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Occult Science - An Outline

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

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Occult Science - An Outline

Chapter IV

Man and the Evolution of the World

(Part 5)

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When the interval of rest is over, what formerly was Sun comes forth again from the “sleep of worlds.” That is to say, it becomes perceptible once more to those powers of spiritual sight which had formerly been able to observe it but from which it vanished in the interval of rest. The planetary being emerging now in its new form shall be designated “Moon” — but we must not confuse it with that fragment of it which constitutes the present Moon, the satellite of the Earth. Two things are to be noted, as it re-emerges. In the first place, the new Saturn, which separated off during Sun, is now again within the planetary being. During the interval of rest, it has re-united with the Sun. The whole content of the original Saturn comes forth again to begin with as a single cosmic entity. Secondly, the life-bodies of the human beings, that were formed upon Sun, have been absorbed during the interval of rest by the planet's spiritual envelope — for such, as a sense, it is. Hence at this point of time the life-bodies do not appear in union with the human physical bodies; these emerge, to begin with, by themselves. Though bearing in their nature all that has been achieved in them on Saturn and on the Sun, they are still without the etheric or life-body. Nor indeed would they be able to receive it at once, for in the interval of rest the etheric body itself has undergone an evolution to which they are not yet adapted. And so now, at the beginning of Moon evolution, another repetition of the Saturn events takes place, in order to achieve this adaptation.

The physical life of man passes in recapitulation through the stages of Saturn evolution, but under altogether changed conditions. For on Saturn the forces of a warmth body alone were at work in it, whereas now there are also those of the gaseous body which it has assimilated. The latter do not however emerge at once. In the beginning of Moon evolution it is as though the human being consisted of warmth-substance alone, with the gaseous forces still asleep within it. Then follows a period when these emerge in their first indication. And at length, in the last period of the Saturn repetition, the human being has already the appearance he had when he was alive on Sun. Yet all “life” at this stage proves to be no more than a mere semblance of life. For there must first be an interval of rest, like the short intervals of rest during Sun evolution. Then begins once more the inpouring of the life-body, for which the physical body has now made itself mature. This inpouring takes place, as did the Saturn repetition, in three distinct epochs. In the second of these, the human being is so far adapted to the new Moon conditions that the Spirits of Movement can bring into action the faculty they have acquired. Out of their own nature they can now pour the astral body into the human beings. For this work they prepared themselves during Sun evolutions, and in the interval of rest between Sun and Moon they have transmuted what they had prepared into the actual faculty. This inpouring of the astral body lasts for a certain time, and then again one of the smaller intervals of rest ensues; after which the inpouring is continued, until the Spirits of Form enter with their activity. Through the Spirits of Movement pouring into him the astral body, the human being acquires his first qualities of soul. The processes that take place in him by virtue of the life-body — which in Sun evolution were still of a plant-like character — these he now begins to follow with sensation, feeling pleasure in them or disliking them. But the sympathies and antipathies thus aroused remain in ever-changing ebb and flow, until the Spirits of Form come in and play their part. Thereupon the ever-changing feelings become so transformed that there emerges in the human being what we may regard as a first sign of wish and craving. He strives for a repetition of what gave enjoyment, and seeks to avoid what roused a feeling of antipathy. Since however the Spirits of Form do not communicate their own nature to the human being but only cause their forces to pour in and out of him, this craving is without inwardness or independence. It is guided by the Spirits of Form, and gives the impression of being purely instinctive.

On Saturn the physical body of the human being was a body of warmth; on Sun there was a condensation to the gaseous condition, to “air.” Now, in Moon evolution, when the Astral is poured in, the moment is reached when the physical attains a further stage of condensation. It comes into a condition comparable to that of a liquid in our time. This new state may be designated “water,” meaning however not our present water but any liquid form of existence. The human physical body comes now gradually to assume a form composed of three organic structures, distinct form one another in their substance. The densest is a “water body;” this is permeated through and through by airy currents, and warmth effects continue also to pervade the whole.

But now, as on Saturn, so in the Sun stage too, not all the forms attain the corresponding maturity. Hence we find upon Moon, forms which are even now still at the Saturn stage, and some also which have reached but remain at the stage of Sun. Two other kingdoms thus emerge, beside the properly developed human kingdom. One consists of beings which, having remained at the Saturn stage, have physical body alone; and this physical body is not yet able, even now on Moon, to become the bearer of an independent life-body. These beings form the lowest kingdom. A second kingdom is composed of beings who have stopped short at the Sun stage, and are accordingly not ready on Moon to incorporate within them an independent astral body. They constitute an intermediate kingdom, between the aforesaid and the normally advanced human kingdom.

A further event has now to be noted. The substances with forces of warmth alone, those also that have stopped short as forces of air, permeate the human beings too. These, therefore, on Moon, bear within them a Saturn and a Sun nature. Thereby a kind of split has come about in human nature, and in consequence of this, an event of great significance takes place in Moon evolution. Soon after the Spirits of Form have come in with their activity, a severance begins to be prepared for in the heavenly body of the Moon. A portion of the substances and beings is split off from the remainder. Out of the single heavenly body, two separate ones evolve. The first is taken for their dwelling-place by certain higher Beings, hitherto more intimately united with the heavenly body in its single state. The second is occupied by man, together with the two lower kingdoms above-mentioned and also certain higher Beings who do not pass over to the first. The former heavenly body, with the higher Beings, appears now as a Sun re-born and at the same time refined; the latter is henceforth the essentially new creation — “Old Moon,” as it has to be called — the third planetary embodiment of our Earth, following on the Saturn and Sun embodiments.

Of the substances that have come into existence on Moon, the new-born Sun, as it goes forth, takes with it only warmth and air; while on the remained which is left behind as Moon, beside these two the watery state is also to be found. In consequence of the severance, the Beings who have gone forth with the new-born Sun are no longer hampered in their evolution by the denser beings of the Moon. They are now able to progress untrammeled in their own becoming, and they attain thereby the greater strength to work — now from without, from their dwelling-place, the Sun — upon the beings of the Moon. Thus do the Moon beings too attain new possibilities of evolution. What is for them particularly significant is that the Spirits of Form have remained united with them. These establish more firmly the desire-nature of the human being, and by degrees this comes to find expression in a further condensation of the physical body. Where hitherto it has been but watery, it begins to assume a more viscous form, and the structures of air and of warmth are densified to correspond. Similar changes take place also in the two lower kingdoms.

In consequence of having separated from the Sun, the Moon is now related to the Sun in the same way as once was Saturn to the whole of the surrounding cosmic evolution. Saturn was formed out of the body of the Spirits of Will (Thrones.) From the Saturn substance rayed back into cosmic space all that was experienced in consciousness by the Spirit-beings in its environment. And through the events that followed, this raying-back gradually work to independent life. Such is the essence of all evolution. Independent being is first separated out from the life of the environment, then the environment engraves itself — as it were, by reflection — upon the separated being, and then the latter evolves further, independently.

So did the Moon body sever itself from the Sun, and, to being with, simply reflect the life of the Sun body. If, therefore, nothing else had happened, the situation in the cosmos would have been as follows. There would have been a Sun body, where spiritual Beings well adapted to its nature had their experiences in the elements of warmth and air. Over against it would have been a Lunar body, wherein other Beings were evolving, living a life of warmth and air and water. And the progress from the Sun to the Moon embodiment would have meant for the Sun Beings that in what was happening on Moon they would have beheld their own life as in a mirror, and would in this way have been able to receive it and enjoy it, which during the Sun embodiment had not yet been possible. But evolution took another turn. Something took place which was of the very deepest significance for all succeeding evolution. Certain beings, who were adapted to the Moon body, possessed themselves of the element of Will (a heritage from the Thrones) which stood at their disposal, and evolved therewith a life of their own, that grew up independently of the Sun life.

Alongside the experiences on Moon which were entirely subject to the Sun's influence, independent experiences now arose — states of rebellion, as it were, or of opposition to the Sun Beings. And the various kingdoms that had arisen on Sun and Moon — above all, the kingdom of the forefather of man — became involved in these new conditions. Spiritually and materially, the Moon body contained now within it two kinds of life — one that was in intimate union with the Sun's life, and another which, having “fallen” from this, went on its own independent way. This division into a twofold life comes to expression in all the succeeding events of the Moon embodiment.

That which presents itself to supersensible consciousness at this epoch in evolution, can be described in the following picture. The ground mass of the Moon was formed of a semi-live substance, which was in constant movement, sometimes sluggish, sometimes quick and lively. There is as yet no solid mineral mass like the rocks and other constituents of the Earth on which man treads today. We might describe it as a kind of plant-mineral kingdom. Only, we have to imagine the whole ground and body of the Moon consisting of this plant-mineral substance, just as the earth today consists of rocks and stones, arable soil, etc. As here and there rocks protrude from the Earth today, so in the Lunar mass, harder portions also were embedded. These might be likened to forms made of hard wood or horn. Moreover, as plants today spring from the mineral soil, so was the ground of the Moon bedecked, and also penetrates, by a second kingdom, consisting of a kind of plant-animal. The substance of this kingdom was softer than the ground and more mobile in itself. It spread over the lower kingdom like a turgid sea. And as for man himself, he might be described as animal-man. He had in his nature the constituents of the two other kingdoms; but his being was permeated through and through by a life-body and an astral body, upon which the forces of the higher Beings on the Sun were working, thereby ennobling his form and figure. The Spirits of form gave him a form and figure that adapted him to the Moon life; the Sun Spirits, on the other hand, made him a being that was lifted beyond this life. With the faculties bestowed on him by these Spirits, man had the power to ennoble his own nature; he could even lift up on to a higher level that within him which was akin to the lower kingdoms.

Seen in their spiritual aspect, these developments may be described as follows. Man's ancestor had also been ennobled by beings who had fallen away from the Sun kingdom. Their ennobling influence extended, above all, to everything that could be experienced in the watery element. Upon this element, the influence of the Beings of the Sun was not so great; they were rulers in the elements of warmth and air. The outcome of all this was that a twofold nature began to declare itself in man's organism. One part of it was permeated through and through by the influence of the Sun Beings; while in the other, the fallen beings, the Moon beings, were working. The latter part was thus more independent. In the former, no other states of consciousness could arise than those in which the Beings of the Sun were living, while in the latter there lived a kind of cosmic consciousness, such as had belonged to the Saturn state, but on a higher level. Through it man's ancestor saw himself as an “Image of the Universe,” while in the “Sun” part of his being he would feel himself only as an “Image of the Sun.”

These two natures in man began now to come into a kind of conflict. And for this conflict a balance was established by the influence of the Sun Beings making transient and frail the more material part of man's organism whereby he was enabled to have the independent World-consciousness. Henceforth this part had to be thrown off from time to time. During the process and for some while after, man's ancestor was a being subject to the Sun influence alone. His consciousness became less independent; he lived in utter devotion to the Solar life. Thereupon the independent — Moon — part would be renewed once more; and after a while the whole process be repeated. This happened time and again. Thus did the ancestor of man live on the Moon in alternating states of consciousness — now duller, now clearer; and the alternation was accompanied by a changing and renewal of his being in its material aspect. From time to time he would lay aside his Moon body, then after awhile put it on once more.

Seen in their physical aspect, the aforesaid kingdoms of the Moon show great variety. The mineral-plants differ from one another, group by group; so do the plant-animals and the animal-men. This we shall readily understand if we recall that certain structures have remained behind at each of the preceding stages. Forms very varied in quality will thus had been embodied. Some there are which still reveal the initial properties of Saturn; others, those of its middle epoch; others again, those of its end. So too for all the successive evolutionary stages of the Sun.

Nor is it only the forms and structures belonging to the heavenly body that remain behind as it goes forward in its evolution. The same applies to many of the Beings connected with it. With the advance of evolution to Moon, a number of different ranks of such Beings are to be found. There are Spirits of Personality who even on Sun did not attain their human level, while there are others who made good there what they and missed before, and rose to the human stage. The same with the Fires Spirits who should have become human beings on Sun: a number of these have also remained behind. And as in Sun evolution certain Spirits of Personality, having remained behind, withdrew from the Sun and made Saturn arise anew as a distinct heavenly body, so too in the course of Moon evolution do the Beings aforesaid remove themselves on to separate heavenly bodies. So far, we have spoken only of the separation into Sun and Moon, but in the same manner other heavenly forms were also separated from the Moon body which emerged after the great interval between the Sun and Moon stages of evolution; so that we have in time a whole system of heavenly bodies, the most advanced of which, as will readily be seen, must be the new Sun. And now, as in Sun evolution there was a bond of attraction between the backward Saturn kingdom and the Spirits of Personality on the new Saturn, so, in like manner, bonds of attraction now arise between the several heavenly bodies and the corresponding Moon beings. It would lead us much too far afield to trace here in detail all the heavenly bodies that emerged. Let is suffice to have pointed out the reason why, as time went on, from the single heavenly body which arose as Saturn in the beginning of human evolution, a whole number of heavenly bodies detached themselves one after another.

After the Spirits of Form have come in with their activity, Moon evolution continues for a time along these lines. Then there is once more an interval, during which the coarser parts of the three Moon kingdoms remain in a kind of quiescent state, while the finer parts — and notably the astral bodies of the human beings — free themselves from these coarser structures. They come into a condition where the higher forces of the sublime Beings of the Sun can work upon them with peculiar intensity.

After this interval of rest, the finer portions penetrate once more into the parts of the human being that are of coarser substance. What with the strength they have acquired in their free condition during the interval, they can now make these coarser substances ready to receive the influence which, after a time, the normally progressive Spirits of Personality and the Fire Spirits will bring to bear on them.

The Spirits of Personality have risen meanwhile to a stage at which they have the consciousness of Inspiration. Not only can they, as in their former picture-consciousness, perceive in picture form the inner states of other beings; they can behold their very inwardness, expressed in a language as it were of spiritual music. Meanwhile the Fire Spirits have risen to the consciousness which the Spirits of Personality possessed on Sun. Both kinds of Spirits are thus able to enter, and play their part in, the now more ripened life of the human being. The Spirits of Personality work on his astral body, the Fire Spirits on his etheric body. The astral body receives thereby the character of personality. Henceforth it not only experiences pleasure and pain, it also relates them to itself. Not yet does it rise to the full consciousness of “I” which says to itself “I am;” Rather does it feel sustained and sheltered by other beings in its environment. Turning its gaze upward, as it were, to these, it can exclaim: “This my environment upholds me in existence.”

Meanwhile the Fire Spirits work upon the etheric body. Under their influence the motion of the forces in this body becomes gradually more and more of an inward life activity. It finds physical expression in a movement of the saps and fluids and in phenomena of growth. The gaseous substances have been condensed to watery, and we may now begin to speak of a kind of nutrition — in the sense that what is received from without is inwardly transmuted and assimilated. If we imagine something intermediate between the nutrition and the breathing of today, we shall have a fair idea of what was taking place in this direction. The human being derived his “food-stuffs” from the animal-plant kingdom. These animal-plants we must imagine hovering and floating in a surrounding element (or sometimes also loosely rooted in the ground,) rather as the lower animals of today live in the water, or the terrestrial animals in the air. But the element in which the animal-plants lived was neither water nor air in the present sense; it was something intermediate between the two — a kind of dense vapor wherein the most diverse substances, being as it were dissolved in it, moved hither and thither in manifold currents. The animal-plants seemed like forms within this element that were only rather more regular and condensed. Physically they were often but little different from their surrounding element. Besides the process of nutrition, there was also a breathing process. But it was not as it is on Earth; it was more like an in-drawing and out-pouring of warmth. To the supersensible observer of these processes, it is as though organs were opening out and drawing to again, while a warmth-giving stream pours in and out of them, and air and water substances are conveyed inwards and outwards. And since the human being has already at this stage an astral body of his own, both breathing and nutrition are accompanied by inner feelings. A kind of pleasure is experienced when substances that are helpful for building the human being, are absorbed; discomfort is felt when harmful substances flow in, or even when they only come too near.

Now as the breathing process was during Moon evolution nearly related to that of nutrition, so was the process of ideation — the forming of mental images — to the reproduction process. The things and begins in Moon man's environment exercised no immediate effect on any human senses. Man's mental life was rather of the following character. In this dim twilight consciousness, pictures were called up by the presence of these things and begins; and the pictures were far more intimately related to the real inner nature of the environment than are our sense-perceptions, which reveal — in colors, sounds, smells, etc. — merely its outer aspect. To gain a better idea of Moon man's consciousness we should imagine him steeped in the vapor-like environment above described. Manifold processes are taking place within it. Substances are combining, substances are separating; some parts grow more condensed, others thin out, become more tenuous. All this goes on in such a way that though the human beings do not directly see or hear it, it calls forth pictures in their consciousness. These may be likened to the pictures of our dream-consciousness today. Let us say, an object falls to the floor. The sleeper does not perceive the real process, but instead some arbitrary picture — for example, he thinks a shot is being fired. The pictures of Moon consciousness, however, unlike our dream-pictures, are not arbitrary. Though they are not copies but symbols only of outer processes, nevertheless they correspond to them. For a particular outer process one picture will arise and no other. Moon man is thus in a position to order his conduct according to the pictures, just as today man orders his conduct according to his perceptions. Only, observe the difference; conduct based on our perceptions is subject to free choice whereas action under the influence of these pictures takes place as though impelled by a deep inner urge.

We must not however imagine that in this picture-consciousness we have no more than a symbolization of outer physical processes. Through the pictures, the spiritual Beings holding sway behind the physical facts — these spiritual Beings and their activities are also presented to consciousness. Thus in the creatures of the animal-like kingdom the Spirits of Personality are as it were made visible, while the Fires Spirits appear behind and within the mineral-plant beings. Other beings too appear, whom man can conceive without connection with anything physical; he beholds them rather as ethereal and soul-like forces. These are the Sons of Life.

The mental pictures of Moon consciousness being not copies but symbols of the outer beings, their influence on the inner life of the human being was on this very account all the greater; it was far greater than that of the mental pictures man has today, that are communicated by external perception. The pictures of Moon consciousness were capable of arousing his whole inner life to movement and action. The inner processes took shape to accord with them, they were formative forces in the true sense of the word. The human being became even as they formed him. He became, so to speak, the image of his own processes in consciousness.

But now the farther evolution goes on in this way, the more does it entail a deeply incisive change for the human being. The power proceeding from the pictures in consciousness grows gradually less and less to extend over his whole bodily nature. Some members are subject in their formation to the formative plastic influences of the picture-consciousness, and become to a large extent an image of the mental life in the way that has been indicated; but there are other organs that withdraw themselves from this influence. In part of his being, man is as it were too dense — determined too much by other laws — for him to follow the pictures he has in his consciousness. These organs withdraw from his influence. But they come under another; they come under the influence of the sublime Sun Beings themselves. This stage in evolution is however seen to be preceded by an interval of rest, wherein the Sun Spirits gather up their forces, in order to work upon the beings of the Moon under these quite new conditions.

After the interval of rest, the human being is seen to be divided into two natures. One is withdrawn from the independent working of his picture-consciousness. It takes on a more definite shape and comes under the influence of forces which, though they proceed from the body of the Moon, can only arise there through the influence of the Sun Beings. This portion of man's being partakes increasingly in the life that is kindled by the Sun. The other rises out of this one, like a kind of head. It is mobile and pliable, shaping itself so as to express and sustain the dream-like consciousness in which man lives. The two portions are however intimately bound up with one another. They send each other their respective fluids, and the members of each extend into the other.

While all this has been taking place, a relationship of Sun and Moon has arisen, which accords with the trend of this evolution. A significant harmony is thereby brought about.

It has already been shown how the spiritual Beings, as they go forward through the stages of their evolution, detach from the great cosmic mass various heavenly bodies, to be their dwelling-places. It is the Beings who radiate the forces by which the cosmic substances are organized and differentiated. The separation of Sun and Moon was thus a necessary event, to lead up to the provision of proper dwelling-places for the several spiritual Beings. But this determination of substance and of its forces by the Spirit goes still farther. For it is the spiritual Beings who give rise to certain movements of the heavenly bodies, revolutions one about another, with the result that the heavenly bodies change their relative positions; and every change in their relative position of one heavenly body to another means a change in the mutual influences of the Beings.

This is what happened with regard to Sun and Moon. A movement of the Moon about the Sun is induced, which at certain times brings the human begins more into the sphere of the Sun's influence, while at other, alternative times they are enabled to turn away from it and so be thrown more upon their own resources. The movement is an outcome of the above-mentioned “fall” of certain beings of the Moon, and of the balance established in settlement of the conflict which ensued. It is simply the physical expression for the spiritual relationship of forces that was engendered by the “fall.” Through the one heavenly body moving around the other, there arise in the Beings who inhabit them such alternative states of consciousness as were described above. It can indeed be said that the Moon alternatively turns her life towards the Sun and away from it. There is a sun time and a planetary time. During the latter the Moon Beings grow and evolve on a side of the Moon which is turned away from the Sun. It must however be added that something else comes into play on the Moon, beside this motion of the heavenly bodies. Supersensible consciousness, as it looks back, can see the Moon Beings themselves migrating round their planet at regular intervals of time. Sometimes they seek the regions where they can give themselves up to the Sun's influence, at other times they journey to regions where they are not subject to it — where they can, as it were, muse upon their own life and being.

To complete the picture, it is moreover to be observed that in this epoch the Sons of Life attain their human stage. We have seen how the first beginnings of the human senses came into being upon Saturn. Even now on Moon, moan cannot yet use these senses for his own perception of external objects; at this stage, however, they can become instruments for the Sons of Life. The Sons of Life use them in order through them to have perception. Thus these senses, that belong to the physical body of man, enter into mutual relation with the Sons of Life. For the Sons of Life do not merely make use of them; they also work upon them and perfect them.

Through these alternating relations to the Sun, recurring changes arise, as we have seen, in the life-conditions of man himself. It happens in the following way. Each time that he is subjected to the influence of the Sun, man devotes himself to the Sun life and its manifestations rather than to himself. At such times he feels the greatness and majesty of the Universe as expressed in the shining of the Sun. He inhales, at it were, sublime and cosmic greatness. It is then that the lofty Beings, who have their dwelling on the Sun, are exerting their influence upon the Moon. And the Moon, in turn, is working — not upon the whole human being, but chiefly upon those parts of him which have withdrawn from the influence of the pictures he has in his consciousness. The physical body and the life-body especially attain at these times a certain magnitude and a certain perfection of form. In the manifestations of consciousness, on the other hand, there is a decline. But when the life of the human being is turned away from the Sun, he occupies himself more with his own nature. Then inner life and mobility begin in the astral body, while the outer figure grows less comely, less perfect in formation.

There are therefore during Moon evolution two alternating states of consciousness, quite distinct from one another. The one during the Sun period is more dim; the other — in the epoch when life is thrown more on its won resources — is clearer. The former condition, while it is dimmer, is at the same time more selfless, for man then lives more in devotion to the outer world — to the Universe as reflected in the Sun This alternation in states of consciousness may be compared, in the man of the present day, both to the alternation of sleeping and waking, and also to that of life between birth and death on the one hand and, on the other, the more spiritual existence between death and a new birth. Man's awakening on Moon, when the Sun time draws to a close, might thus be described as something intermediate between the awakening of present-day man each morning, and his birth. So too the gradual dimming of consciousness as the Sun time approaches is like an intermediate state between our dying and our falling asleep; for it must not be supposed that an Old Moon there was yet a consciousness of birth and death such as man has today. In the Sun time the human being abandoned himself to the enjoyment of a kind of Sun-life. He was lifted away form his own life and lived more spiritually. We can do no more than attempt an approximate and comparative description of what he then experienced. He felt as if the very forces of the Universe, as if all their influences were streaming in upon him, throbbing through his being. He felt intoxicated by the cosmic harmonies in which his life participated. At such times his astral body was in a way freed from the physical, and with it part of the life-body too was drawn away; and this entity of astral body and life-body was like a delicate and wonderful musical instrument, upon the chords of which the cosmic Mysteries resounded. And the members of that part of man on which his consciousness had little influence were then shaped and molded in accordance with the harmonies of the Universe. For in these harmonies the Beings of the Sun were working. This part of man was thus in very truth shaped and formed by the tones of spiritual, cosmic sounds.

The transition from the brighter state of consciousness to the duller one was not so marked as in the transition from the waking condition to the dreamless sleep of man today. The picture-consciousness was not, indeed, as bright as waking consciousness today, neither was the other state of consciousness as dull as our dreamless sleep. Man had a certain apprehension, though a dim one, of the playing of the cosmic harmonies in his physical body and in that part of his etheric body which had remained united with the physical. And when the Sun was, as it were, no longer shining for him, the mental pictures came into his consciousness in place of the cosmic harmonies. Life was then kindled more in those members of the physical and etheric bodies which were subject to the direct influence of his own consciousness, while the other parts of man — the formative, creative forces no longer working on them from the Sun — went through a kind of withering and hardening process. And as the Sun time drew near once more, the old bodies fell away. They detached themselves from the human being, and out of his old bodily nature, as though out of a grave, man came forth once more — new-formed within, though crude as yet in outer shape and stature. The life-process in him had undergone renewal. After this, the new-born body — under the influence of the Sun Beings with their cosmic harmonies — grew and unfolded to its perfect state once more, and then the whole process was repeated.

Man felt this renewal like the putting-on of a fresh garment. He had not, with the kernel of his being, gone through an actual birth or death. He had but passed from a spiritual consciousness of cosmic Sound — when he was in a state of devotion to the outer Universe — to a consciousness that was directed upon his own inner being. He had cast his skin. The old body having grown unfit for use had been laid aside — and renewed.

Herewith we have also indicated more precisely what was characterized above as a kind of reproduction that was closely related to the life of ideation — the forming of mental images. In respect of certain parts of the physical and etheric body it is true to say that the human being brought forth his kind. But this does not mean that we have then a daughter-being fully distinct from the parent-being. The kernel of the latter passes over to the former, thus bringing forth — not a new being — but itself in a new shape. When the Sun time draws near, his mental pictures grow fainter and fainter, a sense of blissful devotion fills him, and in the peace and silence of his inner being the universal harmonies resound. Towards the end of this period the pictures in the astral body become alive again; man begins to be increasingly aware of himself. He feels as though he were awakening form the blissful rest in which he has been immersed during the Sun time. Another significant experience meets him here. With the renewed lighting-up of the pictures in consciousness, the human being sees himself enshrouded as it were within a cloud, which has descended on him like a Being from the great Universe. This Being, he feels, belongs to him, is a kind of completion of his own nature. He it is, he feels, that grants him his existence, that grants him his I. The Being is one of the Sons of Life. Man's feeling towards him can be expressed somewhat as follows — “In him I lived, even in the Sun time when I was given up to the sublime glory of the Universal All. Only, then he was not visible to me; now he is becoming visible.” And it is this Son of Life from whom the force proceeds that enables man to work upon his own bodily nature during the Sun-less time. Then, when the Sun time draws near once more, man feels as though he himself were becoming one with the Sun of Life. Even then he does not see him, but he feels deeply and inwardly united with him.

The relation of the human beings to the Sons of Life was not such that each single human being had his Son of Life to himself, but a whole group would feel that a Son of Life belonged to it as a group. Men lived, on Moon, separated in this way into groups, and each group felt in common “group-Ego” in a Son of Life. The different between the groups made itself felt notably in the etheric body, which had a special form in each group. Since however the physical body takes its form from the etheric, the differences in the latter were impressed upon the former, and the several groups may be regarded as so many human species. When the Sons of Life looked down upon the human groups belonging to them, they saw themselves manifolded, as it were, in so many single human beings. And that gave them the feeling of their own Ego-hood. They saw the reflection of themselves in the human beings. Herein too lay the function of the human senses at that time. We have already seen that the senses did not yet transmit any perceptions of external objects, but at this stage they reflected the being of the Sons of Life. What the Sons of Life perceived through this reflection, gave them their “I” consciousness. And what was kindled in man's astral body by the same reflection — was none other than the picture-content of his dim Moon consciousness. The effect of this activity of man in mutual interaction with the Sons of Life finds expression in the physical body in the beginnings of the nervous system. The nerves make their appearance there like prolongations of the senses into the inward parts of the body.

From all this a clear picture emerges of how the three kinds of Spirits — the Spirits of Personality, the Fire Spirits and the Sons of Life — worked upon Moon man. Fixing our attention on the main period — the middle epoch — of Moon evolution, we may say: The Spirits of Personality implant independence, the character of personality, in the human astral body. It is due to this that man is able, in the times when — so to speak — the Sun is not shining for him, to turn in upon himself and labor at his own formation. The Fires Spirits are at work in the etheric body, in so far as the same independent character becomes impressed upon it too. It is owing to their influence that after each renewal of this body man feels himself still the same being. This is because the etheric body is endowed by them with a kind of memory. The Sons of Life work on the physical body. They make it possible for the physical body to become an expression of the new independent astral body — to become, as it were, a physiognomical image of it. On the other hand, higher spiritual Beings are also working into the physical and etheric bodies in so far as in the Sun periods these bodies grow and develop apart from the independent astral body. This applied especially to the Spirits of Form and the Spirits of Movement. Their intervention takes place form the Sun, as has been described.

Amid all these various influences, the human being matures to the point where he begins to develop within him the seed of Spirit-Self, just as the seed of Spirit-Man arose in the second half of Saturn evolution and the seed of Life-Spirit on Sun. And now all the conditions on Moon undergo change. Through the successive metamorphoses and renewals the human beings have been growing every nobler, purer and finer in their nature; at the same time they have also gained in strength. Hence they are able increasingly to preserve the picture-consciousness even on into the Sun periods, with the result that this consciousness gains influence on the formation of the physical and the etheric bodies, which formerly was effected through the working of the Sun Beings alone. All that happens upon Moon through the agency of the human beings and the Spirits connected with them, comes more and more to resemble what was formerly brought about by the Sun and the higher Beings that belong to it. In consequence of this, the Sun Beings are able to apply their forces more and more to their own evolution. The Moon too grew ready after a time to be united again with the Sun.

Spiritually regarded, these processes reveal themselves as follows. Little by little, the “fallen” Moon Beings have been overcome by the Sun Beings and must henceforth come into line with them. The deeds of the Moon Beings must become part and parcel of the deeds of the Sun Beings, to whom they are now subordinate. This change requires long epochs of time, during which the Moon periods grow ever shorter and shorter and the Sun periods longer and longer. And then there comes once more a period of evolution during which Sun and Moon form a single cosmic entity. The physical human body has now become entirely ethereal. When this is said, it must not however be imagined that under such conditions there is no physical body. That which has been evolved as physical body during the times of Saturn, Sun and Moon, remains as such. The fact is, we must not limit our recognition of the physical to where it manifests in an outwardly physical form. The physical can also exist in such a way as to present outwardly the form of the etheric, nay even of the astral. We must distinguish here between outward appearance and inner law and principle. A physical can become ethereal and astral, while still retaining the physical laws in its inner nature. And this is what happens when on the Moon the physical body of man has reached a certain stage in its perfection. It becomes ethereal in form. But when the supersensible consciousness that can perceive such things, turns its attention to this body, then, although ethereal in form, it shows itself to be imbued with the laws, not of the etheric but of the physical. In effect, the physical has then been received into the etheric, to rest in it as in a mother's womb and to be nurtured there. Afterwards it will emerge in a physical form once more, but on a higher level. If the human beings of Moon had had to maintain their physical bodies in gross physical form, the Moon could never have been reunited with the Sun. By assuming etheric form, the physical body becomes more akin to the etheric body, and is thus able to be imbued again more intimately with those portions of the etheric and astral bodies which had to be withdrawn from it in the Sun-time epochs of Moon evolution. Man, having appeared like a twofold being during the severance of Sun and Moon, now grows once more into a single whole. The physical takes on more of the quality of soul; and the soul-life is at the same time more bound up with the physical.

Upon this human being, single and coherent, the Spirits of the Sun into whose realm he has now entered can work quite differently than they could before, when they were sending their influences tot he Moon from without. Man is now living in an environment that is more of the soul and spirit. This enables the Spirits of Wisdom to come in with an activity of deep significance. They imbue man with Wisdom — ensoul him with Wisdom. Thereby he becomes in a sense an independent soul. Then to their influence is added that of the Spirits of Movement, who work above all upon the astral body. Under the influence of these high Beings, the astral body develops within it quickness of soul and a Wisdom-filled life-body. This Wisdom-filled etheric body is the germ of what was described in an earlier chapter — in respect of the man at present time — as intellectual soul, while the astral body, animated as it now is by the Spirits of Movement, is the seed and beginning of the sentient soul. And since all this is brought about in the human being at a time when his independence is enhanced, these beginnings of intellectual soul and sentient soul appear as the expression of the Spirit-Self. We must not make the mistake of imagining the Spirit-Self to be, in this period of evolution, a separate entity beside the intellectual and the sentient souls. The latter are only the expression of the Spirit-Self, which in its turn signifies their higher union and harmony.

The intervention of the Spirits of Wisdom in this epoch is of peculiar significance. For they intervene not only for the human beings but for the other kingdoms too, which have developed upon Moon. When Sun and Moon are joined again, these lower kingdoms are also drawn into the realm of the Sun. All that was physical in them is etherealised. So now there are in the Sun not only human beings, but also mineral-plants and plant-animals. These other beings still maintain however their own nature, their own laws of being. Consequently they feel themselves strangers in their new surroundings. For they emerge there with a nature which is scarcely in accord with their environment. Since, however, they are etherealised, they too are accessible to the influence of the Spirits of Wisdom. Indeed, all that has come over from Moon into Sun is now permeated with the forces of these Spirits. That which the Sun-Moon entity has become during this time in evolution may accordingly be called “Cosmos of Wisdom.”

When after an interval of rest the system of our Earth emerges as the successor to this Cosmos of Wisdom, and the created beings that have come over from Moon as seeds come alive again on Earth, then all these beings reveal themselves as filled and permeated with Wisdom. And now we see how it is that Earth man, as he contemplates the things around him, is able to discover Wisdom in their very nature. We can admire the Wisdom in every leaf, in every bone of animal or man, or again in the marvelous construction of the brain and the heart. If man needs Wisdom to understand the things — if, that is, he can examine them and draw forth Wisdom from them — it proves that Wisdom is inherent in them. Try as he will to understand the things of the Earth with Wisdom-filled ideas, man could extract no Wisdom from them if Wisdom had not first been implanted in them. Anyone who would presume to grasp by Wisdom things of which he thinks that they have not first received that Wisdom, may just as well suppose that he can draw water form a glass into which water has not first been poured. Earth — as will be shown later — is Old Moon reborn. And it manifests as a creation filled with Wisdom, because in the epoch here described the Spirits of Wisdom imbued it with their forces.

It will readily be understood that in the above account of Moon conditions it has only been possible to depict a few transient forms of this whole stage of evolution. Out of the whole course of events we have had to lay hold, as it were, on certain elements, singling them out for description. One might feel dissatisfied with a method of exposition that can give no more than isolated pictures, and regret that Moon evolution had not been brought into a nexus of well defined concepts. If objection is taken on this ground, all one can say is that these descriptions have purposely been given in concepts less sharp and definite. For the intention here is not so much to provide speculative concepts and built-up scheme of thought, but a mental picture of what can actually appear before the spiritual eye when supersensible vision is directed to the facts. And for Moon evolution this has far less of sharp and clear-cut outline than have our perceptions on Earth. In the Moon epoch we have to do much more with changing, varying impressions, with fleeting, mobile pictures and their transitions from one to another. It must moreover be borne in mind that we are considering an evolution that continues through long, long ages, and in any description of it we can after all do no more than hold fast momentary pictures here and there.

The culminating point of the Moon epoch is reached at the moment when the human being, through the astral body which has been implanted in him, has advanced so far in evolution that his physical body gives to the Sons of Life the means to attain their human stage. For at this point the human being has also attained all that the Moon epoch can give him for himself, for his own inner begin, on his forward path. The ensuing time — the second half of Moon evolution — may therefore be described as a waning period. Yet in this time, as we have seen, something of great importance is nevertheless achieved, both for man's environment and also for man himself. Wisdom is implanted into the heavenly body of Sun-Moon. Moreover it is in this declining period that the seeds are sown of the intellectual and the sentient souls. Their unfoldment, however, and that of the spiritual soul — and withal, the birth of the I in free self-consciousness — does not take place until the Earth. At the Moon stage the intellectual and sentient souls do not by any means appear as though the human being were already expressing himself through them; rather do they seem like instruments for the Sons of Life who are associated with Man's being. If one wanted to describe how man felt in this respect on Old Moon, one would have to express his consciousness in some such words as these — “In me and through me lives the Son of Life. Through me he beholds the Lunar environment, the Moon; in me he thinks upon the things and beings that Moon contains.” Moon man, in fact, feels himself overshadowed by the Son of Life. He feels himself as the tool or instrument of this higher Being. During the severance of Sun and Moon, in the times when he is turned away from the Sun, he feels, it is true, more independent; he also feels as thought the I belonging to him — which in the Sun times vanished from his picture-consciousness — for so we may describe it — gives the human being on Moon the feeling: “In the Sun time my Ego soars away with me to higher realms, to Beings lofty and sublime; then it descends with me, when the Sun vanishes, into deeper worlds.”

Moon evolution proper was preceded by a preparatory stage; a kind of repetition of Saturn and Sun evolutions took place. And now, in this declining period, after the reunion of Sun and Moon, we can similarly distinguish two epochs, during which there were to some extent even physical condensations. So do physical soul-spirited conditions of the Sun-Moon body alternate with one another. In the physical epochs the human being, and also the beings of the lower kingdoms, appear as though foreshadowing in “set forms that are without independence, what they will afterwards become in a more independent way during the Earth time.

Thus we have two preparatory epochs of Moon evolution and again two epochs in the declining time, Such epochs may be called “cycles” or “rounds.” In the intervening time, after the two preparatory epochs but before the epochs of decline — in the time, that is to say, when Moon and Sun are severed — we shall be able to recognize three distinct epochs. The middle one is the time when the Sons of Life reach their human stage. It is preceded by an epoch when the conditions are all leading up to this central event, and it ids followed by another, wherein the Sons of Life enter more fully into the new creations and carry their development further. These three epochs when taken together with the two of preparation and the two of decline, make seven rounds in all. Moon evaluation as a whole may therefore be said to take its course in seven rounds. Between the rounds are intervals of rest, such as we have already had frequent occasion to describe. But if we want to have a true picture of what happens, we must not imagine an abrupt transition from activity to interval of rest. The Sun Beings, for example, gradually withdraws from their activities on the Moon. A time begins for them which, seen from without, appears as their interval of rest, while on the Moon itself, quick, independent activity continues. In this way the period of activity for one kind of Being will often extend into the period of rest for another. Taking this into account, we may speak of a rhythmic waxing and waning of forces in cyclic epochs. Nay more, a similar division is also recognizable within each of the seven Moon cycles above indicated. The whole of Moon evolution may be described as one great — or planetary — cycle; the seven divisions within it as small cycles, and their sub -divisions are still smaller ones. This seven times sevenfold division can be observed also in Sun evolution, and even in the Saturn epoch there is a suggestion of it. It should however be borne in mind that the dividing lines are to some extent obliterated in the Sun epoch and still more so in Saturn. They grow increasingly distinct, the farther evolution proceeds towards the Earth epoch.

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Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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