Rudolf Steiner, September 16, 1907:
When you compare a man of today with the animals, the difference between them forces one to say that the man, as an individual, has within him what cannot be found in the single animal. The man has an individual soul, the animal a group soul. The individual human being is, in himself, a whole animal species. All lions together, for example, have only one soul. Such group-egos are like human egos except that they have not descended into the physical world, but are to be found only in the astral world. Here on Earth one sees physical men, each of whom bears his ego. In the astral world one finds beings like one's self, but in astral sheaths rather than physical. One can speak with them as to one's peers. These are the animal group souls.
In earlier times, men also had group souls. Only gradually have they developed themselves to their present independence. These group souls were originally in the astral world and then descended to live in the physical body. When one investigates the original human group souls in the astral world, one finds four species from which humans have sprung. Were one to compare these four kinds of beings with the group souls that belong to the present-day animal species, one would find that one of the four is comparable to the lion, another to the eagle, a third to the cow, and a fourth to the man of ancient times before his ego had descended. Thus, in the second picture, in the apocalyptic animals lion, eagle, cow, and man, we are shown an evolutionary stage of mankind. There is, and always will be as long as the earth shall exist, a group soul for the higher manifestation of men, which is represented by the lamb in the center of the seal, the mystical lamb, the sign of the Redeemer. This grouping of the five group souls--the four of man around the great group soul, which still belongs to all men in common--is represented by the second seal.
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