The Gospel of John and Its Relation to the Other Gospels.
Lecture 3 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, Kassel, June 26, 1909:
Those of you who have been attending my lecture cycles or single lectures on spiritual-scientific subjects have had various phenomena of the higher worlds presented from many different aspects, and various beings as well have appeared to us from one realm or another and were shown in different lights. In order to anticipate any possible misconceptions that might arise I should like to point out today that when these beings and phenomena are illuminated, now from one angle, now from another, a superficial view might see contradictions. But if you look more closely you will see that these complicated facts of the spiritual world can be clarified only by throwing light on them from many sides. It is necessary to say this because certain facts with which most of you are already familiar from one aspect must in part be illuminated today from another, a new angle. We need only turn to that most profound document of the New Testament, familiar as the Gospel according to St. John, and read the pregnant words with which we brought yesterday's discussion to a close, in order to sense the literally endless enigmas of cosmic and human evolution hidden in the opening words of this Gospel. In the course of our observations the opportunity may present itself to show why the great narrators of spiritual events often expressed precisely the mighty, comprehensive truths in such a concise, paradigmatical form as we find in the opening verses of the John Gospel. Today we will return to certain well-known facts of spiritual science, treating them from an aspect differing from yesterday's, and see in what form we meet them again in the Gospel of St. John. Let us take our point of departure from the most elementary facts of spiritual science, comparatively speaking.
As we know, man in his ordinary state consists of four principles: physical body, etheric or life body, astral body, and ego, and we know that his daily life alternates in such a way that during his waking hours these four members of his being are organically interconnected and interpenetrative in him, whereas during sleep, while the physical and etheric bodies remain in bed, the astral body and the ego bearer — we may call it simply the ego — are removed. Now, there is one point we must thoroughly understand today. In a man of our present stage of evolution we have before us this fourfold state as an inherent demand. As he lies in bed at night with only his physical and etheric bodies present he has, in a sense, the status of a plant; for the plant, as it appears in the outer world, consists only of physical body and etheric or life body; it bears no astral body or ego, and is thus differentiated from the animal and from man. The animal is the first in the scale to have an astral body, and man, an ego. Hence it can be said that during sleep, when his physical and etheric bodies alone remain in bed, man is in a sense a plantlike being. But again, he is not like a plant, and this must be rightly understood. In the present age a free and independent being having neither astral body nor ego, but consisting solely of etheric body and physical body, must have the appearance of a plant — must, in fact, be a plant. On the other hand man, as he lies asleep in bed, has grown beyond the status of a plant, because during the course of evolution he has added an astral body — vehicle of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, impulses, desires, and passions — and also the vehicle of the ego. But the acquisition of a higher principle always involves a corresponding alteration in all that pertains to the lower principles. If an astral body were added to the plant we see today as a being of outer nature, if this astral body were not only to hover over the plant but to permeate it, then what we see penetrating the plant in its substance would have to become animal flesh. That is because upon entering, the astral body would transform the plant in such a way as to convert the substance into animal flesh. And the addition of an ego in the physical world would entail an analogous transformation.
We may therefore say that in a being like man, whose nature embraces not only a physical body but invisible, higher, supersensible principles as well, the supersensible members find expression in the lowest ones. Just as the inner qualities of your soul are superficially expressed in your features, in your physiognomy, so your physical body is an expression of the work performed by your astral body and ego; and the physical body does not represent merely itself: it stands as the physical expression of the human principles that are physically invisible. Thus the glandular system and all that pertains to it is an expression of the etheric body, everything connected with the nervous system is an expression of the astral body, and all that is comprised in the circulation is an expression of the ego bearer. So in the physical body itself we again have to take into account a fourfold organization; and only one who worships a crass materialistic world conception could classify the various substances in the human body as equivalent. The blood pulsating in our veins became the substance it is as a result of the fact that an ego dwells in us; the form and substance of the nervous system are due to the presence of an astral body; and the glandular system is the outcome of the etheric body.
If you will take all this into consideration you will readily see that between falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning the human being is really a contradiction in terms. One is inclined to call him a plant, yet he is not a plant because the physical substance of a plant lacks the expression of the astral body — the nervous system — as well as the expression of the ego — the circulatory system. A physical being such as man, equipped with a glandular, a nervous, and a circulatory system, can exist only by means of an etheric body, an astral body, and an ego; but in the night you forsake your physical and etheric bodies — that is, in as far as your astral body and ego constitute you a human being. You basely abandon them, as it were, making them into a self-contradictory being. Were nothing of a spiritual nature to intervene at this time, while you simply withdraw your astral body and ego from your physical and etheric bodies, you would find your nervous and circulatory systems destroyed when you woke up in the morning; for these cannot exist without your having an astral body and an ego within you. Therefore the following takes place, perceptible to clairvoyant consciousness:
In proportion to the withdrawal of the ego and astral body the clairvoyant sees a divine ego and a divine astral body enter into man. Actually there is during sleep, too, an astral body and an ego — or at least a substitute for these — in the physical and etheric bodies. When man's astral principle passes out, a higher one moves in — as does similarly a substitute for the ego. From this it is evident that within the realm of our lives, within their sphere, beings are at work that have no immediate expression in the physical world. What comes to expression in the physical world are minerals, plants, animals, and human beings. The last are for the moment the highest of the beings within our physical sphere, for they alone have physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego. The fact that in sleep the astral body and ego withdraw from the physical and etheric bodies shows us that even today the former retain a certain independence; that they detach themselves, so to speak, and can live for a certain length of time every day thus sundered from the physical and etheric vehicles.
At night, then, we have the following condition: Just as the human physical body and the human etheric body are by day the bearers of the human ego and the human astral body — in other words, of the innermost principles — so by night they become the bearers, or the temple, of higher astral and ego beings. Now we look with different eyes at the sleeper, for the astral principle within him is a divine-spiritual principle, and there is also an ego, but a divine-spiritual ego. In a sense it can be said that while we are asleep in respect of our astral body and ego, we are watched over and the structure of our organization is maintained by these beings that thus become a part of our life, beings that enter our physical and etheric bodies when we ourselves abandon these. A great deal can be learned from a fact of this sort; and especially if taken in conjunction with certain clairvoyant observations it can elucidate much concerning the evolution of man. What we shall now do is to correlate this difference between waking and sleeping with the great spiritual facts of evolution.
The astral body and the ego appear, to be sure, as the highest and most intimate principles of man's nature, but by no means do they prove to be the most perfect. Even to superficial observation the physical body is more perfect than the astral body. Two years ago I pointed out here that the more closely we examine man's physical body, the more admirable it appears in its entire structure. Not only does the marvel of the human heart or the human brain when examined anatomically satisfy the mind's acute, intellectual thirst for knowledge, but whoever approaches these with his soul feels an aesthetic and moral uplift when he realizes how sublime and wise are the provisions made in this physical body. The astral body is as yet less advanced. It is the bearer of joy and sorrow, of impulses, desires, indulgence, and so forth; and we must admit that in order to satisfy his desires man turns to all sorts of things hardly calculated to further the wise and ingenious workings of the heart or the brain. His craving for enjoyment leads him to seek satisfaction in things like coffee, that are poison for the heart, thereby proving the astral body's craving for pleasures that harm the wisely contrived human heart; yet for decades the heart withstands such poisons consumed by man as a result of his astral body's craving for enjoyment.
This proves that the physical body is more nearly perfect than the astral body. At some time in the future the astral body will be incomparably the more perfect of the two, but at present the development of the physical body is the most advanced. That is because it is actually the oldest principle of man's nature. The physical body itself furnishes the evidence that it was worked upon long before our earth came into being.
The modern doctrine of the origin of the world grew out of purely materialistic conceptions, and what it teaches is nothing but a materialistic fantasy; nor does it matter whether it is called the Kant-Laplace theory or, in the case of a later one, something else. For comprehending the outer structure of our world system these materialistic flights are undoubtedly useful, but they are of no avail in helping us understand anything higher than what the outer eye sees. Spiritual research shows that just as the human being passes from incarnation to incarnation, so a cosmic body like our earth has experienced other formations, other planetary conditions, in the remote past. Before our earth came into being it was in a different planetary state, the spiritual state science calls the “old Moon”.  This does not refer to our present moon but to an ancestor of our earth as a planetary being; and just as the human being has developed from an earlier form of embodiment into what he is today, so our earth has developed from old Moon to Earth: the old Moon is a sort of previous incarnation of the Earth. Going still farther back: a previous incorporation of the old Moon was the Sun — again not the present sun but an ancestor of our present earth; and finally, the precursor of this old Sun was the old Saturn. Those are the states our Earth passed through: a Saturn state, a Sun state, and a Moon state, and now it has reached its earth state.
The first germ of our physical body appeared on the old Saturn. In other words, while nothing of all that surrounds us today existed on that primeval cosmic body we designate the old Saturn (not the present planet) — nothing of our animal or plant life, or even of our mineral kingdom — yet there were the first rudiments of the present-day human physical body. This physical human body was constituted very differently from what it is today: it was present in its earliest germinal state, then developed during the Saturn evolution; and when the latter was completed the old Saturn passed through a sort of cosmic night in the same manner in which man passes through a devachan in order to reach his next incarnation. Then Saturn became the Sun; and as the plant arises out of the seed, so the human physical body reappeared on the old Sun. Gradually this physical body became permeated by an etheric or life body, so that on the old Sun the germinal physical body was joined by the etheric or life body. Man was then not a plant, but he had the status of a plant. He consisted of physical body and etheric body, and his consciousness resembled that of sleep, the consciousness of the carpet of plants that is spread out around us in the physical world today.
The Sun existence came to an end, and again there intervened a cosmic night, or world devachan, as we can call it. When the Sun had passed through this cosmic devachan it was transformed into the old Moon state. Again we find the human physical and etheric bodies that had entered on Saturn and the Sun respectively, but during the Moon evolution the astral body was added. Now the human being possessed a physical, an etheric, and an astral body. Thus you see that the physical body, having come into being on Saturn, was already passing through its third state on the Moon; and the etheric body that had been added on the Sun now rose to its second stage of perfection. The astral body, just engendered, was in its first stage in the Moon period.
Something now happened on the Moon that would not have been possible during the Saturn and Sun stages. While the latter had kept man a comparatively homogeneous being, the following event occurred when the old Moon was at a certain stage of development: The whole heavenly body split into two members, a sun and its satellite, the Moon; so that while in the case of Saturn and the Sun we have the evolution of a single planet, only the first part of the Lunar evolution can be thus characterized. That is because in the beginning everything that constitutes our present earth, sun, and moon was united in one primordial cosmic body in a single state, and then two bodies came into being. The sun that had its genesis at that time was not our sun, nor was it the old Sun, mentioned above: it was a special state that detached itself from the old Moon as a sun state; and along with it there came into being a planet, outside of the sun and circling it, which in turn we call the old Moon minus the sun; that is, the Moon.
Now, what is the significance of this division that took place in our earth's predecessor during the evolution of the old Moon? It lies in the fact that along with the sun the higher beings and the finer substances withdrew from the whole stellar mass as sun, while the coarser substances and the lower beings remained with the Moon. So during the evolution of the old Moon we have two heavenly bodies instead of one: a sun body, harboring the higher beings, and a Moon body, the dwelling place of the lower beings. Had the whole remained united, with no separation occurring, certain beings who developed on the sundered Moon could not have kept pace with the sun beings: they were not sufficiently mature, and therefore had to segregate, cast out, the coarser substances and build for themselves a sphere of action apart. Nor could the higher beings have remained united with these coarser substances, for it would have obstructed their more rapid progress. They, too, required a special field for their development, and that was the Sun.
Now let us turn to the beings dwelling on the old Sun and those on the old Moon, after the separation. We have learned that the potential human physical body had its inception during the Saturn state, that on the Sun the etheric body was added, and on the Moon, the astral body. Now, these human beings — or primeval men, if we may so call them — on the Moon had, in fact, remained with the Moon when it split off; and these were the ones who could not keep pace with the rapid development of the sun beings — those who had gone with the sun and now dwelt within the finer substances and matter on the sun. This also accounts for their becoming coarser during the Moon evolution. During this period, then, we have man in a state consisting of physical body, etheric body, and astral body; in other words, he had attained to the evolutionary stage of a present-day animal, for an animal has the physical, etheric, and astral bodies. But you must not imagine man on the old Moon as having been really an animal: his form was very different in appearance from anything in the present animal world, and it would strike you as utterly fantastic if I were to describe it.
Summing up, then: On the old Moon we find what may be called the ancestors of present-day man, equipped with physical, etheric, and astral bodies, in whom these principles tended to become rigid after the division — to become coarser than they would have become had they remained with the sun. But all that had split off with the sun had also passed through this threefold development, the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions. This, however, proceeded in the direction taken by the sun, whereas the ancestors of men followed the Moon. These beings that went with the sun show a threefold organism closely parelling that of man. On the sun, too, were beings who had acquired three principles, so to speak; but these had become finer instead of coarser after the separation. Think of the process as follows: After the split the human forebears became denser beings than they were before, they tended to solidify; while corresponding beings on the sun became more rarefied. Through having acquired an astral body during the Moon evolution, man in a sense descended to the level of an animal; but the beings that did not take part in this development — those that carried the finer substances with them to the sun — became finer.
So while man was hardening on the Moon, beings of lofty spirituality arose on the sun. In spiritual science this spirituality is designated the counterpart of what evolved on the Moon. On the Moon, men developed up to the rank of the animal, so to speak, although they were not animals. Now, in dealing with the animal kingdom people have always quite justifiably distinguished between different grades of animals, and the animal men on the Moon appeared in three grades differing essentially from one another. In spiritual science these are termed the grades of the “Bull”, the “Lion”, and the “Eagle”. Those are typical configurations, as it were, of the animal world. The old Moon was inhabited by the three groups: Bull men, Lion men, and Eagle men. — Although these connotations apply in no way to our present bulls, lions, and eagles, the deteriorated character of those primordial Moon men which we call Lion-men is nevertheless expressed, to a certain extent, in the feline species; in the charcter of the hoofed animals there comes to expression the degenerated nature of the so-called Bull men, and so forth. — That describes the densified nature of man after a three-stage development.
But on the sun dwelt the spiritual counterparts of these, also consisting of three groups. While the development of the astral principle on the Moon was shaping these three different animal men, the corresponding spiritual men arose on the sun as angelic beings, spirit beings. These, too, are known as Lion, Eagle, and Bull, but as the spiritual counterparts of the others. So when you contemplate the sun you see spiritual beings whom you envision as the beautiful prototypes conceived in wisdom, while on the Moon you find something like hardened replicas of what dwells on the sun.
But something in the nature of a mystery underlies all this. These images down on the Moon are not without connection with their spiritual counterparts on the sun. On the Moon we have a group of primordial men, the Bull men, and on the sun a group of spirit beings connoted “Bull spirits”; and there is a spiritual connection between prototype and image. That is because the group soul is the prototype and acts as such upon the images. The forces proceed from the group soul and direct the image down below: the Lion spirit directs the beings who, as Lion men, are its image; the Eagle spirit guides the Eagle men, and so on. If these spirits up above had remained united with the Moon, bound to their replicas and inhabiting them, their activity would have been paralyzed; they could not have exercized the forces needed for the salvation and development of the images. They understood that they had to foster on a higher level what was destined to evolve on the Moon. The Bull spirit felt, I must care for the Bull men; but on the Moon I cannot find the conditions for my own progress, hence I must dwell on the sun and from there send down my forces to the Bull men. — And the same applies to the Lion spirit, and the Eagle spirit.
That is the way evolution proceeded. Certain beings needed a sphere of action above those that were their physical images, so to speak. The latter required a lower, lesser field. In order to function effectually the spiritual beings had to sunder the sun from the Moon and then send down their forces from without. Thus we see on the one hand a development downward, so to say, and on the other, an upward trend.
The evolution of the old Moon (as a cosmic period) proceeds. By acting upon their images from without, the spiritual beings spiritualize the Moon, with the result that the latter can in time reunite with the sun. The prototypes take their images back into themselves, absorb them, as it were. Another world devachan comes about, a cosmic night. (This is also known as a pralaya, whereas stages like Saturn, Sun, and Moon are called manvantaras.) Following this cosmic night there issues out of the obscurity of the cosmic womb our Earth stage, whose mission it is to advance man to the stage at which he can add the ego, or ego bearer, to his physical, etheric, and astral bodies. In the meantime, however, all previous evolution must be repeated; for whenever a higher stage is to be reached a cosmic law demands the repetition of all that had already taken place. The Earth had thus to pass once more through the old Saturn stage: again the first potential beginnings of the physical body evolved as out of the cosmic germ; and then followed a repetition of the Sun and Moon stages.
At this time sun, earth, and moon still formed a single body; but now a repetition of previous events takes place: the sun again splits off, and again those loftier beings that need this higher sphere for their development depart with the sun, carrying with them the finer substances they need for creating their cosmic sphere of action. Thus the sun left the Earth, which at that time still bore the moon within its body, and took with it those beings who were sufficiently advanced to find their further development on the sun. You will readily imagine that among these beings were to be found primarily those that had previously functioned as prototypes. All these beings, who during the old Moon period had attained to adequate maturity, progressed rapidly, with the result that they could no longer live in the denser substances and among the earth-plus-moon beings: they had to detach themselves and establish a new existence on the sun — our present sun.
Who were these beings? They were the descendants of those who, back in the old Moon state, had developed on the sun as the Bull, Lion, and Eagle spirits; and the loftiest of these, the most advanced, were those who had merged within themselves the natures of Eagle, Lion, and Bull in a harmonious unity. They are the beings that can be connoted human prototypes — spirit men in the true sense of the term. Keep in mind that among the spiritual beings who during the old Moon period were to be found on the sun as Bull, Eagle, and Lion spirits, some had attained to a higher plane of development, and these are the Spirit Men proper whose dwelling place is now principally the sun. They are spiritual counterparts, so to speak, of what is in the process of evolution down below on the severed earth-plus-moon; but those that are developing down there are the descendants of the beings that had lived on the old Moon. Now, you can imagine that since a certain condensation, a solidification, of these beings had already set in on the old Moon, a tendency to condense, to solidify, to dry out would be all the more pronounced in their descendants. Indeed, a sad and dreary period commenced for this sundered portion which then comprised earth-plus-moon. Above, on the sun, an ever fresher and livelier development, ever fuller life; below, on the Earth, misery and barrenness, steadily increasing rigidity.
Something now occurred without which evolution would have been brought to a standstill: the moon as we know it today separated from the earth-plus-moon body, and what remained is our present earth. In this way the coarsest substances withdrew before rendering the earth completely hard, and the latter was saved from total desolation.
To summarize all this: At the beginning of our Earth evolution the Earth formed one body with our present sun and moon. Had the Earth (earth plus moon) remained with the sun, man would never have been able to reach his present stage of development: he could not have kept pace with a development such as the beings on the sun needed. What developed up there was not man as he is on earth, but his spiritual prototype of which, as he appears in his physical body, he is really but an image. And on the other hand, had the moon remained within the earth, man would have gradually dried out and mummified, and have found no possibility of further development on Earth. The Earth would have become a barren, arid cosmic body; and in place of human bodies as we know them today, something like lifeless statutes would have developed, growing up out of the ground like desiccated men. This was prevented by the secession of the moon, which withdrew into cosmic space and took with it the coarsest substances. That made it possible for an ego to be added to the physical, etheric, and astral bodies already present in the descendants of the old Moon beings; and because the forces of sun and moon acted from without and there held each other in balance, man could experience fructification by the ego.
The earth was now the scene of further human evolution. All that had come over from the old Moon represented in a certain respect a devolution, a development into a lower stage; but now there appeared a new impetus, an impulse upward. — And in the meantime the progress of those corresponding spiritual beings who had remained with the sun steadily continued.
Let us suppose we have a block of hard iron before us and that our muscles are of average strength. We pound and hammer the iron, trying to beat it flat, but we cannot manage to give it any form until we have softened the substance by heat. Something of this sort happened to the earth after the densest substances had withdrawn with the moon. Now the earth beings could be formed, and now the sun beings again took a hand — those beings who as early as the old Moon state had intervened there from the sun as the group souls. Before the moon split off, substances were too dense; but now these beings asserted themselves as forces that gradually shaped and developed man to his present form.
Let us examine this more closely. Imagine you could have stood on this ancient heavenly body that consisted of earth-plus-moon. You would have beheld the sun out in space; and if you had been clairvoyant you would also have seen the spiritual beings described above. On the Earth you would have perceived a sort of solidification, of desolation, and it would have struck you that all about was nothing but aridity and death on the Earth; for the forces of the sun could gain no influence over all this that was on its way to becoming a great cosmic graveyard. — And then you would have seen the body of the moon detach itself from the Earth. You would have seen the substances of the earth becoming malleable and plastic, with the result that the forces descending from the sun were once more able to act. And you would have seen the Bull, Lion, and Eagle spirits regaining their influence over the human beings that were their images. You would have understood that the moon, isolated, had lost some of its harmful influence through its withdrawal, for thenceforth it could act only from a distance; and that in this way the earth was rendered capable of receiving what the spiritual beings had to give. Tomorrow we shall see what sort of a picture presents itself to the clairvoyant when he traces the more remote phases of evolution in the akashic record.
We know that during the old Saturn stage the first beginning of the human physical body was formed. What today we see as the physical human form first took shape on Saturn as though emerging from cosmic chaos. Then came the Sun stage, during which the etheric body was added to the physical; and on the old Moon these were joined by the astral element in the case of those beings who continued their development on the sundered Moon, as well as of the spirits who had remained with the sun. On the sun dwelt the spiritual prototypes, on the Moon, their counterparts on the animal level; and finally, upon the Earth there had gradually evolved a condition under which man was once more able to receive into himself the astral element developed on the sun during the Moon evolution, an element that now acted in him as a force.
Let us now trace these four states. The exalted power which during the Saturn stage provided the spiritual germ of the physical human form is called by the author of the John Gospel the Logos. The element that was added on the Sun and merged with what had arisen on Saturn he designates Life, known to us accordingly as the etheric or life body. And what was subjoined on the Moon he terms the Light, for it is the spiritual light, the astral light. On the severed Moon this astral light effected a hardening, but on the sun itself, a spiritualization. What was thus engendered as spirit could and did continue to develop; and when the sun again split off, the principle that had evolved during the third stage shone into men, but man was as yet unable to see what thus shone in from the sun. It took part in the shaping of man, acted as a force; but man could not see it.
What we have in this way come to recognize as the essence of the Saturn evolution we can now express in the words of the Gospel of St. John:
In the beginning was the Logos.
Now we pass to the Sun. To denote what came into being on Saturn and was further developed on the Sun, we say, the etheric body was added:
And the Logos was Life.
On the Moon the astral element entered into both the physical and the spiritual aspects of men:
Within the animated Logos Light arose.
When the separation occurred the light developed in two directions: on the sun into a clairvoyant light, among men into darkness. For when man was to receive the light he, who was the darkness, comprehended it not.
So if we illuminate the John Gospel by means of the akashic record, what we read concerning cosmic evolution is a follows: In the beginning, during the Saturn evolution, everything had come into being out of the Logos; during the Sun evolution, Life was in the Logos; and out of this living Logos there arose Light during the Moon evolution. Finally, out of the living, light-filled Logos there appeared on the sun, during the Earth evolution, the Light in heightened luster — but men walked in darkness. And the beings who had become the advanced spirits of Bull, Lion, Eagle, and Man shone down as light from the sun to the earth and into the forms of men that were taking shape. But these were the darkness, and they could not comprehend the light that shone down upon them. — Naturally we must not think of this as the physical light, but rather, as the Light that was the sum of the radiations from the spiritual beings, the spirits of Bull, Lion, Eagle, and Man, who constituted the continuation of the spiritual evolution of the Moon. It was the spiritual Light that streamed down. Men could not receive it, could not comprehend it. Their whole development was advanced by it, but without their consciousness taking part. The light shone in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Thus paradigmatically does the writer of the John Gospel present these great verities; and those versed in such matters have ever been called the “servants or ministers of the Logos as it was from the beginning.” He who speaks thus was such a minister or servant of the Logos as it was from the beginning; and in the Luke Gospel we find what is basically the identical disposition. Just read understandingly what the writer of the Luke Gospel says: his purpose is to report events as they occurred from the beginning, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word.
And we believe that these documents were written by servants of the Word, or the Logos. We learn to believe this when by means of our own spiritual research we see what took place, when we see how our Earth evolution came about by way of Saturn, Sun, and Moon. And when we then find that we can rediscover, independent of all documents, what is presented in the comprehensive words of the John Gospel and in the words of the Luke Gospel, we learn anew to appreciate these documents and to find in them their own evidence that they were written by those who could read in the spiritual world. They provide a means of communication with men of remote times whom we can face, in a sense, and say, We recognize and know you — because what they knew we have found again in Spiritual Science.
Translator's Notes:In order to make clear the difference between the designations for the Planetary Evolutions and our present planetary bodies, which bear the same names, the following device has been determined on: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan printed in italics with initial capitals designate the great cosmic planetary cycles of evolution. In the Sun evolution, after the separation of the main cosmic body into two parts, the designation is Sun and Saturn, spelt with capitals, but not with italics. In the Moon evolution, when a separation takes place, the remaining body is spelt Moon, with an initial capital, the separating planetary sun is spelt with small letters. In the Earth evolution, the separated planetary bodies are spelt as is customary: The planets Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury with initial capitals; sun, moon, earth with small letters.”The device is gratefully adopted in this translation.
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