Rudolf Steiner, Helsinki, Finland, April 14, 1912 [101 years ago today]:
The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature. Lecture 11 of 11.
After the statements which we were able to make in the last lecture on the cooperation of the spirits of the various hierarchies in the kingdoms of nature, there still remains the mineral kingdom to be considered. We call to mind that we described the mineral kingdom by saying that its physical part alone exists in the physical world; while that which corresponds to the etheric body of the mineral we have to seek in the so-called astral world; the astral body in the Lower Devachanic world; and the actual group-ego of the mineral kingdom on the higher Devachanic plane. Thus the mineral kingdom presents a remarkable contrast to man. While we have to say with regard to man that all four principles of his being are active on the physical plane — the physical body as well as the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego — we must as it were, distribute all that man has on the one plane and say: with regard to the mineral we have to seek on the astral plane that which corresponds to the etheric body of man; on the Devachanic plane, the astral body; and on the higher Devachanic plane, the group-ego of the mineral. Thus, that which in man is concentrated on the physical plane is in the case of the mineral divided in its activity among the various worlds. Again, when we trace with occult vision what is really in question, we arrive at the following result. In the sense of occultism we must, in the first place, seek only that part of the mineral kingdom on the physical plane which is perceptible to the external senses. We must be quite clear as to the fact that only what we call the forms, the shapes, of the mineral kingdom, are perceptible. We know — this can only be touched upon here — that the mineral world, at any rate in part, encounters us formed, organized, in such a manner that we perceive this formation as suitable to the mineral nature. If we look at a certain body of cubic form, and at another of a different form, we know that these forms are not accidental but are connected in a certain way with the nature of the mineral. Now, occult investigation teaches us that the forms in the mineral which we call crystal-forms can be traced back to the action of the Spirits of Form. Now, because occultism always starts from reality and seeks to find the origin of this or that, names are so bestowed in occultism that the name points to something characteristic. The name “Spirits of Form” was chosen for the reason that in the kingdom which we on Earth describe as the mineral kingdom, the Spirits of Form display their activity; and further that the offspring of the Spirits of Form — in the sense in which we have spoken of offspring of the higher hierarchies in the course of these lectures — are above all, active there. To understand the nature of the minerals we must be quite clear that, to physical perception, generally speaking, only the forms of the minerals exist. To be sure, certain forces are evident in the mineral kingdom — such as the forces of electricity, magnetism, forces that cause the minerals to appear in certain colors — but we must be quite clear that in general only the form of the mineral kingdom is to be observed on the physical plane. Without taking the other qualities into account, let us consider the forms which we encounter, at any rate, in most of the mineral kingdom, and let us be quite clear that this pure form proceeds from the mode of operation of the Spirits of Form or their offspring.
Now we come to the so-called etheric body, which we must describe as the second principle of a being of the mineral kingdom. The occult investigator cannot find what he has to describe as the etheric body of the mineral in the physical world; but he finds it in the same realm in which he must seek if, for instance, he wishes to find the astral body of the plant, or the group-ego of the animal. As we saw yesterday, he need make no other preparation with regard to his soul than that necessary for finding the group-ego of the animal. With the same condition of consciousness with which he perceives the group-ego of the animal, he also perceives the astral body of the plant, and that which lies behind the mineral kingdom as its etheric body. Now, we have seen that we must extend our observations into the region of the planets of a planetary system — in our own planetary system to those planets which exist outside the Earth. And we have shown that the corresponding forces externalizing themselves in the group-egos of the animals and the astral bodies of the plants work directly from the planetary centers. Thither must we also go if we wish to seek for that which works etherically in the mineral. How a mineral is laved by life-powers can first be seen if we penetrate to that universal life which is common to all, from the Earth to the rest of the planets of our planetary system. Thus the principle by which the mineral is animated, the life of the mineral, is not to be found in the physical world, or in the realm of what our Earth directly offers us, but in the life-streams pouring down from the planets; stimulated constantly, to be sure, by the Sun, but still streaming down directly from the planets, and permeating our Earth-planet livingly, in order to permeate all that has form with their offspring, the etheric nature-spirits, of which we have spoken. Thus form has inner being; in other words, the form of the mineral which proceeds solely from the physical plane is not permeable but offers resistance. Were nothing active in the mineral but what is active on the physical plane, then the mineral would only make itself perceptible as form; but this form is filled with inner being. For the mineral has also inner being; it has the inner being of the various mineral substances. Not only has it form, it has matter, it has substance. When we directly perceive this substance in the physical world, it appears to us as a dead, lifeless substance. To cosmic space it is not dead; to planetary space at least, it is something which is part of its own life, which is precipitated from the life of the planetary system. Just as the human or animal organism separates off hard products — the nails, for instance — so is the mineral substance put forth; but the active forces by means of which it is put forth are not to be sought upon the earth itself; hence it appears to the Earth as dead. These streams of life, these life-forces, this etheric body must be sought as streaming down from the several planets. Just as in considering the group-egos of the animals we could say: In reality only the general forms are treated by the group-egos of the animals, and these are then further developed; so must we say: The streams of life sent down by the individual planets which permeate the Earth from all sides do not create forms for the minerals, for those are created by the Spirits of Form; but through these streams the minerals are permeated with inner being. But this occurs in such a way that this inner being gives certain main types, main substances; and each substance is thereby connected with a stream proceeding from one of the planets.
Now, because the minerals at once acquired solid forms, mobile types are not created from the planets by means of these planetary streams, but types of one kind only. And then through the various positions of the planets, as I have already described with regard to the group-souls of the animals — besides the main types, and substances — other types, subordinate substances, are created, which again depend on the constellation of the individual planets. But what the planets create, each through its own original nature, is expressed in the principal substances of the Earth's organism. Thus we have certain mineral main substances of the Earth's organism of which we can say: Here is a substance which is what it is because it is permeated by an etheric stream from one of the planets; another is permeated by a stream from another planet. Thus we have to trace back the nature of mineral substances to activities in the planetary system which externalize as etheric streams in the organism of the Earth. Therefore the occult schools which have to investigate such matters have also so referred the principal substances of our Earth organism to the planets, that they have designated those substances which have been produced quite directly — not through the constellation but through the principal activity of the planet — by the same or similar names as the planets; and indeed in such a way that occult observation has been strictly adhered to. If we observe the planet Saturn in our system we find that the life stream which permeates the Earth directly from him is connected with the substance we call lead: so that we have a basic substance which is inwardly animated by Saturn. From Jupiter we get tin as main substance; from Mars, iron; and in the occult sense, from Venus, copper. With regard to Mercury we must take into consideration that he was later confused with Venus. The life-activity (in the sense of true occult nomenclature) produced creatively by Mercury, on account of its greater proximity when it penetrated the Earth-organism, bears a still greater resemblance to the planet itself, for Mercury stands nearer to the Earth than the other planets. Therefore this substance has been given the same name as the cosmic body itself, namely, Mercury or quicksilver. These are the principal substances which are connected in their etheric body with the corresponding planets of our system. If we recollect how we had to speak of all that works from the planetary system with regard to the group-souls of the animals and the astral bodies of the plants, we find it is always a question of the beings in connection with the Spirits of Motion, either with themselves or their offspring, who work in their totality on the Earth from the planets of the system. Thus we must also reckon as belonging to the sphere of the Spirits of Motion that which etherically permeates the mineral substances.
Now, if we wish to consider what belongs to the mineral kingdom as astral body, we have to ascend, as it were, to a still higher world. In the whole sense of our past considerations it will be clear that as we had to ascend from the astral body of the plant to the group-ego, from the planets to the Sun, to the fixed star, so with regard to the mineral kingdom if we pass from the etheric body to the astral body we must again ascend to the fixed star. That is, we can understand, and occult vision tells us, that the astral nature of the mineral works from those beings in the ranks of the hierarchies through whom comes from the Sun that which is directly perceptible — from the beings we call the Spirits of Wisdom, or from that which is connected with their sphere. Thus even the offspring of the Spirits of Wisdom come into consideration. What thus works in the mineral is seen by occult investigation as quite separate, outside the mineral; but it is so seen that the life just described as existing in the mineral, as the etheric body of the mineral, is pressed in from outside. Whereas the astral body in man or animal holds together the etheric body from within, the etheric body of the mineral is as it were pushed toward it from outside, not concentrated and held together inside as in man and animal. If we consider the relation of the astral body of man to his etheric body, we see that what works as etheric body is held together by the power of attraction. In the mineral the etheric body is compressed together from outside by forces; thus in the mineral the content, the inner nature, expressed in the etheric stream is by means of active astral forces compressed into the form. The mineral is held together astrally from outside, and indeed for the reason that it is determined through the different positions of the Sun to the Earth in relation to this astral pressure. One might say that the etheric substance is driven into the mineral from the point from which the Sun shines upon the Earth.
Thus while this etheric substance is itself directed by the planet, it is driven into and held within the mineral or crystal by the Sun, by the forces belonging to the sphere of the Spirits of Wisdom. But now something very remarkable is seen. If we investigate occultly the activity exercised by the astral forces from the Sun upon the mineral, we recognize very clearly at this point a very important fact: we learn that while all the etheric forces proceeding from the planets work upon the mineral and actually form its basic substances, other etheric streams also pass down from the Sun as such to the Earth. Thus while in general, for the normal formation of the mineral, the etheric substance passes down from the planets, and is only compressed from outside by the forces proceeding from the Sun, yet we cannot say that no etheric streams come down from the Sun, for it is a fact that such an etheric stream does come down. What is the reason of this? Why does an etheric stream come down from the Sun which can, as it were, inwardly animate the mineral? Why does this take place? It is brought about by the activity of what I have designated as the Luciferic principle. The spirits in the ranks of the higher hierarchies which work astrally upon the mineral are — as we have just said — the Spirits of Wisdom, while the Spirits of Motion work etherically.
Now, there are Spirits of Wisdom active on the Sun who have gone through their complete normal process of evolution; they work, as has been described, astrally upon the mineral. But certain of the Spirits of Wisdom have become Luciferic. We have designated this “becoming Luciferic” of certain spiritual beings of a hierarchy as a sort of rebellion in the cosmos. This rebellion comes about because certain spirits, having reached a given stage in their hierarchy, resist their brethren and work against them, work in an opposite direction. This opposition comes about simply because they do not wish to go through the evolution which the others do; so they simply remain behind at an earlier stage, just as we know in our own souls that we wish to progress, yet the ideas and habits we have acquired will not allow us to do so because they wish to remain as a permanence. Our habits are often rebels against what we have acquired in a new epoch of life. In like manner the spiritual beings who remain behind at an earlier stage are rebels in the Cosmos. The Luciferic Spirits, the Spirits of Wisdom of the Second Hierarchy who have not gone through their development with the rest — instead of sending astral streams from the Sun to the mineral, send etheric streams to the Earth. This resulted in a certain basic substance being formed, which received its inner being not from the planets but directly from the Sun; and this mineral is gold. Gold is that Luciferic mineral which as regards its inner being is not influenced etherically by the planets, but by the Sun. Hence the occultist has allotted gold to the Sun. In a certain sense this mineral is therefore somewhat different from other metals.
Now, you can easily grasp that because etheric streams come from the Sun and work something into the Earth which is actually a rebel principle, the equilibrium of the Earth is thereby disturbed. The equilibrium of the Earth in relation to the mineral kingdom would be maintained if all the etheric influences came from the planets, and none but astral influences came to the minerals from the Sun; but there are also direct etheric forces coming from the Sun, and these disturb the equilibrium. Now, this equilibrium had to be re-established by the Wise Leaders of the world, for the Earth could not carry out her evolution under such conditions. The hierarchies had to work in cooperation so that the equilibrium might be re-established. The stronger Luciferic forces had to be opposed by other forces which in a certain sense paralyzed them and arrested their effects. That could only come about through the etheric stream which came from the Sun being opposed by another, which counteracted and in a certain sense balanced its effects. Thus while certain Spirits of Wisdom proved themselves Luciferic and sent down etheric currents from the Sun into the mineral kingdom on the Earth, other spirits took care that these were opposed by other currents. These opposing currents which re-adjusted the equilibrium were created by a part of the disturbed equilibrium substance being detached from the Earth and circling around the Earth as Moon. Thus the etheric streams coming from the Sun came into opposition to the etheric stream which flowed from the Moon to the Earth from quite a different quarter, and in this way the balance was re-established. Thus because Luciferic Spirits of Wisdom on the Sun had attained the possibility of sending forth etheric streams, other Spirits of Wisdom renounced their claim to working from the Sun, and consented to apply their forces to restoring the equilibrium. That is, a cosmic colony, a planetary colony, was founded on the Moon, from which there now streamed etheric currents to the Earth, so that a substance was created which had to be in the Earth so that the direct power of gold might be weakened. This came about by the Moon being separated from the Earth; and from the Spirits of Wisdom who separated the Moon, and who now in a sense became the opposers of the Luciferic Spirits of Wisdom from the Sun, stream down to the Earth those etheric forces which have produced the substance silver. Thus you see that in the universe, in the cosmos, certain things work in such a way that one might explain it by means of a certain diagram; but the peculiar thing is that the diagram would everywhere be broken through. If anyone were to prove by means of a diagram that all the etheric forces for the minerals come from the planets, he would be in error; for in reality two etheric streams come from two different sides, the one from the Sun, the other from the Moon; hence two basic substances are formed in a different way.
If we wish to make what I have just describe objective — perceptible to our senses — and to find an external expression for it, we can achieve it in the following way — but we must first of all be clear as to what it really is that we see when we look at the Sun. We pointed out previously that only the spirits of the higher hierarchies down to the Spirits of Wisdom go through their own evolution on the fixed star; what we see when we look at the fixed star is the actual content-substance of the Spirits of Wisdom. That is the true content of the fixed star. Indeed we human beings can only gain a concept of that which is the substance of the Spirits of Wisdom by contemplating what exists in us as at any rate an image of this substance. What is that in us, in humanity, in the human soul, which is a symbol of the substance of the Spirits of Wisdom? Our thoughts! But we do not see our thoughts with the physical eyes: that is the point; neither can the fixed stars, in so far as they are the fields of activity for the genuine Spirits of Wisdom, be seen with physical eyes. We have now reached a point where we can point again to the enormous significance of what we find in the religious documents, which are based on occultism. You know that the Bible, in Genesis, states that man was created in a very peculiar way. We are told that Lucifer appeared to Eve and told her that if she would do as he wished, her eyes would be opened. Anyone who knows the original text will not readily be put off with a merely symbolical explanation; for what the Bible means by good and evil does not refer to moral good and evil; that belongs to quite a different part of the development of civilization. What is here meant as good and evil is that which is seen externally, not as something spiritually-psychic, but something seen with the physical eyes: — “Your eyes shall be opened.” Till then they were not open. This must he taken quite literally. Before Lucifer approached man, man could perceive; he saw the fixed stars with the primitive clairvoyance then given to man, but his vision was such that he saw the substance of the fixed stars as the substance of the Spirits of Wisdom; he saw them spiritually. He only began to see them physically — that is, perceptible light first streamed toward him perceptibly to his physical eyes — when he himself, the human being, had yielded to the Luciferic temptation. That means that the fixed stars as directed by the Spirits of Wisdom are not physically visible, they do not shed physical light. Physical light can only be shed if there is something underlying it which serves as a bearer to the light, when light is, as it were, held captive through a bearer. For a fixed star to become visible, something more is necessary than the mere presence of Spiritual Beings of Wisdom at work there. It is necessary that in this fixed star Luciferic Beings should work, who resist the mere substance of Wisdom and permeate it with their own principle. Thus within the fixed star is mingled that which is only visible spiritually and that which resists this merely spiritual visibility: the Luciferic element in the fixed star which carries forth the light into physical phenomena.
The fixed star would not be visible if it had not within it, in addition to the Spirits of Wisdom who have progressed normally, those who have not attained their goal, who remained at a lower stage, either at the stage of the Spirits of Motion or that of the Spirits of Form. Thus we have to recognize backward Spirits of Wisdom who have not attained their goal, as light-bearers in the lightless spiritual substance of the fixed star. Now, if we are clear as to the fact that from the fixed stars, from our own Sun, physical light only reaches us because the normal Spirits of Wisdom have as companions those who have remained behind and who have become light-bearers — Light — Lucifer — Phosphoros — we must also be clear that the same cause which makes the Sun visible, which sends light to us from the fixed star, is also that which sends the etheric life-stream to the Earth and produces gold. It was necessary therefore that other forces should work from the Moon (which occult vision perceives as etheric currents), forces which produce silver. Now, as they are Spirits of Wisdom who oppose the Moon to the Sun in order to bring about an adjustment, we must say: “These Spirits of Wisdom upon the Moon cannot shine” — for the Spirits of Wisdom do not shine. Hence if occult vision searches for these spirits on the Moon, it does not discover them as luminous; for these Spirits of Wisdom who founded a colony on the Moon were obliged to exclude the Lucifer Spirits from the Moon, otherwise the balance would not have been maintained. That is to say, the Moon cannot ray out any light of its own, only that reflected as sunlight. Quite normal Spirits of Wisdom made a sacrifice and took up their position on the Moon in order to supply the Earth with the necessary currents for keeping the equilibrium, in opposition to the Lucifer currents which stream from the Sun. Hence the Moon is excluded from having light of its own; and it is not difficult in this external fact which we encounter in the physical world to see the symbol of a deep occult connection. The Sun has its own light which appears to us, but the Moon has not; and the reflected light which rays to us from the Moon, and of which Lucifer is the bearer — Lucifer — Phosphoros — tells us that the Moon has no light of its own. Therefore that which is Lucifer can only appear to us in symbol, in a maya, shining down from the Moon, because the sunlight is reflected. When for instance the crescent Moon reflects the sunlight, there are then no Luciferic Spirits of Wisdom on the Moon itself, but what is poured forth from the Sun by the Luciferic Spirits of Wisdom is reflected as light.
Now, when we turn our occult vision to the Moon, that which the physical eyes perceive, the shining crescent Moon, disappears, for that exists only for physical vision; but in its place occult vision sees the real being behind all visible light in the cosmos: sees the form of Lucifer, though certainly as a reflection. Thus, if we think of the image of Lucifer as seen by occult vision in the place of the crescent Moon, we must say: The Moon owes its origin to the circumstances that certain normal Spirits of Wisdom renounced their dwelling-place on the Sun and have taken up their abode in this colony, and thence restrain that which streams forth from the Luciferic Spirits. Hence to occult vision the Spirit of Wisdom does not reveal himself here, above the crescent of the Moon, but is to be seen restraining the Luciferic principle. The occult fact is thus presented symbolically to the imagination as a normal Spirit of Wisdom holding the Luciferic principle in subjection. The occultists therefore represent a form, usually taken to be a Chief Messenger of the higher Spirits of Wisdom, of one who curbs Lucifer; and in place of the crescent they represent Lucifer chained, curbed. This is an occult picture. Among our occult pictures there is also one representing the chief Messenger curbing Lucifer. This is an allusion to profound occult mysteries. What is thus shown externally in maya is in reality to be ascribed to the cooperation of the Spirits of the Hierarchies. When with physical eyes we see the crescent Moon shining silver bright, there is often to be seen a sort of shadow above in the dark part; then to occult vision the crescent Moon is transformed into a living being, with the restraining Spirit above it, maintaining the balance from its place on the Moon. Thus you see that even to produce a phenomenon such as our Earth moon, many preparations had to be made in the cosmos. The cooperative activities of the various hierarchies in the cosmos is a very complicated matter and even in a much longer course of lectures we could still only give suggestions of it; we can only make clear the principle as to how these spiritual hierarchies cooperate.
Please hold fast the thought just mentioned in connection with the astral body of the minerals. We have, indeed, still to consider the group-ego of the minerals; that has to be sought in a still higher supersensible world — in a world not found in the regions where the group-egos of the animals or plants are to be found. Therefore we cannot find it upon the Sun. Where then does the group-ego of the minerals reveal itself to occult vision? The peculiar thing about the group-ego of the minerals is, that, strictly speaking, it does not end anywhere when we search in cosmic space; it is in the whole widths of cosmic space and works from there. We are therefore driven to seek actually for the group-ego of the minerals outside the planetary system; we must look upon it as something which works into the planetary system from outside. Thus far this coincides with what we know from the Akashic Records, that the next higher class of beings above the Spirits of Wisdom are the Thrones, or Spirits of Will. These Spirits of Will belong to the First Hierarchy (though their offspring are not so far advanced that they can be reckoned with it); these Spirits of Will or their offspring give forth that which becomes the group-ego of the minerals, and which, in fact, works into the planetary system. This also coincides with the fact that simultaneously with the outpouring of the substance of the Spirits of Will begins the formation of the planetary system on ancient Saturn which was brought about by the Spirits of Will. They still work in the same way at the present time as when the first embodiment of our Earth was built up out of the universe by these beings. We can really only see these Spirits of Will when, having become Luciferic, they reveal themselves in a sense in certain phenomena which we find as minerals in the sphere of the Earth, and which come, as it were, from cosmic space. The cosmic origin, the super-earthly origin, of what we are now considering is revealed by the fact that when these Spirits of Will thus work in, they combine — very, very easily — with that which works into the planetary system as the cometary and meteoric beings, as cometary or meteoric life.
We have pointed out what meaning this life has in the planetary system. I should like at least to indicate that in reality a comet is something which comes in from outside, but which makes certain combinations. In as much as the comet travels through the planetary system it combines with the mineral kingdom, which also arises through the Spirits of Will. And the result may be that as the comet rushes through the planetary system it attaches mineral substance to itself, which is then attracted by the Earth and falls down upon it. This of course is not the comet, but rather does it announce its approach to the Earth by a fall of meteors taking place. These things are absolutely in accord, and if certain things appear to contradict what was represented earlier, we must always understand that these contradictions will solve themselves if everything is taken into consideration and studied. This was only an example to show that in the planetary system we really have to do with influences working in from the cosmos. These group-souls of the minerals work in the form of rays from without inward. And since various modes of operation come from the various aspects of space, for space is not homogeneous, these group-souls of the minerals, which belong to the sphere of the Spirits of Will, ray toward us from different sides in the most varied manner. Now, through the cooperation of what comes from the planets for the minerals, what comes from the Sun, and what streams in from the universe from the various directions arises the possibility that not only have those basic types already mentioned come into existence in the mineral kingdom, but all sorts of other forms, all sorts of differently modified substances of the mineral kingdom have been formed. The kind of substance a mineral exhibits simply depends on the way the forces which come from the planets are again influenced by other forces either streaming astrally to the Earth from the Sun, or from various directions of cosmic space. The variety and multiplicity of the mineral kingdom can be understood in this way.
If we observe our present-day Saturn, it presents itself in the first place to occult vision as the outermost planet of our system. Why? Because actually Saturn as planet, as well as ancient Saturn, the first of the successive incarnations of our Earth known to us, was produced by the furthest currents coming from cosmic space. Had we been able to observe Saturn at a very early condition of our Earth evolution we should have seen that in his orbit he had a sort of nucleus and a sort of comet's tail, which passed out into cosmic space. In olden times Saturn would have revealed himself definitely with a nucleus and a comet's tail, extending into cosmic space. That is, in the primeval periods of our Earth, Saturn would have been seen circling around his orbit with his tail pointing outward. He was earlier like this (see below). The facts of the Akasha Chronicle show him thus:
The tail of ancient Saturn took the most varied directions out into space, corresponding with the currents which came in from the cosmos, directed by the Spirits of Will, who are the group-souls of the minerals. At a later period, when through the spiritual beings of other hierarchies the planetary system was enclosed, that which had formerly gone out into cosmic space was so drawn together that the tail became an enclosed ring; through the power of attraction of the planetary system the ring was formed. To occult vision the ring of Saturn is absolutely the same phenomenon as the comet's tail. If you were to take the ring of Saturn as it circles around Saturn and open it out, you would have a comet's tail.
In this way it is possible to look back to the streaming in of the group-souls of the minerals into our planetary system; and again the Signs of the Zodiac in general give us their individual positions. It is to be noted that the two outermost planets now reckoned as belonging to our system by physical astronomy — Uranus and Neptune — did not originally belong to our solar system; they came much later into the sphere of attraction of our system: they then joined company and remained within it. They cannot therefore be reckoned in the same sense as the other planets as belonging to our system from Saturn onward, for they, so to speak, belonged to it from the beginning. Thus, when we consider Saturn, especially in his ancient form, we see in him a planet which, by sending forth etheric currents from his own center to our Earth, creates — we can even say — the substance of lead. At the same time we see how the group-souls of the minerals stream in; we see how these group-souls are affected when a power of attraction is exercised on them from the Sun, from which the astral body of the mineral streams out. From the Sun the astral body of the mineral streams out into space; from outside in cosmic space the ego of the mineral streams in. When these currents are united something takes place which, in a modified way, expresses itself, as it were, in a fructification of the group-ego by the astral body, and by this means alone does the mineral come to its perfection. Now, if we go back to the comet, here, too, we have something which, in fact, streams in from cosmic space: a similar stream of beings to the group-souls of the minerals. The group-souls of the minerals belong to the sphere of the Spirits of Will; but above them lie the beings who essentially form the basis of cometary life. But as everywhere there are Luciferic Beings, so also within the comet there are such as stand at the stage of the Thrones, not of the Cherubim and Seraphim. That is why the comet acquires a mineral nature; appears as a mineral intervention in the planetary system; in other words, we have to look upon the comets as cosmic bodies which fly in from the cosmos after the planetary system is already formed and thus do not come as far as the bodies composing the system itself, but remain behind at a considerably earlier stage. It would certainly be very fascinating to trace the stages of cosmic growth; how worlds are formed by the cooperative activities of the spirits of the hierarchies in a fixed-star system; how those same spirits themselves appear when we direct our gaze back to cosmic mists and far-distant fixed stars. Whenever we direct our occult vision to a fixed star, we first of all encounter the normal Spirits of Wisdom. The whole heavens would be invisible to physical sight and only visible to clairvoyant consciousness if none but these normal Spirits of Wisdom were active; but everywhere Luciferic spirits are mingled with the normal Spirits of Wisdom, and bring physical light of its own into the world of the fixed star. When at night the starry heaven is illuminated, phosphorus actually works down upon us from countless points: and everywhere in the universe we find the possibility of formation only through the cooperation of the opposing forces; through the combined working of the normal spirits of the hierarchies with those who are rebels — that is, those who have remained behind. Unillumined to physical eyes, but visible to spiritual sight, is the starry world through the normal Spirits of Wisdom; it became luminous to physical eyes, it is revealed in maya, through Lucifer or the Luciferic spirits, who are, and must be, active everywhere.
Thus we have seen something very remarkable in the mineral kingdom also. Today we have, so to speak, grasped the Moon as a field of action from which a Spirit of Wisdom works and restrains Lucifer, because a place had to be created from which through opposition of the Luciferic activity the balance would be restored. Now what signification had this for humanity? We have seen that in man everything is compressed into the physical plane, which as it were for the mineral is distributed over the worlds. We have found group-souls for the minerals, plants, and animals. Is there also a sort of group-soul for the human being? Oh, yes, there is. The group-souls of the minerals are to be found in the sphere of the Thrones, those of the plants in the sphere of the Spirits of Wisdom, and the animals in the sphere of the Spirits of Motion; but man has so received his group-soul that with the inflowing of his ego, a group-soul was originally given him as an emanation from the Spirits of Form. This group-soul of man was originally allotted by the Spirits of Form to be a unitary soul for the whole of humanity. What differentiated this group-soul into such variety that differences of race, differences of tribe, arose? This was brought about through the action of other spirits. Man was created to be one all the world over; in this unity the primeval ego of man was to assert itself as a group-soul dwelling in all men, a group-soul which had descended to the physical plane. Just as the external form only of the minerals can be brought into being by the Spirits of Form, so by these same Spirits of Form was the group-ego created for humanity, which was then differentiated by the activity of other beings of the various hierarchies. Now, the balance brought about for the mineral kingdom through the formation of the Moon was also brought about for humanity; and indeed in such a way that while for the mineral realm in the Moon there is a physical readjustment, in exactly the same way a Moon principle exists for humanity, which works against the Luciferic influence in human nature, just as in the mineral kingdom the dark Moon principle works against the Lucifer principle. Just as in the mineral kingdom something is active in the Moon which keeps the balance with regard to the Luciferic forces streaming down from the Sun, so does a spiritual Moon principle work from the Moon against the temptation of Lucifer which man has encountered in the course of the Earth evolution. As we have seen, all the planets, all the heavenly bodies, stand in connection with beings of the higher hierarchies, and so, too, is it with the Moon. The Spirits of Wisdom founded a colony upon the Moon in order to preserve the equilibrium; and so from the direction of the Moon there also work in upon humanity compensating spirits against Lucifer, who approached man as a tempter; and just as he disseminated light, so too did his spiritual principle sink down into the human soul. So we can also point to the Moon as the bearer of the opponent of Lucifer; as the dwelling-place of dark spirits, who yet must be there that the balance may be maintained with regard to the Light-bearers pressing forward, who at the same time are the tempting spirits to humanity. In fact, the secret of the Moon and its spiritual principle was first revealed to humanity in the old Hebrew records, and what we have found physically in the Moon is, in its spiritual aspect, what Hebrew antiquity designated as the Jehovah principle.
According to this the moon, so to speak, is designated as the starting-point of the forces working upon humanity as the opponents of Lucifer. Jahveh, or Jehovah, is the opponent of Lucifer. The secret doctrine of the ancient Hebrews looked up to the Sun, saying: In the Sun work the invisible Spirits of Wisdom who are only visible to spiritual sight, not to physical sight. The latter sees the principle of Lucifer raying down. What is to be seen externally as the Sun principle is Lucifer; but therein works secretly, invisible to physical vision, everything attainable through the Spirits of Wisdom, who form the gateway to it. One of these Spirits of Wisdom separated and sacrificed himself, and has taken up his abode upon the Moon in order through his activity there to curb the light and also to counteract the spiritual work of Lucifer. Hebrew antiquity saw in Jehovah an ambassador of those true exalted spirits to whom vision is opened through the Spirits of Wisdom, if the Sun is looked upon with spiritual sight. Hebrew antiquity justly concluded that Jehovah must continue to work from the Moon until humanity has become inwardly mature enough to perceive and feel at least a little of that which gradually in the course of evolution will be both seen and understood: that from the same Sun proceeds not only the physical part of Lucifer but also the dissemination of that of which the Spirits of Wisdom are the portal. Thus to the ancient Hebrew there appeared in Jehovah that which is similar to the Spirits of Wisdom in the Sun, and we can say: just as the sunlight is reflected from the Moon in space, so to the ancient Hebrew who really knew, Jehovah was the reflection of that spiritual being who, when man shall have become sufficiently mature, will ray down from the Sun, and whose appearance was foretold by the Holy Rishis, Zarathustra, and the worshippers of Osiris. Just as in space sunlight is reflected from the Moon, so Jehovah is revealed as a reflection of the principle of the great Sun-Spirit whom you may designate by whatever name you will — Vishvakarman, as the ancient Indians called him; Ahura Mazdao, as he was called by Zarathustra; Osiris by the ancient Egyptians; or as the Christ, as he is known to the fourth post-Atlantean period of civilization — that is, the esoteric comprehension of Jehovah. He is Christ reflected by the Moon-principle, and because reflected in time, Christ announced prophetically. Hence in St. John's Gospel we come across a passage which otherwise can never be understood, in which it is said that Moses spoke of Christ. Actually, he spoke of Jehovah, but it is Christ, prophetically announced. This passage in which Jehovah is mentioned is referred to because the bearer of the Christ wishes to point out that in antiquity Jehovah is but Christ foretold.
Thus we see that these things are in accord, and that what we have heard today is connected with what was said in the last lecture; and that in what we call the external light and its bearer we must recognize something which is in opposition to the spiritual principle which is at the normal point of its evolution, and which appears to us as the spiritual center of our planetary system. It is not a question of names, but of recognizing the whole significance of this principle. We must recognize that in the realm of the spiritual, we speak of Christ just as in that of the physical we speak of the Sun; that in the realm of the spiritual we speak of the planetary spirits and of the planets just as in the development of earthly civilization we speak, perhaps, of the principle of Buddha. Here again is a point concerning which you find one of the important revelations you come across in H. P. Blavatsky. What great revelations there are in The Secret Doctrine you can see by the way H. P. Blavatsky treats the conception of Jehovah. We need not recoil at this, or think things are not correct because she shows a certain antipathy toward Christ and Jehovah; the truth nevertheless presses through, and the description of Jehovah as a Moon divinity, and the presentation of Lucifer as his opponent as given by H. P. Blavatsky is — one might say — the broken expression of a truth. The presentation given from inspiration by Blavatsky is only given a subjective coloring by her, because she had a feeling that Lucifer was really a good Divinity — she felt him as such. She preferred him in a certain sense to the Moon-god, because to her Lucifer was a Sun-god. That is correct; he is that; but we had to represent the true connection in order that the expression used in former times: “Christ is the true Lucifer,” “Christus verus Luciferus,” may be understood. It does not sound quite right to us today; but at that time when people knew from the old Secret Doctrine that the Light-Bearer manifests in the external physical light, and that if we penetrate through the physical light to the Spirits of Wisdom, to the spiritual light, then we reach the Light-Bearer of that Light.
“Christus verus Luciferus” — I think, in spite of the incompleteness which was inevitable in our rendering of this comprehensive theme, yet what we always wish to attain in the sphere of spiritual science has come before your souls, that the treatment of every theme leads us to look up from the physical to the spiritual. With regard to the heavenly bodies which, as the expression of the wonders of the universe, shine forth from space, that is in many respects very difficult; because in the heavenly bodies there is a complicated cooperation of the beings of the various hierarchies, and because everything which takes place in cosmic space can only be comprehended if, behind all matter, even behind the substance of light itself, we find the Spirit or Spirits. Behind all this Spiritual Life lies the Universal, Divine Fatherhood, an Omnipresent and ever-working All-Divine Life, which before It comes to expression in the physical is differentiated into countless worlds of Spiritual Hierarchies. We look up to these worlds, however, and see within them That which works down into our kingdoms of nature, and is the foundation of all the wonders of the heavens. For even in our kingdoms of nature either the hierarchies themselves are revealed, or their offspring. When we thus look out into the spaces of heaven we can, through such reflections, also gain a moral impression which must, if we allow the mighty operations of the hierarchies in cosmic space to gain a little influence over us, result in our being drawn away from the passions, desires, impulses, and concepts which our physical Earth-life brings to maturity. These are, in essence, that which flings down into the development of the Earth that which divides humanity into factions, which makes men all over the world opponents or partisans, in the most varied directions. In a higher moral sense we attain a sense of freedom if but for a brief time we free ourselves from the consideration of earthly things and contemplate the worlds of spirit in cosmic space. Then do we become free from that which otherwise plays in our egotistical impulses, which are the original cause of all the smallnesses and quarreling upon Earth. Hence the most certain means of attaining the high ideals of our Anthroposophical life is to direct our gaze from time to time to the starry worlds and their spiritual guides and leaders, the hierarchies. If we investigate the different civilizations as we have tried to do and the significance of the inspiring spirits of the various religions and of the bearers of Wisdom to humanity, we shall cease to strive on Earth as followers of individual systems. We shall not depend on names, nor on the creeds of the several groups of men on the Earth. When men seek their knowledge there where the vision of all the humanity of the Earth can be directed, and where the knowledge common to all can be obtained — knowledge which unites and does not separate — when men actually reach that heavenly language which expresses the significance of the various religious founders and inspirers of humanity, then will the Anthroposophical ideal of a tolerant and unbiased consideration of all religions and cosmic conceptions be really able to appear. Men will no longer quarrel when they no longer claim for their own group a particular bearer of religion or stream of civilization, but seek for the origin of these bearers outside in cosmic space. In this sense such a contemplation may acquire great moral importance if in much which formerly brought divisions and disharmonies upon Earth, peace and harmony are established. Only we must learn to read the mighty writing given us in the forms and movements of the heavenly bodies — learn to read how, in reality, not different spirits but the same spirits work for each single individual on Earth — that they belong to all men. This might be explained by means of a physical picture. As long as we remain on the Earth, a group of people may dwell in the North or in the South, East, or West. But when we look upon the movement of the Earth and observe how it turns its face to the stars when it changes its position — whether in short periods of time or in millions of years — how the southern half turns to the northern and the stars of our northern heavens become visible, and then the northern part of our Earth turns to the south and perceives the stars of the southern heavens — just as the Earth in the course of time turns its countenance, so to speak, to all the stars which shine to us from cosmic space, so may humanity learn through the ideals of Anthroposophy to look in an unbiased manner upon all which speaks spiritually from cosmic space. Through such a positive consideration of facts this ideal will best be reached — not through a sentimental emphasis on love and peace. In a real way shall we attain love and peace and harmony if we direct our vision away from the concerns of Earth which divide humanity into races, nations, religions — to the starry heavens, where spirits speak the same language to us through all time, even through all eternity — the same language for every human soul, for every human heart, if only we understand it rightly.
In this sense I should like now, at the end of our course of lectures, to point to the moral effects of such considerations, if we take the trouble to learn to know the facts of occultism. If we learn to know them in the true occult sense, what has been learnt will so stream into our hearts that it becomes a life-force within us, a living hope; and, above all, will become moral energy, and really make us what we may call citizens of the heavenly worlds. Then through his spiritual life a man carries heaven into the concerns of Earth, and thus in the course of the processes of civilization brings about that which, in the highest sense, we can designate as harmony, as peace. Then will man become more and more conscious that at the very beginning as well as at the end of the evolution of civilization an undivided Spirit really governs, a Spirit of Form, Who works uniformly throughout humanity, while He is stimulated by His brothers, the other Spirits of Form, who do Him service, in order to send a uniform working through the whole of humanity. Thus through true heavenly science something uniform is brought to men, and this will promote the intellectual and moral understanding of humanity on the Earth. Thus we do not wish to consider merely the abstract and theoretical; but every such consideration ought at the same time to become in us a source of power, above all, a source of moral power; and then will all our teachings, even those which appear drawn from afar, serve to forward the direct aims and ideals of spiritual science.
With these words, my dear friends, which should gather up the whole spirit and character of these lectures into a certain nuance of feeling, I should like at their close to take farewell of you all.
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