestingly I had never thought of investigating it further until one project ran out of material and this one was suggested to me. On reading what Steiner had to say about the significance of the Kalevala, not just for the Finns but also for mankind, I realised I was being introduced to a lot of quite foreign concepts that were relevant to understanding the Kalevala’s significance. However, there were also aspects that were very similar to my beliefs about life. So the problem was to understand Steiner and use his logic to see why the Kalevala is such a remarkable book. As I researched a picture of evolution was set up in my head and revised many times until I was able to write this piece of work.
In 1904 Rudolph Steiner’s’ Weltanschauung was published under the name of ‘Theosophie’. In his book Steiner describes the spiritual make up of mankind and its relevance for having a more complete understanding of life. For him this make-up was as obvious as sight, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling is to the average human being. The message of the book will be discussed later but it is important to remember that Steiner is in complete agreement with many others in history (Jesus – seek and ye shall find, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Browning) who maintain that all of us are capable of seeing this reality if we look. In 1912 whilst giving a series of lectures in Helsinki Steiner revealed that he had found confirmation that mankind had evolved in the manner that he had described in ‘Theosophie’. The proof was in the form of Finland’s national epic ‘The Kalevala’. In his words: ‘Es war mir der ich wahrhaftig – ich kann es Ihnen versichern – Kalewala erst lange, lange nachher kennenlernte, nachdem diese Tatsachen vom Werden der Menschlichen Natur mir klar vor der Seele standen, eine wunderbare überraschende Tatsache, gerade in diesem Epos das wieder zu finden, was ich mehr oder weniger theoretisch in meiner ‘Theosophie’ darstellen konnte, die in einer Zeit geschrieben ist, als ich noch keine Zeile von Kalewala kannte.
A Way of Thinking
If we find the answer to that ( why it is that we and the universe exist), it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.
A lot of my arguments will be in anecdotal form and whilst I realise that this may be scientifically unpopular it will become clear in this essay why a scientific view based on tangible facts is insufficient when dealing matters of a non physical reality, i.e. a spiritual reality. Perhaps it also needs to be pointed out that a spiritual reality doesn’t attempt to deny the physical reality and proponents of this reality such as Steiner would indeed praise some of the fruits of investigating the physical reality. To emphasize its importance in the evolution process which lead to a better understanding of the workings of the physical world would be truly in the spirit of Steiner. However, a spiritual view, (occult or mystical would be equally valid), of reality whose proponents I will in this essay call spiritual scientists and who have a world view that will be called spirituality, differ fundamentally from the scientific world view that everything can be attributed to a physical reality. A spiritual scientist sees the physical as a result of spiritual and soul influences and maintains that by a leap of faith that anybody can develop their senses to perceive the spiritual and soul realities as readily as the average person uses his five senses. In this way the approach is no different from the scientific way of doing things. In science one is looking for understanding and develops a hypothesis for which he has no proof but merely the idea in his head. Then he investigates his surroundings to determine whether the hypothesis was correct. Some scientists might even disagree on this point arguing that a scientist must seek to disprove his theory and when he can’t disprove it and only then can he be said to have reached a truth. Whether modern science adheres to the ground rules of science is not the issue but even here we can see how a leap of faith has been required to set up the hypothesis before proof can be found to support it. It is these same fundamental scientific principles that a spiritual scientist must adhere to before the spiritual reality can be perceived.
So what is this reality like ? If we imagine a child that was born blind and try to relate to him or her what sight is we will fail because the conception of sight is missing. However, because so many talk of this sense of sight it is doubtful that the child will refute its reality but realise that it is merely a sense which hasn’t been developed. The child will be able to build some idea of reality using the other four senses which are equally valid but can only be said to be a less complete interpretation of reality. If we view sight as the crowning of the four senses taste, touch, smell and hearing then we can begin to understand how a person with a sixth sense also has as a crowning of the five senses and how this person can be said to have a more complete understanding of reality. There have been many such people in history from Paracelsus to Nostradamus, the witches in Macbeth to Swedenborg, Goethe and Steiner. It is with this sixth sense that one can readily describe someone’s aura, be telepathic, be able to see into the past and future and explain the phenomena that defy explanation in the purely physical world. Sight itself is also subject to defects such as colour blindness and just as this sense is susceptible to imperfections so is the sixth sense, but we can nevertheless understand that a colour blind person still has a more complete version of reality, i.e. he or she will be better able than a blind person to understand the nature of cause and effect.
This is the biggest sticking point for a 5-sensulaist. Due to the very nature of being possessed of five senses it is impossible to argue about the realities revealed to a sixth sensualist. However, just as in the physical so there are laws of cause and effect in the spiritual so logical thinking can be used to verify the evidence. So by logical thinking instead of adherence to unsubstantiated beliefs we can check this reality. It is understandable that someone not seeing this reality would perceive it as illogical but this is merely because they haven’t understood. This is not a reflection of some defect in the logic. Steiner argues that by recognition of the fact that there are forces other than physical working on us and that these obey laws we can understand this reality even if at first we can’t perceive it. If an angry person slaps another round the face then we also see the law of cause and effect. We cannot see this anger but we don’t deny its existence and say this man raised his arm and hit the other for no reason at all. We know that we find the explanation in the anger. In the same way this would be like the blind child using its four senses to work out the nature of reality and ignoring someone with five senses. How can the blind child argue an apple is not green or an orange if he has no conception of colour. I have introduced this point to make clear that Steiner’s super sensible (übersinnliche) world can’t be contended by a 5-sensualist other than by logical thinking and not beliefs about the world which has been built on his or her 5 senses. A 5-sensualists’ way out of this dilemma is to attribute such ideas to illusion, fantasy or wild dreams. Thus the human being becomes a physical shell with some crazy and some not so crazy ideas, but who defines craziness? However, once we look at evolution from a non-physical perspective we realise that the myths and legends of ancient civilizations aren’t to be dismissed as fantasy, but instead a depiction of how the world used to be seen.
Body, Soul and Spirit
What then is reality ? Here Steiner gives a concrete idea with his anecdote about the validity of experience and how we experience body, soul and spirit when we walk through a field of flowers. So picture if you will a beautifully sunny day. You are walking by a golden cornfield and in the field you see a host of the prettiest poppies you have ever seen and as you stand and watch a feeling of warmth and happiness and joy to be alive arises from within. Carefully you tread through the field to get a closer look and this triggers a memory of experiencing the same thing last year. In this description we have perceived the body, soul and spirit. The physical (body) is the reaction the light has with the eyes which causes chemical reactions and if this process is followed into the brain one would see that the physical reactions only give rise to further physical reactions. Never does a physical reaction become a feeling. The second body is the soul that lives and experiences feelings and emotions of delight or distress, amicability or enmity, love or hate and cannot be traced back to a physical reaction. The feelings and emotions are within the soul and are dependent on the nature of the soul and not the nature of physical reality. Poets have relayed this idea to us with such proverbs as ‘the fool doesn’t see the same tree as the wise man’. It is the soul that decides how we react to the physical. An audience watching a film will not have one homogenous perception even though they have all seen exactly the same pictures and so ‘beauty is always in the eye of the beholder’. Here we see the division between the classical and romantic ideas that have been so influential in post renaissance philosophy. These quantative and qualitative influences can both be seen as valid realities but it is through the synthesis of these philosophies that we have a more complete understanding of reality. The third to be experienced in our cornfield is the spirit. In the remembering of previously perceiving the flower and seeing that it observes certain rules of growth and has definite shape we can understand that as long as poppies continue to grow they will obey certain rules. In the flower I experience a truth, an understanding and from it I can see the laws of nature/spirit. Whilst the memories may fade from my mind the truth remains because I have perceived the spirit.
This three fold viewing of the world and recognition of its importance is according to Steiner a prerequisite for a more complete understanding of the world and its evolution. There is a three fold nature to everything as a human being. The physical is revealed to us through our senses, usually five and it is not surprising that we take them for granted and try to understand reality with them. The physical body is interwoven with the soul, whose subdivisions and their evolution are poignantly illustrated in the Kalevala.(see Kalevala) As such we can’t speak of strict divisions because there are large overlaps so that we can say the three functions of the soul act as one and this overlap is at its most concentrated in the brain. However, through Steiner we can understand that it is the soul that gives the body life forces. That is the ability to feel, think, understand and express will. These are as valid to the soul reality as the physical body is to the physical reality. It is the soul that feels the passions, desires, will, love and hate and through an awareness of our souls a feeling becomes equally as valid as a reality, just as a pin-prick or burn is a reality to the physical body and thus leaves its marks. It is the soul body that gives life to otherwise lifeless material. Thus death no longer becomes the great mystery to the biologists but merely a departure of the life forces from the physical entity. Physical organic structures are no longer bound by the life giving force and so they disintegrate according to natures’ laws just as a flower wilts when cut from the stem. It is the ability to think which is unique to mankind in that each and every one can have his or her own thoughts. It is this that differentiates us from all other forms of life on earth and by virtue of this ability to think we can recognize the spirit in things and let this wisdom then shape our own lives accordingly. When this understanding that comes through recognition of the spirit has been grasped then it can be used to consciously to shape the earth. It is by way of the perceptions of the soul and the feelings we sense when perceiving the world through the soul that we can build up our own unique picture of the world. The perceptions of the soul is then combined by mankind with the world as seen from without, the physical, and using his will-power this physical/soul world in himself then acts upon the environment. It is with will power that man can affect his environment. So it can be seen that mankind receives stimulation from the outside world and builds according to these stimulations his own world. When man studies nature, say for example birds and their aerodynamics, once he has conscious understanding of how an albatross can glide thousands of miles by turning and swooping and not flapping a wing then he can recognize the spirit in this bird which cannot work such things out for itself but merely acts out of impulse given to it from a higher/different level and collective level. A trapped dog for instance may have the desire to become free again and start barking but not the rational ability to set itself free again. Consciousness of self hasn’t yet reached the animal kingdom on the physical plane whereas it has in mankind. This means that were an animal able to speak it could nevertheless not understand the concept of ‘I am’ because it can still feel how it is linked to all other members of its species on another level, on the astral level.
As stated earlier it is necessary to view mankind as possessing a three fold nature. This nature might also imply that mankind’s’ and the planets’ evolution is quite different to that imagined by the scientific community. We shall investigate this in the next part.
I have tried to make it clear that a new way of thinking is required to understand this occult weltanschauung. In Latin Occultuses is the past participle of occulere meaning to hide from sight, i.e. hidden from sight, and also indicates that a different sense is required to perceive it. It is my task to introduce this way of thinking and describe a complementary reality that makes the physical more understandable and also helps as understand how the Kalevala can be perceived as a story telling of the evolution of mankind. Making sense of Steiner isn’t the easiest of tasks, this is due to what he his describing and not due to an awkwardness with words, but by portraying how he perceives the world we can begin to understand the following remarkable and heartening statement, especially as someone interested in folklore. ‘Wenn wir in den tiefen menschlichen Kulturentwicklung, sofern sie geistige Art ist, hineinblicken, so finden wir an vielen stellen, dass in der Tat die Mythen und Sagen, die uns überliefert worden sind, in vieler Beziehungen weiser sind, als es unsere heutige Wissenschaft ist. Und wenn der Mensch einst die geistige Grundlage der Welt wieder erkennen wird, denn wird er in manchen Mythos, in manchen Sagen und Märchen eine tiefe Weisheit erkennen, tiefer als unsere scheinbar so fortgeschrittene Wissenschaft. As a word of warning I will say that what Steiner has to say can’t be digested in one attempt because we are talking about concepts foreign to our scientific minds. If this is the first time of reading Steiner’s ideas then a lot will go straight over your head as it did mine. However, with perseverance it will become ever clearer.
It is of fundamental importance to realise that mankind’s evolution has always been directed by spiritual forces up until the point where mankind developed consciousness of self and was able to distinguish himself as separate from the environment. This doesn’t mean that we became independent of these spiritual forces but that as time progressed so did our awareness of ‘I am’. An element of free choice was introduced into our lives that had never been present before. We became conscious channels of spiritual energy. I realise that these concepts might be difficult to grasp immediately, indeed absurd if one adheres to modern science’s theory of evolution, but they will become clearer. It is useful here to note that in anthroposophical circles it is claimed that Steiner’s’ ‘Philosophie der Freiheit’ was the only book he wanted to write. In this book he reasons out how it is man’s soul/sole purpose to develop free will and ultimately become self-determining. In that mankind does this he becomes creative. The rest of Steiner’s’ complete works spanning 354 volumes can be seen to explain how the whole of evolution is dedicated towards this purpose. They do say that the simplest truths are the hardest to grasp.
Before beginning this resume on the beginnings and evolution of mankind as we know him today, I would ask you to retain an open mind and let the ideas work on you and realise that they are certainly no more absurd than that man evolved from a primordial mud and that the whole of life is attributable to chance. If the idea of a spiritual reality is somehow repulsive then think of it like an intellectual force perhaps like electricity, magnetism or gravity that has no explanation but that must be taken as a given reality. These might be new ideas to the reader and it will therefore be difficult to realise the implications of what is said. I would advise the reader to let the ideas work on his or her mind and see if they shed a little bit of light on a subject that was previously passed off as a childish thought.
Central to understanding Steiner is the realisation that the Earth has a mission to develop love and express love. It is vital to point this out here even if the implications aren’t understood. It is the Earths’ mission to harmonize and build on the three preceding missions which were; Saturn-Will-power, Sun-Feeling and Moon-Wisdom. This is a gross simplification but must be introduced here as a concept so that evolution can be seen to have a very definite goal.(see Ahriman)
Stages of Evolution
There is a history in all men’s lives
Figuring the nature of times deceased
The which observed, a man may prophesy
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasured
We are on the fourth planet in the fourth round of the fifth Arian race in the fifth culture epoch. What does this mean ? It means that the Earth is the fourth planet of the seven planets that can be seen by spiritual scientists. It is always so that beings can see as far ahead in time as they can see back in time which is why we appear to be in the middle. This is the same as when at sea we can see as far to the left as we can to the right. The seven planets are Saturn, Sun , Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. The purpose of the planets is to create environments for consecutive levels of consciousness and these are.
Saturn Deep-trance consciousness
Sun Dreamless sleep consciousness
Moon Dream sleep or picture consciousness
Earth Wake or object consciousness
Jupiter Psychic or conscious picture consciousness
Venus Super psychic or conscious life-consciousness
Vulcan Spiritual or self-conscious all consciousness
Within these seven planetary stages are seven rounds or states. These are; arupa, rupa, astral, physical, plastic-astral, intellectual and archetypal. Each planet moves through these seven states which start as very light astral material and are gradually condensed until we arrive at the physical round. Then the process is reversed and the planet rarefies so that at the end of the seventh round we find that a being that has been present in all seven rounds appears as a seed containing all the experiences of the planet. This process is rounded of by 5 levels of Pralaya so that the next planet again start at the arupa round. These are called the 12 levels of the world year. Within in these seven rounds we find there are seven root races of which on Earth in the physical round we have experienced; Polar, Hyperborean, Lemurian, Atlantean and now Arian.. These root races are divided into seven culture epochs. In the Arian root race these have been; Ancient Indian, Ancient Persian, Egyptian-Chaldean, Greek-Roman and now Anglo-Germanic cultures. This means a total of 343 states of being on the Earth.
Chaos & Saturn
In the beginning Steiner and science are in agreement in that the solar system was a cloud of gases that condensed and solidified to from the solar system sciences knows today. However, Steiner goes back one step further before the gases and describes it so. If one had been able to sit in space and perceive this evolution, one couldn’t see it because light itself had not evolved to how we know it to be today, and then one would have experienced a body of warmth in space. This is a very simplified version and we must realise that a comparable statement about the earth would be to say there was solid matter. It was this state called the Saturn state of the Earth that gave mankind his first constituent part which were later to be felt in mankind’s’ physical body. If we imagine ourselves as being just the warmth of our blood without blood or body then we come close to the first stage of the evolution of mankind’s physical body. In this warmth there were a mass of human foundations. Steiner asks us to imagine a new born baby that still has a very soft place on the top of its head. This spot is open and the warm element seeps in in energy streams. These energy streams build a centre where our heart is today. Only over time after did the human heart with blood, arteries and circulation develops. He further points out that now we can see the significance of the heart in relations to the Earths’ mission, to express love, because it is based in our warm organ. As such Saturn could be seen to be built up from all these tiny foundations. Beings that weren’t present at this Saturn stage can be recognized by the fact that inner-physical warmth is not present. Amphibians are an example of such creatures and assume the temperature of the surroundings. This warmth is not to be mistaken as originating from earth, water or air but as an element in its own right. It can be taken as proof that human beings were present at this Saturn stage of evolution by the fact that they carry their own warmth. A further note about this warmth is that it is a fine material state as opposed to a coarse one of which the physical is the heaviest or coarsest. Neither animals, plants nor minerals were present at this Saturn stage. Mankind was the lowest form of life in the same way that we understand that the mineral kingdom today is the lowest kingdom. On Saturn there were beings that were as advanced in respect to our foundations on Saturn as we are today in comparison to the mineral kingdom. It would be a mistake to assume that those of the human kingdom on Saturn also had a physical body like ours on Earth. Whilst all levels of evolution are the same (see Hierarchies) there is infinity of experiencing these levels. In this way no evolution is exactly the same. Here we have already come up against the limitations of the language. To illustrate what I mean we must say that mankind’s first body was in the so called physical plane but was not physical as we know it, it was in its most condensed form warmth/fire. In the mineral kingdom of Earth we can however say that the lowest/simplest form of life has its physical body in the physical plane.
It is to be noted that other spirits were also beaming their energies into this mass. I shall name them so that we are aware of them. However I will not try explaining all the ramifications as this would only serve to confuse at this stage. I will indicate where they have been particularly important in the evolution. They were the spirits of willpower, wisdom, movement, form, personality, sons of fire and sons of twilight.
As an example of the effects of the spirit of form we can get an idea of how these spiritual entities have contributed towards mankind’s development. The spirits of form which had no physical body, its lowest body was its etheric body, beamed its energies into the Saturn mass in the form of life giving juices and these were in turn reflected back into the spirit of form because Saturn was of a nature that acted like a mirror to these energies. It mirrored everything and had light existed at that time it would have mirrored it as well. So on Saturn we can truly say that mankind was built in the image of the Gods. This is a similar process to that of rain-evaporation-condensation except it was an immediate reflection with no intermediate stage so the evaporation stage happened instantaneously. It was these reflected mirror images that were to become the first physical body of mankind. At the end of the Saturn state the planet enters a Pralaya state which is essentially a long period where energies cease to be beamed in and everything is allowed to settle.
If we consider this progression on Saturn. We know life giving juices are beamed in and reflected and then absorbed again by the atmosphere of Saturn. It is this that is described in the ancient Greek myth with the warm orb of ‘Gaia’ and the atmosphere ‘Chronos’. It is Chronos that continually eats his own children. Steiner advises us that the truth of a myth must be felt and this is achieved in the myth. Thus he also comes to the conclusion that the creator of these myths must have had the same insights as those that the Anthroposophists or any mystical tradition proclaim. Modern science attributes this to childish fantasy but Steiner maintains that fantasy is the belief that we have progressed so much.
We move forward in time to the Sun state of the Earth. At this stage the spirits of form no longer need an etheric body and therefore give it up. So the etheric body that mankind receives on at the midway stage of the Sun has first been shaped by the spirits of form. The spirits of form have by sacrificing themselves to create an etheric body they don’t need, they already have one, become independent and can do away with their own etheric bodies and so climb the ladder of development themselves.. We now have a physical and etheric body.
On the Sun the spirits of form which have now sacrificed their etheric bodies and have astral bodies as their lowest constituent bodies (see table of hierarchies) continue to beam energies into the Sun. The beams of life giving energies has now become beams of urges, desires and passions of both high and lower nature, ie. all that is rooted in the astral plane. These passions and effects worked on the planet in the astral realm. In the myths we see this represented by the Titans. These were real forces and any entity capable of perceiving the astral world could have perceived it as readily as mankind sees today. On the Sun we find a condensation or solidification of the fine warm element the occultist call fire into gaseous substances called air. This differentiation of matter is very important. Steiner tells that wherever the fire element is condensed to air we also find the simultaneous creation of light. Warm matter is dark matter and is not penetrated by light. So now we have a planet that is made up of fire and air. What was previously the warm organ begins to light up and so does mankind. This is because the being also begins to develop so that it can make use of the air. The effect of putting air into the warm matter by breathing is the creation of light and so we also have the beginnings of the nerve system. This element has the name air. At the end of the Sun state there is a Pralaya.
Husband I come:
Now to that name my courage prove little!
I’m fire and air; my other elements
I give to baser life
We now move on to the Moon stage of development. At this stage the spirits of form can also dispose of their astral bodies because they have brought sacrifice and can give them to mankind. Now the lowest body of the spirit of form is the ‘I am’. In the Moon stage we find the mass being radiated with ‘I ams’, difficult though this may be to conceptualize such a process, as a spectator of this process it would be like meeting entities that revealed all of their individuality and peculiarities to us. So now the human body has three components, physical body, etheric body and astral body and is being radiated by ‘I ams’. The Sun leaves the Moon during this stages and this does have dramatic implications (see Baldur Myth). We also find that water as an element, or condensation of air occurs for the first time. This means that mankind’s body in the physical round now consists of three elements; fire, air and water. The beings had consciousness of an astral world when the Sun was shining, this is because the Sun drew the etheric and astral bodies out of the physical body and at night when all three bodies were together consciousness was dark, the changing of conscious state also took a lot longer. It was during these periods whilst mankind was unaware of it, that it was worked upon by higher spirits and given the foundations of an ability to reproduce. This was the preparation of what was to develop on Earth. This is why the Moon plays such a big role in the human reproductive system. Because the Sun had liberated itself of the heavy Moon substances it could work more intensively on the Moon and help its being to develop more quickly (united we stand divided we are numbers). At the mid-point of the Moon planet mankind receives the third body which is the astral. The Moon phase is essentially a long sleep state and is concluded with a Pralaya which again fuses everything together.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that nature might stand up
And say to all the world ‘This is a man’
We now move to planet Earth and we find that the Earth repeats all three stages again, Saturn, Sun and Moon, so that mankind is capable of receiving the ‘I am’. In the Polar epoch a being was like a machine, lifeless. In the Hyperborean epoch a being was like a sleeping plant. In Lemurian times we have a repetition of the evil time where we were subjected to the wildest desires without the ability to think.
On the Earth stage, Hypoborean time, we find that spiritual forces that are far more advanced than what are the beginnings of mankind. Therefore they need a more suitable planet to continue their development. Thus we find the spirits create the sun so that they can progress at far greater speed. . The fish that swim around at the bottom of the oceans and create their own light remind us of those times and explains why they give us pleasant emotions. Mankind couldn’t go with these spirits because such an acceleration in evolution would result in degeneration. Steiner tells that at this stage mankind lived more between the Earth and the Moon and this has been retained correctly by Mohammed in the story of paradise.
Looking at the diagrams we see that the Earth is bulging at the sides whilst the Sun, Earth and Moon are together. The Sun spirits leave to set up their own planet and the Earth and Moon are left together. We are now in the Lemurian age. So now the internal light of mankind is taken away. This is a period of darkness without internal light and no light from outside as of yet. Just as the Sun spirits were there to spiritualize the planet we also find that in the Moon we have forces that are dedicated towards the materialization of the planet. This is a dark age for the planet as the air element is condensed and further solidified without the presence of the Sun spirits. So now that the Moon has a far stronger influence over the Earth we find a drastic increase in speed towards the materialization of the planet. Steiner says that the modern day snake is the material form of the lower being that existed on the Earth at this stage and that hasn’t developed and this is why a modern day person, were he not influenced by social norms, would always feel a chill up and down his spine. This is a physical memory of a period of evolution and reminds mankind of the time when the light was taken out of his life. This is also the period when mankind for the first time experiences the evil Luciferean forces who we shall meet later. (See Lucifer) Also in this period we find that just as when air was created so was light, so we also find that there is a reason when water was created. The equivalent was sound and just as the air was permeated by the effects of light so was the watery substance permeated by what is called ‘tone or sphere music’. The effect of this tone is very important because it sets up vibrations which create regular shapes. We can imitate this effect when we draw a violin bow across a metal plate with fine dust on it and watch regular shapes are formed. The most important structure created by this dance of material according to the world music is the egg white because it is the protoplasm that is the foundation of everything living. Steiner argues here that it is not the cell that is the origin of the organism but the spirit and there is always a spiritual basis on which the physical is formed. The physical doesn’t form the spiritual or soul reality. During this period all beings lose their ability to light up apart from in the nerve system. Now the ability to light up becomes an ability to create inner pictures and so visions and clairvoyant consciousness become human. The Moon further condenses matter so that in a short period air thickens to water and water becomes earth. Confirmation for this can be found in the similarity between wave and mountain structures which have been recognized by geologists and scientists. During the Lemurian time the Moon leaves the Earths’ atmosphere. If this hadn’t have happened then the Earth would soon have been mummified. This would have made the Earths’ mission impossible so the Moon forces move their planet out of the Earths’ atmosphere so that it can live in a balance between the dynamic forces of the Sun and the materializing forces of the Moon.
Reviewing the whole process from a different angle we can also see how and when other planets in the solar system were created. Starting at ‘Chaos’, Greek meaning gaping emptiness, which is the big cloud from which everything originated in the solar system. This stretches out further than the seven planets that belong to our solar system. Already at this stage there are beings that have to depart from the Chaos because evolution is happening to quickly for them. These beings create Uranus (first in the Arupian state) to carry on their development. The rest formed Saturn and continued evolution on this planet. From Saturn we find that Jupiter detaches itself from the big cloud to form the third planet. Next we find the Sun leaves the Earth (actually the other way round) so that mankind doesn’t degenerate because of an accelerated evolution. Now whilst the Earth and Moon are still together Mars makes a transit through the Earth and gives the Earth iron. This happened before the ejection of the Moon and Steiner tells us that until then iron hadn’t existed on Earth. By the passing through of Mars iron is left behind. It is from Mars that we find the influence of iron in red blood. After the Sun and the Moon have left the Earth we find that two more bodies eject themselves from the Sun so that they can evolve at a speed more suitable to them, these are the two planets closest to the Sun, Mercury and Venus.
Looking at every human creation we can follow the logic that before a table was made, a book bound or a church built that it was the thought that was always there first and this is spirit. This has always been remembered by the mystical tradition carriers in all the culture epochs.
Planet Round Earth root race Bodies Evolutionary stages
Saturn Arupishean Polar Physical body Mineral
Sun Rupishean Hyperborean Etheric Body Plant
Moon Astral Lemurian Astral body Animal
Earth Earthly Atlantean ‘I am’ Human
Jupiter Plastic Arian Manas/Spirit-self Angeloi
Venus Intellectual Buddha/Life Spirit Archangeloi
Vulcan Archetypal Atma/Spirit-man Exusiai
8.th body Dynamis
9.th body Kyriotetes
10.th body Throne
11.th body Cherubim
12.th body Seraphim
Creation of the Soul
Heaven take my soul, and England keeps my bones
We now move to the Earth planet but still hardly resembling the physical Earth we know today. Mankind is now composed of four bodies; physical, etheric, astral and ‘I am’. The spirit of form is now working on us with the spirit-self which is its lowest member. Looking a little closer at the development and penetration of the ‘I am’ into the existing bodies we find the following. The last one to be created, i.e. the astral body is worked upon by the ‘I am’ in the Lemurian time. The physical body of this time was still not made up of bones, flesh or blood. The body was of a very soft and fluid nature and looked as if it were acted upon by magnetic currents pulling and shaping it constantly. As the ‘I am’ penetrates first the astral we find that mankind gets its first impressions of an outside world though this is of course just an impression of the astral world
These are the first impressions of consciousness of a world other than the self. The being was still not independent of the spirit forces that regulated much in the beings’ life. These first visions of consciousness in the astral world were perceptions of the astral world of urges, desires and passions and therefore mankind saw him as being related to the outside world of passions. So it was a type of perception we can call clairvoyancy that told the being whether the object was sympathetic or unsympathetic, useful or harmful. It was a foggy picture of colours with no sharp contours. If a bright red colour arose in consciousness of the being then it knew that something dangerous was near. In this way the being perceived everything of a soul nature such as animals and other humans although humans still hadn’t taken on a physical form as we know it today. The ‘I am’ continues to penetrate the astral body to an even greater extent, much like a machine that has to be run in before it functions as it was designed to. This process impregnated the astral body and lead to the creation of the sentient soul.(Empfindungsseele). This is the creation of the first part of what we call a soul.
Here it is important to note that not all the spirits of form completed their task of disposing of their ‘I am’ because they weren’t sufficiently advanced to do this. So we find these retarded spirits, who hadn’t been able to give up their ‘I ams’ on the Moon stage of development, now try to get rid of their ‘I ams’ on the Earth. This means that two spiritual forces are acting on mankind. In trying to get rid of their ‘I ams’ on the Earth we find that mankind is subjected to (‘I amful) selfish spirits as well as the selfless spirits. It is these selfish spirits which are still full of urges, passions and desires which leads to the possibility that a being is either altruistic or egoistic. (see Lucifer)
Looking further at the creation of the soul in the first two thirds of the Atlantis period we see that the etheric body starts to be penetrated by the ‘I am’ .In this stage we find that it is only the physical core that remains unpenetrated by the ‘I am’. Perception within the entity is now not only of coloured pictures indicating danger or usefulness but also of the elemental or etheric world. The type of perception is referred to as picture consciousness and is still not of the physical world. The perceptions that were made in the etheric body remained for a very long time because it is also the body of memory and also because there were no physical distractions. Thus man starts perceiving the world of dream pictures. Steiner also mentions that records in the Akasha Chronicles indicate that memory was a very strong energy of the soul. So now perception is becoming more and more similar to the dreams we now experience. This consciousness can be viewed as complementary to the previous cloudy clairvoyancy of Lemurian times. Characteristic of these perceptions is that they are clear and everything is of giant proportions and more a resemblance of the physical world though it could not be seen because the ‘I am’ still hadn’t penetrated the physical body. Again the penetration of the etheric body leads to its impregnation and gives rise to the reasoning soul (Verstandsseele). It will be remembered that the human soul now consists of two bodies, the reasoning and sentient soul.
Moving into the last third of the Atlantis period the physical body is penetrated by the ‘I am’. The penetration takes place at the point between the eye brows and mankind perceives for the first time the physical world around him. The physical body is impregnated by the ‘I am’ and the third and final element of the human soul is born, the conscious soul. Now that the physical body has become consciously aware of itself and its relationship to the environment it can begin the task of consciously transforming the astral body and we are still doing it today. Because consciousness is now rooted in the physical world it is possible to understand how perception of reality transforms the astral body. By transforming out astral bodies we create the next member of our bodies which is called the spirit-self. Remember this is the body that the spirits of form are in the process of beaming down to us at the moment. Thus our picture of the world that is being created by consciousness continues to develop and so does our spirit-self which will become the fifth member of our bodies. This is why assimilation of knowledge and understanding becomes so important in making us wiser. This wisdom is everywhere in nature, take for example the human thigh bone which is constructed with such wisdom that incredible strength can be gained with minimal material. This is not chance it is a reflection of spiritual influences that have affected our evolution. If we take a look at the bumble-bee that scientifically can’t fly or the albatross mentioned earlier we can begin to see how nature has been impregnated with wisdom. Again if we refer to the spirits of form and remember that their lowest body is the spirit-self we realise that we are gaining through the sacrifice of the spirits of form who in the middle of the next planet stage, called Jupiter, will be able to relieve themselves of their spirit-self and continue to progress..
In the Atlantis period as the ‘I am’ penetrated the physical body, this is a gradual process as opposed to a sudden jolt, man became more aware of the physical surroundings and maintained contact with the spiritual world through his dreams. Because these dreams were experienced by the etheric body which still jutted out of the human being in places they stayed in memory a lot longer and it is these memories that are the basis of myths and legends. This is in contrast to nowadays when the fact that the etheric body is entirely surrounded by the physical and has therefore lost direct contact with the elemental world means that this ability has been lost for mankind in general. Thus due to the ability to remain a long time in memory and being obviously of great significance we realise that these dreams must have had a big impact on the beliefs that shaped society of those times. Importantly we must realise that in these times it would have been senseless to deny that there was a realm of Gods or spirits because every time a human being fell asleep he or she would find themselves in this different state, that is different from what we know today, and experience this parallel reality. Clairvoyance would also have been as natural a sense as the perception of the physical reality is today which was at that stage still developing. We can also realise that whilst people continue to perceive the spiritual reality they have no need for religion. Individuality at this stage was far less developed than today’s’ understanding of the word because through being in contact with the spiritual reality through dreams they also had a far greater awareness of the group soul of which the individuals were a part of.
Moving back in time to the middle of the Atlantis period. We now look at a very important stage of development. Mankind now begins to take on a physical presence not dissimilar to today’s perceptions. Animals are already on the planet because they descended into the physical plane earlier. Mankind waited and by waiting developed a more perfect form. By perfect is meant a body that left itself open to spiritual impulses for longer and therefore allowed spiritual forces to shape the body for longer before descending into the physical. In this sense animals are less perfect and we can say animals originated from man. However, this is only one side of the argument. Whilst animals descended earlier into the physical it also meant that they maintained contact with the group soul. They had fallen from grace before they could be penetrated by the ‘I ams’. As I mentioned earlier the physical bodies materialized but the etheric body continued to be shaped by elemental forces and in this sense we can see animals as being stuck in time when we look at what Steiner has to say about occult perceptions of animals. Here we find that an animal’s etheric body juts out in many places and thus contact is maintained with the spiritual reality. So whilst the animals don’t have an awareness of ‘I am’ they retain a spiritual link because the etheric body isn’t encapsulated in the physical body. Two points can be added as evidence for this idea.
1. Animals can sense danger when a man or woman sees no obvious physical reason for perceiving danger. Dogs barking at a poltergeist can be seen as such an example
2. The use of animals by Romans to predict the outcome of battles or whether it was a good or not so good time to start a project. Incidentally the concept of quality of time was very important in the Egyptian civilization. Astrologers were always consulted before any major task was undertaken. Again by the use of an anecdote we can shed a little more light on this concept. If I stick my fingers through holes in a piece of cardboard and move them, then an observer that just sees the fingers sees what looks like individual and unrelated movements. Whilst it may appear like this we find with an occult eye it is possible to see the hands behind the animal’s movements. We see how the whole animal kingdom is made up of group souls that have their consciousness of self or ‘I am’ in the astral plane. Initiates in Roman times could perceive the spirits and understand why animals have certain behavioural patterns.
Dreams and Consciousness
Mankind is in this sense very different. Here we find that consciousness of self has entered the physical. This was necessary so that mankind could develop free choice – true freedom by realisation that he is an individual. Only by losing touch with the idea that he is indeed part of a greater spiritual reality can he develop free choice. To this purpose mankind has to sink totally into the physical during consciousness. During sleep we still have contact with the greater reality but very seldom bring back pictures that we can make sense of. In sleep we find that the ‘I am’ and astral body leave the body and ‘I am’ continues to transform the astral body according to our interpretation of reality. As a result of observation of my own dreams over the past two years, of which the last eleven months I’ve documented all dreams that I’ve brought back to consciousness, I can see how my ‘I am’ has changed my astral body. I have first hand proof of how conscious thoughts have gradually shaped my astral body and been changed as new ideals or moral values become important in my life. Hence through my dreams I become aware of passions, urges or desires that are in conflict with the ideal that I’ve built up in consciousness. The astral body which we remember is also shaping spirit-self takes time to be shaped by ‘I am’. In my dreams I can find three distinct stages. First I am confronted with a picture of myself in the astral and I have passions, urges or desires that no longer conform to the ideal that I’ve built up whilst conscious. This can be disturbing as the astral impression is a reflection of self and the one that is shaping my fifth body spirit-self and is also a threat to how I would like to see myself. Maintaining my ideal and dealing with it consciously in daily life I’m faced with something akin to tests of my will to have the conscious ideal that I hold. I see this reflected in my dreams as an undesirable action (undesirable to consciousness) happening and regretting it or almost happening and wondering why I let the situation come so far. I can see progress being made by the fact that conscious thoughts previously only available in daytime consciousness are also beginning to shape my dreams. I become freer and am no longer 100% a victim of my passions or desires. The final stage is where my conscious thoughts become fully integrated into my dreams and I act as I would hope to do in physical life. In this sense life becomes a test of whether my physical body reacts to my conscious and astral way of thinking. At a later stage in the evolution we will all develop complete consciousness of the physical including control of elemental and astral forces. So even now it is possible to see I am learning the first steps of something that comes later in evolution. When we have completed this stage we will have complete control over our physical being and will be able to shape it exactly as we want and re-discover a capability we possessed in Lemurian times but this time with consciousness of self. However, as with most people there are periods during the day when I go into automatic mode and my thoughts drift apparently aimlessly. It is when my ideals are fully integrated that that I can consider myself a master of a certain passion, urge or desire. Conscious thinking will always let me shape myself according to my beliefs and by experiencing everyday life I have plenty of scope to do re-thinking and scrap, review revise or add ideals to my life. When we look at the Kalevala we can see in greater detail how the soul is the entity that makes this process possible. We shall also see why the ‘Christ impulse’ is so important to mankind. The Christ impulse can be viewed as the common thread through all Christian religions, but not only Christian, much like the ten commandments but that are not commandments but ideals to be strived towards with free choice. An example would be ‘love thy neighbour’.
As mentioned mankind has had to sink fully into physical consciousness so that he could attain free will. This meant he had to lose all senses that gave him a proof of spiritual reality because only by seeing ourselves as individual physical human beings could we ever believe it. Now we can understand why mankind waited longer than animals before falling from grace and taking on a physical form. The spirits have finished their task of shaping human form and now mankind can descend. Just after this we find that the etheric is still in part outside of the body and also only loosely connected and can be made to leave the body if required. We remember from earlier that sleep was a very different affair in those times. In those times we could say that our day was their night and our night was their day. It was the physical in those times that made little sense and that they had to come to terms with. However, when they went to sleep they felt they were living again because they were in familiar surroundings, back home in the realm of the spirits. It is from this period of time that mythology has its roots. So we see that the Gods weren’t wild fantasy and fascinating at the same time, but that they were a reality to mankind at that stage of evolution and for them to deny it would like a person today trying to deny that there is a physical reality. Mythology is remembrance of a time gone by and real etheric experiences not fantasy.
The Arian Root Race
As time move on and the civilization of Atlantis is inundated and the new Arian root race emerges after the flood. Now we find mankind begins to lose contact with the spiritual world as the etheric body becomes encapsulated in the physical body. We are now in what Steiner refers to as the post-Atlantis or Arian period and the first epoch which is that of the Ancient Indians. Most Indians have lost direct contact with the spiritual realms. Nevertheless there is still a strong memory from past generations and their experience of the Gods (Brahman). So while most individuals couldn’t perceive the spiritual reality directly they didn’t doubt its existence, tradition was still very much a reflection past experience. A folklorist researching in those times would probably have found many personal narratives of experiences, as memory reached back many generations in these times, or else would see such a consistency in the stories that the source became obvious. In this Ancient Indian epoch there is a huge desire to re-unite with the Brahman. Consequently the religion that begins to develop is dedicated to finding the way back to the Brahman. The Vedantic philosophy reflects this state of consciousness and considers re-unification with the Brahman as the only thing worth living for. Physical reality was called the Illusion or Maya. All Yoga practices which also still play an important role in Indian society are dedicated to transcending the Illusion. Through Yoga techniques it was possible for them to again release the etheric body from the physical and to experience what had been a normal state towards the end of the Atlantean period. This was done by the initiates putting themselves into a three and a half day sleep, catalepsy is a contemporary word for this induced state. The physical body takes on all the appearances of a dead body because the etheric body has left it. The body was however kept alive by the master who was able to control etheric forces. The masters other role was to guide the initiates through the realms of the spirits in the elemental world. Thus the initiates had firsthand experience of what it was like to live amongst the Gods and bring the back to reality these images which remained in memory for a long time because it was the etheric body that experienced them. What we call catching glimpses of God was far more easily achieved in this epoch. Now it is also possible to understand the significance of the number three in the biblical story of Jonas and the whale. After three days in the whale Jonas is able to spread the word of God because he has seen its reality. People of this period were also aware that everything was an expression of Brahman. By looking at a persons’ face an Ancient Indian could determine the character of that person yet couldn’t deem anything good or bad because everything was an expression of Brahman. Facial characteristics could for example reveal a musical talent. Ugliness wasn’t a concept and there was no caste system.
In the following epoch of the Ancient Persians we find that Persians begin to bring the physical and spiritual into harmony. The physical was no longer regarded as the enemy and mankind sought to begin to understand the nature of the physical environment. Perception also begins to change and they now see the world as a reflection of the Gods. Steiner refers to this as living in the thoughts of the Gods as opposed to the imagination of the Gods. As physical reality begins to shape perception they see the environment as an expression of spiritual energies. In this time the weather that was prevailing when a baby was born was deemed to be very important as it was a reflection of the spiritual thoughts/forces that were ruling. Traces of this tradition can still be found in American Indians names. This was more a layman’s’ method of divination and reflected the understanding of the importance of natural forces. In this period we also find the Persians beginning to work and shape the physical plane for the first time. Religion as a belief laid its foundation stones in this period through the influence of Zoroaster. The Persian civilization was for the first time beginning to shape his environment by power of the human soul. Hitherto all work had been inspired and carried out as if under orders from the Gods, it was more impulsive with the only rationale being that of following instinct.
In the Egyptian-Chaldean epoch we find the Egyptians have continued the descent into the physical. Exoteric science makes its first appearance now. The physical world is studied to investigate natural forces and their laws. Intuition as a means of understanding is also lost in this time. Instead intuition was transported to the stars so that now only the stars could reflect which spiritual forces were acting upon them. Constellations are perceived as power points in the old days of clairvoyance. A being felt forces coming towards himself when he looked to different parts of the sky. Hence we find the Egyptians’ fascination for astronomy and calculating the stars movements so that prediction is still possible. As mentioned earlier the Egyptian concept that time has a quality has continued into this millennium. There are good and not so good times to start projects and by calculating the positions of the stars they could know when is the best time to initiate a project. Whether wars were waged or pyramids built the heavens were always consulted to ensure the best possible outcome. To be born under a lucky star carried a lot of weight in those times. These are also the dying days of conscious awareness that there is a non-physical reality. Life is now firmly rooted in the physical plane. Hence mummification of leaders was so important. The Egyptians believed that the body had to be preserved so that their leaders could return. In this way we can see how mankind has descended so far into the physical that it considers life to be only on the physical plane and that the period between death and re-birth is not where true life is. Here we see a direct reversal of mankind’s nature in the Atlantean period. Mankind in his Atlantean form felt that he was really living amongst the spiritual forces and that physical life was less desirable. Steiner points out that in Egyptian mythology we can clearly see how the myth of Osiris being killed by Typhoon represents the loss of the intuitive capabilities that the Egyptians still possessed in the Indian epoch. It is Typhon who doesn’t want to develop the imaginative abilities that were part of the human soul in the times of Osiris. It is at this time in which the Egyptians lose the old clairvoyance apart from those who have been initiated.
Moving into the fourth epoch of this post Atlantis period we find the Greek and Roman cultures dominating and living their heyday. In this civilization we find that all feeling of a pre-earth existence has been lost and that the Gods no longer live amongst nor are accessible to the people. They are seen as separate beings who in Zeus’ case wield their power over the Greeks from the distant clouds. Greeks and Romans of this period feel themselves tied to earthly forces and shape the physical world according to the wisdom gained through observation of nature. Art is developed in this culture to a high level as they impregnate the physical with natural laws to create art. Steiner argues that it is due to the fact that Greek art is shaped according to natural laws that they had studied that makes it so beautiful.
Moving into the fifth epoch of the post-Atlantean period we find ourselves in what Steiner calls the Anglo-Germanic and American epoch or Arian. The mission of this epoch is to conquer the physical plane.
Objectivity and Subjectivity
Again we must draw in an important fact that leads to a more complete understanding of the evolution of mankind. First Steiner notes that it is not by chance that all the great civilizations have slowly made their way from the far East over to the West. Indeed we find that now the process is in a stage of reversal, now that it has reached Western Europe it will start to make its way back Eastwards?. The reason for this is simple but has enormous ramifications. The cultures that started in the East had the goal of experiencing the ‘I am’ subjectively whilst cultures in the West have started by experiencing ‘I am’ objectively. This is the reason why clairvoyancy died out far later in Western cultures than in Eastern cultures. Western cultures were able to experience their ‘I am’ objectively through this clairvoyancy, by being able to see the Gods in action. Thus they could see how the spirit world was influencing their evolution to give mankind individuality and free choice. This says Steiner is why German-Nordic mythology so poignantly and accurately depicts the spiritual influences because they still lived in these pictures unlike the other civilizations which lost their clairvoyancy earlier.
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That seet aspect of princes and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars of women have;
and when he falls, he falls like Lucifer
Never to hope again.
We already know that the purpose of mankind descending into the physical and becoming individuals was so that he could develop free choice and therefore no longer act on instinct but through understanding. Again Steiner points us to a time back in history to find out what influences have helped us to become individuals. It is through the power of thought that mankind can be seen to differentiate itself from the three kingdoms; mineral, plant and animal. Without thought a physical being could not think or understand the concept of ‘I am’ and would therefore only be aware of a group identity. So now we must ask where thought came from. Steiner now introduces us to what is called the Luciferean impulse. This impulse starts working on the Earth in the Lemurian time. This is as long before the middle of the Atlantean period, which represents exactly halfway in the planets’ evolution, as the appearance of Christ is after the middle of the Atlantis period. (The relevance of this will be understood later.) The animals and lower kingdoms are not influenced in the same way because they have already taken on physical form. By remaining in the spiritual realms and therefore more flexible mankind is strongly influenced by these forces that endow mankind with the power of thought. This influence should under normal circumstances not have happened until the middle of the Atlantean age when mankind would have been sufficiently mature for to receive it. Looking more closely at this Luciferean impulse Steiner tells us that the objective of this impulse is to spiritualize everything, i.e. take the spirituality or soul element from this world and assimilate it into its own world. Steiner describes it as the force that tries to get rid of all heaviness. This impulse causes us to see the necessity to rise up in the physical world and also maintain the feeling of being an individual being. By way of this impulse mankind enjoys himself when he rises up into the world of thoughts and can feel uplifted from what is actually just an appearance and doesn’t live in the physical world. Art can be seen as an expression of the Luciferean impulse as it is the thoughts that art provokes that is the essence of art. A picture that doesn’t make one wonder about things can’t be considered as art. This impulse is also the reason behind mankind’s ability to philosophise and live in the world of thoughts. These same impulses are also the source of fanaticism and delusion. Philosophising without a sound base of experience in the ways of the world, the dreaming up and living in impulsive imagination and exaggerated insistence on the virtue of favourite personal views are all the shadow side of the same influence. Here we see how the one side of the impulse is contrary to the further development of the planets’ mission of love. The acceleration that mankind experienced must according to Steiner also cause a degeneration of some type. This is a cosmic law. So mankind paid for the early gift of thought by also being subjected to the selfish, egotistical influences of the Luciferean impulse. This is felt on three levels in the human being. In the astral plane Steiner tells us that the expression is in the form of selfishness. In the elemental plane it finds expression in lies and dishonesty and on the physical plane in illness and death. If the impulse had been normal then the spirits of love that work through blood relationships (see Personality) would have continued their influence on developing the Earths’ mission. This is why the Christ impulse was delayed, so that mankind could receive the Christ impulse as a more mature thinking being. When the Christ impulse came mankind had been introduced to the concept of evil and was therefore able to be said to have a choice Only by the very existence of good and evil could mankind be said to be free to have a choice. If the Luciferean impulse hadn’t shaped mankind then in the middle of the Atlantean period we would have found mankind to be creations that only knew goodness and that therefore free choice wouldn’t be a concept. We see that whilst it has accelerated mankind’s development of free choice it must also be kept in check by an opposite impulse.(see Ahriman) Mankind has attained for levels of being; physical, etheric, astral and ‘I am’ and is now working on the spirit-self (Manas). It is the higher levels of the spiritual realms that make sure that Earth continues on its mission. Hence we find what Steiner refers to as the Ahrimanic forces.
Steiner describes the Ahrimanic forces as those that try to materialize the world of our senses. Thus whilst music is a Luciferean experience we find that sheet music is the Ahrimanic impulse materializing a spiritual experience. The same can be said of speech and written words. The original home area of these forces is in the material kingdom and the evidence for this is that only the mineral kingdom has a purely physical body on Earth.
Earth’s P L A N E S or W O R L D S
Kingdoms Physic Astral L. Devanchan H. Devanchan
Mankind ‘I am’
Animal Etheric body ‘I am’
Plant Etheric body Astral ‘I am’
Mineral body Etheric Astral ‘I am’
On the etheric plane we find the Ahrimanic impulse has important effects and mean the destruction of being. These forces are striving for a separate existence that it is impossible to have in the higher worlds. On the other side Steiner tells us that it is through these forces that mankind perceives the sensual/physical world as the highest natural order. This is of vital importance for mankind’s development of individuality and free choice. It is this impulse that gives us the power through thought to observe the physical. The Ahrimanic forces are trying to acquire the power of thought that is lost when we die so that they can integrate it into their world.
Now we are aware of the two most important spiritual impulses affecting us and we can also see a little clearer the importance of the coming of Christ. Mankind needs to re-discover his place in the cosmos and realise his relationship to the higher forces. Only by striking a balance between the physical and spiritual realities can the Earth fulfil its mission to sow love into everything and this will be done in conjunction with the realization that we are all channelers of spiritual energy with free choice. The physical is needed develop the awareness of individuality so that love can be given as an individual gift rather than on a group basis which entails a certain amount of coercion or lack of true free choice, love must be an individual gift. To clarify this Steiner points us to think about the future planet of Jupiter. This will be the fifth planet state of what we know to be Earth. If we imagine that a being observes an object it will feel the love that penetrated everything that had an Earthly existence. This is the same idea as when we look at natures’ wonders nowadays and if we look deep enough then we will perceive the incredible wisdom that pervades all beings. From Steiner we learn that this is because the Moon was the home of the spirits of wisdom and its mission was wisdom. Steiner tells us that re-discovering our spiritual heritage is of vital importance so that we can understand the Earths’ mission and channel the right spiritual impulses. It would have been easier if we hadn’t been given free choice to be self determining. If we had been lead all the way to the altar, speaking metaphorically, by not having free will then the Earth couldn’t have fulfilled its mission of love.
Christ the real Lucifer
By comparing the Luciferean and Christ impulse we can see that they are both here to enable the Earth to fulfil its mission. Because of the Luciferean impulse the Christ impulse had to be delayed but it is the Christ impulse which gives the freedom from blood relations and group souls and enables us to find our way back to the spiritual world as an individual. In Goethe’s Faust we are told how the Ahrimanic and Luciferean forces are all part of the plan and subject to the will of higher spiritual beings when Mephistopheles says:
Since thou, O Lord, deignst to approach us again
and ask us how we do, in manner kindest
and heretofore to meet myself wert fain
Me, too, among thy Retinue findest.
Looking back to the Moon planet we remember that the beings were only aware of their group soul and perceived themselves in relationship to the group soul. It was not until mankind was given his ‘I am’ in the middle of the Atlantean time that he could become aware of an individual personality. As with all evolution this is a gradual process and we can still find traces of this old type of group consciousness in the first few centuries after Christ. The Sugambrer, Heruler and Bruktererstill had this Moon consciousness and so when an individual said I it was in a different meaning to how we understand it today. In those times an individual felt like part of a group just like we feel an organ as belonging to our bodies. Taking this into consideration it is understandable why ‘blood revenge’ and family feuds were part of the mentality which we nowadays consider primitive. If one member of a group was killed then the whole group felt this on the group soul level. Going back still further we see that a Jew felt himself to be a representative of the Jewish blood and not himself. In the framework of this consciousness the idea ‘Father Abraham and I are one’ is perfectly understandable. Looking at our ‘normal’ memory today we know that we can’t remember the acts of our ancestors if we haven’t personally seen them. This was also different whilst human lived in the group soul because the members carried the memories of their ancestors in their blood. Experience wasn’t limited to personal experience but spread over the common blood of the ancestors. Steiner points out that this is why the old patriarchs used to live for so long. Individual personality was hardly developed and Adam, Noah or Abraham were collective personalities that found expression in different races.. In light of this and remembering that love must be a free gift we can understand the deep significance of Jesus’ words ‘he that does not leave father, mother, son and daughter and take the cross upon himself and follow me, he is not worthy of me’. The blood was a means of developing love but not the goal itself.
Back in the Physical
I have tried to give an accurate version of Steiner’s’ portrayal of evolution. He recognizes the complexity of the system and often stresses that usual logical thought can’t be used to deduce what is happening spiritually. In the same way a mathematician must know the logic of mathematics that dictates results before he can come to correct conclusions. Spirituality is a vastly complex area and before we are familiar with the rules we can’t be sure that we have come to the right conclusions. This is why the sixth sense must be developed so that we can see the rules in action. He also stresses the importance of seeing this reality from as many different viewpoints as possible to obtain greater understanding. Here again I must use an anecdotal story. An Indian father has seven blind sons and asks them to describe the nature of the elephant. Each one puts his hand on the elephant in different places and describes how he perceives the elephant to be. Of course each one is right according to his perceptions but it is only by putting together different accounts that the complete nature of the elephant is. One might say that I’ve had a couple of feels in Steiner’s’ books and therefore this is in no way meant to be a complete version, instead I have tried as best I can to introduce a few concepts and not leave too many loose ends. No doubt as I continue to investigate the spiritual reality I will realise the shortcomings of this essay, not to would be to deny that I’m making progress. However, it should be useful as a primer. Now we shall look at life and see if we can find some evidence that reflects that this is the true process of evolution.
The Quantum Theory
To sum up some of the findings of Bohr and Nielsen, the father figures of Quantum Physics, we find: 1. The main finding is that there is no fixed reality. When we move down to an atomic level we find that atoms aren’t tiny little balls of matter but can only be described as something akin to little energy or force packets. So when we talk of physical reality what we really mean is bundles of force that we call the physical. 2. Scientists state that we can neither measure the exact location of a particle nor can we state its velocity. Instead it is necessary to talk of the probability of protons, neutrons and electrons being in a certain place. So scientifically we can’t state that the piece of paper you are now reading is in a certain location and neither can we say it has a certain velocity, it is only probable. 3. Science tells us that the observer affects the observation, i.e. something about humans at least can determine what is happening at the atomic level, energy level. When the ancient Indians talked of the Maya or perceived ‘The Dance of Shiva’ they were describing the same thing as modern day scientists which can only be described as an Illusion. Science is in agreement that there is not a physical reality as we commonly think of it, however, it also usually excludes a spiritual reality. The fact that the Indians were aware of this gives rise to the question ‘How could they know this without computers and particle accelerators. Now the occultist version gains a little more credibility. The idea that we were all ignorant until science came along to save the day sounds rather preposterous now. However, it would also be true to say that we were ignorant of the physical side (this term hardly seems appropriate now) of reality and it is from this point of view that we can see science as having made significant progress.
Immolation of the Gods
Steiner regards the immolation of the Gods, Ragnar Götterdammerungmerung that gives all German-Nordic myths a tragical side is again a depiction of the same spiritual evolution that he outlined. The mortality of the Gods represents an awareness of the coming of Christ. The Gods of mythology which we know to be real were also aware of this coming and that they would have to make way for the Christ impulse. They realised that they couldn’t lead mankind to the higher realms that he is destined for in the evolution of the Earth. They knew they would have to be ceased to be perceived so that beings could be aware of their individuality. They died to human perception but like everything in the Universe they are eternal and will come back when mankind needs to be aware of them. The shine of the Gods had to disappear in the light of Christ. Christ is the re-unification with the forces that were with us before the Sun spirits left the planet in the Hypoborean stage. In the Nibelungslied Steiner points out that Siegfried can only be injured in one place. Siegfried was mortal at the point where the initiates expected the predicted the cross to be . He is mortal at the point that was covered by the cross on Christ’s way to Golgotha, i.e. at the cross of the shoulders.
Steiner draws out attention to the significance of Baldur being shot by an arrow made of mistletoe. In the myth this is the only material that can harm Baldur because it didn’t swear an oath not to harm him. Looked upon with an occult eye Steiner tells us that the mistletoe reveals itself to be what is termed a plant-animal. Up until now we have only talked of minerals, plants, animals and humans. However, if we look back to the middle of the Moon stage when the Sun leaves we see that this has the effect that all kingdoms were raised up half a level. So we find that what had hitherto been minerals became mineral-plants. Steiner describes this mid-kingdom , which is the lowest on the Moon, as a half living substance like a peat marsh or cooked spinach but alive. Rocks didn’t rise out of this porridge but solidified plant compositions and horn constructions. In the same fashion Steiner tells us that plants are elevated to plant-animals and that animals become animal-humans. These last two beings are made of the lighter substances that make up this living peat marsh in the astral plane. We also know that the Moon is a materializing process so that in time the mineral-plant kingdom solidifies into the mineral kingdom we know on Earth. This same evolution takes place in the other kingdoms. Thus we see that modern day minerals, plants, animals and humans all originate from the Moon. However, we also find that there are modern day plants that can’t thrive in a mineral soil. The mistletoe is such an example. Again using Steiner’s occult eye we find that the mistletoe is indeed different from other plants. He tells us that the mistletoe shows signs of an astral body, as is the case with animals. Although it doesn’t have any feelings it does show external signs of an animal body. This is because the mistletoe retarded in its development and wasn’t able to become a plant a therefore cannot thrive in a mineral soil. Instead it must live from other plants. It is a parasite. Our ancestors in Europe knew this and this is why mistletoe was used to kill Baldur. Loki represented the old Moon forces that had been transferred directly to Earth. As the Moon became Earth we find in Baldur earthly forces represented and it is these forces that rule the planet. The beings that degenerated on the Moon feel an affinity to Loki and because the mistletoe isn’t related to Earth forces it could be used by Loki to kill Baldur. Steiner also points out that it was a great wise intuitive thought that helped our ancestors to find healing qualities hidden in the mistletoe. They understood that in many cases that if something resists healthy evolution then it must serve ill development. Mistletoe is a natural medicine used to combat cancer and it is because the mistletoe is a parasite that it can live from the cancer and deprive it of life energies. Steiner also describes how Loki is the Luciferean influence. The mythology traces the thought of freedom and individuality in mankind back to Loki. Also we remember that this is the impulse that causes mankind to act out of lower passions, urges or desires and it is Loki that changes these passions as compared to when mankind was ruled by Odin and Ashen. We have already looked at the manifestations of Lucifer in the different planes and now we find a further truth in the myth. Steiner reminds us that Loki has three shoots. The first of these is egoism and is represented by the Midgard snake. The second shoot brought falseness into recognition, which for Europeans that lived objectively in the astral plane, was an abstract lie. The expression of this darkening or false seeing is depicted by the wolf, the Fenriswolf. The third shoot is Hel and causes illness and death. To find the Ahrimanic forces we must remember that the nature of sleep is quite different. The states in those times can be defined as an awareness and non-awareness of the spiritual reality. Consciousness can be seen to be alternating between the blind Hödur and the clairvoyant Baldur. It is the spiritually blind being, Ahrimanic force, Hödur that kills Baldur who can see the world of the spirits. Thus Loki is the killing power, as with Lucifer, that drives mankind to Ahriman.
Steiner quotes Herman Grimm as saying ‘Wenn wir nur das zusammennehmen, was an historischen Mächten und Impulsen in der Menschheitsentwicklung, dann kommen wir nicht zurecht mit dem, was da lebt und schafft namentlich in den großen Epen. Steiner asks ‘Wie ist es mit einem solchen Volksepos (Kalewala), wie erwiest es sich dauernd durch die verschiedenen Zeiten. As we are able to see with the Baldur myth we can see why Steiner maintains that all details must be carefully looked at and then we can recognize that supernatural (überirdische) forces are at work.
The Kalevala is for Steiner the most wonderful example of how a people vividly presents its whole soul to us. We know about the evolution of the soul, why it happened, its member parts and why it had to be a Western culture that portrays it so vividly. Steiner first points to the three main characters; Väinämöinen, Illmarinen and Lemminkäinen and explains why we can neither call them Gods nor heroes instead it is more suitable just to refer to them as a trinity. It is because they are so human yet also possessing supernatural qualities that can’t normally be achieved by means of the human soul that puts them in a realm between the Gods and human beings.
We find that Väinämöinen is the first being to appear and his birth place is very much like the Earth in Lemurian times which is the time of birth of the sentient soul. Steiner tells us that it is the sentient soul that lets us have the first contact with the outside world and this is the astral world of passions, urges and desires and anything that has something to do with will-power impulses. The best way of getting an idea of the nature of our sentient soul is to imagine that all that is of will power, i.e. all that gives us impetus to find a relationship to the outside world is the essential nature of the sentient soul. When a person receives a colour or musical impression then the sentient soul is at work. When feelings of anger or fear rise in us then we are also experiencing the sentient soul.
In Illmarinen we find the reasoning soul. This is the second character to appear as in evolution. This element of the soul works its way out of the sentient soul and Steiner describes it as clever and more understandable. In the reasoning soul we find mankind has the ability to create pictures to that which is felt in the sentient soul. Also when for example feelings directed purely towards self-preservation are transformed to ones of well-wishing or love then we are dealing with the reasoning soul. It is in this element of our soul that the ‘I am’ lights up and is the centre of our soul life.
Lemminkäinen is the third to appear like the conscious soul. In the further development of our ‘I am’ we shape the pictures and thoughts of the reasoning soul into big ideas with which we can understand nature, morals and obligations. When dealing with these ideas we are living in our conscious soul. From this we can see that there are no partitions between the three members of the soul, they live from one another, but that it is necessary to see from a personal level how each one stands in relationship to the outside world.
The conscious soul is to be taken as the highest member of the soul yet at the same time the most distanced from the outside world, it is the most individual member of the soul. When exploring the soul life we find that in the conscious soul a person can be most alone. This soul also has the most barriers to the environment and is therefore most susceptible to mistakes or misunderstanding. However it can only reach a certain level of misunderstanding. The conscious soul expresses itself in logical thinking, subdivision of understanding and mathematical thinking. The energies in the sentient and reasoning souls move up into the conscious soul. So passions, urges and desires become feelings and intellectual judgements and penetrate the conscious soul. All this is looked at by the logical thought of the conscious soul. This is why it is so good for forming opinions yet because it is the most isolated member of the soul we find that as far as opinions are concerned people differ greatly from one another. When we talk of things common to us, because of the structure of our family or general life, then we are talking about things that have their home in the reasoning soul. Of course ideas that were at home in the conscious soul can become general opinions and therefore move into the reasoning soul. In the same way a skill can become a habit.
We know that it is the astral body that is in direct contact with the spiritual side of reality. It is understandable that the sentient soul which is born of the astral body gives our ‘I ams’ awareness of the spiritual. Therefore it is very apt that Väinämöinen is also referred to as the eternal sage. This is exactly his relationship to the human being but obviously he doesn’t possess the power of the Gods, he is just aware of them and uses them to shape his life. In the lines:
Incantations I have learned,
Plucked in passing from the wayside,
Some I broke off from the heather,
Some I gathered from the bushes,
Others pulled from tender saplings,
Rubbed from haytips, snatched from hedges
Where I roamed about the cowpaths
As a youngster herding cattle,
Minding cows in the cattle pastures
On honeyed hills and hillocks golden
By the side of the spotted Frisky,
Trailing Muurikki, the black one.
Then the frost was singing verses,
Many a rhyme the rain recited
Others poems the winds delivered,
On the sea waves the songs came drifting,
Magic charms the birds have added
And the treetops incantations.
One can clearly understand that these natural occurrences can reveal the story of the Kalevala because nature itself is a reflection of these forces. An astral eye will of course reveal an astral reality and therefore of the spiritual reality
We know that it is the etheric body that has given birth to the reasoning soul. Remembering that the etheric body is the body that gives life to lifeless material we can also comprehend how the reasoning soul born of the etheric body is the member of the soul that shapes reality by giving life to it. It is Illmarinen that forges the Sampo from the natural elements and it is the reasoning soul that shapes the physical body. So the reasoning soul shape feeling from the sentient soul. Illmarinen forges the Sampo at Väinämöinen ‘s behest. Steiner tells us that this is clear proof that the Finns as a group soul, i.e. in the Kalevala, are aware of the inter-relationships between the members of the soul.
The physical body gave birth to the conscious soul and just as the physical is a result of the astral forces shaped by the elemental forces so we see that the conscious soul is shaped by the sentient and reasoning souls. So in Lemminkäinen we find the character that is closest to that of modern day human nature.
Remembering back to evolution and the Pralaya between the period of Atlantis to post-Atlantis we can also see the significance of the Sampo being made and then kept from the human souls for a long time. The human soul was completed towards the end of the Atlantis period and then the soul experienced a long time of being without a physical body before finally regaining a body to live in at the beginning if the post-Atlantis period
Using this logic one can also see that the big oak which had to be felled is a depiction of how the Moon forces continued to materialize the whole planet before leaving and allowing the Earth to live in a balance between the Sun and Moon forces. Väinämöinen appeals to his mother to send some spirit of the sea folk to cut down the evil oak that prevents the sun from shining and the moon from gleaming. Väinämöinen could sense the impending danger that began to shut out the sunlight. Divine intervention comes in the form of the tiny wood cutter. Further we also find that the splinters of the oak possess magical powers, i.e. unearthly powers, and that a witch slips one into her wallet in after finding one on the water stone. When Joukahainen gets his revenge,
Then he whittled out arrows
Heap of triple-feathered arrows
All the shafts he made of oak wood
because he must use unearthly forces to harm Väinämöinen. Again we find the timing for this event is also right because only the sentient soul was around when the Moon separated itself from the Earth.
In the lines
Where the sunlight does not shine
Nor the golden moonlight glimmer
as a result of the big oak we can also understand the relevance if we use Steiner’s version of evolution. When the Sun spirits left the Earth and Moon in the Hyperborean age the Moon would have had a golden glimmer because it was in the same atmosphere as the Earth. Only later when the Moon has left the Earth will it have a silver shine.
In the ‘Creation and the birth of Väinämöinen’ we also find that his mother was at first drifting about in just air which we know is the condensed form of the warmth ‘Fire’ from Saturn. The mother wearies and tries to find a place to land and we find that water becomes present on the Earth as well. The Moon is continuing to materialize. Finally we find the
So the mother of the water,
Water mother, airy maiden
Raised her knee above the surface
And her shoulder from the wave
and now Illmatar has a place to lay her six golden and one iron egg. Mars is the iron egg because it is the red planet and the planet that caused us to have iron in our blood. The rest are Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Jupiter and Saturn.
I would also contend that the repeated reference to fire and water which is explained by anthroplogists as purely a reflection of the importance of fire and water in primitive society. This is obviously true but not the whole truth. The Finns as with other Europeans remained clairvoyant even into the last millennium and were therefore acutely aware of the spiritual influences of the Sun and Moon that shaped their lives and world. The water and fire was also the symbolic expression of their knowledge.
Finally Steiner reminds us that the arrival of Mary in Heroes, that is called Routes in the Kalevala, is the arrival of the Christian impulse. The fact that we are hardly reminded of a place or person in Palestine means we are not at all aware of the historical coming of Christ. Steiner feels that ‘als eine intimiste Herzensache der Menschheit finden wir am Schlusse von Kalewala das Eindringen der edelsten Kulturperle der Menschheit in die finnische Kultur zart angedeutet.
At the beginning of this essay we mentioned science’s way of finding the truth. It is therefore most interesting that what Steiner says cannot be disproved, whilst at the same time there is evidence to support it. Remembering that the truth cannot be disproved or working from this assumption is of utmost importance in trying to understand the nature of reality. It is my belief therefore, that anyone who dismisses the spiritual reality is falling foul of the fundamental premise of scientific thinking. There is a spiritual reality and it is only by recognizing this fact and researching it that we can better understand the meaning of life. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
From Steiner’s Gesamtausgabe
3 Philosphie der Freiheit
12 Die Stufen der höheren Erkenntnis
13 Die Geheimwissenschaft im Umriss
17 Die Schwelle der geistigen Welt
61 Menschengeschichte im Lichte der Geistesforschung
93a Grundelemente der Esoterik
99 Die Theosophie des Rosenkreuzers
102 Das Hereinwirken geistiger Wesenheiten in den Himmelskörpern
104 Die Apokalypse Johannes
105 Welt, Erde und Mensch
106 Ägyptische Myther und Mysterien
110 Geistige Hierachen
112 Das Johannes Evangelium
119 Makrokosmos und Mikrokosmos
121 Die Mission einzelne Volkseelen
127 Die Mission der Geistesoffenbarung
133 Der irdische und kosmische Mensch
136 Die geistigen Wesenheiten in den Himmelskörpern und Naturreichen
158 Der Zusammenhang des Menschens
167 Gegenwärtiges und Vergangenes im Menschengeiste
220 Lebendiges Naturerkennen
222 Die Impulsierung des weltgeschichtlichen Geschehens
226 Menschenwesen und Menschenschicksal
The Kalevala Translated by Eino Friberg Otava publishing
Tao of Physics Fritjof Capra
Zen and the Art of motor-
cycle maintenance Robert Pirsig
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find and not yield
Nothing of itself shall come
But we must still be seeking
Seeking shall find him
Stephen Hawking, A Brief History in Time
see Creation of the Soul p18 & Kalevala p37
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenace. Robert Pirsig
see p 37
Shakespeare, Henry IV
102 p47 & p65
Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
105 p122 & 167 p 30
102 p89 & 105 p 121
Edouard Coure, Les Grands Inites p8-15
Shakespeare, King John
Britannica ‘in occultism, a pictorial record or ‘memory’ of all events, actions, thoughts and feelings that have occurred since the beginning of time. They are said to be printed on the Akasha, the astral light, which is described by spiritual scientists as a fluid ether existing beyond the range of human senses. The Akashic records are reputedly accessible to certain individuals- eg. a spiritualst medium who conducts a seance. Akasha allegedly transmits the waves of human will power, thought, feeling and imagination and is a resevoir of occult power, an ocean of unconsciousness to which all are linked, making prophecy and clairvoyancy possible.
Shakespeare, Henry VIII
Bayard Taylor translation
Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra
Rune 1 50-70
Rune 2 101-111
Rune 2 209
Rune 6 47-49
Rune 2 95-96
Rune 1 111-116
Rune 1 123-125
Rune 1 195-198
Einstein, Science, Philosophy and Religion