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Cosmic Memory

Rudolf Steiner e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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Cosmic Memory

On-line since: 31st March, 2008

Beginning of the Present Earth — Extrusion of the Sun

WE SHALL now follow the Akasha Chronicle back into that remote past in which our present earth had its beginning. By “earth” is to be understood that condition of our planet by virtue of which it can support minerals, plants, animals, and men in their form of today. For this condition was preceded by others in which the natural realms just mentioned existed in considerably different forms. That which one now calls earth went through many changes before it could become the carrier of our present mineral, plant, animal, and human worlds. Minerals for instance also existed under the preceding conditions, but they looked quite different from those of today. These past conditions will be discussed further below. Now we shall only call attention to the manner in which the immediately preceding condition changed into the present one.

One can conceive of such a transformation to some extent by comparing it to the passage of a plant through the seed stage. Imagine a plant with root, stalk, leaves, blossom, and fruit. It takes in substances from its environment and secretes others. But everything in it which is substance, form, and process disappears, except for the small seed. Life develops by passing through it, and in the new year it rises again in the same form. Thus everything which existed on our earth in its preceding condition has disappeared, only to arise again in its present condition. What for the preceding condition one might call mineral, plant, animal has passed away, as in the plant, root, stalk, and so forth, pass away. There as well as here, a germinal stage has remained, from which the old form develops anew. The forces which will cause the new form to emerge lie hidden in the seed.

At the period discussed here we are dealing with a kind of earth germ. This contained within itself the forces which led to the earth of today. These forces were acquired through earlier conditions. This earth germ however must not be imagined as a densely material one, like that of a plant. It was rather of a soul character. It consisted of that delicate, malleable, mobile substance which is called “astral” in occult literature.

In this astral germ of earth there are only human rudiments at first. These are the rudiments of the later human souls. Everything in preceding conditions which was already present as a mineral; plant, or animal nature has been drawn into these human rudiments and become fused with them. Before man enters upon the earth he is a soul, an astral entity. As such he appears on earth. The latter exists in a state of the most highly-refined substantiality, which in occult literature is called the most refined ether. Whence this etheric earth originated will be described in the next essays.

The astral human beings combine with this ether. They impress their nature upon this ether, in order that it can become a likeness of the astral human entity. In this initial condition we are dealing with an ether earth which really consists only of these ether men, which is only a conglomerate of them. Actually the astral body or the soul of man is for the most part still outside the ether body and organizes it from without. To the scientist of the spirit, the earth appears approximately as follows. It is a sphere which in turn is composed of innumerable small ether spheres — the ether men — and is surrounded by an astral envelope just as the present earth is surrounded by an envelope of air. It is in this astral envelope (atmosphere) that the astral men live and whence they act upon their ether likenesses. The astral human souls create organs in their ether likenesses and produce a human ether life in them. Within the whole earth there exists only one condition of matter, the refined living ether. In theosophical books this first humanity is called the first (the Polarean) root race.

The further development of earth takes place in such that from the one condition of matter there develop two. A denser substantiality is secreted, so to speak, and leaves a thinner one behind. The denser substantiality resembles our present air; the thinner one is that which causes chemical elements to develop from previously undifferentiated substance. Along with these, a remainder of the previous substantiality, the living ether, continues to exist. Only a part of it is transformed into the so-called material conditions. We now are dealing with three substances within the physical earth. While the astral human beings in the envelope of earth previously acted only upon one kind of substantiality, they must now act upon three. They act upon them in the following way: That which has become airlike at first resists their activity. It does not accept everything which is rudimentarily present in the complete astral men. As a consequence, astral humanity must divide itself into two groups. One group works on the air-like substantiality and creates in it a likeness of itself. The other group can do more. It can work on the two other substantialities; it can create a likeness of itself which consists of the living ether and of the other kind of ether which brings the elementary chemical substances into being. This ether will here be called the chemical ether. This second group of astral men has acquired its higher capacity, however, only by separating from itself a part of the astral nature — the first group — and condemning it to a lower kind of labor. Had it retained within itself the forces which accomplish this lower labor, it could not have risen higher itself. here we are dealing with a process which consists in the development of the higher at the expense of something else, which is separated from it.

Within the physical earth the following picture now presents itself. Two kinds of entities have come into being First, entities which have an airlike body on which the astral being belonging to it is working from the outside. These beings are animal-like. They form a first animal realm on earth. These animals have shapes which, were they to be described here, would strike mankind of today as very peculiar. Their shape — one must keep in mind that this shape is based only on an airlike substance — does not resemble any of the animal forms existing now. At most they have a remote similarity to the shells of certain snails and mussels which exist today. Beside these animal forms the development of physical man progresses. The astral man, who has now ascended higher, produces a physical likeness of himself which consists of the two kinds of matter, of the life ether and of the chemical ether. One thus deals with a man who consists of the astral body and is working himself into an ether body which in turn consists of two kinds of ether: life ether and chemical ether. Through the life ether this physical likeness of man is endowed with the capacity to reproduce itself, to cause beings of its own kind to emerge from it. Through the chemical ether it develops certain forces which are similar to the present forces of chemical attraction and repulsion. Thereby this likeness of man is in a position to attract certain substances from the environment and to combine them with itself, secreting them again later by means of the repelling forces. These substances, of course, can only be taken from the animal realm described above, and from the realm of man. This constitutes a beginning of nutrition. Thus these first likenesses of man were eaters of animals and of men.

Besides these beings, the descendants of the earlier beings, composed merely of life ether, continue to exist, but they become atrophied, since they have to adapt to the new terrestrial conditions. After they have undergone many transformations, the unicellular animal beings develop from them, and also the cells which later make up the more complicated living organisms.

The following process then takes place. The airlike substantiality divides itself into two, of which one becomes denser, watery, while the other one remains airlike. The chemical ether also divides itself into two conditions of matter; one of them becomes denser and forms that which we shall here call the light ether. It endows the entities which possess it with the gilt of luminosity. On the other hand, a portion of the chemical ether continues to exist as such.

We are now dealing with a physical earth which is composed of the following kinds of matter: water, air, light ether, chemical ether. and life ether. In order that the astral entities can act on these kinds of matter, another process takes place by which the higher develops at the expense of the lower, which becomes separated from it. Thereby physical entities of the following kind are produced. First, those whose physical body consists of water and air. Now coarse astral entities which have been split off, act on these. Thus a new group of animals of coarser materiality than the earlier ones is produced.

Another new group of physical entities has a body which consists of air and light ether mixed with water. These are plantlike entities, which however are very different in form from the plants of today. Finally, the third new group represents man of that period. His physical body consists of three kinds of ether: the light ether, the chemical ether, and the life ether. If one considers that descendants of the old groups also continue to exist, one can judge what a variety of living beings there already were at that stage of terrestrial existence.

There now follows an important cosmic event. The sun is extruded. Thereby certain forces simply leave the earth. These forces are composed of a part of what hitherto had existed on earth in the life ether and in the chemical and light ether. These forces, so to speak, were withdrawn from the earth. A radical change thereby took place among groups of terrestrial beings which previously had contained these forces within themselves. They all suffered a transformation. Those which have been called plant beings above, first suffered such a transformation. A part of their light ether forces was taken from them. They could then develop as organisms only when the force of light, which had been withdrawn from them, acted upon them from the outside. Thus the plants came under the influence of the sunlight.

Something similar happened with human bodies. From then onward, their light ether also had to act together with the light ether of the sun in order to be capable of life. But not only those beings themselves which lost the light ether were affected; the others were affected too. For in the world everything interacts. Those animal forms, too, which did not contain light ether themselves had previously been irradiated by their fellow beings on earth and had developed under this irradiation. Now they also came under the immediate influence of the external sun.

The human body in particular developed organs receptive to the sunlight, that is, the first rudiments of human eyes.

The consequence of the extrusion of the sun was a further material densification of the earth. Solid matter developed from fluid; likewise the light ether separated into another kind of light ether, and into an ether which gives bodies the capacity to increase temperature. With this, the earth became an entity which developed heat within itself. All its beings came under the influence of heat. In the astral element a process similar to the previous ones again had to take place; some beings developed to a higher level at the expense of others. A group of beings split off which were well suited to work on coarse solid substantiality. With this there had developed the firm skeleton of the mineral realm of earth. At first the higher natural realms did not act upon this rigid mineral skeleton. Thus, on the earth there exist a mineral realm which is solid, and a plant realm which has water and air as its densest substantiality. In the latter realm, through the events we have described, the air body had become condensed to a water body. There also existed animals of the most varied forms, some with water and some with air bodies. The human body itself had become subject to a process of densification. It had condensed its most compact corporeality to the point of wateriness. The newly-developed heat ether coursed through this water body. This gave to his body a substantiality which could perhaps be called gas-like. This material condition of the human body is described in works on mystery science as that of the fire mist. Man was embodied in this body of fire mist.

With this, the examination of the Akasha Chronicle has reached a point shortly before the cosmic catastrophe caused by the extrusion of the moon from the earth.

Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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